Documenter: Heather Halsey Martinez

Here’s what you need to know

  • The Clovis City Council approved adjustments to annual landscape fees for property owners. Fourteen zones have an increased assessment of no more than $10 annually; two zones have a decrease in fees, and 31 zones have no change.

  • The council also approved 10 hauling companies to be added to the City’s list of approved haulers. Each company was awarded a $1,000 two-year, non-exclusive construction and demolition hauling franchise agreement.

  • At the request of Mouanoutoua, the council approved drafting a letter in support of Assembly Constitutional Amendment-7 regarding regulations of the zoning or use of land within the boundaries of the city versus state.

  • The council members moved into closed session to discuss anticipated litigation pertaining to the arrest and detention of Paul Lee by the Clovis Police Department on Jan. 3, 2020.

The Scene

The Clovis City Council meeting took place on June 7, 2021 at 6:03 p.m. The meeting was made available via Webex and YouTube Live. The agenda no longer states that face masks are required for those who attend in person due to COVID-19 and none of the council members wore face masks. 

Whalen was not in attendance when roll was called, but it was noted that he would be late. He took his seat at the meeting at 6:14 p.m.

Names of officials:

Jose Flores, Mayor (also Chief of Police, State Center Community College District Police Department)

Lynne Ashbeck, Mayor Pro Tem (also Senior Vice President Community Engagement and Population Wellness, Valley Children’s Healthcare)

Vong Mouanoutoua, Council Member (also External Relations and Project Development Director, Community Medical Foundation)

Bob Whalen, Council Member (also Fresno County Deputy District Attorney)

Drew Bessinger, Council Member (also Chief of Police, Fresno Yosemite International Airport)

The meeting opened with Ashbeck leading the council in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mouanoutoua then presented a proclamation declaring June 7 to 14, 2021 Men’s Health Week.

From there, the meeting was open for public comments. A resident named Marcus was in council chambers to address the council about the impact an indoor gun range has had on his neighborhood. He said the noise levels are much higher than the allowable decibels. He also commented about “illegal dumping,” and said that people are bringing in garbage and items to dispose of in the city from out of the area.

Flores also noted some correspondence was received and would be placed on the record. 

Ashbeck said they have a few letters about low income housing expiring at Sierra Ridge Apartments. City Manager Luke Serpa said that it is on Tollhouse and Fowler Avenues and they had received state or federal funding 25 years ago for low income housing. “It has termed out so that means they have met their obligation,” Serpa said. “Andy (Haussler) indicated that they had a dozen or so apartments that were low income and they’re now able to raise those rates to a market rate.”


  • Approved minutes from the May 17 council meeting.

  • Received and filed investment report for the month of March 2021.

  • Received and filed treasurer’s report for the month of March 2021.

  • Approved adding 10 hauling companies to the city’s approved hauler list. Each company was approved to receive a $1,000 two-year, non-exclusive franchise agreement for hauling of construction and demolition debris.

  • Approved an increase in annual landscape maintenance levy for specific districts. 

    • Presented by Glenn Eastes, assistant public utilities director. 

    • He said on May 3 they provided a written notice of intent for this hearing and have not received any comments. 

    • 14 zones have an increased assessment, none are more than 5 percent.

    • Two zones have a decrease and 31 zones have no change. 

    • Ashbeck asked what the general amounts of the assessments were. Eastes said $10 is the highest annual increase. 

    • Eastes said the annual assessments are $428 per unit and lowest is $75 per unit. Most are between $100 and $400 annually. 

  • Approved a letter of support for Assembly Constitutional Amendment-7 regarding regulations of the zoning or use of land within the boundaries of the city.

    • Requested by Mouanoutoua. 

    • “What it really says is , if there is a conflict with what is mandated by the state and we have a local ordinance, the local ordinance prevails,” he said. 

    • “We are a city that truly believes in local control, local development of zoning and so I wanted us to just show support,” Mouanoutoua said.

    • Ashbeck asked about a request from a mayor in the past that was trying to do something similar. It was discussed that it was Torrance and not this.

    • Ashbeck asked if there were any downsides for supporting it. To which, Mouanoutoua said, “you never know.”

    • Flores said that he would like to see the final legislation because if they don’t like it then they would support a proposition instead.

    • “Sooner or later the citizens are going to want more local control and it being codified in the constitution,” Flores said. 

