The four candidates for three spots on the Clovis City Council have two things in common: They all work in law enforcement or the criminal justice system, and they are all Republican.

But, that’s where the similarities end. Three of the four are experienced incumbents in a city where turnover on the council is rare.

Stability a Clovis Hallmark

Maeketah Rivera hopes to do something that hasn’t happened in Clovis politics in 25 years — unseat an incumbent.

A sitting council member hasn’t lost a Clovis election since 1994, when Kent Hamlin — part of a slow-growth slate — defeated Dave Lawson. Hamlin is now a Fresno Superior Court judge. Lawson was implicated in the Operation Rezone scandal of the mid-1990s.

This year also marks the first election since 2009 that has a candidate challenging the incumbents. In 2017, voters went to the polls to fill two open seats. No election took place 2011-2015 because only the incumbents filed to run.

Rivera is taking on Jose Flores, Bob Whalen, and Drew Bessinger. They have served since 1999, 2003, and 2017, respectively.


The Candidates

Rivera, 28, is a community service officer with the Fresno Police Department.

Flores, 60, is the chief of the State Center Community College District police department.

Whalen, 53, is the chief deputy district attorney with Fresno County, supervising the violent crimes unit. He currently serves as Clovis’ mayor.

Bessinger, 62, retired as a Clovis police captain in 2009. He has since served as interim police chief for four Valley cities, most recently in Atwater.

This is also the last time this set of council members will be chosen in an odd-year election. Voters return to the polls in November 2022, giving this set slightly less than four-year terms. The last overall odd-year election will be 2021, when the seats currently occupied by Lynne Ashbeck and Vong Mouanoutoua are up.


GV Wire spoke with all four candidates to get their views on the March 5 election.

Click on the video above to hear the candidates talk about:

— What makes each the best candidate.

— What the “Clovis Way of Life” signifies.

— How Clovis should adjust its housing plan to accommodate an expanding population.

— Jobs and industries they want to see in Clovis.

— Should Clovis shift from at-large elections to district elections for the city council?

10 Responses

  1. Eric Lee

    Please ask Drew about his time in Atwater and how is lack of leadership has lead to the bullying of a reporter he did not like and the removal of an officer in retaliation against his mother who is an out spoken public citizen.

    • Jeanie Knight

      Eric, you have got some nerve to make those innuendos. I mean no disrespect to the officer’s family, but to your last statement, you have litterly lost your mind. How did Mr Bessinger have anything to do with the steroid use, or how did he make him beat the daylights out of Marcus Aue, to the point that he never recovered? Are you aware that Marcus committed suicide because of this whole incident. Mr. Bessinger wasn’t even around at that time. Listen to what the the Police Dept. said, a single gunshot. What do you think they were saying, that Mr. Bessinger shot him? He wasn’t even here. You say he bullied Beverly and fired a police officer, because his mother was outspoken. How dare you say such a thing and make these false accusations. Do your research Eric and tell me how I am wrong. You are just mad because he was hired instead of someone you wanted hired.

      • Fred Warchol

        The truth will set Eric Lee free. However, you won’t see any truth coming from this angry vindictive “weasel” on this site.
        Chief Bessinger is a long-time, experienced, police officer.
        When Mr. Lee tried to run his usual deceptive game on Bessinger, he failed miserably. Bessinger is no fool. So he told the real fool to take a walk.
        The accusation that Bessinger was bullying a reporter is another Eric Lee lie…. The reporter’s own editor fired her!
        The police officer that was removed by the Chief was fired by the Merced city PD. That was after he was tried in the Merced Superor Court. He was fired in Atwater for the same reason he was fired in Merced… yea his Mother was pissed.
        Here’s a good question…… Why is this Atwater clown sticking his nose in clovis’ business? Easy, evil has no bounds….

    • P. Kinsey

      If an Atwater Police officer was fired because of his mother he should then be able to file a wrongful termination suit.

      And Why was he ever hired by APD in the first place as he was on the Brady list for padding his timecards, oh that’s right his mom.

    • Jeanie Knight

      I see you have removed the part of your post about Mr. Bessinger having something to do with the death of the DP police officer. Thank you for removing the lie. I am sure if the officer that was fired by the Chief, because of his outspoken mother will file an unlawful termination suit against the City of Atwater. Time will tell the truth.

  2. Jeanie Knight

    I thought Drew Bessinger did an outstanding job when he was the Chief of Police in Atwater. I just wished he could have stayed a little longer. He is a no nonsense kind of man. Best of Luck Mr. Bessinger.

  3. Sharyn Mead

    Chief Bessinger has had a very positive impact on the Community of Atwater. We as citizens are grateful for his time here. The city of Clovis would be in great hands should Chief Bessenger be on the council.

  4. P. Kinsey

    Seems that the only real trouble Atwater has is a rat that has his tail in everyone else’s business.

    Drew Bessinger did an outstanding job here in Atwater, he stepped into a cesspool of discord and low moral, with proven leadership he managed to earn the respect of the police officers as well as the citizens.
    Good luck to all the candidates.

  5. Fred warchol

    Eric Lee is certainly on a mission to discredit Chief Bessinger and he’s doing so with outright lies. Nothing new here. He just used up all his lies in Atwater. Now it’s Clovis’ turn… Why In the world would he want in inject himself in an election in Clovis? Because he loves to spread ugly!

    • Fred Warchol

      Oh, here in Atwater, we have some malcontents who aren’t just happy trying to ruin our town, they want to do the same to Clovis.
      One of them hides behind a phony name and spews his lies with relish.
      That would be you, Mike Akers. Your fake name of T.K. Wolf never fooled anybody in Atwater. Now You you’re moving on to Clovis?
      Let the word go out. Eric Lee and his sidekick Mike Akers are trying to influence Clovis’ election….. sorry to expose you TK Wolf. (Not really.)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

We've got issues, and we're willing to share
(but only if you want them in your inbox).