L.A. Times story generates discontent in Imperial County

June 27, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Times took it on the chin Tuesday as the county Board of Supervisors, county staff and others complained about a recent story they said went out of its way to paint the county in a negative light.

The story was titled "Down at bottom of California," published June 17.

County Executive Officer Ann Capela said she spent an entire day with the Times reporter showing him new economic development in the Imperial Valley, such as the Gateway of the Americas project.

"None of the positive came through," she said. "I was very disappointed."

Supervisor Wally Leimgruber echoed Capela's comments, adding he spent four hours with the reporter discussing positive economic development in the county but that the story came out "bleak."

Orlando Foote Jr., chairman of the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp. board of directors and a local attorney, said the way the county was portrayed in the article by the reporter is inaccurate.


"He walked out of here with an agenda and that agenda came out in the article," Foote said, adding one of the jobs facing IVEDC is to change the impression outsiders have of the Valley.

In other business, the Board of Supervisors awarded $200,000 from the county's clean air fund to the city of El Centro to develop a "greenbelt" along La Brucherie Road where the Dahlia Canal was pipelined, from Interstate 8 to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

The El Centro project would consist of a pathway separated from the roadway by a 5-foot, landscaped area to be used by bicyclists, pedestrians, joggers, those in wheelchairs and in-line skaters. The pathway would be 8 feet wide with lighting, benches, bike racks, shade trees and water fountains. The total cost of the El Centro project is $766,250.

In February the city amended its general plan to include a comprehensive bicycle master plan to the city's circulation element.

The money comes with the condition the city meet with affected landowners and discuss the plans as well as obtain needed easements. The easement issue was raised by Monsignor Thomas J. Vidra of St. Mary's Catholic Church, who said he has not been approached by the city to discuss the issue.

The board also:

· directed staff to make minor changes to what is expected to be the final supervisorial redistricting maps and bring the issue back in a week.

· approved a two-year, $1,963.50 per month lease of office space at 551 Main St., suite 5, in Brawley, from Las Flores Partners — Jim Duggins, Five Crown Inc. and Niaz Mohamed Jr.

· approved $34,448 for the Imperial County Office of Education to hire a clerical assistant for July 1 through June 30, 2002, for the Niland Family Resource Center.

· approved $90,000 in ergonomic furniture for the County Counsel's Office as part of the office's remodel and expansion.

· approved a $532,750 contract with the state Department of Aging for services to the elderly from July 1 to June 30, 2002.

· postponed a public hearing to consider an appeal by El Centro attorney John F. Lenderman regarding the awarding of a seniors legal services contract by the Area Agency on Aging. The $25,956 contract was awarded to San Diego-based Elder Law and Advocacy/Progressive Social Services Systems Technology.

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

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles