Fresno's Mayor Swearengin says she will seek a second term
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- She made the announcement before a large gathering of supporters in Downtown Fresno on Thursday.
"Today I'm pleased to announce my candidacy for reflection as Mayor of the City of Fresno."
Swearengin said her greatest accomplishment has been navigating the difficult economic times and the city's multi-million dollar budget deficit.
"We were in very deep financially and we're at least in survival mode we 're still a long way from being on stable financial ground but if it wasn't for the very aggressive cuts and changes in operations we made very quickly we would still be underwater."
The city laid off some workers and was able to get financial concessions from some labor groups. Swearengin lead the charge to sell the city's commercial trash collection service to private companies to bring in more money.
But garbage became the most contentious issue of her administration, sparking demonstrations by union garbage collectors.
Union representative Marina Magdaleno maintains the change is costing customers more. "They didn't tell these businesses what the costs were going to be because the costs didn't go down costs went up"
Swearengin says she's helped business grow with things like the annual Food Expo and she points to new development in Downtown Fresno as a success -- and she says more is coming.
"We've got the largest plans to revive downtown in the city's history. They will be environmentally cleared by the end of the year and ready for implementation next year."
But major problems are looming with the loss of the city's redevelopment agency. City council member Lee Brand has been a critic of some of the downtown projects but, told Action News he applauds Swearengin's overall performance.
"She's been a disciplined, principled leader at a time when we need those kinds of people the most."
So far it doesn't appear Swearengin will face a tough re-election fight.
Marina Magdelano told Action News she's not surprised by the lack of competition, "I don't see anybody's really viable is going to jump and run against her because I think she's popular with most people in North Fresno."
In the last election the city was divided. Swearengin won by taking most of the city's northern precincts. Her challenger, former City Council Member Henry T. Perea, who's now a member of the State Assembly, won nearly all of south Fresno.
ashley swearengin, fresno downtown, fresno, politics, gene haagenson
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