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Volume XXXVI No. 17 • 1 September, 2016


Tulare County Projected to Stay Number One in Agriculture Catherine Doe Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County Agriculture Commissioner, gave the annual Tulare County Crop Report for 2015. Although Kinoshita stated that she was disappointed in the decrease in permanent plantings, she projected that Tulare County will be the number one agriculture producer in the nation for the third year in a row. Tulare County’s total gross production value for 2015 is $6,980,977,800, a decrease of 13.7% over last year. Last year’s agriculture production peaked just over eight billion dollars making it the most productive in the nation’s history. This year’s production was down by $1.1 billion. The Fresno County Department of Agriculture’s 2015 Crop and Livestock Report was presented to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors on August 30. Overall, agricultural production in Fresno County totaled $6.61 billion, showing a 6.55% decrease from 2014’s $7.04 billion. That is $820,000 less in production

from Tulare County. Because of its sheer land mass, Fresno County has always been number one in agriculture production in the nation. The county lost its number one ranking because of the drought. Fresno County is relies more heavily on the Friant-Kern Canal and the California Aqueduct than Tulare County. Water allocations from the two canals were severely cut over the last three years affecting Fresno County’s productivity. “The lack of a reliable water supply continues to fallow productive land,” said Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures Les Wright. Tulare County, along with all other Central Valley counties, experienced a decline in production. Kings County experienced an 18% decrease in agriculture production, and Madera County experienced an 11 % decrease. Kinoshita predicts that Kern will have experienced similar percentage losses in their agriculture production. Kern County still has not released their final numbers.

Milk continues to be the Tulare County’s number one producer, with a total value of $1,718,001,000. That represents a 32.4% decrease from 2014. Milk production was stable but the price per unit was lower. Milk products used to represent 30% of agriculture production but this year has gone down to representing 24 % of entire production. The reduction in Tulare County milk production represents 6400 truckloads of milk. Milk is also Kings County’s number one agriculture product and also saw a decrease of 32%.

The bright spot in the report was the increase in field crops. Field crops

AGRICULTURE continued on 16 »

Preliminary Returns Show Measure I Failure a Landslide Tony Maldonado Preliminary results from the Tulare Regional Medical Center bond election have the property tax losing by 66% to 33%. Measure I was a $55 million bond measure intended to finish construction of the beleaguered hospital’s expansion project. While the Tulare County Registrar’s Office will continue to count ballots postmarked before August 30, and the final vote will not be certified for 30 days, it seems unlikely that the totals would entirely reverse, which would be

required for the bond to pass. Measure I’s fate seems to mirror that of the Visalia measure for the Kaweah Delta Medical Center, which failed at 57% to 42%. The ballot measure stated funds would be used to “pay for the District’s capital improvement projects that includes completion of Tower One, including earthquake compliant expanded Emergency Department space, labor and delivery suites, and refinancing outstanding debt related to construction, shall the Tulare Local Healthcare District issue $55,000,000 in bonds, with 100% of the bond proceeds being used for con-

struction-related costs and with no bond proceeds being used for hospital administrative costs or to refinance any debt supporting hospital operational costs[.]” Measure I opponents state the overwhelming results are proof that larger changes are needed. “The Citizens for Hospital Accountability believe that people of our District Hospital, with their vote, have sent a clear message of their desire to have an accountable and transparent District Board. While we celebrate our hard work in getting our message out about the issues facing our District, we still have much work to do,” the group stated.

“We understand the divisive nature of the campaign and although we will work to bring the community back together, we also believe that it is time to take back our public hospital. Transparency and accountability will continue to be our main focus. The next step is to replace the current Board, with new Board members who will insist on accounting for the past discrepancies, create an independent Board, and come up with a transparent plan to complete the construction and move toward improvement of the quality of care this hospital once had. We ask every District citizen to

MEASURE I continued on 11 »

Tulare County Supervisors Vote to Join the Greater Kaweah GSA

Various groundwater districts, including the Kings County Water District, Lakeside Irrigation, and others, will form the Greater Kaweah Groundwater Sustainabiltiy Agency.

Tulare County Board of Supervisors (TCBOS) voted on August 23 to approve a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) with Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District, Kings County Water District, Lakeside Irrigation Water District and St. John’s Water District to form the Greater Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA). During the meeting Supervisor Pete Vander Poel was appointed the representative of the county to the JPA and Supervisor Steve Worthley as the alternate. This is the second Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) in the Sub Kaweah Basin to be formed. The first GSA to be formed was the Mid-Kaweah GSA that comprises of the city of Visalia and Tulare and Tulare Irrigation District. The third and last GSA to form will be the East Kaweah GSA also known as the Foothills GSA. That agency will be comprised of mainly the foothills area

Catherine Doe such as Stone Corral Irrigation District, Ivanhoe Irrigation District, Exeter Irrigation District, Lewis Creek Water District, Lindsay/Strathmore Irrigation District, and the City of Lindsay, among others. It is projected that the East Kaweah GSA will officially come together to form a JPA in September. Tulare County sits almost completely on top of the Sub-Kaweah basin. A small section of Tulare County is part of the Tulare Lake Sub Basin to the west, and the Kings River Sub Basin to the north. Forming and running a GSA can be expensive for the entities involved. Costs for the Greater Kaweah GSA are projected to be $55,000 for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, $533,100, in FY 2017, and $1,000,000 in FY 2018. Costs just for the county will be $9,350 in FY 2016, $90,950 in FY

GROUNDWATER continued on 4 »

2 • Valley Voice


There’s An Election Coming Up in November




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Tulare County yet again leads the globe in agricultural production. This is a wonderful achievement, attributable to all involved--and for his contribution, State Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-22) has vowed to “continue the fight for farmers.” By whom he means not those who actually do any raking, but those who rake in the profits. A quick look into Mathis’ form 460 for 2015 will show donations from the following: • FARMPAC • California Cotton Ginners and Growers PAC • California Fresh Fruit Association PAC • Western Agricultural Processors Association PAC • Raisin Bargaining Association PAC • California Rice PAC • American Pistachio Growers California PAC • California Citrus Mutual PAC • Sunkist PAC Conspicuous by their absence are organizations such as the United Farm Workers. I don’t know the percentage of migrant workers--those who come and go with the seasonal cycle of ag work--who are not actually residents of Tulare County. Neither do I know the percentage of those who reside here while doing seasonal work around the Valley. What I do know is that we’re talking hard labor. What I do know is that those working the fields deserve the same overtime consideration as everyone else working in the industry. Our youngest son thought he’d try his hand at ag labor. He didn’t last a week. “Out of the whole labor force in Tulare County,” he said, “no one deserves overtime pay more than ag pickers.” Overtime is widely considered as anything beyond 40 hours per week--unless you find yourself employed in the fields. There, you’ll have to toil 60 hours to reach the same threshold a person packing the produce you picked reached 20 hours ago. It’s not that everyone should earn the same pay--it’s that everyone should labor under the same umbrella of rules. State Assembly Bill 1066, introduced by San Diego Democrat Lorena Gonzalez, seeks to redress this. It cleared the State Senate and, on Monday, the 29th of August, the State Assembly. It now awaits Governor Brown’s signature. Mathis called the bill “misguided.” Mathis doesn’t generate any of his own money. He receives campaign contributions and, as a state assemblyman, his salary is paid by the public. He also receives disability benefits from the Veterans Administration. This is supplemented by funds from the Wounded Warrior Project. What is “misguided,” to Mathis, is anything he can’t siphon money from. Let me cite his chief of staff, Sean Doherty: From: Sean Doherty <dohertysean@me.com> Date: May 25, 2015 at 16:39:11 PDT Subject: Schedule Afternoon guys, I just wanted to reiterate that until July 1 fundraising must take priority over ALL schedule requests and/or needs. We have multiple events in June and they are all important in order for us to hit our goals. When considering and/or submitting requests please ask yourself, “does this forward our goal for the June 30th report.” If it does not then please understand it will take second place to a fundraising opportunity. Thanks, Sean It’s this mentality that prevented Mathis from requesting a Joint Legislative Audit Committee audit of Tulare Regional Medical Center (TRMC) when he was asked to by a member of TRMC’s $85 million bond oversight committee. The committee member wasn’t a donor. Care to guess who was? Let’s be clear. You can be for farmers, and for farm workers, equally. Especially if you’re their state assembly representative. For those of you not old enough to remember, there used to be, in agriculture, a short-handled hoe. Called “el cortito,” its handle was 12 to 24 inches long, and it forced laborers into a painful stooping position. It took until 1975 for its use to finally be prohibited when it was declared an occupational hazard to farm workers. And farming did not come to a grinding halt. It’s safe to say, in fact, that agriculture has only grown. In 1975 ag production in Tulare County amounted to $714,740,000; in 2015, it was valued at $6,980,977,800. But here’s what I want you to keep in mind: There’s an election coming up in November. — Joseph Oldenbourg

The Valley Voice is your newspaper Published by The Valley Voice, LLC.

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1 September, 2016

Valley Voice • 3


By the time this paper hits the stands, the vote for the $55 million bond measure to finish the Tulare Regional Medical Center Tower will be over. The measure needed two thirds of the district to vote yes, and to make sure that happened Dr. Kumar went door to door with a uniformed hospital employee to make sure everyone voted. One Tulare resident said, “Well if a doctor is going to come by my door then it must be important to vote.” I’m guessing she voted yes. The Yes on I folks didn’t leave anything to chance concerning raising money, either. In my last Political Fix column I outlined how Tulare’s tax dollars, and almost all of the Measure I money, goes to Los Angeles. That fact was confirmed again by the campaign finance reports. “No on I” raised $26,771 while “Yes on I” raised an impressive $310,099. These amounts should make people wonder – if it’s so important for Tulare that Measure I passes, then why did they need to raise so much money? The Yes on I campaign had the bucks to inject a chunk of change into the local economy. But things are never as they seem in this election. The No on I campaign with its paltry fundraising actually spent more money locally than the Yes on I campaign by $1250. The Yes on I sent a whopping $272,311 to Southern California. That makes Tulare look kind of like a 1950’s banana republic where all the profits of a poor country (Tulare) are siphoned off by a rich oligarchy (Benzeevis.) While looking over Measure I’s campaign finance report, another breach of ethics caught my eye. It seems that Baker-Hostetler donated $9,999.00 to the Yes on I fund. (Notice they cleverly did not trigger the $10,000 threshold.) If the Baker-Hostetler name looks familiar, it’s because that is where our friend Bruce Greene works. He is the lawyer who almost brought the Valley Voice to its knees by threatening to sue the paper into oblivion over our article that exposed problems at Tulare Regional Medical Hospital (TRMC.) Baker-Hostetler is not only TRMC’s law firm, but also the Benzevi brothers’. The fact that Measure I bond money will be paying Baker-Hostetler’s bills if it passes certainly seems like a conflict of interest. A similar case happened in Fresno. In 2010, a suit was filed by a Fresno tax payer that claimed the Fresno Unified School District violated the state’s conflict of interest law. The district accepted a large donation from Harris Construction to help pass measure Q, a $280 million bond measure to build a new school. Harris Construction has since been awarded $78 million in constructions contracts with the district. Was Baker-Hostetler’s donation ethical? I asked two lawyers their opinion. One Tulare lawyer said, “As to ethical??? I question that firm’s ethics, although they seem to know how to get right up to the line without crossing.” Another Visalia lawyer said, “Legal but scummy.”

Catherine Doe


In a recent article in Ms. Magazine it said, “The 2016 election likely will have the largest gender gap in history, which could reach a 15-point difference between women and men in their choices for the country’s political leadership. More than ever before, women have the power to elect the next president, decide the makeup of Congress, select state legislators and shape the national agenda.” Back in the real world, my dish washer broke about three week ago and I have been doing loads of dishes ever since. Having eight people, three dogs and a cat at our house over the weekend only compounded our dish problem. It made me wonder, if women will be deciding the next president of the United States, then why am I stuck doing all the dishes? It doesn’t seem like a lot has changed with family dynamics since the 19th amendment passed in 1920 giving women the right to vote. I come from a long line of hard working women who have careers, travel the world, give birth to the next generation and are still stuck doing most of the housework. I came across two such relatives while doing research on my family’s history. I found voter registration cards for Annie Monroe and Nettie Canfield, two of my grandfather, Russell Doe’s, aunts who lived in Ferndale. What’s interesting about their voter registration was that their cards were dated 1912, eight years before the 19th amendment passed. It seems that California, a trend setter even a hundred years ago, gave women the right to vote eight years before the rest of the country. This allowed women to vote in all the state contests but not federal elections. Like all the Does, past and future, Annie and Nettie voted every year. Did giving women the right to vote change elections’ outcomes? Before polling it’s hard to say. Through the early 1980s conventional wisdom held that women voted the same way as their husbands, an almost a quaint thought in retrospect. One thing is certain. A discernable rift in how men and women voted began after the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) ratification deadline passed in June 1982. ERA fell three states short of ratification and those mid-term election results that November showed significant gender differences in voting. According to the Ms. Magazine article, “in key state legislatures, vote counts showed that a majority of Democratic legislators supported the ERA while nearly all Republicans opposed it.” As a result in state races, women favored Democratic candidates. Since then there has been a gender gap, with a greater proportion of women than men preferring the Democrat in each case. In 2012 it was 10 points in favor of President Obama over Mitt Romney. Compounding the problem for Republicans is that women vote in greater numbers than men. According to the Atlantic, “Female voters have outnumbered male voters in every national election since 1964. In 1964, female voters outnumbered male voters by only 1.7 million. By 2012, however, the voting

gender gap grew to almost 10 million.”If there are 10 million more women voting than men, it will be very difficult to win an election without their support. When Hillary Clinton was officially declared the Democratic nominee for president, pictures of crying middle-aged women covered the front pages of online and in-print newspapers. They weren’t crying because it would make a huge difference in their lives, because it won’t. But it will make a difference to our daughters, and more so our granddaughters, on what they can expect to accomplish with their lives. So after I have cast my vote in this historic election, I know exactly what I will be doing when I get home- more dishes.


Just to start, if my teenage daughter ever found out how often I wrote about her in my column she would scream – louder than usual. According to her, “newspapers are so Baby Boomer.” Well, I’m not a baby boomer and, even though she occasionally writes for the paper, no worries about her ever reading “mom’s boring column.” So I’m actually free to say whatever I want. With that out of the way, I have to tell a story about how fate brought Mercedes’ boyfriend, Brendon, to live in our house over the summer. It started with Brendon spending the weekends because they barely saw each other during the week with Mercedes’ school work and job. So Friday evenings Mercedes would make up the pull out couch with fresh pillows and linins. Before going to bed my husband made sure Brendon was in his room and Mercedes was in hers. Then the school year ended. Brendon connected his x-box to the guest room TV, brought all of his games, and a bag of clothes. He rearranged the furniture, hung curtains, and his friends came over for late-night swims. He took over some household chores and did some heavy lifting for the Valley Voice concerning distribution. Brendon had de facto moved in. Mercedes taught him how to do his own laundry and how to cook. His first cooking lesson was how to make tuna, and for the next couple of weeks he made himself two cans of tuna everyday for lunch which translated into four tuna sandwiches on hamburger buns with melted cheese. Anyone who has ever had an 18-year-old male in their house knows this was lunch A. Snacks were to follow. Then our peaceful summer was punctured by tragedy and I realized why the fates had brought Brendon so abruptly into our family’s life. We rented a house in the middle of a citrus grove and the land owner had recently pushed the trees. The contractor hired to do the agriculture burn lit 16 piles of dried trees on fire on a windy day only 80 feet away from our house. It didn’t take long for an ember to set the in-law’s roof on fire where my adult son, Alex, lived. Just by a fluke, Alex came inside the main house to get a Popsicle. Two minutes later his roof fell in. He lost everything except the gym shorts he was wearing, and that didn’t even include underwear.

The flames then moved to the garage and the fire fighters warned us to be ready to evacuate the main house. My husband was fighting the fire, Mercedes was crying, and Alex was watching all his childhood memories and new electronics go up in flames. That’s when Brendon snapped into action. I was loading up laundry baskets, totes and backpacks with our photo albums, genealogies, and historic documents. I emptied the filing cabinets of our personal papers, and Valley Voice’s and our property management company’s documents into portable receptacles. The bags and baskets were so heavy I couldn’t even kick them towards the bedroom door to queue them up to be taken. Brendon flew in and out of the house, not saying a word, and stacked them in the cars ready to be whisked away if the fire jumped to the house. Five hours later the firefighters put out the last of the flames and the main house was spared. Brendon then put on his work gloves and hauled all the baskets, boxes and bags back from car and back into my room. As he worked Alex sat on the couch and looked out the window. The property manager came by to assess the damage, sat on the edge of our couch and asked Alex, while the embers burned the last of his things, why he still lived with his parents and if he paid rent. That evening Brendon disconnected his x-box, packed his bag of clothes and cleaned the guest room for Alex. Alex, still in shock, said he would be sleeping in the orange grove across the street, but my husband and I got him fresh pillows and put fresh linins on the bed and convinced him to sleep in his new room. That night I drove Brendon back to his dark house. We barely spoke a word. Brendon’s hard working mom was almost always gone and he spent his days and many evenings alone, a far cry from our big loud family. Seeing him walk toward his house brought back my painful memories of a lonely adolescence, and that along with the day’s events, I cried the entire way back to our smoke smelling home. The next day Brendon said he wanted to come back, and we made room for him. Then ten days later serendipity struck. An idiot disking the field preparing it for the new citrus trees tore up the water lines on one side of the rental house, then snapped the underground electrical line on the other side, almost tearing the electrical box right off the wall. We had to move immediately, which wasn’t a bad thing seeing as our new view was a burned out garage and mother-in-law unit. Luckily, the Valley Voice’s newest employee, Julia Jimenez, found us a new and better house the day after the accident. For five straight days, in 105 degree-plus heat with no electricity, Brendon loaded boxes, hauled furniture, cleaned, swept and mopped the floors in our old home. He then turned around and did it all over again at our new house. The moral of the story is that a home is for people not stuff, and if you “go with the flow” everything will turn out OK. And if someone starts hanging curtains and rearranging the furniture in your house let them, it’s fate doing you a favor.

