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Lack of Competitive Fresno Judicial Races Lightens the 2024 Ballot



12 incumbent Fresno County judges will run uncontested. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)
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All 12 Fresno County Superior Court judges up for re-election have filed to run again. And, no one filed to run against them.

Because there will not be a contested election, by state law, none of the judges’ names will appear on the ballot. They will be automatically re-elected. Technically, the filing period closes on Dec. 8, but for judges, the declaration of intention period already expired.

Six of the judges are facing the election process for the first time, having been appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in either 2022 or 2023.

Judicial terms are six years. If there is a vacancy — usually by retirement — then the governor makes an appointment. The appointed judge would then be up for re-election the election after the second January of the vacancy (i.e. if a seat is vacated in 2022, the next election would be 2024).

The last competitive judicial election in Fresno County was 2020, when former Fresno District Attorney Elizabeth Egan defeated senior deputy DA Douglas Treisman for an open seat.

There are 47 judgeships in Fresno County, with two vacancies. Jon Kapetan and Timothy Kams retired earlier this year. Newsom would have the right to make those appointments. Neither would be filled in this election cycle since only one January 1 has passed.

(GV Wire/David Rodriguez)

Also in Politics 101

  • Who pulled papers for other races.
  • How the Fresno supervisor, mayor and council races are shaping.
  • Mobile home park residents win a rent fight.
  • Dyer cracks down on graffiti.

Other Local Races

Candidates for all races — federal, state and local — have until Dec. 8 to file with the county clerk to run. If the incumbent is not running, there is a five-day extension.

Some potential candidates of note for Fresno-area races — Fresno City Councilman Nelson Esparza pulled papers to run again for the Fresno County Democratic Central Committee, District 3. So did his partner, Sandra Garcia. She also serves as a staffer for Congressman Jim Costa, D-Fresno.

They would not necessarily be running against each other. Democratic voters who live in the district (south Fresno and surrounding areas, corresponding with the county supervisorial district), can vote for up to four candidates. Seven have pulled papers so far.

The Republican Central Committee District 5 (parts of Fresno, Clovis and the mountain communities) race also looks to be competitive. Eleven candidates have pulled papers for seven spots.

Supervisor and Council Races

There are three county supervisor races on the ballot. Each incumbent has drawn a challenger.

In District 2 (north Fresno and parts of Clovis), incumbent Steve Brandau is set to face Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld; elected county Assessor-Recorder Paul Dictos; and a fourth who pulled papers, Dion Bourdase.

Incumbent Sal Quintero faces two Fresno city councilmen in the District 3 (south Fresno and surrounding areas) race. Miguel Arias and Luis Chavez are running. So is educator E.J. Hinojosa.

Nathan Magsig has drawn a challenger for District 5 (parts of Clovis and Fresno, and the mountain communities). Mary Helen Lopez took papers out to run.

Candidates also have to file separate paperwork to fundraise with various government agencies. And as a reminder, just because a candidate pulls paperwork, it only counts if it is returned by the deadline.

In the city of Fresno, Mayor Jerry Dyer has two little-known challengers who pulled papers — James Barr and Samantha Rosalie Dussell.

Three city council seats are up for election. In District 2 (northwest Fresno), incumbent Mike Karbassi has drawn one challenger, Matthew Gillian.

District 4 (east-central Fresno) incumbent Tyler Maxwell has not pulled papers, but is expected to run. He has not drawn an opponent.

District 6 (northeast Fresno) is the only open race, with incumbent Garry Bredefeld termed out.

Among those pulling papers or filing to raise funds include attorney Roger Bonakdar, banker Raj Sodhi-Layne, businessman Nikolas Richardson, and Molly Fagundes-Johnston.

Also of note, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, pulled papers for re-election in Kern County. His district represents parts of Fresno and Clovis.

Minimum Rent Hike for La Hacienda Residents

Residents of La Hacienda mobile home park won a bit of a reprieve, when a city of Fresno commission only approved a 6.6% rent hike.

Harmony Communities took over the troubled park in northeast Fresno in 2022. But, several residents said they were no better than the previous landlords.

Tuesday night, the Mobilehome Park Rent Review and Stabilization Commission decided whether to approve the minimum raise allowed by law, $24.92 (6.6%) a month, or  the $350 monthly hike that Harmony requested. That would raise the rent for many residents by 93%.

Matt Davies, with Harmony, spoke to the commission via Zoom.

“If I’m going to stay in business, I need to obtain a fair return. A fair return. I need to at least be able to pay the bills and keep the lights on and make a little something for the $1.7 million we invested,” Davies said.

He said Harmony “is on track to close down in August,” saying it his right.

By a 4-0 vote, the commission went with the $24.92 raise in rent.

A Fresno commission approved a minimum rate hike for La Hacienda residents. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Fresno Unveils New Graffiti Truck

The city of Fresno has a new tool to fight graffiti.

Tuesday, Mayor Jerry Dyer showed off a new bucket truck for the city’s graffiti abatement team to fight the visual scourge. The $192,000 truck — bought on the used market — has a large extension bucket, like a PG&E truck, to paint over hard-to-reach places.

By the end of the year, Dyer says the graffiti removal team will have 16 members, and will work seven days a week.

“I think (that) clearly demonstrates that we will not tolerate graffiti in the city of Fresno,” Dyer said.

The city receives about 31,000 calls for service to remove graffiti, Dyer said. This year, the city removed 2.8 million square feet.

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