A longtime employee retires and hypocrisy in City Hall

By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor
A longtime employee retires and hypocrisy in City Hall

A longtime employee left the City of Lemoore after 40 years. His name is Larry Avila and there couldn’t be a nicer guy. I worked at the city for 18 years and whenever I saw Larry he always had a smile on his face and warm hello.

On Friday his friends and acquaintances bid him adieu at lunch and wished him well as he officially retires on Wednesday, August 7.

He was hired by the city on July 5, 1973, which seems like so long ago. It just seems like yesterday when I bought that Elton John “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” 8-track tape that I was sure was going to last forever. The affable Avila has worked several different jobs within the city and he told me the other day that he enjoyed his tenure with the City of Lemoore.

He also tells me he’s going to work on his golf game and perhaps get a few lessons from former Recreation Director Tom Hernandez. Good luck on that one because lessons from Tom is like getting singing lessons from me.

Good luck Larry.

The possible sale of the golf course keeps popping up on council agendas. I spoke to someone with the Tachi Palace Casino recently and he told me the Tachi are very interested in purchasing the golf course. My local sources says it’s probably not going to happen, and that may be a good thing. The city still owes about $2.5 million on the golf course that opened in 1991.

However, if the price was right and residents continued to be able to play the course, it could be sold, but that probably wouldn’t be wise at this point. Once the debt service is retired it could be a real moneymaker for the City of Lemoore.

About 15 years ago the city entertained the thought that perhaps the U.S. Navy wanted to purchase our golf course. We even met with a couple of admirals at the golf course. They declined to buy the course but did leave city manager Steve Froberg and me with a nice bag of pineapples. The admiral had flown in from Pearl Harbor to inspect NAS Lemoore and visit our golf course.

About that same time Lemoore Naval Air Station was growing and our former Congressman, Calvin Dooley, was interested in helping the Navy get its own golf course. Most military installations have golf courses, Lemoore NAS being one of the few that don’t. I was a bit worried that a Navy golf course would take players from our course.

Well, the sale and the Navy’s plan for its own golf course failed to materialize. There simply wasn’t enough money in the Navy’s planning budget for a multi-million dollar golf course for Lemoore. Seems fighter jets cost way too much.

I can’t help but muse at the hypocrisy of some of our council members, who last week criticized the Kings County Association of Governments for handing out pay raises to six employees who work for the independent transportation agency. In an article in the Hanford Sentinel, KCAG, as it’s referred to, was labeled bloated and inefficient by Lemoore Council Member John Gordon, who sits as Lemoore’s representative on the board along with reps from all of Kings County’s cities as well and members of the Board of Supervisors.

Just a couple of months ago the Lemoore City Council also handed out raises to the Lemoore Police Department and some management with the city. Perhaps the two forgot they gave raises. Like many city, state, and education employees, raises have been few and far between since 2008. KCAG employees hadn’t received a raise since 2007.

There is a lot more hypocrisy emanating from some members of our council.

Comments powered by Disqus