El Centro’s Mayor Becomes First Vice President of SCAG

Holtville’s City Manager, Alex Meyerhoff, and Council Members Ginger Ward and Jim Predmore attended the Southern California Association of Governments General Assembly in Indian Wells this past Thursday and Friday.
The two-day conference brought elected officials from all over Southern California together to get updated on all that is happening in California government, from transportation, energy, health, and safety.
The Conference started early Thursday morning with two Council meetings and the ratifying of the 2014-2015 SCAG Officers as the outgoing President, Greg Pettis, Council Member, City of Cathedral City, gave the year in review.
Carl Morehouse, Council Member, City of San Buenaventura, was brought in as the 2014-15 SCAG President, along with El Centro’s Mayor, Cheryl Viegas-Walker as First Vice President. Cheryl Viegas-Walker has served the City of El Centro since 1997 as a City Council Member with four terms as Mayor. Walker will represent the Imperial Valley as she is slated to become the SCAG President next year as SCAG celebrates their 50th anniversary.
Thursday afternoon began with an Awards Luncheon where the Imperial County Transportation Commission was honored with the Achievement in Integrated Planning Award for the El Centro and Brawley Transit Transfer Stations that were constructed and completed this past year.
There was quite a bit of talk on transportation and the ever changing technology and how that technology will affect the way people get around in the future. This includes the usage of the smartphone to find someone to provide you with a ride, to using the GPS on your phone to locate a nearby rental car that is rented by the minute and can be accessed with a card similar to a credit card that will the person to access the car. There was a lot of discussion about the “last mile”, that distance between the rapid transit drop off and the location the person needs to get to, and how to provide transportation in between.
Dr. Brian Taylor, Director, Institute of Transportation Studies, UCLA described the evaluation of transportation and how technology, innovation, Big Data, and our own changing preferences will transform the transportation systems in the near future, from driverless cars, alternative-fuel vehicles, car-sharing programs, and other technology are modernizing the way we travel.
Friday morning was welcomed in by V. Manuel Perez, Assemblymember, California State Assembly, 56th District, who thanked the attendees from the Imperial County for their attendance and highlighted his effort on the restoration of the Salton Sea and how the use of Geo-Thermal produced energy and its byproducts will help in that effort.
The Conference concluded with the discussion of how to connect the dots to meet our biggest challenges.