From the daily archives: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
IMPERIAL, Calif.On Saturday, May 19, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will hold a naturalization workshop at St. Mary’s Parish in El Centro, followed by a workshop about legal permanent residence at the same location.
The morning session will cover naturalization for legal permanent residents or “green card” holders, to help people who are eligible to become U.S. citizens learn about the citizenship process.  USCIS officers will talk about eligibility, application steps and preparing for the interview and civics/history test. Participants will see a mock interview and participate in a question and answer session.
The afternoon workshop will cover adjustment of status to assist eligible individuals in preparing for their I-485 interviews and becoming lawful permanent residents.  Participants will also learn about USCIS electronic services, including the on-line appointment system, InfoPass.
If needed, the workshops may be conducted bilingually in English and Spanish. Reservations are not being taken. USCIS offers workshops to help immigrants get direct answers about immigration benefits.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon.
Naturalization Information Workshop
Lawful Permanent Residence Workshop
Saturday, May 19, 2012
9:30 AM- 11:00 AM – Naturalization Information Workshop
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Lawful Permanent Residence Workshop
St Mary’s Parish                   
795 S. La Brucherie, El Centro, CA  92243
These workshops are FREE and open to the public. You do not have to attend the Film Festival in order to participate in workshops. You must, however, RSVP your attendance at All sessions will be taught by industry professionals, and held in the event room at the Cinemark Theaters located at the Imperial Valley Mall.
In this session, you will get to hear first hand how to break into the business. How to make and maintain the essential relationships in order to succeed and be successful in the entertainment industry. You will learn about what a Production Assistant does and what an Executive Producer is. If you have ever been interested in the “Behind the Scenes” of the movie biz, then join me for some inside scoop.
Guest Speaker: Matt Amar- Student of the Actors Studio and Producer, will be discussing acting in the business and how to navigate the acting schools and training frenzy.
Speaker: Raul Celaya was the Executive Producer for the independent feature film, That Evening Sun, starring Oscar nominee, Hal Holbrook, and also stars Ray McKinnon (The Blind Side), Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre, Alice in Wonderland), the late Dixie Carter and Walton Goggins (Predator, Cowboys and Aliens). The film garnered huge critical acclaim winning 11 Best Feature awards at numerous film festivals, and also 2 Independent Spirit Nominations for Mia Wasikowska and Ray McKinnon for Best Supporting Actors. Mr. Celaya was instrumental in the structuring of the financing and development of the film. Other feature film producing credits include The Go-Getter, which stars Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer), and Lou Pucci (Carriers, Beginners), and the successful comedy, Partner(s) starring Julie Bowen (Modern Family). He has other films in development, and has Dolly Parton attached to write music for one of them.
Raul also produces commercials and web content. Raul was an Associate Producer working alongside Vin Diesel on a webisodic series for Fox Digital called The Ropes. He has also teamed up with famed You Tube directors Freddie Wong and Brandon Laatsch to produce their first web-series, VGHS and a commercial For EA Sports “Battlefield” video game. Raul is currently working with Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer on a branded content campaign for a major car brand.
Mr. Celaya resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife and son.

Mario Conde
Calexico Mayor Daniel Romero gave his State of the City Address last Wednesday and spoke about the major projects coming to town.
The State of the City took place at the Fernando “Nene” Torres Council Chambers where the Mayor allowed department heads to talk about the work the city has done so far. Mexicali Mayor Francisco Perez-Tejada Padilla was the guest of honor at this event.
Calexico Police Chief Jim Neujahr spoke about how the police department got new police vehicles with the latest technology. He said that the vehicles were available through partnerships with other agencies. Neujahr said that thanks to federal dollars received from those partnerships were used to buy  new and comfortable vehicles for the department.
Finance Director, Judy Hashem, spoke about the budget and the current status of the economy. She spoke about  how Measure H has helped the City of Calexico fund public safety and not  cut other city services. Hashem mentioned that Measure H has been used to purchase two new fire engines, officer training, and the creation of an Office of Emergency Services which has an allocation of 10% of Measure H funds.
Hashem mentioned that the City has gone through a lot of tough times but said the City will have a positive fund balance in June.
City Manager Oscar Rodriquez spoke about the loss of the Redevelopment Agencies and how the new reality dictates that they have to do more with less money. He said there was light at the end of the tunnel with the construction of the Grand Plaza Outlet Center that will bring jobs and much needed tax revenue.
Mayor Daniel Romero also spoke about the ground breaking of the Grand Plaza and how its opening in April 2013 will be a positive for Calexico and the region. Romero also spoke about the construction of the De Anza II and the Woman’s Shelter by Neighborhood House.
Regarding the construction of the new Port of Entry, Romero said that the City will continue doing its due diligence in looking for Federal funding for the project since it’s their responsibility to make this project happen. The City will consider a Public-Private Partnership for the new port if federal funding is not available.
Romero spoke about the Casino and how the agreement with the County is being worked. He said that if the Governor approves the off- reservation project, the casino could start breaking ground and construction by the first quarter of 2013.


