Good morning! It’s Danielle Bergstrom, policy editor here.
Democracy Day: Yesterday, Fresnoland joined over 400 newsrooms across the U.S. to celebrate the International Day of Democracy by publishing stories that reiterate our commitment to democracy and highlight the challenges we face to preserving our form of government.
Fresnoland editor Dympna Ugwu-Oju’s profile about seven immigrants who have found their way to Fresno – and their harrowing journey to citizenship – is a must-read, especially in a week where dehumanizing treatment of migrants is making national headlines.
We also created an FAQ for commonly asked questions about voting. (Pro tip: check now to make sure you’re registered to vote, and sign-up here for updates on when your ballot will arrive.)
We’re working on a full voter guide that will come out in a few weeks. If you have more questions you’d like us to ask candidates or ballot measure campaigns, fill out our short survey.
Residents call for urgency on housing crisis: Southeast Fresno residents and community leaders held a press conference to pressure Mayor Dyer to release more details on how he plans to spend the $40 million of one-time ARPA (pandemic relief funds) to address the city’s housing crisis, as Cassandra Garibay reported for Fresnoland earlier this week.
They asked that the mayor and the city council (who need to approve the spending plan) set aside about a quarter of the money on rental assistance, eviction protections, homeowner assistance, and assistance with weatherization.
Incidentally, Mayor Dyer is on a tour of Vienna, Austria’s widely-acclaimed social housing this week with other local and state policy leaders. Social housing is a type of government-owned and operated housing that has gained a lot of traction recently in California to help accelerate the pace of building homes that can address the state’s housing crisis.
City memo says action is coming: This week, city manager Georgeanne White also released a memo, addressed to the mayor and city councilmembers, with an update on the city’s progress. According to the memo, 11 policies – that will cost about $18 million of federal ARPA funds – will come to the council this budget year. Seven of those policies will be at the council’s Sept. 29 meeting, including changes to the city’s housing trust fund, an expansion of the city’s affordable housing density bonus, creating by-right zoning along transit corridors, incentives for creating new accessory dwelling units (ADUs), a rent stabilization program, and a community land trust proposal.
Affordable housing top of Fresnans’ minds: a new poll released this week from the Fresno County Civic Engagement Table found that Fresno residents say they are more negatively impacted by a lack of affordable housing than any other issue, including crime/gun violence and homelessness. 20.5% of survey respondents said it is their top issue.
Measure C ballot argument debate closed: And the Libertarians won the day, this time. As Gregory Weaver reported for Fresnoland, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Mark Cullers ruled that Fresno County registrar of voters James Kus made a ‘reasonable’ decision to use a ‘first-come, first serve’ policy when selecting ballot arguments.
This means that voters will see a ballot argument that alleges widespread “election cheating” and corruption, instead of a more topical argument from the official “No on Measure C” campaign.
That’s it for this week. Enjoy not just one, but two great Fresno events this weekend that celebrate our immigrant history: Greek Fest and Fiestas Patrias.
All of your Fresno and Madera County elections questions, explained
“I’m excited to participate in democracy.” Seven immigrants in Fresno share journey to citizenship
Fresnans call for action on barriers to homeownership, high rent and poor living conditions￼
Fresno Superior Court upholds election clerk policy to publish Libertarian argument against Measure C
Heat wave, drugs, and homelessness. What caused the death of two men on Fresno streets?
Around the central San Joaquin Valley
- Fresno officials irritated by gravity in wastewater situation [SJV Water]
- Hundreds of places have removed ‘squaw’ from the name. Why not Fresno County? [Fresno Bee]
- The Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved their $4.4 billion budget, including funding for a new ag commissioner facility and jail annex [Fresno Documenters]
- Madera County farmers raised concerns about groundwater pumping penalties at the Madera County Board of Supervisors [Fresno Documenters]
- The Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved their $1.8 billion budget, including a 7% cost-of-living raise for some top employees [Fresno Documenters]