The City of Clovis is responding to comments made by Fresno Housing Authority (FHA) Commissioner Terra Brusseau during a March 26 meeting regarding a 60-unit housing project at Willow and Alluvial avenues in Clovis.
The Commissioner opposed the idea of the project in Clovis during the meeting by stating:
“…As I even just looked today at Garfield Elementary School, which is what the school that this feeds into, it is a majority white school, that, I think there are more, better areas for diversity and our residents to feel like they’re in the right place…”
Newly elected Clovis Mayor Drew Bessinger responded to Commissioner Brusseau’s comments on early Wednesday morning on April 17 saying:
“The City of Clovis does not oppose this project and believes that our community is strongest when there is a diverse choice of housing types and pricing-levels spread throughout all parts the city. We welcome all those who wish to call Clovis home, to take advantage of our schools, community safety and all things which come with The Clovis Way of Life.”
Brusseau’s comments also got the attention of two Fresno community leaders, Fresno city coucilmember Esmeralda Soria and Paster Paul Binion of the Westside Church of God. Both expressing disappointment with the Commissioner’s comments and questioned her appointment which was made by Fresno Mayor Lee Brand back in April 2018.
Along with the Clovis Mayor’s response, the City of Clovis also released a statement on the comments:
Commissioner Brusseau does not live in Clovis, does not operate a business in Clovis, and her comments do not reflect our community values of diversity and inclusivity.
The City of Clovis has no representation on the Fresno Housing Council. Any comments made by anyone in that group do not represent the position of the City of Clovis, its Council or its residents.
While the City of Clovis is not part of the Fresno Housing Authority, we have cooperated with them on affordable developments in Clovis in the past and are in fact working with them on the proposed development commented upon by Commissioner Brusseau.
This is evident in the fact that Clovis has numerous parcels of land that are zoned for high-density affordable housing in all parts of the City. These parcels, which include the project that was addressed by Commissioner Brusseau, are zoned in a manner that allows high-density, affordable housing by-right, meaning that no Council action is necessary to construct the project, only administrative actions such as issuing building permits.
The City of Clovis looks forward to continuing to work with the Housing Authority on this project and many more in the future.
FHA Commissioner Brusseau recently stated that her comments were taken out of context and apologized to anyone offended.
“I don’t ever recall if this is the right project, is this where we want to be in Clovis, where we want to be if we’re in Clovis, have we thought through the schools they would attend and the public transportation? Were these discussions in quite possibly the day I wasn’t here? So, those are the things that concern me…I would love to be in Clovis in a more thoughtful place, to me, that makes more sense for our residents. So this specific property, I feel like was sort of shoved, I guess at me.”