Political Fix (19 October, 2017)

Carlton Jones is a Bully

The first time I met Tulare Mayor Carlton Jones it was February 23, 2014 at a meet and greet organized by Ruben Macareno, former chair of the Tulare County Democratic Central Committee. The event was to introduce the newly appointed Tulare County Superior Court Judge Michael Sheltzer and bring together the Democrats running for the 26th State Assembly District.

Mr. Jones was one of them.

I specifically went to the event to catch up with Mr. Jones because he was the only candidate who wouldn’t return Valley Voice’s phone calls, and we wanted an interview.

Mr. Jones was flanked by two elegant women, Abigail Solis, his campaign manager, and Cindi Lujano his girlfriend, but you couldn’t tell who was who. One of the women said that Mr. Jones hadn’t returned the Voice’s calls because we reported a negative story about him.

The story concerned Derek Thomas, also a candidate for the Assembly, who had filed charges against Mr. Jones because he physically assaulted him at College of the Sequoias.

Mr. Jones looked at me with a furrowed brow, and an expression of disbelief, because we printed something like that in the paper.

I was left pretty much speechless.

Why would Mr. Jones think that a Tulare City Council member and candidate for the assembly could physically assault someone and it wouldn’t get into the paper?

He didn’t get it and I remember thinking that night, where there is smoke there is fire.

The Valley Voice has always gotten intermittent complaints about Mr. Jones, but those complaints spiked when he became mayor, and especially after the Voice’s editor wrote about Mr. Jones’ threatening behavior towards Alex Gutierrez.

One recent caller, who did not want to leave his name, described a similar altercation Mr. Jones had with the manager of the Tulare Outlet Mall, Lee Brehm.

So I called Mr. Brehm.

Mr. Brehm said that Mr. Jones placed a trailer on a piece of commercial property next to the mall without permission. The trailer was for an event Mr. Jones was helping put on for one of his high school aged kids.

The Tulare Outlet Mall staff told Mr. Jones to remove the trailer but he said he had permission.

“Besides that, I am the mayor,” he said.

Mr. Brehm called Mr. Jones to ask why he lied to his staff. Mr. Jones then allegedly proceeded to yell at him with a string of obscenities to which Mr. Brehm was not accustomed.

“I have never been talked to with so much vulgar language by a business man in my life,” said Mr. Brehm.

Brehm says Mr. Jones finished their conversation by saying, “If you think you are so tough, then why don’t you come down here in person.”

Then Mr. Jones hung up.

Mr. Brehm didn’t appreciate the way the conversation ended so he called Mr. Jones back. He told Mr. Jones that he does not like the vulgar language nor being hung up on.

I asked, “What did he say?”

“He ignored it,” said Mr. Brehm.

Mr. Jones’ comment “besides, I am the mayor” made me think of David Frost’s interview with President Richard Nixon when he said, “When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

I guess that applies to Mr. Jones also.

Mr. Jones’ anger issues, I thought, must have rolled over into the legal realm. So I toddled off to the Tulare County Court House to see if I could find any suits filed against him. Find suits I did – seven of them.

Four suits seemed to be to bill collectors, one was a traffic case, and two were intertwined; a divorce case and a criminal felony spousal abuse case.

Former Tulare County District Attorney Phil Cline pressed charges against Mr. Jones for felony spousal abuse in 2009. In Mr. Cline’s legal brief he refers to Mr. Jones’ wife as T.C. and his daughter as Ivory.

The brief stated, “the defendant (Mr. Jones) then kicked T.C. and pulled both T.C. and Ivory back into the bedroom. The defendant locked the door and grabbed T. C. by the neck. T. C. ends up on the bed and the defendant tries to strangle her.”

According to Mr. Jones’ daughter’s interview with the police, “Ivory cried and begged her father to stop. Ivory stated that she saw her father choke her mother, mount her and continue to strangle her, and kick her mother in the stomach.”

In the couple’s divorce papers the wife says, “then my daughter looked over at me and mouthed she was scared. I mouthed back for her to pray.”

The DA continued, “T. C. was unable to breathe and the Defendant was telling her, ‘This is it for you. Say bye-bye.’”

According to the court records Mr. Jones’ wife escaped and “ran east on her street as she feared for her life.” Mr. Jones’ daughter was also able to escape to a friend’s house and call 911. Mr. Jones was arrested and an emergency protection order granted to his wife.

