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AndyHS @AndyHS
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Down at the Fresno City Council Candidate Forum!
Forum is about to begin. Candidates from Districts 3,5, and 7. Miguel Arias, Tate Hill, Luis Chavez (Paula Yang declined ) Brian Whelan and Nelson Esparza in attendance. Candidates now introducing themselves beginning with Arias. @District5Chavez @tatehill @scccdtrustee @nelson
Chavez mentions he rode his bike from his boyhood home near Sequoia Middle School to this exact location. Among his wins while on Council. Peach & KC 105 Unit housing project ,rental housing inspection.Brian Whelan using his Hispanic roots by using Spanish. Trying to learn Hmong
Crime in Whelan’s District 7 neighborhood has improved by getting neighbors together. Finds justice for his day job as a lawyer. Problem solver. Nelson Esparza instructor at City College and on the Board of Education.Bilingual and vocational education is his focus. Neighborhood
revitalization is one of his forte. Q: how will you improve economic development for immigrants? Answer: Esparza: CA has alway been big on economy but it doesn’t always trickle down to everyone. Whelan: small businesses are backbone of State. RDA’s were down away with. Council
needs to be more business friendly. Too hard for small businesses. Tax code enterprise zones will help. Chavez: City does good for Amazon/Ulta but needs to do more for small. Immigrant business owners are helped by his Small Business Act. Reimbursed if they create jobs. Hill:
Small Businesses are main drivers especially for immigrants. Zoning processes are not always clear. Inventive and Enterprise Zones are not always known by small immigrant business owners. Arias: Fresno is good for corporate owners like GAP and Amazon but not for food trucks or
Street vendors. Small should be treated the same as Amazon and waive things for both sizes. Q: How to keep water affordable? Arias: His hometown was hit hard by drought. Water quality needs to be known. Inspections don’t currently tell homeowners what that quality is. Hill:
SR Citizen told him they were concerned by price increases. Public Infrastructure in South Fresno needs to be supported too. Purple Pipes need to be used for irrigation. Chavez: $500 million City investment just opened for South Fresno. Calwa has bad water Wells. A plume from
Old Hammer Airport poisoned lots of Wells. This new water treatment plant will help. Whelan: SE Water Surface just opened. A central City Service is water. Fresno is one of few CA cities to be drought resistant due to these infrastructure. Decaying Infrastructure is prevalent.
City will need to replace those pipes but will increase fees. Esparza: Clean Water is a fundamental right. No reason rich state in rich Country shouldn’t have it. Shouldn’t drive up rates to do it. Zero tolerance. Q: what barriers do immigrant communities have? Esparza: first to
Be born in this country. Immigrants are our neighbors and coworkers. Legal Defense Fund was brought up to Council last year to help if under legal trouble. Whelan: City,County State and Federal all have different levels. Believes Federal immigration is broken. Takes too long for
some countries to immigrate. He helps people with immigrant issues as a lawyer. Chavez: As school board helped develop master plan for immigrants and Dreamer. Expanded ESL in local schools. How does law enforcement approach language barrier. Wait time to get thru customs at FAT.
Hill: Learned about many immigrants while walking precincts. Language Access at City needs to be improved especially Punjabi. Public Safety: all neighborhoods need to see PD as an ally. SJ Law School Defense Fund. Arias: facts: don’t need legal status to pay taxes, clean Parks.
All need equal access to City services. Decision process: decision making process like Council needs to have illegal status spoken to as well. Q: Education of constituents: Arias: diverse neighborhoods need to be educated. City incentives to assembly line jobs is not good. Need
living wage jobs. A ways to go to improve education but some progress. Hill: District 3 needs citizens with advanced degrees. Support good building like SW Soecific Plan and TCC Money. Work with School Trustees. Chavez: an educator at heart. School Board Member. Roosevelt High
improvements came from his work on School Board. More Trades need to be educated to fill job openings. Community College for SE Fresno is needed. Whelan : Education is important. Opens pathways. Personal life he has mentored youth and worked at Storyland with kids. Safe pathways
to schools needed. Public Safety is needed for community. Educators need to partner with community more. Esparza: Fresno is rock bottom for education. Career Technical School across from SJ Memorial. It isn’t a silver bullet but fills some gaps in the economy. Will leverage his
Connections with school boards. Q: As a Councilman how I’ll you improve access to health care? Esparza: connect to correct places. Policies such as green places and parks. Will be an advocate on Council. Whelan: Honest broker in that Medical is not controlled by Council. Edu-
cation is needed. A bridge between City and County especially for homelessness and medical issues. Chavez: Gaston Medical Clinic built in school. City can do more more by locating these around city. One illness away from bankruptcy. Hill: city can help built environment. If they
feel safe they won’t be healthy. Supporting good businesses. Saturation of Liquor Stores and good deserts. Heavy industrial and brown fields Darling Factory. Arias: treat City employees well Stop bringing in polluting businesses like Amazon. Pass Measure P to bring in more parks.
Keep Obamacare. Q: City’s Homeless Act is good or bad? Arias : only good thing is it pushed problem across Cory so everyone knows the problem. More temporary housing. Use unused buildings like old VMC. Provide a place to do laundry. Hill: Criminalization if Homeless was wrong way
Need to be compassionate. A shared City/ County. Temp. Housing to permanent housing. Use State resources to get people into housing first. Chavez: (As on Council he bot s for it) It was more for business and not homeless. From Mike Rhodes he has learned a lot. This issue will
be back on Council Agenda this Thursday due to Court order. Can’t be District 3 only solution . Whelan: Court order was good for this issue. Services need to be provided. It is a dyer issue. Substance abuse is major problem. Esparza: would’ve voted NO if he was on Council. It was
ineffective. No hard data to what Homeless is: mentally ill? Lazy? No housing available? Need data first. Going to public questions written on index cards: First Question for District 7 Should City sell off properties such as Fresno Art Museum: Whelan says City needs to be part
Ner but would need to know books and which private person is buying it. Esparza says Fresno Art Museum is a community gem. Have to engage community on something like that. Q: most difficult issue for City? Esparza: homelessness. Complicated because they are human. Whelan: In 7
biggest issue is crime especially with vacant houses used for drug or human trafficking. Receivership May need to be placed. District 5 (Chavez). Q: How to maintain soccer fields. Six parks in District 5 but not enough. Measure P will help. Q: City and County bridge on homeless.
Chavez: should be even larger To include schools and community colleges. District 3: Q: create jobs for youth Hill: incentivize to hire youth. EOC hires youth for summer. PGE hires youth in summer Arias: Funding to hire youth is always hard part. He would take Marijauna revenue
Q: is Fresno behind the times in Environmental policies? Arias: California has showed it can be on the edge and make progress. Focus on small businesses. Having a Democratic Council will help. Hill: Green Business Program to help businesses be environmentally sustainable. Work-
Force jobs will help. Candidates Conclusion. Hill: Grew up in district. He will listen and collaborate with other Councilmembers. Arias: Simply trying to leave his district better than he found it. Chavez: Results matter. Track record for his community. Been elected twice.
Whelan: would look forward to speaking and listening. We are a community. Esparza: My answers were based on my values and community values. Concludes Forum!
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