Governor Jerry Brown visits Fresno

Governor Jerry Brown said he came to Fresno to get a better feel for things.
January 13, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Governor Jerry Brown said he came to Fresno to get a better feel for things.

At a news conference held at Fresno City Hall Brown said, "I wanted to come here first hand to get a sense of what we should be doing in Sacramento."

He held a series of private meetings throughout the day. He started with growers at the Westlands Water District. Farmers pressed him for a drought declaration the Governor said he's working on it, but pointed out he's got the rest of the state to deal with too.

"So they definitely feel the need to better utilize California's water resources but the way they view it is of course a little different than people in other parts of the state so, I have to work to harmonize the conflict and maximize the water resources that we have," Brown said.

Among other things farmers are seeking relief from environmental regulations that provide water for fish and the environment. Those are largely Federal Concerns, but the governor made it clear that when it comes to water, he will not overlook the state's environmental needs.

"I am promoting California agriculture, preserving our water resources and also understanding we all depend on the environment and that's also critical," Brown said.

The big question was will Brown declare a drought emergency?

"Not today but certainly getting ready," Brown said.

He also held meetings with law enforcement, including Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, and Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. The Governor says they talked about the impact of prison realignment.

The Governor said the problem is the state's prisons grew too fat s and now we have to adjust to federal orders to reduce the prison population. But despite complaints Brown said, "In fact the crime rate is down and it's been down for the last three years and that's good."

The Governor also continues to champion High Speed Rail and despite concerns about the legality of its funding plan, and his proposed solutions, vowed to press ahead.

" It's not only exciting it's not only culturally significant it's efficient and reduces greenhouse gases it will create badly needed jobs here, and even though there are a fair number of critics, who were for it at one time and I think they will come around when we are a little further down the line," Brown said.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearenin echoed the Governors support for High Speed Rail. She also took him on a tour of Fresno's Downtown Fulton Mall, outlining her vision for revitalization.

The Governor's response was that much of Oakland looked like the Fulton Mall when he was Mayor of Oakland. He said he saw potential in the mall, especially when it is connected to the proposed High Speed Rail station.


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