From the monthly archives: June 2011

By Mario Conde
The County Board of Supervisors started budget discussions to create a balance budget for the fiscal year 2011-2012.
In a report given by County CEO Ralph Cordova, he said that the proposed budget for the County of Imperial has been difficult to say the least since the State has yet to pass a budget of their own. Cordova said that they are presenting a budget that recommends a lot of adjustments what will bring a balanced budget.
Cordova acknowledged the hard work not only by CEO staff but also the department heads and their fiscal staff.
The overall County proposed budget assumes anticipated general fund revenues of $199,767,423 with an estimated fund balanced carry over from FY 2010-2011 of $10,000,000 for a total of $209,767,423. Proposed general fund expenditures are anticipated to be $216,025, 967. In order to balance, Cordova proposes asked the board to consider and approve the recommendation they are proposing.
The proposed adjustments and savings they are proposing is to hold all merit salaries for 2011-2012 starting July 1st that will have savings for $726,626. Other recommendations include are to not filling budgeted vacancies and will have a savings of $2,423,107. Cordova said that if the positions are needed, they will see it on a case by case basis. The County will also see the reduction of office expenses, special departments expenses, specialized services, and out of County travel by 10%.
The eight recommendations made by executive office would save the County $6, 258,544 for next fiscal year. The proposed budget reflects 2, 127 positions allocations with 70 vacant positions and 234.5 vacant unfunded positions.
“It is important to realize that by accepting our recommendations the proposed budget is balanced, the State of California has yet to adopt a budget and thus the impacts are unknown, but it will very likely require additional budget adjustments.” Cordova said.
The budget hearing will start on August 2nd and the final budget could be approved by August 17.

 

By Luke Phillips
Presiding over her final Holtville City Council meeting Monday, out-going city manager Laura Fischer introduced her replacement, who will be starting next week, as well as the city’s new finance manager who will be replacing Rosa Ramirez.
Alex Meyerhoff, of Palm Desert, will be taking up the city manager post and Holtville Native Nick Wells will be the new finance manager.
Meyerhoff has extensive experience in community planning and economic development and most recently worked as an Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Real Estate Development at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Calif.
Before that, Meyerhoff worked as a Director of Planning and Development Services at Escalante Architects in Palm Springs, the Principal of Meyerhoff Development, the Director of Community Development Director for the City of Twentynine Palms, a Principal Planner for the City of Palm Springs, an Associate Planner for the city of Coachella, a Planner for the City of Indio, a Planning Associate at Applied Management & Planning Group in Los Angeles and an intern for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Myerhoff graduated from Palm Springs High School before attending College of the Desert and then the University of California, Los Angeles.
According to his profile on the Web site Linkedin.com,  Myerhoff is “highly skilled at developing environmentally sustainable solutions for complex development projects through both project design and mitigation strategies,” and his specialties include redevelopment, urban policy planning, environmental planning, sustainable development, government affairs, land use planning, entitlement and building permit processing, economic development and redevelopment, public finance, urban planning, urban design and infrastructure development.
The city’s new finance manager, Nick Wells, was born and raised in Holtville before moving to attend the University of California in Fresno. Wells says he worked as a controller for various firms for the past 25 years before moving back to the Imperial Valley five years ago to take a job with an El Centro planning firm, but he says this will be his first foray into public government.
Meyerhoff will take over as city manager this coming Tuesday, July 5, and Wells will take up his post the following week on July 11. Holtville Fire Chief Alex Silva has been appointed interim city manager until Meyerhoff takes over.
Holtville city treasurer Pete Mellinger welcomed the new city employees, joking that it was good to see some males joining the almost exclusively female city staff.
“It’s good to see the men are taking back the building,” he said. “I was the only man left.”

 

By Luke Phillips
Laura Fischer attended her final Holtville city council meeting as City Manager Monday after announcing her resignation nearly three months ago. The short meeting Monday was filled with kind words for Fischer from many city officials.
“We just want to thank you for your years of service and all your hard work,” said Mayor David Bradshaw.
Fischer thanked the city staff for hosting a party in her honor which took place over the weekend.
“I really appreciate the staff putting that on for me,” she said. “It was a lot of fun and it was also really enlightening. I found out I was a task-master,” Fischer joked.
Fischer went on to say that she enjoyed her five years on the job and felt blessed to work in Holtville.
“I just want to thank all of you,” she said. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working here. I’m blessed and honored to have worked for the City of Holtville.”
City Attorney Steve Walker, who has been on the job for the past 18 years, says that Fischer is the finest city manager he’s ever worked with.
“I can’t say enough good things about her,” Walker said. “She makes us all better. I’m sure we can expect good things from Laura Fischer in the future.”
City Engineer Jack Holt echoed Walker’s sentiments, saying “Wherever she goes and whatever she does she’ll be successful.”
District 5 Supervisor Ray Castillo also stopped by to wish Fischer good luck and praised her job performance.
“I just came to wish Laura the best,” he said. “Holtville certainly looks a lot better than it did five years ago when she started,”
At the end of the meeting Fischer once again thanked everyone for their kind words.
“I found out a few things about myself,” she said. “It’s been fun.”

