Councilmen Want Sidewalks Clear. Proposal Is on Thursday’s Agenda.
Clearing Fresno streets from the homeless has united two of the most disparate politicians on the city council together.
Garry Bredefeld, the Fresno City Council’s most right-leaning member, is partnering with left-leaning Miguel Arias to introduce an ordinance at Thursday’s city council meeting that would outlaw camping and blocking most city sidewalks.
The 17-page ordinance is full of legal jargon and definitions, but can be broken down by its first line: No person shall obstruct a street, sidewalk, or other public right-of-way.
“It ensures that certain facilities and areas won’t have to deal with people who are either camping out or blocking sidewalks,” Bredefeld explained to Politics 101. “This is an ordinance to stop that from happening.”
The ordinance focuses on “sensitive areas,” outlawing sidewalk obstruction within 500 feet of places such as schools, libraries, and parks.
Related Story: California Spends Billions on Homelessness. Why Is Crisis Worse?
Bredefeld said who or how the law will be enforced is still to be determined.
“Right now, we have it listed as city employees, but there will be more analysis of that done by the city attorney as well as the city manager. Obviously, we may need to have our police involved, code enforcement involved. So we will see how that continues to unfold,” Bredefeld said.
Also in Politics 101 …
- Civil rights icon Dolores Huerta objects to county flag plan.
- Fresno plans to spend millions on a few art projects.
- Bills from Central Valley legislators fail to advance in Sacramento.
Despite Icon’s Objection, Flag Ordinance Passes
Despite the opposition of civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors passed a flag ordinance on Tuesday. The 5-0 vote will allow only the American and California flags on official county flagpoles.
Huerta urged the supervisors not to be restrictive. She used the LGBT Pride Flag flown at Fresno City Hall as an example of recognizing communities.
“I think that to be as small-minded, we know that there’s a lot of haters out there right now that they would like to kind of … they would like to pretend that … some group of people did not exist or should not be acknowledged. And anything that this board can do to bring unity to the county, to bring people together. I think this is a very simple way that you can do this,” Huerta said.
A final vote returns to the supervisors on June 6.
City Spends on Art, but Not to Save Renzi
Art is the topic of several agenda items at Thursday’s Fresno City Council meeting. The city council will consider spending more than $2 million on murals and other installations.
Funding from a Caltrans grant (about $1.2 million) will help paint 20 columns near the Highway 180 overpass at San Pablo Park on Belmont Avenue. The resolution also includes a $642,600 contract with the Fresno Arts Council to administer the project.
There is also a plan to contract with the Fresno Arts Council for $207,500 to paint eight murals around town. That averages to $26,000 per mural.
Meanwhile, another famed art installation remains rotting in Fresno. “A Day in the Park” by famed local artist Clement Renzi survived a fire at the Fagbule Glass House earlier this year.
But, it could not survive vandalism and graffiti. It remains on the verge of ruins on Shields Avenue, across the street from Manchester Center.
I’m told the city may be taking action soon, on the art that is privately owned for the moment.
And, there is plenty of drama involving the Measure P commission, and its cultural arts plan. The Munro Review has an excellent recap that can be read here.
Watch: Caltrans Video of Fagbule Glass House Fire
Patterson Bill Fails Again
Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, has tried several times to increase the penalty for hit-and-run drivers.
He introduced AB 1067, another version of “Gavin’s Law,” named for Fresno Unified educator Gavin Gladding, killed in a hit-and-run while he was jogging along Frinat Road.
While the bill passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, it failed to advance out of the suspense file in the appropriations committee.
Bill to Outlaw Foreign Farm Ownership Fails
A bill from state Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Bakersfield, restricting foreign ownership of farmland failed to advance out of the suspense file. The bill is finished for this legislative year.
“Those that want to create fear about this piece of legislation are on the wrong side of history. This bill is not about party politics or identity politics, it is about the geopolitics of food and securing the future of Californians and all of those that rely on our food production around the world,” Hurtado said after the decision by the Senate Appropriations Committee not to advance the bill.
Hurtado said SB 224 would prevent foreign governments, not individuals, from owning ag land.