EL CENTRO â€” The Imperial Irrigation District approved a sponsorship for the SEAthletes event, called SeaFest 2017, scheduled for October 21 at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area.
The event is open to the public and features the Great California Balloon Race, stand-up paddle races, an organic farmerâ€™s market, vintage car show, live music, and food. Through this event, the organization is hoping to change the narrative of the Salton Sea into a more positive one and showcase its importance in Imperial, Riverside, and Coachella Valleys.
Director Norma Galindo moved to sponsor the event at the $15,000 level.
â€œI think this is a splendid opportunity to engage the youth in something that is literally in our backyard,â€ said Galindo. â€œThe merit that this organization is putting forth is remarkable.â€
Director Juanita Salas questioned IID General Counsel Frank Oswalt whether or not this type of sponsorship is a public gift.
â€œIt is perfectly within the jurisdictional authority of the board to do these kind of sponsorships,â€ said Oswalt. â€œIt is not a public gift. If the board makes the determination that itâ€™s related to the generalized activities of the Imperial Irrigation District, it is an appropriate expenditure of public money.â€
â€œI think itâ€™s a fair assumption to say weâ€™ve spent several million dollars promoting the Salton Sea and save the sea,â€ said Board President Bruce Kuhn. â€œThis goes hand in hand with what weâ€™ve been trying to do and it does it in a very positive way. I think it will bring some positive attention the to Salton Sea.â€