From the monthly archives: July 2011

People Are Angry Again; Give Local Councilors A Break, Please

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY we were writing about the overuse of the phrase “people are angry” by the news media.
Unfortunately, one year later people are still angry and they are upset with their elected leaders in a manner which has not been seen in this country in a long time.
Instead of being a converging of ideas of elected representatives brought together by  the people to decide the course of the country and the states, you have a contest of wills and ideology which is gripping politicians at every level and tearing the very fabric of the country apart.
It’s no longer regarded as good party etiquette to  disagree, but look for ways to compromise. It’s now a matter of whose the stronger and the public be damned.
It actually started in California with Arnold Schwarzenengger demanding budget changes that have crippled education in the state. It now has taken in two legislatures in two states that have been forced to shut down their operations – Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Now the federal government stands on the  brink of shutting down its massive services because a non-descript politician from a few years ago and a president who won’t budge want to  play “king of the hill.” In this case it’s Capitol Hill.
It’s time to stop playing games and get something done that actually benefits all the people, not just a handful of elitists who aren’t going to hire anybody no matter how big of a  tax break they get.
We hope people will keep their heads and vote out all those people who are at the heart of this disheartening situation. They all should stop acting like babies and start acting like adults.
THE SAME COULD BE SAID FOR SOME LOCAL situations where people from the public have decided to participate in name calling and accusations that aren’t true. Venting ones spleen on elected officials is not a good way to get anything accomplished, especially when those people are supposedly your friends and neighbors.
It’s no wonder that nobody wants to take on the challenged of local government when you know you are going to be held up to scorn at every turn. There is always somebody who claims to speak “for the people.”
As we have said in this space before, we wonder who those people are they supposedly speak for. They don’t come forward and identify themselves and their “leaders” never run for public office.
They just complain and create problems to solve “for the people.”
What they are actually saying is  they don’t have any solutions, but we can make as much noise as we possibly can and maybe somebody will do something about what I want. The public be damned.
It’s easier to stand on the sidelines and heckle the decisions makers than it is to try to come up with solutions to supposed problems.
Such people should be given the boot out the door on the spot. They are minor little attention-getters who can only feel important when they are messing things up for others.
We’ve seen dozens of these types of people come and go. None of them ever last long. And few try to make decisions themselves. When they do, it’s usually a lot worse than anything the regulars could come up with.
We hope such outrageous behavior will come to a halt one of these days and  the art of the compromise, or the deal, returns to public meetings. That will take listening and cooperation. COMIC-CON IS A PHENOMENON that has spread from San Diego across the the country and around the world.
It is an incredible show that brings together people who want to act crazy and forget their troubles for a few days.
They  get to bask in the glow of super heroes, meet celebrities, dress up in funny costumes and generally have a good time.
IMPERIAL VALLEY IS NOT IMMUNE TO this phenomenon, nor is Holtville.
Local artist Dave Garcia was on hand as usual. And a comic book project from the Imperial County Office of education also took advantage of the show.
You can read all about both in Reporter Chris Furguson’s accounts of his experiences at the convention.
It’s one way locals can further their knowledge, even if it doesn’t seem like it on the surface. And it can be used to  make learning a positive and uplifting experience. Kids get to draw and put their thoughts on paper. What more could you ask for?


Jim Shinn published his second book Faith and Loving on the Way to Heaven and it is now available at local bookstores. Mr. Shinn is a clinical social worker and director of the Son-Shine Counseling Center in El Centro. The book is a self-help sort for readers who want to increase their faith, improve their mental health or hear about stories related to Shinn’s recovery from dependency on drugs and alcohol. Proceeds from the book go to the Mary Shinn Scholarship for teen parents, one of the many financial aid resources available through the IVC Educational Foundation. Every year, pregnant or parenting seniors with a GPA of 2.8 or better, can apply for the $500 scholarships to further their education. The book is dedicated to Mr. Shinn’s mother, Mary Shinn, who was an award-winning health educator and volunteer here in Imperial County. For information about the book or the scholarships, readers can call 353-5059, email or visit the counseling center website at


Imperial Valley, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Andrade and Calexico downtown ports of entry arrested three U.S. citizens on Monday, July 25, for allegedly attempting to smuggle more than $102,000 worth of narcotics from entering the United States.

Narcotics and vehicle intercepted, seized by CBP
Narcotics and vehicle intercepted, seized by CBP

The first seizure occurred at about 11:30 a.m. at the Andrade port of entry when a 37-year-old female U.S. citizen driving a white 2001 Ford F-150 Pick-up truck was referred for further examination.

During the secondary examination, a canine screening of the vehicle led officers to the discovery of 36 wrapped packages of marijuana concealed inside the spare tire. The weight of the narcotic was 63 pounds with an estimated street value of $102,530.

The driver, a resident of Yuma, Arizona, was arrested and turned over to Homeland Security Investigators (HSI) for further processing.

The second seizure occurred six hours later at the Calexico downtown port of entry when a CBP officer conducting inspections of vehicles and travelers referred two male U.S. citizens in a blue 2002 Ford Mustang for further examination.

An intensive inspection that included a canine screening led officers to the discovery of six wrapped packages of methamphetamines concealed inside a non-factory compartment in the spoiler that was affixed on top of the vehicle’s trunk. The weight of the narcotic was seven pounds with an estimated street value of $77,000.

