On Wednesday (Dec. 13), the state agency in charge of San Joaquin River issues approved a contentious plan to build an access point that runs through Spano Park in northwest Fresno. The location pitted neighborhood versus environmental groups and led to a pair of meetings involving of multi-hour debates — on top of a decade of planning.
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand favored the Spano Park plan, also known as Alternative 5B. He sided with neighbors living near the other proposed location (Alternative 1) which would create an access point in the bluffs area near Audubon Drive and Del Mar Avenue.
Speaking on the mayor’s behalf (see video above), interim assistant city manager Bruce Rudd addressed the San Joaquin River Conservancy board. He dramatized a scenario of an imaginary conversation between staffs of the conservancy and the city. He reiterated the city’s preferences so many times, some people said that his comments were snarky and likened it to blackmail.
Former Fresno City Manager Bruce Rudd getting a little snarky in debate over the access to River West area, essentially saying the Conservancy better accept city’s preferred option 5B or it would harm discussions on operating the open space area
— Joe Moore (@jn_moore) December 13, 2017
Former Fresno City manager Bruce Rudd now addressing the Board about city’s strong preference for Alternative 5B. His comments sounded a lot like blackmail to me and others in the audience.
— Marek Warszawski (@MarekTheBee) December 13, 2017
The optics were terrible. Much of the crowd was not happy about it. Came across as snarky. Maybe that was why Mayor wasn’t present because it was a poor look. But I think several board members voted for 5B due to lack of support from City on alternative 1 so I guess it worked.
— AndyHS (@AndyHS) December 14, 2017
Either way, the board agreed with City Hall’s position. It favored Alternative 5B with an 8-6 vote.
Watch the video above for highlights of Rudd’s speech—including the imaginary conversation.