FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Mayor Lee brand delivered the 30th annual state of the city address and his last as Fresno’s mayor.
It comes during a time where the city is at a crossroads with a deadly virus, social unrest and a billion-dollar budget in limbo.
Mayor Brand’s term will end in six months, He says he has no regrets during these unprecedented times and admits his run as mayor has been a tale of two seasons.
From a look into his dark past and into the uncertain future of Fresnians.
“I was arrested in 1964 at my junior high school and booked into the Fresno County Jail.”
For about 18 minutes Mayor Lee Brand laid out the city’s hardships and hopes. He highlighted the city’s A-plus credit rating and $34 million reserve balance, pre-COVID-19.
Also, a number of projects that will provide an upgrade in living conditions and community curbside appeal in the underserved neighborhoods.
Brand also vowed to keep his promise to keep Fresno beautiful and to reduce homelessness.
Brand pointed out that crisis is far from over as the city expects another spike in homelessness this year.
“The big changes take time and collective effort.”
That collective effort not always shared while making the tough decision to shelter in place as the city and nation continue to face a deadly pandemic.
“We can all be proud of the way we have responded to every crisis put in front of us.”
The city will face a $40 million deficit due to the pandemic. But those hard-line budgetary decisions won’t come for another three months as mayor brand’s resolution to extend the $1.3 billion spending plan from last year is now in effect.
And that’s not all, Brand will be engineering another critical decision before he hands things over to mayor elect Jerry Dyer in January.
“I am announcing today that city will conduct a national search for Fresno’s next police chief starting July 1.”
That search will be conducted with the guidance of mayor-elect Dyer with no mention of involving the new advisory police commission. It’s something that came under scrutiny from the community in the mayor’s last attempt to find Dyer’s replacement due to the lack of transparency.
“I still stand hopeful that mayor understands that it is important to get everyone’s buy-in for this search at this moment in time,” said Core Media CEO Amanda Renteria.
A moment in time that will punctuate Lee Brand’s legacy as mayor.
“We will be strong again…together.”