From the daily archives: Tuesday, October 2, 2012

By Mario Conde

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors continues with the efforts of bringing the F-35 Jet to the Imperial Valley.

Supervisor Jack Terrazas made a presentation to the Board of Supervisors updating them their work.  The County of Imperial is promoting this area since valley is vast unobstructed, rural terrain and good air quality, military-friendly local community that the Imperial Valley’s Naval Air Facility El Centro offers an excellent location to home base the Joint Strike Fighter.

Terrazas explained that NAF-El Centro is an ideal environmental for aerial combat maneuvering, air-to-air gunnery, bombing practice and electronic warfare training. Terrazas mentioned that they had a lot of good support from County governmental agencies except for the Hotel industry that would benefit a lot from this project.

Imperial City Manager Marlene Best spoke about the visits to Washington and said that he County brings a lot of advantages to them since this is a growing community and the County have housing and will cost less to come here rather than other military bases in California.

“No other region in the United Sates more closely resembles the Middle East than the Imperial Valley.” Best said, “It’s the perfect training ground for our troops preparing for combat. Allied forces from around the world capitalize on NAF-El Centro’s unique environment to practice gunnery, bombing, carrier landings and air combat.” She said.

In related news, the County also authorized the Planning and Development Services Director to enter into a contract with Matrix Design Group for the preparationof the Joint Land Use Study NAF El Centro at at cost of $165,731.00. This project will be funded by OEA grant an in-kind match from local jurisdictions.

The NAF El Centro JLUS will include the jurisdictions of the County of Imperial, City of El Centro, City of Imperial, and the NAF El Centro located in the southeast corner of California, bordered by the County of San Diego, County of Riverside, State of Arizona and the Republic of Mexico. The County of Imperial is the project sponsor for this multi-jurisdictional planning effort.

The purpose of a Joint Land Use Study is to promote compatible civilian development patterns

near military installations by applying the local planning process to update the local general plans and supporting land use regulations. The JLUS will identify current and future encroachment sources, including new physical developments and potential natural environmental promotion such as conservation corridors, conservation easements, and designated wetlands.


By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council met in special session last Monday to determine the future of the bus system in Calexico.

The Council decided after a long special session that they will give Calexico Transit System until October 16 to comply with all the requirements or the company will have revocation of their permit. Calexico Transit System that has been in operation in Calexico for many years and owned by the Castro family for more than 50 years. The company is now run by Councilman Luis Castro’s son, Jovan Castro. The police department ordered a suspension of operation since the company was not in compliance and did not have insurance since December 2011.

The Calexico Police Department recently conducted an inspection of the documents on file for the Calexico Transit System. Concerned about Calexico Transit System operating without valid insurance, Police Department officials contacted Jovan Castro on September 14, 2012. Jovan Castro then confirmed to police officials that the company lacked the insurance required under Calexico’s Municipal Code. The Police Department informed Calexico Transit System that if it continued operating without insurance, its drivers would receive citations for driving without valid insurance. On September 18, the Department also sent a letter notifying Jovan Castro that his company was in violation of the Calexico Municipal Code’s safety and licensing requirements and ordering him to cease operations.

Calexico Police Chief Neujahr reported that since receiving notice of this hearing, Calexico Transit System has submitted proposed insurance which has thus far been inadequate. In the first instance, it submitted an insurance certificate for $1 million in the name of Imperial Rapid Service. This was rejected for several reasons. First, it was for a lesser amount of insurance than Calexico Transit System had before its insurance expired, and much less than the minimum required by state law. Second, Imperial Rapid Service, Inc. is a suspended corporation, so the insurance contract with it would likely be unenforceable if someone were to be injured during a collision with one of their buses. Third, Calexico Transit System did not submit the actual policy for review, so the City could not determine whether or not the policy provided proper insurance coverage.


In the end, the Council voted 3-1 to give Jovan Castro 10 days to be in compliance with Mayor Pro Tem Maritza Hurtado voting against it. Before the closing of the meeting, Mayor Daniel Romero said that this was not political against Luis Castro but a protection to all the use the transportation service in Calexico.

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