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Voting 'Yes' on E Will Turn Fresno State Into a World Class University
Opinion
By Opinion
Published 2 months ago on
February 22, 2024

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Over the past two years, I’ve served as a volunteer on the Measure E Steering Committee, a group of a dozen people with broad business and civic experience.

John Ostlund Portrait

John Ostlund

Opinion

The election on March 5 will be our second attempt to pass Measure E.  In Fall 2022, more than 100,000 people voted “yes” — just 3% short of what was needed to succeed.

Measure E will do what the state has failed to do:  Maintain and expand facilities and faculty at Fresno State to accommodate demand in the fastest-growing region of California.

Today, if you walk the campus, you’ll be disappointed. Leaky roofs, peeling paint, limited classroom space, and inadequate bathrooms, lighting, and security. Everywhere you look, there is deferred maintenance. The undeniable fact is that the State of California has allowed more than $500 million of repairs to accumulate at Fresno State over the past 50 years.

This has created a terrible condition for our best and brightest students. Every year, dozens of 4.0 high school seniors are rejected from the Fresno State nursing program because of the lack of facilities and faculty.  This is happening at a time when our region has a critical shortage of 1,600 nurses.

Measure E is a quarter-of-a-cent sales tax, but more accurately is described as “a one penny investment for every $4 spent in Fresno County.”

Need Is Clear and the Benefits Are Many

The need is clear and the benefits are many. 80% of Fresno State graduates stay in our community and become our nurses, teachers, engineers, public safety officials, business leaders, and more. When students leave Fresno to attend college, they tend to stay in those communities.

Those who are firm in their position that the state is responsible for maintenance and expansion are missing a very important piece of information. Last year, the State of California made its intention clear in a report that concluded, “There’s no money and no plan for repairs or expansion of the CSU system.”

Measure E isn’t a burden on the disadvantaged or poor. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It will create a $50 million endowment to provide scholarships to deserving local students and veterans. And, it will also build a new nursing school and triple the number of nurses who graduate.

Our investment will build an Agricultural Innovation Center and Water Institute and modernize the farm laboratories, including a new engineering school to produce more engineers, architects, and construction managers. It will also build new classrooms for Criminology, Social Sciences, and other disciplines.

100% Local Control of Funds

Measure E will do for Fresno State and our community what Measure Z did for the Chaffee Zoo. The money will be 100% locally controlled with an oversight committee appointed by our Fresno County Supervisors, the CSU chancellor, and Fresno State president. Every contract will be subject to competitive bidding with independent audits and public disclosure of all spending.

While it’s true that everything above is the State of California’s responsibility, after 50 years of doing very little, and the state telling us they “do not have the money or a plan” to do more, you can be assured if we don’t do this, it will not get done.

Let’s do something big.

Let’s vote yes on Measure E and turn Fresno State into a world-class university.

About the Author

John Ostlund of Fresno is the owner of One Putt Broadcasting, a radio group that includes 95.7 The Fox, K-Jewel 99.3, New Rock 104.1, The Legend 105.5, and KYNO 940.

Make Your Voice Heard

GV Wire encourages vigorous debate from people and organizations on local, state, and national issues. Submit your op-ed to bmcewen@gvwire.com for consideration.

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