Ashley Swearengin

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:

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.

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. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Is Fresno's Fulton Mall a priceless piece of art, or an impediment to revitalization of the city's historic core? That's the issue facing the Fresno City Council later this month, as the debate to re-open the pedestrian mall to vehicle traffic heats up, thanks to a $16 million federal grant. 

On Valley Public Radio's Valley Edition, we invited guests with two different perspectives to join us and talk about their competing visions for the future of this historic part of the city. They were:

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin joined us on Valley Edition to talk about her priorities for the city and some of the biggest issues facing local residents, from homelessness to city finances to public safety. Here are some highlights from our conversation:

On plans to raise water rates to pay for a new surface water treatment plant and replace aging infrastructure:

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visited Fresno today to formally announce the city's award of a grant for $16 million to transform a part of downtown. FM89's Joe Moore has this report. 

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Today's event on the Fulton Mall wasn't the first time a Fresno mayor called for the six-block-long pedestrian plaza to be restored to vehicle traffic. But unlike efforts in decades past, this time the city apparently has the money to do it, thanks to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. 

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