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Local Candidate Profiles for March 3 Primary

HOLTVILLE — The Holtville Tribune is pleased to present profiles of the candidates seeking local offices in the March 3 primary. The profiles that appear reflect those who responded to our request to submit a profile. If a candidate does not appear it means they did not respond. Photos are used if submitted.

Because many voters now vote early by mail we scheduled the candidate profiles to run several weeks before the election so early voters can learn more about the candidates before casting their ballots.

This week’s profiles are for Imperial Irrigation District director Division 4.

Profiles for U.S. House District 51 and state Assembly District 56 will run Feb. 6.

ERIK ORTEGA

Local Candidate Profiles for March 3 Primary
Erik Ortega

Elected position sought: Imperial Irrigation District Director Division 4

(Incumbent)

Name: Erik Ortega

Age: 41

City of residence: Calexico

Family: Wife and two sons

Current employment: Independent Businessman

Political experience: Past Calexico Unified School District Board of Trustees and Current Imperial Irrigation District Director for Division 4

Employment history (last 10 years): Businessman

Other affiliations/memberships/board positions: Past Treasurer of Club De Los Amigos Senior Citizen Club, Past Vice President of Calexico Chamber of Commerce, Former City of Calexico Economic Development Commissioner, Imperial County Transportation Commission Board member, Past Salton Sea Authority board member, Imperial County Employee Appeals Board member,

Education: BA in Business Administration

Reasons for running and top issues:

IID is the largest irrigation district in the nation and the third largest public power provider in the state. It was formed in 1911 by a vote of the people and chartered by the Legislature to protect the water rights of the Imperial Valley.

Today those water rights are under attack, and not just from outside the Imperial Valley but from within it. Agricultural landowners who use over 97 percent of the water IID delivers are challenging its ability to serve new business and industrial water customers, except through them, because they believe that they own the water and they found a local judge who agreed with them.

I voted with the rest of the IID board to appeal that judge’s decision, because it is such a serious threat to economic development and job-creation in a part of the state that has never had enough jobs to go around for the people who here, and because I believe that water is a public resource that belongs to all of us, not just some of us.

I have used my vote and my voice as an IID board member to advance the cause of the greater Imperial Valley, because our water and energy resources should be put to work for the public good, and with a public purpose. I have voted to keep IID power bills among the lowest in California, and in 2019, during my year as IID board president, the district began to receive energy from the country’s first-ever community solar project, which is already lowering the energy rates of IID’s most vulnerable ratepayers.  I believe in the IID as a force for good in the communities that it serves, and in the broader, better community of the future that we are trying to build. For all of us.

Javier Gonzalez

Local Candidate Profiles for March 3 Primary
Javier Gonzalez

Elected position sought: Imperial Irrigation District Director Division 4

Name: Javier Gonzalez

Age: 51

City of residence: Calexico, California

Current employment: Self

Political experience: Politically active over the past 30 years in city commissions and community advocating.

Employment history (last 10 years): Community consulting self-employed and contracting with different people and contractors. United Stated Department of Homeland Security.

Other affiliations/memberships/board positions:

President, Calexico Youth Boxing Club; President, Kennedy Gardens Club Azteca; Captain, Kennedy Gardens Neighborhood Watch; Member, Calexico Beautification Commission, Member, Calexico Parks and Recreation Commission; Member, Calexico Finance Commission; Member, Calexico Economic Development Commission; Student Member, San Diego State University Dean Advisory Board; Member, Alumni Board of Directors of San Diego State University; President, Associated Students of San Diego State University-IV;  President, Imperial Valley College Calexico Student Association among more…..

Education: Associate Degree in Human Relations – Imperial Valley College; Associate Degree in Psychology – Imperial Valley College; Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology – San Diego State University; Master Degree in Public Administration San Diego State University; Study Abroad as an SDSU Graduate student in five different countries.

Reasons for running and top issues:

I Javier Gonzalez candidate for IID division 4 believe the position of the Imperial Irrigation District is not only to keep the lights on and the water flowing, I believe the position also entails being actively involved in all aspects of our community. Leading in grassroots initiatives and taking an active participation at all levels to help make sure that the communities we serve become safer, healthier and more eco-friendly places to live, play and grow should be a responsibility of all elected representatives. This cannot be achieved if elected representatives do not take a true leadership role in grassroots initiatives and actively lead at all levels working hand in hand with the people they serve. That is the reason I decided to run because I believe that we can better represent our communities, our neighborhoods, the Division 4 and the entire Imperial Valley in a more active and transparent way by working with the IID Board of Directors and being a true community leader initiating grassroots initiatives of all types. 

As a community activist and neighborhood leader for the past thirty years, I strongly believed the need to take a more active role in our communities and our neighborhoods. Today there is little trust in public representatives, as public representatives are believed to be out of touch with their constituents. I believe I can serve the people of Imperial Valley better with a more active and participatory role, having a lifelong track record of community service and grassroots accomplishments from the ground up, as a catalyst and initiator.

I believe the position of every elected representative including the Imperial Irrigation District is much more than just voting yes or no and keeping the lights on and the water flowing. In today’s environment, we have many issues and the people deserve representatives that are much more involved and active at the grassroots level in all issues.

This cannot be achieved if elected representatives do not take a true leadership role in our communities.

Joong Kim

Local Candidate Profiles for March 3 Primary
Joong Kim

Elected position sought: Imperial Irrigation District Director Division 4

Name: Joong Kim

Age:  67

City of residence: Calexico

Family: Married with 2 sons and 3 grand daughter

Current employment: Self employed

Political experience: 2 and half year’s school Board member of Calexico Unified School District. 4 years of city council members and 1 year of City Mayor in city of Calexico

Employment history (last 10 years): self employed

Other affiliations/memberships/board positions: Imperial County Children and Families First Commission Member (current)

Education: in Korea

Reasons for running and top issues:

As a small business owner and homeowner in Calexico I will be your “watchdog” if you vote for me as an Imperial Irrigation District (IID) Board of Director in District 4. I want complete transparency to safeguard our water and not sell it to outside parties for personal profit. Having served as an elected official for both Calexico City Council and the Calexico School District, I have the experience in government issues and policies.

The electricity bills in both Heber and Calexico have been increasing and it has created a financial hardship for many of our senior citizens and families. It is well documented that the (IID) is spending our public funds on too many attorneys, lobbyists, consultants and developers. I want to protect the rights of our rate payers and expose the questionable deals that the (IID) has been involved with. My agenda: No selling of public water for personal gain to benefit special interest wealthy groups, keep the water in the valley, more construction jobs for local contractors and no more special deals with outsiders, creating work with economic developing project in Agricultural industry, senior discount program, lighting parks and street, lower rates for local residents, promote environmental and open up (IID) employment for more local residents.


This story is featured in the Jan 30, 2020 e-Edition.