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Politics 101

Where Do Dyer and Smittcamp Stand in Fresno Sheriff’s Race?



Fresno County DA Lisa Smittcamp, left, and Fresno Mayor Jerry, far right, have yet to endorse in the sheriff's race between Mark Salazar, center left, and John Zanoni. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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John Zanoni and Mark Salazar continue to campaign and fundraise to become Fresno County’s next sheriff.

While both are building endorsement lists, three nods could turn the race. Sheriff Margaret Mims, who is retiring and not running for re-election, is backing Zanoni, the assistant sheriff.

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David Taub

Politics 101

Meanwhile, Fresno’s two other law enforcement heavyweights are notable for their silence.

Jerry Dyer, the longtime police chief and current mayor of Fresno, says he is staying neutral for now. He was once the boss of Salazar, who has risen through the ranks to become Fresno’s deputy police chief.

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp also is taking a wait-and-see approach to the race.

“I am watching the race closely and have not endorsed either candidate at this time,” she texted Politics 101.

Both candidates held fundraisers recently. Salazar hosted a meet and greet with about 50 people Thursday at the Quail State rooftop bar in downtown Fresno. Zanoni held a fundraiser the day before at a private home in Fresno.

The only thing that could stop either Zanoni or Salazar from becoming sheriff-elect after the close of the June 7 election would be a write-in candidate who prevents the top vote-getter from getting more than 50% of the vote.

Also in Politics 101

— Fresno Chamber of Commerce PAC Endorses Magsig, Karbassi, Zanoni, Renteria.

— City successful in second marijuana retail lawsuit in a row.

— Fresno seeks public comment on housing plan.

Magsig, Karbassi, Zanoni, Renteria Get Chamber Backing

Speaking of endorsements, the Fresno Chamber of Commerce’s Political Action Committee has released its list for local races.

In the District 5 election for the House of Representatives, the chamber’s PAC is putting its muscle behind Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig. He is up against veteran House member Tom McClintock, a Roseville Republican, and Fresno Democrat Lourin Hubbard.

In Assembly District 27, Fresno City Councilman and small business owner Mike Karbassi got the chamber’s nod over fellow Democrat and Fresno councilmember Esmeralda Soria.

“As a small business owner, earning the chamber’s endorsement is a special honor. We need moderate voices in Sacramento to fight for local businesses and bring our hard-earned tax dollars back to the Valley,” Karbassi said in a news release issued by the chamber’s PAC.

Zanoni is the chamber’s choice in the sheriff’s race.

“I was born and raised in Fresno and I am proud of this community and that is why I have chosen to live here, raise my family here and my goal as sheriff of Fresno County is to make this a safer place for everyone,” Zanoni said.

And, in the Fresno High area school trustee election, Daniel Renteria received the endorsement over Russ Allen, Andy Levine, and Andrew Fabela. Voting in this race is underway and wraps up April 12. The four are vying to serve the remaining two-plus years of the term of longtime Fresno Unified Trustee Carol Mills, who died last July.

The chamber PAC issued its first round of endorsements on March 22. You can check them out at this link.

City Prevails Again in Marijuana Lawsuit

The city of Fresno prevailed again in a lawsuit filed over the awarding of marijuana retail licenses.

Judge Gabriel Brickey denied an order to prevent current licensees from opening that was filed by Catalyst-Fresno LLC.

Catalyst believes it was unfairly denied a license in northwest Fresno. It filed a lawsuit, asking the judge to halt any competitor in District 1 from opening, namely Authentic 559, LLC. The city’s marijuana code allows for three retail licenses in each of the seven council districts.

“The court is not persuaded that any bodily harm as been done,” Brickey wrote in a brief minute order on March 29. Although the preliminary injunction was denied, the lawsuit remains alive to be fully heard by a judge.

Last week, a judge denied a similar request from Perfect Union. Both retailers failed to win one of 20 licenses awarded by the city.

The first marijuana, The Artist Tree, is scheduled to open later this month in north Fresno.

Fresno Seeks Public Comment on Housing Plan

The city of Fresno is seeking public comment on its housing plan, poignant given the Trails End mobile home park situation in the news.

Technically known as the annual action plan, the period continues through April 19. More information on the plan and how to leave a comment can be found here.


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