 

4th July weekend: Hubbard Dianetics Seminars are held across major cities of the United

States: One man’s 30-year-battle against the ordeal of losing his only sister in a dreadful accident was finally ended by applying techniques taught at weekly seminars on L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.

Every minute of every day, 100 people around the world die, whether from malnutrition, accidents, disease or plain old age. Each death leaves a mark on someone, and though the phrase “time heals” is thought to be an answer, L. Ron Hubbard in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, says that it only buries the hurt; and this hurt knocks the life out of people…that is, until Dianetics counseling brings them back to life. Due to the popularity, the seminars teaching the techniques are now a weekly occurrence at Hubbard Dianetics Foundations nationally.

Few people have not been touched by the loss of a loved one, and the sense of depression and hopelessness can be great. Such a person was Sean McLaughlin. One day, when he was ten, he lost his sister in a tragic and

wasteful accident when she was pregnant with her first child. That was 30 years ago, and what had been a Brady Bunch life for Sean and the rest of his family, quickly spiraled out of control. For the next two years, Sean struggled not only with his own loss, but also his mother’s. Sean fell ill regularly, missed school, and

turned to drugs to deaden the pain. From pot he went to pills and then acid; then there was rehab and methamphetamines.

When he reached 26, he went back and forth between prescription and street drugs. One day, living in a rundown area of downtown Long Beach, a zombie who felt no emotion when friends died, he stopped eating and drinking for nine days and, figuring he was going to die, called people to say his farewells. His girlfriend called the medics and while on I.V. support in the hospital, he made the decision to quit drugs, starting with the sleeping pills he was being offered by the nurses.

Later, and while off drugs, Sean read Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health and came across a passage where L. Ron Hubbard talked about how the life goes out of a person when he loses someone near and dear, and how this life force remains buried afterwards, influencing the individual without him even knowing it.

“I read that and it hit me like a ton of bricks, recalls Sean. “I had all this life- energy trapped from losing my sister. Following the procedures of Dianetics counseling, I went back in my mind to the time when I first heard that my sister was dead, and moved forward through the following days that had been so painful, through the time of the funeral. I went through it again and again, each time more of it coming back to me, until I was able to see and hear it all again, all the different emotions, the deep, deep sense of loss. There was so much information and upset trapped in that memory, and it had influenced me in many ways since then. I realized that my dislike of wearing smart clothes came from having to wear them to the funeral, and this had even influenced my profession: I chose one where I could wear what I wanted—hairdressing. I would miss weddings of friends for the same reason. And I had not been able to listen to anyone talking about death: I used to become really angry with them. That counseling session took just a couple of hours and not only did I feel a huge weight lift off my shoulders, but the counseling also vitally changed my life.

“Shortly after I visited my parents… They have pictures of my sister all over the house, and usually, when I go there, I feel so drained of energy, so dead, that I go to sleep almost immediately. This time, I walked all around the house looking at all the pictures and had no bad reaction whatsoever. Whenever I hear of someone dying, I do not freak out, and I have not had problems with dressing smartly since either. After thirty years, I finally have a little more of me back.”

For more information on Dianetics visit www.Dianetics.org

 

I congratulate Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature for their success in passing California’s budget bill. However, I join California law enforcement leaders in expressing serious concerns over the passage yesterday of $71 million in cuts to the Division of Law Enforcement budget. These budget cuts handcuff the state Department of Justice’s ability to fight gang violence and disrupt the flow of drugs, guns and human beings across our border.

The cuts will likely eliminate 55 state-led task forces that coordinate the response to our growing gang problem. The Bureau of Investigation and Intelligence and Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement will also likely be eliminated, as will the investigative capacities of the newly-formed Mortgage Fraud Strike Force. All told, several hundred agents, investigators, and other law enforcement positions will be lost, as will the ability to prosecute cases like these:

– In the Central Valley, a DOJ-led task force recently helped arrest 101 gang leaders and members who were terrorizing two counties.
– In the Bay Area, agents arrested another 30 gang members – and seized 100 plus pounds of methamphetamine destined for our streets.
– In San Diego, they arrested three suspects sent from Mexico on a murder-for-hire contract targeting an entire family.
– In Los Angeles, two task forces slated for elimination – LA IMPACT and LA CLEAR – have played a vital role in the policing of gangs.
– Throughout the state, the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force has opened investigations into criminal and consumer fraud. These investigations range from foreclosure scams affecting large numbers of victims to multi-million dollar corporate fraud.

Public safety is a basic right of all people and a core function of our government. For that reason, I call on Governor Brown and the Legislature to immediately restore adequate funding to California law enforcement.

The following organizations and individuals have joined me in expressing their grave concerns ( http://oag.ca.gov/news/press_release?id=2525):

California Police Chiefs Association
California District Attorneys Association
California Narcotic Officers’ Association
San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis
Imperial County District Attorney Gilbert G. Otero
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck
East Palo Alto Police Chief Ronald L. Davis
Arvin Police Chief Tommy W. Tunson

Law enforcement leaders from across the state of California today criticized the deep cuts to the Department of Justice’s law enforcement budget that specifically targeted anti-gang and anti-drug programs.

