Tuesday is Election Day for some Valley communities

The Fresno BeeNovember 4, 2013 

Voting will take place in some Valley communities Tuesday.

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An array of governing bodies in Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties are holding elections Tuesday.

For Visalia City Council, three incumbents face two challengers in a citywide contest in which the top three vote-getters win.

Incumbents Greg Collins, 63, Warren Gubler, 56, and Steve Nelsen, 64, are being challenged by business consultant Vincent Salinas, 63, and lawyer Michael Brown, 33.

Gubler and Nelsen are seeking re-election for the first time, while Collins has served multiple terms. Collins said this will be his last election.

No break-out issue has emerged but incumbents said that that they steered the city through a recession.

Salinas, a challenger, urged more help for the homeless, noting that the city charter calls for aid to the indigent, while Brown urged more attention to blight and planning.

The seven-member Visalia Unified School District Board of Trustees has four seats up for election.

In Area 1 in west central Visalia, Elda Balderas, 51, an optician, is challenging one-term incumbent Charles Ulmschneider, 59.

Balderas, the daughter of farmworkers, said she can help the district reach out to parents who are poor and urge them to be involved in their children's education.

Since January, Ulmschneider did not attend four school board meetings and skipped a joint meeting of the school board and city council. Attempts to reach Ulmschneider for comment have been unsuccessful.

In Area 4, northwest Visalia and Goshen, which has no incumbent, David Alviso, 51, a computer teacher at Substance Abuse Treatment Facility state prison in Corcoran, faces John L. Crabtree, 63, a retired grocery executive.

Alviso said if elected, he would be the only school board member who has children attending Visalia schools.

Crabtree is emphasizing his business experience and urging more attention to career technical education.

In Area 2, northeast Visalia and Ivanhoe, which has no incumbent, former school board member Juan Guerrero is running unopposed, and in Area 3, southwest Visalia, incumbent Jim Qualls is running unopposed.

In Easton, two incumbents and five challengers are seeking three seats on the Easton Community Service District board of directors.

Incumbents Sue Ruiz, 57, and Michael Flores, 60, said they favor exploring the possibility of a community water system because the area of private wells has a dropping water table and water with unsafe contaminants, but challengers Judy Freddi-Norwood, 51, Oscar Kendrick, 75, and husband and wife Richard and Rose Koop, 80 and 78, say they oppose the idea as harmful to Easton's ethic of self-reliance.

Candidate Treva Wyatt declined to comment.

In Calwa, three of five seats are up for grabs on the Calwa Recreation and Park District, which had appointed members until two years ago.

The district operates a 20-acre park. Park safety and rumors of mismanagement of district funds have emerged as issues.

Seeking election are incumbents Timothy Tauvar and Raul Guerra. Also seeking election are candidates Cindy Caldwell, Sandra Celedon, Felicia Salcido and Tomas Soto.

In Malaga, three people are challenging three incumbents for election to the Malaga County Water District board of directors, which provides water and sewer services to the community of 1,200.

Candidates Carlos Tovar Jr., 39, Florence M. Valdez, 72, and Armando Mendez Blancas,66, are challenging incumbents Frank A. Cerrillo Jr., 53, Salvador A. Cerrillo, 57, and Frank C. Soto, 58.

In addition, two Fresno County cities have measures on the ballot. Selma is asking voters to double the hotel occupancy tax, to 12% from 6%. The measure requires a simple majority for approval. And in Huron, voters are being asked to approve adding 1 cent to the city's sales tax to fund police services. The measure requires two-thirds approval to pass.

In Kings County, two community services districts -- Home Garden and Kettleman City -- are also having elections.


Election Day

Some voters in Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties are getting ballots for the off-year general elections. The highest-profile races are in Visalia, where City Council and school board seats are up for a vote, and in Merced, where voters are choosing a mayor and City Council members. It's also an election year for many special districts around the Valley -- but there are only a handful of contested races; most have uncontested candidates and, in some cases, no candidates. Madera and Mariposa counties don't have any general elections in this cycle.

Polls open

7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday

Election offices

Fresno County: 2221 Kern St., Fresno; details: Fresno County elections Web page or (559) 600-VOTE (8683)

Tulare County: 5951 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia; details: Tulare County elections Web page or (559) 624-7300

Kings County: 1400 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford; details: Kings County elections Web page or (559) 582-3211, ext. 4401

Merced County: 2222 M St., Merced; details: Merced County elections Web page or (209) 385-7541

Election results

Check these links after 8 p.m. Tuesday for live election results:

Tulare County, including Visalia City Council and Visalia Unified School District seats

Fresno County

Kings County

Merced County

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6104, lgriswold@fresnobee.com or @fb_LewGriswold on Twitter.

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