Saturday, June 10, 2006

Valley People

This post isn't really education-related, but it does give some insight to the uniquely backward and thoroughly corrupt sub-culture that is to be found here in California's so-called "Imperial" Valley. Even though we are located in the southeastern California desert, the area is agricultural in nature with several small cities and towns scattered throughout. Just to the south is the border with Mexico. Some 152,000 people live in "Imperial" County.

The border patrol considers the area to be a "hardship post," which is, in our opinion, an accurate label.

As is the case in many backward areas, its local politics are dominated by a relatively small group of long-established farming families. (A typical "farm" here is over 1500 acres.)

This example, from the Town of Imperial, is typical of the type of nonsense that our elected officials engage in: (As this article is about to disappear into the local paper's pay-to-view archives, we've chosen to reprint it in it's entirety.)
Councilman Tom Mazeroll admitted an offhand remark made Wednesday about incoming City Manager Marlene Best was “inappropriate.”

The comment was made after a City Council meeting Wednesday during an interview with several members of the council and city staff present.

Mazeroll was asked what made Best stand apart from the other candidates interviewed for the city manager position

“Her t--s,” Mazeroll replied.

Mazeroll then asked that the comment not be printed in this newspaper and said if it were, he would deny it.

Mayor Doug Cox added, if Mazeroll denied the comment, he would support Mazeroll.

Mazeroll later apologized Thursday, saying, “It was a stupid off-the-cuff comment.”

“I certainly apologize to her personally and certainly to all female (city) employees,” Mazeroll said.

Cox requested Thursday that the story not be printed about the incident.

“You can’t do that,” Cox said and defended Mazeroll’s character.

“He’s probably the best council member we have right now,” Cox said.

Mazeroll said he made the comment because earlier in the day he had been discussing what he described as inappropriate dress by female City Hall employees.

He added the issue sparked a debate among some council members about how “unbusinesslike” some of the employees were dressing.

“It wasn’t directed at Marlene at all,” Mazeroll said.

Cox said he believes the comment wasn’t personal and said he guarantees it was not the reason why Mazeroll voted in favor of hiring Best. Cox added Mazeroll should not have said it, but expects Best to understand.

“He says those things but doesn’t think that way,” Cox said. “I don’t think he meant for anybody to hear it except for me and Mark (Gran).”

Imperial City Attorney Dennis Morita said while the city has a sexual harassment policy, when dealing with elected officials’ disciplinary action is different.

“If the public is outraged about the conduct of an elected official, one of their remedies would be a recall,” Morita said.

He added he would prefer not to assume what the city’s exposure to litigation might be.

“It seems to me the city could choose to look into the matter and determine exactly what happened and go from there,” Morita said.

Cox said the situation would not affect the way the city conducts business.

He said sometimes Mazeroll says things without thinking.

Mazeroll said he is “truly embarrassed” about the comment he made and hopes that Best accepts his sincerest apologies.

“It was just joking among people,” Mazeroll said. “Just talk among two guys.”

Marlene Best, who will remain Calexico’s city manager through July 10, did not return phone calls Thursday seeking comment.
I'm not surprised that Mayor Cox's first inclination was to lie in order to cover-up for his colleague crony. That's the "Valley Way." The other "Valley Ways" are nepotism and corruption.

Speaking of the border city of Calexico, I remember a few years ago when one of the city council members was caught urinating in the city's public park.

That council member, Eduardo Rivera, later won a term on the Calexico Unified School District's Governing Board.

Come to think of it, Calexico's current superintendent has even been caught in some financial "
irregularities" of his own.

The "Valley" and its people form a distinct sub-culture.

And yes, we would have escaped long ago if it weren't for the large permanent cut in pay and retirement that would result from such a move.

Besides, the WifeWonk's family lives just across the border in Mexicali, Mexico.

See our latest education-related entries right here.