Ashley Swearengin

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin is proposing her vision for the city’s 1.2 billion dollar budget. Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess reports the budget calls for more cops, fire fighters, and street repairs.

The budget has finally recovered after taking a deep hit during the great recession when it appeared possible the city could default and declare bankruptcy.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin says that money should be used to add 43 police officers, more fire fighters, and restore cuts made when the budget collapsed.

Faith in Community

In many of Fresno’s older neighborhoods, blighted properties and boarded up homes are a big problem. FM89’s Joe Moore reports a proposed new law aims to crack down on those property owners.

Residents say abandoned, boarded up buildings drive down property values and often attract  illegal activity. That’s why the Fresno City Council is set to vote on a new ordinance tomorrow to crack down on vacant blighted buildings throughout the city.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin:

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno's Blackstone Avenue has seen better days. A drive down the six lane strip of asphalt that stretches from downtown past ramshackle used car lots and abandoned storefronts all the way to the booming River Park area on the northside, can tell you a lot about where the city has been and where it is headed. 

  Indicted Fresno deputy Police chief Keith Foster is being released on his own recognizance prior to his trial on drug-related charges.

Foster was one of six people who appeared in federal court today on accusation of distributing heroine, Oxycodone, and marijuana.

The cities top three leaders all say that they were unaware of Foster’s alleged illegal activity but that they are sure that it does not extend further into the department.

Ashley Swearengin is Mayor of Fresno.

Fresno Deputy Police Chief Arrested For Dealing Drugs

Mar 26, 2015
Fresno Police Department

One of Fresno's highest ranking law enforcement officers was arrested Thursday on drug charges. Fresno Deputy Police Chief Keith Foster is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, marijuana and oxycodone.

Five other Fresno residents were also charged in the case, including two men the FBI believes are related to Foster. 

Foster has been placed on administrative leave by the department. The arrests are part of an on-going, year-long investigation by the FBI and ATF.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the arrest is totally unexpected...

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council approved a new general plan last night that for the first time attempts to but the brakes on suburban sprawl. 

Over the next two decades, the plan calls for about half of the city's future growth to take place within the existing city limits and the rest in new growth areas like west of Highway 99 and in Southeast Fresno. 

Mayor Ashley Swearengin called the council's 5-2 vote historic, and a new direction for the city.

http://bettyyee.com/

In a year when the lack of women in California politics has become a major theme in the November election, the state controller’s race is an exception, with San Francisco Democrat Betty Yee facing Fresno’s Ashley Swearengin. While the Fresno mayor is a familiar name to many valley residents, Yee is perhaps less well known in Central California. A former finance official in the administration of Governor Gray Davis, she currently sits on the state tax board.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In most years, the race for state controller is largely overshadowed by contests for other statewide offices. But this year, the contest between Betty Yee and Ashley Swearengin has attracted wide interest, especially in the San Joaquin Valley.

Yee, a Democrat and a member of the Board of Equalization narrowly edged out John Perez for second place in the June primary. And with Democrats splitting their vote between two candidates, Swearengin, who is in her second term as Fresno’s mayor, finished in first.

This week on Valley Edition we take two hours to look at the November election. The program begins with KVPR reporter Diana Aguilera’s story on a community displaced by a gas leak in Arvin. Valley Edition Host Joe Moore interviews Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin who is running for California State Controller. He also speaks with her opponent Betty Yee.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin has announced that she now supports gay marriage. Swearengin, a Republican who is running for state controller had been a supporter of Proposition 8. She announced her new position last week at a meeting of an LGBT conservative group in Southern California. 

Kevin Gilhooley is the president of the Orange County Log Cabin Republicans. Swearengin spoke to his group last week and took questions from the audience.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Now that Labor Day has passed, election season is in full swing across California and the San Joaquin Valley is no exception. Fresno Bee political reporter John Ellis joined us this week on Valley Edition to talk about some of the region's hottest races and what we can expect as the candidates race to the finish on November 4th - election day. Among the topics we covered:

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The City of Fresno has reached an early contract agreement with the union representing Fresno police officers. If ratified by the members of the Fresno Police Officers Association, the deal would extend the current contract to 2017.

It would also include a two percent salary increase in 2015 and another in 2016. The city would pay 75 percent of employee health care costs, with any future increases shared equally between the city and the union. It would also increase the amount current employees pay for retiree pensions by two percent. 

YouTube/ Kashkari for Governor

Update: 8/5/2014
Neel Kashkari spoke with Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore for the program Valley Edition about his Fresno video and his thoughts on poverty in the San Joaquin Valley. 

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Original post:

Neel Kashkari has taken his campaign to become California's next governor to the streets of downtown Fresno in a viral video attacking Governor Jerry Brown's message of a "California comeback."

County Registrars: Overhaul Recount Process, But Carefully

Jul 22, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The recount in the state controller’s race may be over, but that hasn’t stopped critics of California’s recount process from calling for an overhaul. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, county election officials are warning state lawmakers to write new rules carefully.

San Bernardino County Registrar Michael Scarpello spent last Friday staffing up. His county’s recount was scheduled to start on Monday. But it didn’t, because former Assembly Speaker John Pérez canceled his recount bid Friday afternoon.

Perez Stops Recounts In Controller's Race

Jul 18, 2014
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Former California Assembly Speaker John Perez is calling off the vote recount he requested in the race for state controller.

Perez requested the recount in 15 counties after finishing third in the June 3rd primary. The Los Angeles Democrat was 481 votes behind fellow Democrat Betty Yee. Perez picked up only a handful of votes in recounts this week in Imperial and Kern counties.

He says in a statement that "there is simply not enough time to see this process through to the end."

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the city is in the middle of a resilient economic recovery. But as FM89’s Joe Moore reports, her annual state of the city speech Wednesday afternoon also addressed some lingering problems.  

In what could be her last such speech as Fresno’s mayor, Ashley Swearengin told the crowd at the Convention Center the economic cloud which has hovered over the city for the past five years is beginning to lift.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

At a press conference this morning, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin announced her proposed 2015 budget for the City of Fresno.

In a departure from the major shortfalls the city has faced since 2009, the proposal emphasizes paying off debt, bolstering city services, and increasing the operating reserve to help prepare for unforeseen costs.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California's June primary election is just over 40 days away. That means candidates are kicking their campaigns into high gear across Central California. So what are the hot races to watch? We recently spoke with the Fresno Bee's state and local politics reporter John Ellis to get his analysis of the most competitive races including:

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

UPDATED 3/5/14 - 6:46 PM

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin announced today that she has filed papers to run for the office of State Controller. Swearengin told Valley Public Radio she expects to make a final decision on her run by Friday.  

The two-term Fresno  mayor would be the only prominent Republican in the field. Two Democrats are also vying for the seat, current Speaker of the Assembly John A. Pérez and Board of Equalization member Betty Yee. Current State Controller John Chiang is termed out of office this year. 

Caltrans

Nearly fifty years after the Fulton Mall opened to national acclaim,  Fresno City Council voted late Thursday night to approve a plan to replace the historic pedestrian zone with a two-way street. The 5-2 vote was the latest step in an effort that backers hope will revitalize downtown Fresno and the city's historic main street. 

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