Two weeks after Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer touted the potential for a quarter-billion dollars to flow into the city’s still sluggish downtown revitalization courtesy of a new draft of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget, he’s catching flak for not doing enough from one of his own predecessors.
Sunday, former Fresno Mayor Alan Autry – excoriated Dyer for failing to fight hard enough for a fair share of resources from Sacramento.
The backstory: Autry, who served as Mayor of Fresno from 2001 through 2009, has lengthy ties to Dyer, most notably as placing Dyer on the trajectory to one day serve as Mayor.
- In mid-2001, Autry appointed Dyer as Chief of Police, succeeding then-Chief Ed Winchester.
Inside the hot take: Appearing on KSEE 24’s Sunday Morning Matters on Sunday, Autry and GV Wire editor Bill McEwen discussed the proposed $250 million budget appropriation for Fresno’s downtown revitalization in Newsom’s May revision to the 2023-2024 budget.
- Addressing Autry, show host Alexan Balekian remarked that he expected the $250 million to sail through the budget, despite lingering deficit worries and multi-billion-dollar cuts to higher priority budget categories.
- Autry first noted that he focused Fresno’s downtown revitalization efforts on strengthening Kern Street, with the completion of the city’s new Convention Center at one end of the street and Grizzlies Stadium (now Chukchansi Park) at the other end.
- Autry then turned to the proposed appropriation in Newsom’s May Revise for Fresno’s downtown revitalization.
- “I’ve fought this battle for eight years, don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining,” the former Mayor said. “$250 million is nothing to that budget. We have always gotten the crumbs from the state.”
- “And this Mayor, I love him like a brother, but he is reluctant to fight the good fight for this city on anything,” Autry said. “He’s thinking ‘I’m gonna stand next to the Governor and I’m gonna say good things about him while he runs for President and I’m gonna be the one Republican’ – and that’s why it appears with our Mayor now going just like he’s a little puppy dog at the table wanting to get the scraps.”
The other side: Balekian countered, offering an alternative take, arguing that possibly Newsom has a “political man crush” on Dyer, noting that Dyer – along with the 12 other Big City Mayors – have pressed for additional billions in homeless relief funding.
- Autry shrugged at the suggestion, noting that Newsom would have been better off dedicating the $250 million for downtown revitalization instead for the establishment of a mental health facility for homeless akin to those shuttered by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan.