Mudslinging and dirty politics – including accusations of racial bias – descend on South Valley’s politics

This article has been updated to reflect comments made at the Tulare County Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday, February 27.

No one can escape the negative campaign detritus landing in our mailboxes, being sent to our cell phones, floating through social media, and arriving through the radio waves.

And it’s getting ugly.

Through insinuation and misleading statements, some campaign mailers, texts and radio commercials would have you believe that Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux is responsible for ten million illegal immigrants crossing our border, Tulare County Supervisor Larry Micari as responsible for last year’s flooding, and that devoutly Christian Assembly District 33 (AD33) Candidate Alexandra Macedo is a pro-choice drunk.

When asked if she would respond to her AD 33 Republican challenger Xavier Avila’s accusations, Macedo said, “I don’t want to take up any headspace responding to Xavier’s lies.”


Mudslinging from both sides of the aisle

As part of his AD33 campaign, Avila sent out a paid text message blast to voters in his district, and is also running Facebook ads.

Mike Boudreaux and Alexandra Macedo.

The blast, and a Facebook ad, states that “Alexandra Macedo wants the Sacramento elite lifestyle so badly; she is pro-choice, supports the high-speed rail, and is backed by Sacramento elites and liberal unions. She can’t be trusted.”

In another text and Facebook ad, Avila claims Macedo has “a radical liberal agenda.”

Macedo has, on the other hand, sent out positive campaign messages focusing on her experience and qualifications. She added that though she is aware that Avila has baggage, she does not approve of opposition research and will not be conducting it. She added that Avila hasn’t raised enough money to send out mailers – so he has resorted to text message marketing.

Cheyne Strawn, Avila’s campaign manager, said they did not send out mailers because people just throw them away.

Democrats Angel Ruiz and Ruben Macareno are also running in the AD33 race.

Boudreaux said that his Congressional District (CD20) challenger, Assembly member Vince Fong, freaked out when Boudreaux won the endorsements from virtually all the Kern County elected officials. Fong is a Kern County resident and is favored to win the majority of the votes in that county.

Boudreaux said that $700,000 in Political Action Campaign money started flowing into Fong’s coffers which he used to release a string of negative radio commercials on KMJ and send out misleading mailers.

In the mailers and radio commercials, Fong refers to him as “liberal Mike Boudreaux” and claims that Boudreaux is soft on the border and would vote for amnesty along with Congress member Nancy Pelosi and President Biden. Fong is also running a Facebook ad to the same effect.

Boudreaux said Fong’s decision to go negative presents a clear choice to the voters. He said you can either elect a person who is running a campaign of deceit and who is going to lie to the voters – or you can vote for someone who will tell you the truth.

“I will never lie to my constituents,” said Boudreaux.

Micari’s challenger for TC Supervisor District 1, Joe Soria, has sent out a half a dozen mailers to voters in his district. In the flyers he claims, “Politician Larry Micari failed Tulare County.”

The mailer states that under Micari’s watch crime has risen, he failed to build more water storage and insinuated that Micari was responsible for last year’s flooding.

Micari countered that crime has gone down and that the state is responsible for building dams, not county supervisors.

Micari says he has run a clean and positive campaign despite his challenger’s tactics.


Gaffe at Legacy Church’s political event

Visalia’s Legacy Church held a candidates’ forum that ruffled a few feathers during their Sunday morning service on February 25.

Though billed as a forum, only one candidate from each of the local races was invited to speak. The five candidates were Boudreaux running for Congressional District 20; Tulare County District 2 Supervisor Pete Vander Poel; Tulare County District 1 Supervisor Larry Micari; Congressional District 21 Candidate Michael Maher, and AD33 candidate Macedo.

Located at 3890 South Lovers Lane, Legacy is a nondenominational church which supports socially conservative positions: during the forum, Pastor John Dunn lambasted politicians that supported abortion rights, transgender rights, and same-sex marriage – saying those issues were his “big three.”

