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Voice: Van De Graaff supports Carrillo on District 1

March 03, 2002

I had decided that 1 wouldn't get involved in politics during the current primary election, but a chain of events has caused me to change my mind.

First was when the Imperial Valley Press published the amounts of contributions received by the various candidates — and from where the donations came, it struck me as very interesting that the candidate who received the most money was the supervisor of District 1, Tony Tirado. I also found it interesting that the majority of his contributions originated from outside the Valley. Is Mr. Tirado selling out to developers?

In his list of accomplishments, Tirado mentioned the development of the port of entry. True, the property owners (who are also the developers) meet on a regular basis with the county planning director. When a decision is made, the director takes it to the chairman for a signature. This is all that is required of the supervisors.

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A place where he could make a difference is the burned-out building known as "El Charro Restaurant," at the corner of Highway 98 and Barbara Worth Road. This building is not only an eyesore but a danger to anyone who might trespass on the property. All Mr. Tirado needed to do was tell the planning director and an order of destruction could have been issued.

On another matter, 10 years ago a building used by senior citizens in Winterhaven went into bankruptcy. At that time it was owned by an agency that had a contract with the federal government. An attorney named Bill Macklin (now deceased) was in charge of the disposal of the property. When the senior citizens told me of their problem, I immediately contacted the county counsel, who contacted Macklin.

Working together, they were able to get the property transferred back to the senior citizens. For that to happen, the property had to be in the name of a local governmental organization. The Winterhaven water department was selected.

About two weeks ago, I received a call from the seniors, who told me the water department was selling the property. I advised them to contact the county counsel and their supervisor.

On Feb. 10 I received a call from the seniors telling me the property had been sold and they had been dispossessed. It is a terrible miscarriage of justice when a supervisor allows senior citizens to lose their meeting place simply because he will not stand up for their rights. After all, the building had been given to them.

It only shows that Tony Tirado has no interest in the senior citizens or in the Winterhaven area, which is soon to be transferred to another district. My vote is for Victor Carrillo, a person who has demonstrated his concern for the elderly people of Calexico and seems to be a person who genuinely wants to serve the community.

WAYNE J. VANDEGRAAFF

Former supervisor District 1

Calexico

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