From the daily archives: Wednesday, August 17, 2011

By Mario Conde
The County Board of Supervisors approved this past Tuesday the new Supervisorial District lines for the next 10 years.
In a vote 3-2, Supervisors approved plan four that calls for Calexico to be divided for the first time ever. Supervisor District1 John Renison had the biggest changes and his district  will pick-up the Andrade Port-of-Entry. Such a move will consolidate the County’s three ports of entry into one district. District one will now take in  Winterhaven 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.
Supervisor Renison went on the record saying that he would oppose splitting Calexico in half and giving the west side of Calexico to district two since most of the people of Calexico  are against splitting the city.
Supervisor Ray Castillo said that Calexico will be the biggest city in the Imperial Valley when the next census comes out  and the area that District 5 will take over from Calexico will see a big housing and commercial boom in the next year.   Renison said that he had no problem with District 5 taking the north portion of Calexico and said it will be beneficial, since there will now be two Supervisors working for Calexico.
Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Romero also asked the County Board not to take away the west side of Calexico since the city needs to be kept as one. Wyatt responded that at the present population  Calexico has, it needs to be divided and because Calexico is growing at such  a fast rate.
After some deliberation from the board, they voted 3-2 to adopt plan four and keep all of Calexico in District 1 and add winter heaven to the district.
The board approved an item from the Sheriff’s department to move forward in the competing process for new jail funding from Assembly bill 900. This bill would allow small counties in California to compete for $33 million dollars to build a new jail. According to Loera, Imperial County has a good chance to get this funding and it’s a viable candidate. Loera mentioned that the County does not have a needs assessment, scope of project, or design of the jail. That means that the County will hire Vanir Construction Management, Inc. for the preparation for work, RFP, State timelines, etc.  The County will work for this group since they have been successful bringing these types of funding to other counties.
The Board also approved budget allocation funding from Federal Asset Forfeiture in the amount of $35,000 for the emergency sole source capital purchase of a 911 recording system since right now the Sheriff Department does not have the equipment to record 911 calls. The new equipment will be next generation and will replace the existing equipment.


By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council approved the issuance of Bonds to assist in the forming of the acquisition, construction, and development of a 54 unit multifamily housing residential facility that will be known as De Anza II.

Chelsea Investment Corporation requested that the California Municipal Financial Authority to serve as the municipal issuer of the bonds in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $5,000,000 of tax-exempt revenue bonds. The proceed of the bonds will be used to assist to the construction of the De Anza II that will be located at the parking lot of the De Anza Hotel.

The De Anza hotel currently provides 94 studio apartments for low-income seniors in Calexico.  Chelsea has spent more than a year planning to develop 54 additional studio apartments to be built on the current parking lot of the De Anza Hotel. An unobtrusive above-ground parking structure will be built on a portion of existing parking lot to provide parking for both the existing and new apartment units. This will mean payment of Development Impact Frees to the City of Calexico as well as new jobs for the community and 54 units of much needed very low income senior affordable housing.

Chelsea has also obtained an agreement from the HCD to release its lien on the De Anza Hotel parking lot to facilitate development of De Anza II. Chelsea successfully applied for an award of $256,000 from the affordable housing program. Chelsea the preliminary architectural plans have been completed by Hedenkamp & Associates and the financial projections has been developed for a competitive 9% tax-credit application. Chelsea has also agreed to donate land for De Anza II, eliminating what is typically one of the greatest costs in affordable housing development.

The Chelsea Corporation has operated the Historic De Anza Hotel since 1998 and serves as senior citizens apartments. The De Anza II will have the same architectural design as the original De Anza Hotel. The three story building will include a community room, laundry room, patio, and elevator. The studio apartments will be approximately 300 square feet and include individual bathrooms and efficiency kitchens.

In order to facilitate the De Anza II apartment construction, Chelsea has obtained an amendment to the original De Anza Hotel Conditional Use permit to allow development of an additional 54 units. They have also obtained an agreement from the HCD to release its lien on the De Anza Hotel parking lot to facilitate development of De Anza II.

