MODESTO -- Modesto Mayor Ted Brandvold outlined what he calls a safer, more protected community in his State of the City address.
People living on the streets, affordable housing and the city’s safety were just a few of the issues Modesto Mayor Ted Brandvold discussed Wednesday.
"We must continue to address our homeless population with compassion," he said.
In his first ever State of the City address since he was elected in 2016, the mayor talked about the city’s accomplishments, such as increasing the police force from 168 to at least 230 officers.
"There is a noticeable difference with the police force that we now have out there on the streets," Brandvold said.
"It’s a beautiful town, especially downtown because there’s so many historic sites and the Mistlin Gallery right here. I just love it, that’s my favorite," said Modesto resident Judy Pettitt.
FOX40 asked Modesto families who fiercely defend the city what matters to them, such as the homeless encampment known now as "Moe's."
"Or think that it’s boring to live here or think that there’s nothing to do here, are just boring people," said resident Joseph Walker.
"'Tent Moe's,' I think the city should have done more planning on that," Pettit told FOX40.
"Moe's" is temporary and the mayor says a new site at The Salvation Army will be ready next year.
"We must come up with a better solution when it comes to giving handouts," Brandvold said.
Commuting is another issue.
"Get a little too congested or like the traffic’s getting worse, stuff like that," Walker said.
Brandvold said he’s been trying to entice Silicon Valley companies to move closer to the city.
"I want to find the startup companies that can’t afford the land costs over there and bring them to Modesto," he said.
Another issue the mayor says is low sales tax revenue.
"That’s been difficult for all of us and a lot of cities look to the cannabis industry that’s now legalized in the state," Brandvold said.
The Chamber of Commerce president said about half of Wednesday’s luncheon will go to the city’s Boys and Girls Club.