From the monthly archives: April 2012

By Mario Conde

The County Board of Supervisors approved a letter opposing the elimination of the Colorado River Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The Governor’s recent budget proposal calls of the elimination of the Colorado River Regional Water Quality Control Board and the merger of the Colorado Basin with the San Diego RWQCB.

This proposed action would create undue hardship on many business, and government agencies that deals with the RWQCB of many water quality and permitting issues in Imperial County. The matter is scheduled to be heard before the California State Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee this week.

The County of Riverside, Coachella Valley Water District, Imperial Irrigation District and Western Growers Association, among many others, have submitted comments opposing this proposal.

The letter approved by the Board of Supervisors recognizes the intent of the Governor to consolidate and reduce government, but argues that this elimination will not provide any savings to the general fund of efficiencies to the State.

“The elimination of local representation will not only be detrimental to important water quality standards and decision-making, but it will reduce the oversight provided by this board to uniquely arid region that borders Arizona and the Republic of Mexico, serves over 700,000 acres of active productive farmland, and involves major hydrologic features such as the Colorado River and the State’s largest inland body of water, the Salton Sea.” Supervisor Mike Kelley said in the letter.

In other news, the County approved a one year agreement with Womanheaven, Inc., to provide domestic violence prevention classes for Imperial County Jail inmates through its Center for Family Solutions. Through their Center for Family Solutions, Womanhaven, Inc. would provide anger management programming that meet Title 15 and court ordered courses for offenders.


It was an evening of “Faith, Fashion, and Flair” as the Women of Virtue Empowerment Network (WOVEN) hosted the 2nd Annual Purse Auction Gala.  This spectacular event was held at the Old Eucalyptus Schoolhouse in El Centro, and included a delicious dinner, two heart-touching testimonies of WOVEN clients, and a live purse auction where 29 purses were auctioned off to the highest bidder.

With retail values ranging from $60 to over $1300, there was something for everyone to choose from.  Each purse was bid upon based on the purse itself.  For a little added excitement, each purse was filled with contents which were not revealed until the winning bidder opened the purse.  Creative auctioneer Alexis Brown did a great job in her descriptions to give the ladies a clue of what might be inside.  The highlight of the evening was a $1000 Louis Vuitton bag which was auctioned off for $1600.

The purses were modeled for the ladies by 2012 Holtville Carrot Princess Emily Acosta, who sashayed through the crowd, showing off each purse without revealing the contents.  Spotters were positioned throughout the room to keep up with the frenzy of bidding that went on throughout the evening.

Betty Predmore, Co-director, Co-founder, and facilitator of WOVEN, had this to say about the evening:  “We are so blessed to have so many wonderful ladies come out and support WOVEN and our mission of inspiring women to be their best!  It is humbling to see how many of them care about our ministry and the work we are doing.  This event will just continue to grow each year and we are already looking forward to next year!”

Betty, along with co-director & co-founder Stacie Chandler, and board members Debbie Cameron and Sara Hilfiker wish to thank all those who donated purses, bought tickets, and supported this event in any way.


By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council voted to recertify the Gran Plaza Outlet Center project and had its ground breaking ceremony.

This project came back to the City Council for recertification of the final environmental impact report and re-approval of the general plan amendment, zone change, tentative tract map, design map, design review and variance first heard on December 20, 2011.

Within hours of the December 20, 2011 Council meeting, the City received objections for the first time from the County of Imperial, the Briggs Law Corporation representing CREED-21 and Citizens for Honesty and Integrity in Calexico, and from El Remate, Inc., through Brenda Martinez. Following the hearing, the City deciding to have the matter reheard on January 10, 2012; however, on January 9, 2012, the City was sued by the Briggs Law firm’s clients, and a decision was made to delay the hearing. The purpose of the hearing was to reaffirm and clarify the prior approvals in light of the City’s review of the project, its consideration of the late comments, and the substantial evidence in the record to support all of the finding necessary for the approvals.

The project applicant’s traffic engineer, John Boarman, met with the County to address the County’s concern, which it raised. The County’s concerns have been largely addressed in the conditions of approval, he said. Malissa McKeith, an attorney representing Gran Plaza, said this project will have great benefits for the City since the market in Mexicali will benefit the project.

Objections were made by Martinez on behalf of the El Remate swap meet concerning the failure of the FEIR to include the swap meet in the analysis of potential urban decay impacts which may result from the Project. Although El Remate also mentions the Santo Tomas swap meet, the City has not received any communication from Santo Tomas.

