On November 15, 2017 the River West for The Rest advocacy team attended the San Joaquin
River Conservancy Board Meeting at Fresno City Hall. The meeting began at 10:00 a.m. and went for
several hours, discouraging people to stay to the end. Our team stayed until the end of the public
comment portion which concluded at 2:00 pm. They opened the meeting and did all the legalities which
took until 11:40. Soon after the public comment began, we broke for a 20-minute break at 12:30 p.m.
During the break some people left, the rest that stayed said their piece, some with unrefined comment.
There was a total of 51 people that spoke in two minutes or under terms, some tried to continue pass
the time allotted, but were respectfully cut off after the two minutes. Out of the 51 people, 24 spoke in
favor of Alternative 1, which our team supports, and 27 spoke in favor of Alternative 5b. There were
people from; the neighborhood where Alternative One will be implemented, Madera county, as well as
all over Fresno. Alternative one gives vehicle access via a road that was originally built for the 1,500-
home housing project that the public fought not to be built. Some comments brought up that the road
would be unable to handle the traffic and it would make the area less safe, but if it was designed for the
housing projects, it should be able to handle the traffic. Right now, people that want to get down to the
river have to park near that locked gate access on Riverview and stroll a way down to the river below.
Alternative 5b would cut through Spano Park, require multiple mature sycamore trees be torn out, and
cost about $5 million dollars on top of the 3.3 million for the proposed plan which establishes parking
under HWY 41 after driving through Madera County via Rio Mesa Blvd. There was no cost given for
Alternative 1 because Brandau and Borgeas were pushing for Alternative 5b, but will be gathered for the
next meeting. Three of the five people on our advocacy team spoke at the meeting last night, bringing
the younger generation into the comment pool, challenging the representation on the board, and
pressing that our research has shown alternative 1 is more feasible. They will readdress Alternative 1
and 5b in December on the 13th, time and location have not been released yet.
The experience of talking in front of so many powerful people was intense! Borgeas pronounced my last name wrong even after I corrected him. But when I spoke of my childhood, playing at the river, having access and not having access and what that difference means, I felt like it made a big difference for a lot of people in that room. I wanted to add my generations input, and draw attention that this access is for the future generations more than for the people fighting for a certain access point.