Only one local race ends up on November ballot


Of several local boards where seats were up for grabs this election, only one will be on the ballot.

Three Rivers Union School— Two seats available, but only one out of the two incumbents refilled. Jason Hawes will retain his seat while Valerie Abanathie, board member, did not file to stay on the board. Mark Frick, the community’s resident deputy sheriff, declared his candidacy and most likely will be appointed by board action to the vacant seat.

Woodlake Unified School District—Two board members represent Three Rivers in two separate areas. Kent Owen’s seat in Area G is up for reelection, and he was the only one to file candidacy papers. 

Edmund Pena’s Area F seat will be the only local race on the ballot. The incumbent filed to retain his seat. Dean Taylor is the challenger.

Three Rivers Community Services District— All three incumbents filed — David Vasquez, Jacqueline Fletcher, and Robert Groeber — and no challengers.

Three Rivers Memorial District— The two incumbents filed – Peter Lippire and Richard Fletcher – and no challengers.

Another race of note is Woodlake City Council. The two incumbents, Rudy Mendoza (mayor) and Joe Martinez, will have two challengers, Florencio Guerra and William Lewis. Lewis is the retired longtime city administrator of Woodlake.

Also, Visalia residents will decide Measure N that, if passed, will affect Three Rivers too since it is a major shopping hub. If approved, there will be an increase in the city’s sales tax. 

Here is the wording of the measure:

To provide funding protected from Sacramento; maintain and improve essential city services including police, fire, 911 emergency, medical aid response, gang prevention programs,  and neighborhood police patrols; maintain streets; reduce criminal street activity; attract/retain businesses/jobs; address homelessness; maintain youth/senior programs; and other services, shall the City of Visalia increase the sales tax by a half-cent, providing approximately $10,800,000 annually, until ended by voters; requiring audits, citizen’s oversight and all funds used locally.

Some of the statewide ballot propositions are garnering some attention with lots of dollars being thrown around for and against. Proposition 62 would repeal the death penalty in California. Supporters, including M*A*S*H star Mike Farrell, have raised over $5 million; law enforcement groups are in opposition. 

To the tune of $50 million so far, the tobacco industry is vehemently opposed to Proposition 56, which would impose new taxes on their products. Medical professionals are rallying support for the measure, which would increase the cigarette tax to $2 per pack.

Proposition 64 would legalize recreational marijuana under state law. Supporters have received some major backing; law enforcement organizations are leading the opposition.

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