Mayor Lee Brand gives his second annual State of the City address as mayor at the Fresno Convention Center on June 20. During his address, the mayor highlighted the accomplishments of the city during the last year and announced new initiatives to bring more prosperity to Fresno. Photo by Frank Lopez.
Written by Frank Lopez
The 28th annual State of the City luncheon was held this Wednesday at the Fresno Convention Center, marking Mayor Lee Brand’s second address since he took office last year.
The event was sponsored by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce and the event was sold out with more than 900 people in attendance including city council members, members of law enforcement, and local business leaders, with lunch being provided by Pardini’s Catering.
Other sponsors for the event include Chevron, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Bank of America, Comcast, ValleyPBS and Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino.
After the opening remarks from Nathan Ahle, President and CEO of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, Manchester Mall General Manager led the Pledge of Allegiance, which was followed by the singing of the National Anthem by the Roosevelt School of the Arts P.A. Singers.
Following an introduction for the mayor by Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria, Brand opened up his address with how Fresno influenced him to be the person he is today.
“18 months ago, you gave me the honor of serving as Mayor and I am still humbled and honored to serve as mayor of the city that I grew up in and the city that made me who I am today,” Brand said.
The mayor honored the Marjaree Mason Center and CEO Nicole Linder with the Mayor’s Community Partner Award for their work in helping victims of domestic violence and presented The Fresno Bee’s former Executive Editor Jim Boren with the Key to the City in recognition of his career as a journalist.
Brand boasted about how “economic prosperity is showing up everywhere” in Fresno highlighted the recent efforts to stay on track of becoming a more business friendly city.
Some of the city’s accomplishments that Brand noted include raising the city’s credit rating from Junk Bond Status to an A+ rating, the launch of the “Q” Bus Rapid Transit System, Recharge Fresno- the largest infrastructure project for the city, the opening of two new police departments, and a dramatic reduction of crime in the city—putting Fresno on pace to having the fewest number of stolen vehicles in the past 30 years.
Brand also highlighted the Transformative Climate Communities Collaborative that will bring $70 million of cap-and-trade funding, plus $85 million of matching funds that will be invested in Southwest Fresno, Chinatown and Downtown Fresno.
Brand announced that the city is halfway to meeting his goal to bring 10,000 new jobs to Fresno by the year 2027 by adding 4,000 new jobs by companies such as Amazon, Ulta, and the Gap and he hopes that Fresno will become the e-commerce capital of the west coast.
Brand also announced plans to staff a Fresno Police Drug Task force to combat illegal drug trafficking, gang activity, and human sex trafficking.
Also mentioned was a homeless initiative to form “Street 2 Home Fresno County” that will include local partners to help provided services to the homeless.
“There is a long journey in front of us, but together we can reach my vision of citywide prosperity, one step at a time,” Brand said near the end of his speech. “I can feel the pulse of this city in my heart and my heart belongs to this city and its people.”