Letters to the editor (08/22/12)

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Belen Family School deserves “A” credit
Editor:
According to the New Mexico Business Weekly, only 39 of the 831 schools in New Mexico received an “A” from the state’s school grading system.
In all of Valencia County, Belen Family School received the only “A.” In the related article in the News-Bulletin, principals and superintendents were interviewed, but no mention was made about Family School.
I am disappointed that the one school that performed so well receives no acknowledgement. How about a little positive press for something good instead of always focusing on the negative?
I say, “congratulations Family School! Job well done.”

Marisusan Kennedy
Belen

Proposed power plant is not good for county
Editor:
I do not want the proposed power plant. It would foul up our skies and water and would cause many ailments in our people.
They would ship out the power to other places. My phone number is 869-2860 for others who are interested in this power plant issue. Call between 3 and 5 p.m.

Jean Valentine
Los Lunas

Aragon’s mistakes in office were acceptable
Editor:
This is in regard to your editorial comments dated July 25.
Thank God Judge Aragon was not charged with murder, rape, embezzlement or DWI. You would have destroyed him.
Everybody makes mistakes and Judge Aragon apparently did so. How many mistakes have you made in your job performance?
Judge Aragon has served his two terms without any negative comments from you. What is wrong with ordering him/her to finish school, get good grades and report back to him?
Apparently they did as he ordered and reported back to him. Good for them.
I believe Judge Aragon used good judgment in this case. What did you want him to do? Sentence him/her to jail where he/she would be at the mercy of other inmates? Be assaulted or raped?
Apparently you are not aware as to what happens in a jail. What ever happened to common sense?
As far as Judge Aragon requesting payment from the village for his legal expenses, as an employee he is entitled to not only his legal expenses, but also to legal representation. If this was not granted, he did not have any choice but to resign.
We all know that hiring an attorney can become very costly and could be the reason for his resignation.
In future coverage of this nature, please use discretion, respect and your best wishes to anyone who is now looking for employment. We do not appreciate negative and insulting opinions. Thank you.

Genovia Chavez
Los Lunas

Code enforcement is in need of officers
Editor:
Code enforcement is a hot topic, like law enforcement.
One reason offered why Rio Communities should consider incorporation is to have direct control of code enforcement in that area.
In county commission meetings, one of the more frequent types of complaints during public input is the lack of code enforcement or ineffective enforcement.
The village of Los Lunas currently has three field officers who perform code enforcement and animal control duties. There was a recent technical change to the responsibilities of one officer, but all three have been performing code enforcement and animal control duties for a long time regardless of their titles.
At the recent village budget hearings for the new fiscal year, former Village Administrator Peter Fernandez noted that the village used to have two animal control officers. Up to the recent technical job title change, only one officer was officially designated for animal control duty.
The village has grown over the past few years with the addition of the Las Brisas del Rio, Rancho Valencia, and Huning Ranch developments.  Meanwhile, the number of code enforcement/animal control officers has remained stagnant. Why?
I receive a lot of complaints about animals and code enforcement issues from people in my development and pass them on to the village. The three code enforcement officers do an excellent job within the constraints of their numbers and the fact that their office is only open Monday thru Friday during office hours.
But there is no coverage outside those times except for emergencies.  And the complaints they deal with are outside the purview of normal police duties. But the same kinds of problems with animals and code enforcement that occur during weekday hours also happen at night and on weekends.  However, there is no one to deal with them at those times.
At one village council meeting, I requested that the village add one more person to the code enforcement office. But there are no additional personnel allocated in the new budget.
Can the village afford more code enforcement officers? While I sat thru two evenings of detailed budget hearings I watched the mayor, village council and current and former village administrators make a variety of trade offs for one thing or another. They could easily have included funds for an additional person in code enforcement/animal control if they wanted to.
If you are content with the current level of code enforcement/animal control in the village, good for you.  If not, you can voice your concern with the mayor, council members and administrator.
Don’t ask the current officers why they aren’t everywhere all the time. They already have enough on their hands, there being only three of them for a population of 14,500 people.

James Rickey
Los Lunas

Series should have included victims
Editor:
I am writing in response to the series of articles relating to the justice system in Valencia County.
Indeed, the justice system may be flawed, and I can see the intent of your investigation.  However, overall the series gives the impression you are soliciting sympathy for these offenders.
Have you given any thought to the victims and their families? In the case of EJ Baca, he has removed a loving, caring man from this earth and the family who loved him. In my opinion, he does not deserve a moment of thought on his situation, let alone a campaign to elicit sympathy. Someone who has taken the life of another should not be treated as a celebrity.
What exactly do you think the victims and their families of these criminals are experiencing? They are also interested in swift justice for different reasons, creating public sympathy for the felon not being one of them.
After so much time has elapsed, it’s possible that a suspected murderer would expect to “walk” away from his crime because of technicalities and flaws in the justice system. I would expect you to recognize this and not provide the vehicle to allow it.
Therefore, I would like to challenge you to investigate the victims of these crimes and the hardships and heartbreak they have endured during this long wait for justice to prevail.  Weigh their anxieties with those of the prisoner and then decide who is truly deserving of public empathy.

