With a six-figure campaign already in play to defeat Jerry Dyer for mayor, a new Fresno Chamber of Commerce political committee has been formed to help elect him.
The chamber has established an independent expenditure account backing Dyer for mayor and Nathan Alonzo for city council. The account has collected $90,000 according to filings with the city clerk.
Dyer is running against Fresno County prosecutor Andrew Janz and five other candidates for mayor. Alonzo is running against Tyler Maxwell for the District 4 seat.
Another independent expenditure committee, Rising Together – No on Dyer for Mayor 2020, previously reporting raising more than $100,000 — most of it from former Fresno Assemblyman Juan Arambula and his wife Amy — opposing Dyer’s mayoral aspirations.
Independent expenditure accounts do not have contribution limits, but they are not allowed to coordinate with candidates.
“The Chamber PAC interviewed candidates for these offices and had good conversations with everyone. We greatly respect the passion for Fresno everyone brought to the table,” Chamber President and CEO Nathan Ahle said. “However, we felt that Jerry Dyer and Nathan Alonzo most effectively addressed the issues facing Fresno and the business community in particular.”
Additional State Leaders Oppose Dyer
Two more state assemblymen have contributed to the No on Dyer campaign. Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) gave $1,000 and Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) contributed $2,500. The contributions came from their respective campaign accounts. They join Evan Low (D-Cupertino), who contributed $1,000.
All three men serve with the Arambulas’ son, Fresno Democratic Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula. Juan Arambula told GV Wire that part of his motivation for supporting the No on Dyer effort is how the former police chief treated Joaquin Arambula following his 2018 arrest on child abuse charges.
Joaquin Arambula was tried and found not guilty on a single misdemeanor count of willful cruelty to a minor.
A spokesman for Rendon’s campaign said, “The Speaker contributed to the IE because of Dyer’s disturbing ethical lapses and divisive political positions.” Rendon has contributed to other local elections in the past.
The No on Dyer campaign has produced a series of videos linking Dyer to President Donald Trump and criticizing Dyer’s management of the Fresno police department.
Dyer declined to comment for this story. Janz did not offer a comment on the IE against Dyer.
Big Money Flows to Yes on Dyer IE
“This attempt to buy this election is unsurprising given my stance on the need to hold slumlords accountable for poor living conditions and substandard housing in Fresno.” — Mayoral candidate Andrew Janz
The pro-Dyer and Alonzo independent committee received $40,000 from the Chamber’s Political Action Committee as well as $50,000 from the California Apartment Association PAC.
That doesn’t sit well with Janz.
“This attempt to buy this election is unsurprising given my stance on the need to hold slumlords accountable for poor living conditions and substandard housing in Fresno,” Janz told GV Wire via text message. “I have talked extensively about the need for better code enforcement which unfortunately frightens some in the apartment industry.”
Both the Fresno Chamber and the California Apartment Association supported the city’s rental inspection program passed by City Council in 2017.
“The Apartment Association and developers have clearly found a champion in Jerry Dyer who has publicly proclaimed that holding landlords accountable violates the Constitution. Yet another reason why I refuse to take money from developers and these types of special interest groups,” Janz said.
Alonzo formerly worked as the vice president of government affairs for the chamber of commerce.
The chamber declined to say how it planned to use the money on behalf of Dyer and Alonzo.
Big Employees Union Supports Dyer
The union representing many rank and file City Hall employees is throwing its muscle behind Dyer in the mayoral race.
The Fresno City Employees Association voted unanimously to back Dyer, who served 18 years as police chief.
“Members cited his many years of dedicated service to the police department and his experience as chief overseeing this large department during the most difficult financial times,” FCEA President Sam Frank said in a news release.
With the endorsement comes money: $4,700 from FCEA.
Dyer’s campaign also has received union endorsements from groups representing city police, firefighters, bus drivers, and professional employees.