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County Hired Convicted Murderer in 2015. Dictos Says Hires Now Must Pass Background Checks.



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Fresno County Assessor-Recorder Paul Dictos says he does not want another Tony Amundson situation.

Politics 101

David Taub

Amundson is an appraiser working for Dictos. Amundson has murder and assault convictions in his long-ago past that went unnoticed because no one bothered to ask before he was hired in 2015. They came to light only because he’s running for assessor-recorder in Mariposa County, where he lives. His past was uncovered through the reporting of Mariposa Gazette Editor Greg Little.

Because Amundson never hid his convictions on his application, the county can’t bounce him. He continues to work in the department.

Dictos wants to make sure that never happens again. He told GV Wire that future hires will be required to pass a relevant background check and provide a consumer credit history. That wasn’t required before. Now it is.

Under “Ban the Box” legislation, such requests cannot be made in the preliminary job applications. Dictos included it in a recent letter to finalists for the business manager position in his office.

Dictos says he wants every county assessor-recorder in the state to require such checks. He is considering asking the county to lobby state legislators for such a law.

Clovis Hears Housing Report

As reported in Politics 101 last month, the Clovis City Council will receive its official Housing Element Annual Performance Report. While the city is meeting state goals for moderate-income homes, there is a shortfall of low- and very-low income homes by 3,441 units.

The state-mandated report requires that cities plan for affordable housing. Failing to do so could cost them millions of dollars in grants.

The number of affordable homes has been declining in Clovis the last few years. In the staff report accompanying the performance review, “the Consultants estimated that 47 percent of single-family homes built in 2015 were affordable to moderate-income households; 36 percent were affordable in 2016; and 32 percent were affordable in 2017.”

The city says that over the past two years it has provided incentives “to either create or preserve 218 units of affordable housing.”

Also at Clovis Council

-The council will vote on raising certain building planning fees, specifically raising the hourly rate for the use of geotechnical engineers. Their rate will raise from $95 an hour to $115. This would be the first adjustment with that rate since 2006. The Building Industry of America has signed off on the change.

Geotechnical engineers survey land and check for the quality of the soil.

According to Andy Haussler, the city’s Community and Economic Development Director, it would not affect regular planning fees or building permit prices.

-The city will also receive the Parks Master Plan. Generally, people like parks and Clovis provides 81 parks within city limits. Among the improvements the park system needs: more lighting, more parks in the southwestern part of the city, and a dog park.

County to Support Crime Initiative

After the Fresno and Clovis city councils gave unanimous support to the Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors will have their chance Tuesday (April 17).

The initiative, slated for the November ballot, would redefine certain crimes from misdemeanors to felonies. The goal is to reverse some of the effects of Prop. 47/Prop. 57 and AB 109.

It is supported by District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, Sheriff Margaret Mims and Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) among others.

Locals on Governor’s Census Committee

Jesus Martinez (image: CVIIC)

Margie Mejia


Gov. Jerry Brown appointed 25 members to a new California Complete Count Committee, designed to guide the state’s outreach for the 2020 census. The group includes two from the Valley.

The group includes 21 registered Democrats, two Republicans and two no party preference registered voters.

Locally, Brown appointed Jesus Martinez of Clovis and Margie Mejia of Atwater, both Democrats.

Martinez is the chairman and founder of the Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative, an immigrant advocacy group.

Mejia is the chairwoman of the Lytton Rancheria, a federally recognized Indian tribe that operates the San Pablo Casino.

Other Gov Appointments

Gov. Brown also re-appointed Fresno City College President Carole Goldsmith to the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, where she has served since 2012.

Brown appointed Joanne Pacheco of Fresno to the Dental Board of California. According to a news release, she has been director of the Dental Hygiene Program at Fresno City College since 2017.

District 3 Debate Thursday

GV Wire, Fresno’s Leading Young Professionals (FLYP) and CMAC will hold a forum with four candidates running for Fresno City Council, District 3. Daren Miller, Miguel Arias, Craig Scharton and Tate Hill will participate in the event.

GV Wire’s Bill McEwen will moderate. I will serve as one of the panelists.

Join us Thursday night (April 19), 6 p.m. at Westside Church (1422 W. California Ave. in Fresno).

The event will also be broadcast live on CMAC (online, ch. 96 on Comcast/Xfinity; ch. 99 AT&T).

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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