Saturday , May 25 2024

Councilman, Mayor take disagreement to Twitter

It would be wrong to call it heated, but some online comments between a Fresno council member and Mayor Ashley Swearengin got a little toasty today.

The mayor announced during her State of the City luncheon that grocery store Smart & Final will soon move in to a building on Blackstone being vacated by Save Mart. 

District 7 councilman Clint Olivier attacked the decision, welcoming the store but not happy with its exact location.

After the mayor’s announcement was met by applause, Olivier tweeted:

"Cheering Smart & Final going into existing building is laughable.”

Olivier had wanted the grocery chain to build a new store, something that was planned but fell through weeks ago.

Swearengin fired back later on twitter:

I’m curious why you are having a hard time being happy about this private investment.”

It’s not the first time Olivier has protested this issue– in fact, the mayor referred to it in her address.

"And a particular council member i know expressed his outrage when learning a Smart & Final would not be built,” she said. Olivier says he took it as a bit of a jab. So maybe that explains his own jab at Swearengin’s general plan, calling it on twitter an epic failure.

He backed that up later in our studios, saying the plan creates piles of red tape that will scare off private money.

"We can’t do it without private investment,” he says. “So when private investment comes knocking, we have to open the door to them."

But the mayor says private interest is already there, and that the Blackstone corridor will be fine in the long run.

She says Olivier needs to be patient.

"We know there’s interest from private investors on that side,” she said. “So as I’ve encouraged Councilman Olivier all along, have a little bit of patience in the development process."

"I agree with the mayor’s plea for patience,” Olivier says, “but I also have an issue when politicians and bureaucrats are central planners."

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