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Feb. 21, 2001 PROBE

February 21, 2001

QUESTION: Do elected officials have to live in Imperial County? If so, why does District Attorney Gilbert Otero live in a house he bought in San Diego? Is Otero driving from Imperial County to his San Diego home in the county car assigned to him? — County Watcher, Brawley

The Oteros bought a house in Alpine, not San Diego, when two of their kids started college and another of their children got a job in San Diego County.

Otero said he was looking at apartments when he decided it made more sense to buy a house than pay $1,500 a month rent.

The district attorney still lives in the family home in Brawley. He doesn't commute, he said, although he may make an occasional weekend trip to Alpine.

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When he does, he said, he drives his own car, not the county vehicle.

More often, his family drives to Brawley on the weekends, he said.

Elected officials do not have to live in the county in which they were elected, although as a political matter, it probably makes a lot of sense.

MORE THAN SKIN DEEP — Washing fruits and vegetables will not rid the food of some pesticides. Some, such as dieldrin, are absorbed into the pulp of the vegetables. It can't be washed or peeled away. — Picky Eater, Holtville

You're right. Washing produce is not a fail-safe system for avoiding all pesticides but it helps.

There's some alarming information in the Consumer Reports survey of pesticide residue in fruits and vegetables.

Some high points in the report:

— Processed food had lower residue levels than fresh food.

— The pesticide levels on virtually all tested produce were within legal limits but many limits are higher than the government now deems safe for young children.

— Domestic produce had more, or more toxic, pesticides than imported produce in two-thirds of the cases.

After reading the report, we came to our own conclusion: eat a varied diet and wash or peel most fruits and vegetables.

NILAND SOFTBALL — The seventh- and eighth-graders at Grace Smith School in Niland want to play softball but they have no equipment.

Do you think your PROBE readers would dig out bats, balls, gloves and other stuff they are no longer using to equip the team? — Volunteer, El Centro

OK, PROBE readers, here's a project where you can do something to make a difference in a small corner of the world.

There must be bales of old ball gloves hidden away that need little more than some saddle soap and oil to restore them.

If you have anything the kids can use, call Nanette Conway at work at 353-9329 or at home at 312-6498.

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