Brand, brain trust ready for first 365 days at City Hall

Despite no “first 100 days” sprint for Mayor Lee Brand, take a look at his team and choices ahead

The “SC2” at the beginning of my story is the bureaucratic nickname for the “Strong Cities, Strong Communities” program. SC2, in my opinion, is one of the oddest ideas ever to come out of Washington, D.C. In essence, SC2 is this: The feds do lots of great things for Americans. In fact, the feds do so many great things that the average American working in the average City Hall can’t figure out how to access all these great things. And the average federal worker sitting behind a desk in the departments dispensing all these great things can’t figure out how to deliver all these great things to that average worker sitting in the average City Hall. So, the solution is to create special federal workers skillful in cutting through all this red tape and assign some of these special federal workers to be special friends to specially selected cities full of the kind of poverty that would have already been alleviated if only all these average federal workers dispensing all these great things weren’t so average.

Fresno in 2011 was among the cities picked for the SC2 rollout.


SC2 is really just an old-fashioned pork barrel scheme. The Obama Administration promised to give Fresno lots of money if Fresno played along by constantly praising SC2.

You know what? Swearengin at every opportunity trumpeted the brilliance and generosity of Obama and his team. Millions flowed into City Hall.

Call it bribery. Call it corruption. Call it anything you want. Bottom line: Swearengin recognized the political reality and did what’s best for a half-million Fresnans.

But now the Obama Administration is being termed out. Swearengin is quite fond of everyone in the Obama Administration. She is not fond of Donald Trump.

Donald Trump, however, will be the new president come Jan. 20. Swearengin since Nov. 8 has refused to call the Trump team on behalf of the residents of Fresno and extend to the nation’s next chief executive a heartfelt “congratulations.” You know – do a little old fashioned logrolling.

By some secret calculation, Swearengin decided her own political gain is more important than her constituents’ interests.

Brand told me on Thursday that he wants to be on good terms with both Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Brand next month plans to enlist the help of Congressman Devin Nunes in building a bridge to the Trump White House.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a Democratic administration or a Republican administration,” Brand said. “I have an obligation to do what is in the best interests of the people of the city of Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley.”

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