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The Two Critical Questions in the Mayoral Debate

CLOSING STATEMENTS

SPEES: “Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you about things that matter to our city. I thank all of you that you care enough to show up. Our city matters. Our city is a living, breathing organism, and the fact that you’re here makes a big difference. Thank you for caring enough about our city to be here.

“To close, I’m going to use a military term. And the military term is this: Mission first, people always. When Marines go into combat, they are committed to accomplishing that mission. But the motivation, the thing that motivates them and drives them, is that guy next to them.,.is that person next to them. They care about the people. Mission first, people always.

“The mission of a city – you have to care about built infrastructure, you have to put public safety first. You have to care about all of those issues. You have to care about the line items, and as a fiscal conservative I’ll be hawk over every dollar in our city budget. But at the same time, the purpose of a city is human flourishing, and that’s what I’ve given my life to – human flourishing.

“You have to care about the line-item budget, but you also have to care about the cop who can’t get a day off to go see his daughter’s ballet recital. You have to care about the firefighter who has gone through a situation where they don’t have the equipment that they used to. You have to look at our neighborhoods. People matter. Mission first, people always. To you, my community, I promise this: I will have your back – every neighborhood, every kid, every house, every family, every business, every street. Together we are going to make this a better city. Thank you very much.”

PEREA: “First, I’d like to thank Power Talk and CVObserver for having this forum.

“I think it’s important for the people to know where their next mayor stands, not just on the issues – because we’re all talking about the same issues. I think the issue and the question is: Who’s going to be the right leader to execute the plan? That’s really what this mayor’s race is all about.

“Now, in politics, a lot of folks like to say, ‘What is your Number One issue?’ Well, you know what? There’s no Number One issue. Because every issue we have talked about, they are all a priority. The mayor doesn’t have the luxury of dealing with one issue at a time. You have to have the ability to juggle all of them at the same time and get the job done. So, tonight when I talk about the things I have worked on – I have formed the JPA (joint powers authority) that’s going to bring the $1.3 billion from the state water bond to build Temperance Flat Dam. I am going to be in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. securing the rest of that money. See – I’m not talking about it. I’m doing it. OK?

“When I’m talking about the Amtrak system, a system that many people use, over a million people in the Valley use this system – we added, as I’ve said, the seventh line into that system, the first time in 23 years, and we’ve done that in just two years in taking over that system. I can go down all the list of the things I’ve accomplished and been a part of accomplishing in this community with the colleagues that I’ve worked with.

“So that’s what the city of Fresno is looking for. It’s looking for someone who’s going to be transformative, someone who’s going to set the agenda with the council and have the right team in place at City Hall to execute. And I guarantee you – I’m going to get it done. But beyond that, it’s important for you to know, as I said earlier – we are the fifth largest city in the state of California. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be the capital of this Valley and lead those four million people when we go to Washington, when we go to Sacramento, and speak with the voice of four million people, whether we’re talking about water, whether we’re talking about infrastructure dollars that we need, whether we’re talking about public safety, and on down the line.

“Because I’ll tell you what – if things are better in Fresno, they’re going to be better in Modesto, they’re going to be better in Bakersfield, they’re going to be better in Sanger, in every corner of our community. So, it’s about working together, it’s about being a regional leader and reaching out and making things happen on a regional basis that all of us will benefit from.”

BRAND: “We’ve covered a lot of ground today, and heard a lot of rhetorical platitudes, a lot of empty promises. I’ve been out here in the trenches for the past seven-and-a-half years fighting the battles, ensuring this city’s basic survival – we didn’t go to bankruptcy, which would have devastated the city.

“I bring in 37 years of successful business experience. And that business experience is a key factor in my success on the council. Seven and a half years on the City Council, 18 legislative acts (that) transformed the city’s financial platform. I’ve demonstrated time and time again the ability to be a creative problem-solver, to be a collaborator. Again, the fact that I’ve got so many endorsements from my colleagues on the City Council and in other governing agencies speaks volumes of the leader I am. It’s going to take somebody who knows the council, who knows the issues of the city, to make this thing happen.

“I’d like to see those opportunities that were available to me when I was a young kid on McKenzie Street (also be available to today’s kids), to have the same opportunities for education, to have the same opportunities for business and jobs that we don’t have today.

“Fresno is on the cusp of greatness. I call it the Arc of Fresno. Fresno always has a low arc. We need to raise our expectations. We need to have a city that is prosperous by having a vibrant, growing economy. You’re going to have wealth creation through low unemployment rates and higher wages. Those are the kinds of things that overall improve the quality of life in the city of Fresno and make this city of Fresno a great city. I want to be there at the forefront to make this a great city again. Thank you.”

George Hostetter
George Hostetter is The Sun’s Fresno Civic contributor – covering the City of Fresno, County of Fresno, and Fresno Council of Governments.

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