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Field of Clovis Council Hopefuls Grows. Here's the Latest List
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 2 years ago on
August 3, 2022

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An argument can be made that the most rambunctious thing about Clovis is the annual rodeo.

Could its sleepy political scene follow?

Voters rarely have the chance to elect a new councilmember. With no term limits, once a city councilmember is elected, they tend to stay for decades. In November, three positions are on the same at-large ballot. There are two open seats.

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

Only one incumbent is running, Drew Bessinger. Current councilmen Jose Flores and Bob Whalen are not running for re-election. Flores says he is stepping down when his term expires in December; Whalen was elected as Fresno County Superior Court judge in June.

An incumbent has not lost a re-election since 1994 (Dave Lawson).

Seven others have pulled papers to run, including police chief Matt Basgall.

Local Republican leader Diane Pearce also filed to run. She ran in 2021, missing the cut for election. She finished in third with 36% behind Vong Mouanoutoua (54%) and Lynne Ashbeck (53%). Pearce has been a frequent commentator on TV, radio and print.

A newcomer considering running is Josh Phanco, a 45-year old insurance agent. Born and raised in Fresno, Phanco also worked in sports marketing for the Fresno Grizzlies.

Bessinger and Basgall are Republicans. Phanco is no party preference.

Why might this matter? Of the city’s 73,000 registered voters, 44% are Republican; 30% are Democrat, and 18% are no party preference.

Others who have pulled papers include:

  • Michael Stewart
  • Martin Salas
  • Carlos G. Mendoza
  • Guy Redner

One name not on the list is Mason Magsig, the 18-year-old son of former councilman and current Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig. Mason tells Politics 101 he wants to run one day, just not in 2022.

The deadline to file, with an incumbent not running, is Aug. 17.

Some who have filed to run for Clovis City Council, from left to right: Drew Bessinger, Matt Basgall, Diane Pearce, Josh Phanco. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

Also in Politics 101 …

  • Jim Patterson is not running unopposed, after all.
  • No late last call for Fresno, after all.
  • Elected official resigns because he moves.
  • Law firms merge in Fresno.

Patterson Has Opponent in November

Tom Nichols

It turns out Jim Patterson will have an election opponent after all.

Patterson, R-Fresno, was the only name on the June primary ballot. Tom Nichols, Libertarian-Squaw Valley, qualified as a write-in, garnering 15 votes in Assembly District 8. The district stretches across seven counties, with most voters in Fresno.

Financial records show Patterson has $507,860 cash on hand; Nichols has not filed his fundraising forms. If Patterson wins, he will serve his sixth and final term in Sacramento before reaching his statutory limit.

Nichols told CalMatters he wants “to raise the issues he sees in his local community, especially the increased cost of living due to fire threats – specifically, homeowner and property insurance.”

Fresno No Longer Part of 4 a.m. Last Call Bill

Last call will remain at 2 a.m. in Fresno. A bill currently being debated in Sacramento would allow seven pilot cities, including Fresno, to set rules allowing drinking establishments to extend their closing time to 4 a.m.

After an outcry from an unusual Fresno City Council alliance of Garry Bredefeld, Miguel Arias and Tyler Maxwell, Fresno will no longer participate.

“This effort to keep Fresno bars open until 4am from 2am is reckless and dangerous and @FresnoPolice will be burdened. That’s why I, along with @Maxwell4Fresno and @MiguelArias_D3 are bringing a Council resolution forward on 8/11 opposing this stupidity,” Bredefeld wrote on Twitter.

Mayor Jerry Dyer apparently heard the message.

“Given recent anxiety on a local level related to potential unintended consequences of SB 930, I cannot let a divisive debate on this issue disrupt Fresno’s positive momentum on so many fronts — including our growing Downton Fulton entertainment district, the small area that could have benefited under your bill,” Dyer wrote to the bill’s author, Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.

Wiener’s office confirms to Politics 101 that Fresno will be removed when the bill is is heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Aug. 11.

Read Dyer’s Letter

Mackey Resigns from Pinedale Position

Tyler Mackey

Tyler Mackey is no longer an elected member of the Pinedale County Water District. He resigned in May from the agency that provides water and sewer services to 16,000 residents in north Fresno.

“Last month (in April), I moved out of the district and am no longer qualified to serve as a board member. It has been an honor to serve and I wish you all and the district the best of luck going forward,” Mackey wrote to the board in May.

The board appointed Alex Valdez to the vacancy.

Mackey is best known as the leader of the Tower District Marketing Committee.

Fresno Law Firms Merge

Two prominent Fresno lawyers are merging their firm with another outfit.

Betts & Rubin will now be part of Whitney, Thompson & Jeffcoach, the firms announced in a news release. That means Jim Betts and Joe Rubin will now be working for WTJ.

“They will be assets to our team due to their experience and expertise,” WTJ partner Kristi Marshall said in a news release. “We value their deep-rooted, well-deserved respect earned in the legal community.”

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
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

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