FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Community activist "H" Spees has officially announced his candidacy for Fresno mayor. The 62-year-old joins Fresno City Councilman Lee Brand as the second candidate in the race.
His real name his Harold but he goes by "H" Spees. He's an ordained pastor but his degrees are in community development and public administration. He believes his 43-year career has prepared him to take on the leadership of the city of Fresno.
In the 1990's, when crime was at an all-time high in the city of Fresno, H Spees moved from Clovis to Downtown Fresno hoping to help improve one of the worst inner city neighborhoods. He has headed up several non-profit organizations like One By One Leadership and Youth For Christ. Most recently he has an executive coaching role for a global urban development organization. In 2005, he took a group of church leaders to Louisiana to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
He still lives and works downtown but the platform for his mayoral campaign is to unify the city into what he calls One Fresno.
Spees explains,"The Fed Ex package that gets stolen off a front porch in Woodward Lake is as important to that family as a near drive by in southwest Fresno. It's about all of us. We are inter-connected."
While some question whether Spees' pastoral and non-profit experience will translate into running the city of Fresno, Spees counters saying he has been CEO of several organizations with multi-million dollar budgets.
Currently, his only competition in the mayoral race is Fresno City Councilman Lee Brand. But current Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea and former county supervisor Doug Vagim told Action News Monday they are considering a run for the mayor's office. Spees said he respects the competition, but believes he has an advantage.
Spees says, "Fresno needs somebody who is not a politician. Fresno needs a leader. Somebody who can put together complicated public/private sector partnerships that can actually work."
Both Perea and Vagim said they would make their decision about running for mayor within the next week to 10 days.
Candidates can begin raising money February 15th for the June election.