Fresno · Politics

Mailer claims Fresno City Council candidates hold opposing rent control views. New audio tells a different story.

The Fresno Chamber of Commerce is pushing back against a controversial mailer sent out by Fresno City Council District 1 candidate and former Chamber board member Cary Catalano. 

Recently, Catalano’s camp mailed out an advertisement attacking opponent Annalisa Perea for comments she made during an interview with the Fresno Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee. 

The mailer argues Perea said the following: “I will not support rent control in the City of Fresno… I believe such a policy would have significant and unintended consequences in our community.” 

The chamber’s PAC endorsed Perea over Catalano and fellow opponents Mike Briggs and Jeremy Preis. 

Chamber CEO Scott Miller told The Sun that Perea’s comments were taken out of context

“Just in the interest of fairness because his mail piece was misleading, we’d like to set the record straight,” Miller said. 

The chamber interviewed the candidates in a confidential setting, Miller said, and is not in the business of being attached to hit pieces in political campaigns. 

“This is the type of politics that the Chamber doesn’t like,” Miller said. “We don’t support negative campaigning in general, and deceptive negative campaigning that uses our name in the ad we really object to.” 

In audio of the candidate’s interview with Fresno’s Chamber PAC obtained by The Sun, Catalano held a similar stance to Perea regarding rent control. 

“I do not support rent control,” Catalano told the PAC. “I think it’s an overreach of local and state and federal governments when they implement it.” 

It appears, however, that Catalano’s position on rent control has markedly changed in the midst of the six-month sprint to the June primary.

During a recent candidate forum, Catalano said the city needs to consider a version of rent control. 

The primary election is set for June 7.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.