Letter to the Editor Slams Tulare Cemetery Trustees for Mistreatment of Board Member and her Husband

I am so damn sick and tired of the invasion of my privacy and the continual assaults by Tulare Public Cemetery District Trustee Xavier Avila. Xavier Avila is a public figure, who is currently on the Board of the Tulare Regional Medical Center and the Tulare Public Cemetery.

Xavier started questioning mine and my wife’s residency and voter registration a few months ago. He then went public on social media about a week ago commenting on an article that had been published in the Valley Voice regarding the 8/27 Tulare Public Cemetery meeting.

I am not a Republican and it’s been a number of years since I was registered, and then as a Democrat. What does my current registration status have to do with my wife, Vicki Gilson, being on the Tulare Public Cemetery District?

I find his stalking of a private citizen unfit for someone serving the citizens of Tulare and his accusations aimed towards me and my are wife are pretty rich considering the Tulare Public Cemetery District flagrantly breaks the law.

The Cemetery Board, currently chaired by Steve Presant, does not honor the Brown Act modifications allowed by Governor Newsom’s Executive Orders for public meetings. The state emergency order allows teleconference or electronic communications to allow Board members and the public  to participate when COVID-19 conditions apply.

Chair Steve Presant, and Trustees Xavier Avila and Jim Pennington demanded in person attendance only for both the 4/23/2020 regular meeting and the 8/27/2020 regular meeting. It was only County Counsel staffer Aaron Zaheen who told the three trustees at the 8/27 meeting that they were required by law to allow my wife’s participation by teleconferencing.

My wife serves on the Cemetery Board and Xavier seems to have a vendetta against her. He is illogically questioning not only her, but my voter registration. Due to Covid-19 and my health status, it is necessary for remote participation.

Xavier Avila has a record of ranting and raving during recorded public board meetings, not only against fellow board members, but the public as well. He rants against all those opposed to him – continuously on the Caring Cause Facebook site, the Valley Voice Facebook site.

He continuously maligns, distorts and accuses others of wrong-doing. His questioning of my voter registration status is out of line. The only thing I can say about him is that he didn’t trespass at my home in Tulare as did Chair Steve Presant.

My wife, Vicki Gilson, has been serving on the Cemetery Board since 5/2017. Due to COVID-19, she hasn’t been able to attend some of the board meetings in person.

I have nothing to do with Vicki’s involvement and service to the Cemetery. Why Xavier Avila is trying to dishonor her, or me in the process, is beyond my comprehension.

I didn’t go to Vietnam to have to deal with a low life, alcoholic, want-to-be politician.

Larry Gilson

19 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor Slams Tulare Cemetery Trustees for Mistreatment of Board Member and her Husband

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  1. Curious. Since the County appoints these board members (please correct me if I am wrong) why are fellow board members conducting oversight on each other. Isn’t that the responsibility of the County Board? Isn’t Tulare’s County Board member Pete Vander Poel? Is he asking Avila, Presant, and Pennington to do this on behalf of the the County Board?

  2. Sue him for slander. He’s obviously trying to harm your reputation. You can get him for libel too, if his remarks were published.

    • $125,000 to file a slander suit. Will tie up in court for years and you won’t end up with anything. Directly from my attorney. There are other legal ways of handling this problem. Watch and see.

  3. If she doesn’t live in the county, but in another state, this seems like a bunch of unnecessary bs! All the other board members, as well as community members can make it to meetings, but she can’t? Why? Not because of Covid. In fact, during one board meeting that she called in for she made a big deal about meeting another board member for lunch at a restaurant when she came into town. Would someone so concerned about Covid, suggest meeting someone for lunch at a restaurant? (Ps she never called the person for lunch. So she was lying to look good or just plain rude for not calling the person) So what’s the truth? She’s moved out of state! She’s been back in town at least once as she stayed in an RV in the Tulare Walmart parking lot. The point of the voter registration is to show that her husband and her no longer reside in Tulare County. They are establishing their lives out of state. She’s only holding on to the charade because she’s lied about it for so long (since December 2019?) and doesn’t want to give anyone that challenged her about it the satisfaction of being right. She moved, so she should move on.

