Mayor Brand Presents First-Ever Televised State of the City Address

In a historic change to the annual tradition of live luncheon presentations, Mayor Lee Brand presented his 2020 State of the City address in a televised event this evening on KSEE-TV. The broadcast, arranged by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce because of COVID-19 concerns, was the final State of the City address for Mayor Brand, whose term officially ends on December 31, 2020.

In another break from tradition, Mayor Brand awarded two Keys to the City to Fresno County Department of Public Health Director David Pomaville and Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra, in recognition of their tireless work and steadfast leadership during an unprecedented health crisis.  Pao Yang, CEO of the Fresno Center, was honored with the Mayor’s Community Partner Award for his service and leadership through empowerment, education and collaboration.  

In his keynote speech, Mayor Brand noted that the state of the city is “hopeful,” and used the theme of a “Tale of Two Seasons” to describe a pre-pandemic season of prosperity, growth and civic improvement followed by “a kind of emotional winter” after the announcement of a state of emergency as the community was dealing with the physical and financial effects of COVID-19 and civic unrest.  

He highlighted the launch of several projects from Transformative Climate Communities to Veterans Boulevard, the city-wide effort to clean our streets and highways, the impact of the nearly $11 million in state funding to address homelessness, and the extraordinary efforts of community leaders to express their anger over racial injustice in a peaceful and powerful way.

“To our City of Fresno employees: you have filled roles you never expected in order to maintain the essential services our residents and businesses depend on.  Thank you for your service and your sacrifice,” said Mayor Brand.  “Finally, to the citizens of Fresno: we could not have made it through the past 100 days without your support.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Mayor Brand’s list of City of Fresno accomplishments over the last 12 months include:

  • Broke ground on three Transformative Climate Communities projects, including the Southwest Village Urban Farm and Community Garden, solar panels at an affordable housing facility for seniors in Southwest Fresno, and building the Inside Out Community Garden at the Sunset Community.
  • Launched Keep Fresno Beautiful and the Highway Litter Abatement Pilot Program that has collected over 2 tons of trash off streets and highways and beautified trails and neighborhoods citywide.
  • Completed Phase One of the Veterans Boulevard project, a new $5.5 million section of Bullard Avenue, with Phase Two underway.
  • Reached an agreement with GAP Inc. to purchase 4.8 acres of land on Airways Boulevard for $1 with the plan of building a state-of-the-art animal shelter on the site.
  • Launched “Opportunity Fresno,” a website that provides a platform for local business owners and developers to showcase new investment opportunities.
  • Opened up four low barrier Triage Centers with a total of 127 beds for homeless individuals, with 65% of residents exiting to safe housing and 34% transitioned to permanent housing.

At the 2020 State of the City Address, Mayor Brand also announced that the City will begin a national search for Fresno’s next police chief starting July 1 with Mayor-Elect Jerry Dyer included in this crucial process.

Video of the Mayor’s “State of the City” address will soon be available on the City’s website. A transcript of his remarks is attached.