Later that year Mr. Jones was acquitted of all charges.

Another suit that is less traumatic, but still intriguing, was a small claims case brought against Mr. Jones in 2012. According to court records, a respected business woman in Tulare loaned Mr. Jones almost $5,000 in 2010 to buy six plane tickets for his family.

A copy submitted of a check showed that Mr. Jones attempted to make a $500 payment towards the loan, but his check bounced. Then he allegedy stole her credit card number and paid his cell phone bill. According to the court records she got those charges on her card reversed.

Two years after the loan, the business woman filed a small claims case against him to collect her money. The judge ordered Mr. Jones to pay the plaintiff $4,896.80.

But Mr. Jones still refused to pay. The plaintiff had to go back to court and garnish his wages.

Mr. Jones ended up paying a total of $5,896.71 through monthly payments forcibly taken out of his pay check. The case did not close until April of 2014.

But the interesting part of this suit was the correspondence between the plaintiff and Mr. Jones submitted as proof she attempted to collect on the loan before she filed the small claims case.

In a polite email she says, “Any chance you can make some kind of cash or money order payment to me for the July loan?”

Mr. Jones responded the next day: “The bad about it is that you told me I was one of the few clients you would do. You have issues. LoveGod”

People who have called the Valley Voice over the years do not want to leave their names, many of his victims won’t file charges, and I did not want to publish the names involved in these suits even though it is public record.

Why? Because they all fear for their physical safety.

These good people don’t fear for their safety from some mystery man working behind the scenes. This is their mayor who has been behaving like this out in the open for over a decade.

Those who have been physically and verbally abused by Mr. Jones say it is a gross abuse of political power and his physical stature. In addition to that, my encounter with Mr. Jones revealed a complete disconnect with the truth. He chastises people who speak it, and won’t respond to publications who print it.

But I can’t say the same isn’t true for Tulare residents’ relationship with the truth.

These court cases and violent outbursts, save one, all happened years before he was re-elected to the Tulare City Council in 2014, and before the City Council appointed him mayor.

Imagine if you will, just for a minute, Visalia Mayor Warren Gubler choking his wife or telling a local business woman she “would do” him.”

It kind of takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

At the end of the DA’s spousal abuse case it states, “The defendant explained to T.C. ‘the madness is over. I’m not going to hurt you.’”

Is it over?

Wes Side Story

I only had one date in my four years of high school.

Colleen, my best friend, wanted to go to the Sadie Hawkins dance and make it a double date. She already had someone to go with and we had to brainstorm over who I could ask. There was a boy in my Biology class who had kind of weird hair but he was tall. He also talked to me a few times which made him prospect #1.

I still remember the two of us standing in front of the door of our Biology class and my trying to get the words to leave my mouth. Even though I felt like I was going to faint, I finally mumbled something about Sadie Hawkins.

He said, “yes.”

Who was my date?

Tulare Police Chief Wes Hensley.

Now while Mr. Hensley is obviously a complete loser because he never asked me on a second date, he did seem honest–like one of those bores who follow the rules and does everything by the book.

So when I heard that Tulare City Manager Joe Carlini put Mr. Hensley on administrative leave, I smelled a rat.

In a cryptically written press release by his lawyer, Michael Lampe, it was confirmed that Mr. Hensley’s alleged offense was not criminal.

That means Mr. Hensley didn’t beat his wife or mistress, drive drunk, embezzle funds or sell drugs. (I told you – boring.)

That only leaves an administration offense which could include being mean to an employee, incompetence, harassment, or disrespectful language, i.e. typical male behavior.

So the brain trust running Tulare decided to have Mr. Hensley sit at home at a cost of approximately $10,000 a month because he might have been mean to an employee?

Just exactly how many ways is it possible to screw the Tulare taxpayers? There is the hospital contract, the missing $85 million in bond money, the Tulare cemetery, and now this?

Didn’t Tulare just go through paying a huge sum of money for the former Tulare Police Chief, Jerry Breckinridge, to sit at home?

They paid him approximately $70,000 to sit on his kiester while the city also paid close to the same amount for his replacement.

Let’s take the worst case scenario and say Mr. Hensley is as guilty as a lying dog. So send him to bed without dessert, make him apologize, and put him back to work.