The driver and passenger, 23-year-old and 22-year-old male residents of Holtville, California, were arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and turned over to the custody of HSI for further processing.

Violators were transported to the Imperial County Jail where they currently await arraignment.

In both incidents, CBP seized the narcotics and vehicles.


By Mario Conde

The County Board of Supervisors accepted the first draft of their re-districting map for the next ten years.

The County heard a presentation by County CEO Ralph Cordova in regards to the process made to re-draw the County Districts. The Imperial County Board of Supervisors established a five member Redistricting Advisory Committee and was given the responsibility of developing realignments proposals to make each districts as “nearly equal in population as may be” Cordova Said. The RAC provided three proposed district changes for consideration by the Board of Supervisors. The RAC has spent the past several months hosting publicly noticed community workshops in each supervisorial district seeking the public’s input as the RAC. These workshops were held in Calexico, El Centro, Imperial, Holtville, and Brawley.

Cordova said only few members of the public attended the meetings and several of the meetings had no public attendance. No member of the public has specifically objected to any of the maps being considered. The only concerns expressed were from several residents who asked that Heber remain in District 2. However, Cordova said, none of the proposed maps call for Heber to be moved away from District 2. The RAC made attempts to determine if El Centro could be reduced to two Supervisors instead of three; however, the RAC was unable to find a workable map that could accomplish this. In addition, the RAC explored putting Brawley in one district; however, such a move caused a lack of contiguity in the district boundaries. Early in the redistricting process the RAC decided to exclude the population of State Prison inmates housed in Calipatria and Centinela State Prison.

District1 could have the big changes since it will pick-up the Andrade Port-of-Entry and thus consolidating the County’s three port of entries into one district. District one could also take over Winterhaeven and lose the northeastern portion of Calexico which includes the area of Cole, Bowker, and Turquoise. The north part of Calexico will move into District 5 which is represented by Ray Castillo. The other option is to have the west side of Calexico move to District 2 which is represented by Jack Terrazas.

RAC Chairman Roberto Moreno thanked the Board and County staff for their help and said the proposed maps are fair since every district has incorporated and unincorporated areas for them to represent. The Board accepted the proposed maps and now the next step is for them to hold a public hearing and then adopt the new district maps. The adoption of the maps could happen in the next two weeks.


(Editor’s note – Brawley correspondent Chris Furguson spent four days tracking down celebrities and chasing costumed crusaders at Comic-Con in San Diego as part of our summer recreation series. We bring you  one of his stories here.)
By Chris Furguson
In 2011, Hollywood movie studios at Comic-Con had taken over some of the prime real estate in and around the convention.
Films like “The Expendables,” “Tron” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” along with their stars, brought out thousands of excited and, eventually, disappointed fans to the convention as they waited in lines for hours only to lose the chance to see their favorite stars.
Other films, unable to get inside, chose to take over parts of the surrounding area to get the needed promotion.   Attendees of the Sundance Film Festival have compared the atmosphere outside the convention over the past few years to the “Fringe” festivals outside of Sundance.
Despite the lack of major Hollywood presence outside of Twilight, there was plenty of promotion going on in and around the convention.
For some films, Comic-Con is the last chance for major promotion before release.  Movies like “Bellflower,” which has been described as a combination of Mad Max and John Hughes, has received major attention from film festivals, including the aforementioned Sundance.
“Bellflower” plot involves a love story, flamethrowers and a “Road Warrior/Mad Max” inspired car called the “Mother Medusa.”  “Bellflower” stars Tyler Dawson, Jessie Wiseman, Evan Glodell (who wrote and directed the film) and Rebekah Brandes, along with producer Vincent Grashaw, spent time promoting the film before its August 5 release.
“I think the film has received 4 bad reviews out of 100 reviews,” said Glodell when asked about how the critics have treated his film, which he has worked on since 2001 after a breakup.  “And to think that we couldn’t even get people to watch until Sundance.”
Actresses Wiseman and Brandes said that with the buzz surrounding the film getting auditions has been easier than ever.  “Before Sundance, we wouldn’t get a second look,” said Brandes.  “After the film, we’d audition doing the same thing and get called back, with people saying that we were doing something different.”
For other films, Comic-Con is the perfect place to begin generating interest in the project.  William Shatner, who stars in the upcoming documentary “The Captains,” spoke in front of Star Trek fans inside the convention and in front of the press to help promote his film.
At the press conference, Shatner was joined by Scott Bakula [Enterprise, Quantum Leap] and Avery Brooks [Deep Space Nine, Spencer For Hire].  Also interviewed for the documentary were Kate Mulgrew [Voyager], Patrick Stewart [Star Trek: The Next Generation] and Chris Pine [2009 Star Trek film]
Shatner also spoke about the common traits of the Star Trek captains, like discipline, theater, drive, sorrow, and pain.  He also talked about a US military captain that based his leadership style on Shatner’s portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk.
The film opens in theaters in October and is currently available on Epix Network.
In addition to those films, the anachronistic western “Cowboys and Aliens” had their world premiere outside the convention center on Saturday evening at the San Diego Civic Center.  Director Jon Favreau, who had to bring star Harrison Ford in handcuffs to last year’s convention, needed no extra appliances to bring his star to San Diego.  In fact, Ford brought his wife, actress Callista Flockhart, to the premiere.
The premiere was the first such event surrounding Comic-Con in the event’s 42 year history, something Favreau said was important to him as the buzz surrounding the project began at last year’s convention.

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