By Ed Martin, Editor
For second time Measure K garners big percentage, but not quite enough to pass

It’s often said that the second time is a charm – but not always. Once again, Kings County residents voted overwhelmingly to support Measure K, a public safety measure on the Nov. 8 ballot to boost public safety. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough.

The popular measure, which requires 66.6 percent approval to pass, wasn’t quite popular enough, garnering an impressive 65.04 percent county wide but still managing to fail for the second time this year.

Despite the second setback in Kings County’s effort to improve public safety, local and county officials were impressed with the public support the measure received. “I’m proud of our team effort,” said Kings County Sheriff David Robinson. “We had tremendous support from our community. Even those who told us they were voting against us said they support public safety, but want the governing bodies in each jurisdiction to make us the priority and cut other areas to fund our needs.”

Robinson said that despite the setback public safety officials will continue to work for ways to make Kings County and its communities safe, and he also said that making another attempt is not out of the question.

In June, 17,720 county residents voted county wide, and of that total 11,761 voted for Measure K rendering 66.37 percent of the vote. It only needed an additional 70 votes to pass. This time around a larger turnout generated a slightly smaller percentage, impressive still the same.

Lemoore’s voters did their part in the June election, delivering the largest county percentage of local votes, easily passing the measure with 72.17 percent. Lemoore Councilmember Ray Madrigal, a big supporter, was obviously disappointed with the latest outcome. "I'm disappointed that Measure K did not pass, but I accept the vote as the will of the people," he said. "We will have to look for other ways to address the growing public safety needs of our community, and I'm confident that we can do it."

The plan was that Measure K would redirect an 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 was expected to have been roughly $675,000 – all for public safety. The local measure would have replaced 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 would have cleared 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.

For second time Measure K garners big percentage, but not quite enough to pass