I do not know about all of you, but I am ecstatic and hopeful, that given that Visalia’s recently retired City Manager, Mike Olmos, will be interim City Manager of Hanford as of June 8th. I look forward to his fresh perspective of strategic and responsible city zoning, economic growth and development which made Visalia “thrive”, as it is today. Mr. Olmos’s track record is both commendable and refreshing of what he has accomplished in Visalia with respect to well thought out commerce, family housing and entertainment; all of which are “opportunities” the City of Hanford should accomplish, if not, exceed!
Although, his interim position is that of only for a maximum of 6 months, I pray that our planning commission, city staff, city council members will draw from his “visionary” aptitude it will maintain current city managing efforts, but “steer and recommend” Hanford into a great thriving growing community. In order to accomplish this, we must put aside self-serving “politics” and redirect this mindset and civic action to a well-planned and managed “public service” programs and development benefitting everyone in the City of Hanford.
Presently, Hanford is void of real meaningful family entertainment for our young children, as well as solid year around well-paying jobs, especially in manufacturing and technology.
Another important concern is adequately addressing our homeless families and individuals. We, as a city has its head stuck in the sand dealing with the homeless families.
As a long time returning resident and public servant of Hanford, and in the past having served also on the City of San Jose’s as Housing Commissioner, Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, School Boards, Congressional Committees and Silicon Valley Leadership Group. I only suggest the following “initiatives” for the City of Hanford:
1. Well planned out zoning which will allow mixed use growth which support in our present struggling downtown businesses and concomitantly provide a stimulus for high tech incubators and year round entertainment for our citizens. Look at what Fresno, Clovis and small town Dinuba are accomplishing.
2. Develop what are called, “Strong Neighborhood Initiatives”. In San Jose in the 1990’s when its’ Downtown eroded into strip clubs, empty business buildings, and gang crime controlled neighborhoods; the City in partnership with both the County, State, Federal and Private Corporate foundations established for well-planned early intervention neighborhood support programs. These collaborative partnership initiatives encouraged grant-funded structured neighborhood associations to address, gang, blight, and the unemployed by bringing in resources to targeted communities such summer youth job corps, volunteer driven neighborhood clean ups, free paint for painting homes, youth mentoring and activities.
3. Collaborate with local non-profits to address the homelessness issue facing our facing our families by possibly seeking grant funding for faith sites, non-profits, and other innovative strategies to assist the homeless with long term job training and housing solutions.
4. Possibly explore in supporting and expanding the Children’s Story Book Garden and Museum to attract young families and their children in age-related activities and entertainment, possibly working with Fresno Chaffe Zoo in building a small zoological/ exotic botanical garden park.
5. Establishing a Small Business Association Office site in Hanford for creative entrepreneurial new business ventures benefitting Hanford citizens with micro to moderate low interest business loans.
These are just a few ideas, I have drawn over the past 40 years actively involved in both large metropolitan cities and of my hometown of Hanford. Citizens of Hanford, we deserve better!
Just remember, all City Managers receive their directions and policy from their city council, and the city council receive this direction from the concerns and requests from all of you in our lovely town. Call your elected city council representatives, call all of them. Most have graciously returned my calls,
except for Francisco Ramirez, which is quite disconcerting.
Alfred Benavides, MPA