Daily Archives: February 24, 2010

Skate Park Funds Might Be Gone After PSB, City Applies For Grant

By Luke Phillips
The Holtville City Council voted last Monday, Feb. 22nd,  to put a safety net in place for the city’s proposed skate park.
City Manager Laura Fischer warned them that there may not be enough money left over for the park after the city’s new public safety building is constructed.
The council voted unanimously to approve a resolution that authorizes the city to submit an application for a grant from the Statewide Park Development Community Revitalization Program of 2008 to fund the park.
According to Fischer the grant is only available for new park projects, so current plans to build Holtville’s skate park at the Samaha Park tennis courts would have to be scrapped in favor of a site located at 4th Street and Pine Ave.
Applying for the grant does not preclude the city from going back to the original plan if there are capitol improvement funds left over after the public safety building is finished, but the city would lose a non-refundable application fee of up to $7,000.
The grant program provides up to $5M for each community park project, but Holtville will only be applying for $800,000  – the estimated cost of the skate park project if it is built at the 4th Street site.
Grant applications are scored using a points system based on certain criteria in the community. According to a report from Holtville Grant Manager Virginia Medoza, the city meets or exceeds all of the requirements. The scoring criteria include:
– Critical Lack of Park Space
– Significant Poverty
– Type of Project
– Community Based Planning
– Sustainable Techniques
– Fees and Hours of Operation
– Youth Outdoor Learning Employment or Volunteer Opportunities
– Community Challenges and Project benefits.
Deadline for the grant application is March 1 and grants will be awarded in September of this year.

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Red Cross Introduces Humanitarian Law Class

The San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross is partnering with the United Nations Association of San Diego to offer a FREE 4-hour teacher training course, Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL).  The workshop is designed to introduce upper level middle school, high school and college educators to the American Red Cross EHL curriculum and prepare them to effectively and easily integrate the EHL curriculum into existing lesson plans.
Exploring Humanitarian Law is an innovative, international program that builds critical-thinking skills and character through understanding human dignity: instilling respect, fairness, caring and the responsibilities of global citizenship.
It will be offered on Saturday, March 27, 2010 from 10am to 2pm at the UN Association Building, located at 2171 Pan American Plaza in Balboa Park.
The American Red Cross is an authorized provider of Continuing Education Units through the International Association for Continuing Educations and Training (IACET).
The local chapter of the American Red Cross also regularly offers a class on International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which provides a framework for protection of civilians and combatants alike in a world where warfare and civil strife are a daily reality for millions.  This FREE 4-hour introductory course is intended to raise awareness among local community members and leaders about the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the basic rules of IHL and the role of the Red Cross to implement IHL during armed conflict.   All classes are held at the local Red Cross chapter headquarters located at 3950 Calle Fortunada in Kearny Mesa.  Upcoming training dates are as follows:
Thursday, February 25, 2010 from 1pm – 5pm
Saturday, February 27, 2010 from 1pm – 5pm
Saturday, March 13, 2010 from 3pm – 7pm
For more information regarding these classes or to register, please visit www.sdarc.org/internationalservices or contact Christine Seisun at 858-309-1338 or christine.seisun@sdarc.org.

