Tulare councilman says he vandalized opponents’ signage

Editors’ note: This article has been updated to include a new court document.

Tulare City Council member Carlton Jones vandalized his opponent’s election sign then launched a profane online tirade that included homophobic slurs when confronted.


Jones Admits Behavior

Jones’ behavior was reported by his opponent for the District 3 seat, Steve Harrell, in an October 15 social media post. Harrell reported Jones–who has been at the center of several controversies during his tenure on the council, including removal from his position as the city’s first Black mayor–took the sign from a convenience store at Paige Avenue near Highway 99, tore it into pieces and discarded it.

When another post regarding the matter appeared on a social media platform hosted by Harrell’s campaign manager, Xavier Avila, Jones was quick to admit his actions and defend them. Jones claimed the property owner asked him to remove Harrell’s sign, which had been placed near a sign for Jones’ campaign.

Jones said the request was a result of Harrell’s son, Chris Harrell, participating in his father’s campaign to unseat Jones. The younger Harrell was arrested earlier in October during a sting targeting individuals soliciting sex with children via the internet.

“They don’t want signs made by a predator in front of there (sic) business,” Jones said. “Not a good look.”


The Sins of the Son

In early October, Chris Harrell and 12 other men were arrested by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) as the culmination of a months-long operation intended to entice would-be pedophiles using decoy online profiles. According to the TCSO, the men agreed to exchange money and gifts for sex, and were arrested when they arrived at what they believed to be the home of one of several decoy profiles representing male and female children ages 14-17.

Because the younger Harrell was managing his father’s social media presence, Jones claimed his father should be held liable for the son’s alleged crime. He referenced presidential candidate Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who has been accused of influence peddling by Biden’s political rivals.

“If Joe Biden is responsible for Hunter, Steve is responsible for allowing Chris to manage his online account,” Jones wrote. “Especially when Chris tries to molest little boys online.”


Profane Anti-Gay Slur

Jones’ accusations then took a dark turn, as he called Chris Harrell a “puto pedo.” The Spanish word is a pejorative term for a male homosexual prostitute and is considered homophobic and profane.

In response to Jones’ statements, Harrell said he had the property owner’s permission to place his sign at the store. He also implied the person Chris Harrell agreed to meet was not a minor.

“As far as the last statement, a 19-year-old is not a little boy,” Steve Harrell wrote.

A pair of charges filed against Chris Harrell, however, both accuse him of attempting to interact with minors.

The felony complaint filed by the Tulare County District Attorney on October 16, in the Tulare County Superior Court, accuses the younger Harrell of meeting a minor for lewd purposes and contact with a minor with the intent of committing a sexual offense, and describe him as “motivated by an unnatural and abnormal sexual interest in children.”

In a Statement of Probable Cause filed by the Tulare County District Attorney’s office, Deputy Don DeAzevedo states that he created an account on the Grindr app for a fictitious 17-year-old male.

“A subject later identified as Christopher Harrell reached out to the decoy, knew he was underage and still agreed to meet for sexual acts,” DeAzevedo’s statement reads.

An arraignment in the case is scheduled for December 7, 2020, at the Tulare County Superior Court.


Due Process

As the back-and-forth between District 3 candidates continued, Harrell made reference to Jones’ arrest for alleged domestic violence while defending his son’s right to due process.

“Your comments leave out the word ‘alleged.’ When you (Jones) were arrested, you were alleged to have committed domestic violence and child endangerment,” Harrell wrote. “My focus is the city council, not engaging in mindless banter with you and the people that have chosen to follow you.”

Jones, who has had repeated run-ins with members of the Tulare Police Department (TPD), claims his arrest was the result of a corrupt officer. He also accused Harrell, who served with the TPD for more than two decades, of similar behavior.

“I was arrested because a lying cop like you made a false report,” Jones wrote. “I was always innocent, and those involved with those false accusation (sic) had to pay. I won in criminal and civil court.”


November 3 Election

The race between Jones and Harrell, however, will not be settled online. The vote to decide that contest, as well as the District 1 and District 5 races, will be held on Tuesday, November 3.

26 thoughts on “Tulare councilman says he vandalized opponents’ signage

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  1. Carlton Jones is loco in the cabeza.
    Most abusers say they are “innocent” & gaslight the accuser. Hey little man, time to go.

  2. Isn’t the property owner able to remove the sign if so wanted to….Why would anyone need Carlton Jones to do that…Jones’s behavior has been unbecoming a council member for a long time…

  3. Jones is a compulsive serial liar and bully, when will this grown ass child grow up. I know without a doubt he choked out his ex-wife and he has stole money from women in fresno and threaten to do bodly harm to them. I hope the voters of his district see him for who he really is and that’s a monster and loose cannon. Jones is not a leader and lacks good moral character and I’m curious to know what God does he serve and what church does he attended.

