Letters to the editor (11/10/12)

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Show flags respect and retire them when worn
Editor:
Veteran’s Day is fast approaching and many people and businesses will be flying the United States flag.
Whether it’s flown every day or only on special days, the flag needs to be inspected every day for signs of wear and tear.  If it is tattered and torn, please have respect for this symbol of our nation and take it out of service.
Our local Boy Scouts of America troop or the VFW will gladly take these tattered and torn flags and dispose of them in a respectful manner.
Flying a worn out flag is disrespectful of all those veterans that have served our country with honor whether in times of peace or war.  Please show them and the rest of the nation that you respect them and this nation enough to fly a flag that is not tattered.
Flags don’t cost very much and I’m sure the VFW can tell you where to purchase another.
Thank you and thanks to all our veterans for your service.

Kathy Prichard
Belen

Coyote kill is spreading a national ‘disease’
Editor:
This “disease” is called lack of respect-itis.
As a gun owner, hunter and outdoors person, I am appalled at the wanton killing of coyotes promoted by Gunhawk Firearms of Los Lunas in their so-called depredation hunt.
I have no problem with the killing of a coyote if it has directly affected the livelihood of a rancher, farmer or livestock- raising family. But this concept of “kill as many as you can, pile up the carcasses and win a prize” lacks sportsmanship and sets a poor example for young people.
Kill because it is fun? Kill for the sake of killing?
We already have enough young people killing or threatening to kill each other. All you are doing, Gunhawk, is encouraging this wanton disrespect for life.
The idea of killing for the sake of killing is not the concept of hunting that I was brought up with. We ate what we hunted and were taught to respect those animals that nourished our bodies.
Lately, on our hunting trips we have observed more and more unethical and irresponsible behavior, which is making this sport less and less palatable to both true hunters and non-hunters alike. This coyote kill is a prime example of this – this is not what being a sportsman means.
Disrespectfulness is becoming more and more prevalent in our society. There is disrespect for those we don’t understand (who aren’t like us), we disrespect ideas that don’t align with our own, we disrespect the planet that supports us by hedonistically mining it’s natural resources, both living and non living, with total disregard for what this leaves (or doesn’t leave) for future generations.
And finally, Gunhawk is putting the whole sport of hunting at risk with this program. One coyote kill has already been canceled because an outraged public weighed in with letters, phone calls and emails.
The “ugly and reckless hunter” is not the image we need of our sport. Gunhawk is putting the true hunting sport and sportsmanship at risk.  Keep this attitude up and the sport will be legislated to death.
Gunhawk, please rethink this coyote kill for what it really is: total disrespect in addition to the sport’s possible death sentence.

Dolores Varela Phillips
Bosque

Hunt gives negative image of our state
Editor:
Today I am writing because of my concern over the coyote killing contest being held later this month by Gunhawk Firearms in Los Lunas.
I live in Los Lunas and I am asking your support and help in getting this contest canceled. Myself and many other New Mexicans do not agree with the wanton and unnecessary killing of wild animals.
Allowing this killing contest and others to happen in our state is projecting a very negative image to the rest of the country and to your own residents.
Coyotes are an important part of our natural ecosystem and should be protected to some extent by the law. I understand that coyotes are responsible for only a very small percentage of livestock deaths, they typically feed on rodents and small animals.
I am urging you to please help put a stop to this contest. We do not want to show our children, residents and the rest of the country that we condone the slaughter of innocent creatures for a contest, in turn reinforcing to everyone that we believe animal lives don’t matter.
Thank you for your time and I hope my voice, along with many others, are heard.

Hope Gonzales
Los Lunas

Coyote hunt is a  disservice to our rights
Editor:
As a relative to the Colt 45 Firearm family and one who has owned a firearm myself, I have to say I am disgusted and outraged by the irresponsible coyote killing contest Gunhawk Firearms in Los Lunas intends on holding Nov. 17-18.
Despite public outrage, the sponsor and participants are putting ego over common sense when promoting NRA rights, and the right to kill, over common decency.
It does nothing but a disservice for those who believe in the right to bear arms. Not to mention, mass body counts is absolutely not hunting.
They should be ashamed, not proud in their defiance.

