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Calexico council addresses commissioners' concerns

September 22, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — An assembly of city commissioners voiced concerns with this city's quality of life and worked toward solutions during a breakfast workshop with the City Council at City Hall on Saturday morning.

Representatives from each of the city's 10 commissions spoke at the workshop and city councilmen dutifully took notes and asked questions.

The city organized the workshop to "help the city respond to your commissions' needs," according to Mayor Victor Carrillo.

"We're only as good as our commissions," he added.

Planning Commissioner Arturo Selwick received a hearty round of applause after he took the City Council to task for overturning a recent decision by the commission.

He told the council, "We need to start thinking very seriously before we give out our tax money to developers."

Early this month the council unanimously overturned a ruling by planning commissioners that would have required a collection of Calexico landowners to pay for an environmental review on their property before they could develop houses and an industrial park.

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The council's decision to not require the EIR saved landowners more than $250,000, according to some estimates, and allowed the project to be sent to the county for approval.

Selwick said, "The council should look out for the benefit of the city's inhabitants, not the benefit of future inhabitants."

Carrillo took the criticism in stride and said, "It's important to agree to disagree."

He said it was important for the city commissioners to look out for the benefit of the community and not the benefit of the council.

Real estate agent Linda Barrientos of the economic development commission asked the council to consider building a new community center instead of spending $750,000 to remodel the center on Dool Avenue.

"It doesn't make any sense to try to turn a woman who is 75 years old into a 24-year-old when you could get a 24-year-old woman for the same price," she said.

Daniel Santillan, a recently appointed commissioner on the Calexico Housing Authority board, said he hoped his presence on the commission would provide some stability.

He has worked with two specific members of the board in various capacities in the past and he said that experience would help, "bring these two individuals together."

He never mentioned the individuals by name.

Roberto Morales, who has recently rejoined the housing authority board, said the recent, "personality-driven authority board makes Calexico look bad."

He told the City Council, "If you've got a problem, address it and get rid of it."

Morales then spoke on behalf of the library advisory board, on which he also sits.

He lambasted the proposed $1 million plan to renovate the Carnegie Library.

"I make enemies every time I say this but put the money where it's needed, fellas," he said.

Some of the uses for the money he recommended: new paint and more landscaping for the Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Memorial Library.

Javier Gonzalez, chairman of the beautification commission, told the council an awards system would be started to reward those who "go the extra mile" to keep the city clean.

Gonzalez said those who maintain nice gardens or keep their houses clean could be eligible for awards.

Another beautification project he mentioned, the planting of more than 700 trees, will be done in the next two years.

Carrillo said he would be personally addressing the intersection of Highway 111 and Cole Road.

In a meeting with the California Department of Transportation, Carrillo said he would talk about "getting rid of the oleanders" and replacing the center divider with a desert landscape similar to medians in the Tucson area.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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