Fresno

Amid controversy, Fresno lawmakers OK state’s $1mil grant to Planned Parenthood

Fresno City Council’s heavy-hitting item of the week – a $1 million state grant to the local Planned Parenthood clinic – passed through with enough support to override a potential veto from Mayor Jerry Dyer. 

The council voted 5-1 to pass the resolution which authorizes the city to act as a pass-through for a $1 million grant request from Asm. Joaquin Arambula (D–Fresno) for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. 

Arambula’s budget request said the money will be used to upgrade exam tables to be ADA compliant, purchase new ultrasound probes and to remodel the medical records room. 

Leading up to the meeting there had been a push by pro-life advocates and Councilman Garry Bredefeld to axe the deal. 

After about two hours of public comment, featuring split opinions on the resolution, Bredefeld went after Arambula for bringing controversy to Fresno City Hall. 

“Now I didn’t bring this issue to City Hall, of abortion, Arambula did. He brought the fight here, and a fight he will get. He could’ve given the money directly to Planned Parenthood. It did not have to come through City Hall. This was his political agenda, his political game. He got the fight he wanted,” Bredefeld said. 

“This is disgusting. These people, Planned Parenthood, get billions of dollars from the federal government, hundreds of millions of dollars from this state. This $1 million didn’t need to come here. It came here for a political reason and a divisive reason, and Arambula got what he wanted: division. We’re divided.” 

Bredefeld also played a video for those in attendance in the council chambers detailing how an abortion is performed. 

Many people who showed up in support of Planned Parenthood faced the other way during the video, which Bredefeld called out afterward. 

“I only wish people could’ve seen as we played this video – let me tell you, I could’ve played a lot worse videos than that – how Planned Parenthood supporters had to turn their back because they can’t see the evil, the disgusting evil and murder that is being perpetuated by Planned Parenthood. Who isn’t for cancer screening? I’ll support cancer screening, I always do. I’ll support everything but abortion,” Bredefeld said. 

“But the reality is Planned parenthood is all about abortion, and anything else is a bunch of bullshit.” 

Bredefeld, however, was the lone voice in an attempt to shoot the deal down. 

His colleagues spoke to their position that women should be able to choose what happens with a pregnancy and supported Planned Parenthood for the healthcare services provided there. 

“Along Herndon you have these megaplexes of healthcare facilities from eye care, to heart, to cancer, to everything, and it’s in close proximity that oftentimes is to people that are very affluent. You contrast that with south Fresno and what we have. We have one hospital responsible for triage, and you have a number of scattered health clinics across our community, who by the way do amazing work every single day but they can’t keep up with the waitlist that they have in our community,” Councilman Luis Chavez said. 

“So when you have that discrepancy and when you have an opportunity in front of you to invest in expanding access to healthcare, to me that is not a very difficult situation. 

“I heard a lot of women come up and share their stories. All of us have our own personal views, our own personal experiences, and I think that’s shaped by our life experiences. But to me it just comes down to something very simple, and that is that whenever a woman is faced with that decision, that’s a decision between her and her physician and whatever god she prays to, and I really fundamentally believe that nobody should interfere with that.” 

GV Wire previously reported this week that Mayor Jerry Dyer planned to veto the resolution if it passed. 

With five votes in support, however, the council has enough power to override a potential veto. 

Councilman Mike Karbassi was absent and did not vote. 

Eight years in, South Stadium housing, commercial project seeks extension on plans

A residential development in downtown Fresno is increasing in scope while the city council approved an extension for it. 

Developer Noyan Frazier Capital, run by Mehmet Noyan and Terance Frazier, requested an extension in 2020 for the The Park at South Fulton Street project, one of a litany of extensions granted since planning started in 2014. 

Noyan appeared at City Hall to request another extension because of the need to redesign the building’s ground floor to address flood control issues. 

Initially, the project was going to house 54 residential units, including 10 affordable housing units. 

Now The Park will house 99 units, including 20 affordable housing units, and the total development cost will see an increase from $20.6 million to $32.1 million. 

The ground floor will also be home to 4,500 feet of retail space on Fulton St. 

The council passed the amendment to its development agreement on a 4-1 vote. Bredefeld voted no on both the amendment and extension because of Frazier’s involvement and the city’s dealings with him surrounding Granite Park. 

Without a fifth vote, Councilman Miguel Arias pressed to reschedule the vote on extending the Noyan-Frazier project’s escrow to the Council’s next meeting, leaving the

More motels turning to homeless shelters

Two more Fresno motels will soon become low-barrier homeless shelters, continuing the city’s strategy of purchasing motels to house the homeless as part of Project Homekey.

The city bought the Ambassador Inn on W. Olive Ave. and the Villa Motel on N. Parkway Dr. in January. 

Thursday, the council approved on a 6-0 vote to spend over $10 million to rehabilitate the motels so they can be used as shelters. 

RH Community Builders received both contracts on a no-bid deal. 

Rehabilitating the Ambassador Inn will cost the city $5,981,700 and provide 56 shelter beds while the Villa Motel will run $4,702,108 with 52 beds. 

The city’s funding for the rehabilitation comes from the state’s Homekey Program.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.