Good morning, and welcome to the Fresnoland Lab newsletter. Today is Wednesday, Feb. 19.
We recently announced a groundbreaking partnership between The Fresno Bee and Fresnoland Media to launch the Fresnoland Lab. You can read more about our goals here and how we’re planning on connecting with community voices here.
While we’re in the process of building our team, we want to hear from you. Our coverage mandate is broad. We want to look at all of the ways in which the growth and development of our region impacts our quality of life, from housing affordability to neighborhood amenities, to access to basic services like clean water.
We know there are a million stories looming out there, waiting to be told.
Last week, Fresno Bee columnist Marek Warszawski told the story of East Cambridge Avenue, a quiet, residential street in East-Central Fresno that hasn’t been paved in over 50 years. How is it that streets like these, and neighborhoods like these, get left behind for decades? One resident, Chet Pauls, told Marek: “There is money. It depends on who hollers the loudest or what you’re worth to them.”
But there isn’t much money — at least the way the budget is currently structured. As Marek explains, most of the city’s property tax revenues go towards other priorities, like police and fire protection, parks, code enforcement, and pensions. Money for repaving streets most often comes from outside sources, such as Fresno County’s Measure C sales tax, or SB1, the state’s gas and transportation tax.
There may be dozens more streets in Fresno that face a similar fate to East Cambridge Avenue.
What specific issues surrounding our region’s growth and housing matter the most to you? What stories go untold?
This is the first of many ways we hope to engage with you — our audience — on how we can best serve your information needs.
We’re planning on getting out into the community, at least once a month, so we can meet you, learn more about what’s important to your community, and share what we’re learning as well.
And, speaking of which: we’re hosting our first event Thursday!
Please join us for Ballots and Brews — an evening of craft beer and ballot trivia, moderated by Fresno Bee reporters Brianna Calix and Isabel Dieppa; and a “Left, Right and Center” debate featuring local progressive activist Sabina Gonzalez-Erana and former Fresno City Councilmember Clint Olivier, moderated by Jim Boren, former Executive Editor of the Fresno Bee and the Executive Director for the Institute for Media and Public Trust at Fresno State.
When: Thursday, Feb. 20
Time: 6 – 8 p.m.
Location: Full Circle Brewing, 620 F St.
The event is free for all, but please register here to attend.
We hope to meet many of you in person tomorrow.
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Correction: The address to Full Circle Brewing has been updated.