Lori Colt
Santa Fe

Blaming former county employees is wrong
Editor:
It’s always easier to blame someone else, than to take full responsibility for your own actions.
One million dollars (in unpaid county bills) was supposedly discovered over a three year span. Of that $1 million dollar debt, it was conveyed that $170,000 was for unemployment taxes and another was for $30,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.
These amounts were from a television news report.  An article in Valencia County News-Bulletin on Sept. 19 reported slightly had different amounts.  But nonetheless,  the one invoice that was outstanding and that had not been resolved prior to Dec. 31, 2011, was in the amount of $11,000, which was for unemployment insurance.
It was being investigated and scrutinized by the unemployment insurance staff as it was thought that there were discrepancies.
Also, in the interview, Bruce Swingle, county manager, has mentioned previous employees and that are no longer with the county. These employees are not with the county due to other employment or be it may retirement.
Implications that the previous employees were responsible for the unpaid debt is appalling and unacceptable.
The county operates on a $14,000,000 budget, which has been for at least the last 10 years or so. Revenues for the county simply do not increase.  If there should be an increase, it’s only a few hundred thousand dollars.
The county, for the last years, has only been able to budget and operate on a basic operational budget with no extras.  Also, one of many  components to a budget, that very few individuals understand, is revenues need to materialize before budget allocations are expensed.
On several occasions, the chair, vice-Chair, previous county manager and business manager were warned about unbudgeted expenditures and its cash flow.
Department of Finance also placed the governing body on alert in reference to their cash flow projection ending June 30, 2012. If they continued, this pattern that the county would end up in a financial dilemma.
In all respect, they chose to ignore all warnings. We tried very diligently to abide by the fiscal year 2011-12 budget and to keep spending to a minimal, due to materialization of revenues.
What the governing body chose to do after Dec. 31, 2011, is not the fault of the previous county employees.
When you continue to work against your initial budget, if revenues do not materialize and have unbudgeted expenditures, such as awarding a contract to a software company for $2.7 million  and of that $2.7 million the county has pledge to pay $329,000 for the next seven years, with no additional revenues to substantiate such an expense.
A costly project for a new administration building for which the county has no revenue source to support such an endeavor. The administration building, if built, was going to place the county in debt for 20 some years.
And to my astonishment,  there was little to no consideration  or compassion in placing the county in debt for that length of time.
(Another issue was)personnel being hired at a much higher salary than originally budgeted for.  Not only is salary increased, but also benefits, to mention a few.
The one-twelfth requirement for public works is also an issue. The requirement was not established in the fiscal year 2012-13 budget. That will certainly have an effect in the ending cash balance for June 30, 2013, which is much needed to  create a balance budget for the following 2013-14 fiscal  year budget.
Blame should be bestowed on those that have approved all the unbudgeted expenditures and unnecessary spending,  that unfortunately  caused the county to liquidate some investments that had been invested in certificates of deposits for a long time.

Wilma Abril
Los Lunas

(Editor’s note: Wilma Abril is the former finance director for Valencia County. She retired in December 2011.)

A week with the family was great
Editor:
More than 15 years ago, my dear friend Dorothy gave me a book called, “Simple Abundance.”
It pointed out that if we stopped and think, we would realize how fortunate — even blessed — we are. One suggestion was to keep a journal and write down four or five things each day what we were grateful for.
I did for almost a year, even included pictures of the people and places that I was writing about. Sure enough, it did help me focus on the good in my life.  But for some reason, I stopped writing and put the book in a seldom-used drawer.
Five months ago, I found the book again, and it brought back so many wonderful memories.  I started writing in it again.
Last (month) was a bonanza!  My eldest son (by a half an hour — he is a twin) and his 18-year-old son  from New York came to visit me. They could only stay a week, but we made it count.
On the weekend, almost all of our gang was here: the youngest and his family from El Paso, my prettiest daughter, her son and his family, and they picked up the twin that lives in an assisted living home.
There were 12 of us laughing and eating and talking.
“How sweet it is.”
The men are all addicted to green chile. As a matter of fact, the New Yorkers brought an empty suitcase and took back 50 pounds of green chile on the plane. They ate it all in seven days, sometimes all three meals.
Monday, we went to our old home in Tomé and the beautiful church. Then we went to UNM and bought a few things.  They went on to the Crest and took a tram ride and bought a few things.
Tuesday, we went to the State Fair. We saw everything from the piglet races to an interactive living puppet show. We ate at the Indian Village. I asked the lady if they had anything that wasn’t deep fried. She suggested mutton stew, which I had never eaten. It was delicious!
We hit the races. In-spite of winning the first two races, I lost $1.60, but young Chris won $10.
Father Chris went to check out the Beer Garden. He returned shortly with a picture of him and the governor. They had lunch together. Well actually, she was announcing the winners of the green chile cheese burger contest, and he was eating them.
We were going to go to the rodeo, but someone in our group was tired, so we went home right after we bought a few things.
Wednesday, we went to Santa Fe on the Rail Runner: investigated old churches and buildings, ate green chile something, took an open car tour of the city and even met “Doc,”  who has been in 89 movies and/or TV shows. I’m sure his extreme good looks got him the work.
We bought a few things and didn’t get home until dark, laughing and talking the whole time.
Thursday morning we spent shopping. I got a ping-pong table that wouldn’t fit in the car. Gary, the good neighbor, was kind enough to pick it up for me in his pickup.
We went to visit prettiest daughter, Nancee, who took us to Monroe’s, a Mexican restaurant. After a great visit, we went to Old Town and bought  a few things.
All along, they were doing jobs for me: closed down my coolers, lawn work, including winterizing mower, etc., assembled the ping-pong table and all without me asking.
Friday, they joined me at the Del Rio Senior Center, where each Friday various people meet from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. to jam. The musicians were all professionals and anyone who shows up sing our little hearts out. It’s so much fun!  Come and join us.
After green chile cheese burgers, we went and spent the afternoon with Chuck at the assistant living home, where as luck would have it, they had live entertainment. More laughing and talking, a great day.
Father Chris and handsome grandson had to leave early Saturday with their many gifts and 50 pounds of green chile.
So all I can say is that Jimmy Stewart was right: “It’s a wonderful life.”

Nancy Faust
Belen