From the daily archives: Wednesday, May 9, 2012

By Mario Conde

Negotiations continue between the Associated Calexico Teachers and the Calexico Unified School District in hopes of an agreement.

Teachers, parents, and students protested on a rally outside the District office and show support to the negotiating team that was going to meet with district officials Monday evening. The Calexico School Board voted to lay off 86 teachers in order to solve budget deficit. The meeting started at 4p.m. Monday and they were still meeting at 6 a.m. Tuesday. The fact-finding meeting ended round 8 a.m.

At the rally there were teachers from other valley school districts such as Calipatria and Brawley showing support to the teachers and students.  The District and the ACT have not come to an agreement for many months and are hoping to reach an agreement at the end of the year.

Members of the California Teachers Association Board of Directors were present at the rally to show support to the negotiating team. Jim Groth, Board member of CTA, said that they are with Calexico teachers and they will be supporting them until all the teachers that were layoff are re-instated.

Mikkie Cichocki, CTA Secretary/Treasurer, said to be proud of Calexico because they always stick together in the hard times.

“It is amazing what this board has done to you but we are here with you until the end and will not leave you alone.” She said.

The teachers union has protested the board’s decision to terminate the teachers and have gone picketing to their houses and their workplaces.

ACT President Enrique Cervantes said it was a typical tactic and let the board know they will not give up the fight.

“We are doing it because we want to tell them that we don’t play games.” He said.

The ACT and the District have not come to an agreement since they don’t see eye to eye on the budget presented, he said.

The next Calexico School Board meeting will take place Thursday, May 10, 2012 at William Moreno Jr. High Multi-Purpose Room and will begin at 6:00p.m.


By Mario Conde

The County Board of Supervisors rescinded the Wind Zero project at their Tuesday meeting since the property went into foreclosure.

The 944-acre facility will have indoor firing ranges and semi-enclosed ranges, including one 300-meter range and mock-up urban environments with street layouts and ten live-fire training houses. The Wind Zero Project was approved by the County Board of Supervisors on January 2010 but groups like the Quechan Tribe, the Sierra Club and the Desert Protective Council sued the County of Imperial.

Supervisor District 2 Jack Terrazas was the only dissenting vote against the project.

The lawsuit forced the project to be on standby and later on went into foreclosure. The applicant of the project was suppose to pay for the litigation fees but stop doing it after there was no action by the Courts.

Octotillo residents were present at the meeting and supported the elimination of this project. Resident Eady Harmon thanked the groups that started the lawsuit and thanked Supervisor Terrazas for voting against the project.

“This project would have been bad for public health and for the people that live there.” She said.

El Centro resident Elena Quintaro said that the board will do a good decision by rescinding this project.

After a short deliberation the County voted 5-0 to rescind the Wind Zero project with all of its entitlements.


By Mario Conde

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved monetary contribution to the attraction efforts of the Navy’s seven F-35 active duty squadrons and one training squadron.

The U.S. Navy is in the process of preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposal to locate a West Coast home base for their new F-35C Joint Strike Fighter. Naval Air Facility El Centro is one of the two alternative sites being considered. Last year the Board approved filing comments on the coping for the Environmental Impact Statement being prepared relative to this project and adopted a Resolution in support of Congressional funding for the JSF program.

There has been an informal committee of local government and community leaders working on the JSF attraction effort, and they have recently adopted the name of an existing non-profit corporation, Imperial Valley United, for the purpose of raising funds for that purpose.

CEO Ralph Cordova said that he has become involved with the committee and after some consideration he is recommending the board to make a contribution of $10,000 to the Imperial Valley United in support of the Naval Air Facility El Centro Joint Strike Fighter home basing attraction efforts. The money will be used to hire a lobbyist in Washington D.C. in order to lobby having the aircraft here in the valley. The lobbyist will have an expertise in military matters. The County already has a lobbyist in Washington but he focuses on government affairs.

Supervisor Jack Terrazas said that home basing this jet would mean jobs and economic growth for the Imperial Valley. Terrazas mentioned that the private sector needs to step up since the tax revenue for the City of El Centro will be high especially for hotels, restaurants, and Imperial Valley Mall.

Lisa Gallinat, Chairperson for I.V. United, spoke about the benefits of this project to the County. She said that having the JSF will produce $105 million in economic benefit for Imperial County, nearly 1,400 jobs in addition to the 597 military and civilian personnel at the base; NAF El Centro provides 801 additional jobs related to operations, payroll and other projects. This is expected to bring tax revenue of $4.8 million in federal taxes; and $4 million in state and local taxes.

The Board of Supervisors is in full support of this project and voted 5-0 to approve the monetary contribution.



By Mario Conde

The County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution giving their full support to the creation of a Family Justice Center.

In 2011, the Imperial County along with five other communities throughout California was selected to receive a Blue Shield of California Foundation-California Family Justice Initiative grant.

CEO Ralph Cordova said the grant is aimed to create a Family Justice Center by 2012-13 in Imperial County. Family Justice Center throughout the nation and world strive for providing collaborative medical services, crises intervention, victim advocacy, legal assistance services, and assistance with law enforcement investigation to domestic violence victims and their family under one roof.

On January 5-6, 2012, the Imperial County Family Justice Center Task Force brought: together over fifty participants form non-profit groups, victim service organizations, law enforcement and prosecutors, local hospitals, state prisons, County offices, church groups, volunteers, and survivors of violence of Imperial County and participated in a strategic planning session where the values, vision, and mission were created for the Imperial County Family Justice Center.

Throughout the process, several Supervisors and the CEO’s Office have been involved; meeting with various Family Justice Representative from California and Arizona, with local stakeholders, and participating in several discussions on the establishment of an Imperial county FJC.

The Family Justice Center is focused in having a multi-disciplinary team of professionals who work together in one, centralized location to provide coordinated services to victims of family violence. While a Family Justice Center may house many partners, the basic partners include police officers, prosecutors and community-based advocates. The core concept is to provide one place where victims can go to talk to an advocate, plan for their safety, talk to a police officers, meet with a prosecutor, receive medical assistance, receive information on shelter and get help with transportation.

Supervisor Gary Wyatt said that this is a much needed place for the Imperial County since all the agencies will be in the same location and victims will not be forced to go to different locations.

“This is not only an effort made by the County Board but it’s the community that is coming together to have a Family Justice Center for our County.” Wyatt said.

The Board approved the resolution with a 5-0 vote.

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