From the daily archives: Thursday, May 19, 2011

Max Lemuz
Congressman Bob Filner held a town hall meeting on Monday, May 16, 2011 at the Adult Center on 1st Street in El Centro.
People from different agencies, both public and private, sat down and listened to Congressman Filner discuss the current situation of the national economy and its effects on a local level.
“There is an enormous economic and fiscal problem at the moment,” began Filner to the citizens.  Filner explained that unemployment is still at a high point and the country’s national debt has surpassed fourteen trillion dollars.  Filner further explained that while there was a projected surplus in the coming years after the Clinton administration, the numerous wars and conflicts the country is involved with have changed the situation.
The biggest problem addressed with starting the war, according to Filner, was the absence of taxation.  Filner, while against the war, believes that since the country is involved the American people should pay for it.
Filner said  this is the first time in the history of our country where taxes have not been increased to pay for war, which has led the government to borrow a lot of money to fund the costly battles.
He  added that with the amount of debt that the country is in, the federal government has set out a budget to try and get back on track.  Unfortunately, Filner believes that the government is targeting the wrong programs and expenses for cutbacks.
Instead of aiming to cutback money from the defense budget-which is one of the largest expenses for the country-Filner said the government wants to cut more programs that affect citizens on a local level.
These programs include social benefits, healthcare, education, and local construction, among others.
Filner explained that not only were local programs to be cut, but earmarks-money that the congressman uses on his district-would no longer be available.
“This will mean less road and city improvement projects,” he said .
As an example, when the Brawley Bypass construction was at the verge of halting for an indefinite period of time, Congressman Filner said he  was able to fight for the money to keep it going.
Filner addressed many solutions to the problems.  “The cities must communicate with Washington and fight for what they need,” Filner told attending city officials.  He suggested ideas such as creating a group of border cities to send to Washington to lobby for more funding.
Filner explained that with all of the problems with communication between the city and federal level, local leaders lobbying in Washington would be the best solution.
“We are struggling for the soul of America,” the Congressman said as he finished off his lecture.  Filner then went on to answer questions that the audience had regarding different issues including oil companies involvement with the government and party issues that stop key decisions from being made.
Filner had also said that he might run for mayor of San Diego in 2012.  “This could mean good things for the Imperial Valley,” noted Filner.  “I care about this district and will make sure that if I win, communication between the Imperial Valley and San Diego will become a key issue, which could mean more commerce and jobs coming here to the Valley in the near future.”


By Chris Furguson
On May 5th, in La Quinta, Gordon Gaste, the Brawley City Planning Director, accepted an award from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).  The Award, known as the Compass Blueprint Excellence Award for Visionary Planning for Livability, praises Brawley’s Planning Department for their Downtown Specific Plan.
“I think we were really impressed with the comprehensiveness of their plan,” said S. Gail Goldberg, a former planning director for Los Angeles and San Diego.
The Downtown Specific Plan calls for owners of currently vacant lots and buildings to repurpose their properties for mixed use, residential and other purposes.  The Plan will also create open spaces for breezeways and re-route traffic on the former highway route.
A video discussing the plan is available on the awards’ website:
The Plan came to fruition due to a special grant from SCAG.  A pair of meetings, involving walkthroughs of the area itself and general fact gathering sessions, were held in 2010.
“It was a type of plan that, if you look and if it gets implemented,” said Renata Simirl, the Managing Director, Public Institutions Group with Jones Lang LaSalle, “that would be a place I’d want to live.”
The next step in implementing the Plan comes at the next Planning Commission meeting, where Gaste will recommend that the environmental documents be forwarded for council approval in June.
“Hopefully, we can make it happen,” said Mayor Don Campbell.

Brawley Public Library Close To Opening Day

The Brawley Public Library, which has been undergoing renovation over the past few months, is set to reopen on June 14th, with a special party to take place June 10th.
“That day [June 14th] is also the start of our summer reading program,” said Brawley Librarian Marjo Mello at a recent City Council meeting.
The Public Library facility has had improvements made on carpet, the roof and other areas.  Major work on the building was finished near the beginning of May.
The library has been open at their auxilliary facility at the Del Rio Adult Education center while the main branch has had work done.
Currently, the library staff is working on restocking shelves and replacing office furniture.
“It’s quite extraordinary that my office chair was the last thing taken from library and the first thing put back,” said Mello.


Luke Phillips
Holtville City Manager Laura Fischer wants to clear up some confusion regarding public meetings after she says some residents complained that she gave them false information about discussion of the city’s improvements to Mack Park.
Fischer says that some people were under the impression that she had advised them against attending a May 2 City Council Meeting because the park wasn’t going to be discussed, but now Fischer says she only told people that there wouldn’t be any action on the Mack Park project at the meeting.
“What I was trying to say was council isn’t going to be making a decision at the next meeting, not that they shouldn’t go and express their opinion, but that a decision wasn’t going to be made,” Fischer said. “Any time there’s a public meeting they are very welcome to come and give their opinion on Mack Park.”
The park was included as a discussion only item on the council’s Redevelopment Agency agenda, but there was no action taken because park plans are still being reviewed.
“People need to look under the RDA agenda,” Fischer said. “It’s usually the last item because it’s information only. It’s usually way down on the agenda, but it’s been on for discussion for months and it’s on again.”
Fischer says the Planning Commission has finished their review of plans for the park and are set to present their findings and their recommendation to the city council at their next meeting on May 23.
Fischer urges anyone interested in the project to attend the meeting.
“There’s going to be a lot more information on that project,” she said. “It’s an important project and I want to let every body have their say.”
Fischer says discussion on Mack Park has already been set for the council’s June 23 meeting as well.
“Anybody who has comments is welcome to come and speak,” Fischer said.


Saturday, May 21st from 8 a.m. until noon will be the Grand Opening of the Turning Point Thrift Store.  Located at the Turning Point Life Center on Cedar Avenue, this little cove of treasures in Room #6 will include clothing for all sizes and ages, home décor, artificial flowers and vases, holiday decorations, toys, and so much more.  The thrift store will be open on Saturdays from 8-noon and will have different merchandise each week.  All proceeds from the store will go towards the Turning Point Men’s Home expenses.


The Brawley Chamber of Commerce has opened applications for the upcoming 2011 Brawley Cattle Call Queen & Teen Queen Competition.
The contest will take place October 14th & 15th, 2011. The Horsemanship Competition will take place on October 14th, followed by Personal Interviews, Pageant Competition and Coronation Ceremony on October 15th.
Applications are available for pick up at the Brawley Chamber of Commerce, 204 S. Imperial Ave., Brawley, CA. To download the application online, please visit

Basic Eligibility Requirements

2011 Brawley Cattle Call Queen Young ladies who reach the age of 16 before October 1st, 2011, and do not reach the age of 22 before October 1st, 2011 are eligible to run for the 2011 Brawley Cattle Call Queen Contest.

2011 Brawley Cattle Call Teen Queen Young ladies who reach the age of 13 before October 1st, 2011, and do not reach the age of 16 before October 1st, 2011 are eligible to run for the 2011 Brawley Cattle Call Teen Queen Contest.

All contestants must be an Imperial County resident.

Applications must be turned into the Brawley Chamber of Commerce on or before 12:00p.m. Friday, August 26, 2011.
For more information or questions, please contact the Brawley Chamber of Commerce at 760-344-3160 or e-mail

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