From the monthly archives: April 2013

By Mario Conde

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors accepted the final study for the implementation of the Infrastructure Finance District.

The Board of Supervisors held a public hearing last Tuesday to see a study made by Pacific Municipal Consultants to see the viability of creating an Infrastructure Financing District to fund several economic development projects in the County.

In 2009, the Board of Supervisors approved a grant application in the amount of $35,000 for a Redevelopment Feasibility Study to the California State Department of Housing and Community Development. The goal of this funding was to pursue the potential for establishing an Infrastructure Finance District in the areas of Heber, Keystone Planning Area, Palo Verde, and Seeley.

The Board of Supervisors selected the Keystone Planning Area as the most viable region in the county to proceed with the Infrastructure Finance District based on a fact that this area would benefit the most from public investment in infrastructure to support planned development. The Keystone Planning Areas is planned to be a mixed use industrial and commercial center when the infrastructure in the area is done. The project has been on hold for a long time since Redevelopment Agencies in California where eliminated and was going to finance part of the project.

This report presented a preliminary analysis of how an Infrastructure Financing District would work together with other financing in the Keystone Planning Area. The formation of an IFD involves several steps including development and adoption of a complete infrastructure financing plan and associated resolutions, noticed public hearings and a vote by property owners. A separate vote by property owners is also required to issued improvements bonds secured by the IFD tax increment revenue. Prior to considering issuing bonds, it is recommended that the County retain the services of qualified bond counsel and real estate market advisors.

The total cost according to the study made, the cost for infrastructure improvements at the Keystone Planning Area that include wastewate treatment area, water distribution system, road improvements, and fire station will be a total of $194.4 million. Supervisor District 3 Mike Kelley showed his concern that the cost for doing the wastewater treatment area would cost $98 million. The consultant representing Pacific Municipal Consultants said that the high cost was because they needed the latest infracture equiment in order to get the water infrascture going in that area.

County CEO Ralph Cordova reminded the Board that they are not approving anything and they are just accepting the study made for future recommendation. City of Imperial Mayor Rick Breland thank the Board for making this study and asked for their support in order to start working on the Keystone Area as soon as possible.

 

WASHINGTON—The Department of Justice today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Las Vegas has indicted a former North Las Vegas corrections officer on federal civil rights and obstruction of justice charges. Stuart Barlow Johnson, 47, was indicted on one count of violating the victim’s civil rights by using excessive force on the victim and one count of obstruction of justice for falsifying an incident report in an attempt to cover up the incident.

The indictment alleges that on November 29, 2008, while acting as a corrections officer at the North Las Vegas Detention Center, Johnson assaulted an unnamed victim, identified as “D.H.,” resulting in bodily injury to D.H. The obstruction count alleges that on the same day, Johnson knowingly falsified a document with the intent to impede, obstruct, and influence the investigation and proper administration of a matter within the jurisdiction of the FBI.

If convicted, the defendant faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the civil rights count and a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the obstruction count.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by the Las Vegas Division of the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Dickinson of the District of Nevada and Trial Attorneys Ryan Murguía and Patricia Sumner of the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

 

By Mario Conde

The Imperial County Transportation Commission is talking to Calexico bus users to see how to improve the bus service in Calexico.

Staff members of the ICTC arrived at the main bus stop in Calexico located on 3rd and Paulin this past Tuesday to ask bus riders their opinion on what is needed with the local bus service provided by the IV Transit and in what can they improve. Later that evening, a public workshop was held at Enrique Camarena Library where members of the community expressed their opinion on where public transportation should be. This is an effort to get the input of bus users and take those suggestions to the team of consultants that are working on doing transportation study for the County that will be completed this summer.

 The ICTC has been planning regional improvements for the bus service that include starting an intra-city bus service similar to the Blue Line in El Centro in cities like Brawley, Imperial, and Calexico.

ICTC Executive Director, Mark Baza, said that based on their transit need analysis they are looking to expand hours of services on Saturday’s and also to consider service on Sundays. Baza mention that they are also considering increasing the service at the Calexico-El Centro corridor since they currently run every 70 minutes and try to cut that in half and have then run every 35 minutes during the weekday.

“We are getting the input from the people to see what routes the Orange Line in Calexico might have and then in the future present it to the City Council to see what their decision is.” Baza said.

The ICTC is also looking to create a bus terminal in Calexico similar to the one being done on State St in El Centro. Baza said that the bus terminal that is being planned in Calexico will be the home for the IVT Access, Calexico Transit System, LA Shuttle, and the local taxis will use the terminal. This part of the improvement goal of the ICTC to improve the quality of regional transportation and in Calexico.

In regards to the IVC Student complaints that took place a couple of months ago where most of them were stranded due to overcrowded buses, Baza said the issue has been resolved where more express buses were added and have received positive feedback from students. Baza said that for next school year they are thinking about adding another express bus to IVC in the evening hours for their use.

 

By Mario Conde

The State Attorney General office has granted the Calexico Unified School District the right to sue Joong Kim for holding to incompatible offices.

The Calexico Unified School District and Trustee Joong Kim received a letter for Marc Nolan from the Office of Attorney General Kamala Harris and which he notified the district that their application to leave to sue  District Board Trustee Joong Kim for his alledge holding of two incompatible public offices was granted. The grounds for intiatiating a quo warranto are set forth in the Code of Civil Procedure Section 803 in which the people of the State can request action to inviduals who are holding, intruding or unlawfully holds or excersises any public office in the State.

Noland said in the letter that they have concluded that calexico city council member and school board trustee are incompatible when the terrotiorial jurisdiction of two offices overlap.

“We recognize that Trustee Kim disagrees with our conclusion that the two offices he holds are incompatible, but we nonetheless we find that there is, at very least, a substantial issue as to their incompatibility, and thus his eligibility to hold them both at the same time.” Noland said on the letter.

Even with the answer by the Attorney General’s Office, Kim told the Calexico Chronicle that he will continue fighting to keep both seats and continue serving on both boards.

“The District keeps spending money on lawyers to get me out of the board instead of using the money for the benefit of the children.” Kim said. When asked he has considered in resgning to either board, he said that that is not in his plans and wants to continue with both.

Kim has held  several fundraisers recently at the Calexico Community Center in order to pay for his lawyers and keep fighting to remain on the school board and council.

Joong Kim was elected to the Calexico School Board in 2010 and was elected along with Trustee’s Norma Aguilar and Ruth Duarte. Two years later, he decided to run for the Calexico City Council where he succesfully got one of the three available positions in the very competivie 2012 City Council election. However, Kim did not resign as school board trustee after his election to city council and remained there after being sworn to City Council. He was allowed to remain on the school board as a “De facto” member with voting until the attorney general ruled on a decision. This set the marked the first time in the political history of Calexico that one person held City Council and School Board at the same time.

The Calexico School Board will move forward with this legal action againts Kim.

 

Holtville Tribune – I.V. Weekly – Calexico Chronicle 04-18-13

 
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