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Tulare Supervisor Apologizes After Critics Blast His Comments as Racial Fear-Mongering
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 2 months ago on
February 27, 2024

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Tulare County Supervisor Larry Micari accused fellow supervisor Eddie Valero of anti-White bias.

Latino politicians said Micari engaged in fear-mongering.

Micari apologized to Valero during Tuesday’s board meeting.


A Tulare County supervisor apologized for remarks made about a colleague that several Latino politicians deemed racist.

During a Sunday candidate forum at Legacy Church in Visalia, Supervisor Larry Micari criticized fellow supervisor Eddie Valero about county personnel policy.

“That it takes a four-fifths vote to terminate the department head or the CAO (county administrative officer). You want to know why? Because Eddie Valero is running his mouth saying that once he gets his Latino majority, they’re going to fire the white department heads because the department is too white, or they are going to take $40 million from the sheriff for their programs. So, thinking ahead, we changed the personnel rules to try to protect that, and make sure that we’re doing the right thing for everybody,” Micari said in a 30-second video clip.

Several politicians attacked Micari for those remarks.

“Fear mongering?! I thought that was something of the past? Not in @CountyofTulare. Shame on Supervisor Macari [sic] for creating fear of electing Latinos to a county that is majority Latino. Fear mongering is dangerous. Don’t buy into this fear, vote Joe Soria for Supervisor!” posted state Assemblymember Esmeralda Soria on X.

Micari, who was first elected in 2020, is running for re-election against Joe Soria. Esmeralda Soria and Joe Soria are siblings. The election concludes on March 5.

Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias and Joe Soria also blasted Micari’s comments.

Micari Publicly Apologizes, Valero Accepts

At the start of Tuesday’s Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting, Micari apologized to Valero.

“I’m sorry to Supervisor Valero and I sincerely apologize for what’s occurred. And, I just want to, hopefully, that we can put this behind us and move forward. So, I’m very sorry,” Micari said.

Valero accepted the apology.

“Thank you for reaching out and offering your apology. I truly appreciate your willingness to acknowledge (the) harm caused by this situation. While I understand that mistakes happen, I want to emphasize the importance of honesty and integrity in our interactions,” Valero said.

“Your apology means a lot, and I accept it wholeheartedly. Moving forward, let’s ensure that open communication and mutual respect guide our interactions. I believe that we can learn and grow from this experience, ultimately strengthening our relationship. Thank you, once again, for your apology, and I look forward to positive interactions in the future.”

Micari said Valero received mail “that’s not very nice and polite.” He asked that if anyone had a problem, to “come to me.” He also said he would no longer speak on the issue to the media.

Members of the public supported Valero during the meeting’s public comment period.

Joe Soria said he appreciated Micari’s apology, but it did not go far enough.

“What he said is really evil. It’s racism,” Soria said.

Watch Clip of the Micari Video

Valero Denies Micari’s Allegations

“My colleague’s statements are 100% false. My colleague is using race-baiting and fear-mongering as a cheap political tactic.”  — Tulare County Supervisor Eddie Valero

Valero denied the allegations in a message on Facebook.

“I was disheartened to see a video with slanderous remarks made about me by a colleague. As someone deeply invested in serving Tulare County and people of all backgrounds, my colleague’s statements are 100% false. My colleague is using race-baiting and fear-mongering as a cheap political tactic,” Valero said.

In a brief interview Monday night with GV Wire, Micari refused to say where or when he heard Valero wanting to terminate department heads. Instead, he referred to a statement he sent to the media.

“Ever since I have been in office, it has been reported that Supervisor Valero has made negative comments based on race. On numerous occasions, Supervisor Valero has insinuated he prefers to work only with Latino staff,” Micari said in the statement.

“I admit the sound bite sounds terrible. As always, there is more information to the story than a few minutes allotted on stage at a forum. I apologize if there are any misunderstandings,” Micari said.

Comments Made at Sunday Forum

The forum featured five candidates speaking at the church for about an hour after the regular service concluded.

Micari, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux (running for Congressional District 20), Pete Vander Poel (Tulare County Supervisor District 2), Michael Maher (Congressional District 21), and Ali Macedo (Assembly District 33) also spoke at the event.

Micari talked about finding his faith, and the decisions he has made as a supervisor. He talked about voting against an abortion counseling program. Then he started complaining about Valero, saying he has an agenda. He also criticized “my opponent” for not signing an campaign ethics pledge.

Soria took exception.

“It’s disheartening that he’s accused me of not having integrity, and this is how he behaves in his comfort zone,” Soria told GV Wire.

Jason Carns, Soria’s campaign manager, made accusations about the church and its forum on a Facebook post.

“This is the kind of racism that the Latino community faces on a daily basis in sections of the San Joaquin Valley from the White Republican power establishment. Larry Micari’s slanderous comments were made at a political forum at a White mega church that the Latino candidates were not invited to. Anyone who knows Eddie Valero knows he cares about all people of Tulare County regardless of race, and that Larry Micari was race baiting to a White Power crowd. For once they just got caught on tape, saying the crap we all know they believe,” Carns wrote.

In previous interviews, Macedo said she was of Portuguese heritage.

Messages to the church seeking comment were not returned.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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