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Our Opinion: Vasquez for District 5

March 01, 2002

ally Leimgruber is a good man with a good heart and the best of intentions for the Imperial Valley.

As an Imperial County supervisor in 2002, that is not enough.

Leimgruber is facing a strong opponent in his bid for re-election Tuesday. Esteban "Steve" Vasquez is a veteran Brawley city councilman who has endured withering criticism from the public and fellow council members to stick by what he sees as right. And Brawley now is profiting from those stances.

Vasquez pushed for a new city water plant in Brawley when others in the city wanted to fix a failing old plant. Despite heated attacks and a recall action against him, Vasquez stood his ground. While the plant was expensive and there were roadblocks along the way, the facility is now up and operating and Brawley is experiencing growth it hadn't seen in decades, all thanks to the increased water capacity at the plant. Yes, Brawley's new beef-processing plant has some issues that still need to be resolved, but it is a facility that has brought the community hundreds of jobs and a new spirit of vitality. And that facility would not have been built in Brawley if there weren't a new city water plant.


Along with proving he is not afraid to take and maintain a controversial stand, Vasquez has shown, particularly in renowned battles with a fellow councilman, that he won't be pushed around. He also is an articulate man who is known to listen to and respond to the concerns of his constituents.

Leimgruber has worked hard for the county and is a fine and likable person. We admire his current stand against what could be a greased setup to get a local politico a high-ranking and high-paying job.

Still, Leimgruber stuck his foot in his mouth a few months ago regarding what is a reasonable amount of farm fallowing in this county — we hope he didn't really mean what he said — and seemed reluctant to take a stand on the issue of the polluting power plants in Mexicali. He admits he allowed himself to be bullied in the first part of this, his first four-year term on the Board of Supervisors, and has not shown himself to be a natural or forceful leader. And his constant verbal fumbling, while not as bad as it used to be, surely does not make a good impression when he goes out of the area to do county business.

As much as we like Wally Leimgruber as a person, we cannot support his re-election. We endorse the election of Steve Vasquez as county supervisor in District 5.

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