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Our Opinion: Keep working together

July 25, 2001

We welcome two new key Mexican officials to their posts — Eugenio Elorduy Walther, recently elected governor of Baja California, and Jaime Diaz Ochoa, recently elected mayor of Mexicali, the city right across the border from the Imperial Valley.

Clearly, those are two influential positions that can have a direct effect on the Imperial Valley, which we saw with Victor Hermosillo, the departing Mexicali mayor. Hermosillo made it his business to forge a relationship with officials on this side of the border. He was involved with the signing of pacts with Imperial County officials to work together for the mutual benefit of communities on both sides of the border. We credit Hermosillo for his efforts.

It will fall on Diaz to continue that relationship and we are confident he will. Like Hermosillo, he is a member of the business-oriented PAN party. He likely realizes the Imperial and Mexicali valleys are closely linked and the prosperity of both communities can be better fostered by working together.

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Elorduy can play an equally critical role. He has a unique perspective because he was born in Calexico and was mayor of Mexicali. He likely understands the relationship that exists beyond the border fence. Yes, we are divided by that fence, but we are not divided in our spirit of cooperation. All we have to do is look at how many vehicles cross through the border port facilities each day to understand how closely connected we are and how our individual economies depend on each other.

There are other critical issues beyond economies that tie us together. Illegal immigration affects both sides of the border. There seems to be more attention from United States officials and there is a ripe opportunity for those living on the border to try to make our governments understand the need for action that will result in real solutions.

Each summer too many people are dying in our deserts and our canals in search of the dream of a better life. If officials in the Imperial Valley work closely with Diaz and Elorduy, the effort to save lives can move ahead.

We hope to see Davis and Elorduy cross the border and meet with local officials and for officials here to do the same, and do so as soon as possible. Now is the time to take some steps forward to deal with our mutual issues, from economies to illegal immigration to the cleaning of the New River and improvement of air quality.

Local officials, don't wait for an invitation. Invite Diaz and Elorduy here. It is time to start working together.

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