Charles Doud/The Madera Tribune
Newly sworn Madera Mayor Andy Medellin, and his mother, former mayor Marge Medellin, moments after she administered the oath of office to her son Wednesday night.
Andrew Medellin, 49, the new mayor of Madera, was sworn in by his mother, former Mayor Marge Medellin, in front of packed council chambers Wednesday evening. Also sworn in was newly elected council member Jose Rodriguez.
Margaret (Marge) Medellin, served the city of Madera as Mayor, beginning in 1982, for two consecutive terms and an additional four-year term, and was recognized as California’s first Latina Mayor. The two Medellins are also possibly the first and only mother and son to serve as mayors of the same city, in the history of California.
Andrew Medellin, known locally as Andy, owns and operates Andy’s Sports and Design in Madera. Medellin is Madera born and reared, has been married to Marsela for the last 26 years, and has two sons, Andrew and Adam, and a daughter, Amelie.
The mayoral position in Madera, like those of the city council, is part-time. Compensation, including health benefits averages $11,660 per year for council members, according to the California Department of Finance.
“It feels wonderful to be Mayor,” Medellin said.
He also said he was familiar with the time and sacrifices involved in the position from watching his mother serve the city.
“I am really excited. As for my plans ... New (local) job creation is key. I have served 12 years on the planning commission and five on the Madera city council. Over the last 17 years I have seen the growth, and the potential for growth, of the city of Madera. My vision? We have a wonderful opportunity right now, for (more) jobs and job creation.”
Jobs and infrastructure
In the last year the city has opened the new Freedom Business Park, near Pine and Pecan Avenues, according to Medellin.
“That has been a great investment in the infrastructure and in the city. We just started with our first tenant there, the Deerpoint Group from Fresno, and created at least 100 jobs for the city of Madera. We have lots of potential for other projects just like that. We are working towards and have the opportunities to build spec (speculation) buildings to bring new companies from the state of California, or even nationwide, to move to Madera.” Medellin said.
“Education is also a cornerstone for Madera,” Medellin said. “I have worked over the past five years with Madera Unified (school district) and its trustees and Superintendent Gonzalez. I am very supportive of their CTE, their Career Technical Education programs. Not every student is going to be able to go to a four-year college, but they have wonderful talents and are willing to work. These students are getting trained and certified in welding, plumbing (and other skilled trades) and are working locally in good jobs and careers. It’s been a wonderful and highly successful program that I certainly support,”
“But I know my number one priority is public safety. It has been since I have run for city council,” he said.
The passing of Measure K, the recent sales-tax measure aimed at funding improvements in local police and fire staffing ,” was very gratifying for Medellin, he said.
“The (public safety) measure K passed overwhelmingly ... by 80 or 81 per cent. That really speaks volumes. The key word is (public) trust.” he said.
Medellin said it was nice to know the voters have placed their trust in the city leadership, and the city council to use the funding responsibly and wisely.
“Nobody’s perfect... But the outreach to the community has been incredible these last four years through things like the neighborhood watch. I love neighborhood watch ... It’s great to speak with residents one on one, in their neighborhoods. There is no better information than that,” said Medellin.
Medellin said he was also aware of several important projects that were in the initial planning stages for Madera, but until those projects were confirmed he would not be able to publically comment on any of them.
“The biggest one is probably the casino (planned for Avenue 17 and SR 99 corridor). It’s still on paper and yet to move dirt. I am a proponent of the casino because of the jobs in the city and the county. (The potential is) just incredible,” he said. “There is still some local negotiating to come but it’s going well. I am confident we will have a casino here in Madera ... possibly within the next two years. It’s a game changer,” Medellin said
Amtrak under way soon
“The expansion of the Amtrak station on Road 26: That’s another game-changer for Madera,” he said, “because out-of-area residents can live in Madera, or Maderans can commute to other areas for employment.
The Madera Travel Center
The Love’s Travel Center, is another beneficial and exciting project, he said.
Medellin said he was aware and had heard the comments from the public about the lack of local restaurants and lack of shopping or retail choices in Madera.
Rest assured city staff and public officials are working diligently to deliver new development to Madera, Medellin acknowledged.
“There are some great things and projects to come. We have a great city staff, city council and some new (council) folks ready to work hard,” Medellin said
No recreational marijuana
However, Medellin said, the recent passing of the recreational marijuana bill was not something he could support. ”I am not a proponent. It’s still against federal law. The local voters of Madera are also not in favor — it did not pass here. I do not feel recreational use is that simple. I am very concerned about people considering recreational use and then getting behind the wheel (of a vehicle) impaired.”
Currently there is no permitted or legal growing of recreational marijuana allowed within the city, Medellin said.
“The city will be reviewing its (marijuana) policies. I absolutely feel it’s a gateway drug. I have seen it turn into a gateway drug. There is a long way to go with recreational marijuana. (Legitimate) Medical marijuana use is different,” he said.
Medellin encouraged residents to attend the twice monthly evening meetings of the Madera City Council and participate in their communities and their government. The Madera city council meets the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 6 p.m. City Hall is located at 205 west Fourth Street in Madera.