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How to spend $70 Million in Fresno

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[Correction: the word ‘not’ was left out of the original quote of Taymah Jahsi. It has since been updated]

The city of Fresno is ready to receive its largest grant in history- $70 million. The debate on how to spend it is just starting. Wednesday night (February 15), the state agency in charge of distributing the money met with nearly 100 members of the community to inform them of the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Program.

The state legislature set aside the money, derived from the state’s Cap & Trade program, for three disadvantaged communities. Fresno will receive half the $140 million dollar pot. Los Angeles and a third yet-to-be-named city will share the remainder.

The overall goal of the program is to improve the environment. There has been plenty of chatter about spending the money in and around the High-Speed Rail projects currently under construction in downtown Fresno.

Some at the meeting questioned that spending plan. “We need to make sure that the $70 million is going to where it needs to go and not to downtown revitalization and just the High-Speed Rail” said Taymah Jahsi of the group Faith in the Valley to applause in the room.

After a presentation from Daniela Simunovich of the Strategic Growth Council and some questions and answers, the attendees broke it into smaller panels to discuss various elements of the TCC.

Mayor Lee Brand, councilmen Oliver Baines and Steve Brandau were the only city elected officers seen at the meeting. Community advocates like Ashley Werner of Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, Sandra Celedon-Castro of Building Healthy Communities and Andy Levine of Faith in Fresno attended as well.

This was the first of three workshops held by the Strategic Growth Council. Next week, they will hold meetings in Los Angeles and San Bernardino.

A final plan of how the state plans to spend the money is expected in April.

E-mail David Taub

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email