From the daily archives: Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Imperial County Public Health Department wants to remind all residents and organizations that serve residents to take proper precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke this summer. The National Weather Service has announced that Imperial County is under an Excessive Heat Watch from Friday morning to Friday evening. Forecast highs for Yuma and Imperial are around 115 -117 degrees on Friday.
The Imperial Valley also has twenty-nine designated Cool Centers where residents can go to cool off at no cost during the day if they do not have a cool place to stay.  The Imperial Valley Mall was recently added as a Cool Center for Imperial County.  (see attached updated list of cool centers in English/Spanish.)
· Dress in lightweight, loose fitting clothes,
· Check on neighbors, especially seniors, children, and neighbors who live alone,
· Keep physical activities to a minimum during the hottest part of the day,
· Stay indoors and out of the sun during the hottest part of the day,
· Use fans as appropriate,
· Use cool showers, baths, misting and washcloths,  << File: Cool_Centers_SpanEngl2010.pdf >>
· Avoid hot foods and heavy meals.
If you must go out to the heat, take the following precautions.
· Try to go out before noon or in the evening.
· Reduce your physical activity.  If you must participate in a physical activity outdoors, make sure you drink plenty of water.  Sports drinks may replenish the salt and minerals that you lose when you sweat.
· Try to rest regularly in shaded areas.
· Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and apply sun block containing a protection level of SPF of 15 or greater (the more effective products indicate “UVA/UVB protection” on the label.)


SAN DIEGO – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today filed a lawsuit against mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for blocking an innovative California clean energy program that was designed to create tens of thousands of jobs, promote energy independence and lower utility bills.

“As the nation struggles through the worst recession in modern times, California is taking action in federal court to stop the regulatory strangulation of the state’s grass-roots program that is spreading across the country,” said Brown.

The PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program stimulates the economy and promotes energy independence by assisting homeowners and small businesses in securing funding to make their properties more energy efficient. Property owners repay the costs of energy improvements through assessments spread out over a decade or more. Under California law, these costs are classified as tax assessments.

Ignoring California law, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have effectively shut down the program by wrongly characterizing PACE assessments as loans that must be subordinate to their own mortgages. The Federal Housing Finance Agency affirmed Fannie and Freddie’s decision on July 6 over the objections of Attorney General Brown and congressional leaders.

For California, the stakes are high. Almost half the counties in California have developed PACE programs or plan to start one. The mortgage giants’ actions have stopped these programs dead in their tracks, destroying job creation, stifling energy independence and hampering California’s economic recovery. Clean energy companies have had to lay off workers, and California risks losing more than $100 million in federal stimulus money.

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received enormous federal bailouts,” Brown said, “but now they’re throwing up impermeable barriers to bank lending that creates jobs, stimulates the economy and boosts clean energy.”

One example of the effects of this: San Diego planned to launch a PACE program this summer but it has now been suspended indefinitely, leaving more than 100 people trained in energy retrofits without jobs.

“I believe that the PACE program is critical to stimulating our local and statewide economy,” said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. “I’m glad to see this lawsuit filed so that this novel program can continue.”

In his lawsuit, Brown asks the court to apply California law, require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to recognize PACE assessments for what they are, and allow PACE to move California’s economy forward.

The lawsuit is attached to this release. A letter from Attorney General Brown to President Obama is also attached. For a copy of the Attorney General’s letter sent to federal housing regulators in May, please see


Much Ado About Nothing; I’m Another Year Older!

SUMMER TIME AND THE NEWS IS REALLY SLOW. That means us news types have to scramble around looking for story to fill up our pages and our air time.
What better topic than a story about an editorial cartoon that supposedly discredited a veteran because of an eyepatch he wears.
Since eyepatches make people look sexy and mysterious, we’re not sure what all the shouting is about.
Nick Popaditch is not exactly a household name even though he’s running for Congress.
As a result he needs a little help calling attention to himself. How about an eyepatch? How about making an issue out of a tasteless cartoon about a man with an eyepatch?
Well, if getting his name known better was the goal, he has done that. He at least got into my conscienceness. Before an I.V. press editorial cartoon supposedly poked fun at his eyepatch, my only recognition of him was a small billboard posted on Fifth Street in Holtville. “Who’s that? I asked as I drove by it  several times. Well, at least I know he is a war veteran who had an eye injury. And if he capitalizes on all this noise that’s being made about the cartoon, we may even find out more about his stance on the issues.
If you’re running way behind and its summer and nobody knows much about you, then a good size controversy can help you over the doldrums and into the election season.
We haven’t seen anything about his response, if he has made one. Perhaps he’s too distraught to speak. We doubt it. We hope he takes advantage of the situation so we will actually get some information about him.
As for the I.V. Press editorial cartoon, it was an exercise in tastelessness, but this is still a free country where you can speak, or draw, what’s on your mind. How sensitive can one person be? If his feelings, or those of his supporters were hurt, perhaps he should try some less strenuous form of work other than being a political candidate.
From his website, or at least one of them touting his candidacy:
“For the record, Nick spent 16 years in the Marine Corps, led men in and out of combat, achieved the rank of Gunnery Sergeant, lost most of his eyesight for his country, and was awarded the Silver Star.”
So, what’s he going to do for  me and the people of Imperial Valley?
A Congressman is supposed to take care of his district. This was probably a pretty good trick to get his name out in front of the public without any cost involved.
We’ll see if he uses it to his advantage. His website only offers negatives and military rhetoric.
Well, it’s still only July. We’ll see where he is in October. Considering the uproar his followers created, we have to wonder what his stand is  on the Bill of Rights. Maybe he’ll give us some answers.
AS I TYPE THIS, I am another year older. My birthday was Wednesday and the days  between them keep getting shorter.
That’s OK, because this has still been the best job in the world when it comes to getting a front row seat to most everything that happens in Imperial Valley.
You have to get a little flack for doing that, but it it well worth it. And every now and then, you get to be a part of justice being served and you can help people with what  is keeping them down.
But the best part is I get to wear Hawaiian sports shirts and shorts to work in the summertime!
Take that all you people at the San Diego Union-Tribune and the L.A. Times!
IT’S SUMMERTIME AND THE LIVING IS EASY. That means we can all hover around our air conditioners for the next several months .
I got to tryout my new gas barbecue for a few days while I was on vacation last week. That’s a real treat.
So were the steaks, salmon steaks, bratwursts and shrimp kabobs we dreamed up for cooking.
This kind of summer living can get real easy to enjoy. I don’t think I’ve eaten that good in a long time. As my mother used to say: “I think I gained five pounds. “
Enjoy the rest of the summer and do something fun. Now is the time to get outside and travel somewhere. Especially to a cooler region of the planet. That’s just about everywhere.