By Mario Conde
After two days of lengthy discussion, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved by a vote of 4-1 the Ocotillo Wind Project.
The County Planning Commission approved this project in late March but some groups decided to appeal the decision, citing the lack of mitigation measures and damages that this project could have on historical zones. The groups that appealed  the Planning Commission recommendation were the Viejas Band, Protect Our Community Foundation, Desert Protective Council, and Laborers International Union of North America
The Ocotillo Wind project will be located on 12,436 acres of public lands administered by the BLM, with a small portion on lands under the jurisdiction of Imperial County.
The meeting started last Tuesday, March 24th, where County staff and applicants made their presentation of the project. In support of the project was the Calexico Chamber of Commerce, IVEDC, and Brawley Chamber  Who all spoke in favor of the project since it would bring jobs and revenue to the County.
Most of the people opposing this project said there was a lack of respect since the Wind Mills would harm historical reservation sites.
People that spoke against the project said that this would  hurt tourism and the promise that jobs will be created will not be fulfilled.
One member of the public spoke about how the EIR does not mention the environmental effects to the land. She said that the Planning Commission hardly asked questions about the validity of the information. The speaker submitted thirty pages of signatures of residents opposing the project.
Eleanor Jones, resident of Ocotillo, spoke in favor of the project saying that Ocotillo desperately needs more jobs and needs change for the better.
The Board heard a lengthy presentation from the people making the appeals for this project. The Board heard the arguments until 7 p.m. and decided to continue the public hearing for the next day.
They met again on Wednesday and heard more arguments for and against the project. In the end and after a four hour meeting, the Board voted 4-1 to approve the project with  Supervisor Terrazas voting against it.


Chris Furguson
Last Thursday, April 26, a workshop held by the City of Brawley at the Del Rio Community Center delivered some very sobering news to a city council that had been relying on RDA and reserve money to keep the city running as normally.
According to reports led by City Manager Rosanna Moore and Finance Director Ruby Walla, more than a dozen jobs will either be frozen or lost before the start of the next fiscal year in order to have a balanced budget that does not use the city’s reserve funds.
Among the proposed cuts offered by the city included almost $600,000 from the police department and other cuts.
The proposed budget would also freeze or eliminate twenty positions from the city, including a number of jobs partially or fully funded by the Redevelopment agency funds that were eliminated earlier this year.
The news was not taken well by the council.
Mayor Pro Tem Sam Couchman asked that the city council’s budget, totaling some $122,000, be looked at for possible cuts.
Council member Ryan Kelley was concerned that he personally knew people who would lose their jobs because of this budget and wanted more discussion about the budget.
Don Campbell made similar statements when he said “I’m looking at this budget and I’m not comfortable with it.”
Council member Miguel Miranda, who arrived late due to another meeting, also said that he had to vote to take
The city is obligated to have a balanced budget approved by the end of May due to loan agreements made in previous years.
The council also suggested that Walla, who had used very conservative estimates on some of her numbers, relax them slightly.
Speaking from the public, Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation director Tim Kelley suggested boosts to the city’s fees and transit occupancy taxes.
“Maybe it’s time to say that the free ride is over,” added Kelley.
Earlier this year, the city passed a resolution to not spend reserve funds unless necessary.  The previous few years, the city has dipped heavily into the reserve budget to keep employees hired and make balanced budgets.
The council also voted to have another workshop on May 8 before the council’s final scheduled May meeting on  May 15.

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