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.


I would just like to say that curling is my favorite Winter Olympic sport. I’m don’t generally watch, or much enjoy, the Olympics but I always make an exception for curling.