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PROBE: February 4, 2002

February 04, 2002

A NAME CHANGE — I just read Bret Kofford's column about a movement to change the names of the Imperial Valley College sports teams from the Arabs to something else.

This is not a new issue. Back in July 1969 at a leadership conference for Imperial Valley College, I made a motion to change the name of the Arabs. My cousin Jerry Santillan seconded the motion. We had about five votes (not enough) to make the change.

We wanted to change the name to something that was not ethnic. We decided to do it after Stanford University changed the names of its sports teams from the Indians to The Cardinal.

I wanted to change the name to something that better reflected what we do in the Valley. I thought names like the Packers to represent packing house workers or the Cowboys to personify the men who punched feedlot cattle. — Old Radical, Calexico

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The more things change, the more they stay the same. In 1969 you were following Stanford's trend. No doubt your motives were pure, the desire being to wipe out racism wherever you perceived it.

Thank you. Your story reminds us that there was considerable history made in Imperial County during the turbulent 1960s.

The farm labor movement was basically born in Imperial County. Cesar Chavez, a Brawley native, walked our streets. The red and black strike flag waved, Ted Kennedy held hearings here and Jane Fonda gave a speech in Heber Park.

QUESTION: I am a healthy woman, 62, recently retired and need to go back to work for a few hours a day. I have some job skills. I have done office work, tutoring, retail and even a stint with Imperial County's in-home-service.

It's hard for an older worker to get a job because so many employers seem to prefer workers from Mexicali. I speak Spanish so language does not come into the picture. — Job Seeker, El Centro

What we are hoping is an employer will see your letter, exclaim, "Aha! Just the woman we need!" If it doesn't happen, the Work Training Center might serve your purpose if you qualify. You must be a resident of Imperial County, at least 55 years old, with an income just above the poverty level, $14,515, for a family of two.

Call the Employment Development Department at 337-5000 or drop by the EDD office on West Main (across the street from Valley Plaza) and check out the one-stop employment center.

When you step into the employment office go directly to the front counter and tell somebody you would like to register for the employment center. Let us know how this turns out because we have so little faith in most programs designed to help the poor.

QUESTION: We have three small buildings that we would like torn down rather than burn them. We've heard some people will tear down the buildings and haul the boards, lumber and plumbing stuff to Mexicali where it will be recycled as building material. — Recycler, Calipatria

Your plan sounds good but you should find out if you need any permits for the dismantling. If anybody would like to tear down the houses, they may call John on his cell phone at 336-1051.

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