Hello y’all. Tough times. Physical restrictions, constantly living in poverty (SSI Disability), not having home internet, and spending virtually all of my time with bad free wifi access researching and contacting to community/policy leaders.
I’m just gonna jump right in.
Please read: My Story
This past week, I’ve met with all sorts of professionals and leaders within the Fresno community. Long list. Cliff Tutelian is one of the most significant property owners in downtown Fresno. Alvaro started and owns Misc. Trading Company. Lupe is the founder and owner of Bebe O’s vintage clothing store in the Tower District. Sean Staicer is a front man for Bitwise Industies. Gina and Bob Estrada had an artists’ reception at their wonderful Gallery Strada in Riverpark. The Estradas business runs an investment portfolio of more than $1 billion. I also met with artists like Brenda Allison and Bill Roeser.
I met with so many more people, organizations, and leaders this week. Jeff Macon, Director of Innovate Fresno State at the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Shawn at Valley Small Business Development Corporation (VSBDC). Jim Santos, a mentor at Fresno SCORE in the local Fresno SBA office. Moe and Sandra at the management office for Manchester Shopping Center. Scott Christensen at Newmark-Grubb Realty. Barney Morris at Resources for Independence Central Valley (RICV). The Superintendent of Fresno County Office of Education and FCOE Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Program Director Bob Bullwinkel. FCOE supervises 32 school districts encompassing 220,000 students. I also spent two-and-a-half hours in a one-on-one meeting with Principal Taylor from newly opened Patiño High School for Entrepreneurship.
I had multiple phone conversations and email communications this week with the owner of the historic Radin-Kamp Building (the former J.C.Penney) on Fulton Street Mall. He’s a former Fresno State grad that lives and works out of Thousand Oaks. He’s got credentials as a nuclear engineer, electrical engineer, and real estate magnate. He purchased the Radin-Kamp to much applause and fanfare as some “local” owner that wouldn’t leave the beautiful property neglected (as the previous abesentee landlord did, same as the Patterson and Helm and Bank of Italy Buildings). That was two years ago. Since then? Well, a major fire in the boarded up building destroyed the property. He’s filed applications. He’s made boastful promises. But he’s done nothing. It’s a 150,000 square-foot site. The historic building registry ties preservation laws to it. Expensive obstacles and time-consuming. Fire damaged and destroyed. More expensive repairs. California building codes are some of the strictest in the U.S. Neglected. Blighted. Hazardous, with dead animals and squatters inside. And yet, he refutes my claims that he will face challenges to renovate and re-open it for anything less than $325/sq. ft. ($50 million). Not to even mention his plans to construct a below-grade (underground) parking garage for 80+ parking spaces! Huh.
Don’t expect The Radin-Kamp to re-open. It won’t.
Market rates won’t support his building costs. Hence, Fresno is rampant with blight. I proposed to help secure HALF of his necessary funding. I see ways. Fresno’s Downtown Revitalization Fund, CDBG, job creation bills, and many other sources. It ain’t like he would’ve had anything to lose. Would you believe I offered to work on this project for FREE? lol. I want to help Fresno. It’s absolutely hopeless.
Fresno doesn’t want help. Fresno won’t acknowledge it’s challenges.
Overall, I’ve met with hundreds of the most influential people in Fresno– with no success. It seems I am only dismissed or discredited. I am condescended to. Practically laughed at. Yet, Fresno remains one of the poorest major cities in the nation. Leadership is lacking, failing, incompetent, without vision, just awful. I keep trying to do whatever I can to help, to contribute, even volunteer. How can I find a way to help when everybody ignores or discredits me for trying? Those incumbent don’t think there are problems. They don’t face them daily.