Davis helps Calexico celebrate anniversary

May 17, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — California's first lady Sharon Davis saluted the women and men who helped Calexico grow from a tent city on the border to a thriving community of 30,000 at this city's 94th anniversary pioneers reception at the Hotel De Anza on Thursday.

Addressing the city's assembled "pioneers," Davis said, "When my husband took office one of the first trips he took was a trip to Mexico City to re-establish our important relationship with Mexico.

"The border does not divide us, it binds us together. You are proof of that bond."

Later she praised Calexico's diversity.

"Our strength comes from that diversity," she said.

She closed by saying she was "proud of Calexico" and thanked state Senate candidate Denise Moreno Ducheny for making her visit possible. Davis said she looks forward to seeing Ducheny, a former assemblywoman, back in Sacramento.


Before Davis' speech, the pioneers reception was kicked off by El Centro City Councilman Ray Castillo, who sang an English-language and a Spanish-language rendition of "God Bless America," while he played guitar. Davis and others in the audience softly sang along.

Mayor John Renison thanked Davis for making the trip to Calexico and told her, "When you go back to see Gray tomorrow you can tell him ‘Viva Calexico!'"

She smiled at the suggestion.

After Davis' speech Calexico City Councilman Victor Carrillo, the county's District 1 supervisor-elect, took time to specifically thank Calexico's pioneers by name as he looked over the faces in the audience.

"The cornerstones for Calexico; the Menvielles, Lopezes, Esquers, Carrillos, the Woo family and the Durazos," he said.

Carrillo praised Calexico as a unique multi-cultural area whose "history is represented by those in attendance."

After the speeches Davis and those in attendance all took hold of one of 94 balloons and released the balloons to keep with Calexico's anniversary celebration tradition.

Afterward, Davis mingled with others on the De Anza's patio. Shaking the hand of 84-year-old Calexican Esperanza Leyvas, Davis said, "I'm glad you were able to come."

Asked for her impression of Calexico, Davis said, "The people are so warm and friendly and they are very proud of their heritage."

She said she planned to call the governor Thursday night and tell him all about her experiences here.

"That's what I do … I visit schools and tell him about the feedback I get," she said.

After her time at the pioneers reception, Davis went to San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus to witness the signing of a binational education agreement and address the graduating class at SDSU-IV's commencement.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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