Tulare Board Chairman Apologizes for Saying Latino Colleague Wanted “Another Bite of the Tortilla”

The Chairman of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors has apologized for a bizarre comment he made toward another member of the board last week.

The board was receiving an update on the Tulare County Department of Public Health's efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, when Supervisor Eddie Valero sought clarification.

Chairman and Supervisor Peter Vander Poel said, in audio recorded of the meeting, "Supervisor Valero just wants another bite of the tortilla."

Valero -- who is Latino-- did not acknowledge the comment and continued with his request. — KMPH

Vander Poel was immediately lambasted for making a racist comment toward a Latino supervisor. He called Valero that evening to apologize and the two met the following morning.

“He did explain that to me, and he did acknowledge and help educate me that words matter, Vander Poel said. “And I am aware of that. I just need to be more aware of the fact and, a setting like this where meetings are done electronically and people are listening more closely because they can't be there in person, every word matters.”

Some have called on Vander Poel to resign. Valero, however, said he has accepted his colleague’s apology.

“Although his comment was in poor taste and shouldn't be reflective of our conduct in board chambers, I accept his apology and know that he will learn from this mistake. I hope he is committed to educating himself on implicit bias, and the affects it has on members of our community. I appreciate his assurance to work with me and our colleagues to move Tulare County forward, together, especially in this time of need.”