4 • Valley Voice

1 September, 2016

TCSO Arrests Seven on Suspicion of Soliciting Sex With a Minor Catherine Doe Tulare County Sheriff’s Department continues to crack down on sexual predators targeting our county’s youth. On Monday, August 22, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux announced seven men were arrested over the weekend following an operation similar to “Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator.” Called Operation Baby Face II, the arrests were an offshoot of the sheriff’s department investigation of a human trafficking ring earlier in August. During the human trafficking investigation sheriff deputies discovered the prevalence of men using the internet to solicit minors for sex. On August 11, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Operation Baby Face dismantled a human trafficking organization that sexually exploited 23 juveniles and 29 adults. Three primary suspects were arrested for human trafficking, and 12 people were arrested for co-conspiracy. That investigation continues as deputies go through confiscated computers and cell phones. As a result of Operation Baby Face Phase I, detectives learned of sexual predators operating separately from the human trafficking case via social media. Operation Baby Face Phase II focuses on these predators. During the human trafficking investigation a female deputy portrayed herself as a16-year-old girl living in Tulare County. Within seconds, several men pursued her for sexual liaisons even though it was clear she was underage. The female deputy said that the conversation turned sexual within seconds of communicating online with multiple sus-

pects who would send naked pictures of themselves. The undercover deputy agreed to meet with 13 predators at different times late Friday night and early Saturday morning during an undercover operation. The sting took place at a private residence at an undisclosed home in Tulare County. The story the female deputy told the men was that she was house sitting for her aunt and was home alone. Some men arrived at the house with alcohol and condoms. Very similar to the television show “Dateline NBC: To Catch A Predator,” the suspects agreed to show up at an undisclosed location and were arrested for soliciting a juvenile for sexual exploitation as they entered the home. The seven men who showed up to the house were arrested. Six additional suspects who arranged to meet at the house with the undercover deputy but did not make it within the time frame were also arrested. Those six suspects are active felony cases and detectives will continue to collect evidence to determine if appropriate charges should be filed with the District Attorney. According to the sheriff’s department, “while they didn’t meet the criteria of a human trafficking case, they did pursue her, whom they believed to be a female juvenile, for sexual acts. That is a crime.” All those arrested were from Kings, Fresno and Tulare Counties. One perpetrator was scheduled to arrive from Texas but did not make it to the house in time. The sheriff’s department felt it needed to shut down the sting operation by Saturday afternoon. The following suspects were arrested: Mario Sanchez, 25 of Woodlake, Serafin

Tulare County Sheriff’s Deputies make an arrest at an undisclosed Tulare County home.

De Jesus Rosales, 27 of Earlimart, Eduardo Prado-Castaneda, 26 of Strathmore, Luis Angel Hernandez, 28 of Hanford, Salvador Campos Jr., 35 of Orosi, Jesus Angel Narez, 23 of Fresno and Armondo Paz-Rea, 31 of Hanford were arrested and booked into the Tulare County Pretrial Facility. Paz-Rae was has been released on bail. “I want the public’s attention,” Boudreaux said. “The public needs to know that there are predators looking to prey on the innocence of our children. We will be vigilant and aggressive in identifying these predators.” Parental involvement is vital in protecting our children, Boudreaux said. There needs to be community awareness about what children face online. “We have only just begun to scratch the surface on the predators trying to lure our children online into sexual exploitation,” said Boudreaux. Boudreaux encourages parents to talk with their children about what children

are doing online and how it could possibly lead to victimization. “Speak to your children,” he said. “Ask the difficult questions.” He emphasized that kids have hundreds on on-line friends but actually know very few of them. The Sheriff’s Office will be kicking off an internet awareness child safety campaign in the near future. “There are predators seeking our children,” said Boudreaux. ”Our goal is to educate children and their parents about how to keep children safe.” Boudreaux’ message for the kids was, “choose your friends wisely. Be aware that there are predators who say they want to be your friends. When someone asks you to send a revealing photo of yourself, say no and notify your parents. Photos on the internet last forever.” Boudreaux asked the public to contact law enforcement if you discover something suspicious at (559) 733-6218 or anonymously through TipNow at (559) 7254194 or tcso@tipnow.com.


of Water Resources announced that every local water agency within the medium and high-priority sub basins form one or more GSAs by June 30, 2017 or risk the state setting its own regulations for the area. GSAs are a requirement of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) adopted by the California Legislature in 2014. SGMA requires that GSA basins in critical overdraft, such as the Kaweah Sub-Basin, must develop a sustainability plan by January 31, 2020 and must achieve a level of sustainability by 2040.

Continued from p. 1

2017, and $170,000 in FY 2018. According to county staff, these numbers are estimates and re not explicitly discussed in the JPA. Actual costs may vary depending on the level of effort, professional services and staffing necessary to comply. Using the above model Tulare County’s share would be about 17% of those areas not covered by irrigation districts or within city limits. In 2014, the California Department

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1 September, 2016

Valley Voice • 5

Tulare Hospital’s Good News on Shaky Ground Tony Maldonado Just a few days before the first vote Measure I tallies were due to come out, officials with the Tulare Regional Medical Center received a bit of good news: Fitch Ratings, a key credit rating agency, has placed the hospital on “Rating Watch Positive.” That celebration may have been illtimed, however, with the likely failure of Measure I. As of press time, votes against the measure weighed in at 66% with only 33% of votes in favor. Measure I requires a two-thirds vote to pass.


“Rating Watch Positive” means that the firm may consider increasing the hospital’s default rating from ‘BB-,’ a rating that “indicate[s] an elevated vulnerability to default risk, particularly in the event of adverse changes in business or economic conditions over time,” to a higher rating. The rating above “BB-” is “BBB,” which indicates that “expectations of default risk [would be] low.” The potential for improvement was celebrated at the August 24 meeting of the Tulare Local Healthcare District Board of Supervisors. “Here you have yet another external verification and validation of our positive momentum, and what’s going on,” said Alan Germany, the CFO of Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, the company that the district has contracted to run TRMC. Other credit rating agencies are also looking favorably on TRMC, Germany said. “Moody’s as well -- we’ve been speaking to them, and Moody’s, just like Fitch, they’ve essentially affirmed our rating,” Germany said, “and Moody’s is waiting to see: waiting to see what’s going to happen with Measure I, and potentially upgrade at that point.”


A longer press release from Fitch Ratings, however, notes with several catches. • Measure I: Fitch Ratings notes that the hospital’s rating may be reassessed if the ballot measure fails. • Long-Term Project Funding: The credit ratings group also stated that they would need an updated



plan from management should the ballot measure fail. • No Fallback Plan Indicated: “Management has not indicated plans if the ballot measure fails,” the press release reads. The press release issued by the HCCA did not note any of these factors, said Dr. Edward Henry, speaking to the board during the public comment section of the meeting. “One of the things I’m looking at in here, it says management has not indicated plans if the ballot measure fails -- and I’m surprised because all of the literature, propaganda says if we don’t pass this measure, the hospital will fail. Why wasn’t Fitch notified, and would they have given a fairly decent rating in the report had they known this?” Henry said. “One of the other things I notice up here in the Fitch report -- and I would actually like to see this Fitch report actually posted online, if you’re so bold to do so -- it says Fitch assigned the district a BB- issuer default rating. There’s seven ratings -- that’s the fifth rating, there’s only two lower than that. I’m not seeing this in the press release up here.” There are eleven total “Issuer Default Ratings” that Fitch Ratings issues, according to their website. Those ratings are AAA, AA, A, BBB, BB, B, CCC, CC, C -- for institutions that have not, in Fitch’s opinion, defaulted -- and RD, and D, ratings reserved for institutions that have, in Fitch’s opinion, either fully defaulted or defaulted on a specific debt. Immediately following Henry’s comment, Shawn Burgess, CIO for HCCA, spoke. “I’ve never been in a community that has been such fought hard against the hospital growing, in spite of everything we’ve made changes to. There just seems to be some minded people who are acrimonious over the hospital. It does not make sense,” Burgess said. “This facility is over 60 years old -- this town has grown five times since that time, the ER is the same size as it was 60 years ago. I don’t understand how you can not support the hospital growth, and to the benefit and the betterment of the community’s health. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”


As of press time, the results showed that Measure I was likely to lose. Fitch Ratings, in its report, stated that the hospital had not indicated fall-

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back plans, and that the hospital’s rating would be reassesed if the measure failed. The ratings agency also noted that it was told that “polling [for the measure] was favorable.”


“Our community is united in the need for a quality hospital and finishing the new tower,” Doug McNerney said, speaking after Burgess. “We have major disagreement in how to accomplish these things, and the Finance Committee meeting on the 23rd of August is a good example of those very views.” McNerney noted declines in services provided between 2014 and 2016, and accused the hospital of focusing on financial ratings over providing care. “We should be ashamed that we have misplaced our priorities in favor of the dollar over the healthcare needs of our residents,” McNerney said. Benzeevi disputes the idea that HCCA focuses on payments over people when he presented a summarized large-scale plan to turn around the hospital. “Number one is, you’ve got to stabilize the finances, and I take extreme resentment to the comment made earlier about the fact that we focus on finances alone,” Benzeevi said. “We focus about our goal, which is to create a healthier community, but without stabilizing the finances, there is no community, there is no hospital. That’s critical.” The plan involves a number of steps, Benzeevi said: 1. Stabilizing finances 2. Prepare the new building for completion 3. Upgrade internal systems

4. Complete the new building 5. Meaningfully improve service, customer experience 6. Create a community-wide board to provide ongoing direction to the hospital 7. Build an integrated health system “where the right care is available to all that need it”


Those on both sides of Measure I spoke during the public comment section of the meeting. Suzanna Aguilera-Marrero spoke first. “I’ve dropped to the floor on my knees, and I have prayed, lots of times, for my family. And I know what it’s like to need, and we are not a third world country, where we should not be entitled to access to healthcare,” Marrero said. “And until you’re there, you’re not really there.” McNearney and Henry spoke in opposition to Measure I. So did Tulare resident Michele Moore. “Some people with the Yes campaign are going door to door, asking people if they have voted, and the person at the home said, ‘I’m not registered to vote,’ and the person there on the Yes side said ‘that’s okay, you don’t have to be registered to vote’ and they have ballots in their hands,’” Moore said. Hospital staff and Yes on I supporters immediately rebutted the accusations in the crowd, saying “no,” “that’s not true,” and “that’s baloney.” Moore said that her source is reputable and the claims should be further investigated.


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6 • Valley Voice

1 September, 2016

Agriculture Citrus Growers, Packers Discuss Disease Threat Cecilia Parsons, CFBF What will California citrus growers and packers prepare to do to eradicate a pest most have never seen themselves, and fight a disease they have only read about? Meetings held at three San Joaquin Valley locations last week sought to determine the actions growers and packers will take to stop the spread of the Asian citrus psyllid into the state’s top citrus-production region. Huanglongbing, the fatal citrus disease the tiny pest can carry, has devastated Florida citrus production and threatens California citrus. Though the disease—also known as HLB or citrus greening—has not been found in California commercial citrus, it has been detected in more than two-dozen residential citrus trees in Southern California. “We’re trying to gauge growers’ knowledge about ACP and HLB and what they are willing to do to slow down infestation,” said Nick Hill, a Tulare County citrus grower and chairman of the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program. Hill was one of three speakers who engaged in discussion with growers during a meeting in Visalia. He said he believes citrus growers are facing the reality of the serious threat the psyllid poses. Calling HLB “a ‘death sentence’ for California citrus,” the grower organization California Citrus Mutual is asking everyone involved in growing, packing and shipping California citrus to take

action to slow the psyllid’s spread and prevent HLB from invading commercial groves. The organization said the fight against the pest/disease combination has reached a critical point. Increasing numbers of the psyllids have been trapped in recent months along the Highway 99 corridor. Neil McRoberts, a University of California, Davis, plant pathologist and panelist at the meetings, said the overwhelming likelihood is that psyllids are coming into the valley on bulk citrus shipments from infested areas. Tarping bulk loads of citrus moving out of quarantine areas, wet-washing fruit in the field and treating fruit prior to harvest are all mitigation measures required in compliance agreements to move citrus fruit out of quarantine areas. But speakers said different levels of compliance by growers, packers and shippers, plus lack of enforcement, have allowed the psyllid to hitchhike its way north from infested parts of Southern California. Hill said there have been reports from packers and shippers about a lack of equipment for field-washing fruit and concerns about the time and cost to tarp bins of fruit on trailers. Many growers speaking at the meeting agreed tougher measures should be taken to slow the psyllid invasion. The area-wide management plan for coordinating psyllid treatments in the San Joaquin Valley has had varying degrees of success with grower cooperation,





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Kenneth Freeman of Laux Management in Porterville cleans citrus leaves and branches from a hedging and topping maching before it leaves a grove for another location. Thoroughly cleaning equipment represents one tactic for preventing spread of the Asian Citrus psyllid. Courtesy/CFBF/Cecilia Parsons

and CCM President Joel Nelsen said all growers and packers need to be vigilant about fruit movement. Area-wide psyllid treatment coordination by growers is one of the strategies already in play. Grower liaisons work with other farmers in their area to synchronize psyllid treatments. That strategy is more effective, speakers said, because psyllids readily move from treated to untreated citrus. All forms of citrus plant material moved out of a quarantine zone are under scrutiny. That includes leaves in bins of citrus fruit; nursery stock and budwood; and leaf litter that accumulates on topping and hedging machines. Citrus-growing areas of Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties are infested with the psyllid. The California Department of Food and Agriculture continues to test live catches to determine if the insects carry HLB. CDFA treats residential properties adjacent to commercial citrus, if 75 percent of the commercial citrus is being treated as part of an area-wide management program. Residents can opt out of CDFA pesticide treatments, but Victoria Hornbaker, citrus program manager for CDFA, said nearly all are cooperating and allowing their property to be treated. In addition, releases continue in infested residential areas of a wasp that parasitizes the psyllid. Presently, the only mandatory portion of the program is removal of trees that test positive for HLB. Hornbaker said most residential homeowners with infected trees on their property are cooperating with tree removal. Those who aren’t, receive a visit from law enforcement officers, who have a warrant to remove the tree. Hornbaker said CDFA’s main focus is to find and remove HLB-infected trees. The agency is surveying citrus trees in psyllid-infested areas in Los Angeles

County. Any citrus tree that tests positive for HLB will be removed and destroyed. As for shippers that do not have proof that requirements for the compliance agreement have been carried out, Hornbaker said CDFA could turn trucks around at Castaic. They can also pull compliance agreements, so shippers may not ship fruit until mitigation measures have been taken. Nelsen and others agreed that early detection technology for HLB infections is a key to removing sources of the disease. McRoberts said experience in Florida shows that for every tree found infected, there are up to 10 infected trees nearby that aren’t detected. Reliable tests that find 95 percent of trees are at least a year away, McRoberts said. Mexico remains a source of HLB infection, he noted, so he said it is not a matter of if the disease moves north via infected plant material or psyllids, but when. Nelsen said CCM, other grower organizations and CDFA are preparing a response plan to address HLB in California. Grower assessments are funding education and eradication efforts and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is also helping fund the fight to protect California citrus. Additional grower/packer meetings are scheduled in Santa Barbara next week, and in Santa Paula, Riverside and Palm Desert in September, to discuss strategies for prevention of HLB. Dates and locations can be found at www.citrusinsider.org. (Cecilia Parsons is a reporter in Ducor. She may be contacted at ceciliaparsons8@ gmail.com.) This article reprinted with the permission of the California Farm Bureau Federation.

1 September, 2016

Valley Voice • 7

Agriculture State Seeks Way to Solve ‘A Big Biomass Problem’ Christine Souza, CFBF Across California, tens of millions of trees are dead, intense wildfires burn, and orchard and forest waste piles up, as more plants that convert wood waste into electricity close due to expiring contracts with utility companies. “Nothing has been done to adjust the utility rates at the California Public Utilities Commission to account for the value that biomass has; they are not keeping track of all of the avoided pollution that it affords,” said Allan Krauter, senior administrative analyst for Kern County. “Unless and until the state is willing to make up the difference between the market price and the break-even price, they are going to continue to have a big biomass problem.” The problem centers on 25- and 30year contracts between biomass plants and utility companies, established in the 1980s, resulting in the construction of 66 power plants with an operating capacity of almost 1,000 megawatts. Now, only 22 biomass plants remain operating, with a total capacity of 532 MW— still enough to convert 7.3 million tons of wood waste into electricity. The plants’ power-purchase contracts with utility companies that expired in recent years were not renewed, because the utilities had cheaper renewable-energy alternatives—forcing plants to close. Natural gas costs 2.9 cents per kilowatt-hour; wind and solar cost 8 cents per kWh. By contrast, a price floor of 12 cents per kWh was established for biomass when the program began.

With the state legislative session due to end Aug. 31, lawmakers continue to negotiate if and how to spend $1.4 billion worth of “cap-and-trade” funds collected as part of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions-reduction fund. Proponents of biomass, a renewable resource, say some money should be directed at keeping biomass power plants running, to convert forestry, agricultural and urban wood waste into electricity. “There’s a lot of competition for the money, because there are some equally good greenhouse gas-reducing programs out there, but we think policymakers need to look at what the short-term, immediate crisis need is first,” said Julee Malinowski Ball, executive director of the California Biomass Energy Alliance. “But then, we need long-term contracts.” The state Assembly is expected to release its spending plan for the greenhouse-gas funds this week, Ball said, adding, “we are 100 percent focused on (Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds), but other policy changes need to be made, including reform in the Renewable Portfolio Standard and contribution by other beneficiaries.” Some biomass facilities temporarily benefited from Gov. Brown’s emergency proclamation, made last October, to protect the public from hazardous forest conditions. This directed the CPUC to extend contracts for existing biomass facilities receiving wood waste from certain high-hazard areas. The plan also authorized the commission to establish an auction where plant owners could bid to sell 50 MW of electricity from biomass.