Mr. Lampe, who knows the details of why Mr. Hensley was put on leave, said in the same carefully worded press release that the reasons were “clearly politically motivated.”

That means that Mr. Carlini, was not the one calling the shots, but rather someone who had a political motive to put Mr. Hensley on paid administrative leave, such as a city council member.

We do not know yet who that city council member might be, but I don’t think the answer is going to surprise anyone.

18 thoughts on “Political Fix (19 October, 2017)

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  1. It is obvious Carlton has a violence problem and he thinks rules don’t pertain to him. I have also numerous stories told as well. Such as sneaking his family into the theater, once caught he became indignant because he was a councilman and then the threats begin. Another recent one he cheated on his wife with a married woman and he pursues women aggressively.

    Are we dealing with another Harvey Weinstein? Everyone knows it exists, some even enable it but standing against him gets you eliminated. Wake up Tulare!

  2. Catherine Doe, I don’t know you but I love you!! Thank you for printing this story..it is about time that thug has bit off more than he can chew. He preaches the word and it makes me want to puke. Tulare is a small town and we all end up knowing each other’s business. He is a thief, he is a bully, he is a cheater and files restraining order against the husband of the gal he is sleeping with as if he is really scared….what a ploy and how sad your wifey poo walks around like she all that because she married to “the Mayor” she a joke too but probably gets beaten and can’t leave either!!! RECALL RECALL RECALL…

  3. Quote “Just exactly how many ways is it possible to screw the Tulare taxpayers?” Well here are a few other ways……….
    1. Former Mayor says he handed over a million dollar check drawn from city funds to a known unsavory Fresno developer at an airport (remember the Nascar debacle?) ….no receipt, no witnesses.
    2. Former Mayor resigning after using his position to gather insider information when buying up property for personal future sales.
    3. Policeman’s soon-to-be ex-wife had claimed that many in the police department were having orgy get-togethers at the coast. If true I wonder who foot the bill for all those “trainings”?
    4. Former City Manager drawing salary for over a year while she was on Administrative Leave for unknown reasons. Councilman Macedo was reported to have claimed that it was “cheaper” than a lawsuit!

  4. Hey Mayor how do you like being slandered in the papers…..family and all. Your history makes great reading and I’m sure your kids are real proud as well as your ex, feel bad she having to re-live a traumatic incident…you must be real proud….maybe you should think twice before you slander kids and families of kids who have made horrible mistakes and will pay for them forever. You had no sympathy or care and concern for the families you were deeply hurting while posting their pictures on social media and labeling them as threats to society. Well Mayor you are a threat to society and you are an embarrass to our city and anyone who stands next to you or behind you represent nothing good. You are a fake and a phony and KARMA IS A B#TCH!!

  5. This article is one of the most intelligence draining and insulting bits of drivel I have ever had the displeasure of reading. Is your opinion of your readers so low that you don’t think they would see the rank hypocrisy in the way you savage the mayor for being mean to someone working at the outlet mall, but when you hypothesize that the chief may have been “mean to an employee” you brush it off as “typical male behavior” and give him a pass?

    I may actually be dumber for having read through this entire article. Unfortunately, I did and because I can’t get that 5 minutes of my life back I feel I have earned the right to comment.

    Here are my problems with the way you addressed the issue with the police department’s chief:

    1) You have no idea why he is on administrative leave, so you made up a series of possible reasons and then passed them off as the only reasons he could be on leave. There are a myriad of reason as to why he may be on leave, but until such time as the actual reason is revealed it is generally considered a good policy not to speculate.

    For crying out loud! You are in the newspaper business, you should know better! Have you learned nothing from Dewey vs Truman or Bush vs Gore or Trump vs Clinton. When you formulate an opinion based on limited information and then pass off that opinion as fact, you are doing nothing but setting yourself up to take a fall and lose credibility. Come on! You’re better than that!

    2) As if making up possible reasons for his being put on leave wasn’t enough you then dismissed any and all of those reasons as “typical male behavior”. Wow! You may be a woman, but you have balls the size of Texas to make that type of statement. It’s one thing to have a thought like that, but it is an entirely different thing to put it in writing…in a newspaper.

