Our Opinion: Maldonado for IID Division 5

February 27, 2002

Too take the title from the incumbent, the challenger must score a knockout or win in a clear decision.

Gilbert Grijalva has done neither in his race against Imperial Irrigation District Division 5 Director Rudy Maldonado.

Yes, Grijalva is a formidable candidate. He is articulate and charming. He has been a good city councilman during a time of growth and prosperity in Calexico. His choices and leadership mostly have been solid.

Facing a bad, incompetent or even mediocre opponent, Grijalva would be a fine and clear choice.

Rudy Maldonado is not such an opponent. Maldonado has consistently taken the right path for the people of the Imperial Valley on power issues. After a long tenure as an employee in IID's power department, he came into the job knowing a tremendous amount about that aspect of IID operations. And as a longtime employee, he knew what was wrong with the inner workings of the district, particularly from personnel and waste standpoints, and has worked hard to change those things.


Regarding water issues, Maldonado has fought those private interests who continue to scheme to sell the Imperial Valley's water supply for private, narrow profits. We applaud him for those efforts.

Maldonado also has worked hard in his position as an IID director to bring development to the Imperial Valley. Some have argued that such activities are beyond the purview of IID board members, but we disagree. In the poorest county in California, in a county plagued by staggering unemployment, it is the duty of every public official to try to do whatever is possible to help get the local economy humming.

One of the critiques of Maldonado, particularly early in this, his first four-year term, was that he was at times abrasive with the public and with others with IID. Maldonado concedes he was prickly at times but said he has been working on that aspect of his personality. He thinks he has become more approachable. We agree that he has.

Other than that, it is hard to criticize Maldonado's first term on the IID board.

Gilbert Grijalva might be a good IID director. Rudy Maldonado already is a good IID director.

The decision here is to stay with the title-holder. In Division 5 in the March 5 election, our decision goes to Rudy Maldonado.

>> Thursday's endorsement: county supervisor District 1.

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