Political Notebook

Swearengin challenges Yee in speech to look at Fresno's financial books

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin spoke to the Downtown Rotary Monday on a subject that had policy written all over it — a day in her life leading the state’s fifth-largest city.

In the last three to five minutes of the speech, however, Swearengin and her PowerPoint both veered into the political lane.

Considering that the Fresno Republican is running for state controller against Democrat Betty Yee, a state Board of Equalization member, it wasn’t a totally surprising detour.

It started with Swearengin putting a Yee comment up on the PowerPoint.

The Yee comment read: “Since elected to office, Mayor Swearengin has failed to deliver on her promises to make Fresno a better place to live: Soaring deficits, unbalanced budgets, record unemployment, three credit downgrades to junk status and festering poverty and homelessness are Swearengin’s enduring legacy.”

Swearengin then said she was “going to make news today.”

“I am issuing an invitation to my opponent, Betty Yee,” Swearengin said. “A challenge, if you will, to come to Fresno, meet with my team, meet with my budget office and my economic development team. I will make any information available to her that she may require, and allow her as much time as she may need to evaluate what we’ve done in Fresno. At the end of her evaluation, I would like to know from her what she would have done differently.”

Maybe later this week? Yee is due in town for an evening reception on Thursday.