For the first time in several months, Fresno City Council resumed in-person meetings in the council chambers, leaving behind the Zoom meetings that were held throughout the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Council was set to confirm nine appointments made by the Mayor’s Office to the Parks, Recreation and Arts Commission per Measure P.
The council’s Measure P subcommittee submitted 14 names to Mayor Jerry Dyer for consideration. He brought nine forward for consideration:
- Jon Dohlin (District 3)
- Maiyer Vang (District 4)
- Dr. Francine Oputa (District 7)
- Kimberly McCoy (District 1)
- Scott Miller (District 1)
- Mona Cummings (District 6)
- Harman Singh (District 2)
- Jose Leon Barraza (District 5)
- Sarah Parkes (District 6)
However, those individuals have to wait another week to be officially appointed.
Councilman Mike Karbassi said that he did not have an opportunity to provide names for consideration and asked the council to delay the vote until its next meeting in order to give him time to meet with the proposed commissioners.
“No one consulted me to get some names from my district,” Karbassi said. “I’m glad of the person we have in District 2, because that young man is very passionate, and he comes highly recommended. But it kind of poisoned the well, because we had no chance to recommend.”
Karbassi added, “We have this ridiculous committee system that isn’t as transparent. I’m sorry, that’s just my personal opinion. The committee, it seems like they made the mayor believe that these recommendations – even though they’re mayoral appointments – that they represented the will of the council.”
Miguel Arias, a member of the subcommittee, argued that all of the council members had the opportunity to reach out to the mayor’s administration to submit names. He also noted that the council approved the subcommittee assignments at the beginning of the year.
“You can’t claim that this was a public and open process,” Karbassi said. “Yes, we did vote on those committees, but those committee proceedings weren’t public. They weren’t open, and according to what the mayor’s memo stated, every council member was supposed to have a chance to submit names. That didn’t happen. That tainted the process.”
Dyer said he was under the impression that the subcommittee had submitted its list of names to him with the full input of the council because the recommendations included people from all districts except District 5. Dyer said he reached out to Council President and District 5 representative Luis Chavez, who recommended two additional candidates.
The council agreed to postpone the vote to approve the commissioners until the next meeting on April 28 to give Karbassi and other council members time to meet with the recommended individuals.
San Joaquin River Conservancy support
The council passed a resolution 6-1 in support of Assembly Bill 559, which expands public membership on the San Joaquin River Conservancy Board.
Councilman Garry Bredefeld tallied the lone no vote.
AB 559 expands board membership to include people working in the space of outdoor recreation, conservation, environmental justice or social justice, and it also adds a seat dedicated to local Indian Nations.
The San Joaquin River Conservancy Board develops and manages the 22-mile San Joaquin River Parkway. The conservancy’s mission includes developing, operating and managing lands for public access and recreation as well as protecting, enhancing and restoring riparian and floodplain habitat.
Water conservation rebates
The city council unanimously passed a resolution that changes the Lawn Replacement Rebate Program, as proposed by Councilman Tyler Maxwell.
Under Maxwell’s proposal, the program is modified to require the installation of micro drip irrigation measures and caps of existing sprinklers in the proposed lawn replacement area.
Program applicants can now apply for a rebate for 1,500 square feet of lawn being removed, increased from 1,000 square feet.
The rebate also increased from $0.50 per square foot to $1 per square foot.