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PROBE: March 19, 2001

March 19, 2001

QUESTION: Why would the Imperial Irrigation District hold a meeting in La Quinta? IID has a perfectly good meeting room in El Centro? Why drag the whole board and probably a third of its staff to the Coachella Valley?

It seems to me is was just an excuse for the board and staff to go out of town, away from the public's prying eyes, or to party, maybe gamble in the Palm Springs area?

We're paying for this. IID just raised our electric bills 7 percent. — Consumer, El Centro

IID rate-payers are lucky compared to electricity users in other parts of the state.

Elsewhere in the state, electric rates went up 30 percent. That wasn't enough. Some utilities couldn't buy power because they couldn't pay delinquent bills to power providers. To stretch the power they initiated "rolling blackouts."

IID spokeswoman Sue Giller says the utility has a meeting in the Coachella Valley every three months because it sells electricity in that area as well as Imperial County. You're right, it was an expensive meeting. Department heads and administrative staff made the trip.

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After the meeting everybody went to dinner, so you could add that to the tab. You can bet everybody put their car mileage on their expense accounts.

It was an important meeting. The future of General Manager Jesse Silva was on the agenda of a closed-door session.

Silva won big. Not only did he get a "vote of confidence," he got more power from the board.

The board changed IID's management structure putting Brad Luckey under Silva. Luckey will now report to Silva and be under Silva's authority.

Up to then, Luckey, like Silva, had reported directly to the IID board.

MOVING TO YUMA — The reported shoddy treatment of the Alberta couple by the management of the Sunbeam Lake RV Resort was of great interest to us.

We, too, are residents of Alberta and find ourselves in an untenable situation that requires us to move on.

After staying seven seasons at Sunbeam, the manager, Peggy Knippenberg, sent us a letter saying not to come back next year because we have not been "satisfied" tenants.

How does she know we are not "satisfied"? She never talked to us about any complaints.

Although we love our space at Sunbeam Lake, we're moving to Yuma next season. — Flown Away, Alberta, Canada

Knippenberg said you complained behind her back to other people — and rudely ignored her husband when you thanked a tenant for his role in the snowbird dinner.

By the way, it's definite that the other Canadian couple who had to go home when the husband got sick will not be getting a partial refund of their deposit.

Knippenberg said the resort owners, The Villanueva Companies, "will stick" to its "no refund" policy.

BETTY CROCKER COUPONS GONE — You asked me to call to tell you how the Betty Crocker giveaway went so I am calling. The Betty Crocker coupons are gone! — Ex-Saver, Westmorland

That was quick. Thank you.

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