Supporters of biomass say they have been informing lawmakers and others of the significant environmental benefits of burning wood waste in a boiler, instead of pile-burning or burning it in a landfill. “We’ve known for years that if you take the material to a power plant which burns wood in a boiler instead of pile burning, you get a 98 percent reduction in emissions,” California Forestry Association Vice President Steve Brink said. Krauter said Kern County has seen the impact from the closure of a biomass power plant. “When the Covanta contract at the facility in Delano expired in 2015, the Central Valley lost the last major source for co-gen for biomass,” he said. “Not only did more than 50 people lose their jobs, but growers all over the southern San Joaquin Valley lost a really valuable resource. You don’t have to drive very far to find windrows of chipped wood just sitting in the fields. They have no place to put it.” Disposal of wood waste remains a challenge for many counties. A 2011 mandate requires the amount of solid waste diverted from landfills to recycling and other uses to increase from 50 percent to 75 percent by 2020. “If we started accepting wood waste, it would make it really hard for us to meet our legal mandates of diverting waste,” Krauter said. “That’s why cogeneration became an answer, not just for air quality, but for landfill capacity.” Assembly Member Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, said the biomass industry is dying “because we haven’t been willing

to put our money where our mouth is.” Wood, who introduced Assembly Bill 1923 to assist biomass and biogas facilities, said the governor and Legislature understand the importance of the issue, but the state “has not created a revenue source to help the biomass industry for the benefits it can provide.” As contracts with utilities expire, biomass plants continue to close—including last week’s announcement that Burney Forest Power, a 30-MW power plant in Shasta County, will close next month. Brink said the Burney plant “consumes 240,000 bone-dry tons of biomass per year that now won’t have a home,” and said the decision could also result in the closure of a nearby sawmill. Just days after the announcement, the Shasta County Planning Commission approved construction of a new biomass power plant owned by Hat Creek Construction. The company said it plans to acquire a contract under a mandate established under a 2012 law that requires electric corporations to procure a certain amount of bioenergy. Brink said the law allows plants under 3 MW to receive a 12.77 cent per kWh energy price floor if three plants bid in at the same time. (Christine Souza is an assistant editor of Ag Alert. She may be contacted at csouza@cfbf.com.) This article reprinted with the permission of the California Farm Bureau Federation.

TCFB is Now Accepting Blue Jacket Bonanza Applications The Tulare County Farm Bureau’s Education Committee is gearing up for another Blue Jacket Bonanza – a program developed to provide Tulare County FFA students who do not have the financial means to purchase an FFA jacket with the opportunity to earn their own blue jacket. To be granted a jacket, interested students are required to complete an application process which entails a written essay, personal interview and community service. Applications are now available and are due to the TCFB office by Oct. 14. FFA prepares the next generation of agriculturalists to rise up and meet future

challenges in the agriculture industry and life in general. Its members explore their interests and develop their own unique skills and talents through FFA programs. TCFB President Roger Everett said, “Agricultural education is important to the future of our industry. Through the FFA TCFB is Now Accepting Blue Jacket Bonanza Applications program, young men and women learn one of the most valuable commodities we produce – leadership. Leadership skills that are necessary to foster future innovations that will help keep California agriculture in the forefront of world food production.” Blue

Jacket Bonanza is made possible through generous donations from sponsors that support the TCFB Education and Scholarship Charitable Trust Fund. Those that are interested in donating have a handful of ways to do so. For instance, by starting your Amazon shopping spree at smile.amazon.com, 0.5 percent of the price of the items you buy will be donated. TCFB Education and Scholarship Charitable Fund is also linked with Shares powered by eScript. Sign up at www.escript/shares/ and 3 percent of your qualifying purchases at Save Mart, Lucky, FoodMaxx and Smart Foods will

be donated. In 2015 numerous service clubs also supported the jacket fund allowing Farm Bureau to award 23 jackets. By making a financial contribution to the Blue Jacket Bonanza program you will be making a difference in the lives of so many students. By helping to prepare the leaders of tomorrow, you are guaranteeing a brighter future for us all. For more information on supporting the program, call the Farm Bureau Office at 732-8301. This article reprinted with the permission of the Tulare County Farm Bureau.

Farm Bureau to Host 7th Annual Bounty of the County Local vendors are set to showcase their finest food and beverages made with locally sourced products at Tulare County Farm Bureau’s 7th annual Bounty of the County on September 9, 2016 at the Historic Seven Sycamores Ranch in Ivanhoe. Bounty of the County will be a celebration of local agriculture from 6:00 – 9:00pm with bountiful samplings of food, beverages and specialty products grown in Tulare County. Tickets are $50 each and available at the Tulare County Farm Bureau Office. Tickets will also be available for $70 at the event. The country casual evening will also include live music by Take Cover as well as door prizes provided by Farm Bureau and participating exhibitors.

“We’re excited to provide the community with an event where they can come out and enjoy samples of fine local food and wine in a casual, country environment,” said Roger Everett, Tulare County Farm Bureau President. Local farmers, restaurants and businesses will be showcasing their culinary delights at Bounty of the County including All Fired Up! Pizza, Cacciatore Fine Wine and Olive Oil Company and many more! Tickets are available for $50 pre-sale and $70 at the door. Contact the Tulare County Farm Bureau at 732-8301 or TCFB@tulcofb.org to buy tickets today. For more information about the event, visit us online at www.tulcofb.org.




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8 • Valley Voice

1 September, 2016

Agriculture Commentary: California Needs to Unite for More Water Storage John Kingsbury As most of California recovers from this historic drought, one thing we can count on is that history will repeat itself. Californians can take full credit for willingly sacrificing landscape and adjusting habits to save water supply for another year. Toilets have been replaced, lawns have been converted to plastic, leaks have been fixed, prime agricultural land has been fallowed, and we have learned to be more efficient with our water supply. So, fast-forward to the next drought. What’s next? There are powerful environmental activists that support dam removal, oppose new and expanded surface storage, and are demanding permanent and more strenuous conservation restrictions, both on indoor use and outdoor irrigation, as well as more water cutbacks on agriculture. Unfortunately, this environmental movement is a myopic approach that ignores the statewide efforts to improve the state’s integrated water system. California’s complex water system was built in the 1960s for a different time, hydrology and population. The climate has been warming. By 2050, conservative estimates are that we will lose 25 percent to 40 percent of the Sierra snowpack, the state’s largest winter reservoir. Meanwhile, the population has

United States. Now, half a century later, most Californians are again united. In 2014, California voters overwhelmingly supported a water bond as a start to pave the way for the future. The water bond includes $2.7 billion to support the construction of surface water storage and $810 million to improve water security, provide for drought preparedness and mitigate the effects of climate change. There are several well-known surface-water storage projects under consideration: raising Shasta Dam on the Sacramento River, constructing Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat, and expanding Los Vaqueros and San Luis reservoirs. There are also potential water-storage projects with regional and statewide public benefits in Calaveras County, including the Blagen Mill Pond Restoration Project and the Wilson Lake Rehabilitation and Meadow Restoration Plan. Additional surface-water storage reduces groundwater extraction and subsidence in the delta by using surface water during wet years and the groundwater basin during dry years. Additional storage provides for new urban and municipal uses, drought preparedness, flood protection and recreational opportunities. Surface water stored behind dams provides cold water for endangered fish, such as steelhead trout and salmon.

Water released from reservoirs helps balance the wind and solar electricity grid by generating carbon-free, renewable hydropower energy. As the population grows, so must California water for food production, unless we are content with our children and grandchildren subsisting on two meals a day or food from Third World countries. It is time for more water storage to help pave the way to a prosperous future for California. Unless we have the fortitude to increase surface-water storage as the voters have called for, we will continue to ration the half-full glass of water. We should reflect on the vision of Brown and the words of Kennedy: “Progress represents the combined will of the American people, and only when they are joined together for action, instead of standing still and thinking that everything that had to be done has been done. It’s only when they join together in a forward movement that this country moves ahead and that we prepare the way for those who come after us.” (John Kingsbury is the executive director of the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association in Placerville. This commentary originally appeared in the Calaveras Enterprise.) This article reprinted with permission from the California Farm Bureau Federation.

Ag Commissioner Kinoshita: Build a Wall!


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more than doubled since the state and federal water projects were constructed. In 1960, there were 15.8 million people in California; now there are about 36 million people in the state. Some experts predict more than 60 million people in the state by 2050. Significant to California is the water stored in reservoirs behind dams. These dams, built decades ago, have dedicated in-stream flow releases designed to meet many beneficial uses of the environment, agriculture and urban needs. Let’s not forget flood control. As the planet warms, more precipitation will land in the Sierra Nevada in the form of rain, rather than snow. Rain that is not absorbed by the forest floor moves unimpeded through the watershed, breaching dams, causing valley flooding and pressure on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta levee system before the water is wasted to the sea—all because California does not have adequate storage facilities to capture excess winter flows. It has not been since Gov. Edmund G. Brown’s vision to build a statewide water system for California and President John F. Kennedy’s famous speech in 1962 at the site of San Luis Reservoir that the people of this state have been this united in preparing a path for the future. San Luis Reservoir, completed in 1967, can hold up to 2 million acrefeet or 652 billion gallons of water, and is the largest off-stream reservoir in the

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On average, there are 20 million private and 7 million commercial vehicles inspected at 16 California Border Protection Station (BPS) facilities located on major highways entering the state. Watercraft, moving vans, recreational and utility vehicles comprise about five percent of the vehicles that pass through the stations yearly. Commercial vehicles cover over 25 percent of the traffic. The remaining 70% are classified as private vehicles that are required to be screened for routes of travel determining pest risk and level of inspection. From these inspections, tens of thousands of fruits, vegetables, plants, boats and patio furniture are rejected because they were in violation of California or federal plant quarantine laws. Unfortunate-

ly BPS budget cuts do not allow stations to be open 24 hours per day. With published schedules, shady characters could easily choose to cross into California uninspected. Going back to the late 1980’s, I was trained that these stations were the first line of defense in California’s pest exclusion efforts. I thought that was great since it should make my job a lot easier. What I know now is that many of these rejected lots still move on from the border to their destination county. This has never made sense to me, but the reality is that border stations have limited resources available to them. The honor system is definitely in place for the public to call the Ag Commissioner, schedule an inspection and hear the disposition of their possessions which

Marilyn Kinoshita are infested with invasive species. With all of the recent Asian citrus psyllid activity in the lower San Joaquin Valley, I wish we could set up our version of a border station, especially at the top or bottom of the Grapevine. This is not a new idea, as several in the citrus industry have asked about the concept. Dealing with the problem of tiny hitchhiking ACP in the cabs of vehicles is especially onerous. If I ruled the world, I would require anyone driving into the valley from southern California to drive the Grapevine with their windows down. No self-respecting psyllid could live through the experience. This article reprinted with the permission of the Tulare County Farm Bureau.

Registered Dietitians Learn About Beef Production In June, registered dietitians and nutritionists from throughout the state joined the California Beef Council (CBC) for a behind-thescenes look at the beef production process. A three-day, immersive “pasture to plate” tour showed them various aspects of how beef is raised and produced, from a cow-calf ranch (Steve and Michelle McDonald’s ranch, Rancho del Rio, in Sanger), to a feedlot (Harris Feeding Company), and even a processing facility (Cargill Beef in Fresno). Along the way, stops at Chandler Farms and SunMaid Raisins gave the attendees a behind-the-scenes glimpse at other crops and agricultural sectors, and learned just how connected the beef  industry is to California’s agriculture indus-

try as a whole. Mixed in with these tours were insightful presentations on beef nutrition by Shelley Johnson, Director of Nutrition Outreach for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and on beef ’s true environmental impact from a greenhouse gas emissions standpoint from renowned scientist Dr. Frank Mitloehner, who is wellknown for debunking the 2006 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s comparisons of livestock emissions to transportation emissions through sound science and research. “Feedback from our tour participants was overwhelmingly positive,” said James Winstead, CBC Director, Food and Nutrition Outreach. “Everyone came away

California Beef Council with a broader understanding of what goes into producing beef, and also with a greater appreciation of the nutritional science that supports beef in a healthy diet to help them better inform their clients and patients about positive dietary patterns that include this powerful protein.” While this latest tour was specifically for professionals in the nutrition field, it was similar to other Pasture-to-Plate tours the CBC has held in previous years. To get a sense for what goes into these immersive experiences, be sure to check out this video from our 2015 tour. This article reprinted with the permission of the Tulare County Farm Bureau.

1 September, 2016

Valley Voice • 9

Tulare County Supervisors Ratify Emergency Proclamation on Cedar Fire Catherine Doe The Tulare County Board of Supervisors (BOS) ratified an emergency proclamation on the Cedar Fire at their regular meeting August 23. Tulare County Fire Chief, Charlie Norman, said that this is the biggest fire he has seen in his career. He reported that the fire started Tuesday August 16 in the Cedar Creek area in Kern County. The first two proclamations ratified by the BOS concerned the mandatory evacuation orders on August 18 and 19. The third proclamation was to request that Governor Jerry Brown declare a State of Emergency due to the Cedar Fire, waive any regulations that may hinder response and recovery efforts and provide any state resources that may be necessary to combat the fire. According to Director of the Resource Management Agency, Mike Spata, as of day five of the fire, Tulare County had spent $200,000. Fire personnel, equipment and the operations center are the main costs, 75% of which is anticipated to be reimbursed by the state. The fire expanded into Tulare County on the evening of August 17. Norman said that there were 2000 fire fighters from various agencies fighting the fire and that it has the potential to grow on three sides of the fire’s perimeter. As of August 29, the Cedar Fire has burned 29,206 acres and is at 45% containment. “Fortunately there have been no fatalities or injuries,” said Norman. When he saw the fire increase from 400 acres to 4000 in the span of 12 hours he had to order a mandatory evacuation of several small south Tulare County mountain communities. Norman described the behavior of the fire as extreme and erratic, commenting how it was fuel-driven and greatly enhanced by the epidemic tree mortality in the national forest and foothills. Twelve strike teams are bulldozing large swaths of land and conducting back fires to create fire breaks to protect the mountain communities. “The biggest priority was to keep the fire out of Panoramic Heights” he said. Supervisor Mike Ennis said that embers as big as chairs were falling on the Panorama Heights Fire Station and that it was the “never say die” attitudes of our fire fighters that saved the community. Tulare County has two levels of evacuations: voluntary and mandatory. A voluntary evacuation means that residents should either evacuate or be prepared to do so should conditions worsen. Voluntary evacuations require proof of residency to enter. A mandatory evacuation means that residents should evacuate. As of August 29, the neighboring communities of Poso Park, Panorama Heights, Balance Rock, McClenney Tract, Sugar Loaf Sawmill, Sugar Loaf Mountain Park, White River Summer Homes, and

Spear Creek Summer Homes are still under mandatory evacuation orders. Also effective as of August 29, officials have downgraded the mandatory evacuation order to voluntary for the following communities: Posey, Idlewild, Manter Meadow, Pine Mountain Ranch Homes, and Rainbow Ranch. Officials lifted voluntary evacuations in the following areas: California Hot Springs, Pine Flat, Johnsondale, Chamise Flat campground, and Fairview McNallys areas. Conditions may change in the next 36 hours for communities downgraded, causing officials to re-issue mandatory status. Returning residents should show caution, personal safety and be aware of possible debris and smoke inhalation. Changes have been made to road closures as of August 29. Current road closures include: Mountain 3 (M-3) is now closed where it becomes Sugarloaf Drive at Peel Mill Creek Road east into the Balance Rock, Sugarloaf and Panorama Heights areas. Mountain 3 (M-3) “White River Rd” is now partially open at Jack Ranch Road east into the evacuated areas around Posey and Idlewild, for residents of Posey and Idlewild only. Mountain 112 (M-112) “Deer Creek Rd” is now open at Road 296 into the previously evacuated areas around California

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Hot Springs. Mountain 56 (M-56) “Hot Springs Rd” is now open at Mountain 109 (M-109) “Old Stage Rd” near Fountain Springs into the previously evacuated areas around California Hot Springs. Pine Flat Road is closed at Manter Meadow Road for southbound travel into the evacuated areas around Sugarloaf and Posey. Manter Meadow Road is now partially open, for residents only. Dumpster locations will be available for residents to dispose of any trash or debris at Posey Fire Station and the Posey Post Office. Re-population efforts are underway with assistance from the American Red Cross located at the Posey Fire Station. County health officials advise residents returning to communities impacted by the wildfires to take caution upon returning to their homes. Always be aware of your surroundings and proceed cautiously to avoid hazards caused by the wildfire. For a full list of precautions visit www.tulare-

county.ca.gov/emergencies. Southern California Edison has begun to restore power to various areas affected by the Cedar Fire. Residents who experience long-term power loss are urged to show caution when using their appliances for the first time. Do not consume refrigerated or frozen food stored in appliances that may have lost electricity, and dispose of these items properly. Water systems are currently being recharged in the area. An evacuation center was set up in the gymnasium at Granite Hills High School in Porterville. Residents of the affected communities were able to bring their pets to the evacuation center and those with large animals could take them to Terry Way’s Ranch & Equine Rescue at 918541-3572, located at 416 N. Anderson Way in Exeter. For the latest evacuation information call (559) 636-5496.


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10 • Valley Voice

1 September, 2016

What’s In A Contract: HCCA, Tulare Regional and Southern Inyo Tony Maldonado Healthcare Conglomerate Associates’ contract to operate the Tulare Regional Medical Center (TRMC) has been under increasing scrutiny as the Measure I campaign rolls towards its end. HCCA came into life as the handpicked partner for Tulare Local Healthcare District (TLHCD) the legal entity that owns TRMC. It was picked by the TLHCD board in early December 2013, though the company was legally formed two days after it was chosen. HCCA’s later deal with another healthcare district, the Lone Pine, California-based Southern Inyo Healthcare District (SIHD) and its Southern Inyo Hospital, provides a unique opportunity to see how the company -- whose first deal was with the Tulare board -- negotiates its hospital partnerships, and how Southern Inyo’s deal compares to Tulare’s. Tulare and Southern Inyo are currently the only hospitals that HCCA operates. The company’s website leaves spots open for “HCCA Future Site 3” and “HCCA Future Site 4,” but it is unknown whether the company is in active negotiation with any other hospitals, or if these are simply placeholders for future possibilities. The contracts basically use the same language. But, where Tulare’s agreement with HCCA spans across four major contracts, Southern Inyo’s agreement with HCCA only contains one. There many other differences.

contract term, limited to a total of 120 months, multiplied by the CPI percentage increase between January 1, 2015 and the date the fee is made payable, plus one percent. The cost before all of those calculations is still staggering: it would cost the district $8.4 million to exit the contract today. Exiting the contract wouldn’t only be expensive; it could be messy, too.


