From the daily archives: Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kudratdeep Kaur Dhaliwal
The Imperial County Migrant Education Program will be holding its very first regional speech and debate tournament Saturday January 23rd at Southwest High School.
With this tournament the Migrant Education Program aims to help students develop skills in reading, writing and oral expression.
According to ICOE Migrant Education Services Supervisor Ramon Santana, 150 students have enlisted to participate and that number is still growing.
The tournament will include speeches from students in the 4th and 12th grades throughout the valley.
Students will learn how to engage in competitive debate by doing research and organizing their materials for good delivery.
The debate will have two sides, the affirmative position and the negative position where the former favors a proposition and the latter opposes it.
There will also be an extemporaneous speech where students will be given ten minutes to develop a speech on a topic that will be introduced that very moment.
The program is all about facing obstacles and overcoming them says Santana.
The impromptu nature of the speech will help students develop the skills and the motivation necessary to succeed in life.
“Students will see how they got through it and gave that speech,” he explains.  “Overcoming one challenge will encourage them to overcome other obstacles they may face in life especially in terms of education.”
Another goal of the tournament is to create a sense of belonging amongst the students through school spirit.
This will be achieved through the shirts the students will wear on the day of the tournament.
The color of shirt is based on the respective color of the school the student comes from.
Resonating with the overall tournament theme that ‘everyone is a winner so long as they try’, all participants will receive a plaque and a trophy.
The Migrant Education Program has been a beacon of hope in the lives of many migrant families who face obstacles in education due to their transient life-style.
“One day a family can be here and the next they might have to move,” says Santana.  “And as a result the child’s education may suffer.”
The Migrant Education Program strives to provide the tools that these students may need to succeed.
The Program assesses each student and tailors its services to meet those needs.
The message the program hopes to convey is that while a person’s circumstances may not be in their hands their prospective future is in their hands.
Other services under the program include the Path to Scholarship Program which helps students write and submit scholarship materials and PASS a Portable Assistance Study Sequence Program.
PASS gives students the chance to make up credit deficiencies they may face which prevent them from graduating high school.
Cyber-High, an online high school is also offered under the program.
Having come a long way since its humble beginnings, the Imperial Valley Migrant Education Program continues to expand its services based on the emerging needs of the migrant population.
The Speech and Debate Tournament is only its latest addition.


Holtville City Council welcomed the Sheriff Department to Holtville at last nights city council meeting. Supervisors Wally Leimgruber was on hand as well and expressed the enthusiasm that was shared with the Imperial County.


By Mario Conde

The County Board of supervisors voted Tuesday to approve the study for maintenance, replacement, and Construction of the Country Club Sewer Maintenance District’s Public Sewer Pump Station.

Supervisors, acting as the Country Club Sewer Maintenance District that covers the residential area of Barbara Worth Country Club in Holtville, approved the study made by Dynamic Engineers and approved the start of the process to revise the free schedule in accordance to the rate study, as requested by Public Works director, William Brunet.

The County Public works director informed that the area is in much needed capital repairs and studies say that it was reached its capacity and near failure. The Public works director said that department of public works has secured a non-competitive State revolving fund loan fund loan to cover the cost of sewer system improvement. Several residents of that area were present at the County Chambers to ask the board more information about the new rate fee.

The board did not take action in on the new rates since the people that live in that district will have to vote on proposition 128 that will decide their rate fee. Supervisors Wally Leimgruber and Supervisor Louis Fuentes will be part of an ad hoc committee that will be meeting with residents before the final action is taken.

In other news, the board approved a letter to be sent to National Association of Home Builders against the possible revocation of the Desert Chapter of the Building Industry Association. Supervisor Gary Wyatt said even when the County is not a member of the BIA but had long and successful relationship with the Chapter, most recently by establishing new air pollution rules for industry.

“They have a strong and involved membership, a solid financial position, and a great reputation amongst local government authorities.” Wyatt said in the letter.

New Chairman

Supervisor Louis Fuentes was elected by his fellow board members to be the new Chairman of the County board of Supervisors for this year. Supervisor Jack Terrazas was elected as vice-chairman of the board. Chairman Fuentes thanked the board for trusting him to become the chairman and asked for all of their support to make the right decisions for the good of the County in the years to come.


