From the daily archives: Wednesday, July 18, 2012

By Chris Furguson

Brawley Mayor George Nava, at the July 17th meeting of the Brawley City Council, appointed eleven people to various committees which were unanimously approved by the rest of the council.
The eleven positions are within four commissions for the city, including the Planning commission, the Brawley Parks & Recreation Commission, the Library Board of Trustees and the Airport Advisory Commission.
Among those who were reappointed were Judy Grant, Diane Lohr and Dixie Smith for the Library Board and John Hernandez, Mary Miller and Ramon Sagredo for the Parks & Rec. commission.
Don Gibson, Peter Osterkamp and Thomas Boyd Rutherford were appointed to the Airport Commission, with Gibson being a reappointment. In this vote, Mayor Pro-Tem Sam Couchman abstained as Gibson is his father-in-law.
For the two positions on the Planning Commission, George Marquez was reappointed while Kevin Hutchinson was given
“We have some returning and some new blood on these committees,” said Nava after the appointments were approved and ratified with a resolution.

* In other Brawley news, the Brawley Library was presented a check for over $31,000 to help improve the library’s LAMBS vehicle. The LAMBS vehicle will receive new interior, a new generator, and a fresh exterior in addition to other improvements.
Expenses for the vehicle’s travels to the Winterhaven area will also be covered with the grant.
The money for the vehicle came from a grant from the Imperial County Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Committee, which is sponsored by the Quechan Indian Tribal Council.
* The south-west ball field at Meserve Park in Brawley will be named after former BUHS Student Anthony L. Garcia.
Garcia, who was a member of the 2010 Brawley Varsity Football team, passed away in April 2011 of cancer in San Diego. A nearby tree was dedicated to Garcia earlier this year.
A scholarship foundation founded in his name has already handed out several thousand dollars to area students.

 

By Chris Furguson
The Brawley City Council approved direction to their City Manager, Rosanna Moore, to limit their unreimbursed contribution to the construction of the incomplete Panno Street to $300,000 using Traffic Impact Fees.
The amount was reduced from $400,000 at the insistence of Mayor Pro-Tem Sam Couchman, who said that he believed the city should not contribute a high amount of funding to a private enterprise seeking profits. The initial amount of $400,000 was proposed by council member Ryan Kelley, who stressed the importance of getting the road constructed.
There will be a 12-month time frame in getting the road complete once a reimbursement agreement is complete between Florentine Collection owners Sartan-Narah LLC and commercial developer Highway 86 Associates and the city.
There are two portions of the road that need to be worked on. The first is the rest of Panno Street itself just beyond the Florentine Collection housing project and the second are improvements along Highway 86, including moving of a street light that currently sits along the proposed street.
Construction of the road has been strongly passionate among residents of nearby Julia Drive and Willard Road, both of whom feel that the new road will ease traffic issues on their streets.
Members of the Florentine Collections Development were also on hand to plead for the higher contribution.
The city had been part of a lawsuit with the former developers over the project. Early in the process, Caltrans refunded a bond when the original developers abandoned the project which would have helped complete the road.
A recent settlement between the bonding company and the city could, after the city reimburses itself for expenses incurred in pursuing the litigation, mean between $100,000 and $200,000 in extra funds toward the project.
Currently, the agreement with the city and the development requires the completion of Panno Street before additional housing units can be constructed in the area.

 

By Chris Furguson

A pair of Chun-Lis ,Street Fighter, join a Felicia ,Darkstalkers, in preparing for a fight.

According to the Comic-Con International numbers, nearly 130,000 attendees, press, professionals and exhibitors visited the 2012 edition of the San Diego Comic-Con, which was held at the San Diego Convention Center from July 12 through July 15.
The 130,000 is a far cry from the original 300 who attended the first convention in 1970, which was then known as the Golden City Comic Con.
Comic-Con has grown from what was a primarily comic book based convention to a celebration of the “popular arts,” including fantasy and science fiction, Japanese animation (or “animé”), movies, television, video games and much more.
“If anything in this day and age is a true melting pot, this is it,” said Randi, a fan of the BBC series “Doctor Who” about the convention. “It’s like a blending of all these different conventions in one big show. There’s nothing like this anywhere.”
Issues of crowding and long lines were the name of the game at this year’s convention. Crowding issues began in 2006 when the convention had to stop selling tickets on-site due to an unanticipated mass of fans continued this year.
This year, lines stretched around and behind the convention center itself as fans waited hours for the chance to see their favorite movie and television stars inside the 6,500 seat Hall H. Some people even began forming lines on Sunday just for the prime spot.
There are some who feel that the convention has outgrown its current venue. In 2010, the city of Anaheim made the boldest attempt to move Comic-Con to their much larger Convention Center. A similar bid by the city of Las Vegas was made but rejected by the Comic-Con board.
“I’m not sure if the convention should move,” said Dave, who has attended the Convention for nearly 20 years. “San Diego makes such an effort to make the conventioneers feel welcome.”
That effort includes nearby hotels allowing some of their own space to be used for panels and press events. The nearby Hilton Bayfront was the site for several popular panels
The event is also a boon to the city’s economy. Recent estimates suggest that more than $150 million is spent during the convention, much of which flows into the area’s hotels and restaurants.
“It’s a shot in the arm for us,” said one manager at a nearby fast food place. “We make several times more money this week than we normally do, even during tourist season.”
This year’s event had a tragic beginning as a 53-year old woman crossing in front of the convention center was killed two days before the convention’s official start. The woman, a fan of the series “Twilight,” had been waiting since Sunday for the Thursday morning panel.
More stories from the 2012 Comic-Con will be printed in next week’s Weekly-Chronicle.

