By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor
Second time a charm for Measure K as supporters begin public safety campaign?

They say the second time is a charm, and that’s what the backers of Measure K – round two – hope for when they once again take the public safety measure back to the public for a second try on November 8.

For those voters who may have missed voting for the first version of Measure K, the second chance around is an opportunity for Kings County’s residents to improve public safety in Kings County.

Kings County Citizens for Safer Neighborhoods

Measure K lost by the narrowest of margins in June, garnering 66.37 percent of the vote, which in most elections would be a landslide, but due to the nature of Measure K, it required 66.6 percent to pass, a two-thirds requirement. The local public safety measure received 11,761 out of 17,720 votes cast. It needed approximately 70 additional votes to pass.

Lemoore’s voters did their part in the June election, giving the measure a big thumbs’ up, delivering the largest county percentage of local votes, easily passing the measure with 72.17 percent. In Lemoore 2,238 said yes to Measure K while just 863 said no.

Other parts of Kings County finished election night with good numbers, but in Avenal, Corcoran and the unincorporated areas of the county, it fell slightly short.

The measure needed 66.6 percent to pass. Avenal checked in with 65.24 percent while Corcoran was at 64.82.

Local officials are gearing up to capture many of those who either didn’t vote or might change their votes on Nov. 8. Lemoore Police Chief Darrell Smith says the Measure K Committee is working hard to pick up those additional votes.

“As the results from our campaign in June lacked approximately 70 votes from passage, we all have committed to working even harder this go around,” said Smith.  “We have increased our exposure in all areas to include TV advertising, fact sheets in both English and Spanish, and increased event exposure in the outlying county areas where we fell short on votes,” he added.  “We also have formal events set up in Stratford, Home Garden, and Kettleman City to spread the word.”

The plan was – and continues to be – that Measure K would redirect the additional .25 percent sales tax revenue to a fund specifically earmarked for fire and police operations and infrastructure throughout Kings County, which includes the cities of Hanford, Lemoore, Avenal and Corcoran.  It is conservatively estimated that Measure K would generate up to $4 million annually.

Lemoore’s share of the more than $4 million expected to be raised by the passage of Measure K would have been roughly $675,000 – all for public safety –  to go to the police and fire departments, and If passed by voters in June the measure will replace Proposition 30, a sales-tax measure passed in 2012 and pushed by Gov. Brown, that implemented a quarter-cent sales tax for California’s schools. The measure will sunset on December 31, and it will clear the way for Kings County’s measure to take hold.

In others words, Measure K would not an additional .25 percent to the county’s sales tax rate. It would simply replace the .25 percent that expires on December 31.

Kings County Measure K Committee members have additional plans to secure the passage of Measure K. Smith told The Leader that in addition to increased advertising and walking more precincts, the committee has also updated its voter precinct lists to aid in door to door campaigning –  and mailers.

“We’ll also be sending out Measure K fact sheets to every residence in Lemoore through the water bills,” said Smith. “We also increased our volunteer efforts to include a more strategic approach to precinct walks. Just this weekend alone, we had 20 volunteers show up in Lemoore to walk precincts.”

The committee also plans to make more presentations to civic groups and other organizations. Smith said that any group or organization that wants additional information, is invited to contact him.

Kings County Sheriff David Robinson agrees that visiting precincts may be the key to a successful campaign in November. “The biggest thing we as a team are doing,” he said, “is having more precinct walks throughout the county.” He said walks have already taken place in Lemoore, Corcoran and Hanford. Avenal is doing one on Sept. 4.

“We are also hitting the unincorporated areas of Stratford, Armona and Kettleman City. In the June election the focus was on the cities and the unincorporated area was only sent mailers.”

Robinson added that the committee has sponsored a commercial which will run on local television and social media.

He also added that minor language concerning “no supplanting” was changed to make the measure stronger. “In the prior version there was some language, but many voters gave us feedback that they were still leery, and that funding could be diverted away from public safety,” he said. “The language was clarified. This money can only be spent on public safety, and other general funds currently received by those public safety agencies cannot be diverted away.”

Robinson added that passage of Measure K is an important step in safeguarding the community. “With additional funding we will have more resources to better serve our communities,” he said. “More staffing will allow for more involvement in non-enforcement activities by police officers and deputies.”