Is This Campaign Ad Racist? Or Does It Just Call a Candidate Corrupt? - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Is This Campaign Ad Racist? Or Does It Just Call a Candidate Corrupt?



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The incumbent in a race for a college trustee seat says a campaign attack ad against him, mailed to voters, is racist.

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

The flyer in question depicts Eric Payne, who is Black and is running for his third term on the State Center Community College District board, in less than flattering pictures and brings up less than flattering moments in his career.

“The entire piece was improper and racist in nature,” Payne tells Politics 101.

Created by Conservative Political Organization

Created by local conservative group Common Sense Information — chaired by political activist Tal Cloud — the flyer criticizes Payne for a $54,000 state fine for campaign finance violations, using a district credit card to pay his PG&E bill, and improperly using a disabled placard to park.

It also includes a photos of Payne in an orange shirt, which could be interpreted as a prison outfit.

Cloud denies Payne’s allegations of racism.

“That’s a typical cheap shot that a politician makes when they can’t defend the fact their record that shows they are corrupt,” Cloud said. “I don’t think it’s racist. I think his record is his problem.”

Cloud is calling for a criminal investigation into Payne.

Regarding the allegations made, Payne called them misleading and dishonest but would not elaborate. He called Cloud “a very dishonest man.”

For the record, Cloud is not part of the formal county Republican Party.

Payne is in a race against challengers Sevag Tateosian and Nasreen Johnson.

Also in Politics 101: 

  • Update on Fresno police chief search.
  • GOP activist Pearce running for Clovis City Council.
  • Fresno City Council discusses liquor store ordinance
  • Updated budget schedule for Fresno.

Salazar Promoted to Deputy Chief. Police Chief Next?

Capt. Mark Salazar received a promotion with the Fresno Police Department and is now a deputy chief as of September 11.

Does this provide a signal on whether he be selected as the next police chief?

Salazar has been the only potential candidate who has been public about applying. The city has been quiet on the subject.

Sources tell Politics 101 that interviews will happen next Thursday and Friday via Zoom.

Current chief Andy Hall is scheduled for mandatory retirement next spring. The new chief will selected by Mayor Lee Brand in conjunction with Mayor-elect Jerry Dyer — who held the position prior to Hall.

Pearce Running for Council

Diane Pearce

The usually stable Clovis City Council will have some serious competition next year.

Diane Pearce, president of the Fresno County & City Republican Women Federated, announced she will run in the March 2021 election.

Two council seats are up in the at-large election. Incumbents Lynne Ashbeck and Vong Mouanoutoua both say they will stand for re-election and welcome the competition.

The window to file to run opens November 9. This will also be the last odd-year election in Clovis. The city will move to even-year elections starting November 2022. Thus, the winners in the March election will serve less than four years.

The last two open seats in Clovis — both in 2017 — were because of a death (Harry Armstrong) and promotion — voters elected Nathan Magsig to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. It has been decades since an incumbent lost an election in the city.

Ashbeck has been a council member for 20 years, winning her first election in 2001. Mouanoutoua is completing his first term.

Fresno Council Discusses Liquor Store Ordinance

The effort to reduce liquor stores in the city of Fresno is still a work in progress, even though its been years in the making.

The Fresno City Council debated the Responsible Neighborhood Market Act at Thursday’s meeting, the goal council president and bill author Miguel Arias said was to reduce blight and saturation.

Members of the convenience store industry disagreed whether the effort to cap licenses was good for the city.

Andy Chhikara, leader of the local chapter of industry group American Petroleum and Convenience Store Association (APCA) supported the act.

“We are not experts on what the city needs to do. We are an expert of our industry and how to solve problems of the city with a bunch of these changes. We are supporting it as whatever it takes from our side and city council,” Chhikara said via Zoom.

The city should enforce laws already on the books instead, said George Beal, who operates several Johnny Quik Food Stores in town.

“I think everybody tries to do something new and they already have the tools to do it,” Beal said.

Darius Assemi, president and CEO of Granville Homes (and publisher of GV Wire), asked for changes to the current act.

Arias presented information to the council that the city is oversaturated with alcohol sellers. While state law calls for a ratio of one license for every, 2,500 residents, Fresno has nearly double that number, with even more concentration in certain parts of town. In south Fresno, the ratio is one license for every 500 residents, Arias said.

The measure would also create a nine-member board to oversee the act.

The council plans a final vote on Oct. 15. Arias said the act’s language could still change until then.

Fresno Budget Update

Arias announced the schedule to adopt a city budget for next year. Usually, the budget is completed in June. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city council enacted an extension of the Fiscal Year 2020 budget at the request of Mayor Lee Brand.

The revised budget will be released by October 2, with council deliberations to start October 12.

The schedule:
Oct. 12 — Hearings on general fund, airport, FAX, convention center, public works, public utilities.

Oct. 13 — information services, personnel, finance, police, fire.

Oct. 14 — parks, planning and development, city clerk, city attorney, mayor/city manager, city council.

Oct. 15 — department presentations not completed the prior three days.

Oct. 20— budget motions.

Oct. 22 — final budget votes.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email