Thanks to a rebounding economy and prudent financial stewardship at City Hall, prospects are brightening for Fresno residents.
To keep the momentum going, we are recommending the re-election of District 3 representative Oliver Baines and District 7 representative Clint Olivier to the Fresno City Council.
In addition, we believe that businessman and longtime community volunteer Cary Catalano is the best choice among seven candidates to succeed Blong Xiong, who will term out of his District 1 seat.
Baines, a former Fresno police officer, has done a stellar job of building the foundation for much-needed economic progress in the city's long-neglected southwest neighborhoods. During his term, he has led the effort to clear many of the hurdles that have discouraged investment in his district.
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Baines' style of leadership emphasizes results rather than ideology or personalities. He is passionate about his district -- which also includes downtown -- yet also considers what is best for the entire community when voting on projects and policies.
Among his accomplishments are getting the California Avenue gym opened, averting a protracted fight over what to do with the former Running Horse development site and bringing more programming to neighborhood parks.
After a rocky start on the City Council, Olivier has grown into an effective representative for his geographically sprawling district, which touches the edges of Fashion Fair shopping center, downtown and southeast Fresno. He has worked to attract investment in the Blackstone corridor, promote infill development and make Martin Ray Reilly Park a reality.
His best effort came on Bus Rapid Transit, where his knowledge of Stockton's successful system resulted in a revised plan with greater flexibility and an extra route.
Catalano's command of District 1 issues and how local government works gives him a big edge on his competition. He advocates proper planning for coming growth west of Highway 99 and strengthening public safety. Catalano has served on the boards of the Fresno Housing Authority and Girl Scouts of Central California, and has done consulting for Central Unified School District.
District 1 ranges from the historic Tower and Fresno High School neighborhoods to the fast-growing area west of Highway 99. Catalano's collaborative style and enthusiasm for the district -- and the entire city -- make him a great fit for the City Council.
With early voting underway for the June 3 primary, we urge voters to mark their ballots for Baines, Olivier or Catalano.