Concerns, requests, and more at the City Council meeting

Photo Destiny De La Cruz, Clovis Roundup

October 2, 2023 – The City Council meeting began with a moment of silence for the passing of Senator Dianne Feinstein.

In attendance: Mayor Ashbeck, Mayor Pro Tem Mouanoutoua, Assistant City Manager Haussler, City Attorney Cross, City Clerk Cha, and Councilmembers Basgall, Bessinger, and Pearce.  

The first public speaker was a representative from our local Toastmasters who gave a brief update, introduced their word of the day, and then introduced their main speaker. The word of the day was “develop”, and she challenged the council to use the word during the meeting. 

According to their website, “Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that builds confidence and teaches public speaking skills through a worldwide network of clubs that meet online and in person. In a supportive community or corporate environment, members prepare and deliver speeches, respond to impromptu questions, and give and receive constructive feedback.”

The main Toastmasters speaker was City of Clovis Staff Analyst and Planning Commission Clerk, Aaron La Mattina. La Mattina clearly and concisely spoke of the process and results of Toastmasters.

Next up was public comments. A regular attendee of the Clovis Senior Center stepped up to voice a concern he had about the Friday night dancing. He said that during the dance, the Center used to play country and western music, but now it’s mostly “modern music and rock n roll.”

He emphasized that attendees have no control over the music played, and he asked the council for help. Mayor Ashbeck referred him to Amy Hance, City of Clovis General Services Manager who was in attendance.

The citizen also wanted to say one last thing, “I’m English, Irish, Swiss, and Dutch,” he said. He then spoke a few phrases in Spanish before continuing in English. “I speak two languages, and I listen to cowboy music all the time, on both sides of the fence.”

CVMD Board Member, Don Watnick, came up to talk about CenterStage Clovis Community Theatre. He spoke passionately about the theater, both their last show and their upcoming show. Their next show, “Once”, will be performed October 5th through 14th at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.

Another citizen raised concerns about animal control. He spoke about instances where himself and others would call in about a loose dog on the streets, and the call would result in being told that the city cannot get any staff on scene to collect the dog.

The citizen is concerned about the Clovis Animal Services staff shortage, and being unable to get animals into the intake center when citizens call in. He even had a suggestion.

If a citizen makes a call for a loose dog, and they are told no one can come get that dog; what if a Community Service Officer could meet the citizen at the animal intake center, and utilize a sort of real estate lock box to get the animal into the intake center?

“I think there’s a better way to do this than just tell people ‘hey we don’t have anybody available’ and then the animals are just still running around town,” he said. 

Mayor Ashbeck referred the citizen to Captain Roberts, who oversees Animal Services and was in attendance, so that they might be able to develop some kind of plan.

The Fresno/Clovis Community Media Authority reappointed member Micheline Golden, and newly appointed Dr. Kim E. Armstrong who is President of Clovis Community College.

One item of note on the consent calendar was approval for purchase of police UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), which probably means a drone, since those terms are often used interchangeably.

Mayor Ashbeck and Mayor Pro Tem Mouanoutoua made an official request to create a youth commission for engaging youth voices in the city or Clovis.

The council and a citizen spoke at length about what this youth commission would be about, consist of, and more.

Destiny De La Cruz is a budding journalist with a passion for photojournalism. As a Fresno State alumni, she earned a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication & Journalism, the Film & Media Arts option with a minor in Anthropology. She has an interest in all things film, food, literature & outdoors.