Hunter responds to border commission plan

June 27, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, has not co-sponsored legislation to create the Southwest Border Regional Authority although his spokesman, Michael Harrison, said Hunter is a friend of Silvestre Reyes, the El Paso, Texas congressman who wrote the legislation.

Harrison said Hunter doesn't know if another level of bureaucracy is necessary.

"Hunter is not always too quick to create bureaucracy to solve local problems. Another thing that concerns Hunter is that Los Angeles and Los Angeles County would be included in the authority," he said.

According to the text of the legislation, Los Angeles County would qualify for assistance as a "distressed county."

Harrison said Hunter is worried a huge metropolitan area such as Los Angeles would gobble up a large part of the resources allocated by the authority annually.


"That's the same problem Imperial County has been facing for years. We need infrastructure and resources that make the border secure," Harrison said.

Hunter will wait to see how the legislation is "shaped up" in a House finance subcommittee before he decides whether to support it, according to Harrison.

"We want to make sure the border region receives the resources," he added.

Meanwhile, Harrison said Hunter has participated in an informal border group for years. It is called the Southwest Border Task Force. Unlike the proposed border authority, it is not funded by Congress.

If legislation for the Southwest border authority is eventually approved by Congress, the authority would be a federally funded commission run by one presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate and the governors of New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and California.

The proposed Southwest authority's governing structure is modeled after that of the Appalachian Regional Commission, created in 1965 to funnel resources to 13 coal belt states.

Rep. Bob Filner, D-Chula Vista, one of the co-sponsors of the authority legislation, doesn't think it has much chance for passage this year but it could be brought back next session.

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

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