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Our Opinion: Alerting others

October 12, 2001

Imperial Valley's next congressman, Bob Filner, seems to be off to a running start in trying to look out for the needs of his future constituents here, although his first idea might be a bit of a misfire.

Filner has asked Gov. Gray Davis to declare an economic state of emergency for border communities hurt by a lack of business in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and tighter security at the border.

A state of emergency is meant to deal with a natural disaster, according to a state official, which means it appears the declaration won't be coming.

So while Filner's idea might do nothing more than attract attention, attracting attention to the situation border merchants are facing is a worthy cause because it is a major problem.

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We particularly are concerned for businesses in downtown Calexico that depend on foot traffic from Mexicali. According to the Calexico Chamber of Commerce, local shops have lost anywhere from 5 percent to 50 percent of their business. Such businesses cannot last long with such losses, particularly as the holidays get closer. Many businesses depend on the holidays to make up the majority of revenue for the year.

There is no doubt border communities such as Calexico are facing a new challenge. The question is, are such communities strong enough to deal with that challenge on their own or do they need some support?

Filner's words actually may have opened some eyes to some potential other ways to obtain help from the state or the federal government. Maybe Filner's idea will lead to new solutions to address the needs of border communities struggling since the Sept. 11 attacks brought stricter border security and longer, slower border lines.

We would hope our representative would attempt to find solutions to our problems. We look forward to seeing more action from Filner, who actually doesn't officially become the Imperial Valley's congressman until 2003.

The call for an emergency declaration may only be words, but at least our future representative is already thinking about our needs.

It appears that for awhile we may have two congressmen, both our longtime representative, Duncan Hunter, and our future representative, Bob Filner.

So far having the attentions of two congressmen seems to be working out fine.

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