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Our Opinion: Teaming with Yuma

February 08, 2001

We have long hoped that the relationship between Imperial County and Yuma could be more one of friends and less one of rivals.

We have much in common. We are 50 miles apart with little between but interstate freeway. We are both agricultural communities. We share a television market. We share the Colorado River. We share the economic boon of recreation and movie filming from the area's sand dunes. We are both looked upon at times as ugly stepsisters by the big city brothers of our states.

Yes, we do compete for some retailers, some shoppers and some film crews, but all in all we should be natural allies. Now the federal government is forcing us into an alliance, which over the long term will be a good thing.

The feds have proposed and even moved forward with closures of huge portions of the sand dunes and desert that lie between Imperial County and Yuma. The dunes attract thousands of visitors each weekend and tens of thousands of visitors on holiday weekends. The economies of Yuma and Imperial counties swell from the visits. The prospect that many fewer people could be visiting the dunes because of the new restrictions is an ominous one for Yuma and Imperial County.

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The alliance being forged should help bring some common sense to the closures. That entities from two states — with two congressmen representing those two states — would come together to battle will be that much more impressive.

Ken Rosevear, who for many years was involved in business and community affairs in Imperial County, spoke before the Imperial County Board of Supervisors this week about the benefits of working together with Yuma against the dunes/desert closures. Rosevear has a unique perspective in that he is now executive director of the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce.

Rosevear is a sharp guy with a good sense of community well-being. We look forward to him working with Imperial County on this and future projects.

Right now, though, we need to deal with this dunes mess, and we are overjoyed our county officials decided to ally with Yuma. While we hope the new Bush administration loosens some of the restrictions, we need every elected official, area chambers of commerce and anyone else of influence to help work to make decision-makers aware of the gravity of this situation to our general area.

Working with Yuma simply will make any such efforts doubly effective.

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