PROBE: June 11, 2001

June 11, 2001

QUESTION: A week ago Sunday I went to the El Centro post office to pick up my mail and I could not get into my box. Can you find out why? My box rent is paid. — Locked Out, El Centro

We almost skipped your question, knowing you probably resolved the problem before we heard your question on our voice mail.

We thought we knew the answer because we had a similar problem last week. We couldn't open our box at the Holtville post office.

We tried several times but it wouldn't open. That wouldn't have bothered us 15 years ago. This time we started stewing about impending decline, dementia or even Alzheimer's disease.

First thing Monday we went to the post office and tried the combination again. It still didn't work.

The postal clerk said, "I know why you're here. You can't open your box. We inadvertently changed your combination."


We were so relieved, we didn't get mad!

We still don't know why you couldn't open your box. Neither does El Centro Postmaster Pete Race. He agrees there was no reason to close your box. Your rent was paid.

Sometimes, he said, too much mail will jam the lock mechanism.

Maybe you forgot your combination. You know how it is when you get older.

QUESTION: I work at an air conditioning and plumbing store. We received this. I thought you should know about it. What do you think? — Company President, El Centro

We think it's an old scam in new clothes. An "impoverished" African "refugee" seeks the help of an American businessman to help the African get money into the U.S.

It looks like a no-lose operation for an American willing to shelter $29.9 million in the American's personal bank account.

With a deal like that, how could you lose?

Naturally, the African will need some confidential information from you, like your checking account number (so he can move the money into your account).

With that kind of information, he can move money IN and OUT of your account. That's how you lose.

This scam has been rearing its ugly head for 20 years. It used to be desperate Nigerians looking for a place to shelter $27 million.

Now it's refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo seeking to hide $29 million. Obviously the higher sum reflects inflation.

Somebody is making money on the scams or they wouldn't continue.

QUESTION: The Calipatria City Council ignored a petition from the Hispanic community to name a street after a Hispanic pioneer who lived on the east side of town.

This racist attitude continues to suppress Mexican-American political activity in small communities all over the Valley. Where are the barrio leaders? What happened to the Latin American Club? Stop the City Council suppression of our culture. — Disgusted, Brawley

We don't want to hear about "racism" or "racist" leaders. Hispanics have the numbers. It's time to step into the arena.

That means picking and supporting candidates, passing out leaflets, walking door to door and VOTING.

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