A representative from Chelsea Corporation told the Council that the construction of the De Anza II could be completed in less than a year. City Manager Oscar Rodriquez said that this project has been a long time coming and will benefit the senior citizens of Calexico.


By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council decided to continue the discussion of Medical Marijuana to get more information about this issue.

The council decided to let the Medical Marijuana moratorium expire and rely on the existing zoning code which does not specifically allow medical marijuana facilities to locate in the City. This would effectively amount to a prohibition on dispensaries and the City could face the same risks of litigation that would exist if the City adopted a ban, Police Chief Neujahr said.

In May of 2010, the City Council approved an interim moratorium ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries in the City. The moratorium was placed in order for the city to investigate the liability issues surrounding the permitting of marijuana dispensaries. This required following the progress of proposition 19 in the recent election as well pending court cases involving other cities who have either permitted or banned marijuana dispensaries. The Council has extended the moratorium, which is set to expire in May 2012. The council asked that this issue be brought back to them in a timely manner in order to make final decision.

Recently, the City of El Centro has decided to authorize and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in their City, taking different approach form cities like Brawley and Imperial, both of which have banned them. In 2010, the cities of Brawley, Imperial, and Holtville each elected to ban Marijuana Dispensaries in their respective cities.

Neujahr said that if Council goes to adopt marijuna dispensaires then they will have to draft an ordinance to regulate these dispensaries. The Planning Commision will have to deliberate on this as well since they will be the once deciding on in which zoning areas will this be allowed. After some discussion, the Council opted to continue with the discussion and approved option three. Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Romero made the motion to approve option three but with the condition that there will be public hearings held to get input from the public.

Councilman John Moreno and Bill Hodge asked the chief of police to bring more data that tells if crime has gone up in places were marijuana dispensaries are allowed as well as the pros and cons of having dispensaries here in Calexico.


By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council took no action Tuesday night in regards to the Imperial Valley Assisted Living center proposed project located on Redevelopment property.

The Redevelopment Agency and IVAL entered into an Exclusive Right to Negotiate Agreement on May 5th 2009 for the possibility of developing a convalescent center to be located were the old National Guard Armory used to be. The Armory was closed in 2002 but was purchased by the Redevelopment Agency in order to create a recreation center. Funding for the recreation center stalled and IVAL made a bid to create a center for senior citizens.

Since 2009, the City has extended the contract with IVAL every six months in order to give the group more time to prepare their project. At Tuesday’s meeting, questions were raised if the council should continue to extend the agreement since nothing has been done in three years. Former Calexico Mayor Arturo Riosceo said that they have been meeting with several agencies such as Neighborhood House and are talking to the Housing of Urban Development (HUD) to assist them in the construction of the center. Rioseco said that they will not be affected by federal budget cuts since HUD has revolving funds and that will be the key to have this project come into fruition. Rioseco said that this project is done by local people and not by outside developers who have asked for redevelopment money and have left the city.

“We are confident that we can pull this off and get the money for this project. That’s why we didn’t ask the redevelopment agency for money to do this project.” Rioseco said. Mayor Pro Tem Romero said that there have been many six month extensions for IVAL. Romero said that it’s a good project but he would like to know when the City would see the project move forward. Tony Tirado said that there will be a group coming to Calexico very soon and will discuss funding for the project. Tirado emphasized that this is a needed project the Senior Citizens in Calexico.

During the meeting, Ben Horton Sr. and Daniel Chairez spoke about projects they have for the area and asked to be considered as well. Horton said he has a group that is ready to develop a military academy at the Calexico Armory. Daniel Chairez also spoke about a project that he is preparing that will create a REC Center and will have swimming pools. Chairez said that in that partnership The Boys & Girls Town and Youth for Christ are involved in the project. The Council gave direction to have both of them make a presentation at the next city council meeting.

