Raul Ruiz, Brian Nestande compete over Salton Sea

If Friday’s schedules are any indication, the Salton Sea will be a major focus of next year’s congressional campaign.

Rep. Raul Ruiz and his Republican challenger, Assemblyman Brian Nestande, have scheduled competing events Friday in their respective efforts to save the dying sea.

Granted, both events are being coordinated through their legislative offices. But it’s hard to separate those platforms from what will eventually end up on campaign literature.

Ruiz, a Palm Desert Democrat, will host a day-long gathering of federal dignitaries that includes U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary Anne Castle.

The event starts at 9 a.m. at the North Shore Beach and Yacht Club.

Ruiz announced his plans Wednesday.

Today, Nestande’s office put out a news release that said the Palm Desert Republican would spend Friday visiting three local high schools. He plans on touting an art contest for the new Salton Sea license plate.

If approved by lawmakers, sales from the license plates would benefit the sea’s restoration. And, out of full disclosure, The Desert Sun is supporting the contest.

Barbara Boxer and Raul Ruiz meet with Army Corps over Salton Sea

Salton SeaSen. Barbara Boxer and the Coachella Valley’s incoming congressman, Raul Ruiz, met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday to discuss the Salton Sea.

The Democrats met with Ms. Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), to discuss what should be done now and in the future to restore and preserve the inland sea, according to a release from Boxer’s office.

They also “explained the need to prevent the sea from turning into a public health emergency that would have ramifications for the Imperial and Coachella Valleys,” according to the release.

Boxer is chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Ruiz is in Washington for a second week of orientation for newly elected members of Congress.

Boxer is mentoring Ruiz, an emergency room physician who has never held elective office. He upset longtime Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack earlier this month.

-Raju Chebium, Gannett Washington Bureau

CVWD and Desert Healthcare District board elections final results

The final figures are in, and while the numbers changed, the results remain the same.

For the Coachella Valley Water District board election, Edwin “Ed” Pack racked up 39.33 percent of the vote, beating out Mark Fell and Sergio Nunez to take Corky Larson’s seat. The retired firefighter, who has city council and water board experience from his time in Hesperia, has said finding solutions for the Salton Sea will be his top priority.

At the Desert Healthcare District, newcomer Dr. William Grimm, a Palm Springs primary care physician, scored 26.74 percent of the vote, topping the list of five candidates for three seats on the board. The number 2 and 3 spots went to incumbents Dr. Michael Solomon, with 22.46 percent, and Mark Matthews, with 18.96 percent.