By Mario Conde
The first ever Firefighters Association Forum took place last Friday as the six candidates for City Council faced the community.
Carlton Hargrave, Guillermo Hermosillo, Martiza Hurtado-Barrons, Bill Hodge, Daniel Chairez, and Ulises Cardenas attended the forum and faces questions mainly about the current financial crisis in Calexico.
Candidate Bill Hodge spoke about his leadership style and said his focus if elected is to talk directly to the people and put those concerns on the City Council agenda since he says those concern are not being considered by the current City Council. “I think what people want in government is someone with character is someone that acts, someone that is proactive and that is who I am. When I believe in something I’m very proactive, I act on it.” Hodge said that he will work to enlist the people of Calexico and persuade them to be vocal and active in the community so they can hold them accountable for their actions and decisions. Hodge said that the City needs to support small businesses and inform them one-on-one about the decision the City makes.
Carlton Hargrave said the City is experiencing challenges from every segment of our community but believes the root cause all the challenges we are facing boils down to one thing and that is a lack of revenue needed to run the City. “I really love the City of Calexico and I think we have much to offer here. There is nothing that Palm Springs has in that area that we don’t have. We have four elements here that we need to grow and expand to bring revenue to our City. We have the weather, we have the workforce, we have the water, and we have the land. We need a focus plan for the future to start bringing businesses and generate income into our city.” Hargrave ended by saying he wants to turn “Only in Calexico” into a positive phrase for the City and when people say it is because the City will offer exciting things and services that other cities in the valley won’t have.
Martiza Hurtado said that she is running in these hard economic times because Calexico needs strong leaders that have the capacity and experience to turn things around. “I believe that my experiences as a long time Calexico resident will help me handle the job as a council member. I understand what it is like to be a parent, a business owner and a volunteer. I believe that in order to be a better council person you must understand the issues that are important to the residents of this City.”She said.
Councilmember Guillermo Hermosillo said that his focus is to work on a better Calexico for future generations and solve the problems that have long affected Calexico. “Calexico is a great City to live in and we can make it better. We can make parks nice for the public, kids, and the community. Somehow we can make Calexico a destination point to where people can stop and come here for a few days.” Hermosillo said.
Candidate Daniel Chairez said that his main goal if elected to City Council is to support the young professionals of Calexico by having proven leaders becoming involved in the development of a new generation of professionals. “We have proven that we are the fastest networking and creative individuals, and prepared with the modern tools for a new future to come.” He said.
Finally, Ulises Cardenas mentioned said his main points in this campaign is to bring jobs, work for more recreational activities for youth and seniors, and look for grants funds for public safety. For Cardenas, it is important for Calexico to bring industrial jobs that stimulate the City’s economy that are well paid so that can bring new sales tax revenue for Calexico. Cardenas supports the idea of having the City hire a grant writer that lobbies for funding for various areas in the City.