What Would a Better Fresno Look Like to You?


CVPPAC Endorsements for the June 5th Primary

The Central Valley Progressive PAC has endorsed the following candidates in the June 5, 2018 primary:

Daren Miller



Fresno City Council District 3
Daren Miller
More information about Daren Miller and his campaign can be found here:

To read Daren Miller’s responses to the CVPPAC candidate questionnaire, see:

Veva Islas



Fresno City Council District 7
Veva Islas
More information about Veva Islas and her campaign can be found here:

To read Veva Islas’s responses to the CVPPAC candidate questionnaire, see:




State Assembly District 23
Aileen Rizo
More information about Aileen Rizo and her campaign can be found here:

To read Aileen Rizo’s responses to the CVPPAC candidate questionnaire, see:

Melissa Hurtado



State Senate District 14
Melissa Hurtado
More information about Melissa Hurtado and her campaign can be found here:

To read Melissa Hurtado’s responses to the CVPPAC candidate questionnaire, see:

Brian Pacheco



Fresno County Board of Supervisors District #1
Brian Pacheco
More information about Brian Pacheco and his campaign can be found here:

To read Brian Pacheco’s responses to the CVPPAC candidate questionnaire, see:

Failing to reach a 2/3 majority on which candidate to support in the Congressional District 22 race, the CVPPAC issued the following statement: “The CVPPAC encourages members to do everything we can to defeat Devin Nunes.”

Candidates in additional races will be considered at the next CVPPAC meeting on Saturday, April 21 at 3:30 p.m.. That meeting will be held at the Fresno Center for Nonviolence, 1584 N Van Ness ave.

Members at the CVPPAC endorsement meeting voted to make the following contributions to our endorsed candidates:

$1,500 to Daren Miller, candidate for Fresno City Council District 3
$2,000 to Veva Islas, candidate for Fresno City Council District 7
$1,500 to Aileen Rizo, candidate for Assembly District 23
$500 to Melissa Hurtado, candidate for Senate District 14



For more information, contact:
Pam Whalen
CVPPAC President


The Central Valley Progressive PAC Endorses Veva Islas for Fresno City Council District 7

If you are a progressive, support social and economic justice and live in Fresno City Council District 7, we urge you to vote for Veva Islas on June 5, 2018. The CVPPAC unanimously endorsed Islas because she is a grassroots activist, she has progressive politics and has the ability, if elected, to be an advocate for the issues that will improve this community.

Take, for example, her response to a question at the Community Forum organized by the Black American Political Association of California (BAPAC). All three candidates attended and were asked, “Is it your philosophy that Black lives matter or that all lives matter?” Progressives understand that because of the disproportionate number of Blacks affected by police shootings is so high, that if Black lives are protected and matter, then it is safe to assume that all lives matter. The right-wing knee jerk response is to proclaim that “all lives matter,” ignoring the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Here is how the three candidates running in District 7 responded to the question at the BAPAC forum. Republican Brian Whelan had the first shot at the question. He said he believes “all lives matter” and went on to say that “whether you’re White, Black, Brown or purple I want to be someone that represents you.” Veva Islas said, “I believe deeply and profoundly and I’m on record for supporting Black Lives Matter. This does not mean that I don’t value the lives of everybody in the community, but not all lives are under threat and if you can’t acknowledge that, you are doing a disservice to the vulnerable and disadvantage members in our community.” Nelson Esparza, who is a trustee on the Fresno County Board of Education and running for this City Council seat, said, “My brother is a police officer, and I have nightmares about him. I text him every couple of days to make sure he is doing OK. I think his life matters. I think my life matters.” At the forum, Ezparza identified himself as half African-American and half Latino who grew up in a Latino household and said, “I won’t feed into the divisive rhetoric. I support safety in our community for all folks.”

Veva Islas was the only candidate in the District 7 race to respond to the CVPPAC questionnaire, which asked for a response to numerous issues of concern in the progressive community. The CVPPAC sent a questionnaire to Esparza, but not Whelan. It was the opinion of the leadership in the CVPPAC that it was a waste of time to send a questionnaire to the right-wing Republican in the race. The CVPPAC asked Islas and Esparza about the homeless issue. The question was: Evaluate the successes and failures of City Hall’s approach to ending homelessness and what, if anything, you would do differently. Include your position on the new anti-camping ordinance.