By Mario Conde

With a Grand Jury investigation and with the uncertainty of the future of public funds, the Calexico Heffernan Memorial Board could be disbanded.

Last Wednesday, The Heffernan Memorial Board District celebrated its regular meeting. Representatives from Mega Park LLC informed the board that the Mega Park project was rescinded by the planning commission and it’s headed for City Council for final approval. He said that because of setbacks and the current economic crisis their project has to be changed and work to submit a new project for that area. The Heffernan Board gave $500,000 to the Mega Park project to create a Medical Center in that area; the loan is supposed to be paid back to Heffernan on or before May 15, 2010.

The project was brought down also as part of a settlement between the City of Calexico and the Heffernan Memorial Board made by the Citizens for Honesty and Integrity by Calexican Officials that challenged both entities for not complying with state environmental requirements. The group challenged Heffernan for looking at buying a piece of land of the Mega Park with no infrastructure.

Former Heffernan Board member Ray Falcon spoke to the board last week telling them that the request to have the Grand Jury investigate the Hospital Board has been accepted and they will be investigated for misappropriation of public funds among other items.

“Do you realize that the committee to investigate you will start to obtain signatures in January to put a measure on the ballot for November to dissolve the Heffernan Memorial Health Care District? This means that by this time next year you are going to be history.” Falcon told the board.

Falcon asked the four member board if they were willing to sacrifice dissolving the board for what he said is a “worthless piece of land.”

“The land won’t be able to be developed for another 10 to 20 years. If that is the case, and you continue to go forward with this land deal than you will have proven to the people of Calexico what they already think, that you are doing this for your own self-interest.” Falcon said.

Board Chairman Sylvia Bernal interjected by saying that she has not heard people telling her that this transaction is wrong and asked Falcon to give them a list of the people that are opposing this. Heffernan Attorney Orlando Foote asked Falcon if he was speaking on behalf of the group or himself. Falcon answered that he is speaking for the tax payers of Calexico.

Falcon continued with his presentation saying that they are forgetting their duties and responsibilities. “You have forgotten who you work for and most important who elected you to this board. The citizens of this City elected you to be good stewards of their monies and this land deal is not in the best interest since you are buying land that can’t be developed for the next 10 or 20 years. To continue, means throwing money down the drain.” Falcon said.


Commentary: Federal estate tax threatens to become ‘a fine mess’

Issue Date: January 13, 2010

By Jack King

The old Laurel and Hardy line would likely best describe the current estate tax situation: “What a fine mess you’ve gotten us into,” Hardy would tell Laurel. And, if something is not done in 2010, California agriculture will be in a fine mess with estate tax treatment.

Nothing is a given at this point. Nearly everyone figured that Congress would act before the 2010 one-year repeal of the estate tax would kick in, but the Senate failed to act. Now, some key senators are saying that all bets are off that the Senate will designate the tax allowance needed to establish an exemption above $1 million for 2011. Remember, the 2001 tax cuts expire next year unless reinstated; that includes the treatment of estate tax and capital gains.

While the current repeal is great for now, few of our farmers or ranchers will be able to plan beyond the end of this year, and that is a train wreck in the making.

We must work for a positive outcome, beyond just this year. The California Farm Bureau is determined to achieve the best outcome possible. Here are our objectives beyond the ultimate goal of full and permanent repeal: 1) the highest exemption level possible; 2) stepped-up basis; 3) indexing for inflation; and 4) an exclusion from the estate tax settlement, as long as the estate remains as a family agricultural entity.

When the time is right, we will need the help of every Farm Bureau member to make telephone calls, write letters and hold face-to-face meetings with legislators. One way to help is to join the CFBF Farm Team. Through Ag Alert and Farm Team, we will keep you posted on where the issue stands and will urge you to call and write at the most opportune time.

Too many in Congress believe that estate taxes pose no problem for farmers and ranchers. Once told that the problems are real and occurring throughout California, there is a great deal of support for keeping our farms intact. Our job is to get that word out. We’ll be following this issue closely and communicating periodically to keep you informed.

More than 36 California agricultural groups have signed on to advocate for agricultural exclusion. An additional 55 national and regional groups are part of a broader coalition.

Please help us get the word out with your personal responses.

(Jack King is manager of the California Farm Bureau Federation National Affairs Division. He may be contacted at

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

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