    • Yes, Mr. Jones is soo many of those things, but what the heck does the church he is a part of or the God he worships have to do with anything??? Why does he have to attend any church or worship any God. If he indeed attended a church like so many of the phony christians around here that actually would explain a lot. Please, get off the religious trip of throwing out church and God. It’s so exhausting!

  4. What a good Christian Jones is with all that judgement..Really doing God’s work isn’t he..lol. Guess its ok because its him..smh. Like he hasn’t done some criminal things in his lifetime!!..please.look it up…How embarrassing. Making Tulare proud…again!! He needs some anger therapy.

    • Hootie, yes, I can agree that Mr. Jones could use some anger therapy and perhaps even take a public speaking course or some type of speech class, both would probably do him some good. But! I believe you would benefit from an anger management class as well after reading your angry tirate on the hilariously titled, ” Mothertruckers ” article! And since we are giving out advice maybe some education on both presidential candidates. Fox News doesn’t count though. Oh yeah and even yoga it really helps with negativity and hate!

  5. Put the Harrell signs in the front yards of all the above concerned citizen. Also the article is insinuating Mr Jones is homophobic And Anti-Gay for using the word
    Puto means a Steamed cake made with rice flour .
    Puto in mexico is used for cowards and traitors.
    Good job Mr. Jones !For being the voice of the people!

  6. Nothing surprises me with Tulare anymore. Especially this wacko Jones guy. What an ignorant, arrogant, egotistical, and sad excuse for a so called self proclaimed leader. Jones is an embarrassment and a disgrace to his community. Did he graduate college, serve in the military or have a job other than a here or there fireman. ? Lawsuits. Altercations. Disputes. Accusations. Wow. Enough was years ago.

  7. puto pedo?? does not mean what you quoted. he was prob trying to say pudo pedo which means he is “full of it”

  8. People: I admit we took liberties with Jones’ words “puto pedo.” It made sense to us that, in context, he combined a common Spanish word with an abbreviated English one that is now slang. But let’s face facts. Jones barely has command of English. What his mind makes of Spanish is anyone’s guess. I’ll stick with our interpretation.

    • Jones not only does not have command of the English language, but also does not posses command of the common good of Tulare. He is a wannabe, just as he was during his disastrous fighting career. He has been a disaster for Tulare along with his amigo Nunley.

  9. Steve Harrell, should file charges against Jones for Vandalizing his campaign signs. This is not the first time he has stooped this low to win a election. Jones gives Firefighters a bad name especially fresno F.F., this dude has no character and is a low life P.O.S.

  10. Pedophiles and their family members especially cops who condone pedophile behavior should NOT be in positions of power over anyone, especially children.

    • Dannette to continue to love a son or daughter despite the wrongs they do doesn’t mean you are condoning their actions. Reject the behavior, not the son or daughter. The vast majority of parents do this all the time….no matter their child’s age. You are being cruel and just plain wrong to throw stones at a parent who is in pain and distress, most likely feeling helpless and perhaps even hopeless. Mr. Harrell as a parent has no control over his adult son’s life nor the paths his son takes. Before you get carried away in your self-righteousness try to remember that we all live in glass houses and but for the Grace of God go any one of us. That includes you too Dannette.

      • Yes, I agree, as a parent myself I can say I would love my child and support him despite his actions or behavior as well and at the same time not condone it. I could only imagine how painful a time this may be for both parents. I am not judging Mr. Harrell’s choice in anyway to continue for his bid in office because only he knows what is best for himself and his family, but I personally would drop out and focus on my child. My child would come first. I would want to help him. What I have a problem with is the additude Mr. Harrell has suddenly adopted now that his family finds themselves on the other side of law enforcement. I believe the comment from Mr. Rodger said it best when he said, “…a retired cop who now wants us all to let the system judge him before the court of public opinion judges him. I highly doubt he had that mindset when he was in law enforcement.” I am very hesitant of voting for cops. Being a person of color my encounter with cops has never been a pleasant one. Not as extreme, like that of many in the African American community but they almost have all been poor. A pass, insulting remarks, agisim, racial profiling, short and annoyed when I have called to report vandalism, or theft. These two choices for the people of Tulare are horrible. So in the end we all lose. I wait for the day to afford to live in a progressive town where the majority of people are not racist, classist, or phony Christian’s clinging to their American flags alongside a Vote Trump 2020 flag on pick-up trucks or a parade of them down the 99 who have met at the AG center. Please!!! The only thing that was missing that day was the burning cross.

