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Supervisors to decide on dunes emergency

January 07, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors is scheduled Tuesday to determine if there is a need to continue the state of emergency declared by the board Dec. 18 because of increasing chaos at the Imperial Sand Dunes.

The resolution declaring a local state of emergency and request for state money followed a violent Thanksgiving holiday weekend where more than 190,000 visitors to the dunes were patrolled by less than 40 officers.

To curb the violence, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the sand dunes, brought a national and state interagency incident team to the dunes for the New Year's holiday weekend.

Costs to the BLM for the weekend are estimated at more than $400,000, BLM spokesman Bruce Schaeffer said.

The county covered additional costs of booking, housing people in jail, transportation to jail from the dunes, costs to the District Attorney's and Public Defender's offices, court costs and processing paperwork, county sheriff's spokesman Jim Burns said.


The board needs to review the need to continue the local state of emergency at least every 14 days, a letter from county Fire Chief Joe Buzo Jr. states.

The board scheduled a public hearing at 1:30 p.m. to repeal a 1998 approval of the Felicity specific plan area. The project cannot move forward because of a lawsuit. According to county documents, Mike Gibbs, a lawyer for the county's Planning Department, recommended the decision be repealed. No other information was available.

Also at the meeting, the board is scheduled to:

· elect a new board chairman;

· consider, as the Air Pollution Control District board, an increase of $189,045 for maintenance of the compressed natural gas facility;

· name David Harrison Sr., and Christine Boswell Harris to the Bombay Beach Community Service District board.

The Board of Supervisors meets at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the board chambers on the second floor of the County Administration Center, 940 W. Main St., El Centro. Meeting agendas are available online at

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or

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