Tate Hill has received a big boost in his campaign for the Fresno City Council District 3 seat – Mayor Lee Brand’s endorsement.
“I have endorsed Tate Hill,” the Mayor told me on Saturday.
I reached Hill by phone later that evening. Hill began by noting that Brand is known for doing a lot of research before making important decisions. In other words, a candidate has to earn the Mayor’s blessing.
“I’m real excited to get the Mayor’s endorsement,” Hill told me.
Brand is also going to bat for Hill where it really counts in political campaigns – fundraising. Brand recently sent an email to potential campaign contributors.
“I wanted to personally let you know that I am supporting Tate Hill for Fresno City Council District 3,” Brand wrote. “The purpose of this email is to ask you to support Tate in his campaign. Here is why – our city is making significant progress on job creation, economic growth, expanding public safety and core services like roads and neighborhoods. I need a council member who understands how important our economic vitality is to our future. Tate’s background in business development and community involvement will help support my plans and programs to move our city forward.”
The June 5 primary is just around the corner, and the District 3 race figures to be a barnburner. Hill is among seven candidates hoping to succeed the termed out Oliver Baines.
The other six are Miguel Arias, Larry Burrus, Darren Miller, Sean Sanchez, Craig Scharton and Kimberly Tapscott-Munson.
Hill told me that he and Brand met several times to discuss the campaign and city issues.
Brand “wanted to make sure I was running for the right reasons and I was willing to do the work that is necessary to win,” Hill said.
Council seats and the mayor’s office are non-partisan positions. That’s the theory. In reality, City Hall watchers pay close attention to elected officials’ party affiliations. Hill knows this, which is why he made sure I knew about his other prominent endorsement – Council Member Baines.
Brand has long been a major player in the local Republican Party. Baines is a rising star in the local Democratic Party.
Hill said he would bring a “bipartisan and common-sense approach” to his District 3 duties.
A strong case can be made that, from both a geographical and policy standpoint, District 3 is the most unusual among Fresno’s seven council districts. District 3 stretches from the relatively new subdivisions around Shields and Cornelia avenues northwest of Roeding Park to the farms around Central and Cedar avenues not all that far from Fowler.
In between, District 3 includes a significant piece of the Tower District, the historic Lowell Neighborhood on the north edge of Downtown, Downtown itself, historic West Fresno, the vital industrial area along south Highway 99 and the burgeoning “reverse triangle” with its immense potential for e-commerce development.
The big municipal issues in District 3 are the typical ones: Police, fire, potholes, traffic flow, FAX, jobs, parks, cleanliness in the public square. But it’s that amazing diversity of geography that makes District 3 such a challenge for its council member. Name a political bloc in Fresno and it almost certainly has a major stake in District 3.
I sometimes wonder if one of the more intriguing issues in the District 3 race is the redistricting that will occur after the results of the 2020 census are in. Redrawing the boundary lines to ensure that each district represents as close as possible one-seventh of Fresno’s population is very much a political process. Fresno had a population of about 495,000 in 2010; its estimated 2018 population is about 535,000. Some people this year will be casting their final votes for a District 3 council member.
Hill told me that he wouldn’t be a council member content to cut ceremonial ribbons and hand out framed proclamations.
Said Hill: “It’s imperative that the District 3 representative get results.”