Fresno Mayoral Debate

KFSN 1/17/2008 The January 16th debate format allowed candidates to briefly ask questions of each other.

Mike Dages asked former city councilman Tom Boyajian, "How would you as mayor change the Police Department as you see it?"

Boyajian answered, "One of the most important things I would do is put in a police auditor."

Fresno's Mayoral Candidates hoped to improve their standing in the public eye.

An exclusive Action News / SurveyUSA poll on January 8th showed Henry T. Perea attracting 27% percent of likely voters. Tom Boyajian placed second at 15% percent and Ashley Swearengin with 12% percent.

"I'm gonna ask Mr. Perea since you're the one with all the poll numbers, if elected Mayor what would you do to support the educational system?" asked Jeff Eben.

Perea answered "We need to make sure our kids our safe in our schools. Vocational education is critical for the economic well-being of this community."

The debate was sponsored by the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Candidates were asked how they would have handled Donald Trump's failed bid to develop Running Horse.

Businessman Jim Boswell answered "I would have told Donald Trump thank you very much but you're fired because you're not going to take from our people to make money for yourself."

Ashley Swearengin, economic development expert answered, "One thing I've noticed is that Fresno is so fascinated by shiny objects… the silver bullet kind of approach. It's almost like we feel we're still one project away from prosperity, yet all the businesses that are located here are over-looked."

This was the first time Boswell and Fresno deputy mayor Jeff Eben were able to engage in a mayoral debate.

"To run for mayor means to accept one universal truth and I think that truth is that Fresno is right now sits on the brink of greatness" said Eben. He went on to say, "I believe in the power of team. And I think the leader's job is to create team."

The challenge was to separate themselves from a crowded field. Public safety ranked high among all the candidates.

Mike Dages said, "But there's no way you can run for mayor in a position of this nature and have just one top priority, and the other one naturally jobs and education. We do not have a skilled workforce for people to be attracted to this community."

Tom Boyajian said, "In our budget we spend a half percent on the economy, that's jobs. That has the change, if I'm mayor of Fresno that'll increase to at least 4.5% percent."

Henry Perea said, "I'm proud of my record of being status, rather anti-status quo and being part of the new Fresno."

Fresno City Councilman Jerry Duncan was unable to take part in Wednesday's debate because he had to attend a relative's funeral.

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