County supervisors discuss residency of Salton Sea cities

Cotton Imperial Valley
Cotton acreage peaked in 1987 with 143,000 acres in the Imperial Valley



EL CENTRO – The County supervisors grappled Tuesday with the issues the residents of Desert Shores and other Salton Sea towns deal with every day, living in the Imperial County but having their Post Office box in Riverside County.

This status of their official residence leads many into being initially denied Imperial County services such as medical, and other help, and more troubling, for reverse Imperial County 911.

Executive Officer Ralph Cordova explained that it is the Federal Government that issues zip codes, and it is the official address used by many agencies. Those living in Imperial County but having a Riverside zip code out of Thermal, the closest post office, constantly battle with public agencies.

Later in the meeting, Matt Pearlson, the Citizens Energy representative who gave a presentation before the board, said their company had the same troubles when the residents out in the towns by the Sea applied for solar installations. Citizens Energy works with Imperial County residents only, and their zip codes in their applications registered as Riverside.

Ryan Kelley, District 5, asked the county to look into ways of alleviating this problem for his constituents.

County Dissolves Cotton Abatement District

Connie Valenzuela, County Agricultural Commissioner, asked the Board to certify the results of the Cotton Pest Abatement District Election held last March 5, 2013, which proposed to dissolve the District.

The District was formed in 1982 because of the increasing damage of two pests. The pink boll worm was present in the Valley since the mid-1960’s and the boll weevil since early 80’s, both are two of the most serious cotton pests in the world, according to Valenzuela.

The boll weevil was declared eradicated in 1993, but after that, the white fly invaded. The Cotton Board was very active in dealing with these serious pests and they were successful reducing the pest pressure.

Cotton farming had a peak in 1987 with 143,000 acres of harvested cotton. Yet, the acreage began to dramatically fall after the boll weevil came into the Valley, according to Valenzuela.

Now, farmers do not treat for Pink Boll Worm when they grow cotton. There are other, successful methods of limiting the worm damage, such as not growing in the winter, using Pheromones which disrupts their breeding season, and planting resistant forms of cotton.

Valenzuela said that in recent years there has been little to no cotton, mainly due to market and not pests. This made it very hard to have enough cotton growers to form a board to dissolve the Cotton District.  Two years ago, a board was formed, but the by-laws say electing to dissolve the District can only happen in odd years. There wasn’t enough time to shut the Board down in 2011, so now, in 2013, they have met, gone through the legal steps, had their election, and are before the County to certify the results. The County ratified their election and the Imperial Valley Cotton Pest Abatement District is officially dissolved.