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Our Opinion: DMV closure would hurt

August 27, 2001

We were surprised to learn recently of the state's long-range plans to consider closing the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Brawley — a move we strongly hope does not come to pass.

It appears the state is considering building a new DMV center in the Imperial Valley that might be, according to rumor, on a 17-acre parcel near Costco Wholesale. In essence the state would close its two "undersized" offices in the Valley and replace them with the one center.

We are pleased to see the county Board of Supervisors make it clear it would not support such a plan. We appreciate Assemblyman Dave Kelley, who represents the Valley, siding with the board. He is a strong and respected voice in state government and his support will help.

Closing the Brawley office does not appear to make sense. It would be a slap in the face to the Valley in general and Brawley in particular. It would appear the state would be suggesting the Valley only has need for one DMV center.


That could not be further from the truth and reeks of an attitude at the state level we hoped had started to change — an attitude in which state officials seem to ignore or downplay the needs of the Valley. In recent years we have seen a lot of state and federal money come our way, so we thought such misguided attitudes were changing.

Changes in the operations of the DMV offices might be needed, but the idea of closing the office in Brawley should be deeply considered. The North County and South County areas of the Valley are distinct and separated by a good deal of land. We hope state officials, as they stated in a recent article, are exploring all options, and they should be ready to prove that the Brawley office is terribly underutilized or undersized if they plan to close it.

Just as the county is working toward bringing more services to North County, the state should not consider decreasing services to that area. We would counterpropose the state look at building its 17-acre facility in El Centro while continuing to maintain its center in Brawley.

We urge all Imperial Valley residents to consider writing letters to state officials, urging them to rethink any proposal calling for closing the Brawley office. It seems we are going to have to help ourselves on this issue. Letters can go a long way toward making a difference.

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