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Dyer Calls Tower Theatre Protests ‘Not Healthy’ for Fresno



The protest and counterdemonstration on March 21 at the Tower Theatre. (GV Wire/David Taub)
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For 41 weeks, protesters have gathered every Sunday morning outside the Tower Theatre, protesting its sale to Adventure Church.

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David Taub

Politics 101

At times, the vitriol between the demonstrators and counter-protesters had been so strong, police had to intervene. For weeks, the groups were constrained to different street corners, blocked by railings.

The continuing demonstrations have included the right-wing extremist Proud Boys and the radical pro-Chicano Brown Berets, and other extremists That’s a concern, Dyer said.

“(What) we definitely don’t want to do is to have the ongoing disputes that are occurring out there on Sundays. They’re not healthy for that community and not healthy for us as a city. We gained a lot of negative notoriety as a result,” Dyer said.

The Tower Theatre owners are attempting to sell the area landmark and surrounding property to Adventure Church. That sale is tied up in court.

Also in Politics 101: 

  • Dyer reacts to Tower inspection court win.
  • City holds redistricting meetings.
  • Assemblyman fined for lodging with a former staffer.
  • SCCCD race heats up.
  • GOP activist passes away.

Dyer Reacts to Tower Inspection Case

Mayor Jerry Dyer said eminent domain is not yet an option for the city with the privately-owned Tower Theatre.

“I think that’s probably a discussion that needs to occur in (city council) closed session should it occur and with attorneys. I don’t want to go out publicly and say we’re going to pursue that path. But I can tell you that our ultimate goal is to make sure that the Tower retains its uniqueness as a Tower community, while at the same time making sure that we have a peaceful community out there right now on Sundays. We don’t.”

This week, a Fresno County judge granted the city’s request to inspect the theater to conduct an appraisal and make sure the theater’s historic nature is preserved.

In court paperwork, the city says eminent domain is a possibility to take the theater and/or its adjacent parking lot.

Fresno Redistricting Tripleheader on Saturday

With two months until a final redistricting map needs to be decided, the city of Fresno will hold three workshops on Saturday for the public to weigh in.

They take place: 10 a.m. at Hoover High School (5550 N. First St.); 2 p.m. at Fresno City College; and 6 p.m. at Fresno City Hall chambers (2600 Fresno St.).

More details on upcoming meetings can be found here.

Redistricting is part of the every-10-years process tied to the census to redraw the seven city council districts. Other jurisdictions such as Fresno County and school boards have their own redistricting processes.

The city council must approve a final map by Dec. 15.

Assemblyman Fined for Lodging with Former Staffer

portrait of Devon Mathis

Assemblyman Devon Mathis

Was Assemblyman Devon Mathis a bad houseguest?

The Fair Political Practices Commission, the state agency enforcing fundraising, said Mathis, R-Visalia, failed to report the fact that he lodged free-of-charge for six months at the Sacramento home of his former chief-of-staff Sean Doherty.

That is considered a gift, and legislators are only allowed to accept a value of $460 a year from a single source. Mathis is also accused of not reporting the free lodging on his annual statement of economic interests.

The FPPC valued Mathis’ free lodging from March-August 2016 at $2,294 (62 nights at what was valued at $37 a night).

Mathis agreed to a $5,500 penalty. He did not respond to Politics 101’s request for comment.

Three File to Run for SCCCD Seat

There could be a vacancy next year for the State Center Community College District trustee board. Three candidates have already lined up.

Current trustee Annalisa Perea represents parts of central, west, and southwest Fresno on the board that sets policy for the community colleges in the area. She is running for Fresno City Council in 2022.

In anticipation of the vacancy, Destiny Rodriguez, Gilbert Felix, and Heather Brown have applied to run.

Rodriguez, 39, works for the nonprofit The Climate Center. She has lived in Fresno most of her life, graduating from Fresno City College and Fresno State.

I feel that education is very crucial in elevating opportunities for young people and for people of all ages so that we can create greater economic prosperity here in Fresno for our Fresno economy to thrive,” Rodriguez said.

Felix, 31, is a former staffer for Congressman TJ Cox. He currently serves as an outreach manager for the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service

“I want to serve the district that helped me become the first in my family to earn a college degree,”  said Felix, a Fresno City College and Fresno State grad, about his motivation to run. “Community colleges will play a key role in our economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brown works for the Fresno Economic Opportunity Commission as the chief administrative officer. She did not provide a comment.

The SCCCD election is in November 2022. The primary for Fresno City Council is June 7. There is always a chance that Perea jumps back into the SCCCD race if she does not advance in the city council election.

SCCCD candidates Gilbert Felix (left), Destiny Rodriguez, and Heather Brown (GV Wire Composite/Jahz Tello)

Lupe Espinoza Passes Away

Lupe Espinoza

Politics 101 has learned that Fresno County Republican activist Lupe Espinoza recently passed away after an illness. She ran unsuccessfully against Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, in 2018.

“It was a shock to all who knew her. She was very well-loved and respected,” Fresno County Republican Party chairman Fred Vanderhoof said. “She was a strong advocate for conservative principles, but she also spoke the truth in a determined and respectful manner.”

Espinoza is survived by her young son.

We offer our condolences to her family.

David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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