Unlike the project, the El Remate swap meet is an outdoor facility that primarily operates three days a week. It claim that the construction of the Gran Plaza will adversely affect its business and lead to blight. El Remate has an office associated with the swap meet operation on the property; however, the shopping area and temporary stalls are located outdoors.

The staff report says that even with the opening of Walmart and Imperial Valley Mall the swap meet business has not been affected. The proposed $94 million dollar Gran Plaza Project is expected to bring $140 million dollars in annual sales tax revenue to the City of Calexico and provide 268 full time jobs and 617 part-time jobs

The Council approved the Gran Plaza project by a vote of 4-0 having Mayor Pro Tem Maritza Hurtado being absent from the meeting. The Council had the ground breaking ceremony for the Gran Plaza afterwards.


An Amazing Recovery! What Does a Baboon Know? Candidates’ Debate

THE RECOVERY OF THE ECONOMY IS AMAZING THESE DAYS. We’ve gone from gloom doom and cloudy days to sunshine and clear skies.
And the economy is blooming right along with it.
Let the naysayers and boo-birds stay home. Bring forth the positive thinkers.
Imperial County is adding new buildings and housing units, as well as alternate energy sites on a regular basis.
Hildy Carrillo at the Calexico Chamber of Commerce added a half dozen new members to that organizations roster in just a week’s time. Things are definitely looking up in the Border City.
Brawley just opened its new fire station which will help protect some of the new housing being built there, even though its Economic Development Commission was closed down.
That body prospered and brought lots of prospects to the northend under Tim Kelley’s leadership. Then he moved up to the Imperial Valley Economic Development Commission. Now that body is prospering and bringing in lots of new prospects. It’s a tribute to Kelley’s drive that both organizations have been successful.
They may have asked too much to have one person handle both the BEDC and the Chamber. One was bound to suffer. But there’s still good news.
Some of the fast food and satellite pads are filling up in Brawley in front of Walmart, which undoubtedly will lead to more businesses taking a look at the area. Yes, Spring has sprung.
I asked for some quick work in Holtville to turn around its large number of empty storefronts and the city has responded. A new tire shop got permitted by the Holtville Planning Commission and is moving smoothly along to fruition.
In fact, new city manager Alex Meyerhoff is out to change business people’s opinions about the Carrot Capital. Instead of it being the red tape capital when it comes to business, he wants it to be the red carpet capital, where licensing processes move along smoothly and easily/
Such sentiments will be a welcome change for this once-proud farm town. We look forward to him carrying out his plan, since we are located in downtown Holtville and live there too.
We’re excited to see and hear about the new ideas that may be coming forth in the next few weeks and Spring takes full bloom,
It is a beautiful time of the year.
SO, WHAT DOES A BABOON KNOW? Quite a lot according to scientists from a French university. they’ve taught the apes how to identify different words from nonwords on a regular basis. The test group was able to identify 308 words out of 7,832 non-words, making them smartest than your average graffiti tagger in Imperial County.
Why at this rate they may be able to appear on one of those word identification shows, such as LINGO.
Two syllable words aren’t in their realm of recognition quite yet, but four letter words are.
I suppose I should tone down some of my columns in case they get the urge to shout some  of them my way. It wouldn’t be the first time.
With this new found knowledge, we suspect the baboon will gain in status among humans. Move over dogs and cats. Her comes your new house pet. He;s one that can read the paper with you in the morning and watch TV at night. But you might have to fight over the remote and who controls it.
Why, we might even see a TV series where the baboons Rockwell Plaza. That proved to be too dark and gloomy. This is a time for enlightenment. And some great music to go along with it. Look for a full slate of Mariachis this year as well as a week of special events.
If you look around imperial Valley there are plenty of things happening that can occupy your time and will usually support some very good causes.
It will save you time and gas money. With gasoline going as high as $5.00 a gallon in some areas (sign seen in Needles) a little relief to the pocketbook will go a long way.
THE POLITICAL SEASON IS ALSO STARTING TO HEAT UP once again as we approach the primaries.
The Brawley Chamber of Commerce will help you make up your mind with a candidates’ forum planned for May 10th at the Stockmen’s Club.
It will feature the candidates for county supervisor and give you a chance to look over the field before voting. Sometimes you need more than name recognition to decide who to choose. For further information contact the Brawley Chamber at 344-3161. We hope to see you there and at the polls.

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