Carol Sarno
Ogden, Utah

No pay for absent U.S. lawmakers
Editor:
Just a few observations about our peerless leaders in Washington, D.C.
If they insist on doing nothing until after the election, their pay and benefits should  cease until Jan. 30, 2013, after the new president, whomever that is, gives the state of the union address.
I consider the members of the House and the Senate to be the highest paid unemployed people in the entire country.  My definition of unemployed is not working.
Or as an alternate plan, hand over the operation of both houses to Bain capital and they can make the appropriate cuts to streamline the operations of both houses.
Perhaps Bain can outsource the House and Senate positions to Bangladesh or Karachi and we can contact customer support to have our problems solved.
The cost per representative or senator shouldn’t be more than about $500 per month,  thus creating tremendous savings and allow the United States to have more funds for roads and schools.
In the next election, perhaps we will be able unseat some of the many drones.

James Taylor
Los Lunas

Leadership needed for successful U.S.
Editor:
The question you posed in the Aug. 8 edition of the News-Bulletin received three outstanding answers. However, they are more the ends rather than the means.
According to the Aug. 2 Federal Reserve report, corporate America is sitting on $1.74 trillion dollars of cash.
This is both legal and prudent in troubled times. I recall a similar national situation —high unemployment and pervasive recession — back in the early 1970s when I was the proprietor of a small but successful retail business.
Under the leadership  of then President Richard Nixon, a program was established which incensed employers by the use of federal income tax credits to higher new and additional workers.
Indeed, I was motivated to hire two new workers based on the reduced cost — one of the workers became a career employee and the other moved on.
While I don’t want the government to “do” for me, I look for leadership at all levels of community to enable me to move forward toward success.  This was one of those cases.

David Blacher
Albuquerque

Los Lunas should pay for Aragon
Editor:
“Every man is entitled to be valued by his best moments,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Former Los Lunas Municipal Judge Jeff Aragon, serving for more than 10 years on the bench, surely proved himself more favorably than for us to believe all of the mischaracterizations and alleged charges against him.
Where are his constituents whom he served without abuse of his authority in his tenure?
Should we all not stand behind Aragon in support of his receiving a fair hearing? I, for one, can testify of his integrity. When I had a moving violation, Judge Aragon was both respectful and judicial in my circumstance.
All of the accusers dropped their stones when rebuked by Jesus, after He said to them “he without sin cast the first stone.”
Throwing stones at Aragon have scattered. Could it be that those whom he trusted, and have no failed him, had a self interest when Aragon sat on the bench?
It would be prudent for the village of Los Lunas’s mayor and council to approve Aragon’s request for public assistance to cover legal fees as he was an elected official who served his constituents honorable in his best moments.

Anna Mae Wood
Los Lunas

Mutual respect will help relationships
Editor:
Commissioner (Joan) Artiaga of the Valencia County Planning and Zoning Commission has responded to a criticism made regarding a zone change in Tomé.
Obviously, this his her right. Her comments, however, give me the opportunity to further provide my views and clarification regarding this case.
To begin, “shouts from the back for recusal” and other behavioral acts that Commissioner Artiaga describes were as a result of a commission that would not allow appropriate and fair due process.
It was quite evident that any opposition to the proceeding at this meeting was not going to be allowed.
Those opposing this zone change have for months been trying to present our case with facts, petitions and testimony from adjacent neighbors who will be negatively impacted.
This is a serious matter that has future implications for a community that has fought hard to maintain an agricultural, rural and historic existence.
Now we have petitioners who are relentless in their efforts to establish a business (now it’s landscaping) and who are taking advantage of the fact that a zone change to C-2 would allow for an auto shop.
Additionally,    Commissioner Artiaga brings up the fact that this location is the site of the old El Cid Nursery. Well, we all know what happened when Mr. Cox, the previous owner, filed for bankruptcy and left the site and environmental mess.
Commissioner Artiaga talks about respect. What about the disrespect demonstrated to us? We, as long-standing citizens of Valencia County, are simply trying to maintain and preserve a way of life that is conducive to our traditions, values and history.
Yes, we should all “get along,” but first there has to be mutual respect afforded all individuals regardless of any preconceived notions one may have prior to any commission proceedings.
In time, the real facts regarding this case will be revealed and a drastic and critical zone change … will be harmful and is ill-advised.

Rita Padilla-Gutierrez
Jarales