Commission tables procession request

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Sean Ferreira had a vision of honoring God with a procession down Main and Mitchell streets on a Friday evening in August.

Clovis City Commissioners had visions of restricted emergency access, traffic inconvenience and noise complaints in the city’s residential areas. They tabled Ferreira’s request until Aug. 6.

The commission quickly approved the fiscal budget of $67.5 million, but spent more than 30 minutes talking with Ferreira about a vision that came to him while he was sitting at home, listening to worship music.

The Clovis Jump Up, which Ferreira tentatively scheduled for 4-9 p.m. Aug. 28, would feature a trailer full of audio equipment playing worship music. A crowd would follow the trailer along a clockwise route from the 900 blocks to the 1300 blocks of Main and Mitchell streets.

“This is not to up church attendance,” Ferreira said. “There will not be a preacher. There will not be an altar call. What I want is for God to look down and see all of his children worshipping him.”

Commission members said they didn’t want to stand in the way of Ferreira’s idea, but had concerns about the timing and location of the event.

Commissioner Fred Van Soelen asked why he selected a route in the middle of the city, particularly during one of the busiest times for traffic — Friday afternoon to evening.

Ferreira said there would be a stoppage from 4:30-5:30 p.m. for people to get home from work, but the time and location were tantamount.

“I want this to be central,” Ferreira said. “I want it to be something people can’t ignore.”

Mayor Pro Tem Randy Crowder said he heard that statement to mean the volume of the music would be high.

Mike Ingram of the Clovis Police Department said residents already call the department for noise violations from an ice cream truck that drives by for a few seconds, as opposed to a five-hour traveling musical event.

Ingram and Clovis Fire Chief Ray Westerman said Ferreira has spoken with them on many occasions regarding the event and is trying to alleviate their concerns over noise and access to Main and Mitchell — key artery roads for emergency routes.

Ferreira said he’s raised $1,000 of the approximate $5,000 he needs through his own checkbook, but sponsors aren’t willing to sign on without city commission approval.

Commissioner Bobby Sandoval moved to table the item, saying he wanted the public to have more time to respond to such an event. He noted the huge inconvenience such an event would provide to dissenters, even if they were in the minority.

“We don’t have the luxury of looking at this solely through your eyes,” Sandoval said.

Ferreira was offered alternatives like Ned Houk Park or the interior of Greene Acres Park. Ferreira said he’d be happy to do the event at Greene Acres with the proper street closures, but he insisted on the need for public roadways to honor God.

“You can’t change a vision,” Ferreira said.

Regarding the budget, Chief Financial Officer Don Clifton said it was in line with last year’s $59.8 million budget, with increases largely stemming from $6.5 million in special state funds to replace the Hull Street Overpass.

Mayor Gayla Brumfield said the budget was a combination of discipline from the city departments and solid gross receipt tax revenues she hoped would continue.