Westmorland mayor lobbies county for help to curb traffic problems on residential street

April 17, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL

Staff Writer

Westmorland Mayor Larry Ritchie asked the county Board of Supervisors for help Tuesday with a busy residential street next to a playground where a child was killed last month.

Ritchie said a citizens committee counted more than 3,000 vehicles, including up to 1,000 tractor-trailer rigs, using Forrester Road daily from March 13-15. Forrester becomes Center Street in Westmorland.

"We have a major problem. We don't have the resources to fix this problem but we don't want to lose any more children," he said.


Supervisor Gary Wyatt said county staff and the California Department of Transportation are looking into traffic problems on Keystone Road and might be able to add Forrester to the study.

Also at the meeting, the board found out equipment on land recently acquired by the county at the Gateway of the Americas development is in violation of zoning laws. County Planning and Building Department Director Jurg Heuberger said he advised the people using the land about the violation.

The supervisors heard a report from County Counsel Ralph Cordova Jr. on the status of its lawsuits regarding power plants being built in Mexicali.

Cordova said owners of the North Baja Pipeline want to use eminent domain to take the land to build the pipeline that will feed the power plants.

Supervisor Joe Maruca said owners of the power plants, Sempra Energy of San Diego and Intergen Aztec of Boston, chose to build the plants across the border from Imperial County because it is a poor, minority county.

"What are the power plants going to do for Imperial County?" Maruca asked.

Supervisor Tony Tirado answered, "Pollute us."

"We're dealing with a monster with no conscience," Tirado said.

The companies don't care if they harm the health of a million people, including residents of the Imperial and Mexicali valleys, Tirado said.

Cordova said he could not give a full report because the lawsuits are pending.

Supervisor Wally Leimgruber was absent from the meeting because he was in Washington, D.C., on county business.

The board also:

· transferred $277,265 to fund the Northend Administration Center at its meeting Tuesday;

· transferred $30,000 to the county library project at the Meyer Memorial Library in Calipatria;

· applied for a $41,000 arts grant from the state;

· transferred $51,000 to the county counsel capital improvement fund.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or

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