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Council seeks to polish Calexico's image

March 07, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The City Council here Tuesday night unanimously voted on two separate issues that show a concerted effort by the council to update the city's image and attract new business to the city, according to Mayor Javier Alatorre.

The council first voted to accept an invitation from Mexicali Private Industry, a coalition of that city's business leaders, to make a presentation to a number of its members.

Soon after, council members voted to invite the public relations firm of Sanchez and Treviño of Mexicali to make a presentation to the council concerning services the firm could provide to Calexico.

Hildy Carrillo-Rivera, executive director of the Calexico Chamber of Commerce, said she supports the hiring of a public relations firm and was impressed by Sanchez and Treviño.

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"(One of the firm's partners) noticed our booth when he was attending the NAFTA convention in Mexico City … and he smiled and said that he could help us," Carrillo-Rivera said. "We were already feeling ashamed and poor because of the booths of Palm Springs, Coachella and El Centro. We want to sell the product (Calexico), but we don't have the materials."

Calexico City Manager Richard Inman said the $2,100 a month retainer for Sanchez and Treviño's services would come from a $100,000 economic development grant the city was awarded.

The council did not vote on approving a contract with the firm at Tuesday's meeting.

City Councilman John Renison asked if public relations firms in the United States could be contacted as well since Sanchez and Treviño is based in Mexicali.

City Attorney Michael Rood said there is no need to accept bids for these sort of services.

At the NAFTA convention, Alatorre said he met with representatives from Mexicali Private Industry, who invited him and the council to make a presentation to 10 to 12 large businesses in Mexicali.

When Alatorre presented the idea, Inman and Carrillo-Rivera both indicated they wanted to attend the presentation.

In other city matters, the council tackled a proposed "9/80" work schedule for city employees and the issue of skate parks in the city.

Of the work schedule issue, Renison said the council would need a detailed breakdown of the specifics of the "9/80" work schedule for city employees before any definitive action is taken.

As proposed, city employees would get an alternating Monday and Friday off of work but work an extra hour each day for the rest of the week.

Inman assured Renison that if the schedule was adopted no government services would be shut down and everything would operate smoothly.

Similar schedules are already in place at other agencies in the Imperial Valley, including most of the staff of the Imperial Irrigation District.

Discussing the skate park issue, Calexico City Councilman Victor Carrillo said it should be "fast-tracked" because high school kids continually ask him when the park will be built.

"They come up to me and ask me, but they don't believe me when I keep telling them ‘in a month or two,' " he said.

The council approved four sites for further study. Their top two choices are the Rancho Frontera subdivision in the east end of town and Nosotros Park in the city's west side. Alternate sites include Heber Park in the city's west side and a lot at the corner of Meadows Road and Zapata Street in the northeast corner of the city.

Additionally, the City Council:

l heard a presentation from Imperial County Air Pollution Control Officer Steve Birdsall explaining why and how agricultural fields are burnt near city limits in response to complaints about air quality by council members;

l awarded Calexico resident Steve Wong with a plaque for his years of service on the city Beautification Commission and;

l adopted a resolution urging city government offices to reduce energy use by 7 percent.

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