The activist jailed for allegedly vandalizing Fulton Street responded Friday morning to critics on Facebook, saying longtime visitors, residents and business owners are being pushed out of downtown Fresno.
Dallas Blanchard, 53, participated in discussions about his alleged crime in a Facebook group Friday morning. He said white residents from north Fresno are heading south and turning up their noses to people of color who are known to habit downtown and Fulton Street.
“I feel they deliberately ran out many of those businesses because the rich white crowd of north Fresno doesn’t feel safe around these people of color. So screw em they can stay in North Fresno with their messed up attitudes,” he said in a comment on the Facebook group called “For the Love of Downtown Fresno.”
“If you truly love downtown try embracing the folks who’ve been here for decades instead of just running them out and replacing them with snobby little hipsters looking down their noses at everyone else,” he said in another comment.
Blanchard is accused of slapping latex paint on new Fulton Street signs and other property. Fresno police arrested him late Wednesday night on a warrant after identifying him from surveillance footage as the vandal.
Blanchard did not admit to the crime in his Facebook posts and suggested other vandals broke nearby windows and tagged certain areas on Fulton.
“And who knew a little paint on a street sign was a capital offence (sic),” he said.
When another commenter recommended Blanchard address his concerns “within the boundaries of civil and legal behavior,” Blanchard responded: “Sometimes uncivil disobedience works also.”
Blanchard has participated in protests for numerous causes and movements, and previously told The Bee he laid down in the road at one demonstration, intentionally trying to be arrested.
His comments on the Fulton Street project bring to light a bubbling conversation and perspective on the possible gentrification of downtown that intensified after the Fresno City Council passed a “no-camping” ordinance targeting the homeless.
Gentrification is loosely defined as systemic renovation to bring an area up to what’s considered middle-class standards.
Said Blanchard: “It’s more of a class war thing. With the city going after the homeless and poor and literally saying ‘Bums GTFO’. … ”