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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
Local

City of FresnoCandidate for City Council, Council District 3

Photo of Craig Scharton

Craig Scharton

Revitalization Professional
720 votes (14.31%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • South Fresno children have unsafe levels of lead in the blood! We must know the sources of the problem, we must monitor our children's health and we must get funding to remove this toxin.
  • Healthy neighborhoods produce healthy people. Neighbors vote on priorities and we work together to make measurable improvements.
  • I will help the Tower District, Chinatown and Downtown Fresno thrive! As these commercial districts come back to life their surrounding neighborhoods become better places too.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Revitalization Professional, Adjunct Professor
Professional Blogger, FresYes.com (2016–current)
Interim CEO, Downtown Fresno Partnership (2014–2018)
Adjunct Professor-Urban Entrepreneurship, Fresno State-Craig School of Business (2005–2017)
Owner, Peeve's Public House (2013–2016)
Commisioner, Fresno Housing Authority — Appointed position (2011–2016)
Department Director-Downtown and Community Revitalization, City of Fresno (2009–2013)
City Council, Fresno City Council — Elected position (1987–1991)

Education

Southern New Hampshire University M.S., Community Economic Development (2009)

Community Activities

Growing healthy food in my yard!, Self (2010–current)
Steering Committee/Voting Member & Oversight Committee, Transformative Climate Communities(TCC) (2017–current)
Board Member/Past President, California Main Street (2002–current)
Environmental Enhancement Committee Member, Downtown Fresno Partnership (2018–current)
Community Advisory Board Member, Union Bank (2009–2012)

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (1)

  • Carpenters Union 701

Elected Officials (1)

  • Paul Dictos Fresno County Assessor/Recorder

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

My Tower District Experience and Plan

Summary

The Tower District was formative to my understanding of revitalization. Here is what I'll do to help it reach its potential.

Revitalization Series-The Tower District

District 3 encompasses many distinct neighborhoods and commercial districts. I am going to explain my experience and process for moving each of these special places closer to their optimal health. I’m starting this series with the Tower District, which is in the northeast part of District 3. There will be some overlap in the strategy for each of these places, but the priorities will differ based on the desires of the residents.

Part One-My Tower District Experience

My grandmother Ignacia Martinez lived in a bungalow court on San Pablo. There was a little market on the corner and I could get eggs or milk for my Nonny and she would give me a little extra for a push-up popsicle.  She made homemade flour tortillas and always had a pot of pinto beans on the stove. We would stop by Flautz or Lauck’s for doughnuts when we visited on a weekend morning. I loved spending time with her in her cute apartment, surrounded by friendly neighbors. We would stay up late watching the Jerry Lewis Telethon every year. We also loved watching roller derby and big time wrestling.

Before I was school age, I went to the Candy Cane nursery school (we’d call it daycare now) in an older home on Calaveras just north of Olive. My parents would pick me up after their work in downtown and sometimes we’d stop by the Chicken Pie Shop for chicken pies, rice pudding and carrot salad (I wanted one of their roosters for the wall in my room more than anything).

In 1983 I bought my first house, a 1929 1,100 sq ft. home on Cortland near Maroa. Later, I rented a historic duplex on Wishon, then an apartment in Michael Weil’s award-winning project at Van Ness and Floradora. My second house was on Calaveras between Olive and McKinley. Then I bought a home on Floradora and Linden.

In 1987, at the age of 25 I was elected to represent the Tower District on the City Council. I organized a neighborhood meeting at Roger Rocka’s on a Saturday morning and the neighbors voted to do a Specific Plan to correct the really bad land use and zoning that were causing problems in the district. I asked my Council colleagues for $125,000 for the Tower District Specific Plan. We included residents and businesses in every part of the planning effort, from the selection of the planning consultants to forming a committed 21-member planning committee. It took two years from the beginning to adoption in 1991. This resulted in a land use plan that helped protect the neighborhood’s historic character, removed a plan line that would’ve widened Olive Avenue to 4 lanes through the district, and prevented new strip malls and other suburban-style developments. The Tower Plan stretched from Divisadero to just north of Shields.

Part Two-My Plan for the Tower District

The core of the Tower District’s commercial area needs a business and/or property owners association. Every good neighborhood commercial district and downtown has an official organization overseeing the well-being of their area. There are hundreds of these organizations in California and thousands across the U.S. Downtown Clovis has one, Visalia has two and is working on a third, and San Diego has more than a dozen. Associations help businesses to organize to work on their priorities. They can market to customers to help their businesses and they can market to bring new businesses and investment. They can work together for security and cleanliness. The Tower District must have a healthy and organized business district. It is really quite shocking that this doesn’t exist yet.  If I am elected to represent the Tower District, south of Olive, I will work with my colleague from District 1, the businesses and property owners to put this in place immediately.

My plan for the residential neighborhoods in the Tower District (and all of District 3) is to create a system that leads to measurable improvements.

Step One: Hold a meeting in each neighborhood for residents.

Step Two: Neighbors brainstorm issues/problems/assets/opportunities.

Step Three: Neighbors vote on their priorities.

Step Four: We plan a strategy and identify resources and partners to work on the priority issues.

Step Five: We measure our results to see what is working and what isn’t, and modify as needed.

Step Six: After achieving and celebrating results and accomplishments, we vote on new priorities and keep working!

 

 

Momentum builds when neighborhoods start seeing improvements. People enjoy being part of positive change. Government departments and agencies know how to help when neighborhoods have clear priorities. Foundations, businesses and banks know where to invest.  Churches and nonprofits know how to pitch in to help. Establishing priorities and measuring results are the best way to accelerate positive change. This gives everyone a role in helping revitalization and it helps to avoid distractions and drama. My office will be staffed and organized to coordinate these activities in every neighborhood in the District.

Videos (1)

— April 25, 2018 Hans Steele

What do we do the best in the San Joaquin Valley? Grow food! Access to healthy food is in our dirty hands, our yards and in our vacant lots. We don't need another government program or nonprofit organization. We can do this ourselves. We can eat the healthiest, most delicious food. We can save money. We can share with our neighbors. We can get outside and move around. We can reverse the trends of chronic lifestyle diseases like obesity, childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease...

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