  11. Consider Joneses statements before and after this, there are no liberties being taken here and the commenters above are at best thinking how they might say something and at worst trying to give Jones cover

    Something tells me when you say a man is trying to molest little boys online and you call them a “puto pedo” you definitely mean to call them a “puto” and a “pedo”(phile)

    First results on Google for puto is

    “spanish word for a male prostitute. sometimes it´s offesive for homosexuals”

    Second and third result filipino steamed cakes. Forth result “Puto is the masculine form of the multi-functional Spanish puta, meaning “prostitute.” It’s used as a slur against people who are gay and an insult to anyone perceived as weak or contemptible.”

    If Jones thinks Harrell is a steamed cake more power to him. If he wanted to say Harrell is full of it he has said worse just in english.

    Saying you took liberties at all gives cover to the people who say this is a hit piece and the valley voice is fake news. Insulting him only digs the grave further

  12. These two clowns is the best Tulare can do? You have one that is a trainwreck, and has been a trainwreck for years. Yet the people continue to vote him in. On the other hand, you have a retired cop who now wants us all to let the system judge him before the court of public opinion judges him. I highly doubt he had that mindset when he was in law enforcement. You also have the third clown in Nunley who is in that position to benefit himself and his business. This town needs to wake the F up! It’s a hick-town with no vision. Look at your neighbor to the north; There’s growth, and it’s flourishing. Tulare has nothing to offer business or industrial. The outlets are pathetic. Aside from that the greatest store to rave about is a Target and a Walmart. Both of which you will find in just about any town with a population of 50K. Restaurants choices are meager. I was born and raised in this town. I moved out two months ago. Never looking back. It’s embarrassing that Tulare is a dusty town on 99 with so much potential! Tulare has two things that make this town look decent. Bardsley underpass and Cartmill Overpass. Both of which are infrastructure projects. I don’t get it. Wake up people!

  13. “The west side has deteriorated” its mish mash and downright crappy.
    No school drop off zone or posting “no stopping, standing, parking and J walking signs”
    vacant building, inadequate lighting on a street sidewalk and allies.

  14. Mr. Rodger, Yes, it is very sad that the city of Tulare has only these two candidates to choose from. I don’t believe either of them are fit for city council and will not be voting for either one. But let us not fail to mention the many racist farmers who continue to champion a racist president and his twisted ideology with their unwavering support for him, yet benefit from the exploitation of low, wage immigrant labor. I wish people would wake the heck up!

  15. Mr. Oldenbourg, I enjoy reading the Valley Voice and appreciate the platform that it provides to its readers in expressing their opinions and views. Sometimes your columns can even make me burst out laughing with it’s sarcastic, whit and humor, I think even more so because of the truth behind them. So it is very dissapointing that you’re only response to your readers for the incorrect interpretation of Carlton Jones’ words, ” puto pedo” is a weak “I’ll stick with our interpretation.” Really? Accusing someone of a homophobic slur is basically calling them a homophob. I do not care for Mr. Jones’ antics, his behavior and he basically needs to not talk anymore. But! Accusing someone of homophobia is a highly charged accusation. It is especially so when, the translation is incorrect, therefore has no basis to do so. No one can say for sure what he meant, only he can. I do know his wife and children are Mexican as are many in the community. I am Mexican and speak spanish fluently. I believe he meant to say, puro pedo, a common spanish slang term. Technically, puro is translated to pure in spanish, pedo is a slang word for fart. When used together it is in reference to a lie, or meant to say, bunch of bullsh*! Puta, is an obsenity in reference to a woman of the night or can be used for a man that is a punk or traitor as well as a womanizer. There are a few anti gay slurs in spanish that I will not repeat or write but Puto is not one of them. Come on, own up to the mistake, he is wrong on so many other levels that no one needs to create the false narrative that he is also a homophob. With hopeful expectancy of a better retraction, good day sir.

  16. Fellow Taxpayer, Again, Mr. Jones is lame as can be and not fit for his role in leadership, lacking in so many ways we can’t even count them all. We can complain about him until we are blue in the face. But enough with the elitist, classist, bologna about needing a college degree to be in office or insinuating a stint in the service qualifies someone to be the only worthy things to be a city board member. Look at Devon Mathis he is a joke and his history of being in the service has brought his community nothing. I know plenty of worthy people who do not have a college education or did not serve in the military. None of those things make you better than anyone else. I have one of those things while my husband has both of those things you mentioned but we are not above anyone. Stop with the Elitist nonsense already. Isn’t it taxing to be such a snob???

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