From the monthly archives: April 2010

Ruben R. Garcia, Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s San Diego District Office, announced today that the El Centro Local Assistance Center (LAC), located at the Central Baptist Church, will transition to an SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) in a new El Centro location beginning Monday, May 3 at 9 am.

“SBA customer service representatives will continue to be available at the LAC until it closes and then at the new SBA DLOC in El Centro to issue loan applications, answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process, help each individual complete their application, and close their approved disaster loans,” said Garcia.

The El Centro LAC, located at the Central Baptist Church, 1290 South Imperial Avenue, will cease operations at 7 pm on Friday, April 30, 2010. Beginning at 9 am on Monday, May 3, the El Centro DLOC will be open at the following location on the days and times indicated.

El Centro
Disaster Loan Outreach Center
Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
301 North Imperial Avenue, Suite B
Opens Monday May 3 at 9 am
Mondays through Fridays, 9 am to 6 pm

Additionally, SBA representatives will continue to be available to assist residents and business owners affected by the April 4 Northern Baja California Earthquake at SBA’s Calexico DLOC on the days and times indicated. No appointment is necessary to meet with an SBA representative at any center.

Calexico
Disaster Loan Outreach Center
Calexico City Hall
608 Heber Avenue
Opened Thursday, April 22
Mondays through Fridays, 8 am to 5 pm
(Will be closed Friday, April 30 only)

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Businesses of any size and private, non-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to homeowners and businesses to help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses and most private, non-profit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.

Interest rates can be as low as 2.625 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for private, non profit organizations, and 4 percent for businesses, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based upon each applicant’s financial condition.

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling SBA toll-free at (800) 659 2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Hearing impaired individuals may call (800) 877 8339.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is June 21, 2010. The deadline to return economic injury applications is January 21, 2011.

For more information visit SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov.
SBA Field Operations Center – West, P.O. Box 419004, Sacramento, CA 95841

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Imperial County Officials Report that over 300 families have visited the

Local Assistance Center since its opening.

IMPERIAL COUNTY- Imperial County officials announced this morning that the Local Assistance Center (LAC) will remain open through Friday, April 30th due to scheduling issues at the location where the LAC was established.  Unfortunately the LAC will not be open on Saturday May 1st as had been previously announced.

The LAC opened its doors on Thursday, April 22nd and has been open every day except Sunday.   Ryan Kelley, the local LAC Director, stated, “All agencies that sent representatives to the LAC have been very responsive to the public’s needs and have made sure that they are providing current and accurate information.  We are happy to see that individuals have made good use of this resource with over 300 families having visited the LAC since the center opened last Thursday.  We hope to see a continuous flow through the end of the week.”

The Local Assistance Center was established for residents and businesses of Imperial County who have been impacted by the April 4th earthquake and are in need of assistance.  Over thirty local, state and federal agencies have participated at the LAC to provide information on assistance available for those affected by the earthquake, applications for rental assistance and information on local housing options, referrals to organizations for assistance with immediate unmet needs, and a variety of other resources available to those affected by the earthquake.

In addition, representatives from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) have been on hand at the LAC to issue loan applications, answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help individuals complete their application. After April 30th SBA representatives will transition to an SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center in a new location in El Centro which will open on Monday, May 3 at 9:00 am.  The SBA continues to operate a Disaster Loan Outreach Center at Calexico City Hall.  Homeowners, those who rent and businesses affected by the earthquake can receive services at the Disaster Loan Outreach Centers. No appointment is necessary at any of the centers.

The SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Centers will be open at the following locations on the days and times indicated.

Calexico

SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center

Calexico City Hall

608 Heber Avenue

Calexico, CA

Mondays thru Fridays

8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Open Now

Closed Friday, April 30 Only

El Centro

SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center

Imperial Valley Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC)

301 N. Imperial Avenue, Suite B

El Centro, CA

Mondays thru Fridays

9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Opens Monday, May 3 at 9:00 am

Although the LAC will not be open after April 30th individuals who have not had an opportunity to go to the LAC can still access services and get questions answered by

visiting the various agencies and programs at their permanent locations.

For additional information regarding the Imperial County Local Assistance Center please call the Imperial County Assistance Hotline at 760-482-4968.

 

By Mario Conde
Calexico parents made it clear to school board president, Salvador Pacheco, last Sunday that they want to have a special meeting to know when schools are going to open and to take action on their five points of concern.
In an event organized by parents at the Daniel Gutierrez Park in Calexico to celebrate the decision of the School District that students would not be moved around because of the earthquake. It was decided by the school board that students at Enrique Camarena Junior High will not be displaced as to other schools as it was originally planned. As of right now there is no date for the opening of the school in Calexico since they have been suspended since April 5th when spring break started.
In a press release made by the CUSD it said that over the last 10 days the situation has evolved; the extensive contracting requirements to ensure reimbursement of over $10 million in earthquake damage repairs have been met and contractors should start work this week.
The district continues to consider additional options for the Jefferson students. Abatement of hazardous materials by a U.S Environmental Protection Agency certified abatement contractor will begin Monday, April 26, 2010, to ensure the Jefferson, Calexico High School and De Anza campuses where asbestos was detected are safe to occupy.
At the event, the school board president was approached by concerned parents and asked him to call for a special meeting were they can listen and take action on their five points. The five points the parents are asking are: To revoke the resolution the board members approve giving power to the superintendent to take all necessary actions in a state of emergency; to give all the parents an official report of the destruction that occur to all the schools in Calexico; the plan of action for the children of Jefferson School; the day schools are going to open and educational programs for all students without school to advance them in their education; to know about what is going to happen with the contract of the teachers.
The parents are also asking the school board to dismiss Dr. Christina Luna and to name an interim superintendent with professional experience which could also know how to give good treatment to the community. The parents said in the letter that Luna has been arrogant with the parents and the board members.
Board President Pacheco said that there would be a meeting this week to face parents and students about the situations on the schools and will try to find a good place where parents can attend.
Board member Ruben De La Rosa said that students at Kiki Camarena deserve to finish their junior high education at their school and said that he already put an item on the agenda to revoke the resolution made to the superintendent.

