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Tirado takes seat as chairman of county board

January 09, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

Calexico resident and District 1 Supervisor Tony Tirado was elected chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, and three new board members were ceremoniously sworn in Monday evening.

The three are Gary Wyatt for District 4, Joe Maruca for District 3 and Hank Kuiper for District 2. A community of well-wishers, including representatives from the city of Mexicali, overflowed the supervisors' chambers to witness the event and the board's yearly reorganization.

Tirado received a unanimous vote from the board. Last year he was bypassed for the vice chairmanship by his fellow board members despite it being his turn in the traditional rotation of supervisors.

At the top of Tirado's agenda — and that of the new board in general — is economic development.

"To me this board has to have the vision and boldness to do things we haven't done before," he said, adding double-digit unemployment must be reduced and the overall level of income increased.

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The way to do that is through economic regionalism, Tirado said, including continued support for the beef-processing plant being built in Brawley that is expected to offer 600 new jobs. Other projects he said the county must support are an expansion of the Gossner cheese factory and efforts to bring dairies to the Imperial Valley, efforts that hold great promise.

Tirado praised the Imperial Irrigation District for its economic development efforts and said the county would work with the IID on the issue as well as work to help defend the county's water rights.

Outgoing chairman Wally Leimgruber said he supports Tirado's comments and added that improved education and infrastructure also will help improve the economy.

He said the critical issues facing the county are water, electricity and transportation.

Tirado assigned Kuiper and Maruca to the liaison committee with the IID, whose IID representatives are directors Andy Horne and Stella Mendoza, IID board president and vice president, respectively.

Horne and Mendoza both said they support the county's efforts.

"I welcome their support because I believe the IID and the Board of Supervisors should work together because we're serving the same people," Mendoza said. "The rate- payers and the taxpayers are one and the same, and I think cooperation is long overdue."

Horne said the two public agencies need to work together on the issues.

"The county has things they bring to the table, as IID does, on the economic development front," he said. "We need to coordinate our efforts so we're not falling over each other. On the water rights issues, I think the county has a role to play. They have their interests to protect. They are elected to safeguard the interest of the people, and I think the people have an interest in making sure our water resources are protected.

"I look forward to working with the county in that endeavor," Horne said.

Each of the new supervisors gave his thanks to family, friends and supporters who helped him get elected.

Kuiper was elected board vice chairman.

Staff writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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