From the monthly archives: August 2013

By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council denied a proposal to hire a grant writer for the City of Calexico at their Tuesday meeting.

At a previous meeting, Mayor Bill Hodge proposed to hire a grant writer for the City since he felt they need to be more aggressive in bringing funding to the city. The council decided to give direction to create a job description to hire a grant writer for six months limited term position that will also be an assistant to the City Manager.

City staff sent two options to the City Council and the potential amount for the grant writer would be $4,589 to $5,578 monthly. Councilman Joong Kim agreed that the City need to have a grant writer but asked to be extended to one year instead of six months since it’s a very short time and increase the salary to $80,000.

Mayor Pro Tem John Moreno said that the idea was good but reminded Hodge that the City is in a hiring freeze and asked him to reconsider his proposal.

“The idea is good; it’s just that the timing is not the right one.” Moreno said.

Councilwoman Maritza Hurtado also opposed this proposal since the city needs to be conservative in what they spend since the city is still recuperating from the financial crisis. She also questioned that the subcommittee that Hodge and Kim participated to create this job description included Councilman Luis Castro and that makes it an illegal meeting and Hurtado called it a “backroom deal.”

City Employee Union President Lorena Minor-Montes also expresses her disapproval for this grant writer since the City has seen layoffs, and early retirements from employees and now they are overworked. She asked the council not to approve this item.

Mayor Hodge called for the vote but there was no agreement in Kim’s proposal to extend it one year, or, the original six month proposal.

Mayor Bill Hodge concluded by saying that the City needed to be aggressive in grand writing and be like the other cities where they have a grant writer on the team that has help them in areas such as parks and other areas.

“The reason why the City is like it is right now is because we have no grant writer on board. Having one is a no-brainer.” Hodge said.

Early this year City Manager Oscar Rodriquez asked for direction to seek a grant writing firm but the Council back then decided to wait until they had their team building seminar to decide in what areas would they focus their needs for grants. The Council never discuss that item again or gave direction to seek a grant writing firm.


WEEKLY-CHRON SUN STD 01.qxdTribune Weekly Chronicle 08-15-13


The Brawley Chamber of Commerce applications are due on Friday, August 16, for the upcoming 2013 Brawley Cattle Call Queen & Teen Queen Competition. The application must be turned into the Chamber at 12:00 noon, or before. No late applications will be accepted.

The competition for Brawley Cattle Call Queen and Teen Queen Titles are open to all Imperial Valley ladies that qualify with the rules and regulations set by the Chamber. Please read the rules and regulations.

The Cattle Call Queen committee has been working diligently to provide a fun, fair, and rigorous competition and anticipates meeting the ladies who will vie for this year’s coveted titles.

Applications are available online, click the links to download

The Brawley Chamber is located at 204 S. Imperial Ave., Brawley.


By Mario Conde

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors supports legislation to create an agency similar to the former Redevelopment Agency.

The County Board sent a letter in support of AB 1080 to allow certain disadvantaged areas of California to create a new entity called a Community Revitalization Investment Authority. Such an Authority would be able to invest property tax increment of consenting local agencies, other than schools, and available funding to improve conditions leading to increased employment opportunities, to reduce high crime rates, to repair deteriorating and inadequate infrastructure, to clean up brownfield and to promote affordable housing.

A Community Revitalization Investment Authority would be a public entity created by a city, a county, or by agreement between a city, county, and/or special district through a Joint Powers Authority. The Community Revitalization Investment Authority would operate within an income that is less than 80% of the statewide annual median plus other conditions relating to unemployment, crime rates, deteriorated infrastructure and deteriorated commercial or residential structures. Additionally, AB 1080 requires that 25 percent of the funds to be set aside for affordable housing, an increase from the amount formerly required by redevelopment agencies.

The bill authored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) is trying to answer to municipalities in California that are looking for economic development tools after the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agencies and new options for sustainable economic development. This proposal provides a viable option targeting the state’s disadvantaged poorer areas and neighborhoods.