A puzzling section of the contract between Tulare and HCCA disallows any representative of the Tulare Local Dr. Benny Benzeevi, CEO of Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, presents a consolidated version Healthcare District to enter of HCCA’s plan to turn around Tulare Regional Medical Center on the regularly scheduled August TRMC, its clinics, or other 24 TLHCD Board meeting. Tony Maldonado/Valley Voice sites without prior approval not their own, and new management unique public-private partnership has that provides us a fair deal,” Citizens infused Tulare Regional Medical Cen- from HCCA. It also prevents them from accessing for Hospital Accountability, the main ter with fiscal responsibility and strong data systems used for the operation, preanti-Measure I group, said in a recent leadership, while leaving full ownership sumably including computer networks, Facebook post. “The first step is defeat- of its assets in public hands.” ing Measure I, but we know our work The current TLHCD board agrees. though the District is forced to pay for does not stop there. We must continue “Some people are just not going to IT upkeep and management as part fighting to get the hospital we deserve.” accept the facts: that there is a change, of the contract. Tulare Regional’s web The group’s position on HCCA is which is a positive change, saving 550 presence has also been subsumed into echoed by its supporters. jobs, and having that profitability with HCCA’s website, appearing alongside “There is so much wrong with this raises and full benefits restored. That’s resources for Southern Inyo instead of contract that it would take at least a the story that only God can write, and having its own dedicated website and 5-page newspaper exposé to thoroughly the good work of you, sir,” TLHCD domain; though that was not contractucover every facet,” Dr. Patricia Drilling Board Member Dr. Parmod Kumar told ally obligated. No representative of the District wrote in a letter to the editor published Dr. Benny Benzeevi at a board meetmay speak in any negative form against in the July 21 edition of the Valley Voice. ing in June. HCCA as well, according to the conHowever, HCCA’s leadership group THE CRITICISM states that the proof is in the pudding, TULARE’S ARRANGEMENT tract, though the section is not bilateral: Critics of the Tulare Local Healthit does not prevent HCCA from speakso to speak - Tulare’s hospital still exists, HCCA’s current contract with Tucare District Board of Directors – the ing negatively against the district. and it is now profitable. lare Regional Medical Center is called legal entity that owns TRMC – and The contract also required the trans“When HCCA stepped up and pre- the Management Services Agreement Measure I say the contract is too resented a plan that allowed the hospital (MSA). The contract, signed May 29, fer of all Tulare Local Healthcare Disstrictive. They’re working to elect new and its assets to remain publicly owned 2014, is in effect for 15 years, and auto- trict employees – except those required board members who, they say, will work yet have its operations run like a private matically renewing every 10 years there- by law for continued operations – to to either re-negotiate the current conbusiness, the Board said it had finally after. The next renewal is scheduled for HCCA, which now leases back each emtract with HCCA, or find a new hospiployee for use at TRMC. found the right partner,” Kathleen John- May 29, 2029. tal partner. Should either party walk away from son, VP of Marketing for HCCA, wrote According to the contract, the base “We need a new board that repin a May 5 Voice opinion piece. “This monthly compensation Tulare Local the agreement, TLHCD is prohibited resents the interests of Tulare District, from attempting to re-hire those emHealthcare District pays HCCA for its ployees for a period of two years, leaving services is $225,000 per month. That them without employees to run the hosraises yearly in a complicated formula: pital, and leaving the hospital’s employ• The existing management fee is ees without jobs – even if the hospital is multiplied by the greater of the otherwise open and functioning. per-year CPI [consumer price index] percentage increase or ™ TULARE’S OPTION five percent, AGREEMENT • The existing management fee is From the moment your loved As cremation has become more Tulare Local Healthcare District is added to that amount, one arrives at our funeral popular in recent years, some paying HCCA 130% of each employ• Then the adjusted managehome, through the cremation providers have learned to cut ee’s base salary or wages. The additionment fee is multiplied by 1.01 process, to the return of their corners. Unfortunately, this has cremated remains to you, to determine the new man- al 30%, HCCA says, is simply to covresulted in a surge of national your loved one is well cared scandals that has put doubt in er employee benefits, such as health agement fee. for at all times. the minds of families that choose By these calculations, the Tulare insurance. cremation. The initial agreement, however, reLocal Healthcare District currently pays If your choice is cremation, there is no other choice than $253,048 per month for HCCA’s ser- quired the district to pay HCCA 130% Hadley-Marcom Funeral Chapel Hadley-Marcom Funeral is the only local funeral provider vices – or $3,036,576 for the calendar of each employee’s overall compensaChapel. in Tulare County to offer a 10tion, inclusive of benefits, taxes, and reyear of 2016. step cremation process backed Once its bonds are paid, the District imbursements -- the change came about Call us for more information by our exclusive Cremation with about our Cremation with can step into a more advanced form of in an amendment to the Management TM Confidence Guarantee. Confidence TM Guarantee. partnership contract (the “Joint Operat- Services Agreement. Alongside that amendment, an “Oping Agreement”) with HCCA, one that would give HCCA 95% of profits and tion Agreement” signed between HCCA and TLHCD affords HCCA the option leave 5% for the District. TLHCD has two options for exit- to buy the hospital or execute a 30-year ing the agreement: they can choose not long-term lease. The amended Manageto renew the contract a year before the ment Services Agreement allows HCCA Hadley-Marcom Funeral Chapel FD#2129 next renewal, or they can unilaterally to defer any of the employee lease payments towards a possible purchase. choose to terminate the contract. 1700 W. Caldwell Ave. Visalia, CA 93277 The Option Agreement, and the There is no penalty for non-renewal, (559) 625-8900 amendment to the Management Serbut exiting the contract would cost upwards of $70,000 per month left in the CONTRACTS continued on 11 »

“ We believe in our cremation process so much that we exclusively offer the Cremation with Confidence Guarantee.”

TULARE COUNTY 1 September, 2016

Measure I Continued from p. 1

support the election of Board candidates Kevin Northcraft and Michael Jamaica.” The Voice reached out to, but was unable to receive comment from, Healthcare Conglomerate Associates CEO Benny Benzeevi, Sitrick & Co. Member of the Firm Stuart Pfeifer, and BakerHostetler Partner Bruce Greene. Healthcare Conglomerate Associ-

Contracts Continued from p. 10

vices Agreement that allowed the deferment of those funds, caused controversy when they were revealed to the wider public. HCCA says that controversy is unfounded – while it may have negotiated an agreement that would give it the right to purchase the hospital, that doesn’t mean it plans to. “To be clear, HCCA has zero intention to buy the hospital,” Johnson wrote in the previously mentioned May 5 piece. “And if it ever did, the deal would have to be approved by the registered voters in the district and sold at its full market value at that time.”


There is no doubting that under HCCA’s leadership, Tulare’s hospital has returned to profitability. The financial numbers and audits are the proof, HCCA officials say. For those opposed to Measure I and the board’s contract with HCCA, though, that does not mean that there still are not improvements to be made. Citizens for Hospital Accountability recently pointed to a 2014 study in Becker’s Hospital Review which they cite as evidence that HCCA’s fees are far too high for a hospital of Tulare’s size. “HCCA collects over 50% of TRMC’s net income!! How is this level of compensation justified; especially when the level of care continues to decline under HCCA’s watch?,” their Facebook post states. “According to the financial data provided by Kaweah Delta and Sierra View, TRMC still wouldn’t be earning the $50 million in revenue that warrants a $3 million per year contract if we put them both out of business and got all their patients!” HCCA contends their arrangement was better than the alternatives. “Rather than the District filing bankruptcy and laying off hundreds of people, HCCA re-hired the entire staff and gave them pay raises,” Johnson, wrote in her May 5 letter. “Management empowered the staff to make key decisions and these improved patient care, and the hospital’s overall performance.”


At Southern Inyo Hospital, however, HCCA is helping the Southern Inyo Healthcare District do just that - file bankruptcy. HCCA’s contract with the Southern Inyo Healthcare District specifically provides for a “Chief Restructuring Officer” – currently Alan Germany, HCCA’s CFO – to assist them through their

Valley VoiceNight • 11 Fina Election ates is the company that the Tulare Local Healthcare District has contracted to manage the Tulare Regional Medical Center. Sitrick & Co. is a public relations group retained by HCCA during the Measure I campaign, and BakerHostetler is a law firm that represents both the District and HCCA. The firm also donated to the Yes on Measure I effort. A recent Fitch Ratings report states that the hospital had not informed the credit rating agency of any backup plans Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings, and also arranged for Baker Hostetler, a Los Angeles-based law firm HCCA and TRMC contract out to, to handle the SIHD bankruptcy proceedings. By SIHD’s own admission, the operation was in a shambles when HCCA came around: the old CEO and board effectively threw their hands in the air and left, leaving the hospital in a management vacuum. The Inyo County Board of Supervisors was forced to appoint three members to the board to create a quorum. Even in those dire conditions, however, the SIHD board was able to negotiate a different contract than the one TLHCD has with HCCA.


The only contract between HCCA and SIHD is the Management Services Agreement. It is broadly structured in the same way as Tulare’s MSA, but there are key differences: mainly in cost, longevity and independence. SIHD also signed a five-year contract, with five-year renewals. Officials from SIHD are not placed under any restrictions from visiting their hospital, nor are they restricted from accessing any data systems used in connection with the hospital. HCCA also did not take on any of Southern Inyo’s employees - they remain SIH employees – if HCCA and SIHD split up, SIH would not be left in the lurch without any staff. SIHD Board President Richard Fedchenko stated he had no comment for for this article, but told Sierra Wave Media, an outlet local to that area, that the contract afforded SIHD was significantly different than the one HCCA officials first presented. “Our contract (with HCCA) is different that the Tulare contract. As a matter of fact, it’s very different than the original contract (HCCA first presented). At the end of the day, it’s pretty simple. A monthly fee covers HCCA and there are no options to buy,” Fedchenko said in April. The SIHD contract offers Southern Inyo Hospital a higher degree of independence at a lower price. Part of that difference is likely due to HCCA’s reduced responsibilities and the size of the hospital. SIH has four acute-care beds and 33 skilled-nursing beds to TRMC’s 112 acute-care beds. The non-disparagement clause still exists, but it goes both ways: HCCA can’t disparage SIHD, and SIHD can’t disparage HCCA. SIHD’s management fee is $65,000 per month, with the same CPI calculations as used in Tulare’s contract. Since this is the first year of SIHD’s contract, they will be paying the flat $65,000 per month, for a total of $780,000 in its


Registration & Turnout All-Mail Precincts Turnout


10,041 40.08% Total ...


10,041 40.08% 1/1 100.00%


3,328 33.23%


6,686 66.77% Total ...

10,014 100.00%

for the failure of Measure I. Additionally, the hospital had not indicated any back-

up plan for the measure’s failure during the campaign.

first year. Crucially, as Fedchenko stated, HCCA has no option to purchase the hospital. In a statement on Facebook after the Voice published each contract for comparison, the Citizens for Hospital Accountability group raised questions as to how Southern Inyo’s deal worked out. “Though SIH’s contract is obviously not ideal either, our question is: why would SIH receive a better contract than TRMC and actually have negotiated terms if they were in a far worse position as a smaller hospital which even reached bankruptcy,” the post read. “The only answer we can provide is that our board has been, at best, negligent, and, at worst, self-serving, in the negotiations for our contract. They have abandoned the public they were elected to represent and must be held accountable.”

nization coming to life with a full set of bylaws and regulations was unheard of – he made the comparison that a medical staff’s bylaws are like its “constitution,” and drew references to the Founding Fathers’ creation of the United States Constitution. In a March article for the Voice, John D. Harwell, the lawyer representing the ousted Tulare Regional Medical Staff, stated he was just as surprised. “[The replacement staff] just sprung out of nowhere and announced they were a new medical staff, that they had bylaws and regulations, which is just astonishing, because bylaws and regulations take months to put together, not hours,” Harwell said. The ouster should draw serious concerns, Smith said. “If there is not an independent medical staff in charge of patient care and quality, then if they tell me that no, we can’t spend that extra $100 for the right medicine for you, then I can’t spend it, and you may be at risk,” Smith said at the forum. In the state of California, a hospital’s medical staff is required to be independent from the hospital to prevent any conflicts of interest. Smith and others charge that the new group’s independence is tenuous, at best. “You go behind closed doors with the vice-chair of the board, his wife, and four contracted physicians, and put them in charge, and say that’s the new MEC,” Smith said at the forum. “And guess what, people? Doctors like me who have been on the staff for 20 years – we no longer can vote [on medical staff decisions].” “It may cost your life, your loved one’s life, your children’s life, if I am not independent and I cannot say what is wrong with the way any treatment is going,” Smith said. “That’s why it’s important, that’s why you should care that the medical staff has been kicked out, and a new medical staff […] are in charge of everything. That’s a problem.”


Southern Inyo’s contract also does not include any clause relating to a medical staff, as TLHCD’s did. HCCA’s contract with the Tulare Local Healthcare District states HCCA is obliged to “recommend written bylaws for adoption by the District” and “provide recommendations to the District regarding Governing Body [board] approval of Medical Staff by-laws.” The contract states that it is the goal of both HCCA and the TLHCD to create a “Medical Staff Development Plan” and that “[t]he parties recognize that changes established pursuant to the Medical Staff Development Plan implementation may result in a smaller, more accountable Medical Staff being appointed.” In February, the Tulare Local Healthcare District Board of Directors ended its contract with the Tulare Regional Medical Staff and moved those members to 2016 a replacement August 30, 8:08 PM body, the Tulare Regional Medical Center Professional Staff. Officials for the Tulare Local Healthcare District and Healthcare Conglomerate Associates claim that the switch was necessitated due to a negative report from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). But the contract provision has become a key point of concern for those who claim the switch was motivated by other purposes. “You saw in the contract – that had been planned for years,” Dr. Lonnie Smith, a former TLHCD board member, stated during a presentation at the recent No on Measure I forum. “They used the survey that the state did, that said that the board – the governing body – was the problem. They used that survey to say that, OK, we need to fire the medical staff and start over again.” Smith also stated that a new orga-


Both of HCCA’s hospitals have been successful. For Tulare, it is hard to argue with cold, hard financials. While there may be debate as to how they came back to life – the Affordable Care Act, Medi-Cal reimbursements, and other discussion centering around insurance and reimbursements – there’s no debating cold hard cash, hospital proponents say. “Is their contract favorable to them? Sure it is and they have been worth every penny, saving our community millions of dollars in a very professional manner,” Robert Bell, DDS, wrote in a Valley Voice commentary. Bell is the husband of Sherrie Bell, TLHCD board president.

12 • Valley Voice


Family HealthCare Network is pleased to announce its newest pharmacy opened for service on Wednesday, August 31st. The pharmacy is located inside of its Cutler-Orosi Health Center at 12586 Avenue 408. The new pharmacy will offer services, available to Family HealthCare Network patients from Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and complement the comprehensive medical and dental services offered at the health center. “Our patients in Cutler-Orosi have demonstrated a demand for these services,” stated Family HealthCare Network President & CEO Kerry Hydash. “Our goal is to meet this need and expand access for our communities served.” This will be the third pharmacy that Family HealthCare Network has opened since opening its first pharmacy at the Porterville Health Center in May of 2012 and the second at the Visalia Oak Health Center in September 2013. Along with the added convenience, the new pharmacy provides a wide range of affordable prescriptions to benefit patients that are on a limited income or are uninsured. For more information on Family HealthCare Network Pharmacy Services, call (559) 741-2650 or visit www.FHCN.org.


The Tulare County Farm Bureau will be selling raffle tickets for three guns throughout the summer, for a drawing to be held at Bounty of the County on September 9. Winner need not be present at the drawing. Tickets are $50 each, with three prizes to be drawn: Shotgun, a Rifle, and a Handgun. The firearms will be transferred to the winning party through Smokin’ Barrel Firearms in Visalia. Store credit may be provided at the dealer’s discretion. Tickets are available now! Drop by the Farm Bureau to purchase your tickets. Credit card payments are now being accepted. Tickets are also for sale at Smokin’ Barrel Firearms, located at 3222 N. Demaree, Ste. D, Visalia. Drop by and buy a ticket today! Prizes are: 1st Prize: Remington 11-87 Semi Auto Shotgun, 20 gauge 2nd Prize: Smith and Wesson, M&P Shield, 9 mm 3rd Prize: Savage 17 HMR Rifle


Fairgoers this year can enjoy a fundraiser rodeo, a Gran Jaripeo Mexican-style rodeo and three nights of motor sports. Fair season kicks off with an American-style rodeo on Saturday, Sept. 10, including a rodeo clown and concluding with a dance featuring Central Coast band Odonovan. The rodeo is a fundraiser for the Tulare County Fair Foundation. The Tractor Pull, free with gate admission, is Wednesday, Sept. 14. Gates

1 September, 2016 open at 6 p.m.; show begins at 7 p.m. The Monster Truck shows, Sept. 15 and 16, will include Trouble Maker, Double Trouble, Obsessed, Play’n for Keeps and Enforcer, plus freestyle Motocross. Gates open at 6 p.m.; show begins at 7 p.m. The Demolition Derby on Saturday, Sept. 17, begins at 6 p.m.; gates open at 5 p.m. For ticket information on these events, visit tcfair.org. Discounts are available until Sept. 1. Ticket prices for the Motorsports Series do not include gate admission. The Gran Jaripeo will be held on Sunday, Sept. 18, in the grandstands. It will feature 15 riders and rodeo clowns and will conclude with a dance featuring Ramon Ayala, Banda Machos and Cinco de Reyes. Doors open at 4 p.m. and the rodeo begins at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are available at outlets throughout the South Valley, including Joyerias Marias en Dinuba, Tulare, Visalia and Porterville; Muebleria Fantastica in Visalia and Hanford; and Moda Latina in Tulare. The Gran Jaripeo ticket cost includes admission to the fair. Fair admission is $8 for adults; $5 for children ages 6-12. The fair will offer live local entertainers; new food booths; a huge carnival with new rides; a carnival area just for young children, and a wide variety of entertainment, free with gate admission. Carnival wristbands are available for $20 in advance of the fair or $30 after Sept. 14. Visit www.tcfair.org for updates to the schedule of events and details on discounts, or call the fairgrounds office at 686-4707.


