There’s been a lot of local buzz lately about the city I call home: Fresno. Apparently there’s a lot of people with a lot of time on their hands who like to do these “best of”/”worst of” type news stories where they go through a bunch of meaningless statistics and then make a list of what cities suck or rock. Recently Fresno has been listed in several of these lists with less than flattering ratings.
At the same time our leaders have launched a campaign to fix the city’s image. Of course these campaigns never work because quality speaks for itself. When something is really high quality, you generally don’t have to convince people of the fact. So trying to talk big usually just makes you look like a wanna-be.
At any rate, the combination of bad press, and bad promotion has caused some bunching of panties in the community and so I thought I’d just chime in with my thoughts on the city I’ve called home for 21 years now.
First off, I didn’t grow up here. I was born in L.A., moved to the Bay Area, then moved to the north valley, and finally to Fresno 21 years ago when I got married. So I’ve seen a bit of every part of California. I’ve also done some traveling. I’ve spent time in Vegas, Dallas, Chicago, London, Brussels, and various other places. I know what a big city looks like, and Fresno is not it. We’re more like a giant suburb except the hub city is 250 miles away.
But we’re certainly not devoid of big city amenities. We have theaters, we have an orchestra, a museum, a zoo, a 20,000 seat arena, a university, casinos, up-scale clubs/restaurants/bars, a baseball team, and top tier shopping. But to be honest all these things are shy of being on the scale or quality of San Francisco or Las Vegas or Los Angeles.
But does that mean Fresno sucks? These are great features that Fresno should be proud of. I love being able to see the top music acts without driving to another city. I love being able to hit a 5 star restaurant or play some video poker without flying to Vegas. I love baseball season at Chuckchanci Park. My wife loves that we have all the biggest names in shopping right here. No it’s not Frisco, but it’s good enough. Hear that you self hating Fresno whiners? It’s good enough!
I’ll tell you some other things I dig about this town. I can go hiking in Yosemite and be home by dinner. I have a beautiful house and didn’t trade my first born for it. I can drive for 5 minutes and find myself completely surrounded by countryside. My morning commute downtown is 15 minutes long. And I freaking love Tri-Trip and real Mexican food. And lastly, I love our farming culture. I really do. And it pisses me off when people view that as something to be ashamed of.
No, the only problem with Fresno it’s inferiority complex. We’re so upset that everyone doesn’t want to be like us, as if the measure of a great town is how many people envy you for living there. What crap. We’re like the middle class Emo kid, driving mommy’s brand new Toyota while lamenting the fact that it’s not a BMW. I say Fresno needs to get over itself; Enjoy what it has, work for what it wants, but most of all, quit whining.