    Also, the husband is participating in the same behavior in his last paragraph that he is accusing the other person of. Glass houses!

    • Don’t you think that Vander Poel needs to be investigating this himself, not cemetery board members? Is it appropriate for fellow cemetery board members to be acting as private investigators against one of their own for Vander Poel or whoever? In doing so doesn’t that concern you as well? Or is it okay since you personally disapprove of Mrs. Gilson and the right or wrong of it isn’t of importance?

      • Well, why aren’t you asking the important questions? Does she reside in Tulare? If it is in fact “just a vacation home”? How much time is she spending in her Tulare home? What are the requirements for her to be voting in the District she claims to live in? Is her Tulare home even habitable? Did Vanderpoel actually ask the other Board members to investigate her or are you just guessing? How many meetings can she actually miss according to the District bylaws. Where does County Counsel stand on this issue since they are having to attend every Board Meeting? Why is it OK for Mrs. Gilson to post on Caring Cause and not Mr. Avila? I have a ton of questions that have gone unanswered repeatedly. So how can anyone make an informed decision on this garbage unless ALL THE QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED by her side as well as the Board’s or County’s. Seems like we have only heard the public rantings of one or two Board Members. Personally I would like to know the whole story before jumping to conclusions.

        • All questions asked can lead to getting answers if they are being answered by the appropriate person who should be in charge of this investigation and not by biased people who have an axed to grind. As for Vander Poel the question being asked is did he ask other board members to investigate Mrs. Gilson and her husband…..it is a question that requires an answer. If these other board members are acting on their own accord then the next question would be to Vander Poel is their actions appropriate. As far as Mrs. Gilson’s position on the cemetery board and the ongoing questions of her permanent residency that too would be a question for Vander Poel to address. If she is no longer “technically” a resident of Tulare then let Vander Poel address that as well. It would be refreshing to have someone other than biased board members to inform Tulareans of what is going on in regards to this matter.

          • When the Grand Jury report comes out I am very sure many of these questions will be answered. However I asked tge BOS how to rid a board member. Apparently after tge BOS appoints a person, whether qualified or not, they can not remove them. Only 2 ways: State Attorney General has to agree to it or they are accused of a crime. So relying on Vanderpoel is moot. There just must be a better way to vette tge people applying for various District positions. Ms. Gilson appeared before the BOS during her trip to Tulare in June and requested all tge Board Members be removed, including herself. As Vanderpoel stated, can’t do it. But if in fact she does not reside in the District she is voting in, that could be considered fraud. Hence a crime. County Districts are not run like anything else i have ever encountered. Strange.

  4. The people buried in the cemetery must be doing somersaults in their graves at the needless drama and in-fighting happening over a damn cemetery district. At least the hospital district is going again.

    The board meeting agenda tomorrow says there is a threat of legal action if they act over a vacancy of Gilson’s seat because she is supposedly out of the state. She says she lives here and votes here.

    Here is the hundred thousand dollar question. WHO will pay for the legal defense if Gilson feels she has a real case and launches legal action tomorrow…..

    Will the boardmembers pay for it out of their own pockets since they squabbled their way into this mess or will the whole county be forced to pay for a war of personalities over cemeteries?

    Do they have the facts necessary to fight back against a suit if it happens?

    If she is not eligible to be on the board the public needs to see the facts.

    And anyone who is investigating this for the public should do so with an open mind and without bias toward any party.

    Not even the dead in Tulare can have peace.

