The Next Mayor: What drives the road to City Hall

George Hostetter breaks down the lineup and critical components of the 2016 battle to become Mayor of Fresno.




It’s the obvious question for candidates fighting to succeed any termed-out chief executive who didn’t do something terrible like get indicted: Are you simply Mayor So-and-So’s third term?

Swearengin got lucky when she ran in 2008. We all pretty much knew the economy was tanking and that Alan Autry in the go-go days had amassed a pile of lethal debt. No one was talking about a “third Autry term” full of stuff like No Neighborhood Left Behind and Parking Garage bonds.

It’s different in 2016

The odd thing for the campaign is that the candidates, in order to answer the question, will have to come up with a shorthand analysis of Swearengin’s seven-plus years in office. For me, they can be summed up with one word: Messianic.

This “we can move mountains” theme manifests itself in the Swearengin Era through plans. We’ve got plans coming out of our ears.

As an example, here’s an excerpt from the 2035 general plan that was begun and completed during Swearengin’s watch:

“The Plan also addresses a number of important community concerns, including:

  • High concentrated poverty, high unemployment, and extreme disparities in quality-of-life circumstances and opportunities in different parts of the city
  • Neglected and disinvested established neighborhoods and Downtown Planning
  • Poor air quality, and environmental and community health issues
  • Residential growth patterns that negatively impact natural resources and deplete
    strategic farmland and
  • Fiscal instability related to the city’s existing spread-out urban form and land use inefficiencies.”

Now, I understand that such grand language is part and parcel of The Leviathan’s mindset. But make no mistake, Fresnans have been led to believe that City Hall can fix all the bad things described in that paragraph. All it takes is the time and money and power to make everything planned by Swearengin come to fruition.

Will Brand, Perea and Spees promise to continue the Crusade?

1 comment
  1. I have known Lee for years. He’s a stand up guy and the only one who has been in business and has run a successful business. He’s been an effective councilmen. With that said, I was unhappy that he supported a lawsuit against McCaffery Homes for building across the river in Madera County. What one person or company chooses to do in another county is none of the business of Fresno other than to figure out how to deal with the loss of revenue. Certainly not with a frivolous law suit. Henry Perea is a snake and a typical career politician. He has done nothing save live off of the tax payer. Time to permanently retire this loser from public life. H. Spees is a good guy and has good leadership skills. I am unsure of his business skills which will be needed in this race.

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