From the daily archives: Wednesday, December 7, 2011

By Patricia A. Aguilar

It was a cold night at San Diego State University in Calexico, but not even the cold could keep people away from meeting author Victor Villaseñor.


Students, parents and other members of the community all gathered at SDSU-IV Library to listen, some for the first time, to author Victor Villaseñor speak. Best known for his New York Bestseller ‘Rain of Gold’, Villaseñor has penned many other great works that include his memoir ‘Burro Genius’ and the follow up to ‘Rain of Gold’ ‘Thirteen Senses’.  Recently his latest book ‘Lion Eyes’, that released this year, has already been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.


Listening to Villaseñor is an experience not to be missed.  Candid and down to earth, Villasenor spoke on several topics, ranging from the spiritual to his family history, as well as the experiences that lead him to start writing. Success didn’t happen overnight; working in construction for a living, it took him 16 years to write ‘Rain of Gold’ and 265 rejection letters before publication became a reality with his first book ‘Macho!’.  Yet writing didn’t come easily to Villaseñor, who before the age of 20 didn’t know how to read and later at the age of 44 learned he was dyslexic, finally explaining his life-long difficulty with reading and writing.   When asked by an audience member how he felt when he was officially diagnosed he stated “I cried a lot, because all of my life I always wondered if I was a fool.”


Following the Q&A session, Villaseñor signed books for audience members.

For many in attendance it was a dream come true, a chance to meet the author who had in some form or other, changed their lives. San Diego State University History professor Carlos Herrera spoke on how much Villaseñor’s works changed his life and gave him the courage to get through his higher education where he was one of the few Latinos at the university. “It’s difficult when you are sitting in a Latino Literature class and you are the only Latino there…you start to feel like the guinea pig…when things became difficult for me, I would take out Rain of Gold and it gave the strength to keep going.”


And Villaseñor continues to touch lives, as SDSU student Wesley Raphael stated the experience was “Refreshing…I learned to be more free with my thinking, not to restrict myself or others.” Wesley who had not ready any of Villaseñor’s books now plans to start with ‘Rain of Gold’.


PRESENTED BY PEPPERIDGE FARM Flavor Blasted Goldfish Crackers

On Saturday, November 5, 2011 the Calexico Recreation Department hosted a local competition at the De Anza Gym.  Local youngsters between the ages 7-12 had the opportunity to participate in this National skills program.  This program provides boys and girls, competing separately, a free opportunity to showcase their fitness through a dribbling, passing and shooting skills competition in the sport of basketball. 

The following participants won 1st PLACE honors in their respective age and gender groups:

Boys                      Name                                    Hometown

Age 7/8                                Gael Gonzalez                  Calexico

Age 9/10              Mathew J. Pina                 Calexico

Age 11/12            Joel M. Cuadras                Calexico


Girls                      Name                                    Hometown

Age 7/8                                Viviana M. Cuadras         Calexico

Age 9/10              Monique Carrasco           Calexico

Age 11/12            No winner


Three of these local champions advanced to the 2011 Los Angeles Lakers NBA Fit/WNBA Fit Dribble, Dish & Swish Regional Competition, held at the Lafayette Park Recreation Center in Los Angeles on December 27th, 2011 from 2:30-4:00 p.m.  

GOOD LUCK! to Gael, Mathew and Monique in your advancement.

Gael Gonzalez                  7/8 Boys Division

Mathew Pina                     9/10 Boys Division

MoniqueCarrasco            9/10 Girls Division


By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council adopted a resolution requesting Planning Commission to report on and make recommendation on a proposed Ordinance Banning Medical Marijuana Distribution Facilities.

At its May 18, 2010 meeting, the City Council passed Ordinance 1116A a moratorium on medical marijuana distribution facilities in the City of Calexico. This Council has subsequently adopted ordinances 1116 and 1130 extending this moratorium. The moratorium is set to expire in Mid-May of 2012. The purpose for passing a moratorium was to study what approach the City wished to take in addressing medical marijuana dispensaries.

On August 16, Council gave direction to staff to prepare and ordinance prohibiting dispensaries for Council direction.

Since the August 16 meeting, there have been several significant developments invlving medical Marijuana. First, an appelas court issued an opinon in a case called Pack v. Superior Court which said that any city law that activelly permits medical marijuana dispensary activity conflicts with, an is trumped by, federal law. Disagreeing with other courts, the case also indicated that city officilas who issue permits for medical marijuana dispensaires might possilby be held criminally liable under federal drug control laws. The case may still be granted review by higher courts, and its not final yet, but it is still informative on the issue at hand and it coincides with prior Council Direction on this issue.

The second development since August 16 is that the federal government has begun to crack down on the medical marijuana industry both in California and nationally. All four United States Attorneys in California have indicated that dispensaries violate federal law and have begun to take enforcement action againts them. The United States Attorney for Southern California has notified some dispensaries and their landlords that hey need to either shut down voluntarily or be shut down vy the federal government, complete with assest forfeiture proccedings being brough againts them.

The Planning Commission will have a public hearing and afterward will forward its recommendation to the City Council to consider and approve, reject, or modify. City Attoney Jennifer Lyon this is a good approach since the City’s ordinance will not conflict with federal law and would prevent the City from facing criminal liability for issuing permits for dispensaries.


Imperial Irrigation District has opened the solicitation process for the 2012-13 fallowing program. Applications are now being accepted and must be received by the IID water manager’s office no later than noon on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011 (extended deadline).
Information about the fallowing program has been mailed to all landowners and water users. This information and application forms are available on the IID website at
Fields selected to participate will be paid to lie fallow from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, during which time no water can be delivered to the contracted field. An early start option may also be available, with an associated payment modification based on the actual fallowed period and conservation yield calculation.
The fallowing program is necessary to generate the water needed for the Quantification Settlement Agreement, the mitigation requirements of the Salton Sea and to pay back previous overuse or inadvertent overruns of IID’s annual Colorado River water entitlement. The implementation of on-farm and system efficiency conservation measures to replace fallowing are anticipated to begin in 2013.
For further information, please call the fallowing hotline at 760.339.9898.


By Mario Conde
The County Board of Supervisors approved a letter to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer in regards to funding concerns about a recent Transportation Reauthorization Bill.
County CEO Ralph Cordova stated at Tuesday’s regular meeting the U.S. Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee recently approved the transportation reauthorization bill entitled, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), representing a first step toward renewing federal highway programs. Cordova said that MAP-21 in its current form demonstrates consistent goals and funding levels that would have a positive affect within the County of Imperial, however, it fails to retain the dedicated funding for the Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program.
“Although CBIP-related projects would be retained as eligible activities under MAP-21’s new Transportation Mobility Program, there would be no guarantee that the State would provide funding to the County for these essential projects.” Cordova said.
The County urged the Committee to include provisions in MAP-21 that would allow the State of California and local transportation agencies to carry out the federal environmental review responsibilities for highway projects through implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act. Such an initiative would help to accelerate the delivery of transportation projects in California and would build upon the State’s successful implementation of the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Pilot Project Program.
County Chairman Jack Terrazas stated in his letter to Boxer that this bill is very important since the County’s unemployment rate topping 30 percent, a multi-year transportation bill with adequate financing would go a long way toward maintaining and creating critically needed jobs in local community. Terrazas stressed the importance of  border infrastructure and expansion since delays happening at the border make the County lose millions of dollars annually.
“Without dedicated funding for the CBIP, ports of entry in Imperial County and other border counties will be hard pressed to undertake infrastructure expansions.” Terrazas said.

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