When all is said and done, the 2012 elections for the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors may be remembered for the bitter campaigns waged by Imperial Valley First, Stella Mendoza and John Pierre Menvielle rather than anything of substance that the three parties may have said.
Imperial Valley First is a SuperPAC created by the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business. It claims to educate the Valley about local government issues, but has focused considerable resources to unseat the two incumbents on the board: Stella Mendoza and John Pierre Menvielle. It has flooded voters’ mailboxes with flyers accusing Mendoza and Menvielle of all manners of misdeeds.
Mendoza and Menvielle, in turn, have accused Imperial Valley First, its donors and the agricultural community of wanting to take over the IID through their challengers, Steve Benson and Bruce Kuhn.
The Spin Cycle has attempted to verify and add context to claims from both sides, so readers hopefully vote in a more informed manner. Often the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Staff Writer Antoine Abou-Diwan can be reached at 760-337-3454 or firstname.lastname@example.org
IV First pulls out all the stops on IID races
In the last-minute run-up to Tuesday’s election, Imperial Valley First has pulled out all the stops, pushing a series of mailed campaign pieces to homes throughout the Valley.
Imperial Valley First is the SuperPAC created by the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business, which has been high-profile in its criticism and denouncement of the records of Stella Mendoza and John Pierre Menvielle, two incumbent Imperial Irrigation District directors seeking re-election.
It’s difficult to say for certain, but as many as eight mailed pieces with different bits of information have been sent out to homes over the last two weeks, at least three debuting in the past week.
Among those pieces were the first to openly endorse Mendoza and Menvielle’s challengers, Steve Benson and Bruce Kuhn.
Due to space and time constraints, this Spin Cycle will focus on the accusations in two mailers.
Imperial Valley First accuses Mendoza and Menvielle of many things, such as engaging in back-room deals to the detriment of the Imperial Valley. As of Sept. 30, Imperial Valley First has raised more than $230,000 to unseat the incumbents.
Mendoza and Menvielle are accused of giving $580,000 in contracts — paid for by rate-payers — to their campaign consultants.
They are accused of appointing a personal friend to the position of chief internal auditor of the IID.
They are accused of giving away high-paying jobs to people outside the Imperial Valley while ignoring local residents.
They are accused of awarding contracts over $10 million to special interests and campaign contributors rather than local qualified businesses.
They are accused of voting to remove safety features in the All-American Canal that could have reduced or prevented people from drowning.