FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – A discussion at the Fresno City Council meeting on Thursday about whether or not to award a contract to an outside vendor to clean up Fresno’s Chinatown got heated.
The exchange among several council members led to Councilman Garry Bredefeld calling the process “corrupt” and calling the City Council a “swamp.”
Councilman Mike Karbassi said the bitter exchange was “shameful.”
“Garry, you can resign if there’s so much corruption,” Councilman Paul Caprioglio told Bredefeld before the City Council quickly took a recess.
Some argue that its work the city could do itself.
Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias had said the city was not doing it fast enough and the trash problem is now impacting Chinatown businesses. Arias also moved to bypass the standard bidding process, due to the ongoing state of emergency, and contract the work out to Olympic Property Services – a company owned by political analyst Jim Verros, who has made a number of appearances on KSEE24 and CBS47.
Arias said politics has nothing to do with the decision.
“The reason the vendor was selected was that he is already the vendor for high-speed rail,” said Arias. “It makes sense to hire the same contractor who is cleaning up the parcel across the street to clean up the sidewalk on this side of the street. Because when that doesn’t happen, the pile of garbage continues to grow higher and higher.”
The vote passed 6-1 with Bredefeld being the only member to vote no. During the process, the dollar amount for the project moved from $250,000 down to $143,000 of taxpayer money.
That means the company would pick up trash around Chinatown weekly and power wash the sidewalks in front of businesses every month. Arias says it’s a two-year deal, with a six-month pilot.
This is a developing story.