Letters to the editor (07/28/12)

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Being an outsider isn’t a reason to oppose
Editor:
At the June 27 Valencia County Planning and Zoning meeting, the couple that had originally applied for an auto body permit and been denied, now presented a new proposal; that they be allowed to open and operate a landscaping and gardening business instead.
This would certainly fit into the rural-agricultural nature of Tomé, and would be very unlikely to bring objections from the local residents.
The fact that the land had been used in the past as the El Cid landscaping company was brought up, adding more strength to the Garcias’ application.
To no one’s surprise, however, a few people did voice head objections. One of the protesters was Ms. (Rita) Padilla-Gutierrez, even though she, herself, is not a resident of Tomé. Her argument was that the couple, Bernardo and Patti Garcia, could not be trusted.
Because of Mr. Garcia’s hobby of auto restoration, occasionally there would be some of his personal cars near the building in various stages of preparation.
Assuming that these belonged to customers of the Garcias, one or two neighbors claimed, without any supporting evidence, that the couple was violating the permit denial. (No one had bothered to inquire who owned these vehicles.)
Ms. Padilla-Gutierrez used this as part of her argument. She characterized the presentation as a “great deception.” She did not voice any objection to the fact or nature of the landscaping concept; but she did imply that because the Garcias were newcomers to Tomé, they were therefore outsiders, and that no outsiders should be allowed to reside or prosper in the area.
To bolster her case, she engaged the services of attorney and former County Commissioner Pedro Rael. Although he had no written authorization to represent her, and no retainer, he nevertheless began to introduce whatever legal objections he could, until Planning and Zoning Chairman Jim Lane stopped him on the grounds that these arguments should be presented to the county commission, not the planning and zoning commission.
Speaking on behalf of the Garcias were myself, Alice Torwirt and Mike Wood. In the past, they have been strong hospital advocates, while Pedro Rael and Rita Padilla-Gutierrez were vicious opponents. (Rita was one of the plaintiffs in the original lawsuits, while Pedro was the law partner of the suing attorney.)
So there was a definite sense of deja vu in the room. It was as though the old hospital fight had been reawakened.
Ironically, none of these five combatants were Tomé residents. None of them had any grounds to object to the idea of the landscaping business on the property in question.
In spite of the irrelevance of Rita’s and Rael’s objections, it is to be expected that when the case comes before the county commission, there will be contentious sparks flying, because, after all, Bernardo and Patti Garcia are outsiders — and that is indefensible.

Clarke Metcalf
Belen

Fourth of July parade shouldn’t be political
Editor:
I wanted to share my admiration for the veterans, fire and police services, schools, youth and community organizations and local leaders for their support and participation in this year’s Fourth of July parade.
I would also like to say how ashamed I am for many of the others who were in the parade. The Fourth of July is a day to celebrate our independence and birth as a nation.
I remember many parades from my youth that were followed by barbecues and fireworks. I was, and still am, inspired by what our founders fought for all those years ago. I understand that many people see this as a day to celebrate democracy.
It is, after all, a day to remember not just our birth, but also the many sacrifices made to ultimately see real freedom for all Americans through the fight against slavery and equality for women.
There are many issues still being fought over in our national discourse. One day, many other people will feel like they have been welcomed for the first time into America’s embrace, be they GLBT or immigrants.
I understand this because our nation grows day-by-day and year by year. What I do not appreciate is a day of celebration being turned into a day of political campaigns with slogans being chanted for candidates, or social causes being bantered about.
The Fourth of July is about celebration of freedom and was tarnished in my eyes by those who thought it appropriate to use this as a way to disparage one candidate over another.
The parade seemed less a celebration and more political/social campaign. I guess the days of celebrating as one nation are gone and we must now accept the fact that those who lean left or right have divide even our day of independence.
I’m ashamed of our community’s actions and disgusted for what we are becoming.

Wayland Strickland
Peralta

Local Hispanics are a very proud people
Editor:
I get so infuriated whenever I hear either one of these two statements, which are used recklessly by politicians and others:
1. The term block, as in voting block?
2. The word discrimination.
Let me explain to those who think they know more but really understand less.
New Mexico Hispanics, in my view, are definitely the proudest, smartest, toughest, most vocal Hispanic group in the United States. They are definitely the most independent Hispanics in the country.
As for being discriminated against (a ludicrous idea) let me tell you our ancestors were not brought here as servants, or serfs or slaves. Our ancestors did not come here to flee from religious persecution, political persecution or high taxation.
Our ancestors came here as adventure seekers. They came here looking for a new route to the East. They came her seeking riches.
Some came with a mission, such as spreading the Catholic faith. Some came to set up colonies to establish a society, to teach the Natives to establish a government, etc.
Our ancestors were here long before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. Our ancestors were established here in an area which is now part of the United States a long time before many of the other Europeans were.
Our ancestors, when they stepped on this land, were known as Conquistadors (conquerors), a title not to be scoffed at, but envied.
Our lands, or mercedes, were granted to our ancestors by kings and queens. Our ancestors were generals, captains, governors, leaders and builders, so who would dare discriminate against us.
As for voting block, New Mexico voters are the most fickle of voters changing from Democratic leaders to Republican leaders in practically every other election.

Livy Montano
Los Lunas