  5. I have read the articles in the Valley Voice along with articles in the Times Delta. It appears the whole board should be removed and if they are truly interested in serving Tulare and the Tulare Public Cemetery District on the board let them re-apply. Shame on Pete Vander Poel for not vetting these people! By re-appointing these people after they have publicly denounced each other at a Board of Supervisors meeting, is wrong on the Board of Supervisor’s part. The Board of Supervisor’s does have the power to take control of this board and the Cemetery District itself. Xavier Avila stood before the Board of Supervisors and admitted that they lacked training. And from what I see of the video recordings from Caring Cause; Yes, Mr Avila is a BULLY and shouldn’t even be on the board! As it is pointed out in a previous comment. He is impressed with himself and he will let you know it! I was always under the impression you can only serve on one board. But Mr Avila is serving on two. Is this right? You have board members stating at board meetings about missing money. There have been numerous articles of previous administrators writing themselves checks then disappearing. You would think that someone on the board would call for a detailed audit which it seems never happened. What was the DA’s office doing? Yes, Ms Gilson was involved as President of the board. She removed records from the office supposedly to protect their integrity. Allegedly she returned those records but they can’t be found by anyone. Not even the current office staff. What’s going on? You have current board members that don’t get complete board packets. Is this a directive by Mr. Avila? Another BULLYING tactic of his. What is so secret and what does this accomplish? The thing I see is a forming of the “Good Old Boy’s Club”; Avila, Presant, Pennington; who does Avila want on this board next? It seems there is some prejudice going on against Mr. Agulaira. Is there so much underhanded goings on that County Legal Counsel has to be at every board meeting? If in fact Ms. Gilson does not live in the district and resides out of state it is her responsibility to resign from the board. Why do the board members see it fit to do their own investigating? Again, what is the DA’s office doing? You would think there is something big to hide the way this board functions. Yes, perhaps the California Attorney General should have a long hard look at this, along with the Fair Political Practices Commission.

  6. All this over a position on the CEMETERY board? Like it’s some prestigious position? If your a board member and your residency is being questioned then simply provide proof of Residency and resolve it. How difficult is that? If there is a Brown Act violation then report it, not whine about it in a letter to the editor. I doubt questioning someone’s residency constitutes liable… But calling someone a “low life, alcoholic,” seems to be approaching liable. What I can’t believe is that this is all about a CEMETERY district board – get over yourselves.

  7. Turn about is fair play and it appears there is enough back fighting of the whole board to initiate a recall put before the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. Mr. Avila wants to investigate, perhaps he’s the one that should be looked at! Why is he casting doubt on a private citizen. There are a lot of questions the definitely need to be answered; from finances of the District to attitude of the staff and board toward the public. Each board member gets paid very well just to be at a meeting regardless. When, Where, Why, and How these meetings are conducted. I have gone to the district office only to find that the meeting had been cancelled. Is this another ploy by the board to keep the public at bay? Yes, there are violations of the Brown Act and the public doesn’t hold this board accountable! Is it our own ignorance? Mr. Avila since you’re the one causing turmoil perhaps you should be off the board! You’re the BULLY behind all this. Is Mr. Aaron Zaheen present at all the board meetings to keep you out of trouble with your mouth? Tulare County Legal Counsel if you have to have someone present at all the board meetings this just proves there is a bigger problem than you want to admit. This District board is totally dysfunctional! Mr. Avila is the root cause of all this from what I read and see.

    • Patrick Greene is a fake name . you are obviously a member of Caring Cause. The people who want control of the cemetery. The people who openly mock cemetery employees and say they want them fired. Of course you are going to hide who you really are . Cowards never use there real name here . The funny thing about you people is the cemetery looks good and that what people care about . Your little groups keeps creating drama . It’s obvious by your long ramblings . Who has that much time on their hand to follow that much information about the cemetery board ? Answer Someone who wants control.

  8. If you would like to observe the goings on at a Tulare District Cemetery Board meeting just go to the open (not private) Facebook site Tulare Cemetery Perspective. The meeting is posted in its entirety without any doctoring of the video. WTch and make YOUR OWN DECISIONS!

  9. Anyone else completely embarrassed and fed up with the continuing drama on all sides of this? Raise your hand if you think every Board Member should step down – starting with Gilson who stated she would publicly – yet?
    Tulare has gone from a city with pride and respect to a city with a shameful city council, and boards that do little more than tear each other down and disgrace the community.

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