Lewis Griswold

A fireman elected to office makes history on his hometown council

Carlton Jones, second from left, stands with childhood friends at the Tulare City Council chambers. From left, Joe Espinoza, Jones, Chris Soria, Tony De Azevedo and Eric Quinonez.
Carlton Jones, second from left, stands with childhood friends at the Tulare City Council chambers. From left, Joe Espinoza, Jones, Chris Soria, Tony De Azevedo and Eric Quinonez. Special to The Bee

Councilman Carlton Jones has been named by his fellow council members as the mayor of Tulare, making him the first African American mayor in city history.

Maritsa Castellanoz nominated him for the position and new member Jose Sigala seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous.

The mayor presides over council meetings and is the official head of the city for ceremonial needs. Council members are paid $5 per meeting to a maximum of $10 per month, and there is no extra pay for being mayor.

But it’s an honor to be chosen.

“It’s not something you’re just given,” Jones said. “Your colleagues decided they want you to be the face of the city, to lead the meetings, to lead this council. It’s an honor … I have to make this council proud. I’ll be working my butt off for that.”

Jones, 43, was born and raised in Tulare. Last month, he was elected to a third term on the council.

He said he got his start in politics as the union president at Tulare Fire Department. He ran for council the first time “to give labor a voice on the other side of the table.”

The experience taught him a lot, he said: “I had to learn how to get deals done, how to represent people.”

Jones is also known in Fresno circles. He is an engineer at the Fresno Fire Department, assigned to Station 1, and is president of the Fresno firefighters union.

NEW CLINIC: Family HealthCare Network has opened the Pixley Health Center at the Pixley Community Center.

This marks the nonprofit organization’s 22nd site and 18th community health center in Tulare and Kings counties.

Community Services Employment Training is also at the community center, and a public library opening will take place next year.

Hours are 8 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

CAMEL SIGHTING: Visalia First Assembly of God Church has live camels at its outdoor Christmas story performances ending Sunday. There are also live cattle.

“Once Upon A Time: A Journey Back to Center” will be performed at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Cost: $12 per person, tickets available at ChristmasAtVisaliaFirst.com.

Tickets seem to be going fast. As of Friday, both the 8 p.m. Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday performances were sold out.

Visalia First is at 3737 S. Akers St. in Visalia.

Lewis Griswold: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold

  Comments