The City of Visalia is currently accepting applications for Parks and Recreation Commissioners. Parks & Recreation Commissioners are volunteers who work with City staff to provide input and recommendations to the Visalia City Council on Park and Recreation related items. Examples of roles of the Commission include: • park planning and development including park design, naming and equipment selection • establishing park rules and policies – currently working on an update to the Park Ordinance • recreation program planning – annual review of fees and charges and review annual program reports • attend special events and park dedications • works with other City committees such as the Waterways & Trails Committee and the North Visalia Neighborhood Advisory Committee “We are looking for people who are passionate about parks and recreation and want to play a role in developing parks and recreation not just for today, but also into the future,” stated Jeannie Greenwood, Director of Visalia Parks & Recreation and staff liaison to the Parks & Recreation Commission. The Parks and Recreation Commission meets the third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 707 W. Acequia. Meetings are open to the public and public participation is encouraged. The Commission is looking to fill two vacancies at this time, one voting member

and one alternate member. To apply for a position on the Parks & Recreation Commission, please visit www.visalia.city, click on the “City Government” tab and select “Committees and Commissions.” The online application is available on this page along with additional information about serving on a City Committee or Commission. You must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the City of Visalia to apply to serve on a committee. For more information on serving on the Parks & Recreation Commission, please call (559) 713-4042 or email recreation@visalia.city.

CA), is the “standardized curriculum” recognized by FDA and fulfills the FSMA requirement for a PCQI (Preventive Controls Qualified Individual). Join us for this 24 hour training that is certified and approved by the FSPCA and FDA. The class will be taught by a FSPCA Lead Instructor. The cost of the training is $699 per person (early registration) and includes textbooks, certificate fee, lunch and refreshments. Additional discounts available; see website for details. Register through COS Training Resource Center Website (cos.edu/trainingcenter) or call 559.688.3130.



College of the Sequoias’ Access & Ability Center would like to invite the community to this year’s Disability Awareness Day event, as part of Disability Employment Awareness Month. This event will take place in the Quad of the Visalia campus on October 20, 2016, from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. COS’ Disability Awareness Day event celebrates diversity, awareness and empowerment. The theme of the event is, “Too many walls and not enough bridges.” Community organizations will be presenting information regarding various services, employment and financial assistance. Other activities include music and campus tours. COS’ Access & Ability Center assists students with reaching their intellectual, occupational, cultural and social potential. Services are individualized to aid each student’s independence, productivity and self-esteem. Services are provided to enhance students’ access to, and success in, all classes and activities offered at COS. COS invites the community to the event. Questions can be directed to Brittney Salas, Workability III Counselor and Coordinator, 559.737.5417 or brittneys@cos.edu


College of Sequoias Training Resource Center is offering two training classes on Preventive Controls for Human Foods. The first is on October 25, 26 & 27, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The second is on November 7-17, Monday-Thursday evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Both classes will be held at the COS Tulare Center, 4999 E Bardsley. This training will enable Tulare County Food manufacturers and industry professionals to fulfill the FSMA requirement for PCQI (Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals). The Preventive Controls for Human Food regulation is intended to ensure safe manufacturing / processing, packing and holding of food products for human consumption in the United States. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law on January 2011. It was created to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system. It enables FDA to focus more on preventing food safety problems rather than relying primarily on reacting to problems after they occur. Compliance dates for some businesses begin in September 2016. This course, developed by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSP-

League of Women Voters will be meeting September 20th from 11:30 1:30 at Sue Sa’s newly named restaurant, West of Center located at 699 W. Center. Featured speaker Eric Frost, Deputy City Manager of Visalia, will be discussing the Visalia Sales Tax measure that will be on the ballot in November. Lunch is $15. Reservations are required. Please call or email 732-1251 newellgb@hotmaill.com The League of Women Voters is available to local clubs that would like a presentation on the 17 ballot measures facing voters in November. The LWV has taken a neutral stand and is focused on educating the voting public. The Speakers Bureau will take requests to present a program beginning September 19 to November 4. For information call 734-6501 or rzeeb@ comcast.net.


The Waterways & Trails Committee is a Visalia City Council appointed advisory committee that works with City staff to plan and develop trail ways in Visalia. Visalia currently has 17.67 miles of Class I trails exclusive for bikes and pedestrians. In addition, there are 25 miles of Class II Bike Lanes. Currently, there are 8 trails planned in Visalia with an additional 16.57 miles of trails to be developed. “We are looking for individuals that have an interest in trail planning and development for recreational or transportation purposes,” stated Jeannie Greenwood, Director of Visalia Parks & Recreation and staff liaison to the Waterways & Trails Committee. “This committee also provides feedback on bikeways throughout the City and works to educate the public on bicycle safety.” The Waterways & Trails Committee meets the first Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 707 W. Acequia. Meetings are open to the public and public participation is encouraged. To apply for a position on the Waterways & Trails Committee, please visit www.visalia.city, click on the “City Government” tab and select “Committees and Commissions.” The online application is available on this page along with additional information about serving on a City Committee or Commission. You must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the City of Visalia to apply to serve on a committee. For more information on serving on the Waterways & Trails Committee, please call (559) 713-4042 or email recreation@visalia.city.

1 September, 2016

Valley Voice • 13

Viewpoint Objectivity

Winslow Myers Donald Trump’s wobbliness with facts underlines America’s need for objectivity as a value ripe for renewal. Despite differences in perception across the spectrum of class and race, solid data can push against the tsunami of inaccuracies that threatens to sweep us off our collective feet. Trump’s immigration rants underscore the statistically verified fact that illegal immigration has been declining for years. His fear mongering about crime fails to account for the extended descent of crime rates in all categories. His exaggerations of international threats belie the fact that there has been a steady worldwide diminishment in the number of wars—even taking into account the ongoing horrors in the Middle East. Politicians have debated approaches to difficult challenges like terrorism, drugs, poverty, and racism, but the context for dialogue is often not an accurate overview because it is blurred by the need of candidates to win and hold power by pandering. Browbeaten by oversimplified messages, Americans go along with conventional definitions of what constitutes significance. For example, millions of dollars were wasted by members of Congress trying to use the Benghazi issue for political advantage. Clinton never did what Trump and his supporters claim. Trump’s bizarre demagoguery has provided an endless supply of juicy headlines. The drive for ratings has weakened the immune system of our media to such an extent that the oversimplified, the sensational and the rankly untrue have metastasized, squeezing aside cool appraisal. Here are three interrelated realities that provide a context for political

debate grounded in facts: First, we have arrived at a super-challenging moment in history where our human presence on the planet is exceeding Earth’s carrying capacity. Aside from a few odd ducks in our Congress bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry, no one can deny this. Free-market capitalists are compelled to change their definition of growth from money manipulation, the sheer quantity, and planned obsolescence, to meeting real human needs, quality, and sustainability. In the 19th century, corporations had to justify their usefulness to society to receive their lawful charters. Today, entrepreneurs need only look for potential models of real prosperity in the creativity of natural systems that reuse everything and waste nothing. Without a vibrant, healthy ecosystem, there will be fewer and fewer vibrant, healthy people to ensure the success of markets. Second, it is a relief that war is on the decline because the destructive power of our nuclear weapons has also exceeded the capacity of the planet to absorb the violence built into them. The impulse to make profits on the renewal of these weapons, rationalized by the apparent success of deterrence theory, will almost certainly lead sooner or later to nuclear war by misunderstanding, computer malfunction or the perception that conventional war is not enough to ensure “victory.” The designers of these weapons have made a devil’s bargain. If the nine nuclear nations could conference their way into gradual, reciprocal disarmament, it would become a precedent-setting example for nonviolent solutions to many other challenges—including stabilizing the climate. Third, not unexpectedly, the American military-industrial-media complex

doesn’t offer systemic alternatives to dominance. People who meet face to face and engage in dialogue about common challenges can build relationship trust and get beyond fear-based stereotypes and futile hatreds. Even individual U.S. soldiers in places like Afghanistan, struggling to accomplish contradictory policy goals, have been known to do just that with courage and skill. But for America merely to sell planes, tanks and missiles to other nations is proving to be a bogus way to ensure either loyalty or security—especially when the war of all against all confuses who is friend or foe. What if it turned out that expanding the resources of the Peace Corps while closing some far-off military bases yielded more security in the long run? Imagine an international system based less on big sticks than on monetary incentives, carrots the prosperous nations could easily afford to dangle in front of countries that aspire to score high on an index of representative democracy, transition beyond weapons and armies, transparency, and accountability for corruption. Of course, to avoid hypocrisy, the prosperous nations dispensing these goodies would have to adhere to similar aspirations. In our own country, proven devices like ranked-choice voting could help American politics evolve beyond settling for the least bad candidate. And there is no more important task for the United States than to continue to provide safe spaces for religious diversity and to be an example of that possibility to other countries. At their best, the great religions show the commonality of worldwide hopes and aspirations. Surely neither God nor Allah smiles with benign approval at the nuclear balance of terror that we still tolerate a half-century after

the Cuban crisis. There are objective truths about what will lead to the survival of the species that transcend the differences between Islam, Christianity, and other well-trodden spiritual paths. Most of our biggest challenges, climate change above all, are transnational in nature and require a transreligious level of cooperation never achieved before by our species. It seems unlikely that the candidates will address such reality-based challenges in the next few months—unless they are prompted by citizens and journalists determined to hold their feet to the fire of the real. Hillary and Donald, what are your thoughts about “nuclear winter” in the context of the hundreds of billions of dollars the Congress is planning to spend on renewed nuclear weapons? How might we use these funds more creatively to enhance our security? Why wouldn’t it help global stability and our own security to declare unequivocally that we will never use such weapons first? Given the urgency, shouldn’t we sponsor an ongoing international conference on the abolition of nukes? What is your vision for ending the endless wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya? How are changes in climate affecting the possibility of future conflicts over water and arable land, and what can we do to resolve such conflicts preventively by reallocating resources presently spent on military hardware toward meeting real human needs? Total objectivity may be out of reach, but we can lean in that direction by asking effective questions. Winslow Myers, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide” and serves on the Advisory Board of the War Preventive Initiative.

Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform — and Does It Matter? Lawrence Wittner Shortly after the Democratic Party’s platform committee concluded its deliberations this July, Bernie Sanders announced: “Thanks to the millions of people across the country who got involved in the political process . . . we now have the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.” Although the Sanders forces didn’t obtain all they wanted in their negotiations with the Clinton campaign, they did secure an avant garde platform. It calls for: a $15 per hour federal minimum wage; debt-free college education (including free tuition at public colleges for families with incomes under $125,000 per year); paid family leave; major financial reforms (including a financial transactions tax and revival of the Glass-Steagall Act); opposition to the TPP in all but name; a pathway toward marijuana legalization; defense of women’s and LGBTQ rights; expansion of Social Security; and the reversal of the Citizens United decision. In the area of criminal justice, it backs abolition of the death penalty, a shutdown of private prisons, and an end to racial profiling. The platform also supports important measures to fight climate change, including placing a price on carbon and empowering state and local governments to ban

fracking--provisions strongly backed by leading environmentalists such as Bill McKibben. Furthermore, the platform calls for significant measures to improve public access to healthcare, such as the development of a public option for health insurance, increased funding for community health centers, and the ability to buy into Medicare after age 55. When compared to the New Deal platforms of the Democratic Party in 1932 and 1936 or to the party’s later reformist platforms, such as that of 1964, the 2016 platform does, indeed, champion a more progressive domestic policy. When its provisions are set alongside the reactionary Republican Party platform of 2016, there could hardly be a more glaring contrast. But what about foreign and military policy? Despite the fact that the rival Green Party has denounced the Democratic Party as a “party of war” and Hillary Clinton as a “warmonger,” the platform actually promises to “promote peace.” Although far from pacifist, it nevertheless states that “diplomacy and development” will be “especially” drawn upon “to confront global threats and ensure war is the last resort.” Along these lines, the platform supports continuing the Iran nuclear agreement, strengthening the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Discussing the strug-

gle against ISIS, it opposes “large-scale combat deployment of American troops.” Even though the platform does not explicitly call for cuts in U.S. military spending, there are numerous statements suggesting action along those lines, such as promises to “end the waste in the defense budget,” “rid the military of outdated Cold War [weapons] systems,” “audit the Pentagon,” and “launch a high-level commission to review the role of defense contractors.” In addition, the platform calls for “further arms control measures” and, perhaps most tellingly (in light of the Obama administration’s vast nuclear weapons “modernization” plan), opposes “expansion of existing nuclear weapons programs,” adding: “To this end, we will work to reduce excessive spending on nuclear weapons-related programs that are projected to cost $1 trillion over the next 30 years.” In short, although the Democratic Party platform is not noticeably more daring than past Democratic platforms on foreign and military policy issues, it is not particularly warlike, either. And when compared to the hawkish platform of the Republican Party and its candidate, Donald Trump — who has blithely proclaimed “I love war” and promised the substantial military buildup and action to facilitate it — the Democrats’ supposedly “warmongering” platform seems downright dovish.

A variety of leftists have either ignored the Democratic platform or disparaged it as of no consequence, arguing the Democrats will simply abandon their promises after the presidential election. But, even if this turns out to be true, which is far from certain, a political platform, like a union-negotiated contract or an international treaty, provides a written agreement — a set of standards with which progressive forces can demand compliance. As such, it can serve as an important basis for future political mobilization, in the streets and in electoral politics. Bernie Sanders, who, for a politician, ran an unusually policy-oriented presidential campaign, was determined to make the Democratic Party’s platform reflect the progressive issues he raised. And, when the platform was finally drafted, he was remarkably successful, particularly within the realm of domestic policy but also, to some degree, in the realm of foreign and military policy. Progressives shouldn’t throw away the opportunity to publicize it and to demand its implementation. Dr. Lawrence Wittner, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is a satirical novel about university corporatization and rebellion, What’s Going On at UAardvark?

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1 September, 2016


Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria

David Cortright In June the influential Center for New American Security (CNAS) issued a report that urges greater U.S. military involvement in Syria to defeat ISIS and bolster Syrian opposition groups. The report calls for more American bombing, the deployment of additional U.S. troops on the ground, the creation of so-called ‘no-bombing’ zones in rebel-held territory, and a range of other coercive military measures that would significantly increase the scale of U.S. involvement. Also in June a group of more than 50 U.S. diplomats used the State Department’s ‘dissent channel’ to issue a public appeal for U.S. air strikes against the government of Syria, arguing that attacks against the Assad regime would help to achieve a diplomatic settlement. Several of those advocating greater military involvement in Syria are senior advisers to Hilary Clinton, including former Under Secretary of Defense Michele Flournoy, who chaired the CNAS task force. If Clinton wins the presidency she will face significant pressure to deepen American military intervention in Syria. I agree that the United States should do more to try to end the war in Syria and reduce the threat from ISIS and violent

extremist groups, but greater American military intervention is not the answer. The proposed plans for more bombing and troop deployments would create more war in the region not less. It would increase the risk of military confrontation with Russia, lead to more American casualties, and could escalate into another major U.S. land war in the Middle East. Alternative approaches are available, and they need to be pursued vigorously to help resolve the crises in the region and isolate ISIS and violent extremist groups. Rather than plunging more deeply into the war in Syria, the United States should: • place much greater emphasis on seeking diplomatic solutions, partnering with Russia and states in the region to revive and strengthen local ceasefires and create political solutions, • continue and intensify efforts to impose sanctions on ISIS and block the flow of foreign fighters into Syria, • support local groups in the region that are pursuing peacebuilding dialogue and nonviolent solutions, • increase humanitarian assistance and accept refugees fleeing

the conflict. Current diplomatic efforts under the auspices of the United Nations should be sustained and strengthened, despite the many setbacks to the process. The United States should partner directly with Russia, Iran, Turkey and other neighboring states to revive and strengthen local ceasefires and create a long-term plan for political transition and more inclusive governance in Syria. Iran should be invited to cochair the diplomatic process and asked to use its extensive leverage with Syria and Iraq to facilitate diplomatic and political solutions. UN Security Council Resolution 2253 adopted last December requires states to criminalize support for ISIS and take vigorous measures to prevent their nationals from traveling to fight with the terrorist group and its affiliates. Greater efforts are needed to implement these measures and stem the flow of foreign fighters into Syria. Many local groups in Syria are utilizing nonviolent methods to oppose ISIS and pursue peacebuilding dialogues and reconciliation efforts. Maria Stephan of the U.S. Institute of Peace has proposed a range of options for using civil resistance to defeat ISIS. These efforts by Syrian women, youth and religious leaders need

international support. They will become critically important when the fighting eventually diminishes and communities face the grueling challenge of rebuilding and learning to live together again. The United States has been a leader in international humanitarian assistance for the migrants fleeing the fighting in Syria and Iraq. These efforts should be continued and expanded. Washington must also follow the lead of Germany in accepting a greater number of war refugees into the United States and providing assistance for local governments and religious and community groups that wish to house and support the refugees. It is also necessary to support longer term efforts to resolve the underlying political grievances in Syria and Iraq that have driven so many people to pick up arms and resort to violent extremist methods. This will require more inclusive and accountable governance across the region and greater efforts to enhance economic and political opportunity for all. If we want to prevent more war, we have to show that peace is the better way.

firebrand (she’s got a pro-business record, but in particular “green” business, such as wind energy), could squeak past Republican Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, which will be a shift away from Toomey’s endless opposition to clean energy and gun control. 7. In North Carolina, Republican incumbent Richard Burr still holds a slight lead over challenger Deborah Ross. Burr has a dangerous history including a leading role in getting the US Senate to approve export of enriched uranium, an ingredient in nuclear weapons and a substance of great appeal to terrorists. He also voted against any tiny measures of gun control, even those that would deny

guns to criminals. In New Hampshire, Illinois, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, and Ohio the races are relatively close (well, not quite so much currently in Wisconsin, where a resurgent Russ Feingold is 11 points up on Trump-loving Ron Johnson) and in every one the Republican incumbent held all the most problematic, retro positions possible. Really, isn’t it time for the US Senate to stop denying climate chaos, to start getting a clue about keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists, to quit opposing clean and renewable energy, and to play fair with our other branches? Only by replacing Republicans will that happen. 2016 is The Year to do it.

don’t win, we just lose. President Franklin Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The rampant fear mongering of both parties, the media, the pundits, and the believing populace sows the seeds of hatred, acrimony, short-sightedness, bigotry, intolerance, violence, and conflict. We have serious issues to deal with as Americans. On every level of our society, we face challenges that require the engagement of a mature, active, and committed citizenry. The shadow of nuclear war looms once again. The threat of climate catastrophe races toward us. Economic upheaval is on our doorstep. Violence is breaking out on our streets. No amount of scapegoating, finger pointing or blaming will help us resolve these issues. Divisions in viewpoints,

knowledge, information sources and perspectives have created a deeply troubling state of disunion, one in which civic process, discourse, conflict resolution and problem-solving flounder. Fear is a tactic used by the despotic or the power-lusting to manipulate and control us. It is the responsibility of all citizens, left and right, to challenge it vigorously. We must question those who tell us to fear. We must confront it within our own hearts. Otherwise, on Election Day, we will find that only our fears will win.

