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Measure J trailing in early results
Early Tulare County election results showed that those against Measure J — Porterville Unified School District’s $90 million general obligation bond measure to help finance various facility improvements in the district — were successful in their battle.
The county’s First Summary Report indicated there were 4,209, or 55.43%, voting no, and 3,384, or 44.57%, of ballots counted voting in favor of it. The First Summary Report represents ballots received by the Elections office prior to Tuesday’s voting. It does not include any ballots cast on Tuesday.
Measure J will need more than 55% of the vote to pass.
By 10 p.m., a third update had been posted on the County’s Election site but the numbers for Measure J were unchanged.
Earlier in the evening, supporters of the bond gathered at El Nuevo Mexicali Restaurant on Prospect Street and made some last-minute phone calls, encouraging anyone who had not gone to the polls to get out and vote and help support Measure J.
“I’m pleased with the involvement. We had all ages represented, from students and employees to retired individuals — a whole range, a nice mix of people,” said PUSD Superintendent John Snavely.
The group numbered about 30 supporters, with Gabriela Ceballos, Christopher Buettner and Maria Chavez, three Harmony Magnet Academy students, among them. The three students stayed until the group disbanded at 8 p.m.
“We’ve been here since 5 p.m., phone banking for all of the Porterville area,” Ceballos said. “We tell them where their voting location is and that the polls are open until 8 p.m., and there is still time to vote and to support Measure J.”
Ceballos, who has been interning at the local Republican headquarters, said she was having fun helping out.
“This is something that really affects this area. It affects our future and our future generation,” Ceballos said.
Buettner agreed, saying listening to the people’s reactions has been interesting and positive as he encouraged them to get out and vote.
“I felt like I was actually making a difference in getting people to vote,” Chavez said.
Snavely and Ken Gibbs, the district’s assistant superintendent for business services, said they were pleased with the volunteers.
“We had 38 pages of names. These volunteers were calling all the way until the last minute, making calls in the thousands,” Snavely said. “It’s been very positive. The vast majority of the people have been supportive.”
Porterville resident John Hardin, a local man who has opposed the bond measure and how it has been handled since the beginning, said he was pleased with the initial numbers but preferred to wait for the final results before commenting.
If Measure J passes, it will help finance various facility improvements, including replacing old, portable, leaking classrooms, address the district’s air conditioning problems, provide updated athletic facilities, including a new stadium, and the construction of a new Pathway military-style school. Costing homeowners $45 per 100,000 assessed valuation annually until paid in 25 years, the interest will be determined at the time of sale of the bonds. With Measure J, the district can also access $34 million of matching state funds.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on twitter @Avila_recorder.