 

 

By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council passed a resolution to submit an application to the State of California Housing and Community Development for funding of affordable housing complex project.

On June 1, 2012 the Department issued a 2012 Notice of Funding Availability announcing the availability of funds under the HOME program. The City of Calexico wished to apply to the Department for, and receive an allocation of, HOME funds.

The City will submit an application to the Department to participate in the HOME program and for the allocation of funds not to exceed $4,600,000 for the rental new construction to be developed by Chelsea Investment Corporation, or it affiliate, and located approximately at the south side of Meadows Drive, between Rancho Frontera and Meadows Road in the City of Calexico.

The Villa Primavera Family Residences project will have 47 new affordable apartments for individuals and families. It will have 12 one-bedroom units with its rent ranging from $250 to $600. Twenty two-bedroom units that will have its rent ranging from $300 to $700, and a 15 three-bedroom units that will have its rent ranging from $325 to $775.

The project is expected to bring 300 construction jobs, mostly local and two to three permanent full-time management and maintenance jobs.  The project will have zero financial contribution from the City since the $4.5 million grant will come from the State as well as $100,000 grant from the State to the City Administration. The Developer-paid permit/impact fees will bring the City approximately $800,000.

Chelsea Corporation is currently construction the De Anza II Apartments and is expected to be ready for occupancy by the end of this year.

Councilman Bill Hodge said the supported this project but questioned as to why Chelsea Corporation is always the only one to apply on behalf of the City for affordable housing and said he would like to see more entities coming forward. “I would like this to stop being exclusive and be more inclusive.” Hodge said.  Councilman Luis Castro echoed Hodge’s remarks and asked why projects like these never go on bid.

After some heavy discussion on how is the procedure for to apply for State funds, the Council voted 3-2 to approve the resolution having Hodge and Castro voting against it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council approved a donation of $2,500 from the Police Department Asset Forfeitures Fund to assist CPAL with travel to the California State Championships.

The Calexico Police Department is engaged in the investigation, seizure, and eradication of illegal drugs in our community. Calexico Police Chief Jim Neujahr explained at Tuesday’s Council meeting that as a result of those investigations, the Calexico Police Department has been successful in the seizure of illegal drugs and illegal drug proceeds.

These proceeds, he said, have been forfeited to the City of Calexico for the use under the Federal Asset Forfeiture Shearing Guidelines. One of the sharing guidelines allows for the use of 15% of the assets forfeited to the City of Calexico to be used for anti-drug programs. The Calexico Police Department has used these funds for several years to assist local youth programs where good anti-drug and youth mentoring principals are common threads within the youth organization.

Chief said that Calexico has local private organizations that provide recreation, mentoring, skill development, and safe diversion for our children. Neujahr said that many of these programs have a difficult time raising the necessary funds in order to provide these important programs.

“Supporting these mentoring programs will pay benefits in the future as fewer youth get into trouble or cause costly damaged to our community.” He said.

The Calexico Parent’s Athletic League is one of these organizations that meet the requirements for use of these funds. The CPAL is in the process or raising funds to send approximately 100 Calexico Youth to the California State Soccer Tournaments in San Diego, California. The CPAL has raised a significant amount of funding on their own for the children to attend the tournament.

The CPAL approached the City of Calexico for assistance with the cost involved. Though the CPAL has raised a large amount of the funding necessary, they still lack funding for the transportation of the kids to the tournament in San Diego. It was the Police Chief recommendation that the City assist with transportation cost in the amount not the exceed $2,500, with payment to be made directly to the transportation company.

The Council approved this item with a vote of 5-0.

 
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