David Cortright is Director of Policy Studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Seven Reasons to Flip the Senate Tom H. Hastings The US Senate is up for grabs. Republicans hold 54 seats but 34 senate races could change that. If the Ds pick up five net (they will likely lose at least one, in Nevada), they regain the Senate. I’d offer seven reasons to make sure Republicans lose the Senate. 1. A Republican Senate blocked a hearing for Merrick Garland, one of the most obstructionist, obdurate acts of political dirty trickery in memory. 2. The Rs have quashed all attempts to stop the mass shootings in the US, even including denying guns to terror suspects (who later went on to indeed commit acts of terror). 3. A Democratic Senate would finally finish the long overdue

job of ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (assuming a President Clinton would sign), the single easiest and verifiable way to stop nuclear proliferation. 4. A Republican Senate will exacerbate foreign policy blunders that keep America plummeting in world opinion. Even when Obama and Clinton have been irresponsibly hawkish, the Rs bellow their condemnation for not being warlike enough. 5. Russ Feingold was the only US Senator to vote against the USA Patriot Act, one of the most anti-personal liberty measures of the modern era. He is likely to retake his old seat from Tea Party Republican Ron Johnson. 6. Kathleen McGinty, not a lefty

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director.

Vote Fear and Fear Wins Rivera Sun Watching the electoral cycle this year is like watching an old movie from a warped film reel with the sound out of sync. The puppet figures of politicians go through the meaningless gestures. The familiar slogans and catch phrases groan from twisted mouths, distorted and odd. A maniacal fervor pulses in the expressions of the assembled. Fear, not courage or vision, is the driving factor behind this year’s electoral cycle. Be afraid, be very afraid, is the subtext of the speeches on both the left and right. The notions of safety and security pop up frequently. Our veterans and troops are invoked. The threat of the faceless, caricatured “enemy” lurks on the edges of the speeches. The need for a

heavy militarization in all corners of the globe is never questioned, neither by the left nor by the right. With our chests constricted with anxiety, hearts hammering with worry, minds clouded with fear of the other – Trump, Clinton, terrorists, racists, xenophobia, free markets, communists, police state, the climate crisis, economic collapse – the politicians have us in their hands. Our eyes narrow at each other. We build mental walls left and right. We head to the polls, determined to beat the enemy with our votes. At the end of the day, we lose. Every election cycle, the people lose. We lose our respect. We lose our dignity. We lose our civility toward one another. We lose our critical thinking skills. We lose our heads. We lose our hearts. We

Author/Activist Rivera Sun, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection and other books, and the Programs Coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence.

1 September, 2016

Valley Voice • 15

Comments & Letters

Veteran’s Corner

VUSD Board President: Thank You, Visalia!

John Crabtree, VUSD Board President Visalia Unified School District opened its first new middle school in over 22 years on Thursday, August 11, 2016. Ridgeview Middle School greeted its first class of seventh graders with state-of-the-art facilities including new science classrooms, computer labs, a large new library, a gym that is secondto-none and athletic fields that would make any sports fan envious. Thank you to the voters and taxpayers of Visalia who saw the need to approve Measure E in 2012 to serve our growing student population! In 1994, when La Joya Middle School was built, the population of Visalia was 80,000. It’s now over 130,000.

That is well over a 40 percent increase, and we continue to grow at a rapid pace. A new elementary school is now being built at Glendale and Giddings Avenues that when opened, will fill up quickly. This is also a much-needed facility to relieve the pressure on schools in northwest Visalia. Two others are on the drawing board as well to deal with the fast pace of growth in the northern area of our community: one at Ferguson and Denton, and the other at Ferguson and Giddings. As Visalia continues to grow, so will the pressure on our High Schools. Property has already been purchased directly west and adjacent to Ridgeview Middle School as a site to build a new high school, but will require Visalia Unified

to place another bond measure on the ballot in the near future. The Visalia Unified Board of Trustees would like to thank the community members who have worked so diligently as the Measure E Bond Oversite Committee. The Board thanks also the Administrative Services Department of VUSD who have also done an outstanding job as stewards of the bond, which gives us the opportunity to complete more projects, and allows for more upgrades to our existing schools. Thank you again Visalia, for helping us to provide a better education for our students and keeping our community and city strong. We should all be proud to be part of this great community.

Assembly Candidate Comments on Trump Visit Ruben Macareno As no opposition party elected official at the federal, state or local level in Tulare County, I wish to make a statement about today’s Donald Trump visit to Tulare. What does a billionaire from New York City know anything about the fabric and make up of our county or region? How could anyone possibly think we have no drought here in California specifically in the San Joaquin Valley? Only Mr. Trump! Furthermore, he comes to a region where the majority of the people cannot afford a ticket to meet with him or even have lunch with him. I among many don’t welcome him here.

Its not that Donald Trump is a Republican, or a businessman, or even a celebrity that makes him dangerous to our country. He is dangerous because Mr. Trump is about Mr. Trump who doesn’t have the ability to lead but divide. He doesn’t have the understanding of foreign nor domestic affairs. He will bring ruin to who we are as a nation and a people. Despite some differences I shared with his Republican predecessors, Mitt Romney and John McCain, they were men of character who had the best interest of the country. Trump does not come close. He doesn’t understand our needs as a people and his dangerous, divisive and reckless policies would hurt us in ways

we would have never experienced. This is why even Republicans across the country do not back his presidential bid. It is unfortunate we have shorted-sighted, partisan diehards in Congressman Devin Nunes and Assemblyman Devon Mathis who endorse this kind of person to lead our country and the free world. Clearly most Californians reject Trump. It’s time for our region to wake up to the con man Donald Trump is. I make this statement as an American, not a partisan, on behalf of any presidential candidate, or a candidate for the State Assembly.” We need to stand up against anything that is obviously disastrous to America.

Comments from ourvalleyvoice.com

I went to one of Mathes’s so-called public meetings and was singularly unimpressed. However, I think Devon Nunes makes this guy look like the novice he is. And what about Shucklian? You know she’s only in politics cause she has no chance of getting more from her real job. Sad!

Now that County Counsel Kathleen Bales Lange announced her retirement, Tulare County should do an outside recruitment for her successor rather than having one of her deputies perpetuate her office’s questionable past practices. Is the Valley Voice planning on highlighting this important issue to the public and the CAO?

You have to love it. Thee people who complain most loudly about wood smoke are the very people who are quite alright with marijuana smoke and its particulate matter. Talk about blatant hypocrisy! We were in the home of an acquaintance whose daughter was smoking the stuff in her room. It was oppressive throughout the whole place. But wood smoke is now evil?

Listen to the audio and you will here benzeevi’s monthly non-agendized speech about how HCCA rescued the hospital from total catastrophic collapse and the small group of naysayers are trying to return the hospital back to the doomsday times. Blah blah blah. He doesn’t mention how the employees don’t get ther promised benefits, how there quality rating is dropping to new lows . And how employees are threatened with job lose if measure I fails.

— Dave McElroy on Political Fix (18 August, 2016)

— Concerned Citizen on Tulare County Stumbles During Animal Control Hearing

— Dave McElroy on Tulare County Supervisors Vote on Interim Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance

Question? Why would the hospital close if they continue to make profits? Look past the smoke people

— Truthbtold on Tulare Hospital Receives Good News in Final Stretch of Measure I Campaign

Use your voice

VA Dental Insurance Program Scott Holwell

VA’s comprehensive VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP) gives enrolled Veterans and CHAMPVA beneficiaries the opportunity to purchase dental insurance through Delta Dental and MetLife at a reduced cost. Participation is voluntary. Purchasing a dental plan does not affect Veterans’ eligibility for VA dental services and treatment. Covered services include diagnostic, preventative, surgical, emergency and endodontic/restorative treatment. Delta Dental and MetLife are offering multiple plans. Each participant pays the fixed monthly premiums for coverage and any copayments required, depending on the type of plan selected. Dependents of Veterans, except those eligible under CHAMPVA, are not authorized to participate in VADIP. Those individuals may be eligible for separate dental insurance coverage offered by these carriers. Our office can provide additional information regarding this valuable benefit and many others. The Kings County Veterans Service Office can complete the DMV Veteran Status Verification Form for the new California Veteran Designation on your driver’s license and also issues Veteran I.D. cards to honorably discharged veterans. Contact Scott Holwell if you would like to receive periodic veteran’s information by email. There are many state and federal benefits and programs available to veterans and their dependents. To determine if you are eligible for any of these benefits, visit or call our office. We can and will assist you in completing all required application forms. You can get information on the Web from the Kings County Veterans Service Office webpage at www. countyofkings.com/vets. Scott Holwell, retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer, is the Veterans Service Officer for Kings County. Send your questions to the Veterans Service Office, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd, Hanford, CA 93230; call (559)852-2669; or e-mail scott.holwell@co.kings.ca.us.

Comment on our website, or send letters: Via mail: PO Box 44064, Lemon Cove, CA 93244 Via email: editor@ourvalleyvoice.com

16 • Valley Voice

1 September, 2016

Tulare County Successfully Conducts Shooter Drill

The County of Tulare, in partnership with the Tulare County Superior Court, Judicial Council, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, and in coordination with other local agencies, conducted an active shooter training drill. The drill took place on August 18, 2016, between the hours of 12pm and 5pm in the Visalia Division located at 221 S. Mooney Boulevard. The building was closed to the public at noon and reopened the following morning. Approximately 660 employees participated in the drill, and many were evacuated to nearby county buildings.

While the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office has role played active shooter scenarios for many years as part of its regular training, this was the first time a multi-agency active shooter training has taken place at a Superior Court in California. “The Tulare County Superior Court is very fortunate to partner with our local government and justice partners to organize this event. We hope that our experience will not only prepare our staff and emergency responders in the event of an actual emergency, but will also benefit other court and county agencies interested in planning a similar drill” said Presiding


which breached one million in value. Tulare County’s top importers of our products are: South Korea, Japan, Mexico, China, Taiwan, Australia, Netherlands, Philippines, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The top exports are oranges, grapes, pistachios, almonds and tangerines. Kinoshita explained that one third of the commissioners office’s time is spent inspecting products ready for export. Supervisor Phil Cox asked Kinoshita if all of the trees he sees throughout the county being pulled out are eventually replanted. She said that because of impending water regulations and water uncertainty, some growers were holding off. She said that some growers cannot delay plantings, though, because they waited two years for the stock and just have to hope for rain. This year’s total gross production is less than in 2013 where Tulare County produced $7,346,922 in agriculture products.

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increased 62.6% over the previous year. In 2014 farmers took 250,000 acres of field crops out of production primarily because of the drought. With a little increase in water this year, farmers were planting more temporary crops. The gain in 2015 was mostly attributed to the increase in acreage of barely, wheat, corn and small grain silage. Vegetable crops also increased by 11% due to an increase in acreage harvested. The top ten crops in Tulare County are milk, cattle and calves, grapes, almond, tangerines, corn, silage, pistachio and walnuts. Silage took over peaches for a top ten spot for 2015. Tulare County’s top five commodities were unchanged though all of their values went down. Kinoshita pointed out during her presentation that Tulare County has 45 products that gross over a million dollars. Fresno County had 62 commodities

Judge, Gary Paden. “Active shooter training teaches employees to react immediately. The goal is to run, hide or fight”, said Sheriff Mike Boudreaux. “The perpetrator needs to be disarmed.” He likens the new mantra to the familiar “Stop, drop and roll” taught by the fire departments around the country. Without hesitation, people need to react to imminent danger. “We will make sure our staff is trained in real-life scenarios,” he said. “They will develop an understanding of what role each person should take to avoid a

tragic end.” This event enhanced communication and coordination between agencies, helped review and refine emergency response procedures and identified and eliminated security gaps to promote the safety and security of the public, judicial officers, and staff. “The County of Tulare takes the safety our of employees and our constituents very seriously. We want employees to feel confident they would know how to react in the event there is an actual emergency” said County Administrative Officer, Michael Spata.

Milk is Tulare County’s #1 product, with a total value of $1,718,001,000.

Valley Scene

1 September, 2016

Michael Frank to Present “Fantasmical” at First Friday Staff Reports

The Jon Ginsburg Gallery at 410 E. Race, would like to introduce you to Fresno artist Michael Frank at our artist reception for First Friday, September 9, 2016 from 5:00-8:00pm. “Fantasmical” is a feast for the eyes! Mystical, magical, other worldly, Frank’s images draw you into their beauty. Describing himself as a New Media artist, Frank uses 3D imaging software and other resources for his computer-aided designs. His inspiration comes from the 19th century naturalists, painters and scientific illustrators such as Martin Johnson Heade and Ernst Haeckel. Studying botany, photography, painting and English literature, Frank fuses all of these interests in developing his complex works of art. His 25 years of professional experience in advertising, art direction, photography and graphic design also con-

tribute to his intriguing works. Other venues to check out Frank’s art is Chris Sorenson’s Studios (where he is one of the studio artists) in Fresno – 2223 S. Van Ness. His work can also be seen at https://www.artstation.com/artist/michaelfrank. Join us for appetizers provided by Country M Ranch who is hosting The Creative Center Foundation’s “Wine, Cheese and Country” event on October 8. “Fantasmical” runs from September 7-September 30 at The Jon Ginsburg Gallery at The Creative Center, 410 E. Race. The Creative Center is a non-profit community arts center for adults with developmental disabilities with the mission of fostering self-expression, selfworth and personal growth through the arts, community integration, providing cultural resources to the community, and recognizing the individual’s value and contribution. The Creative Center is a vendor of services for the Cen-

tral Valley Regional Center, Inc. and is also an agency of United Way of Tulare County. The Creative Center receives support for capital ventures through The Creative Center Foundation and community groups such as the Rotary and Lions Clubs. Southern California Edison has also been a supporter. Check The Arts Consortium website for their calendar to see all events in the arts community “Shallowtide,” by Michael Frank, is one of Frank’s works available in one spot. to view on his ArtStation page.

The Visalia Young Entrepreneurs Academy Selects Instructors for 2016-2017 Class The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is proud to announce that Raquel Garcia (Fresno Pacific University - Visalia Campus), Phil Cox (Tulare County Board of Supervisors) and Kim Batty (KB Concepts) have signed on as instructors for the Visalia YEA! class of 2016-2017. YEA! is an innovative program that transforms local middle and high school students into real entrepreneurial successes. “Raquel, Phil and Kim all have deep and strong ties to our community. Their dedication to helping young people succeed in life makes them all great role models and instructors for YEA! students,” says Gail Zurek, President & CEO of the Raquel Garcia Visalia Chamber of Commerce. “Our goal is to teach students how to develop the type of entrepreneurial mindset that will give them more options after high school and will help them to become extremely successful no matter what career they choose.” Raquel Garcia – is Assistant Director of Outreach & Community Development at Fresno Pacific University in Visalia, CA. She received both Kim Batty her Bachelor & Master Degrees from the School of Business at FPU in 2001 & 2003. Raquel has served adult learners in higher education for 15 years, 12 of those years at Fresno Pacific University. She brings with her a unique set of experiences from both the business

and non-profit resource sectors, and takes pride in the service and education of others. She is an adjunct professor with her Alma Mater and also teaches at College of the Sequoias where she serves as both a mentor and a member of the mentor council with the “Puente” program, which promotes students of culturally diverse backgrounds to transfer to four year institutions for study. Raquel holds certifications in Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution for the work place and schools. She is a first generation graduate in her family and considers her education, “one of her greatest accomplishments”. Raquel enjoys gardening, cooking and entertaining. She is married to Andy, her husband of 18 years; they have 2 children Sophia (7) & Andy Jr. (6). Phil is a lifelong Valley resident and is proud of his long history in Visalia. He previously owned and operated two Visalia businesses for some time (Cox Sheet Metal est. 1985 and Visalia Paintball Supply est. 1997). Before being elected to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors in 2004, Phil was very involved in City of Visalia affairs, serving on the North Visalia Advisory Committee (1991-1998); was a member of the Visalia City Planning Commission (1998-2001); and served as a Visalia City Councilman (elected 2001). In that capacity, he served as Visalia’s vice mayor from 2004-2005.

