What Would a Better Fresno Look Like to You?


Why This CVPPAC Member Is Running for Office

Daren Miller wants to be on the Fresno City Council, representing District 3.

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.”

An analysis of District 3 shows that voters overwhelmingly support progressive issues and candidates in every election. It doesn’t matter if the issue is criminal justice reform, defeating Trump or supporting the city sanitation workers’ jobs (Measure G), District 3 is a bastion of progressive support.

This is important because there is a theory among political consultants in Fresno that argues that to win, you must move to the center of the political spectrum. This argument assumes that all the people on the left will vote for you anyway and that to win an election you must move to the right because that is where you will pick up more votes. “There are a couple of candidates who are going to take that stance (moving to the right), and I don’t think it is going to benefit them at all,” Miller said.

Miller is an active member of the Central Valley Progressive PAC because those values “align with my own political and personal philosophy.” All the potential candidates for District 3, seven men (so far), are listed in the side bar. Assuming a progressive candidate wins in this District, there is the potential to have a left-of-center majority at the Fresno City Council.

Everyone assumes that Esmeralda Soria will retain her seat, there is Luis Chavez who represents southwest Fresno, there is the District 3 race and progressives would need to win in District 7 (Clint Olivier is termed out there). Paul Caprioglio, although a Democrat, is so unreliable that you cannot count on him to be a part of a left-of-center coalition.

The movers and shakers in Fresno also see the potential of this shift on the Fresno City Council and are actively trying to move things in their direction. Of course, the Republicans will have their well-funded and slick candidates to represent the interests of the elite—deregulation, privatization of essential government services and tax cuts for the rich. The moderate/right Democrats also have a plan to dominate the Fresno City Council with what will be an unofficial slate of their preferred candidates. That is why it is important for progressives to have a plan and elect representatives that represent their interests.

What makes Miller a progressive?

When I interviewed Miller about his reasons for running and why he thought he could make a difference, he said that there are fundamental differences in how he would get things done. He became particularly animated when I asked him:

Is it possible to get the services, infrastructure and economic growth District 3 residents deserve when there is so much political influence coming from north Fresno? As a representative of southwest Fresno, downtown and the southern portion of the Tower District, how would you leverage your position on the City Council to change the “Tale of Two Cities” phenomena to the benefit your constituents?

Miller said “yes, I do believe it is possible. To give you a real-life example about what is happening now with the TCC (Transformative Climate Communities) money.” The outcome of this process will determine how $70 million is spent in Fresno. There are grassroots community groups as well as conservative forces struggling over how this money will be used.

Miller wants community participation to be the deciding factor, and he believes that it is the role of elected officials to engage affected residents to play a larger role in determining the outcome of how this TCC money is spent. “I believe that community, District 3—those affected areas downtown, southwest Fresno, Chinatown—those areas have an opportunity as a community to exert some muscle and political clout by having their masses there (at the TCC meetings),” Miller said.

Miller believes that the only way to stop the historic neglect of District 3 is to engage people in participatory democracy. He said “the issue is that there is not a quarterback right now. There are three or four organizations that are galvanizing their individual groups to come, which is OK, but it would be so much better if the District 3 representative was leading the community side of their involvement rather than being on the non-community side. Because that is what we have right now.

“Oliver Baines, I mean no disrespect to him, but he is on the non-community side right now. He is part of that camp. He is part of that agenda.”

Miller wants to be a different kind of City Council member—one that would be pushing democracy from the bottom up rather than the top down and that is how he thinks we can end the Tale of Two Cities.

I asked Miller about several issues of concern to those in the progressive community. In addition to supporting a proposal to make Fresno a sanctuary city (because he thinks everyone should have constitutional rights), he believes Fresno should follow state law on the marijuana issue, wants the homeless to be treated with dignity and respect and would move aggressively to stop slumlords.

The CVPPAC does not make endorsements until a few months before an election, so no candidate in the District 3 race has the group’s official support yet. But CVPPAC members, Miller and students from the Martin Luther King Freedom Center were canvassing in District 3 as this issue of the Community Alliance newspaper went to press. They are working hard to make sure a progressive candidate gets elected.

Although it is too early in the process for Miller to be raising money or setting up a Web site, he can be reached at or 559-930-4909. Contact him for more information or about how you can help.

Miller will give a presentation followed by a Q&A. For more information, call Pam Whalen at 559-994-9390.



This is a list of potential candidates in the Fresno City Council District 3 race. Because the election is not until November 2018, nobody has filed paperwork to run yet. But these are the people we have heard are interested in running or are being talked about as candidates. This list will change as we move closer to the election.

Miguel Arias (D)
Executive Director, Community and Family Services at Fresno Unified School District
State Center Community College District Trustee

Mike Briggs (R)
Owner, Mike Briggs Property
Executive Director, Central Valley Talk
Former Fresno City Council Member (District 1)

Tate Hill (D)
Senior Manager, Fresno Community Development Financial Institution
Formerly President & CEO, Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce

Barigye McCoy (D, formerly AI)
EOC Commissioner
Vice President, African American Farmers Association

Daren Miller (D)
Longtime educator and community leader
Member, Central Valley Progressive PAC

Guillermo Moreno (R)
Director, Senior Citizen Village
Talk Show Host, PowerTalk 96.7

Craig Scharton (DS)
Interim President and CEO, Downtown Fresno Partnership
Former Fresno City Council Member (District 1)


The next meeting of the CVPPAC will be Saturday, September 9, at 3:30 p.m. at the Fresno Center for Nonviolence, located at 1584 N. Van Ness Ave.

For more information, contact:
Pam Whalen
CVPPAC President














This is a 10:30 minute video showing some of the candidates who are running against Devin Nunes in the 22nd Congressional District. The event was held at The Grange Meeting House in Visalia on Friday, June 16th, 2017.

Tulare County-based Progressives United for Social Justice and Human Rights (PUSH) hosted a candidate forum featuring several candidates who are vying for Congressman Devin Nunes’ seat in the House of Representatives. The candidates attending this forum were:

Bobby Bliatout, Ricardo Franco, Andrew Janz, Dr. Mallory Kremer and Jose Sigala. Over 100 people attended this candidate forum.



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:

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