The Fresno City Council did not discuss councilman Luis Chavez’s plan to institute a warning then fines for not practicing social distancing at its Thursday meeting.
But, something could still be in the works.
There is a tentative City Hall news conference (through Zoom) Friday.
While no one is officially confirming what may be discussed, Chavez offered a hint.
“The mayor and the council are actively working on the final language of a joint initiative to ensure folks are in compliance with the social distancing guidelines this Easter weekend,” Chavez said Thursday.
A draft of Chavez’s ordinance called for a warning for the first violation with escalating fines of $250, $500, and $1,000 for each further incident.
Mayor Lee Brand, on KMJ radio Wednesday, said he would not support the proposal.
“This would get a lot of people angry without really solving the problem,” Brand said. He added that some things are out of his hands, at the discretion of statewide orders.
But, as one City Hall insider told Politics 101, things change by the hour.
City Council Meets Via Zoom
The Fresno City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting — not in City Hall chambers, but online via Zoom. For the most part, it went off without a glitch.
Each council member connected remotely, all but Paul Caprioglio by video (he phoned in). Members of the public could also connect, either by phone or the Zoom software. However, the public could only speak to the council by audio.
Council President Miguel Arias called on members to speak after they clicked on a “raise hand” button.
Discussions occurred nearly the same as they would in person, but without councilmembers talking over each other.
Councilman Garry Bredefeld — videoing in from inside the chambers — and councilman Mike Karbassi, from his office, expressed concern about the COVID-19 measures to shut down an in-person meeting.
Council Approves Downtown Project Extension
The developers of the South Stadium Project will have one more year to work out a deal with the city to refurbish a Fulton Avenue property.
With a 5-1 vote, Noyan Frazier Capital, LLC will have until April 2021 to establish plans for the future of the Berkeley’s Building at the corner of Fulton and Kern streets. The company also has a deal with the city in place for another property on the same block to build a four-story mixed-use facility.
The project, which has been on the books since 2014, has gotten several extensions from the city. One reason for the delays was to allow the developers time to secure state funding for the project, which will include affordable housing.
As part of the extension to negotiate for the Berkeley’s Building, Noyan Frazier Capital must break ground on its other project by Nov. 20, otherwise the deal is off.
Bredefeld, who was the lone no vote, voiced concerned about Terance Frazier’s involvement. Frazier, a project partner, filed a claim against the city last year over a city audit of his unrelated nonprofit, the Central Valley Community Sports Foundation. The councilman also wondered why the Berkeley’s Building could not be put out for auction.
You didn’t mention my concerns about prior audit that revealed many fiscal and accounting problems. No reporting of audit problems fixed and City Attorney confirmed that.
— Garry Bredefeld (@GarryBredefeld) April 9, 2020
Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria, engaged to Frazier, recused herself and left her video during the discussion.
A Sweet Tart for Seniors
Seniors living at the Fairwinds–Woodward Park will receive a fruit tart dessert as part of their Easter dinner, the facility said. And, the tarts will come from a local business.
“It’s an opportunity to not only support our local bakery, La Boulangerie, but brings some joy to our residents at Fairwinds-Woodward Park,” general manager Deanne Edwards said. “The bakery is a favorite among the residents in our community.”
Fairwinds had to close its dining room facility and cancel family visits to comply with the shelter-in-place order. The 253 residents receive personally delivered meals, including this Sunday’s Easter dinner.