New Fresno City Council members restore Latino majority

On Wednesday, two new Fresno City Council members were sworn in.

The ceremonies represented the diversity of the city, with dancers from the Hmong community and a Mariachi band from Roosevelt High School.

Miguel Arias, representing District 3, was sworn in by his daughter.

Arias replaces Oliver Baines who is termed out.

In his inaugural speech, Arias noted his election and the election of District 7 council member Nelson Esparza restores a Latino majority to the seven-member board for the first time in two decades.

"We also recognize the pride the Latino community has expressed because a majority of the council once again looks like them and speaks their language."

Esparza replaces Clint Olivier, who was also termed out. In his inaugural speech, Esparza forcefully vowed to fight for his district, which encompasses central and southeast Fresno.

"To those folks that are going to try to stand in the way of progress and opportunity for my district, they can fully expect I am going to light them up from this dais and the folks and the constituents and my district are gonna know who is standing in the way of them and the better quality of life they are demanding from men and from us."

Council Member Esmeralda Soria sees the Latino majority and Esparza as a progressive shift in the council.

"I expect things to be different because the key seat was district 7 and today district 7 has a representative that is in line with the values of the families that live there. "

Soria is starting her second term on the council and has completed her one-year term as council President. She turned the duties of President over to Council Member Steve Brandau, who is halfway through his second term and running for Fresno County Supervisor. If he is elected there will be another opening on the Fresno City Council to finish the last two years of his term. So, more change to the makeup of the council could be coming.
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