“If you can’t get those three right, you’re insane. You’re filled with darkness, and why would we vote people into office with that much darkness if they can’t get those three right?” Dunn said.

Before and after the candidates spoke, Pastor John Dunn said that his church would not shy away from political involvement.

“The enemy’s waging war on all fronts, all fronts. So we need to wage war in the spirit, war in the natural […] we need righteousness,” Dunn said after the candidates spoke. “Who would you rather be legislating laws for, these five, who believe in pro-life and God is King, or other people who say that there is no God, and that you can kill a baby any time? Who do we want?”

The forum raised concerns on social media how a church with tax-exempt status can hold a partisan event.

“Providing an opportunity for a candidate to talk to their congregation is not illegal or unconstitutional. In fact it would probably be unconstitutional to prevent a church from doing it,” a local free speech lawyer told the Valley Voice.

Larry Micari speaks at a candidates’ forum hosted by Visalia’s Legacy Church. Legacy Church Facebook Photo

While Boudreaux and Maher gave five minute campaign speeches, and Macedo told her story of encounters with God throughout her life, Vander Poel and Micari had some negative moments – in Micari’s case, causing a backlash on social media and press coverage from KSEE24/CBS47.

Video from the forum was later removed from the church’s Facebook, but remains live on its YouTube page, and is embedded above.

Vander Poel told the crowd “off the record” that the only reason he has a challenger for the first time in 16 years “is because I’m white and conservative,” asking the crowd why that mattered when he believes “every single person, every single interest” in Tulare County deserves a voice.

Benny Corona is running against Vander Poel for the District 2 seat.

Towards the end of Micari’s opening statement, he claimed Eddie Valero wanted to purge Tulare County’s staff of white leaders.

“We just changed our personnel rules that it takes a four-fifths vote to terminate your department head or the CAO. You want to know why?” Micari asked the crowd. “Because Eddie Valero was running his mouth, saying that once he gets his Latino majority, they’re going to fire all the white department heads because the county’s too white.”

As Micari made his statement, video of the forum shows Vander Poel nodding his head in the background and mouthing “yeah” or “yep.”

The Voice reached out to Vander Poel for comment, but one was not received by publication time. If a response is received, this article will be updated.

The ordinance passed last year means four out of five supervisors have to vote yes to remove or appoint department heads.

Tulare County Supervisor Eddie Valero responded to Micari’s comments in a written statement, “Yesterday, at the Legacy Church candidate forum, I was disheartened to see a video with slanderous remarks made about me by a colleague. As someone deeply invested in serving Tulare County and people of all backgrounds, my colleague’s statements are 100% false. My colleague is trying to instill race baiting and mongering as a cheap political tactic.”

In a comment to the Voice on Monday, Micari acknowledged the clip sounds “terrible” without more information, but restated allegations of Valero’s racial bias.

“Ever since I have been in office, it has been reported that Supervisor Valero has made negative comments based on race. On numerous occasions, Supervisor Valero has insinuated he prefer to work only with Latino staff,” Micari’s statement read on Monday. “The County updated personnel rules for clarity and consistency, one of the items was the four fifths vote to appoint or terminate a department head. The clarity of these rules as well as my intention is to protect all employees. I admit the sound bite sounds terrible. As always, there is more information to the story than a few minutes allotted on stage at a forum. I apologize if there are any misunderstandings.”

By Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Micari had apologized to Valero, an apology that Valero told the public he accepted. Valero told the public that he hoped that he and Micari could “learn and grow from this experience.”

“Chairman Micari, thank you for reaching out and offering your apology. I truly appreciate your willingness to acknowledge harm caused by this situation. While I understand that mistakes happen, I want to emphasize the importance of honesty and integrity in our interactions,” Valero said at the meeting. “Your apology means a lot, and I accept it wholeheartedly. Moving forward, let’s ensure that open communication and mutual respect guide our interactions. I believe that we can learn and grow from this experience, ultimately strengthening our relationship. Thank you once again for your apology, and I look forward to positive interactions in the future.”

