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Seniors urged to sign list for new Victoria apartments

April 05, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Seniors citizens need to get to the Calexico Housing Authority's main office at 1006 E. 5th St. to put their names on an "interest list" if they want to rent a spanking new, low-rent apartment at Victoria Manor.

In about a month the new apartments on Rancho Frontera Avenue and Highway 98 will be finished.

To make sure the apartments are filled as soon as possible, Simpson Housing of Long Beach is putting together a "interest list." Seniors who aren't able to make it to the authority's offices can call 357-3013 and have their names added to the list.

Simpson Housing will send seniors a verification letter once their names are on the list, according to Maria Sam, secretary for the Housing Authority's interim executive director, Christina Rojas.

Speaking of Rojas … some commissioners on the authority board were shocked to learn that she went to Las Vegas to attend a training seminar.

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At the beginning of Thursday's authority board meeting, commissioner Irene Hueso-Mora looked at an empty seat and wanted to know where Rojas was.

After finding out, she said, "In Vegas?… For training?!"

Commissioner Robert Morales said there was nothing in the authority's bylaws that state Rojas has to notify everyone on the board that she was leaving for training.

"She doesn't have to call everyone on the board, write a letter … send up smoke signals, whatever," he said.

Hueso-Mora disagreed.

She said, "Our bylaws state that we have to approve all employees' training."

Commissioner Maunel Ayala nodded in support.

"I would like for anyone to be taking trips to be approved by the board," he said.

Commissioner Adriana Esparza said the "training" trip sounded like a vacation.

Possibly sparking the ill will from some on the board was a recent e-mail that Rojas sent to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In the e-mail, Rojas asked HUD officials to tell the commissioners they aren't allowed to receive money for attending the interview sessions recently conducted with candidates for the executive director position since they already had received the maximum amount of money for that month.

The commissioners receive money for attending meetings each month but the amount cannot exceed $200.

After reading from the e-mail, Hueso-Mora said the problem wasn't that the board was not given any money for the interview sessions but that standards weren't being fairly applied.

She said if the bylaws rule when the issue involves money for the commissioners, the bylaws should rule when the interim director wants to take a trip to Vegas for training.

This morning commission Chairman Jesus "Chuy" Solano said if the women on the board had attended the previous meeting they would have known that the training trip already had been preapproved and budgeted.

According to Solano and Sam, Rojas is in Las Vegas to learn more about Section 8 vouchers. Regarding the "shock" expressed by some commissioners Thursday night, Solano said, "The board has to educate itself. It's an attitude problem."

During the meeting, Solano was blasted by Antonio Ramirez for getting too cozy with Rojas. Ramirez is the president of the Casas del Sol housing project.

He said, "He's with her 24 hours a day!"

Solano said, "I'm mellow with Christina and they don't appreciate that."

As for the accusation that Solano and Rojas spend all day together, Solano said, "That shot was uncalled for."

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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