Calexico Heffernan Memorial Board Could Be Disbanded

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 Representatives from Mega Park LLC informed the board that the Mega Park project was rescinded by the planning commission and it’s headed for City Council for final approval.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.