Fresno Mayor Lee Brand issued the following statement on Thursday morning:
“It is with a mixture of both regret and hope that I am announcing the withdrawal of the parks and public safety ballot measure I introduced to Council.
“There are deep, wide and immediate needs throughout our City and while I completely believe that the people of Fresno deserve a chance to vote on what their City looks like and feels like over the next 15 years, I do not see any chance that five members of the City Council will vote to put this measure on the November ballot and give our voters that opportunity.
“I added language to formalize that the intent of this measure is to supplement and not supplant existing City expenditures on parks and public safety. I have reached out to Councilmembers on both sides of this issue and to advocates for a competing parks ballot measure with no luck.
“I believe this measure would go a long way towards fulfilling the compelling, massive and undeniable needs this City has for parks, police and fire service and I believe this is the ONLY measure of all of the ballot measures that have been discussed that has any reasonable or possible chance of success in the November election.
“I want you, the people of Fresno to know that I will continue to do everything in my power to deploy the limited revenues of the City of Fresno in the most efficient manner possible and that I will continue my job creation plan to improve the quality of life in this City. I am heartened and hopeful for the overwhelming support I have received from the brave men and women in our fire and police departments and our dedicated parks workers. And from community leaders and the citizens of Fresno. I urge all of you to join me in working together to make Fresno better and safer. Thank you.”
Permit me three quick thoughts:
1.) The Mayor says he has “reached out to Councilmembers on both sides of this issue … with no luck.” When it comes to the pursuit of solutions, it strikes me as an ominous sign when “both sides” are rejecting you.
2.) The Mayor says his proposal “is the ONLY measure … that has any reasonable or possible chance of success in the November election.” If so, tell us why.
3.) It’s time for a Town Hall meeting. Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro held one in the wake of the Randa Jarrar-Barbara Bush controversy. Mayor Brand – your turn.