The Council could not take any action on the IVAL proposal since it’s located on Redevelopment property and the State has ordered that no work or land transfer be made from RDA until the Supreme Court makes a final decision on the future of the agencies.


By Bob Hurst

Jim Thome hit his first home run 20 years ago as a young rookie third baseman with the Cleveland Indians. On Monday night, Thome, now a designated hitter for the Minnesota Twins, slugged his 600th homer to become just the eighth major league player to reach the exclusive club.

Going into the game at Detroit, Thome needed just two home runs to get to 600. He hit No. 599 in the sixth inning. Then in the seventh, he hit No. 600 in the seventh off left-handed reliever Daniel Schlereth, a three-run shot over the left field fence in a 9-6 win over the Tigers.

It was his 48th multi-homer game.

“Hitting home runs can be very difficult,” Thome said. “You sit in bed at night and think about how’s it going to be, how are you going to do this?

“It goes back to trying to slow yourself down and not being too antsy, too hyped up. When I got the first one tonight, though, I knew it was going to come quick. It’s just a great night.”

Thome’s 600th was only his 11th this season, far off his career average of 28.6 per season. But at 40, and in his 21st year, time and injuries have taken a toll. However, Thome still has a swing that is prodigious enough to make pitchers sweat.

The crowd at Comerica Park showed Thome respect with a standing ovation. Twins players rushed out of the dugout to greet Thome at home plate. Thome’s father Chuck, wife Andrea and children Lila and Landon were on the field to celebrate too.

A future Hall-of-Famer, all-around nice guy and someone who has shown great respect for the game, Thome deserved all of the attention.

StatsWatch: Jim Thome became the eighth player to hit 600 home runs this week. Here’s the list, with totals of active players through Monday:


  • Barry Bonds, 762
  • Hank Aaron, 755
  • Babe Ruth, 714
  • Willie Mays, 660
  • Ken Griffey Jr., 630
  • Alex Rodriguez, 626
  • Sammy Sosa, 609
  • Jim Thome, 600


Triple the fun: The Milwaukee Brewers turned the first triple play in the National League this season in their 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.

After the Dodgers Matt Kemp walked and Juan Rivera singled to put runners on first and second in the second inning at Milwaukee, the Brewers infield went to work.

On a ground ball hit by James Loney, second baseman Josh Wilson flipped the ball from his glove to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, who stepped on second and threw to first for two outs.

First baseman Prince Fielder then threw home to catcher George Kottaras, who tagged a sliding Kemp, who was attempting to score.

“You never really plan on those things happening,” Kottaras said. It was really amazing.”

It was Milwaukee’s sixth triple play in history and first in nearly two years.

Zambrano DQ’d: Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano has been placed on the disqualified list by the club after he cleaned out his locker and said he was retiring following a rough outing at Atlanta last week.

Zambrano, who is no stranger to emotional outbursts and controversy, allowed five home runs and was ejected for throwing at Chipper Jones in a 10-4 loss last Friday.

“I’m really disappointed,” Cubs manager Mike Quade said after the game. “His locker is empty. I don’t know where he’s at. He walked out on 24 guys that are battling their ass off for him. I don’t know where he’s gone or what he’s doing. I heard he has retired, or talking about retiring.


“I can’t have a guy walking out on 24 guys, that’s for damn sure.”


Zambrano reappeared this week, saying that he hasn’t retired. But the Cubs appear to have finally had enough of their volatile pitcher. The Cubs placed Zambrano on the 30-day disqualified list without pay for leaving the team.


“This was the most stringent penalty that our club could inflict without a release,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. “There’s not much worse than running out on your teammates in the middle of a ballgame.”


Zambrano’s other antics have included taunting an umpire, getting into a dugout fight with catcher Michael Barrett and engaging in a shouting match with Derrek Lee.


In June, Zambrano called the Cubs “embarrassing,” and a “Triple-A team.”


Zambrano likely won’t pitch for the Cubs again. But he’s owed nearly $23 million, $18 million next year.



Copyright © 2011  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.

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