Thursday, January 28, 2010

01-28-10 The Specific Plan and Community Plan contracts are approved by the City Council 7-0!


The day started with a meeting with the planning consultants Stefanos Polyzoides and David Sargent. Elaine Robles, Wilma Quan, Elliott Balch and I met them at George's at the Galleria for breakfast. We reviewed some of the logistics and potential questions that we thought Council members might have.

8:30 Amy Huerta coordinated the Primetime for Business section of the Council meeting and introduced the Monsters Hockey Team. Go Monsters. I hope to go to their game tomorrow night, it's the last one before they begin their playoff games.

The item for the downtown plans was set for 9:15. After Employee of the Quarter recognition and the always interesting unscheduled oral presentations, we began about 10:30.

I opened the staff presentation and was joined by Planning Director John Dugan. Renena Smith, our Budget Director explained the limits of the uses on Community Development Block Grant funds. Martin Wendels, who represented the Public Works Department spoke about eh selection process that led to the choice of Moule and Polyzoides.

Then the community had a chance to speak. Dozens of people from developers, members of the Lowell neighborhoods La Union de Familia, residents and business people throughout the City, downtown property owners, members of the faith community, West Fresno and South East Fresno residents and Cultural Arts District representatives lined-up to speak. It was moving and overwhelmingly positive.

At 12:30 the Council took a one hour lunch recess. Elaine and I jetted over to the Holiday Inn to listen to the Mayor speak at the No Name Fellowship.

1:30 the Council reconvened. The Council Members had questions and made their statements and recommendations. The final vote occurred about 2:50. There were questions for many staff members, I must've had about an hour at the lectern.

I never expected a unanimous vote, in fact we never knew if we had the support that we needed for the plans until the very end of the process. The community really came through and pushed this over the top. Democracy is alive and well. People can speak up, not all in English mind you, and make a difference. I am so glad that they it is their plan too.

After joining the Mayor and her team for some congratulations, Elliott, Elaine, Wilma, Amy, Dawn and I headed over to the Shepherd's Inn for a toast.

6:00 Tonight was the going away dinner for City Manager Andy Souza. It was a great affair, attended by many people from the City and from the community. The dinner was back at the Holiday Inn. We listened to speakers, some of the roasted Andy and some were sentimental.

I got home at 10:00 and set to blogging. Now it is off to bed. Sometime tonight I think that today's passage of the plans will sink in a little. I promise you that this will be a turning point in the history of Fresno. If you read this blog, then you can remember to hold me to this.

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