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Local students adopt key roles in county government

April 10, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL

Staff Writer

Seven high school students temporarily took over the job of the county Board of Supervisors, county executive officer and clerk of the board Tuesday during a mock Board of Supervisors meeting.

The students held their own, with little training from their predecessors.

The students worked with a busy agenda that included action on air pollution from power plants being built in Mexicali, how best to use the county's tobacco settlement money and how to clean and improve the landscape of the Valley.

They also listened to public comments, including "angry" comments from the county's real supervisors and other county officials.

"I'm a little nervous. Please excuse me. It's my first time speaking in public," Supervisor Tony Tirado said. "Calexico has the highest air pollution in the Valley. What will you do to fix this problem?"

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District 5 student Supervisor Josh Drye offered to go to Mexico with his cousin, District 2 student Chairwoman Cortney Drye, to discuss the power plants with government officials there.

District 3 student Supervisor James Watte said maybe the county could go directly to the two U.S. companies that own the power plants instead of going through the Mexican government.

The student supervisors also said it was important to clean the Valley of illegal dump sites that are an eyesore and may keep businesses from moving to the county.

Cortney said high school associated student bodies are always looking for public service projects.

"Maybe we can get help from them. There are young people out there who care," she said.

Some of the student supervisors thought building a water park would be a good use of tobacco settlement money.

District 1 student Supervisor Jordana Vildosola said she thought people would come from San Diego and Los Angeles for a water park. James said he wasn't sure the Valley could support a water park.

Student County Executive Officer Lynneth Solis said the county already has a lot of projects that need to be taken care of before new projects are considered.

Supervisor Gary Wyatt gave public comment suggesting the county build a parking garage with tobacco settlement money so people can find parking when they do business at the County Administration Center.

District 4 student Supervisor Daniel Nuñez said he thought a parking garage was a bad idea. He said he found a parking space within one minute.

The students approved by a vote of 3-2, with Daniel and Josh voting against, to have Daniel and James look into the possibilities of use for tobacco settlement money.

The agenda actions were recorded by Imperial High School senior Stacy Masters working as the clerk of the board, a job normally held by Albert Espinosa.

Jordana is a junior at Vincent Memorial High School in Calexico. Cortney is a senior at Southwest High School in El Centro. James is a senior at Calipatria High School. Daniel is a senior at Brawley High School. Josh is a senior at Holtville High School. Lynneth is a senior at Central Union High School in El Centro.

The mock board meeting was coordinated by Spectrum of El Centro. April 7-13 is National County Government week.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or lauramitchell9@yahoo.com

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