Carlton Jones should step down as Mayor of Tulare and resign from its city council. It would be the correct–and decent–course of action.
Ask yourself if Jones is a decent individual.
Over the years we at the Valley Voice have received numerous complaints about Jones, most amounting to nothing more than gossip. Gossip because people seem to fear him, and don’t care to substantiate their claims by a willingness to be named for the record.
We can’t, for instance, print the finer points of a lengthy letter we received detailing Jones’ character. It will have to suffice for me to say that the author felt threatened enough by him to have installed security cameras and taken “a gun class and got a CCW.”
That’s a license to carry a concealed weapon.
How very charming that the City of Tulare’s mayor inspires such civic-mindedness!
I can, though, substantiate Jones’ 2009 arrest for–and eventual acquittal of–felony spousal abuse.
And I recall reports of the scuffle he had with Derek Thomas at COS during a forum for the 2014 State Assembly election.
See a pattern?
Lest you think these are things of the past, Carlton Jones accosted one of his constituents, Alex Gutierrez, in city council chambers immediately following the regular meeting on 19 September.
I fielded a phone call about the incident from an outraged citizen just now, on 2 October, as I’m writing this.
In Gutierrez’ own words, via Facebook:
I approached calmly and very politely asked for clarification when it came to the two letter agenda items.
My clarification stemmed from the unanimous vote by council to send a letter to our federal representatives, who serve in the Congress, in support of DACA. The mayor stated this federal government issue was a city issue because it affects the community.
Now not even 20 minutes before that the mayor himself said that city council had no business sending a similar letter to our state representative in Sacramento about the hospital which is in the heart of the city. That somehow a letter by council for an audit of millions of dollars of local taxpayer money is 1) not city business and 2) would not do anything anyways. It was pushed to be voted on next council meeting.
Regardless about whether people feel these items should have been on the agenda or not the statements made on each item by him were EXTREMELY interesting, eye-opening and I wanted an explanation as to why the obvious contradiction before the public.
I first spoke to Councilmember Sigala who then asked me to ask the mayor. The mayor, over hearing him say that, asked me what the question was. I didn’t intend to speak to him at all because at that moment the mayor was speaking to Alberto Aguilar who had stood before Council and was questioned at length. So I walk over and looking up at the mayor standing on the dais I asked for the clarification. To my shock he began yelling and insulting me in front of the entire public present at the end of the meeting getting loud. When I asked him if he was angry because of the contradictions he made on the two agendized letters he began a slow mumbling walk down from the dais, passing the fire chief and other city employees, to get down to me and got in my face. He stuck his finger in between my eyes and started yelling ” you don’t tell me how to vote, you don’t tell me how to think.. you don’t tell me anything!” The entire council chambers went silent.
Before I could tell him you can’t scare away the truth or intimidate people the chief of the fire department grabbed him by the left arm and pulled him up back onto the dais. The look in his eyes was of pure rage and although I couldn’t make out what he was mumbling to me, maybe those closer to him did, I felt he threatened me.
Afterwards I spoke to many present and it was mentioned that a public records request can be made for the video. I plan on doing so and encourage many to do so as well so anyone interested can see what kind of person the mayor is. I wonder if any others have had to deal with him in similar experience?
The short answer? Yes.
But you can’t believe everything you read on Facebook, so I interviewed Gutierrez.
“He just got right in your face,” I asked, “and was doing this [pointing inappropriately too closely] and was all puffed-up and pissed off?”
“Yes,” Gutierrez said. “Yes to all that.”
Gutierrez said he filed a public records request for chamber surveillance between nine and ten o’clock, the hour when the incident occurred.
This short video, sans sound, can now be viewed on the Valley Voice’s Facebook page.
According to Gutierrez, Jones–from the dais–called him stupid for not understanding the difference between the two letters.
Gutierrez responded by asking if the mayor was upset about what Gutierrez referred to as “a very obvious contradiction.”
“That’s when he backed his whole body up,” Gutierrez said, “and, I promise you, his eyes were filled with rage. He then comes all the way down the dais and gets into my face.
“His finger was literally between my eyes.
“It almost looked like he was going to push me, and the fire chief saved him, grabbed him by the left arm and pulled him back onto the dais, where the police chief was, where the city manager was. The whole council was still sort of there.
“Mind you, the whole council chamber is quiet at this point because he’s been screaming his head off. I see the city treasurer, I see the city community developer, I see the city engineer all in the corner, staring, and it was really awkward.
“When he went up to the dais, after the fire chief had pulled him away, he told me that I better be careful. And I asked him for clarification. ‘What do you mean, be careful?’ And he said, ‘You’ll see.’”
Sterling behavior in a mayor, right?
The man sits on a dais–by definition a place of elevation–and as such has a responsibility to speak with an even tone to his constituents.
That he should descend from it to menace one of them is beyond the pale–even if it’s after the meeting. I guarantee you that he never would have done so if Gutierrez were seven feet tall.
Carlton Jones is a bully.
But don’t take my word for it. Ask Alex Gutierrez. Ask Alberto Aguilar, who was there, and who I also interviewed.
Ask the numerous letter writers about him.
Ask the concerned citizen who phoned me.
Ask the city officials who were present at the time. Ask around.
I tried to ask Fire Chief Epps. But my calls to him went unreturned.
It’s up to you, Tulareans, to tolerate this–or not. I don’t have a horse in this race and I don’t care who your mayor is.
But you should.