First, the opponents of Measure P are not giving Fresno residents much credit: They assume their motivations are based primarily on dollars and cents. Do they really think Fresno residents will leave town to buy a $1,200 washing machine because it saves them $4.50 on the purchase price? Would residents really prefer saving a few dollars over supporting clean parks, after-school programs, improved air quality, and increased livability for the entire community in which they live?
I think Fresno residents are more reasonable and civic-minded than opponents assume.
No Public Safety Measure on the Ballot
Second, a public safety measure having priority over Measure P is a moot point: There isn’t one competing with Measure P in this election!
If a public safety measure makes it on the ballot in 2020, the good citizens of Fresno can take stock of the situation at that time and vote accordingly. And besides, it’s not an either or proposition: Both parks and public safety are important approaches to reducing crime and increasing livability.
I would be willing to wager that if Measure P passes, it will make important progress toward addressing the desperation and hopelessness found in some of our more crime-prone neighborhoods.
Many of our parks are in such states of disrepair that they are magnets for crime. Cleaning up our parks and providing after-school programs could turn this situation around, giving young people recreational outlets they don’t currently have. With more residents drawn to well-maintained parks, with programs providing healthy alternatives, and with rangers to patrol, Measure P is on track to improve public safety!
It is also great news that a portion of Measure P funds will go to arts, job training, after-school programs and the San Joaquin River Parkway. The Parkway, adjacent Woodward Park, and Roeding Park are crown jewels in our regional park system. It’s hard to see how supporting and taking care of these community assets is a negative!
Mayor’s Appointees Will Make Recommendations
Lastly, the dark warning that Measure P creates an unelected commission to make spending recommendations seems disingenuous. The mayor, who is an opponent of Measure P, would get to select the members of this commission, so he can hardly complain that they might be unfit to do the job.
Many elected officials are incompetent to do their jobs, and many appointees are perfectly capable of doing theirs. Careful selection and vetting are key, whether one is elected or appointed.
So, opponents should think twice: This measure is about generosity of spirit, civic-mindedness, forward thinking, and making Fresno everything it could be — rather than consistently finding it at the bottom on so many rankings of cities its size.
Step up, Fresno: Vote ‘Yes’ on Measure P!
Dr. Kirsten Honeyman is a clinical psychologist and member of Tree Fresno.