Esparza had no response. Islas wrote, “There are several areas where the city has failed in regard to creating a successful policy to end homelessness. First, there has been no attempts to respectfully engage the homeless population directly and hear their needs and interests; without fully appreciating the homeless context in Fresno we will fail in successfully addressing it. Secondly, beyond having affordable and alternative housing options we are woefully underserving the mental health and substance abuse treatment and recovery needs specific to the homeless population. There are partnerships that need to be leveraged and resources that need to be secured to be effective in meeting the mental health and substance-abuse treatment needs.

“The new anti-camping ordinance in Fresno is shameful. It does nothing to resolve our growing homeless population. Targeting homeless camps and throwing out property without due process is just wrong. We must treat all people with respect and protect their rights. Using tax dollars to implement the anti-homelessness ordinance is inefficient; those dollars could be better used to support hygiene facilities or housing. When elected, this ordinance would be something that I would like to work to reverse.”

The CVPPAC also asked Islas and Esparza about their position on immigrants. Again, no response from Esparza. Here is Islas’ reply to the following question: Given national attacks on immigrants, what steps should the City Council take to support our vibrant immigrant community, especially our undocumented neighbors and DACA recipients?

“As the child of immigrants, I can say unequivocally that the immigrant community wants to feel first and foremost safe and accepted. Continuing to suppress immigrants to the fringe and shadows only serves to allow them to be exploited and abused. Injustices carried out on any one people creates threats to us all. I would like to work to make Fresno part of the Sanctuary City movement. This would allow our immigrant community to be able to report crimes and violence committed against them. A sanctuary status would also help to eliminate barriers which prevent the full participation of our immigrant community in public decision making.

“In addition, and although it was previously voted down, I would like to revisit establishing a legal defense fund that is supported by the City. This would go a long way in making sure that those immigrants who are positively contributing in our community are not being unfairly targeted.

“I believe the City of Fresno should play a central role in dis-incentivizing immigration raids in our community, and I feel strongly that our local law enforcement officers should play no role in enforcing federal policies.”

Veva Islas is a member of the CVPPAC, and the group has contributed $2,000 to her campaign. Pam Whalen, president of the CVPPAC, says that “Veva is the standout progressive in this race. Her election to the Fresno City Council will give workers, immigrants and progressive activists a strong ally on issues that come before the city. She will also be an excellent advocate for the residents of District 7, with her longtime commitment to improve health outcomes for those living in the working-class neighborhoods of south and central Fresno. I encourage all progressives to offer your support for Veva. Please make a financial contribution to her campaign, and please volunteer to reach out to voters in District 7 on her behalf.”

We asked Veva Islas for her reaction to getting the CVPPAC endorsement and contribution. She said, “I am excited to be campaigning for Fresno City Council, District 7, and for the outpouring of community support. I’m particularly honored to have the CVPPAC endorsement because I hold deeply the same progressive values that CVPPAC and its members support, like environmental, social and economic justice; these issues are what my campaign is all about. I want to encourage everyone who believes in the need to work together for a better future to join us in this campaign. We need people to walk precincts, phone bank and financially support this effort. You can call me at 559-492-2339 or visit our Web site at for more information.”

You can find out more about Veva Islas and all candidates endorsed by the CVPPAC by going to and reading their responses to our questionnaire.
















Articles about Strategy, Elections and Winning Political Power in Fresno

The following articles, printed in the Community Alliance newspaper, represent the perspective of the CVPPAC:

October 2017

Click here to read Stop the Hate Rally

(This is the speech given by Loretta Kensinger, Central Valley Progressive PAC Vice President, at the Stop the Hate rally on Aug. 24. The event was held in the Tower District.)

