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Juan Guerrero

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Left to right: Dr. Lucia Vazquez, Eddie Valero, Juan R. Guerrero, and Dr. Bob Aguilar. Photo: Mayra Becerra

Guerrero was a regular figure in Ivanhoe during 17 years of service

By Mayra Becerra, Ivanhoe Sol

Juan R. Guerrero, the former board president of Visalia Unified School District and the trustee representing Ivanhoe, bid farewell to the district at a special board meeting reception on Dec. 6. Superintendent Kirk Shrum shared a brief overview of Guerrero’s time in service, highlighting his accomplishments in the midst of the recession, the COVID-19  pandemic and a cyber attack in 2021.

In a moving event, VUSD board members thanked Guerrero and outgoing Area 4 Trustee Catalina Blair. Board members shared that Guerrero always held his composure and worked to create a team where all voices were heard, even when parties disagreed.

Blair added that Guerrero was someone she could lean on to ask for answers, he was always ready to help. Members of the community from all areas applauded and thanked him for his service.

Guerrero shared that Frank Escobar Sr. and Mike Huggins were his two friends that encouraged him to run for the first time for a seat on the board in 2001. He won and proceeded to be reelected in 2005. At that time, VUSD was at-large and everyone voted for school members no matter where they resided. Today, VUSD trustees are elected by area and the board consists of seven seats. Overall, Guerrero has served 17 years on the VUSD board and served as board president twice.

Guerrero served as the board trustee for Area 2, a district covering the northeastern corner of Visalia and unincorporated areas of Tulare County including Ivanhoe. He was the representative for families with students at  Ivanhoe Elementary, Valley Oak Middle School and Golden West High School.

His legacy in community work spans from youth counselor, classroom training coordinator, branch manager, youth director for four counties, government analyst, community center director, migrant education grant overseer, and gang intervention programs through Proteus. Several of Guerrero’s former Proteus colleagues attended the ceremony to wish him well.

In Ivanhoe, Guerrero regularly attended community events such as  Summer Night Lights – even the inauguration of The Ivanhoe Sol newspaper in 2019. Residents describe him as an advocate for Ivanhoe voices during his time on the board.

The November election saw Mr. Guerrero lose his seat to challenger Paul Belt by 237 votes. During the campaign, Guerrero said this race would be his last.

Votaciones tomaron parte en el salon Memorial de Veteranos en Ivanhoe el 8 de noviembre del 2022 Photo: Esmeralda Garcia

Baja participación electoral con grandes consecuencias para las contiendas locales 

Por Pedro Hernandez, Ivanhoe Sol

Las elecciones de mitad de período de noviembre presentaron a los votantes de Ivanhoe varias contiendas, desde locales hasta nivel federal. Con la mayoría de las contiendas y recuentos de votos finalizados, el condado de Tulare completó otra ronda de elecciones con resultados mixtos para los residentes de Ivanhoe y el estado en general. 

De izquierda a derecha: Dra. Lucía Vázquez, Eddie Valero, Juan R. Guerrero y Dr. Bob Aguilar. Foto: Mayra Becerra.

Guerrero fue una figura regular en Ivanhoe durante 17 años de servicio

Por Mayra Becerra, The Ivanhoe Sol

Juan R. Guerrero, ex presidente de la junta del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Visalia y fideicomisario que representa a Ivanhoe, se despidió del distrito en una recepción especial de la junta el 6 de diciembre. El superintendente Kirk Shrum compartió una breve descripción del tiempo de Guerrero en el servicio, destacando sus logros en medio de la recesión, la pandemia de COVID-19 y un ataque cibernético en 2021.

En un evento conmovedor, los miembros de la junta de VUSD agradecieron a Guerrero y a la síndica saliente del Área 4, Catalina Blair. Los miembros de la junta compartieron que Guerrero siempre mantuvo la compostura y trabajó para crear un equipo donde se escucharon todas las voces, incluso cuando las partes no estaban de acuerdo.

Blair agregó que Guerrero era alguien en quien podía apoyarse para pedir respuestas, siempre estaba dispuesto a ayudar. Miembros de la comunidad de todas las áreas aplaudieron y agradecieron su servicio.

Guerrero compartió que Frank Escobar Sr. y Mike Huggins eran sus dos amigos que lo alentaron a postularse por primera vez para un puesto en la junta en 2001. Ganó y procedió a ser reelegido en 2005. En ese momento, VUSD estaba en- grande y todos votaron por los miembros de la escuela sin importar dónde residían. Hoy, los fideicomisarios de VUSD son elegidos por área y la junta consta de siete asientos. En general, Guerrero ha servido 17 años en la junta de VUSD y se desempeñó como presidente de la junta dos veces.