The general fund reduction proposals would reduce by $71 million the budget of the Division of Law Enforcement. This could lead to the loss of several hundred special agents and other personnel, the dissolution of 55 statewide task forces – many of which coordinate responses to transnational gang and drug crime – and the loss of investigators on the state’s new Mortgage Fraud Strike Force. As a result, two entire law enforcement bureaus could be shut down, the Bureau of Investigations and Intelligence (BII) and the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE).

California Narcotic Officers’ Association President James C. Hodges:
“Yesterday’s budget agreement contained a bad surprise – the budget decimated the General Fund resources available to Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office for law enforcement purposes. The impact of these cuts will be the shutting down of all BNE task forces, as well as their offices. Each of you may recall that these same cuts were proposed in 2009 during the Schwarzenegger administration. Fortunately, the Legislature wisely rejected those proposed cuts. The reasons for rejecting those cuts in 2009 are as valid today as they were in 2009. In fact, they have become accentuated over the past two years. It is fact that the Mexican drug cartels have dramatically increased their profile in California. Additionally, the significant challenges local law enforcement will face in 2011 with public safety realignment is further reason to restore the BNE task forces. The fact is that the loss of BNE task forces will force local law enforcement – who will tell you frankly that they lack the expertise to deal with these sophisticated, multi-national criminal enterprises – to put scarce resources to fill the void left by the loss of BNE task forces. This is a diversion of local law enforcement resources that will unacceptably undermine their efforts to make public safety realignment work.”

Irvine Police Chief and California Police Chiefs Association President Dave Maggard:
“There were strong imperatives that existed in 2009 and still exist today for the restoration of the BNE (Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement) and still exist today for restoration of the BNE task forces: the Mexican drug cartels are steadily moving their operations into the California; drug cartel violence is already spilling over into the United States; the Sinaloa Cartel is becoming firmly entrenched in California; FBI sources with whom we have spoken believe that a majority of the 200 reported abductions in California are attributable to Mexican drug cartels enforcing their business arrangements; and prosecutors are noting a disturbing diversification of the cartels where they are also engaged in human sex trafficking, as well as their more “traditional” methamphetamine trafficking.Local law enforcement relies on the ability of the BNE task force to combat the increasingly sophisticated crime families involved in drug trafficking and in human trafficking.”

California District Attorneys Association President Gregory D. Totten:
“If this cut is allowed to stand, numerous entities within DOJ will be devastated. Though funded by the Restitution Fund, the Witness Relocation and Protection Program is staffed by DOJ personnel. A reduction in services within this program jeopardizes the ability of law enforcement to protect and relocate vital witnesses. Of additional concern is the potential negative impact on forensic services provided by DOJ. State forensic labs assist counties across the state with blood-alcohol and drug testing that is crucial to all types of prosecutions. This cut portends access to justice issues inasmuch as the availability of these services will become less uniform, specifically in counties that do not have local labs.”

Imperial County District Attorney Gilbert G. Otero:
“As a district attorney in a county bordering Mexico, I would like to take this opportunity to urge you to oppose the Governor’s proposal to cut $71 million from the Department of Justice, Division of Law Enforcement’s budget. Such a move would have a major negative impact on public safety in my county, in the state and across the entire nation.”

San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis:
“The purpose of this letter is to share my concern with the proposed cuts to the California Department of Justice, Division of Law Enforcement (DLE). As the elected District Attorney of San Diego County, my office investigates and prosecutes crime along California’s border on a daily basis. It is through collaboration with the Division of Law Enforcement that we are able to see results from our efforts to stem the tide of violent crime crossing into California.The work of the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement and the Bureau of Intelligence and Investigations is a key piece to a statewide strategy to prevent gang crime.I understand the challenges in balancing the state’s budget, but urge you to keep in mind that most local law enforcement agencies are taking severe staffing reductions, especially the smaller agencies, and we will need the assistance of DLE more than ever.”

East Palo Alto Police Chief Ronald L. Davis:
“The purpose of this letter is to share my concern with the proposed cuts to the California Department of Justice, Division of Law Enforcement (DLE). On June 5, 2011, two young men fired over a dozen bullets into a vehicle containing an innocent family of four leaving a baby shower in East Palo Alto. The heinous nature of this shooting shocked the entire Bay Area and underscores the real and serious danger gangs pose to our communities. Our response to this tragedy must extend beyond the arrest of the two killers: it must include holding the Nortenos and Surenos accountable as well. In order to do this, I need the assistance of DLE; otherwise, we are battling these gangs with 39 officers.”

In a statement released last night, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said:
“The proposed $71 million cut will cripple California’s statewide anti-gang and drug trafficking operations. Our Division of Law Enforcement leads 50 task forces across the state that target criminal gangs and drug trafficking organizations. Earlier this month, one of these task forces took down 101 leaders and members of two transnational gangs terrorizing California’s Central Valley. Last month, we announced the seizure of over 100 lbs of methamphetamine and the arrests of more than 30 gang members in the Bay Area. These cuts will eliminate many, if not all, of these task forces and jeopardize many ongoing investigations.”

 
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