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Western realignment approved, common ground cited

May 17, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The El Centro City Council voted to seek political ties to the west and break those with the north.

On a 4-1 vote, the council authorized City Councilman Larry Grogan to attend an upcoming county public hearing on state Senate and Assembly redistricting and formally declare the council's position.

Voting for the realignment were Grogan and council members Jack Dunnam, Jack Terrazas and Mayor Cheryl Walker.

Voting nay was councilman David Dhillon, who said the county has more in common with the Coachella Valley on such issues as schools, agriculture, water, desert, the Salton Sea and highways. He said at the upcoming grand-opening ceremony of Highway 86 in Riverside County, the highway will be called the Dave Kelley Highway, in honor of the former state senator and current assemblyman who is credited as the driving force behind the four-lane highway.

The other council members said the Valley has more in common with the San Diego area, including service organizations, San Diego State University, medical care and shopping.

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In other business, the council:

· heard an update of El Centro Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau activities. Outgoing chamber president Cliff Caldwell said the incoming president is John Anderson, county schools superintendent.

· approved a tentative condominium subdivision map on a 1-acre vacant lot at 1630 Euclid Ave. The project also received city Planning Commission approval, with certain conditions.

· held two public hearings and unanimously approved the sale of two city-owned parcels in the Centerpoint Business Park. The two parcels will be for the development of an office/shop of about 5,000 square feet and the development of a light industrial manufacturing plant of similar size. The former is expected to result in 15 to 30 jobs and the latter in 10 to 20 jobs.

· adopted a resolution approving an agreement with the Los Angeles-based law firm of Liebert Cassiday Whitmore to provide legal services pertaining to employment relation matters. The hourly rates range from $75 for a paralegal to $260 for certain attorneys.

· adopted a resolution approving an agreement and associated costs with Motorola Communications for an upgrade to the Police Department's communications center. The total cost is $265,585.78, of which the city's share is expected to not exceed $90,585.78. Motorola has reportedly offered to finance the upgrade.

· approved a request by the Imperial County Office of Education to adopt a resolution in support of the ICOE's attempt to seek supplemental funding from the state for the completion of the county's fiber optic network.

· set a public workshop on the city's budget for 6 p.m. June 11 at the city library.

Separately, Dhillon told the council that members of the Centinela State Prison citizens advisory board are making the rounds of service organizations and planting the seed that the prison might expand in the future. He said the effort is being made in light of the Valley's rejection of a mental health hospital for repeat violent sexual predators.

The council was invited to attend a Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. May 28 in front of the Elks Lodge downtown. Guest speakers will be Mayor Walker and the commanding officer of Naval Air Facility El Centro.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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