John Hernandez runs for Division 1 seat on IID board

October 23, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

Seeking to continue his service to the public, El Centro resident John Hernandez is running for the Division 1 seat on the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors.

Hernandez pointed out he is running for the division seat and not against incumbent Andy Horne.

Hernandez, 52, said he is stepping up to the plate for the election in order to offer people a choice.

"I'm rejuvenated and I'm back," he said Monday.

A variety of issues were discussed with Hernandez, including his positions on the IID/San Diego County Water Authority water transfer, fallowing, the Salton Sea and the IID efficiency study.

Regarding the water transfer, Hernandez said he would respect those decisions already made, but he would like to know the details that led to such decisions, that is, the details that led to the transfer agreement.


Hernandez said he understands fallowing is prohibited in the transfer agreement and said he defines fallowing as the taking of land out of production at the expense of harming the local economy. He also said fallowing should be the last resort to generate water, that on a 1-10 scale, fallowing would be No. 10.

Hernandez was asked what he thought of the price of conserved water that the San Diego County Water Authority has agreed to pay. He said he thought the price appears to be a good one, and he wonders what will happen to the difference between what San Diego pays and what farmers pay.

On the issue of the Salton Sea, Hernandez said the sea and the Valley go hand in hand.

"One cannot survive without the other," he said. "It's inherent to us to save the Salton Sea."

Hernandez asked rhetorically how it is that the United States government will spend money around the world building projects but will not pay to save the sea. He said the amounts of contaminants going into the sea should be reduced, and methods should be researched to clean up the Alamo and New rivers.

Regarding the IID efficiency study, Hernandez said he would like to know how some of the recommendations were arrived at. He also said IID employees should not lose their jobs as they are some of the best jobs in the Imperial Valley. He said IID workers should continue to be trained, helped to become more efficient and given better benefits in order to attract workers from outside the Valley.

"I believe the IID has efficient employees," he said, adding that the study does say things can be improved.

Hernandez was asked his opinion on the so-called San Diego/Tijuana canal that would be built in Mexico to transport water from the Colorado River to Tijuana and IID-conserved water from the IID to the San Diego County Water Authority.

He said once the water reaches Mexico, the water belongs to Mexico. He said how it is transported is their business.

"However, we need to protect our interests, and if there any positive impacts of it, go after them," he said.

Hernandez has worked for the state's social services for more than 29 years and served as a trustee on the Central Union High School board for about five years.

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

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