ACADEMY continued on 24 »

Tulare County Symphony Opens Season with Pops Concert Sept. 10 The Tulare County Symphony kicks Donna Orozco off its 2016-17 season with the traditional Pops in the Park concert at Zumwalt Up-front tables can be reserved for $250. Tickets at 559 732-8600 or at the gate. Park in Tulare on Saturday, September Season tickets are still available, 10. The orchestra will play Americana and the symphony is music and marchoffering extra values. es, movie music, a • First time medley of Big Band season ticket buymusic and a salute ers will receive a free to the Armed Forces. ticket to the conVocalist Charlotte cert of your choice. Garcia da Rosa will • If you’re alsing Broadway tunes. ready a season ticket There is plenty for holder, get a friend the kids to do. There to purchase season will be face painting, tickets and you will a bounce house and receive a free pair an instrument “petting Charlotte Garcia da Rosa of concert tickets. zoo” where orchestra For more inmembers let children try out different instruments. Gates will open at 5pm so formation, download the season brothe audience can bring a picnic, blankets chure at www.tularecountysymphony. and chairs and enjoy the last days of sum- com. Then call the office at 559 732mer before the concert begins at 8pm. 8600 before September10 to reserve Tickets are $20 for adults and free your tickets. Season tickets are availfor youth 12 and under with a paid adult. able in a variety of different packages.

UPCOMING SHOWS September 10, 2016: Pops in the Park

January 14, ‘17: Indigenous Impressions

October 15, 2016: American Identities

February 11, 2017: Jazz It Up! March 11, 2017: Great Movies/Great Music: Oscar Winners April 29, 2017: Stalwart Stamina

November 12, 2016: Stellar Serenades December 10, 2016: Holiday Madness

18 • Valley Voice

1 September, 2016

Great Conversations Strange Fancies: Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher” Joseph R. Teller

Many of us associate Edgar Allan Poe with w o r k s like “The Tell-Tale Heart” or “The Raven” (“Nevermore!”). Indeed, Poe was the nineteenth century American master of the mysterious and the macabre, perhaps our first great horror writer, and certainly one of the finest short story tellers in the American tradition. This week the COS Great Books group discussed Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” a work embodying many of Poe’s favorite motifs—insanity, moral darkness, mystery, and pervasive death. As the story opens, the narrator arrives at the manor house of his school friend, Roderick Usher, who has invited him to come help alleviate his “nervous agitation,” his “mental disorder,” his mysterious “malady.” The House of Usher is precisely what one expects from a gothic horror story: imposing walls and turrets, a bog-like tarn surrounding the ancient building, murky fog and clouds consuming the barren landscape. The narrator notices that Roderick keeps himself completely se-

cluded in this dark and dank house, occupying himself with occult books and with his painting and music. What’s more, Roderick lives in seclusion with the only other living Usher, his extremely ill twin sister, Madeline. The narrator discovers that Madeline is cataleptic, and Roderick is desperate to save her life. Of course, Madeline dies of a cataleptic fit. Roderick and the narrator inter her themselves, but because Roderick fears that the household physician might want to steal her body (a real fear in the nineteenth century, when fresh dead bodies were used surreptitiously for dissection), they place her sealed coffin in an old dungeon in the castle, a vault “small, damp, and entirely without means of admission for light,” a chamber just beneath the narrator’s own sleeping quarters. Roderick suffers severe melancholy after Madeline’s death. Several nights after the burial, the house is enveloped in an almost supernatural storm. The

house is slammed with violent wind and enveloped in a “density of clouds”; “huge masses of agitated vapor…[are] glowing in the unnatural light of a faintly luminous and distinctly gaseous exhalation which [hangs] about and enshroud[s] the mansion.” Roderick comes to the narrator’s room to find solace from his depressed agitation. The narrator attempts to calm his friend by reading aloud an old tale about a knight slaying a dragon. The storm grows worse, and both men hear the groans and scrapings of someone struggling somewhere in the mansion—and they hear the iron doors of the dungeon opening. Roderick, convinced his sister is coming for him, raves: “we have put her living in the tomb!...I NOW tell you I heard her first feeble movements in the hollow coffin…MADMAN! I TELL YOU THAT SHE STANDS WITHOUT THE DOOR!” The doors fly open to reveal “the figure of lady Madeline… blood upon her white robes, and the


evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of her emaciated frame.” With a “loud moaning cry,” she collapses onto her brother, who suffers a sudden heart attack—and both siblings fall to the floor, dead. The narrator flees the chamber in horror, and as he runs from the manor, the wind rips the walls of the house apart, and he watches the entire House of Usher—building and progeny—collapse into the murky tarn. But the most fascinating aspect of this twisted and dark story is the narrator himself: can we believe his story? From the beginning he remarks how the events around him cause in him a “strange fancy” and flights of “imagination.” And the story he tells is almost clichéd in its use of horror story tropes—the depressing castle, the musty interiors, the crazy and isolated family, the woman buried alive, the dark and stormy night. Perhaps Poe uses the narrator, and the tale itself, to make us reflect on our own attitudes toward the macabre: after all, why do we not only let our imaginations turn to terror, but often seek terror out for entertainment? What explains our fascination with horror stories? What is it within us that embraces fear—and sometimes enjoys terrorizing others? Dr. Joseph Teller is Professor of English at COS. Email him at josepht@cos.edu.

Coming to the Hanford Fox

The Glenn Miller Orchestra

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 • 7 PM • $64.25 • $52.75

Marty Stuart

Sunday, October 9, 2016 • 7 PM • $45, $35, $25

Silent Comedies

Saturday, September 17, 2016 • 7:30 PM $10 • $5 for Students & Seniors

To purchase tickets, call (559) 584-7823 or visit www.foxhanford.com BEWARE OF UNOFFICIAL WEBSITES SELLING TICKETS AT INFLATED PRICES

1 September, 2016

Valley Voice • 19

Lost Girls Motorcycle Club to Hold Breast Cancer Ride

A child paints part of a mural panel at the Visalia ImagineU museum. Courtesy/ImagineU

ImagineU Children’s Museum Heads Global Mural Project Staff Reports

ImagineU Children’s Museum of Visalia is leading the first mural project with four other children’s museums around the world. Each museum will paint a panel depicting their own vision of World Peace and unite them to unveil a five-panel double-sided mural on September 21, 2016. The children’s museums that have teamedup with ImagineU on this project are located in Australia, El Salvador, Germany and Nigeria. Each museum, including ImagineU will turn their 6-by-3-foot panel into a colorful work of art. Though each museum will paint their own panel, each countries’ panel will blend seamlessly by using the same color pallet and a similar background design. The opposite side of each panel will be a black and white photo collage of each child that participates in painting.

“This mural has multiple representational meanings including World Peace; it’s marking a first-time child driven global project that will become a part of history,” said Peter Sodhy, museum director. “I believe this project that involves four other amazing children’s museums from around the world, is the beginning of endless possibilities to connect children.” Children are invited to sign-up and take part in painting the mural at the museum Monday through Saturday at 11am to noon and 4pm to 5 p.m. The projected time of completion for the ImagineU panel is August19, 2016. The large double-sided finished mural will be unveiled simultaneously at all five museums on September 21, 2016. ImagineU invites everyone to the museum at 210 N. Tipton St. Visalia, CA 93292. For more details visit imagineumuseum.org or call 559-733-5975.

The Lost Girls motorcycle club will be hosting its annual Breast Cancer Ride on Sunday, October 2nd. The ride will begin at the Kaweah Delta Breast Imaging Center, at 4949 W. Cypress in Visalia. Registration for riders, from 8-10am, is $25 per person, and there will be a “ladies only” route as well as a men’s/couples route. Both rides will end at the 4-K Bar Ranch (CVA Clubhouse) where lunch will be served. There will be 50/50 drawings, a silent auction, and many regular raffle prize drawings. The club was founded in 2006, by Catherine “Cat” Flaherty, Belinda, “Bee” Coulson and Cindy “SideCar” Dupuis and is a 501 C3 non-profit corporation. This ride benefits the Lost Girls Fund at the Kaweah Delta Hospital Foundation and provides mammograms and advanced testing to locals who otherwise could not afford it. In 2015, The Lost Girls were awarded “2015 Outstanding

Sondra Bergen

Philanthropic Organization, Nonprofit” award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Don’t ride a motorcycle? No problem. We’d love to see you for lunch. Lunch tickets are $10 and you’re more than welcome to participate in the auctions and drawings. This event is family friendly and for a great cause. To register, go to www.lostgirlsmc. com. For more information, please call Sunny at 559-967-3974 What: Lost Girls Motorcycle Club Breast Cancer Ride When: October 2nd, registration at 8am. Rides begin at 10am. Where: Starts at the Kaweah Delta Breast Imaging Center and ends at the 4-K Bar Ranch in Exeter for lunch Cost: $25 per person and that includes lunch ticket and a raffle ticket. Extra lunch tickest $10.

The Lost Girls motorcycle club. Courtesy/Lost Girls Motorcycle Club

Wine & Beer Tasting At

Redwood Wine Room

Totem Market & Gifts Enjoy our Deli!

(Evening meals coming soon) J&J Cellars - Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards

(559) 561-4463

45186 Sierra Drive, Three Rivers


420 N. Kaweah Ave.


1675 W. Lacey Blvd. 1113 10th Ave.


133 North J St.


301 S. Willis St. 2611 S Mooney Blvd. 2124 W. Riggins Ave

● 2245 S. Mooney - Visalia ● 1826 W. Lacey Blvd. - Hanford ● 4931 N. Blackstone - Fresno ● Porterville location tbd www.spookyhalloweenstore.com

1-888-9SPOOKY Be sure to like us, follow us & tweet us @spookyhallowsto * With minimum $50 purchase per person, per visit, per day. Cannot be combined with any other coupon or discount - other restrictions may apply.

Calendar Sunday Nights: Barmageddon Tulareous Open Mic, 9pm-12:30am Our weekly open mic has a great selection of local comedians and musicians. Comedians will have approximately 10 mins of stage time and musicians get three songs. Sign ups start at 9 PM, Show starts at 9:30 PM, Ends around 12:30 AM. No Cover.

3rd Tuesday, Monthly: League of Women Voters Meeting, 11:45am At Sue Sa’s Club House, 699 W. Center in Visalia. Reservations are required and the public is welcome. Contact Newellgb@hotmail.com or call 732-1251.

Wednesday Nights: Barmageddon Game Night Come blow off some steam at our Mondays: Bridge Club, 9:30amgame night. Enjoy complimentary 2pm gaming on all consoles, TCG’s, Ta210 W Center Street Visalia, ble top & board games. Happy hour CA 93291. Admission is free. For will be from 6 PM- 8 PM. additional information call:   Joan 1st Thursday Monthly through Dinwiddie @ 732-0855 October: Diabetes Support Mondays: Knitters, 10am12:30pm  210 W Center Street Visalia, CA  93291. Everyone is welcome.

Group, 5:30-7pm Kaweah Delta Health Care District will offer a free diabetes support group through October from on the first Thursday of the month at Monday Nights: Monday Karathe Kaweah Delta Chronic Disease oke at Barmageddon, 9pm-1am Get on stage and sing your favorite Management Center, 325 Willis St., tunes on our one of a kind sound Visalia. Information: 624-2416. system. New Image has a vast se- 1st Thursday, Monthly: Veterans lection of songs to choose, ranging Support Group, 5:30-7pm from 70’s classic rock to modern Free support group for global war pop. Karaoke Jockey Miss Sammi on terrorism & post 9-11 (Veterans will be hosting from 9 PM - 1 AM. Only) at the Tulare Public Library, No Cover. 475 North M Street in Tulare. Facilitated by: Dr. Lance Zimmerman, Fridays: Women’s Morning Bible Ph.D of veterans Counseling ClinStudy, 9am-Noon 210 W Center Street Visalia, ic. “The transition from serving in CA 93291. For additional informa- a combat zone to civilian life can be a difficult one. Combat vetertion call:  739-9010 ans commonly experience feelings Saturdays: Cup of Jazz, 10amof depression, isolation, alienation, Noon guilt, anxiety, and anger following At Cafe 210, at 210 Center street, their service. If you’re experiencing Visalia. Free. Led by Richard Garoo- these or any other emotional probgian. Call 559.730.0910 for more lems after serving in a combat zone, information. it’s vital to seek professional help. “ -Veterans Counseling Clinic. Tuesday Nights: Barmageddon Trivia Thunderdome, 9pm-1am 1st and 3rd Thursdays, Monthly: Challenge your friends to the ulti- Central Valley Tea Party Meetmate trivia throw down. Earn some ings, 6pm bragging rights in categories ranging 819 West Visalia Road, Farmersville. from Saturday morning cartoons, classic video games, and pop cul- 3rd Thursday Monthly through ture films. Teams of 4 or solo play- October: Diabetes Support ers compete each round for the best Group, 5:30-7pm scores. Winners of every two rounds Kaweah Delta Health Care District will square off in the Trivia Thun- will offer a free diabetes support derdome for great prizes. Free sign group through October on the third Thursday of the month at Woodlake ups at 9:30 PM.  Manor Apartments, 200 E. Sierra 2nd Tuesday, Monthly: Yappy Avenue, Woodlake.  Information: Hour, 5-9pm 624-2416. Well-mannered, leashed pets are welcome on the patio at the Plan- 3rd Thursday, Monthly: Gathering Mill Artisan Pizzeria, 514 East ing At the Oval, 12:30-1pm Main Street, Suite A, in Visalia. A Lifting up the needs and concerns portion of the proceeds is donated of Visalia through individual prayer to the Valley Oak SPCA. For more and meditation at Oval Park, 808 North Court Street in Visalia. For information, call 651-1111. more information, call 967-4065.

September 2016 Lun Lunch served 12-1 pm $4.

Please call 713-4481. Reservations m



Daily Salad Option: Chicken Caesar Salad is available as a meal replacement.

Sweet treats or fruit will be served daily. Items on Menu are subject to change.



1 Me ma an rol




Cheeseburgers with lettuce, tomato and pickle, condiments, chips and fruit salad

Beef Enchiladas with red sauce, Mexican cheeses, rice, beans, salad and fruit

BB ba ma an




Pastrami & Swiss on marbled rye with corn chowder and fresh fruit

Lemon Peppered Chicken with vegetables, rice pilaf, salad and fresh fruit

Sa wi toe sal


20 Stuffed Bell



Chicken Fettucine Alfredo with Caesar salad, garlic bread and fruit

Peppers with ground turkey and mushrooms in a tomato sauce with rice, salad, & a roll

Meatball & Mozzarella sub sandwich with marinara & cream of zucchini soup with fruit

wit roo sag cou fru





Parmesan Chicken breast with rice pilaf, fresh veggies, roll & fruit

Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, fruit and a roll

Baked Rigatoni with Italian sausage, basil and mozzarella, spinach salad, roll, fruit

Tur let sub mi an

Labor Day Closed!!


Lasagna Pasta roll ups with ricotta, mozzarella, Italian sausage, spinach & parmesan, salad, fruit and garlic


3rd Thursday, Monthly: Board Game Night, 6-7:45pm For ages 10+ at the Visalia Branch Library, 200 West Oak Street. Signups are not required. For more information, call 713-2703.

paring for their annual yard sale on Saturday, October 6th at the historic Pogue Hotel at 32792 Sierra Dr. across from the post office. To donate to the sale call Mona Wyatt at 359-4465 or Karen Callahan at 564-2096. Donations of furniture will be accepted the morning of the sale. Please do not donate any electronics and only gently used clothes will be accepted. All funds go to the maintenance and restoration of the hotel and museum.

3rd Thursday, Monthly: Ladies’ Night, 6-10pm At the Clay Cafe in Visalia, 1018 E. Mineral King Ave. $10 studio fee with ceramic purchase. Includes complimentary margarita, dinner and dessert. Door prizes too! Reservations required: 733-2022 Fridays: Lindsay Farmer’s Market, 5:30-9pm Located at Sweetbriar Plaza, N. Last Thursday Monthly through Sweetbriar Ave & Samoa St., LindOctober: Diabetes Support say. Group, 5:30-7pm Kaweah Delta Health Care District will offer a free diabetes support group through October on the last Thursday of the month at Sand Creek Apartments, 41020 Rd. 124, All September: September Children’s Crafts at the Tulare Library Orosi. Information: 624-2416. Branches Lemon Cove Women’s Club AcSeptember 5 through 10 – Twirling cepting Donations for Yard Sale Lemon Cove Women’s Club is pre- Swirling Lady Bugs


“Back to our Roots,” 8pm Featuring the very best of pop, classical, film and Broadway, this concert has something for everyone and is the perfect way to end the hot summer season. This is your chance to join friends and family for an outdoor concert & picnic under the stars!

Basketball League or Parks and Leisure Services, call (559) 791-7695 or visit www.ci.porterville.ca.us.

we will host the dramatic expose of US involvement in Latin America, ‘Harvest of Empire. These will be preceded by a brief discussion of the Green party’s number #1 principle. ecological wisdom. (The importance of the environment in the political and social system).

with sesame dressing, chicken, green onions, mandarin oranges and won ton crisps

Sept. 10: West Hills College 2nd Annual Fundraiser Car Show, 7am Registration is still open for the West Hills College Coalinga Car Show, to be held at the West Hills College Coalinga campus. Business sponsorships are available starting at $250-1000. Admissions for spectators is free, beverages will be available as well. Preregister online at westhillscollege.com/carshow. All proceeds will benefit the President’s Scholars Program, which provides free tuition and $250/semester for books to students across the West Hills Community College District.

Cobb Salad - with chicken, tomato, avocado, lettuce and bacon with vinaigrette and blue cheese

For more information, contact event co-chair Butch Wright at 559-9353327. To become a sponsor/donate, contact Amber Myric at 559-9342132.

nch Menu / Visalia Senior Center .00 Dine In or Takeout & under 54 yrs: $5.00

must be made one business day in advance by 12 PM.



