By John Renison
I would like to start off this week by thanking and congratulating our team from Social Services from Community and Economic Development for the great job last week during a mobile van visit to the Sleepy Hollow Trailer Park in Andrade just south of the Quechan Casino in Winterhaven. Just a few weeks ago the fifty-seven or so residents received eviction notices effective August 31st. You can imagine the despair and nervousness this created for the residents. We offered immediate relocation assistance and also conducted interviews over a six-hour span to determine if any families needed financial or other assistance. I will report on the outcome in a future column. We are hopeful that we can relocate the families successfully over the next few weeks.
I also want to announce that the Department of Social Services van will visit Calexico on Wednesday, September 7th at 5:30 pm in front of City Hall on Heber Avenue in Calexico. This mobile van will provide staffing to answer any questions that are residents have regarding County of Imperial assistance that is available. I will also invite our Child Support Services Department to join Social Services during that visit.
Just recently a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Child Support Division and the Workforce Development Offices. Directors Gustavo Roman and Miguel Figueroa are working jointly to address problems and obstacles that residents face when in arrears. There is a special program that allows persons owing child support to be able to pay their current payment and an additional $25.00. They are then able to retain their driver’s license to be able to obtain employment. My congratulations to these two agencies for their collaboration. By working together, we are further sending the message to the community that the County is working towards solving many of our problems.
Just recently I contacted Public Works Director William Brunet to express my concerns regarding north V.V. Williams St. north of Sam Ellis St. to Cole Rd. Within two weeks, county crews had cleared all the debris on both sides of the road as well as “skin patch” paving. If you have a chance, take a drive and notice the difference. I am fortunate to only have a few County roads in my District and am able to respond much more quickly.
An update on the Anza Rd. bridge east of Calexico: CALTRANS, Bureau of Reclamation and the County are working together to fund a completely new bridge that will cost upwards of $1 million. Permits are being issued and I hope that construction can start sometime new year.
Many residents have asked for an update on the Casino property at Jasper Rd. and Highway 111. The unfortunate news is that the property appears to be for sale. There has been no official word from either the Manzanita Tribe or the Federal Government on the status of the property. Several attempts to contact the Tribe have been unsuccessful. You will remember that in 2005 Calexico residents voted by a 55% margin to seek an off-reservation Casino. I will update you on this at a later date.
The Port of Entry construction is continuing south of Cesar Chavez Blvd. Projections are that Phase 1 will conclude in early 2018. The County is seeking Phase 2 funding for the complete buildout. The County is working closely with our Washington lobbyist firm (Waterman and Associates) to push for the authorization. We are in a Presidential election year and we are hopeful that the two parties understand the importance to border commerce and pollution.
The County of Imperial and the City of Calexico are working closely on an application to fund the completion of the widening of Second St. from the airport to the bridge west. This project will bridge many public works jobs to Calexico as well as assist the Gran Plaza in their intention of building the second phase of the project. Hundreds of additional jobs will be created as a result of this project. The Economic Development Administration will fund this project. No County or City funds will be utilized.
Starting this fall, I will hold several community workshops and I will let you know the schedules via this column and Facebook. I would like to hold them on Thursday evenings at 6:00 pm in different locations. Please provide me ideas and what type of information and County departments you would like to see in attendance. I am projecting the third week of September to kickoff this program.
John R. Renison is currently County Supervisor for District 1 that includes Calexico and Winterhaven. He can be reached by email:email@example.com or by phone at 442-265-1030. His assistant is Alejandra Amaro.