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Our Opinion: Fighting to the finish

May 20, 2002

It is unfortunate that Brawley's bid to obtain a state enterprise designation does not seem to be moving in the right direction, having stalled in the state Senate Housing Committee.

However, all hopes have not been dashed and there still is a chance Brawley could be successful. To do that it will take a battle in the Legislature, but Brawley has done that before and succeeded.

It seems a bit shortsighted of the state Senate if it does not allow Brawley to form an enterprise zone. If the lobbyist for the city, Bill Dohring, is right that legislators are skittish of taking such an action because of the expected state deficit, our state leaders are missing the larger picture.

Brawley is in a state of growth and that is that only benefits the state. We recently have seen the opening of Brawley Beef, which has created 600 jobs and played a leading role in drastically reducing the Imperial Valley unemployment rate. And there is more growth to come in Brawley as other business ventures are taking shape.

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An enterprise zone designation would give Brawley the ability to offer incentives to such businesses to make sure their projects come to fruition. For the state to deny Brawley that chance makes little sense. When a community is on the blooming, it seems short-sighted to cut it off at the stem.

We urge Brawley officials to not give up. As Dohring said in a recent article, it may be possible for him to "hijack" another bill and place the enterprise zone item in that legislation. If Brawley officials have to go back to the state capital to argue their cause, we urge them to do so.

We are confident they will. Back in 1998, when the state opted against awarding the city an enterprise zone, Brawley decided to pursue its own legislation to form a new kind of zone known as a manufacturing enhancement area. That the state Legislature did approve, and today Brawley and Calexico are the only two cities with that designation.

It is that kind of creativity that lifts a city.

Should Brawley fail in this most recent attempt, we can only hope that the business growth does not suddenly stop. There is great potential to attract businesses that would feed off the beef plant and create more jobs. We hope such businesses do not lose interest in the city or the Valley.

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