2 eatloaf with Fully loaded meat & ashed potatoes veggie pizza with nd gravy, veggie, Caesar salad and ll and fruit fruit


BQ Chicken with aked beans and acaroni salad nd fruit

Mustard & Thyme rubbed Pork Tenderloin with rice pilaf, veggie, fruit and a roll


alisbury Steak ith roasted potaes, vegetables, lad and fruit

Steak Quesadillas, Mexican street corn off the cob, refried beans, green salad and fruit

Crust less Quiche th spinach, mushoms, Italian sauge & mozzarella, untry potatoes, uit, wheat muffin



Chicken Enchiladas suizas with salsa verde, rice and beans, fruit


rkey, provolone, ttuce and tomato b sandwich, inestrone soup nd fruit

Asian Chicken and vegetable stir fry with baby bok choy, rice , fruit and fortune cookie

Weekly Salad Option:

Chef Salad - With diced cheeses, black olives, ham, tomato and hard boiled eggs with ranch dressing Spring Mix— with dried

cranberries, apples, feta cheese, glazed walnuts, grilled chicken with balsamic vinaigrette Greek Salad - with romaine, cucumber, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, red onion, feta cheese, grilled chicken in champagne Dijon vinaigrette

Asian Chicken Salad —

September 12 through 17 –Patriotic $20, $30 day of show. Pinwheel For more information, call Ruben at September 19 through 24 – Wel- 559-756-5052. Vendor forms availcome Fall Finger Painting able.

September 12: Green Party Film Series The Green Party of Tulare County is holding a series of free film screenings These viewings are open to the public as an educational event, and Event will be held at Zumwalt Park are free of charge. in Tulare. For tickets call: (559) On Sept. 12 the second half of ichael 732-8600 or head to tularecounty- Moore’s ‘Where to Invade Next will symphony.com. be seen. On On Oct. 3 and Nov. 7

September 11: Grandparent’s Day Open House, 10am Honoring grandparents everywhere. Free lunch with tour. Tours 10am12pm. Lunch 12pm-1pm. RSVP required by Wed., Sept. 7, to 559735-0828. Prestige Assisted Living, 3120 W. Caldwell Ave, Visalia CA 93277.

These events are scheduled for the back meeting room of the Black Bear Diner, 900 South Mooney Ave. Visalia, at 5:30 Pm Monday, Sept. 12. September 12: National Assisted Living Week kickoff. 10:30am Visalia Mayor, Steve Nelsen, will publicly proclaim the week of September 11-17, 2016, as Assisted Living Week in the City of Visalia. Guests Welcome. 559-735-0828. Prestige Assisted Living, 3120 W. Caldwell Ave., Visalia CA 93277.

September 14: “Tails of the West” Dog Show, 2-4pm. $5.00 donation to benefit Alzheimer’s Association. Come show off your “country hound”. Prizes for best western costume. Refreshments. Proof of vaccination required. RSVP by Monday, Sept. 12, to 559-735-0828. Prestige AssistSeptember 12: Registration Be- ed Living, 3120 W. Caldwell Ave., gins for Porterville Youth Basket- Visalia CA 93277. ball League September 15: Health Services

September 26 through October 1 – September 8: V.P.I.E Kickoff, 5pm Fall Wreath Celebrate the kickoff of Visalia PartCraft sessions are available at the Al- ners in Education, an organization paugh, Earlimart, Exeter, Ivanhoe, formed to support and advance colLindsay, Orosi, Springville, Strath- lege/career readiness in the Visalia more, Three Rivers, Tipton and Unified School District. RSVP by Woodlake branch libraries. Times Sep. 2 with the Chamber of Com- Registration for the Parks & Leisure merce at 559-734-5876. vary with each location. Services Youth Basketball League September 8: TKRL Dinner will begin on September 12. This For more information on craft days Featuring Gov. Mike Huckabee, co-ed league is open to children ages and times at these branches or oth7-9pm 5- 13 with age determined as of Deer Tulare County Library programs, Please join Tulare Kings Right to cember 2. Practices will begin in Noplease go to www.tularecountylilife in our annual Making a Differvember and games will be played in brary.org. ence for Life fundraising banquet, December and January at the Santa September 4: Lindsay Custom featuring Governor Mike Hucka- Fe School Gymnasium. Car Show, 11am-5pm bee. Dinner will be served. Cost for Hosted by the McDermont Field table of 8 is $525 which includes a For more information on the Youth House, 365 N. Sweetbriar, Lindsay. VIP reception with appetizers and a Cover charge is $5; 10 years and un- meet and greet with Gov. Huckabee. der free. Individual tickets are $70 a person. Roll in time: 6am-10am, show and For more information, contact Jess judging starting at 11am. Preregis- Warkentin, 559-732-5000. ter indoors $40, outdoors $25, bikes September 9: Pops in the Park

Providers Complimentary Lunch, 12-1pm In honor of National Assisted Living Week, a complimentary lunch for the selfless and dedicated professionals in all areas of health services. RSVP by Tuesday, Sept. 13, to 559735-0828. Prestige Assisted Living, 3120 W. Caldwell Ave., Visalia CA 93277.

Send your calendar items to: editor@ourvalleyvoice.com

22 • Valley Voice

1 September, 2016

Sports Rawhide Moves Forward While Other California League Teams Fold Nancy Vigran

As the Visalia Rawhide looks forward to the possibility of postseason playoffs again this year, two other California League teams, the Bakersfield Blaze and the High Desert Mavericks of Adelanto in San Bernardino County, face the last few games of their existence. The Blaze held its last regularly scheduled home game on Sunday in a stadium that has seen 75 years of baseball. The Rawhide and the Blaze continue to vie for first in the Northern Division; the Mavericks are contending with the Lancaster Jethawks in the Southern Division. The Mavericks host their last regularly scheduled home game on Thursday, September 1. The decision for team and ballpark closures was not made by the teams, but rather by Minor League Baseball due to Minor League Single-A realignment, according to a press release from Minor League ball. Both teams are dealing aging facilities with some of the lower attendance ratings in the League. In 2017, this leaves the California League with only eight teams – four in each division. There will still be a North and South Division, and the Rawhide will remain in the North. The Visalia team will still play the same amount of total games, and will only play the other teams in the league, said Rawhide Gen-

eral Manager Jennifer Pendergraft. [of Visalia] and the ball club, have con“We will just play those other teams tinually invested into the facility, for more often. both fan and player amenities, to create “The largest effect for the business momentum in a positive direction. The operations will be a large increase in Diamondbacks have been committed travel expenses. We are losing our only to us the last 10 years, and we’re looking commute trip, Bakersfield, so now we forward to extending that relationship will have to pay for hotel rooms no even longer, very soon. matter where we travel,” she said. “The city has continued to uphold Pe n d e g r a f t their end of the cited that both deal by investing the Blaze and into their facility the Mavericks to help get it closare being bought er and closer to out by Major the industry avLeague teams, erage at our level. with moving outAnd the ball club side of California has also made the result of the large investments now inadequate into the facility, facilities. the community Neither Ba- Jennifer Pendergraft. Courtesy/Rawhide and surrounding kersfield, nor neighborhood to Kern County, have spent any funds to- show their commitment to making sure ward the ballpark in decades, she said. Visalia continues to host a professional The Visalia Rawhide doesn’t have team for many more years to come. that problem. “That’s the key - a great working “For us in Visalia, our situation is relationship between those three parties much different now,” Pendegraft said. - the city, ball club and MLB affiliate.” “Ten years ago, we were sitting in a simWhile it is not too likely that the ilar position as Bakersfield and High loss of the Bakersfield team will affect Desert, with a dilapidated ballpark, Visalia’s attendance much, some “diepoor attendance, and ‘the last girl at the hard” fans may make the drive for some dance’ in terms of MLB teams wanting home game outings, Pendegraft added. “I also think there is an opportuniVisalia to be their affiliate. “In the last 10 years, both the city ty for increased attendance due to our

opponents. For example, we will have 50 of our 70 home games [next year] played against the top prospects from California-based MLB teams - particularly more games against the Giants and Dodgers [Single-A teams], which have always been popular games to attend for local fans of those teams,” she said. Pendegraft sees a continued long future for the Rawhide in Visalia. “All-in-all, I’m optimistic about the change. I’m sad to see those teams go, but I like to focus on the positives,” she said. “I’m very aware that we will be seen as the ‘bottom of the totem pole’ in the league as far as attendance and revenues, but we are up for the challenge. Our facility might be small, but it’s well-kept and efficiently operated - both fans and players enjoy being here because we have created a great environment. “Our working relationships with the City of Visalia and the Diamondbacks are, in my opinion, the best in the league. As long as our relationships stay strong, and everyone upholds their end of the bargain, professional baseball will be in Visalia for many years to come.” The Rawhide winds up its 2016 regular season in San Jose on Monday, September 5. Postseason California League play begins Saturday, September 10. The 2017 season will open on April 6.

Valley Voice • 23

1 September, 2016

Kaweah Delta Unveils Keynote Speaker for Oct. 23 Cancer Event Staff Reports

Tickets are on sale for Kaweah Delta Breast Center’s 5th annual Pink Tea Party, whose “Alice in Wonderland” theme will transform the Visalia Convention Center on Sunday, Oct. 23, with national speaker, author and breast cancer survivor Dr. Sheri Phillips Prentiss. The event’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Sheri, a physician, national spokesperson for Susan G. Komen 3-Day, and author of “When Every- Dr. Sheri Phillips Prentiss thing Changed: My Journey from Physician to Patient.” In her book, Dr. Sheri lays bare the raw emotions of facing death: “October 1, 2008 was when everything changed. I didn’t get married, didn’t have a baby and didn’t get a new job. I found a lump in my right breast. Normally, I would have run to tell my mother, but I was frozen by my

discovery. I knew it was cancer from the moment I felt it, because no one knows my body better than I do.” After having 16 lymph nodes removed and a partial mastectomy in 2008, Dr. Sheri is a cancer survivor traveling the world to motivate women and help patients and healthcare practitioners change the way healthcare is delivered. She is a board certified occupational and environmental medicine physician and a public health expert who also designed a compression arm sleeve to combat lymphedema. Lymphedema is swelling in an arm or leg caused by a lymphatic system blockage. It’s most commonly caused by lymph node removal or damage due to cancer treatment. “I’m excited to be a part of this event that is bringing awareness to

breast cancer and celebrating women for the hope, strength and courage they’ve shown in facing cancer,” Dr. Sheri said. Kaweah Delta’s pink tea party will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23, at the Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave. Individual tickets are $25, while tables are $200 and can be purchased by calling 624-2242. Tickets must be purchased in advance of the event. For more information, go to http://www. kaweahdelta.org/about/special-events/ pink-tea-party/default.aspx The event will also include music, opportunity drawings, a photo booth and a walk of hope rose ceremony honoring those whose lives have been touched by breast cancer. Roses will be sold for $5 and proceeds from the sale will go to the Lost Girls Fund created by the Lost Girls Motorcycle Club. If a low-income woman is in need of a mammogram and cannot pay for it, the fund pays for the mammogram at the Kaweah Delta Breast Center.

Since 2011, the Kaweah Delta Breast Center’s Pink Tea Party has sold out every year and grown from 100 to 650 attendees. Located at 4949 W. Cypress Ave. in Visalia, The Kaweah Delta Breast Center is dedicated to comprehensive imaging services for women and is staffed with mammography technologists with experience in breast imaging. Services provided include everything from digital screening and diagnostic mammography to ultrasound-guided breast biopsy and community breast health education resources. To schedule a mammogram and for more information about the Breast Center and its services, call 624-3209 or visit www.kaweahdelta.org.

Brandon-Mitchell Gallery Features ‘Mental Wellness’ Art, Poetry Donna Orozco Art can be a calming and healing tool. That’s what consumers of Tulare County Health & Human Services art programs have found. Artists in the My Voice Media and Adult Integrated Services art and writing classes will show their talents at the Brandon-Mitchell Gallery during the First Friday art walk in Downtown Visalia on Friday, Sept. 10 from 5-8pm (The art walk has been postponed until the second Friday this month because of Labor Day). Clients in the art programs know there is a stigma attached to the term “mental health” and prefer to say they are participating in “mental wellness.”

They will show paintings, photographs and videos as well as read their stories and poems. “I’ve learned a lot about myself,” said Lenora. “In creative writing, you delve into the inner psyche. And it’s amazing how much work goes into a 30-second video.” Consumers with mental illness say they feel a lot “Cat Pastel,” by Carol

of pain inside, although it’s often not apparent on the outside. “People have the wrong idea about us,” said Olivia. “They see scary people in the movies and the news, but that’s not the way most of us are.” Catherine said it can be frightening to get out of your comfort zone. She remembers being frightened to

attend class at first, but was interested enough in art to pursue it. “Art has totally made a difference in my life,” said Carol. “It grounds me. When I’m doing my art, I’m calmer, more focused.” Several of the consumers give talks to medical staff, therapists and first responders to give them an inside look at how those with a disability are feeling. The Brandon-Mitchell Gallery is located in the Center for Spiritual Living, 117 S. Locust in Visalia (one block south of Main). For information, 559 627-8422 or www.cslvisalia.org. For a complete list of venues participating in the art walk, contact the Arts Consortium, 559 802-3266

Lemon Cove Women’s Club Starts New Season Staff Reports After a summer break the Lemon Cove Women’s Club is ready to get back to work and get some socializing done, too. New members are warmly welcomed and meetings are every first Thursday of the month. Meetings start at 11am and the pot luck lunch starts at 12:00. Annual dues are $10. Meetings are held at the historic Pogue Hotel at 32792 Sierra Dr., across from the Lemon Cove Post Office. The first meeting of the season was September 1, when final plans were made for their annual yard sale. Preparation for the sale will start September 29 at 8am and the event will be October 1 from 8am to 5pm. To donate to the sale call Mona Wyatt at 359-4465 or Karen Callahan at 564-2096. Donations of furniture will be accepted the morning of the sale. Please do not donate any electronics and only gently used clothes will be accepted. All funds go to the maintenance

and restoration of the hotel and museum. According to their website, for 133 years the Pogue Hotel building has been a private home, a hotel, a community center, and a branch library. It has served the Red Cross, the Woodmen of the World, the American Legion and has been home to the Lemon Cove Women’s Club for 76 years.

In 1879, the large two-story thirteen-room hotel was constructed, known as “The Cottonwoods,” by the partnership of C.W. Crocker and J.B. Wallace of San Francisco, and J.W.C. Pogue. The Pogue family came to this lime kiln area in 1865 and eventually owned over 10,000 acres here. Mr. Pogue planted citrus here in 1877.

The Pogue Hotel, the home of the Lemon Cove Women’s Club. Courtesy/LCWC

He became the sole owner of the Hotel and partnership in 1881 and this was his home until his death in 1907. Nora Alice Pogue Montgomery, the youngest of the nine Pogue children, who was born in the house, and her husband, Dr. R.B. Montgomery, lived there until 1920 when they built their own home. In 1934, the Pogue Hotel was remodeled to become a community center. In 1936, Mrs. Montgomery deeded the building to the Lemon Cove Women’s Club. Because of the rich history of the Pogue family contribution to Lemon Cove, The Pogue Hotel received an historical marker from the Tulare County Historical Society in 1977. It was accepted into the National Registry of Historical Places in 1991. For more information concerning becoming a member or donating to the yard sale please call Pam Lurtz at 5972436 or Mona Wyatt at 359-4465.

24 • Valley Voice

1 September, 2016

Academy Continued from p. 17

Seniors can help low-income seniors through simple, fun games.

Senior Pride Board Raises Funds for Low-Income Seniors Liz Wynn

Fun with a purpose. A unique program in Visalia quietly exists in the background of a bustling food pantry in the Oval district. Founded in 2010, the “Seniors Helping Seniors with Pride Fund” was the brain child of the Senior Pride Board (SPB), a group of volunteers over 65 committed to addressing the needs of Visalia’s Senior Population. Each Saturday SPB hosts bingo at the Visalia Senior Center from 12-4. Proceeds from the games are split between the game winners and the “Seniors Helping Seniors with Pride” fund designed to help low-income seniors with unexpected expenses. Since 2010 over $54,000 in proceeds have been distributed to 280+

seniors during times of financial duress. SPB teamed up with Visalia Emergency Aid to ensure the funds were administered to the most vulnerable seniors. VEAC qualifies and administers the program at no cost. The program assists with vision services, appliance replacement/repair, utility/rental assistance, uninsured prescriptions, and small home repair. In addition, the funds are used during the holidays to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas food bags, blankets, gloves and scarves to over 200 seniors. Recipients of the funds provide income verification, proof of residency and statement of need. The Visalia Emergency Aid Council provides supplemental groceries to over 200 seniors each month.

Currently, Phil serves as a Tulare County Supervisor, representing District Three which includes Visalia and surrounding areas. As a County Supervisor, Phil serves on the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board; the San Joaquin Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council; and the Kings/ Tulare Area Agency on Aging Governing Board. Kim Batty is the owner of KB Concepts, a marketing and business-consulting firm. With over 15 years of advertising and marketing experience, Kim knows Phil Cox how to deliver results. Kim has worked in the consumer package goods industry, managing multi- million dollar product portfolios and worked in an advertising agency environment. Her specialties include; new product development, strategy development, targeted messaging and analytics to measure ROI. Kim is well versed in today’s digital marketing medium, giving her an edge in the industry. Last year Kim was a mentor with the Visalia Chamber of Commerce YEA program and is an advisory

member with the Visalia Unified Career Technical Education Linked Learning Business and Media Art Academies. Throughout the year, students will work in close cooperation with local business leaders, community leaders and educators who use their personal experiences to demonstrate how to develop ideas and objectives, write a business plan, pitch potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, establish e-commerce and a web presence, and much more. By the end of the class, students own and operate fully-formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried after their graduation from the program. Getting ready to begin the fourth YEA! class in Visalia, the Visalia Chamber of Commerce is currently looking for motivated middle and high school students to participate the new class beginning in October. Applications can be found at http:// www.visaliachamber.org/yea/. The Visalia Chamber will host an informational session on September 6th at 5:30 pm at the Visalia Chamber office for all interested students and parents. Applications are due on September 15, 2016. For more information call Nicola Wissler at the Visalia Chamber at 559-734-5876.

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Valley Voice Issue 76 (1 September, 2016)  

Valley Voice Issue 76 (1 September, 2016)  


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