The Two Critical Questions in the Mayoral Debate


I give you several highlights from last Thursday’s Fresno mayoral debate, broadcast live by Power Talk 96.7.


The event was sponsored by the Fresno Police Officers Association and CVObserver. Fresno City Council Member Lee Brand, Fresno County Supervisor Henry R. Perea and community activist H. Spees fielded questions for two hours.

Power Talk’s Trevor Carey, FPOA President Jacky Parks, Granville Homes President Darius Assemi and I asked the questions.

I saw Supervisor Andreas Borgeas, Fresno Unified School Board President Luis Chavez, City Council District 6 candidates Garry Bredefeld and Jeremy Pearce, development consultants Al Solis and Bill Robinson, former District 7 candidate Mike Wells, Fresno County Economic Development Corporation President Lee Ann Eager, former Fresno Unified Trustee Michelle Asadoorian, current Fresno Unified Trustee Brooke Ashjian, Granville Homes Vice President Jeff Roberts and City of Fresno Communications Director Mark Standriff in the audience at Pardini’s.

I’m not one to give grades on candidate performances. The questions ranged from public safety and homelessness to parks and housing. It’s fair to say all three candidates did well.

What follows is only a portion of what the candidates said. Feel free to listen to the whole debate and post-debate analysis.

Here you’re getting each candidate’s opening statement. Then we have their answers to two questions. At the end we have each candidate’s closing statement. An ellipsis indicates a garbled portion of the recording.

Be both attentive and sympathetic as a reader. The candidates were speaking without notes. They were under considerable pressure. Occasionally a word was dropped from a sentence. Sometimes a sentence ran on a bit. All in all, Brand, Perea and Spees did the city proud.

Neither question deals with public safety. You can be sure that all three candidates are strong supporters of police and fire.

The first question deals with panhandlers. The second deals with economic development. On the surface, there’s a big difference between those two issues. On closer inspection, the two are connected at the hip.

No one said being the mayor of 515,000 people is going to be easy.

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