Guerrero se desempeñó como síndico de la junta del Área 2, un distrito que cubre la esquina noreste de Visalia y áreas no incorporadas del condado de Tulare, incluida Ivanhoe. Fue el representante de las familias con estudiantes en la escuela primaria Ivanhoe, la escuela secundaria Valley Oak y la escuela secundaria Golden West.

Su legado en el trabajo comunitario abarca desde consejero juvenil, coordinador de capacitación en el aula, gerente de sucursal, director juvenil para cuatro condados, analista gubernamental, director del centro comunitario, supervisor de subvenciones para educación de inmigrantes y programas de intervención de pandillas a través de Proteus. Varios de los ex colegas de Proteus de Guerrero asistieron a la ceremonia para desearle lo mejor.

En Ivanhoe, Guerrero asistió regularmente a eventos comunitarios como Summer Night Lights, incluso la inauguración del periódico The Ivanhoe Sol en 2019. Los residentes lo describen como un defensor de las voces de Ivanhoe durante su tiempo en la junta.

En las elecciones de noviembre, el Sr. Guerrero perdió su escaño ante el retador Paul Belt por 237 votos. Durante la campaña, Guerrero dijo que esta carrera sería la última.

Voting takes place at Ivanhoe Memorial Building on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo: Esmeralda Garcia

Low voter turnout with big consequences for local races

By Pedro Hernandez, Ivanhoe Sol

November’s mid-term elections presented Ivanhoe voters with several races from the local to federal level. With most races and vote tallies finalized, Tulare County has completed another round of elections with mixed results for Ivanhoe residents and the state at large.

Tulare County Overview

Overall, Tulare County experienced yet another year of low voter turnout. On average, only 20-23 percent of Tulare County’s eligible voters participated in this year’s multiple elections. Of these eligible voters, there was a split along political party lines with about 60 percent votes submitted for Republican candidates with the remaining 40 percent votes submitted for Democratic candidates.

These local votes played the largest roles in local election while statewide Democratic turnout nullified Tulare County’s majority Republican voter blocks.

Moreover, vote-by-mail options greatly surpassed voting in person during this mid-term election with 18.1 percent (37,850) to 5.4 percent (11,277.)

Low Ivanhoe Voter Turnout

“Additionally, data from the Tulare County Registrar indicates that out of 1,446 total voters in Ivanhoe, roughly 16 percent, or 237 people actually voted in the sole community-wide election, which indicates a lower voter turnout than the overall Tulare County average.”

Election Results

Tulare County District 4 Supervisor 

Eddie Valero secured another term as Tulare County Supervisor with 52.7 percent of the total vote for District 4 which includes communities like Orosi, Goshen, and Ivanhoe. He defeated challenger Scott Harness, a real estate businessman.

Ivanhoe Public Utility District

Gilbert Barajas won a four-year term on the Ivanhoe Public Utility District with 74.52 percent of the 237 total votes from Ivanhoe. In our last issue, the Ivanhoe Sol broke the story that challenger Ruben Solorio did not intend to be on the ballot. Despite his efforts to address the mistake and his ask to vote for Barajas,  53 Ivanhoe voters voted for him.

Visalia Unified School District Area 2 Board Member

Incumbent Juan Guerrero was unseated by challenger Paul Belt. Belt won the election with 52.1 percent of the total vote but in such a small district, the overall vote difference was only 101 votes.

California State Assembly District 33

Incumbent Devon Mathis easily defeated his challenger, Tulare County City Councilmember Jose Sigala with 60.05 percent to the 25,517 total votes cast. The Republican victor represents the Ivanhoe Community in his district and has previously defeated Sigala in 2018 by a closer margin.

California State Governor

According to the Secretary of State, while Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom won his second term, Tulare County as a whole voted Republican. For example, while the Democratic incumbent won with 59.2 percent of the total statewide vote, only 36.4 percent of Tulare County voted Democratically.

Local Initiatives

Measure C, which would approve a bond for $95 million for College of the Sequoias to pursue its goal of offering four-year degrees passed with 55.3 percent of the Tulare County electorate in approval.

State-level Initiatives

  • Proposition 1: Adds the right to abortion and contraceptive use to the California State Constitution passed with 66.9 percent of the total statewide vote. Tulare County voters were more closely divided with only 45.5 percent of the electorate in support of Proposition 1.
  • Proposition 28: Increases spending on arts programs in public schools passes with 64.4 percent of the vote. While overall support was lower than the state average, Tulare County voters supported increasing arts funding with 53.8 percent of the vote.
  • Proposition 31: Upholds California law banning the sale of flavored tobacco passes with 63.4 percent of the vote. This was another instance where the Tulare County voters overall opposed 51.9 percent of the total vote.

Looking towards 2024

Ivanhoe and Tulare County followed the national trends of having lower than usual voter engagement during midterm elections. However, this also indicates that many local level elections and initiatives could have had much different results if all of eligible voters submitted ballots.