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Fresno Mayor Brand Won’t Run Again. ‘It’s Time I Moved On’



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Lee Brand, the 25th mayor of Fresno, will not run for a second term, he said in a stunning announcement Monday.

Mayor Lee Brand Interview via KMJ

City Hall insiders have said Brand’s exit will open the way for police Chief Jerry Dyer to run for mayor. In a statement, Dyer said he is “strongly considering” entering the race.

The mayoral primary will be held March 3, 2020.

“I will not seek a second term as mayor of Fresno,” Brand said in an appearance on Ray Appleton’s show on KMJ radio. “It’s time I move on.”

Andrew Janz, who ran unsuccessfully against Rep. Devin Nunes last year, was the only announced mayoral candidate. In an exclusive GV Wire poll conducted in April, Dyer was preferred in a three-way race with Janz and Brand, with Janz a close second.

Dyer, 60, is scheduled to retire in October after 18 years as police chief. A public search for his successor is underway.

On Monday, Fresno City Councilman Luis Chavez said he would jump into the mayoral race.

“The city is at a crossroads and we need leadership that can bring all parts of our city together,” said Chavez, who represents District 5 on the council. “My almost 10 years serving residents across the city make me the most qualified candidate for mayor.”

In a statement, Janz thanked Brand for “his longstanding service and commitment to our great city.”

“It’s time that we come together as a community,” Janz said. “I look forward to sharing my vision for the city of Fresno in the coming months.”

Brand declined to say whether he would support another candidate. “At this point, I’m completely neutral. I want to focus on the things Fresno needs.”

Asked if he would be open to taking another role at Fresno City Hall, such as city manager, Brand demurred. “I want to get away from City Hall,” he said. Brand hoped to do some traveling and spending more time with his grandchildren and other family.

Brand said he tried to stay out of the “ideological civil war” in local politics and focus on issues he cared about, such as solving the city’s persistent problems of poverty, crime and homelessness.

“I hope I can be remembered as the person who started Fresno in that direction,” Brand said.

In a statement released by City Hall, Brand noted that he turned 70 in April, which “caused me to reflect on my life, my career and my time as mayor.”

“Not having the burden of re-election gives me the freedom to devote all of my energy to improving our community,” Brand said. “I will keep the ‘pedal to the metal’ until my last day in office.”

Brand was elected mayor in 2016, defeating Henry R. Perea, a member of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. Brand followed two-term Mayor Ashley Swearengin, who endorsed Brand as her successor.

Perea, reacting to the news about Brand, said: “It’s going to boil down obviously to a Janz-Dyer race. There are going to be a lot of new dynamics in play, and it’s going to shape up to be a very competitive contest.

“The message to the money folks is, if you’re not giving to both candidates, you’re not very smart.”

Before moving into the mayor’s office, Brand served two terms as a City Council member representing northeast Fresno’s District 6.

Brand is the 24th person to serve as mayor, though there have been 25 mayoral administrations. Z.S. Leymel served twice, from 1929-34 and from 1941-47.

He is the former president and co-founder of Westco Equities, a property management/construction firm he has owned and operated for 29 years.

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