In front of hundreds of enthusiastic supporters, Fresno Mayor Lee Brand detailed what he wants to accomplish in office. Brand delivered a keynote address to a Fresno Chamber of Commerce brunch event in his honor.
In an 18 minute speech to Chamber members dining on chicken and waffles, Brand talked about starting a citizens’ advisory committee on police matters as well as his commitment to community based policing. He believes that this would lead to less shootings and a safer city. He repeated his campaign trail promise of adding 200 officers.
Brand touted the idea of teamwork, both with the current city council and with other area governments. He promised to share credit with council members on major projects, by getting their cooperation from the get-go. Brand also vowed to hold a joint city-county government meeting for the first time by his estimation, in 30 years.
Before the event, about five unaffiliated protesters chided Brand outside The Grand 1401 at the corner of Tuolumne & Van Ness. Some with bullhorns were upset over Brand’s stance on Fresno not being a sanctuary city. Police had to step in at one point when one protester shouted down an event goer.
Protest at Brunch with Brand https://t.co/iwlOAAXBFL
— David Taub (@TaubGVWire) February 14, 2017
Noting the difficulty of working with a liberal state government in Sacramento and a conservative federal government in Washington, Brand says he wants to find a middle ground. “I feel like I am the captain of the Titanic, trying to navigate between icebergs,” Brand told the audience. “I don’t follow ideologies; I follow what is best for 520,000 people.”
Brand also discussed the difficulty of needed city projects like parks and streets, because of its costs. His goal is to raise revenue by selling excess city property. He also mentioned an idea bandied about on the campaign trail: electronic billboards along the city’s highways. Future debt service should also shrink by Brand’s calculation, eventually leading to $27 million in savings.
Another vow was to improve Fresno’s business climate. “The culture at City Hall needs to change, from top to bottom. I guarantee to everybody here before I finish, Fresno will indeed be business friendly.” Brand said he has a future trip planned to Seattle to lobby Amazon to bring thousands of jobs to the city. He also plans to add a concierge position to his administration to help with businesses to navigate through the bureaucracy.
Brand speech part 1
Brand speech part 2