Fresno’s Mayoral Race

Election Day is on November 8th and No More Slumlords has been preparing for this election for the past few months. We have consistently reached out to the mayoral candidates Council Member Lee Brand and Supervisor Henry Perea throughout their campaigns. We’ve e-mailed them, called them, messaged them on Facebook, tweeted at them – everything we could do to ensure we knew where they stood on the issue of slumlords in Fresno. We sent our community correspondent to interview both of them, and posted those interviews on our website, here and here, and via our social media platforms. We wanted to ensure our followers could keep up-to-date with Fresno’s mayoral race.

To further prepare our followers for the election, we’ve gathered a few written responses to our mayoral interviews from several of our team members. These responses were uninfluenced, genuine thoughts provided voluntarily by our members.

“Both candidates seem to be quite familiar with Fresno’s issues/history with slum housing. I wasn’t expecting both of them to be so well-versed with all of the lingo that is typically used when talking about slumlords, code enforcement, etc., but I guess with the ‘Living in Misery’ series from The Bee still fresh in everybody’s minds and with groups like No More Slumlords keeping our leaders accountable, they’d better be, right? Brand seems informed and sincere when articulating his plans to combat slumlords in the Fresno area if he is elected mayor, as does Perea. However, I think that because this issue has been on Mr. Perea’s plate as a politician for some time now, even to the extent that he began giving out Slumlord of the Month awards to the worst offenders (which was certain to stir up awareness and even some controversy), he seems more likely than Mr. Brand to follow through on his promises to come down hard on slumlords, but not by much.” – Brett Menges, Volunteer Team Member

“The slumlord industry is a significant industry in Fresno that few know about, and Henry Perea is someone who not only understands the implications of this industry in Fresno, but also has a plan to do something about it. Perea presented his plan: an immediate inspection program for renters followed by monetarial enforcement. Slumlords would be held to a standard, and when they are found below that standard, they will be forced to pay fines until their issue is resolved. Brand’s plan, on the other hand, involved defining structure according to city officials and going after repeat offenders (ten times in the past year). While it would be more effective than doing nothing, I have faith that city officials know what is substandard living; I don’t have faith that they will do anything about it. Perea’s plan is more concrete and immediate; it doesn’t wait for a slumlord to become a ten-times-a-year offender.”  – Ashley Norton, No More Slumlords’ Intern

“I felt like Lee Brand had a very passive approach to the issue. My only qualms about Perea is that even though he is very passionate, my biggest worry is that he may say these things to get the public on his side and not really follow up on what he has said and promised. I feel like when we see that he is actually doing things for the city, then trust will be built between the people and him. In my opinion, Henry Perea seems to have more passion because of his aggressive approach to the issue in his interview, while Lee Brand is still trying to understand how the slumlord industry works, because of his passive way of approaching the slumlord industry in his interview.” – Maria Hernandez, No More Slumlords’ Intern

We do want to state our gratitude to both Council Member Lee Brand and Supervisor Henry Perea for taking time to speak to us. Supervisor Perea has been supportive of our movement since day one, long before he ever decided to run for mayor. We are grateful for his continued and unwavering support. Council Member Brand has shown an increasing willingness to work with us. Since the Summerset Village Apartment crisis, Council Member Brand has begun to publicly acknowledge this issue. We are grateful for his recent attention and support.

No More Slumlords has decided not to endorse any candidate to reflect the nonpartisan nature of our movement. We are a diverse team of volunteers from different political backgrounds that want our city leaders to take a stand against Fresno’s slumlord industry. We don’t want the same political status quo where slumlords are allowed to reign free in our city. Whoever is elected mayor, we hope that they continue to work with us to put an end to the slumlord industry in Fresno.

Be sure to vote on November 8th if you are able, and vote for whichever candidate you think will keep their promises post-election. No matter the outcome, we will hold the new mayor accountable. Together we can put an end to Fresno’s slumlord industry.