CEO Ralph Cordova said that the County of Imperial qualifies for the CRI Authority and asked the board to consider sending a letter of support to Assemblymember Alejo now that the bill is being considered in Sacramento. The CRIA is a public entity created by a city; a county; or by agreement between a city, county, and/or special district through a JPA. The governing board is compromised of three locally-elected officials and two public members.

Intergovernmental affairs person Gary Wyatt said that the County has been looking to this bill for quite a while and said this could help Imperial County with affordable housing and community revitalization. Wyatt mentioned that unlike the former redevelopment agencies, schools will not be part of this proposed CRIA if approved by the State Senate and then signed by Governor Brown. 

The board voted 4-1 to approve the letter of support to this measure.


lakemeadLast week a judge approved the complex water deal between the farmers of the Imperial Valley and the cities of San Diego County — hailed as the largest sale of water from farms to cities in the nation.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly on Wednesday affirmed his tentative ruling from June, which upheld the 2003 deal between the Imperial Irrigation District and the San Diego County Water Authority.
This deal comes at a time when there is growing concern over the state’s water supply.
At the Southern California Associations of Governments Regional Council Meeting on August 1st, Dr. Jerry Meral, Deputy Secretary, California Natural Resources Agency, made a presentation on California’s water supply and why it is at risk.
One of California’s most important water supplies originates high in the Sierras, where snowmelt and rainfall fill rivers and streams that flow toward the heart of the system: The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
In past generations, California had the foresight to build the network of dams, aqueducts and pumps that move water throughout the state. But because of political conflicts, the State is forced to rely on an unstable, 100 year-old man-made levee system to channel the water through the Delta.
This backbone system is vulnerable and incomplete, but for now continues to sustain our way of life through the Golden State: The Bay Area, The Los Angeles Basin, The San Joaquin Valley, The Inland Empire, San Diego, The Central Coast, all depend on their critical lifeline.
The Delta provides the state with about 45% of the state’s water resource. As the levees age they deteriorate and sometimes fail, allowing the fresh water to be infiltrated with salt water from the San Francisco Bay. If the delta were to be hit by an earthquake of a 6.7 or greater the entire delta could fail causing the entire delta to be infiltrated with salt water making the delta water undrinkable.
Meanwhile in the southern part of California is relying on the Colorado River water levels in the major reservoirs of Lake Mead and Lake Powell, which supply the Colorado River.  These two reservoirs have been falling to critical levels.
Studies by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation show that demand will soon overwhelm the water supply. The first stage of water restrictions could come as soon as 2016, when Lake Mead has a one-in-three chance of slipping below the critical 1,075-foot threshold.
That’s when Nevada will have to cut its water allocation by 4 percent. Residents probably won’t notice the first round of cuts.
In recent years, the seven states that share the river – along with Mexico – have done a better job collaborating on ways to stretch the water supply. But it still hasn’t been enough to keep the level of Lake Mead from falling.
If the water falls to 1,050 or 1,025, then Arizona will be hit the hardest with cuts to the Central Arizona. But the conversation shouldn’t focus on which communities or industries will be hit the hardest, because they are all imperiled.
Lake Mead will almost certainly fall below 1,075 feet in the near future, Mulroy said. Soon after that, life will change in Southern Nevada. Eventually, Hoover Dam will stop producing electricity, and water restrictions will change the way we live.
The state is coming up with plans to protect the Delta and will probably be on the ballot in the upcoming November election.
The Western United States has seen years of drought adding to loss of water supply, making the water issue even more critical.
The good news is that we can do something about it.
We have the tools to use the water in a more sustainable way.
The bigger questions are whether we have the time to implement those solutions.
If the water demand and drought were to continue for the next five or six years, we will start to see a rapid downward spiral, we won’t have the time to make the investments in an Imperial Irrigation District, or Palo Verde, or any of the agricultural areas down in the southern end of the system.
It is time for measures to be put in place to secure our water future.

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