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The Next Mayor: What drives the road to City Hall

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Let the alphabetizing begin!

The lineup for the Fresno mayoral race appears set now that Supervisor Henry R. Perea has thrown his hat in the ring.

The Big Three are who we expected all along: City Council Member Lee Brand, Perea and community activist H. Spees.

B-P-S. They’ll be listed this way on first reference in every news report from now to the June 7 primary. Reporters don’t want be accused of preferential treatment.

I got a phone call from Fresno Unified School District Trustee Brooke Ashjian on Saturday. He’s guest-hosting a three-hour radio news/talk show Wednesday afternoon on PowerTalk 96.7.

Ashjian said Brand and Spees will be among his guests. Ashjian asked me to join him for the last half-hour (starting at 5:30 p.m.) to talk about City Hall.

More specifically – What are the mayoral campaign’s key issues?

We already know ‘em, of course.

Each of the Big Three will spend the next 18 weeks saying something along these lines:

“We must keep our city safe.”

“Strong neighborhoods mean a strong Fresno.”

“Good jobs are pivotal to ending poverty.”

“It’s time to rebuild our infrastructure.”

“Prudent spending doesn’t mean stop spending.”

“Go ‘Dogs!”

Well, that last one assumes there’s no secret USC Trojan fan among the three.

It’s only right that the candidates say such things. These issues, vague as my examples are, affect us all. The fact that we never find the perfect answer is just part of the human dilemma.

And by going down these obvious policy paths in the beginning, the candidates will inevitably move toward specifics. Mayor Ashley Swearengin in her 2008 campaign promised to do something about not just downtown (long a staple of citywide candidates) but also the historic but struggling neighborhoods surrounding downtown.

That campaign promise by Swearengin formed the basis of many a news story by me during my days at The Bee precisely because the mayor kept her vow.

So, what will I say when Ashjian asks for some juicy Campaign 2016 issues?

I give you a Baker’s Dozen of possibilities. Who knows – perhaps one or two will ignite a verbal slugfest among the Big Three. I sure hope so.

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

1 Comment

  1. I have known Lee for years. He’s a stand up guy and the only one who has been in business and has run a successful business. He’s been an effective councilmen. With that said, I was unhappy that he supported a lawsuit against McCaffery Homes for building across the river in Madera County. What one person or company chooses to do in another county is none of the business of Fresno other than to figure out how to deal with the loss of revenue. Certainly not with a frivolous law suit. Henry Perea is a snake and a typical career politician. He has done nothing save live off of the tax payer. Time to permanently retire this loser from public life. H. Spees is a good guy and has good leadership skills. I am unsure of his business skills which will be needed in this race.

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