    First, is it your opinion that only males are mean, disrespectful to fellow employees, harass people, or use inappropriate language? If so, then you are a sexist moron. But I’m guessing you don’t, so I will just assume that your emotions got the best of you given your hatred of our mayor and your still fresh wound of not being asked on a second date in high school. Based on those facts your contempt for men is understandable, I guess. But I do humbly recommend that you keep your emotions in check and lean more on logical reasoning when formulating a thought, rendering an opinion, or writing an article for a bi-weekly publication.

    Secondly, and something that again verifies the fact that you have a giant set of brass balls, you seem to casually dismiss the behaviors you listed as though they are no big deal and don’t have a detrimental effect on an organization. Let’s take a closer look at the issues you hypothesized as the reasons for the chief being placed on leave. Maybe I can change your mind that these issues are no big deal and merely require a trip to “bed without dessert” as you so eloquently stated.

    Harassment: Is harassing an employee not a serious allegation? Is harassment something the city of Tulare accepts and looks upon as a good quality in its leaders? Your article seems to indicate a disdain for this behavior when done by our mayor, but if done by the chief you seem to give it a pass. I believe that the city as a whole strives to be a “harassment free environment” or at least it should. No city employee should feel as though they are being targeted for harassment. Shouldn’t a safe work environment free from insults, name calling, intimidation, sexual harassment, bigoted commentary and any other forms of harassment be the goal of any organization? I believe so, but you seem to dismiss it outright. Why? Doesn’t a victim of harassment deserve to have the case investigated? Shouldn’t their claim be taken seriously? Don’t they deserve a workplace free from this type of behavior? Or should we dismiss it outright and take the course you plotted; chalk it up to “typical male behavior”, give him a slap on the wrist and then place him back in charge of those he harassed?

    Incompetence: This could be the worst charge of all! I don’t know if I am speaking out of turn, but personally I don’t want an incompetent individual running the only organization in the city that can legally restrict my freedom and in extreme cases take my life! Incompetence begets incompetence. If you have an incompetent leader, you are going to have incompetent subordinates, and, by extension, an incompetent organization. An incompetent leader highers incompetent people, runs incompetent investigations, makes incompetent decisions, implements incompetent policies and eventually gets the city sued. But again, you give it a dismissive wave of the hand and treat it as though it is a minor issue. You may be willing to accept incompetence in those who are making life and death decisions on a daily basis, but I am not!

    Inappropriate language: The best part about this particular issue is that you have someone who claims the mayor used inappropriate language when addressing him and you are ready to put him in the stockades in the town square so that the angry masses can throw rotten fruit at him. But if you are an employee of the city of Tulare and the chief of the Tulare Police Department uses inappropriate language towards you it’s no big deal! We’ll just make him apologize and then we’ll get him back to work. My God, I am confused.

    I understand that in a tense situation one might use inappropriate language to convey urgency or it may be used as a way of emphasizing a point, but he’s the chief! When was the last time you heard about a chief being in a bad situation on the streets? Never, me either. So that excuse has been taken off the table. That means that in a non-life threatening situation the chief was using foul language towards his people. What is the excuse for that? Oh wait, “typical male behavior.”

    Swearing at subordinates creates a toxic environment. Toxic environments do not foster growth. When was the last time you heard of anything in nature growing in a toxic environment?Never, same here. Well, natures laws don’t cease to exist simply because you don’t want to acknowledge them. If this type of behavior is allowed to continue what do you think will happen to the personnel and the quality of service? I’ll tell you, good people will leave and the quality of service will drop. History is replete with examples of businesses that have failed due to management creating or allowing the existence of a hostile or toxic work environment.

    Let me pose this one question. How would you feel if your editor came in and started swearing at you? If your answer is anything other than “I wouldn’t mind it at all” you lose all credibility on this particular issue.

    Look I get it, you don’t like Mayor Carlton Jones and you seem to still harbor feelings for the chief, but your hypocrisy on the issue of inappropriate language, as well harassment and incompetence, is bordering on bi-polar. At least be consistent in your argument that no one should be sworn at or mistreated by a city employee or official. Why is it just a small slap on the wrist for the chief to swear at and demean an employee but it is damn near a death sentence if the mayor does it to a citizen?

    I’m not saying that any of the reasons outlined above are the reason that the chief is on leave, you are. I am simply pointing out that they are not things that should be dismissed out of hand! Each of those charges is a serious issue and should be treated as such.

