FRESNO, California- Mayor Lee Brand vetoed seven of 56 budget additions proposed by the Fresno City Council; one of those cuts includes the controversial Advance Peace proposal to curb gang violence.
“You don’t always get everything but what you do get is the opportunity to work together,” said council member Esmeralda Soria in response to Brand’s cuts.
Other cuts include loss in funding for the police department’s Community Service Officers, one-time funding for an Immigration Affairs Committee, addition of one Fire Inspector and paralegal position, funding for the Fresno Historical society, and addition to the City Attorney’s Office for salaries.
However, the big cut comes from the around $200,000 to fund Advance Peace, a program that aims at reducing gun violence by offering money incentives to gang members.
In the end, it just didn’t make the cut in Brand’s eyes. Soria said in the future there is plenty for the city to work on.
“We will continue to move forward,” said Soria. “How to figure out how do we invest in a smart way for additional resources for public safety and prevention. You know, that was a very large topic this last budget cycle.”
Advance Peace came under heavy fire from council member Garty Bredefeld, who was angered in the lack of funding for new police officers. The program had strong support from the local faith community.
Brand made it appoint that he was not going to approve a budget that was spending more than the city could afford, and would only support a budget that kept the city in good standing.
Although Miguel arias says he is happy with the compromise, he also stated he doesn’t want supporters of the vetoed programs to give up.
“They shouldn’t be alarmed they should still care and pay attention to the budget process because at the end of the day the budget is a reflection of the city’s priorities,” said Arias. “I believe that this budget reflects that neighborhood improvements are a top priority for the city.”