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Brand Recruiting Amazon, Adding 21 Cops



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Mayor Lee Brand is banking Fresno’s economic recovery on Ulta, Amazon and the High Speed Rail maintenance yard. Between the three entities, he told an audience at the Fresno Rotary Club on Monday afternoon, Fresno could see 10,000 new jobs. Brand said he wants Fresno to emulate places like Kansas City to become an e-commerce hub.

“This is transformative,” he said. But Brand wants to make sure the area’s labor supply keeps up. He is working with local educational institutions to make sure that happens.

Brand covered the economic future of Fresno, as well as an update on his plan to add more police during a speech at the Cornerstone Conference Center in downtown that highlighted his first 100+ days in office.

In March, Ulta Beauty announced it would locate its distribution center at a 670,000 square foot facility at East & Central avenues. The city estimated that would bring 500-1,000 new jobs.  Brand also wants to develop more in that area as an industrial zone, between Highways 41 and 99, south of downtown.

Once again, Brand talked about his efforts to recruit Amazon to build a fulfillment center and bring 2,500-3,000 jobs to Fresno. He has talked about his trips to Seattle in prior public speeches. “We will know shortly,” Brand said.

Another recruitment project is the High Speed Rail maintenance yard, which could bring 1,500 jobs. Brand said he hopes an answer will come later this year. “My focus now is to assess the infrastructure needs, which are probably over $100 million,” he said. Brand said he requested funding from the state and federal governments.

Those three projects could bring in 5,000 jobs. According to Brand’s “multiplier effect,” that could double to 10,000 because of all the services and goods those new works would need. Brand likened the plan to 10 e-commerce centers in Kansas City, covering 10 million square feet.

Brand touted Fresno’s central location in the state, sunny weather, discounted PG&E power, water availability as well as cheap land and labor as reasons why businesses should move here.

Brand said he would be unveiling his first budget in about two weeks. It would include 21 new police officers to bring the total number of sworn officers to 824. During his 2016 campaign, Brand promised to bolster the force to 1,000 officers in his tenure.

For small businesses, Brand announced a “Business Friendly Fresno 2 Initiative” to help break through roadblocks in pulling permits. “Fresno is one of the toughest ones to work with,” Brand said. A panel, according to Brand’s plan, will be convened to bring together various sectors of the workforce. The panel would consist of single-family home builders, commercial and retail developers, architects, engineers and human resource professionals.

“One of the biggest problems I’m facing is work culture, and I’m determined to solve that problem,” Brand told the audience. He said he is working with unions representing city workers on a solution.

Other highlights Brand mentioned were the improved bond rating and a May 30 joint City Council-Fresno County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Lee Brand speech part 1

Lee Brand speech part 2


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Contact David Taub

Phone: 559-492-4037 / e-mail

This story was not subject to the approval of Granville Homes.

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Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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