Pine Valley, Calif. — Early this morning, U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered 10 cellophane-wrapped bricks of heroin concealed inside the transmission of a Ford F-150 pickup truck during a checkpoint inspection near Pine Valley.

At about 6 a.m., an agent encountered the suspected smuggler, a 45-year-old male Mexican national, as he drove the pickup truck to the primary inspection point. After the suspect failed to provide documentation to legally travel within the country, the agent referred him to secondary inspection.

During the secondary inspection, a Border Patrol K-9 team conducted a non-intrusive search of the exterior of the pickup truck, resulting in an alert to the vehicle’s undercarriage. Agents then conducted a physical search of the vehicle and noticed the transfer case showed signs of tampering. Upon disassembling the transfer case, the agents discovered the hidden narcotics and arrested the suspected smuggler.

The stash of heroin, which had a total weight of 12.3 pounds and an estimated street value of $172,200, was turned over to a multi-agency, anti-drug task force along with the suspect.

This latest incident follows another significant drug seizure that took place last weekend involving a cocaine stash valued at $236,500. On Saturday at about 5:45 p.m., agents stopped a 36-year-old female Mexican national driving a Chevrolet Trailblazer on northbound Interstate 15 near Rainbow, Calif. After a positive K-9 alert, the agents discovered eight packages containing 23.65 pounds of the drug hidden inside the front seats of the SUV. The Drug Enforcement Administration assumed custody of the suspect and narcotics.

A defense-in-depth enforcement posture is a proven means to prevent the illicit smuggling of humans, drugs and other contraband on major routes of egress from the border. From October 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agents have seized more than 300 ounces of heroin and 720 pounds of cocaine in San Diego Sector.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.


By Luke Phillips

It seems the Holtville City Council has rediscovered their faith.
At the behest of council member Richard Layton, Monday’s meeting started with an invocation for the first time in more than a year.
The invocation was performed by Trinity Baptist Church Pastor Richard Moore, who prayed for God to watch over the proceedings and cited the ‘Godly roots of our community.’
“We’d like to thank Pastor Moore for coming here tonight,” Layton said. “We were doing this for a while, having different Pastors and Ministers come in before the meetings, and I apologize, I don’t know where it got away from us. Pretty soon one meeting after another goes by and we weren’t doing it. I was feeling uncomfortable about it so I brought it up at the last meeting.”
The council is still seeking local clergy members to give the invocation at future meetings, something which has proved challenging in recent months.
“A lot of our pastors are sick and have problems right now and some of the churches are without pastors,” Moore told the council, “but it’s starting to get better. I’ll talk to some of the pastors and see if I can get them to come in.”
The council also voted to join dozens of other cities across California in displaying our National Motto ‘In God We Trust’ prominently in the council chambers.
The council made the decision after receiving a letter from Bakersfield City Council member Jacquie Sullivan. Sullivan is also a member of the newly-formed volunteer organization In God We Trust American Inc., whose mission is to “encourage each city in our nation to join in prominently and permanently displaying the national motto in every City Hall throughout our great state and across America.”
Layton was also the one who brought the letter to the attention of the council.
“I’ve been brought up, and I truly believe, that the church has been teaching us to pray for our government,” Layton said.
Holtville may take the proposal even farther. Several council members, along with City Manager Laura Fischer and two residents in the audience, offered to help pay for a bigger monument displaying the motto.
“I’ll pay for it myself if I have to,” Layton said.
Fischer reminded the council that, as stipulated in the resolution, the monument must be small enough to actually fit inside the city council chambers.
The Pacific Justice Institute, a non-profit organization which specializes in defending religious liberty, has offered to represent any city being sued over displaying the motto ‘In God We Trust’.
The First Amendment guarantees the separation of Church and State, but numerous judges have ruled that displaying the national motto and performing an invocation before city council meetings is not unconstitutional,  as long as they don’t promote one religion over another.

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