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This year, Valley Public Radio is doing elections coverage differently. We’re asking listeners and residents, what do you want candidates to talk about? Are you concerned about healthcare, housing, or homelessness?We put out a survey from July through October to find out. More than 150 residents throughout the San Joaquin Valley took the survey.The most concerning issue for many is how the economy will recover from COVID-19. Others identified housing and homelessness in local communities as a major issue; others were most concerned for the environment. As we interview candidates and continue our election coverage, we’ll keep these responses in mind. You can keep up with our coverage on this page, or send questions about our process to Laura Tsutsui at ltsutsui@kvpr.org.

Former Police Chief Jerry Dyer Will Be Fresno's Next Mayor

Laura Tsutsui
Valley Public Radio
Former Police Chief Jerry Dyer stood next to his wife, Dianne, as he talked about his vision as the new mayor-elect of Fresno.

Former Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer will be the city’s next mayor, according to Wednesday afternoon’s election results from Fresno County. In a press conference before City Hall Wednesday, Dyer reiterated his wish to unite the city, and create “One Fresno,” which was his campaign slogan.

In his remarks, Dyer highlighted the need to bring investment and business to the area. Dyer wasn’t specific about where he plans to prioritize development, but said the city can only be as prosperous and successful as its worst neighborhood.

“It's very easy, when you’re not living in a neighborhood that is decayed, to not be aware of the needs of other parts of the city, and it's important that we all do what’s right for the entire city,” said Dyer.  “I can tell you right now there are some neighborhoods in Fresno that at certain hours of the night closely resemble a third world country. It’s so important we do everything for those neighborhoods.”

Dyer also said he wants to act on homelessness, and develop more affordable housing. He said he hopes to take advantage of tiny homes to house people. And he said, he expects to weigh in on deciding the city’s next police chief, a position he left last year. The interim chief, Andy Hall, plans to retire in 2020.

Jerry Dyer’s bid for mayor raised criticism from some who feel the former chief prioritizes law enforcement over other issues.

Dyer was an outspoken critic of Measure P, a sales tax on the 2018 ballot that would have raised money for parks and arts. Dyer’s reasoning was that law enforcement deserves an equal boost, and he supported a competing sales tax measure. 

"The mayor of the fifth largest city in California must respect and represent all people, communities and cultures,” said Veronica Garibay, co-executive director of Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. “There is too much at stake right now, ranging from environmental justice to economic development to climate change. We hope the mayor-elect will join us."

The runner up for mayor, prosecutor Andrew Janz conceded the race in a tweet Wednesday afternoon. 

The race to represent District 4 has also been called: Tyler Maxwell, the more progressive candidate will take the seat in January, which means Dyer will face a more liberal, and younger, City Council than his predecessor Lee Brand. 

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.