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Going Off Slightly

Two Zones Are Better Than One

With the Olympics going strong in Vancouver, it is very difficult to not get in the spirit of things.
Of course, my fascinations aren’t with the figure skating, skiing or any of the “popular” events.
No, my attention has been focused on a sport that would never fly in the Imperial Valley: The sport of Curling.
The idea of a game where you have to control a 42 lbs. rock down a sheet of ice fascinates me.  Then again, I’m a fan of darts, so go figure on that.
The concentration and skill is admirable these athletes show is still amazing.
And for the Canadians reading this over the internet… We still beat you in hockey!
One of the drawbacks, however, has been the myriad of commercials for the figure skating and ice dancing.
Many will disagree with me on this, but any activity that requires someone else’s judgment to declare victory is not a “sport.”
In addition to Figure Skating and Ice Dancing, this includes Professional Wrestling, Diving, Gymnastics, and Synchronized Swimming.
(And before you say it, Boxing has judges as well, but you can still beat the living hell out of your opponent to win the bout, so that doesn’t count.)
Now, I would never ridicule the time, dedication and effort it takes to perform these activities, but I wouldn’t label them “sports” because they require outside opinions to determine a winner.
Judge’s opinions in these exhibitions are subjective and without an objective means of determining victory, it can’t be called “sporting.”
We’ve seen it plenty of times before, like in 2002 when Canadian skaters Jamie Salé and David Pelletier were denied a perceived gold medal because of a single judge’s actions.
And that was just one of the biggest such “scandals” built around a judge’s opinion.
Of course, the Olympics have and will continue to sell the exhibition of Figure Skating and such activities due to their popularity, so this is mere spitting in the wind.
Stealing one of the boss’s main complaints about the Imperial Valley, when will Aten Road be fixed?
There are portions of the road, both the county controlled portion and the part in the hands of Imperial, that need to be fixed.
A stoplight system on Clark/8th street is an improvement, but the street really needs some work done, and soon.
For being such an important thoroughfare for the county, the state of the road is shameful.
And while there are roads that have not been fixed in decades, Aten Road is one of the most used ways of getting from west to east in the county and needs to be treated as an important road.
And no, the economy is no excuse for not maintaining the road… for either entity.
The recent effort by the State of California and the County of Imperial to merge the enterprise zones in Brawley and Calexico only highlighted the
Promoted as a “win-win” situation, the proposal would, if successful, create an enterprise zone corridor from Calexico to Calipatria.
Unfortunately, it’s only “win-win” as far as the county and the state are concerned.  A county-wide enterprise zone would make things easier for county groups, like the IVEDC, to sell the entire Valley to outside businesses and not just Brawley & Calexico.
For the state, it would free up an extra enterprise zone designation as California is only allowed to establish 42 such zones.
However, the merger welcome at the expense of Brawley and Calexico, both of whom spent hundreds of thousands of dollars establishing their zones with no guarantee of any return should the merger happen.
At the last Brawley council meeting, no one had answers to who would be in control of the zone, procedures to have new cities join into the program or dozens of other questions.
The speed of the program was also in question, as any applications would need to be submitted to the state board by August 2010.
Brawley’s program, which lost a few years due to several problems, is just starting to show some results.  This is in addition to the new synergy between elements of the city and IVEZ manager Diane Cason, a level of co-operativeness that would be lost if things were changed at this point.
Also, any cries for “thinking regionally” is simple gamesmanship at this point.
The Imperial Valley Mall, which was sold as a regional thing, only benefits El Centro where it counts: Sales taxes.
The National Beef Plant, another project sold as regional, only benefits Brawley.  Same goes with the Calexico/Mexico Border crossing for the city to the south.
Competition between cities is not only good for the local sports teams, but it’s good for the business communities themselves.
El Centro, the business hub of the Valley, doesn’t need incentives to draw new businesses because they have the infrastructure in place already and businesses want to move there.
When there’s something in it for Brawley and Calexico, the merger should be taken under consideration.  Until then, neither city has any incentive to change and the County should realize that.

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Department of Justice Will Not Challenge Proposed Online Subscription News Service

The Department of Justice announced today that it will not challenge a proposal by MyWire Inc. to form the Global News Service, an online subscription news aggregation service. The service would provide interconnections among different publishers’ online content, such as news articles and video and audio clips, that relate to the same topic. Based on representations made by MyWire, the department said that the formation and operation of the news service is not likely to reduce competition among Internet publishers and could provide procompetitive benefits to both publishers and consumers. The Department of Justice’s position was stated in a business review letter to counsel for MyWire from Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.

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California Environmental Quality Act Law Targeted. Job Creation Urged.

By Gene Wunderlich

Long a thorn in the side of anybody wanting to build anything in this state, CEQA is under attack this year by members of both parties. The ally of every no-growther in the state, CEQA has  had a hand in delaying or eliminating numerous projects including much needed road, hospital, water infrastructure and home development. Many viable projects have been derailed simply by having their costs explode due to ongoing and capricious environmental requirements. Often just the threat of CEQA is enough to drive project developers to throw their hands in the air.

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