Our Opinion: Don't disband the board

March 22, 2001

Is the Calexico Housing Authority perfect? No.

Could it have moved faster to help low-income renters in the Casas del Sol housing project purchase the homes they rent? Most likely.

Should the board and its director work on improving communication with the residents? Yes.

Should the Calexico City Council vote to disband the entire housing board and take on the housing authority duties itself? Absolutely not.

The City Council is busy with countless pressing issues in a vital and growing city, and the last thing it needs is to take on all the big matters and minutiae of the Housing Authority. That is why the Housing Authority has its own board.


The council has the authority to disband the board or to remove individual members. If it can be demonstrated that some board members are not responsive to their constituents and should be replaced, we urge the council to do that. That doesn't mean every member of the board should be replaced to satisfy the narrow and possibly largely personal agenda of getting Housing Authority Director Lupita Rios fired.

The council should consider holding joint meetings with the Housing Authority board to maybe think more about the goals of the authority and how it goes about providing service. That is not to say the authority has provided bad service. Most housing projects in Calexico are well-maintained and provide a safe place to live for low-income people.

That is the goal of the Housing Authority — to make sure people who might not otherwise be able to afford an adequate place to live a safe and decent residence.

The Housing Authority did make mistakes in its handling of the Casas del Sol issue. It does not appear the Housing Authority board nor Rios did everything possible to communicate with residents. If they had we doubt there would be so much uproar.

Communication goes a long way toward solving problems and calming fears. The people of Casas have legitimate concerns that need to be resolved. We just don't think breaking up the authority board is going to help make that happen.

We wonder how much of the venom against Rios is personal and how much is professional. We agree she could be more approachable. We have a harder time, though, condemning her running of what appear to be pretty good public housing projects.

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