To watch over Fresno Convention Center, City Council picks Baines and Brand

The Fresno BeeJanuary 16, 2014 

Fresno City Council Member Lee Brand will keep a close eye on the Fresno Convention Center for another year.

First, the City Council on Thursday appointed Council Member Oliver Baines to an advisory committee charged with helping the city-owned Convention Center improve its operations.

The committee was authorized when the council recently approved amendments to the lease with center manager SMG. Brand led the charge to revamp the deal, saying the downtown Convention Center must become more efficient.

Brand asked the council to appoint Baines, noting that the center is in Baines' district.

Following that, Brand then asked his colleagues if they could find a way to include him on the committee. He said his presence might help the committee get off to a strong start.

After a year, Brand said, "like old soldiers, I'd fade away."

The other council members liked the idea. The question was finding an official title for Brand's role. After brief debate, the council decided Brand would be Baines' alternate and permitted to tag along.

In other action, the council:

-- Adopted a proclamation designating January as Human trafficking Awareness Month.

-- Adopted a proclamation wishing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Committee a happy 30th anniversary and declaring Jan. 17-20 to be Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Days.

-- Approved funding for software to help the police department analyze crime data.

-- Supported Council President Steve Brandau in his effort to arrange a joint meeting of the council and the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. Brandau said he and Supervisor Andreas Borgeas (a former council member) hope to convene the meeting in five to six weeks.

Brandau said the meeting would probably last two hours and cover issues affecting both jurisdictions.

Brand said city of Clovis officials probably should be invited, as well. Council Member Paul Caprioglio said he is pursuing a joint meeting of the Fresno and Clovis city councils.

-- Heard Baines, a member of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District board, review the seriousness of current weather patterns. Baines said the danger is twofold -- severe drought and persistent air pollution.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6272 or Read his City Beat blog at

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