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I believe taxpayers are dissatisfied with the value received for the taxes
they pay. The cost of county services should be continually evaluated using
sound business practices. We must look for cost saving opportunities
whenever possible. Raising taxes and fees should be the last resort, not the
first choice; reducing taxes and fees should be advocated, whenever
Advances in computer technology and information services will provide
unique opportunities for Fresno County to enhance services while creating
cost savings. Shared information systems will enhance safety services while
avoiding costly duplication. Technology-driven library services, planned in
collaboration with the school system, will prepare Fresno County residents
for better paying jobs in the future. Fresno County must be prepared for
and ready to invest in this new technology for the future.
For three consecutive years, I have led the Sanger City Council to deny
annual proposals to increase the city's landscape and lighting assessment.
With the recent $18.2 million waste water plant upgrade, I voted to deny a
proposed service increase because I identified a different source of funds
already available to the city. I believe that these existing funds and
proposed and approved development waiting for the lifting of Sanger's
building moratorium will allow the cost of waste water services to be
shared by more users without penalizing existing residents.
Fresno County will experience tremendous growth in the next fifty years. I
believe this growth should be directed toward non-prime agricultural lands.
Urban development should not be allowed to exceed infrastructure
capacity, including water supply, or further degrade air or water quality.
The county's general plan should include a focus to integrate jobs with
available housing to avoid the long distance commutes that are legendary in
I support the Williamson Act as a mechanism to preserve agricultural land.
The cancellation of Williamson Act contracts should occur only in
extraordinary circumstances. Development should be clustered within
designated areas with adequate open space for economically viable
agricultural land. There should be variation of lot sizes to accommodate
different citizen preferences while avoiding the ranchette concept that
consumes land without productivity.
I support keeping Fresno County's water in Fresno County. If we are to
consider sharing our water with another region, we must first permanently
stop the continual drop in our water tables and restore the water to prior
levels. I support banking excess Friant water in Fresno County to support
our aquifers. We must address the impact of water usage when we
consider the types of industries we wish to attract.
JOB CREATION/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The implementation of welfare reform will have tremendous impact on
Fresno County. The time is long overdue to remove welfare as a source of
long-term income. I support the welfare-to-work programs to provide
employer-based training and assistance with a time limit of 18 months. The
FresnoWorks program is a comprehensive program to accomplish the
goals of welfare reform.
Economic development will best be accomplished with a regional
perspective. High priorities for attracting businesses to Fresno County
should be one-stop service for business licenses, providing job-appropriate
training through local colleges and vocational schools, and eliminating
governmental road blocks. We must capitalize on our educational centers
to give people of all ages the necessary knowledge and skills to become
We must also seek out businesses and suppliers who support our existing
business base. Increased use of technology in agriculture has the potential
to bring more technological businesses into our area. We should encourage
value-added businesses to further develop and market the ag products
grown in Fresno County.
In addition to value-added industries that complement our agricultural base,
I believe we should encourage high technology and telecommunications
companies to locate in our region. This strategy is being pursued by the
City of Parlier. I applaud their efforts and success in attracting the USDA's
new $23.4 million San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center to their
community. This increased educational research will serve, through use of
high technology, to advance the region's agricultural industry, which is
already foremost in the nation.
The City of Sanger is currently working with Parlier, Reedley, Fowler, and
Selma to develop a proposal for designation as an Empowerment Zone.
This state designation will offer tax incentives to existing and new
businesses within the region. Our proposal will be the state's first instance
of noncontiguous cities working together to enhance regional business
development with an empowerment zone.
An adequate transportation system is vital to economic vitality.
Transportation planning will depend on the ability of the Board of
Supervisors to direct growth into clustered development. With this
clustered development, there must be major connectors to move people to
work and goods to market. I supported Measure C at the ballot to allow
the county to move forward with major interchanges on Highway 99 and
Freeway 41 and to improve roadways throughout the county.
I support the expansion of Academy Avenue as the preferred choice for a
north/south corridor linking Highway 99 to Highway 168. Working in
conjunction with Luis Patlan, Mayor of Parlier, I supported a resolution in
favor of the Academy alignment by the Fresno County Council of
Governments. That resolution passed. I also gave testimony at the Board of
Supervisor's meeting on two occasions in support of the Academy
Every person in Fresno County deserves to live peacefully without fear of
violence and crime. As a society, we are struggling with the effects of the
"no-fault" treatment of criminals. Excuses such as a bad childhood or a
broken home are unacceptable when violent crimes are committed against
decent citizens. I support legislation such as Three Strikes and 10-20-Life
as methods to reduce the number of serious crimes.
We continue to have an unacceptable level of juvenile crime. We need to
quit making excuses when children are dying on the streets. Individuals,
whatever their ages, who commit crimes should be appropriately punished.
We need to encourage a different way of life by incorporating consistent,
respectful discipline and punishment when required.
I am appalled when I hear comments about a teenager who dies from a
gunshot as "just another gang member." We must find ways to address the
issues of juvenile crime with understanding and compassion while holding
individuals accountable for their actions.
I support the juvenile boot camp concept. As Mayor of Sanger, I attended
the opening ceremony at Elkhorn and was impressed by the young inmates
who presented the Colors of the Flags on that day. One could sense the
pride these young people felt having a place of honor in this ceremony.
I believe in the youth of this county. I believe we need to begin with
children from the age of impressionability, however young, to let children
know there are sanctions for unlawful behavior. We also have a
responsibility to assist them in finding paths to productive and happy lives.
Parents should be held accountable for the damaging behavior of their
children. We have hesitated to take strong steps to correct unlawful
behavior, and the children suffer for our laxity. It is time for action, and
Elkhorn is an excellent start to put young men and women on a different
path away from crime and toward self-respect and success.
At my urging, the Sanger City Council appointed a Citizens' Advisory
Group to evaluate the operational and hiring policies for the Sanger Police
Department. Following the recommendations of this advisory group, the
council instructed the interim chief of police to fill all vacancies as soon as
possible. We also restructured the management of the police department
and hired two new commanders into the department.
I proposed that the Sanger City Council change city ordinances to make
the council directly responsible for hiring the chief of police, thereby making
the council directly accountable to the citizens of Sanger for hiring their
chief of police. We hired a new chief in October 1997. With the new chief
and enhanced management and police techniques, Sanger's crime statistics,
as reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Part I Reportable
Crimes, have decreased 25% in the last quarter of 1997, compared to the
first nine months of the year. Overall, Sanger has experienced a 15%
decrease in crime since 1994.
I believe Fresno County and its cities should work together as well as with
other agencies to solve crime problems. Any effort should include
integrated computer systems for sharing information.
Sanger City Police work in collaboration with the Fresno County Sheriff's
Department and with police from adjacent communities in sting operations
to reduce the availability of drugs and guns, both inside the City of Sanger
and in other jurisdictions. Sanger is involved in the Multi-Agency Gang
Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC) with the Fresno County Sheriff's
Department and other agencies to prevent and suppress gang activity and
to share information toward solving gang-related crimes.