Guest Editorial: Be Sure to Vote

By Warren Gubler
Mayor, City of Visalia

Election day, November 6, 2018, is fast approaching. We’ll have the opportunity to exercise our franchise in various national and state races, and regarding numerous propositions. Just as important are the local races for city council, school board, and a Visalia school bond. It is imperative that every citizen exercises his or her right to vote.

About 1½ years ago, my wife and I decided that this would be my last term on the Visalia City Council. I was first elected in 2009, and have been fortunate to serve two terms on the council, three years as vice-mayor, and as mayor since 2016.

When I ran in 2009, and again in 2013, it was a citywide race. In 2009, there were 10 candidates running for three seats on the council, including some of the incumbents. I believe that citywide elections promote more competition, in that new candidates are running for one of the open seats, and not necessarily against a specific incumbent. The disadvantage of running a citywide campaign is the additional cost and time involved to get your message out. Visalia went to district elections after my second term began, and the district in which I reside is District 3. In 2018, Districts 4 and 5 were up for renewal, but when both of those incumbents announced they were running again, no one else filed, likely not wanting to face off against an incumbent. In my District 3, I believe as a result of my not seeking re-election, three very capable candidates have thrown their hats into the ring. Rather than competing city wide, their campaigns will be limited to the District 3 area, making them less costly and time consuming. While I have enjoyed serving on the city council, I believe that periodically getting new faces on the council or on any board potentially leads to more diversity and new ideas. I look forward to seeing who the voters select as my replacement, and pledge to work with the new councilmember to assist in the transition. Since it is the month of November, a time when we, as Americans, pause to give thanks for our blessings, I particularly want to thank the citizens of Visalia for entrusting me with one of these council positions for the last nine years, allowing me the opportunity to serve and hopefully to make an impact on the future direction of Visalia. I also want to publicly thank my wife and family for their loving support.

MEASURE A SCHOOL BOND – As previously mentioned, Visalia Unified’s school board has voted to put a school bond on the November 6 ballot. Let me put in a personal plug for Measure A. When Alisa and I first moved to Visalia in 1983, our city population was 57,0000. Thirty-five years later we are over 136,000! Visalia will continue to grow along with Tulare County, in that this is one of the last remaining affordable areas in California, and young individuals and families are taking note of that. Because Visalia is a well-planned and delightful community with many amenities, it will continue to grow from within, as will continue to attract growth from the outside. While we can look at certain growth trends, those trends can change overnight based upon many factors, including economic. When we first moved to town, Golden West was still a new high school, and El Diamante was subsequently built. Without proper planning and foresight, our educational facilities will fall behind. We do not want to fail our students. Visalia has always been pro-education. This bond funding will be used to build a new northwest high school, which will alleviate current overcrowding and provide for future growth. The funding will also be used to upgrade and modernize the other schools. California reimburses 60% of the cost of upgrading older schools, and 50% of the cost of new construction. While I have helped hold the line at the city as to any new taxes, and even though my children have all graduated, as a private citizen I intend to vote for this school bond and encourage you to do so likewise, as it is a vote for Visalia’s students and our future.

If you have questions or topics regarding the city which you would like to have addressed in future articles, please email Warren at [email protected] For past articles, visit directfromwarren.blogspot.com.

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