From the daily archives: Wednesday, May 19, 2010

By Mario Conde

The City of Calexico and Brawley made their decision Tuesday to keep their respective enterprise zones as it is.

The proposal to merge the Imperial Valley Enterprise Zone and the Calexico-County Enterprise Zone to create one zone for the Imperial Valley that will cover unincorporated areas of the Valley.

The proposal to merge the two zones came directly from the State Chairman of the County Enterprise Zones, James Nunn that came to the Valley and suggested to the County Board of Supervisor to explore this possibility and submit an application to the State Housing and Community Development to have the state give the designation to the Imperial Valley.

Calexico-County Enterprise zone manager Daniel Fitzgerald gave a power point presentation to the City Council giving them the pros and cons of the merger. After the presentation, the Council opted to keep the zone as it is after learning that Brawley had already voted down the measure.

In other news, the City Council decided to take away the parking meters at downtown Calexico indefinitely to provide more incentives for shoppers to come the historic downtown now that is 95% back in its capacity after being closed for two weeks after the 7.2 earthquake.

Calexico police Chief James Neujahr said that after the emergency most of the parking control officers were assign to fixed post controlling traffic in hazardous area downtown. Police will enforce the two hour parking limit for every car.


By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council approved a 45 day interim ordinance prohibiting cooperative, collective, or other forms of marijuana dispensaries during the special study period the city will have.

City Attorney Jennifer Lyon said in her report that Calexico is taking this ordinance since the Calexico Municipal Code does not make it clear if medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed, and if so, what zones can they operate. Lyon stated that many cities are worried about regulating dispensaries because the law in this area is still unsettled. The City believes that these types of dispensaries attracts negative effects on public health, safety and welfare may occur in Calexico because of the proliferation of these medical marijuana dispensaries and the lack of regulations governing the establishments and operations of these facilities. During this moratorium time, the City of Calexico will deny any permits to all Medical Marijuana Dispensaries that tries to establish themselves in Calexico.

“Dispensaries around the State have often attracted burglaries, weapons violations and other crimes. Also, cities have been worried that dispensaries might open up near schools or other sensitive land uses. It is clear that the City has the authority to regulate the location of any such businesses in the City pursuant its police powers.” Lyon said.

With the passing of this ordinance, the City will have 45 days to start looking how to regulate these medical marijuana dispensaries. If the City doesn’t come to a conclusion after the 45 days the City can make an extension of 10 months and 15 days. If the City does not have a final resolution by then the City can adopt a moratorium extension of two years. City Staff believes that that they need to take their time to decide the right way to deal with this issue based on the unique character for the City of Calexico and in order to sufficiently protect the public health of its residents.

In other items, the Council decided not to take any action on a proposed resolution regarding a policy statement against layoffs on public safety departments. The City has 27 firefighters and 41 sworn officers. The City currently is preparing its 2010-11 budget and layoffs are considered to balance the budget. The resolution proposed to avoid layoffs in police and fire. City Employees and members of the Calexico Municipal Employees Association attended the meeting in opposition of this resolution arguing that this will create division and animosity between unions. Mayor pro tem John Moreno and Councilman Daniel Romero said  to be against this resolution and in the end gave direction to the City Manager to handle the possibility of layoffs as an administrative issue.

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