Calexico to inspect its downtown

May 22, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The City Council here will take to Calexico's downtown streets this weekend to inspect the rundown stores that violate city codes and one corner establishment that City Councilman Alex Perrone called "filthy."

The council's "walking tour" will start at 10 a.m. sharp Saturday. The council plans to start at Apple Market Super Shopping, 401 E. 2nd St.

Mayor John Renison said, "If you're here at 10:05 we'll be walking west; you can catch up."

The idea for a downtown tour was informally agreed upon during Tuesday's council meeting after Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Hildy Carrillo-Rivera told the councilmen they need to, "Go down there. Let the owners see you down there."


She categorized some sections of the city's downtown area as "health hazards."

Perrone led off the downtown discussion by pointing out that many of the stores downtown are not taking advantage of the storefront rebate program and some owners who have received money from the city for participating in the program have not spent the money on visible repairs.

Councilman David Ouzan, the owner of a downtown store, said, "I agree with you. We need to expose the program more. Maybe we could send (downtown merchants) a letter."

To deal with the issues, City Councilman Victor Carrillo said there needs to be some sort of partnership that brings together downtown merchants, the chamber and city officials. Carrillo-Rivera said a committee comprised of representatives from each group should meet and catalogue the "millions of violations downtown."

With some sort of idea as to the scope of the problem, she said the committee could put together a blueprint of all the things that are wrong downtown and work toward solutions.

In other business during Tuesday's meeting, the council heard from Second Street resident Pearl Zertuche. Representing more than 40 of her neighbors, Zertuche asked the council to reject the city Planning Commission's recommendation to allow the George Woo family to build 10 apartments where a market and a house once stood.

Neighboring residents oppose construction of an apartment complex because they think prospective tenants will contribute to traffic in the area and gang activity.

Renison told Zertuche to file an appeal of the Planning Commission's decision. He said the matter will be taken care of through standard procedural channels.

Later Renison appointed Ouzan to represent the city at monthly meetings of the New River Committee's 10-person board and serve as the council's liaison. Ouzan said it is important for someone from the city to help do something about the New River.

After that appointment, Renison made a motion to re-appoint Armando Zuniga to the Planning Commission. Ouzan said he thought another candidate, Mark Perrone, should be considered.

Both Perrone, Councilman Alex Perrone's brother, and Zuniga submitted letters of interest.

Ouzan said there needed to be some "new blood" on the commission. He said Mark Perrone is "talented and energetic."

Alex Perrone said, "I agree with him."

Renison then asked for a vote on Zuniga's appointment.

Renison and Mayor Pro Tem Frank Montoya voted to appoint Zuniga. Ouzan and Perrone voted against the appointment. Carrillo mulled his vote before he said, "abstain."

With a 2-2 vote, the motion failed.

Ouzan then made a motion to appoint Perrone. Both he and Alex Perrone voted in favor but those were the only affirmative votes .

Finally, Renison made another motion to appoint Zuniga.

Renison, Montoya and Carrillo voted in favor with Ouzan and Perrone again voting against.

"Armando Zuniga is reappointed to the Planning Commission," Renison said.

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

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