QUESTION: It's my understanding the Imperial Irrigation District turned down a $5 million bid from IBM for a complete computer system to handle both the water and power departments.
IID declined the offer because it was too expensive and decided it could develop a system to do the same thing for less money.
As of now IID has spent $18 million for a system that doesn't work and may never work! — Better Idea, Imperial County
We don't doubt you talked to a high-ranking IID official who viewed the computer project with dismay. Computers do that to humans.
Nevertheless, your high-ranking IID official may have fed you some wrong information.
IID spokeswoman Sue Giller said IBM never offered to build a complete system for $5 million. IBM did the study to establish IID's computer system needs but it did not bid on the system, Giller said.
The bid for the software came in at $4.2 million. IBM bid successfully on a $1 million hardware package.
IID has spent about $14 million (not $18 million) on its new computer system. That includes staff time for IID employees who worked on the system and continue to work on it, Giller said. Staff training came to over $1 million.
The computer program still needs some fine tuning, she said.
This all goes to show computers can do some amazing things but they don't work for peanuts.
PETE'S GARAGE — Pete didn't have a garage in Plaster City. I was driving old Highway 80 through Plaster City in 1933.
About the only thing out there was a big billboard as you drove into Plaster City. There was always a cop hiding behind the billboard.
He never nailed me or any of my friends. We knew he was there so we slowed down before we got there. — Old-timer, Westmorland
He must have caught somebody or he would have found a new hiding place.