The largest crowd of the local political season showed up at the Fresno4All mayoral forum Thursday night, with 300 in attendance.

But one of the two front-runners did not appear — retired police chief Jerry Dyer.

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

Dyer’s absence wasn’t a surprise, however. Organizers didn’t even bother leaving a name card for Dyer at the table.

Officially, his campaign offered “no comment” about his whereabouts. Previously, he told the media that he was concerned about the fairness and safety of the event.

Janz and Dyer

Five candidates participated, including the other front-runner, Fresno County prosecutor Andrew Janz. They answered questions such as how to spend transportation dollars and how to fix the city’s air quality.

“There’s a candidate in this race who’s taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from developers. (Jerry Dyer is) owned by them.” — Andrew Janz 

Dyer’s absence didn’t preclude Janz from talking about him.

“I’ve been such a vocal proponent of going after slumlords, a special interest group put $50,000 into this race to defeat me,” Janz said, about the California Apartment Association’s contribution to an independent expenditure committee supporting Dyer.

Janz said he would not take money from “slumlords” and developers.

“There’s a candidate in this race who’s taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from developers. He’s owned by them,” Janz said about Dyer.

Janz also slammed Dyer, saying he refused to criticize President Donald Trump. Janz said he would stand up to Trump.

“I’m really disappointed at a certain other candidate who didn’t attend today,” Janz said in his concluding comments to applause from the crowd. “His campaign is about One Fresno and he doesn’t show up to listen to us talk about our issues.”

At a mayoral forum earlier in the week, hosted by the Fresno Rotary Club, neither man took shots at each other. There weren’t any questions about immigration either.

Respectful Crowd

The overflow crowd at St. James Episcopal Cathedral battled with audio issues from the pulpit, but behaved respectfully.

Other participants: Floyd Harris Jr., Brian Jefferson, Richard Renteria, and Nickolas Wildstar. Bill Gates did not attend.

The election is March 3, with ballots already mailed to voters.

Photo of Floyd Harris Jr., Andrew Janz, Brian jefferson, Richard Renteria, and Nickolas Wildstar at the Fresno4All forum

Left to right: Floyd Harris Jr., Andrew Janz, Brian Jefferson, Richard Renteria, and Nickolas Wildstar at Thursday’s forum (GV Wire/Jahz Tello).

$1.3 Million Approved for Senior Center

The Fresno City Council voted to allocate $6.6 million that became available in the usual budget magic that makes the money available. Higher than anticipated revenues led to the windfall, thanks to “stronger growth in development activity” which led to more planning department fees coming in.

On Wednesday, councilman Garry Bredefeld had railed against the allocation plan at a news conference he called.  He said the spending proposal for the extra funds would be “wasting” money. Bredefeld also called for directing the new funding to parks and sidewalk/street repairs.

During Thursday’s debate, Bredefeld was more gentle with his sledgehammer, supporting the plan for a seniors center near Fresno State, and restoring $1 million needed for the Darling rendering plant relocation project in southwest Fresno.

Among other things, the rest of the funds will go to the seniors center ($1.3 million), paving projects ($1.2 million), the council operating budget ($700,000), and census outreach ($250,000).

Soria’s Affordable Housing Math

Bredefeld, at one point, brought up the high cost of affordable housing, mentioning the $450,000 per unit price tag of the Blackstone/McKinley project under construction.

Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria defended the cost with her own metric.

“A lot of times, we get caught up in soundbites,” Soria responded. “If you think about the math … ($450,000) divided by 50 years … that means the 50-year affordability covenant actually cost us $8,000 (per unit). We have to think about the long game and the broader picture. … The real value is 88 families will not be homeless.”

Hollywood Loves Arballo

Phil Arballo

Phil Arballo proudly says he is not accepting contributions for corporate political action committees, which is true. But he has taken PAC money from unions.

The Democratic congressional candidate is running in the 22nd District against incumbent Devin Nunes (R-Tulare). Arballo raised $1 million in 2019; Nunes raised $7.1 million.

Arballo did receive a $772 contribution from a famous musician.

Phil Lesh, the Grateful Dead guitarist, hopes Arballo keeps truckin’ to Washington, D.C. The money came through fundraiser Act Blue.

Other Arballo donors include actress/comedienne Rosie O’Donnell ($1,000), actress Patricia Arquette ($500) and actor/comedian John Leguizamo ($216.50.)

One Response

  1. Bill Thacker

    So out of town hollyweirdos money launder into Phil Arballos account and Fresno people shouldnt question WHY they dont donate to anti drug programs fueling the nations meth vagrancy oroblems? The least they could do is donate to anti human sex slave trafficking that is an epidemic in the valley . Instead hollyweirdos fuel the drug, sex and other negatives destroying society. Hence the reason Academy Awards Show ( big joke turning into an anti American platform) was down 20% less viewers. If Hollyweirdos really care about humanity donate and give your time and money to help programs trying to rehabilitate California meth addiction and mental health or victims of sex human trafficking.
    This forum was sponsored by progressive groups who are at odds with even local traditional democrats. Soria herself felt the sting of Costa defaming her and her record.

    Like Soria and Janz , majority of these people and “funders” of local election are not from Fresno and are clueless how what and when to deal with a drug / homeless- mental health issues issuing plaguing all of California. I wouldn’t blame Dyer for not showing up one of the sponsors CAIR has one agenda and it has nothing to do with improving Fresno while not abusing the middle class taxpayers of Fresno who are burdened with all these anti- American , fringe groups that want more and more free sh*t without contributing anything to America or Fresno . They are takers not givers.
    Fresno is a great city, not perfect ..but it strives for perfection and diversity. I wouldn’t HG ave gone to this forum either uf I was Dyer. These people gate Fresno and everyone from Fresno that work for a positive balance while this group us about hatred and causing a divide in Fresno even attacking people who live in North zip codes as getting everything ( not true) they attack anyone who believes differently than them and its pointless to try and reason with an ideology based on communist socialist principals who want to destroy the middle class in Fresno and dont support our constitution.


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