 

By Chris Furguson
On April 22, 2010, several candidates for various positions arrived at the Brawley American Citizen Club Hall to ask for the political support of the attendees.
Candidates vying for several positions, including County Clerk/Recorder, three seats on the Imperial Irrigation board and the Imperial County Board of Supervisors District 5 seat, tried to sell themselves to the assembled crowd.
Starting with the Imperial County Assessor position, whic deals with determining which properties are taxable in the county.
Incumbent Roy Buckner spoke about his 30 years of experience in the department while his opponent, Carlos Zaragoza, said that the problem in the assessor’s office was a lack of new blood.  There were no questions from the audience for the candidates.
The next candidates were running for the County Clerk/Recorder position, Chuck Storey and Jacklin Colón.  Storey, a 30 year businessman in real estate, said that there was a long turnaround in the recorder’s office and said there was no cross training within the department.
“If someone goes on vacation,” said Storey, “then things back up because no one knows how to do that person’s job.”
Colón, who worked as the deputy county clerk in Ventura County, said her priority was to have all forms on the county website.
A third candidate for the position, Aziel Rodarte, was not present at the forum.
Next up was Norma Saikhon, who is running unopposed for the Public Administrator position.  The Public Administrator deals with probate cases and finding heirs for inheritance claims.
The next candidates were for the Imperial Irrigation District Divison 1 seat, where David Ouzan and Matt Dessert are contesting for Mike Abatti’s seat. Both Ouzan and Dessert dealt with questions involving the QSA vote and morale among employees at the Imperial Irrigation District.
The next candidates were IID employee Ruben Cazares and incumbent James Hanks for the
Imperial Irrigation District Division 3 seat.
Cazares brought up issues about employee morale and IID  manager attitudes towards their job.  Hanks spoke about the Energy Cost Adjustment portion of the bill.
For the Imperial Irrigation District Division District 5 seat, incumbent Anthony Sanchez spoke about his record on the board.  The other candidate, Norma Sierra Galindo, was not present at the forum.
The evening concluded with the Board of Supervisors, District 5 candidates. Raymond Castillo, Wally Leimgruber and Steve Vasquez answered questions about the enterprise zones, the agriculture industry in the Imperial Valley and questions about a proposed law enforcement training facility near Ocotillo.
This was the first candidate forum the Brawley ACC hosted since 2008.  The previous year, the club elected to not host a forum.
The next public election will take place on June 8, 2010.

 

Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced settlements that will bring $400 million in refunds for California consumers who were victimized by market manipulation and exorbitant prices during the energy crisis of 2000-2001.

The two-part agreement with San Diego-based Sempra Energy will provide reimbursement of $270 million to California utility customers who each month pay off debt from the utility crisis on their gas and electric bills. Sempra will also pay $130 million to consumers to settle separate claims by the state Public Utilities Commission and the Department of Water Resources.

“The settlements,” Brown said, “will put hundreds of millions of dollars back into the pockets of California energy consumers who suffered blackouts and great economic harm during the energy crisis.”

Including the prior settlement of a class-action suit, Sempra has now paid more than $700 million for the benefit of state utility customers.

During the energy crisis, Enron, Sempra and other energy companies created phony energy shortages, blackouts and record high energy prices. As a result, California’s two largest utilities, PG&E and Southern California Edison, became insolvent, forcing the state to spend billions of dollars for huge amounts of emergency power to keep the lights on.

In legal documents, Sempra was accused of “Enron-style gaming” of the energy markets and “a pervasive pattern of market manipulation and abuse.” It was accused of entering “Enron-style partnerships” that had a destructive impact on the market, driving prices higher and reducing energy availability and reliability. It was accused of a variety of other exotic schemes called “False Import, Paper Trading and Circular Scheduling” to short-circuit the proper functioning of energy markets.

Customers of PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric (a subsidiary of Sempra) continue to pay for the energy crisis in a line item on their utility bills labeled “DWR bond charge.” Funds received in the settlements will go toward reducing those costs to ratepayers.

For the past nine years, the Attorney General has investigated, litigated and negotiated with Sempra and other energy sellers whose misconduct caused the energy crisis.

The Sempra settlement is the latest of 39 settlements hammered out by the Attorney General, in co-operation with the Public Utilities Commission, Department of Water Resources, PG&E, and Southern California Edison, that will provide more than $3 billion in ratepayer relief. The Attorney General continues to press California’s claims for compensation to ratepayers for overpriced energy sold to the state.

 
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