Some farmers say they won't shop in Tulare as long as Jones remains mayor

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Calls for Carlton Jones to step down as Tulare's mayor continued at Tuesday night's city council meeting, as the fallout from his comments about the negative impacts of agriculture worsens.

"The mayor needs to go ahead and go out to the farm and see what goes on, and learn about what happens," one speaker said.

Jones maintains his comments were taken out of context, and that in his eleven years on city council, he's never had an anti-ag agenda.

"This is just a narrative that's gotten some momentum, and they're doing good," Jones said. "I appreciate their efforts."

In response to the mayor's comments, rumors have been circulating that some farmers are threatening to stop shopping in Tulare, and take their business elsewhere.

Wednesday, a business confirmed to Action News the rumors are true.

"We haven't gone up against this ever before," said Brandon Beck, co-owner of Sturgeon and Beck.

Sturgeon and Beck is a car dealership that has been in downtown Tulare for decades.

They have many loyal customers, but Beck says three have already called, saying that as long as Jones is mayor, they won't be buying any trucks here.

"They said they would have their spouses go out of town; their family goes out of town to spend money," Beck said. "Groceries, not just vehicles, but everything. It's not that much further to drive to Visalia. They will do it, just to make a point."

The dealership is not going to take sides, but in a show of support for the local agriculture industry, they've put "My Job Depends on Ag" signs on their vehicles.

Beck says something needs to change, and soon, because the longer this war of words between Jones and farmers, the more money Tulare businesses stand to lose.

That also means the city could miss collecting sales tax revenue.

"If somebody says that they're willing to hurt Tulare for any reason, whether they didn't like something someone said, they didn't like a new business that's coming or going. If your response to that is: 'I'm going to do what I can to hurt Tulare,' then, in my opinion, you never really loved Tulare," Jones said.

On Tuesday night, Jones' fellow councilmembers decided to put an item on next council meeting's agenda that deals with the reorganization of the city council.

During that time, they could vote to remove Jones as mayor.
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