Visalia

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Throughout the Central Valley, communities are grappling with how to keep their towns safe with enough cops and firefighters on the beat. Many have found that traditional revenue sources simply aren’t enough, and are turning to special taxes. But how they are doing so diverges down several different paths. Community reaction to tax increases seems to plays a big role in how local political leaders decide to act.

HCCA

This month in Tulare, voters are being asked to weigh in on a big issue – whether or not to support a $55 million bond measure for hospital construction at the Tulare Regional Medical Center. The hospital last issued an $85 million bond back in 2005 to fund a new tower for the hospital. But the project went out of control, and construction stopped as the money ran out, with the tower incomplete.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Visalia City Council is set to take up debate tonight whether to send a sales tax increase to voters this November. The half-cent tax on retail sales would bring in about $10 million a year to help fund public safety, road and facilities maintenance.

It would be in addition to Measure T, an existing voter-approved sales tax that funds law enforcement in the city. Because the new tax would not be dedicated for any one specific use, it only requires a simple majority to pass.

Courtesy Kaweah Delta Health Care District.

A controversial bond measure for the Kaweah Delta Hospital district in Visalia has been defeated by voters. The special mail in ballot sought approval for a $327 million bond to construct a new hospital wing, to replace an existing facility that doesn’t meet state earthquake standards. As of late last night, the measure was well short of the required two thirds approval, with only 43 percent of voters in support.

 

 

Courtesy Kaweah Delta Health Care District.

Today is the deadline for residents in Visalia to have their ballots postmarked in a big vote that could determine the future of the Kaweah Delta Hospital. The hospital is asking the community to tax itself to support a new acute care wing. But the push has generated opposition in the community and from the head of a neighboring hospital.

First, a bit of background, state law requires that every hospital be hardened against earthquakes by 2030.

Tulare County Symphony

The Tulare County Symphony is a vital part of the south valley's musical landscape. This year the orchestra has assembled a season featuring a varied selection of musical masterworks, guest soloists and new ideas that aim to bring new audiences to classical music. Musical director and conductor Bruce Kiesling joined us on Valley Edition to talk about their upcoming concert on October 3rd at the Visalia Fox Theatre, featuring music of Latin America, as well as the rest of the 2015/2016 season. 

John Chacon / CA Department of Water Resources

Even before California's drought, many small unincorporated valley communities have dealt with drinking water that's polluted with nitrate, arsenic and other contaminants. As water levels in many wells have dropped, the problem has only grown more severe. 

Now a new provision in the state budget could offer help to some of those communities, in some cases potentially forcing large water districts to consolidate with smaller ones. Advocates like Laurel Firestone of the Community Water Center in Visalia say this could help many communities in their quest for clean water. 

Ezra David Romero

Historical movements, wars and disasters around the globe have created signature sounds in music. Think freedom songs like “We Shall Overcome,” Prince’s “Baltimore” and even Beyonce’s song “Halo” after Haiti was rocked by an earthquake. The Golden State is in its fourth year of drought and songs about a drying California are now emerging. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports on drought for the station. He joins Valley Edition Host Joe Moore to talk about what he calls drought music. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we talk about drought, elections and more. First KVPR Reporter Jeffrey Hess reports from Visalia where the city is looking to increase Hispanic representation with council districts. Also, KVPR's Ezra David Romero visits Tulare County where 60 percent of the state's dry residential wells are located

    

The valley city of Visalia will soon complete the transition from at-large elections to district elections for their city council. The change comes as a result of a voting rights lawsuit that claimed at-large elections cut the city’s substantial Latino population out of the political process. The transition is not exactly popular.

Carlos Medina has lived in Visalia for decades, He has been cutting hair at his barber shop across from Oval Park for nearly twenty years.

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