I am so honored to be able to stand here with you all today and to speak. I want to state clearly I speak today out of a profound love against ideas filled with hate. While I speak in hope we can embrace Dr. King’s grand ideal of “beloved community,” I recognize that such love does not come through blindness to our faults; it comes only with honesty, reconciliation, atonement and forgiveness. To speak of such community love is to speak of complexity not simplicity, though today we are presented with a simple choice. As in the 1930s, we face the question posed in Florence Reece’s great labor organizing ballad: “Which side are you on?” Are you on the side of hate, of fear, of a vision that says our community must always be divided? Or are you on the side of unity and the hope we can build “beloved community”? We here today know which side we are on!

September 2017

Click here to read Are you Progressive?

Do you consider yourself on the left or a liberal? A progressive or a neo-liberal? Or do all of these mean the same thing? As a founding member of the Central Valley Progressive Political Action Committee (CVPPAC), I have been asked many times, by people with the best of intentions and some who were hostile, what we mean by progressive?

August 2017

Click here to read: Why this CVPPAC member is running for office

Daren Miller wants to be the District 3 Fresno City Council member who will replace Oliver Baines, who terms out in November 2018. According to Miller, he is comfortable running as a progressive because in that district (west Fresno, downtown and the southern part of the Tower District) there is no downside to being an advocate for working people, demanding decent and affordable housing for residents and establishing Fresno as a sanctuary city. Miller said, “the good thing about District 3 is that if you show yourself as a moderate you are going to lose votes.”

July 2017

Click here to read: Dump Nunes!

Valley Congressional Representative Devin Nunes’ role as a lapdog for President Donald Trump does not sit well with many of his constituents. As Trump, with help from Nunes, tries desperately to dodge allegations that his campaign team was complicit in the Russian interference of the 2016 U.S. elections, candidates are stepping forward to take back the 22nd Congressional District.

June 2017

Click here to read article: If you Want a Progressive Majority on the Fresno City Council

The 2018 Fresno City Council District 7 race is going to be even more exciting than expected.  There are already two progressive candidates interested in the position and a Republican has emerged who, from what we are hearing, wants to buy his way into City Hall. The two progressive candidates are both close to the CVPPAC—Nelson Esparza and Genoveva Islas.  Although it is too early for the CVPPAC to endorse either candidate, our analysis indicates that if one of them wins the District 7 race, there will be a liberal/progressive majority on the City Council.

May 2017

Click here to read article: Here is How we are Building a Progressive Movement

The Central Valley Progressive PAC has launched a social media campaign targeting young people, encouraging them to not only be more politically engaged but also to aspire to take political power in this community. With hope, enthusiasm and a strategic plan to win elections, our goal is to get progressives elected to school boards, the City Council and eventually as the mayor of Fresno. How is the CVPPAC going to do that? Find out by reading this interview I did with the CVPPAC’s youngest executive board member, Simone Cranston-Rhodes.April 2017. . .

April 2017:

Click here to read article: Another Fresno is Possible

If I’m right about this, we are about to change Fresno into paradise where those living in other parts of the state and country look to us as a beacon of hope. We will base our public policy on the core progressive values of social, economic and environmental justice. If I’m right, you will become a member of the Central Valley Progressive PAC and we will take political power in this community from the school board to the mayor. If I’m wrong (and you don’t join the CVPPAC), it will be business as usual with the corruption, poverty and ecological degradation we have come to expect. Of this I’m certain—the choice is yours.

March 2017:

Click here to read article: Power to the People

If everyone reading this issue of the Community Alliance newspaper joined the Central Valley Progressive PAC, we would run this town. Fresno would be a Sanctuary City, we would have police accountability, the homeless would be treated with dignity and respect, people would be paid a living wage and there would be green space and parks in every neighborhood.

With 10,000 members (a mere 1% of the population of Fresno County), the CVPPAC would have enough resources to run viable electoral campaigns in every Fresno race in the next four years. We could elect progressives to every local office from school board trustee to mayor.

February 2017:

Understanding the Political Landscape of the City


January 2017:

Don’t Mourn, Organize!


October 2016:

The Elephant in the Room

Will Henry Perea Be Fresno’s Next Mayor?

Be a Part of the Political Revolution in Fresno, join the Central Valley Progressive PAC

Progressive is our Middle Name, But What Does it really mean to be Progressive?

WANT A MORE PROGRESSIVE FRESNO? …then join the Central Valley Progressive PAC