    • Whalen said he pulled up the information on the amendment and it has not made it out of the assembly and had no hearings scheduled. 

    • “I think this truly begins the discussion that we want local control back,” Mouanoutoua said. “That’s why I’m really encouraging us to write a letter in support and take that position at the forefront.”

    • Ashbeck commented that it was interesting that it was authored by a Democrat.

    • “We should be able to rule our own destiny, with some exceptions of course,” Bessinger said. “But local control with a local population that is engaged is always the best way to do things.”

    • “As very extreme positions start gaining momentum in Sacramento, even in a one-party state, there will be opposition in that same party,” Flores said. 

In closing, City Manager Luke Serpa gave an update on COVID-19 cases in the state and local area:

  • In Fresno County, 3.1 adjusted new cases per 100,000 population, 2.0% positivity rate, 3.2% health equity quartile positivity rate. Fresno County remains in the orange tier until it gets below 2.0 cases per 100,000. 

  • Serpa said 811,627 doses have been administered in Fresno County to date. 41.5% of county residents have received at least one dose, 48.7% of eligible residents with at least one dose, 32.9% of county residents are fully vaccinated, whereas the state is at 52.9%, and 39.2% of the county’s eligible residents are fully vaccinated.

  • “We are lagging well behind the state,” he said. 

  • He said they are continuing to monitor OSHA regulations because they are getting mixed-messages and for now. 

  • Bessinger said that Fresno County Sheriff’s Department put out a coroner’s report and that 85% of suicide cases were men, 37% were men under the age of 30. Total deaths 9,134, up from 7,469 in 2019. He said drug overdoses had drastically increased. “I’m hoping that when we’re done with this part of this emergency, that we also don’t forget about the mental health crisis that is going to continue probably for quite a while,” Bessinger said.  

  • Ashbeck asked about the implications on the city of the governor keeping the state of emergency in place after June 15. “There’s still a lot of room for resurgence, especially once all schools in the state go back to full in-person classrooms next fall.” Serpa said in response. “I’m not sure what the state is planning, but I think that’s why they are keeping the emergency order open so they have the ability to react to whatever happens.” 

  • Flores asked Serpa what the mask policy is. Serpa said for staff it is dictated by Cal/OSHA rules, which tend to be stricter because it is for employers to protect their employees. 

  • Mouanoutoua said that at Community Regional Medical Center they are now able to meet without wearing masks. Serpa said that employers must have written documentation that all employees are vaccinated before allowing in-person meetings without masks. 

  • Flores said that the numbers make him think that the younger population is larger and not getting the vaccine and skewing the numbers. 

Flores then opened the meeting for council comments. Mouanoutoua thanked Serpa for a report that he provided on the American Rescue Plan. Serpa said that Andy Haussler actually put the report together. Mouanoutoua also said they had a community meeting on housing on June 3 and said he will be seeking reappointment to the committee. He said on June 21 that he will not be at the city council meeting. 

Whalen said he attended the Fresno/Clovis Prayer Breakfast and said, “it was inspiring to be able to see community leaders speak so passionately about their faith.” He also reported back from a community safety meeting for the League of California Cities. He said that it seemed like a good idea to have both a mental health officer and a plain clothes sworn peace officer responding to mental health emergency calls. He also commented on SB-2 dealing with the decertification of law enforcement officers so that they can’t get hired by other agencies. He said they have been pushing to identify who would handle that and it could be a committee of community activists. 

Bessinger also commented on SB-2 and said, “the over reaching concept is a good one, there are people in our profession that should not be there.” He said they would like to amend it so they can support it, which would require more specifics about the type of complaints and how decisions would be made. “As it currently is, it’s a nightmare,” Bessinger said. “I can foresee me throwing my hands up and saying I’m re-re-re-re-re -retiring.” 

Bessinger went on to say that he talked to Janet Young who took over as the interim police chief for the city of McFarland and how they pay so poorly that they would hire individuals that other departments would pass on. “Unless your city council is willing to go to the sheriff and close your agency, you have to fill your team,” Bessinger said. “Maybe the fix here is that the state comes in and says, you don’t have the authority to have a police department anymore.” 

Ashbeck said she received a call from a resident, Mike Thomason. She said he owns commercial properties in the city and had questions about homelessness, as well as dissatisfaction with solid waste. She asked if someone could reach out to him and see what he’s experienced with solid waste issues.

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