Micari said that both he and Valero wanted to put the situation behind them.

“I have always said, since day one on the dais, that if I had done anything to hurt someone — whether intentional or unintentional — and it was brought to my attention, that I would publicly apologize on the dais. And I’m a man of my word, and I will do that every time. It’s come to my attention that Supervisor Valero has received some, I’m just gonna say mail, that’s not very nice and polite towards him,” Micari said.

“And I personally ask everyone to stop – leave it alone – if you’ve got any issues, come to me. There’s no reason to take it out on him for what’s happened, so you come to me for any issues at all. We don’t need to do that. I’m sorry for that, Supervisor Valero, and again thank you for accepting my apology. For the media, there will be no further comments on this. we want to put this behind us and move forward, and that’s what’s gonna happen; so, if you call me, you’re not gonna get a comment.”

29 thoughts on “Mudslinging and dirty politics – including accusations of racial bias – descend on South Valley’s politics

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  1. Mudslinging? Go back a few issues and read the same “mudslinging” comments printed in your paper as quotes from Ms. Macedo.

    • I cant find to what you are referring. Whats the title of the article where Macedo made negative comments about another candidate?

      • Many Trump supporters know he is a barking loon, so now they pretend to be “independents” but support his stupid practice of saying whatever dumb lie pops into their heads.

      • Macedo did not make quotes, you quoted her after her Fundraiser at sales yard after she made these same comments that you have attributed to Avila. Also yesterday at Rep Women’s event in Kings County someone called Avila and apologized to him and was very embarrassed because Conway called them and said if Avila was in the room she was going to leave.
        She didn’t leave last night in Kingsburg where they both spoke. Neither did her chaperone Conway.

        • I did not attend Macedo’s fundraiser at the sales yard and have no idea what she said at that event

  2. It’s unfortunate that Supervisor Micari made that statement but I don’t doubt that Supervisor Valero had made such comments. If those who defend him so fiercely saw the way he treats others when not under the public eye they may think again. He accuses others as being racist if he doesn’t get his way. He has outbursts and acts without regard to anyone’s feelings or county procedures and then makes threats. His behavior towards staff has caused more than one employee to leave his office.

    • I have witnessed his outbursts and racist comments. Most staff know how he feels about the upper administration being “too white” he’s made the comment multiple times. It’s unfortunate he doesn’t give merit to a persons work performance and only judges based on skin color…Oh wait…isn’t that racism???!!! It’s unfortunate we have a grown man on the BOS that behaves in such a manner.

      • Mike
        It would be great if you went to public comment at the next board meeting and shared your experiences. The truth about Vallero must be told.

  3. Xavier Avila has turned negative because he is losing badly and cannot run on his merits. He is now trying to paint himself as the “conservative” in the race, but let’s not forget that he was a cheerleader for Cap and Trade in 2017. Hardly a conservative. And note to Cheyenne Strawn his campaign manager – the reason he is not sending political mail is because his campaign is broke. And he is broke because he is a failed candidate. End of story.

  4. When Rapeublicans send their racists to the Board of Supervisors, they’re not sending their best…

  5. Those ads trying to paint full-on MAGA nutbag Mathys as “dangerously liberal” are downright funny.

  6. “I will never lie to my constituents,” said Boudreaux.
    And yet he supports Big Lie Trump. You can only conclude that some of his brain connections do not work.

  7. Mudslinging definition: The use of insults and accusations, especially unjust ones, with the aim of damaging the reputation of an opponent. “Politicians seem to rely on mudslinging instead of argument”. It’s not just politicians per se who engages in mudslinging, it’s their surrogate campaign workers, and ardent supporters.

    Narcissism is having personality traits that include arrogance, entitlement, and craving adoration. Someone who’s being narcissistic also doesn’t usually express admiration or empathy for others. Some confuse narcissism with confidence. Someone who is narcissistic gets angry when you criticize them, it brings out their insecurities.

