Our Opinion: Mendoza, Kuiper: Tough tasks ahead

January 11, 2002

Stella Mendoza has been appointed president of the Imperial Irrigation District board, making her the first woman to head the board, which stands to reason since she is the first woman on the board in its 100-year history.

We are sure it will not be an easy year as the district faces some of the toughest issues and battles in years, maybe even in the district's history.

The board is going to have to have an open mind as it faces such critical issues as the water transfer and all the issues that go along with transferring Imperial Valley water to the coast. There are so many issues wrapped up in the transfer — perhaps most important, how the transfer will affect the Salton Sea and farming — that it is difficult to keep track of everything. It is even tougher to balance all the issues tied to water.

Mendoza, while she is only one voice and has no more power than any other member, will set the tone for the meetings. In that way she has a great deal of power as president of the board. Mendoza and the board are going to have to consider all the ramifications of the water deals and in the end make the decision that best meets the need of the Valley.


Mendoza is a skeptic at best about the water transfer with San Diego, which means she is not exactly liked by interests in San Diego and farmers looking to make money off the transfer. She is fine with that, but she should expect a tremendous amount of flack while she serves in such a public position.

Water transfers are going to happen, and a good one can be done to protect the future of the Valley. In essence, the Valley must be willing to give a little to protect the rest of its water. That's fine, but any water transfer must benefit all of the Imperial Valley, not a greedy few.

We also would like to wish the best to Hank Kuiper as he assumes the role as chairman of the Board of Supervisors. Like the IID board, the county supervisors are going to be facing a year filled with tough decisions that will affect the future of the Imperial Valley.

The supervisors have to do everything in their power, within reason, to bring growth to the Valley that will create good jobs for residents. Still, the growth has to be controlled, smart and not something that in the long run prove harmful to the Valley.

Kuiper and the rest of the supervisors can create an atmosphere in which quality commercial and industrial businesses will be attracted to the Valley. We must diversify our economy. There has been much talk about doing that and there has been some movement.

We call upon the supervisors to push forward the effort to diversify the economy in the next year. We call upon the supervisors to work together as a team for the betterment of the county. We make the same request of the IID board.

And when the two boards can work together for our collective good, that is all the better.

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