    Look, neither you nor I know why the chief is on leave, but I didn’t write a ridiculously hypocritical newspaper piece on this issue-you did.

    Although the first half of your article may have relied too heavily on anonymous sources for my liking, it was pretty well researched. Well done. The second half of your article was an absolute dumpster fire. Chalk full of opinions passing as fact, hypocrisy, logical fallacies, and an apparent longing for a lost love.

    Please, for all of your readers mental well being, work on these issues. Strive to be better! Please! I beg of you! I do not have enough I.Q. points left take another hit due to one of your abhorrent articles!

    • The second half of the article to my mind was written in a humorous vein……meant to bring about a smile or just laugh out loud. Of course if one lacks a sense of humor then one just might think it to be abhorrent! You really should try to lighten up a bit Paul, take a deep breath or just try to breathe slowly….go find your funny bone, remember where you hid it ? I personally like Catherine’s sarcastic humor…..she reminds me of one of my favorite authors, Janet Evanovich (love her books!!!) That said, based on your remarks one could surmise that Chief Didn’t Call Me Back Lying-Dirty Dog Boring Wes Hensley was more than likely been put on Administrative Leave due to complaints of harassment, incompetence, and inappropriate language. Gosh that means that Mayor Carlton Jones should be put on permanent leave from the City Council……that description fits him to a T.

    • would this be like when the Valley Voice ran the article of the 2 guys who knew the reason for Breckenridge’s ‘leave of absence’ and they were ostrisized?
      They said it was for drunk driving, with the City Manager being called…..ah just drive him home guys attitude.
      As a Charter City the City Manager runs the show…..not our Mayor.
      Everything with Carlton is an argument if you don’t agree with him…..

    • It seems like you missed the context. You definitely made your opinion known when you said the first part of the article may have relied on anonymous sources. Documented court cases are not exactly anonymous sources.

      Don’t turn a blind eye to the truth of what the Mayor has done and continues to do. He is aggressive to those that question him and he gets away with it. Someday his violence will go unchecked. Hopefully when that happens he isn’t on top of someone strangling them.

  6. Great article we all have true stories like this about him, and if you says anything his thugs friends threaten you. Professing to be a Christian but doesn’t walk the walk(hipocrite).But he wants to run for assembly so maybe he is just practicing to look like alot of other crooked politicians.
    I don’t see how he can stay employed by the Fresno City Fire Dept. Or they really don’t care how it makes their department look , or the impressions of what a public servant should act like.

    • You are correct Boo-Boo…he is a thug, womanizer, a thief (let’s talk baseball funds Carlton) a bully, abuses women, verbally assaults you if you don’t agree with him. Has tried to turn council meetings into church with hand shaking…dude get a grip and realize everyone knows what you are about!!! You take people’s kindness as a weakness like abusIng credit cards that don’t belong to you. Funny your covers got blown on that one and have no shame in your pathetic game. Acts like he has no clue what’s going on with Police Chief but forgets who and what he says when he playing big shot. City manager is a joke and you have your hand up his a$$ like he your puppet…everyone talks Mayor so you need to quit being so damn popmus, taking credit for What’s happening here…..your mouth is as big as your gut!

  7. He’s a big time hipocrite..and a great actor..Mr.Nice Guy..Everyone”s pal. But inside he’s not a good person. But every dog has his day..

  8. Wow Paul, you are every comedian’s nightmare. I thought my ditty on Wes was hilarious.
    Looks like I hit a nerve with “typical male behavior.” Been divorced a couple times Paul and can’t figure out why?
    And I do have a pair of brass Texas sized balls. I cut them off my college boyfriend and keep them in a jar on my shelf. I shake them at the editor when he comes in the room and swears at me.

  9. Paul wasted a lot of space, 10 Minutes of my life I cannot get back…lighten up dude, get some sleep, take a chill pill and know what you are talking about before you waste so much space. Catherine, you are awesome and everything you stated on the Mayor is 100% factual!! Thank you

  10. You’d be surprised how common this story of elected officials abusing staff is. It’s reported and no one does anything. Employees aren’t protected -city and county behinds are protected. If you work for an elected official you don’t have any rights. Don’t believe me? Are you someone who works for an elected and gets mistreated? Report them and see what happens? What will happen is a scramble to keep you quiet and discredit you as an employee. Your only recourse is exposing to the media and/or filing a personal suit against the person.

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