The Fresno City Council unanimously approved adding 2.26 miles to its ShotSpotter coverage at Thursday’s meeting.

The three-year cost for the additional area, which covers the new Bus Rapid Transit corridor on Blackstone Avenue, between Olive and Ashlan avenues, is $440,700. It will be paid from the transportation department budget.

Politics 101

David Taub

ShotSpotter is a technology that can detect the sound of gunshots and immediately alerts police. In the staff report, ShotSpotter is described as a “proven to be a mission-essential tool for fighting violent crime.”

With the expansion, ShotSpotter will cover 14.26 square miles of Fresno, or about one-eighth of the city. Police Chief Jerry Dyer told councilmembers that one of his goals is to expand the system to 18 square miles. The chief vouched for the system’s effectiveness, saying that Shotspotter cuts average police response time to gunfire from eight minutes to four minutes.

The city began using the technology in 2015 in a partnership with Fresno Unified School District.

Arias In?

SCCCD trustee Miguel Arias (photo: David Taub)

[Update 2/16/2018: Miguel Arias is running for Fresno City Council in District 3, he confirmed. Check back next week for a Take 5 interview on GV Wire]

All signs point to Miguel Arias running for Fresno City Council in District 3.

Arias filed fundraising paperwork with the city clerk’s office last week. He plans to hold a fundraiser tonight (Feb. 15) for an official announcement.

Arias is one of many candidates vying for the seat held by Oliver Baines, who will be termed out in January 2019.

He tells GV Wire, as of now, he is not running for re-election for his current State Center Community College District trustee seat.

According to county fundraising records, Arias has $973 cash on hand from his SCCCD campaign account, but $5,552 in debts. [Update: Arias clarifies that most of the debt is in the form of a loan to himself]

Others who have filed paperwork either with the city or county election offices: educator Daren Miller, former Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce CEO Tate Hill, interim Downtown Fresno Partnership CEO Craig Scharton, Kimberly Tapscott-Munson, Sean Sanchez, and Rebecca Diane Wardwell.

Barigye McCoy, a commercial sales executive, flirted with the idea of running. He told  GV Wire that he is now out.

Land Bought for West Fresno Campus

State Center Community College District has officially announced its purchase of 13.51 acres of land in west Fresno to build the future satellite Fresno City College campus.

“Higher education and business entrepreneurship continue to be the best path out of the grinding poverty that is intimately personal to me.” — Terance Frazier

The deal is a combination of money and a donation: $675,600 to TFS Investments for half the land, with TFS donating the other half. TFS is headed by Fresno businessman Terance Frazier.

The land is at the southeast corner of Church & Walnut avenues in SCCCD Trustee Eric Payne’s district.

“As an entrepreneur and developer, I have always had a heart for west Fresno. Higher education and business entrepreneurship continue to be the best path out of the grinding poverty that is intimately personal to me. My family’s nearly $1 million gift will ensure a college campus is no longer just a dream, but rather it gives our kids and families the future they deserve,” Frazier said.

Funding for the purchase and subsequent building comes from Measure C, the $485 million bond approved by voters in 2016.

The campus will also benefit from $16.9 million in cap-and-trade funds, as part of a $70 million state grant awarded to the city of Fresno.

The total project is estimated to cost $87 million. The trustees are expected to approve another purchase on adjacent land from the partnership of the Shehady family and developer Sylvesta Hall.

Judicial Watch

Judges are elected positions, and it is rare when there is an actual competitive contest.

Judicial terms are six years and there are no term limits.

Of the ten spots in Fresno County up in the June primary, two positions have drawn multiple contestants, according to data from the Fresno County Elections office: Dept. 4, held by Edward Sarkisian Jr., and Dept. 8, held by Dennis Peterson.

Race to Replace Sarkisian

Sarkisian was initially appointed to office in 1987 by Gov. George Deukmejian. He plans to retire.

Among the two interested in replacing him:

  • Billy Terrence, Fresno County senior deputy district attorney, assigned to the homicide division.
  • Roger Wilson, a private practice criminal defense attorney, specializing in defending law enforcement.

Two others filed paperwork to run, but will not be on the ballot.

Sabrina Ashjian, a deputy district Attorney with Fresno County, took out paperwork to run, but has since withdrawn. She says she is interested in running for the Fresno County Board of Supervisors seat that could become vacant next year.

The current seatholder, Andreas Borgeas, is running for state Senate. If he wins, that would create an opening for the supervisorial seat that could be on the ballot in April 2019.

Ashjian says she is not related to Fresno Unified trustee Brooke Ashjian.

John Dyer, an attorney for the Fresno County Department of Child Support Services, did not turn in his declaration of intention, and thus will not be able to run.

Peterson’s Seat

Peterson was first appointed in 2010 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is not running for re-election.

Among the two listed candidates to replace him:

  • Fresno County Deputy District Attorney Robert Mangano in the major fraud unit.
  • Fresno County Deputy Counsel Brent Woodward.

Peterson’s name has been in the news recently, when the Fresno Bee reported about an incident involving his son.



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