    Critical thinking definition: the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment. This requires learning to question, analyze, interpret, evaluate and make a judgment about what you read, hear, say or write. The term critical comes from the Greek word kritikos meaning “able to judge or discern”.

    To be able to protect our democracy, our country, voters need to actually practice critical thinking. Seek and analyze what each candidate say and pay close attention to their work history and ethics (especially in those who are seeking reelection). Is what they espouse actually is in the best interest of our country as a whole or one of putting political party before country. And above all do not let paid T.V./radio infotainment news (cable/internet news-activists on the right or left) do your thinking for you. They all usually share the same talking points but the manner in how they spin them depends on if their spin-zone lays on the right or left side of the political spectrum. Disinformation and misinformation is alive and well in our political discourse. Do not take what anyone says at face value. Do not be a lazy complacent voter. Do your due diligence. We once had the luxury of voting for the person that is best suited for any elected office regardless of their political party because the norm was country before party unfortunately people are now being labeled unpatriotic if they do not vote a certain way.

  8. I am a woman if faith but the church inserting itself into the political arena is such an orchestrated way is troubling. Certainly the church can exercise free speech but must also be willing to risk their tax exempt status as a result. And the pastor’s statement…, just wow.

  9. Supervisor Micari apologized to Supervisor Valero, which I commend him for doing. I do feel, however, that he owes an apology to the citizens of Tulare County as well. He should be held to a higher standard than most simply because he is in a position of leadership and authority.
    I don’t think refusing to speak of the matter going forward is wise. Own up to the error, and apologize to the public. Tell constituents that you will do better in the future. We all can learn from mistakes, but not if we ignore them, or try to minimize them.

  10. What I find interesting is that if a “white” individual nakes a comment about one who happens to be of another race, it is called prejudice. If a racial minority individual makes a disparaging comment about a white person, he or she is stating their opinion. How is that right?

    • The double standard is beyond frustrating. Those who scream racial equality the loudest are the same ones that lack the ability to self reflect.

      • Why do we have the “Congressional Black Caucus?” Could you imagine the furor if somebody proposed the same for whites?

          • Your sarcasm is seriously not necessary. Dave presented a real fact, you inserted a poor effort at turning the tables. At the end of the day the real facts remain the same; there is a Congressional Black Caucus and the Senate is merely the Senate. Nice try.

          • Thank you, Maam for demonstrating the true political bias of the rag you write for. Undoubtedly, you are one of those who believe that women should have the right to kill their children. Sick!!!

  11. Beware of politicians who invoke God as a reason to case a vote for them. 99/100 they’re scoundrels.

  12. Pete Vander Poel’s participation in the Legacy Church Forum—an event criticized for its exclusivity and perceived anti-Latino bias by shutting out all candidates except a select few, including Vander Poel—raises significant concerns about his ideological alignments. This decision to engage with such a forum, juxtaposed against his criticism of the League of Women Voters for alleged bias, paints a telling picture of his political ideologies and priorities, suggesting a selective approach to voter engagement that prioritizes certain audiences and platforms over open, inclusive discourse.

    • You, Benny Corona, are a troll. Mr. Vander Poel has done more for District 2 than most BOS members before him. He has lived the majority of his life in District 2. You are a transplant in this district, part of a racial scheme to gain majority of the BOS. The people see who you truly are and it will reflect at the voters box.

      • You think that Pothole VanderPoel is actually Benny Corona? Proof please other than you are disagreeing with his/her comment. BTW per the 2020 consensus Tulare County racial makeup is Hispanic 39.4%,
        Pacific Islander 34.9%. Native American 3.6%, African American 2.2%, White 1.4%, Asian 0.1%, and other races from two or more races 18.2%. Based on these statistics does anyone really believe that the racial makeup of the BOS truly reflects the racial makeup of Tulare County? One could even take this further, what does the four-men and one-woman ratio on the BOS say about a fair and balanced BOS.

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