Letters to the editor (12/29/12)

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Resident’s shouldn’t vote for incorporation
Editor:
As I had glanced at News-Bulletin letters to the editor from previous months, I had noticed that some people are still confused about the issue of incorporation.
It seems that Rio Communities is trying to make the decision of whether incorporation is necessary for their community. It seems that community leaders, city councils and most politicians try to convince the voting public that incorporation is good for their community.
Is incorporation worth it? In all honesty, the politicians should give the voting public the real pros and cons of incorporation.
Now I don’t pretend to know everything about what is involved with incorporation, but I do know that with the taxpayer money that is given to any community by the state for incorporation comes with a loss of your rights. This is what community leaders, city council members, community presidents and politicians do not mention.
With the money that comes to a community, through the state for incorporation, that money is used for city governments for expansion or addition of departments within an incorporated community.
The workers of the community, or town government in which state money is given … well they are now considered state employees, and with that, the workers of any community, town, village or jurisdiction will be given state employee wages.
This means that any division or department within an incorporated jurisdiction is now under the control of the state of New Mexico, and it’s unconstitutional judicial system. I’ll save the comments about our kangaroo courts for another time.
As for as incorporation is concerned, I really feel that a community is strong enough, and can be strong enough without help from the state incorporation plan.
Now please don’t misunderstand me. I’m all for jobs in any community. I’m all for improvements that can be made to any community, but the reality is that with incorporation, there is a price. Your taxes may go up. Your community may be subject to higher utility bills, higher street maintenance costs, and you will be subject to prosecution over some of the most ridiculous laws you never heard of.
For example, you may be subject to a group call “code enforcement.” I can only quote what I have seen, and the experiences of myself and others, but for some reason, the media covers up the truth.
As far as the group called code enforcement, these people should have their badges taken from them; and the terms “inspector” or “officer” should be removed from their title. To make a longer, continuing story short, let me say that I and others do not need these code enforcement people, the state, or the kangaroo courts telling me how to live, what I can or cannot own, when I need to rake or clean my yard, or telling me and others to clean areas that are the responsibility of your city or town government.
… There is also a couple who live down the street from me, and several months ago, their mother went on vacation, and the couple had stored their mother’s car at their place. The court of Los Lunas, and code enforcement people thought they would abuse their power, so they cited the people of the house for storing a vehicle outside, and made them come to court to explain why they had this car on their property. How ridiculous is that? What business is it of the kangaroo court or code enforcement?
These are the kinds of abuses that come with incorporation. In another letter of mine that was published, I stated that the people of any community should be more involved with their town governments. Know what is going on in your community, and don’t let anyone say something is for your benefit when it may not be beneficial to you at all. Find out the facts, take action and get involved.
The village of Los Lunas has hassled me and my family about something ridiculous, two to three times a year, every year since 2002.
That is why I’ll say to those still confused about incorporation, vote no. The benefits for any community may sound great as far as money coming into a community for improvements and services, but the price of incorporation is not worth your privacy or constitutional rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That alone is too high of a price to pay.
Check out the facts before you vote.   Don’t be duped by rhetoric and misdirection of facts.

Antoine Pirard
Los Lunas

Some of us don’t need curb-side trash pick-up
Editor:
The county-wide trash pickup contract is garbage because it fails two tests.
First, the smell test. Whichever company wins the fake competition for the contract with Valencia County, the county commission has been and will continue to kiss their patooties. The text of the contract is, for example, dictated by the trash companies.
Second, the contract is unconstitutional, since it is effectively a land tax in disguise. There has been no mention of any grandfather or vacant property option, without which the contract fails the due process provisions of the Fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
I have lived in Valencia County for more than seven years and have never paid for trash pickup, because I recycle everything. I repeat, everything.
In fact, I gather material not my own — phone books, beer bottles, soda cans — and recycle them, so that I am “negative to the landfill.”
I have managed this while having to deliver my recycle materials to various locations in Los Lunas and Albuquerque. The new recycle bins in Belen are wonderful, even though the rules do not accept everything.
But that still saves a lot of travel as I only have to drop off glass and tin cans in Albuquerque whenever I have future business there.
I do not need trash pickup, period, and there are scores of residents (i.e. voters) in Valencia County who are similarly situated. Owners of vacant land or vacant buildings must be allowed to claim exemption, as well as serious recyclers.
A contract requires two or more signatories, and the Valencia County Commission can sign any dubious deal with whatever contractor they finally choose. But I have not and will not sign any such contract.
But maybe the county will luck out and Rio Communities voters will choose to become a city or village in the January special election, which will eliminate this portion of the county as customers under the bogus trash pickup contract.
This just might be the issue that will tip the vote in favor of cityhood.

G.E. Nordell
Belen

(The Valencia County Commission approved entering into a solid waste contract last week with Waste Management.)

Incorporation will be beneficial
Editor:
Take a chance. That’s my response to Robert Sanders and others’ trepidations about Rio Communities becoming incorporated.
The way I see it, Rio Communities can either remain a festering sore that never heals or it can become a new town filled with a future.
As it stands right now, Rio Communities is nothing more than a wart on the back of Belen that needs to be lacerated and allowed to grow. And who really wants to be associated with a town whose debt load is through the roof and whose abandoned buildings are as plentiful as it’s fast food joints?
Peralta is smaller than Rio Communities and they did it. They took a chance and went for incorporation and made it happen! Are they a boom town yet? No, but it takes time. Have some patience.
I heard jokes at one of the incorporation meetings that the median age in Rio Communities is around 120, but age isn’t a barrier to incorporation. Hugh Hefner may be in his 80s, but he still spreads his seed in younger, fertile ground. And he’s always got a smile on his face.
Let’s get some smiles on our faces and turn Rio Communities into what it deserves to be — a living and thriving entity.
And as far as this continuing fear and yammering about property taxes going up — property taxes are mandated by the the state, mind you, to go up 3 percent every year regardless if your property is worth squat.
You don’t want to pay the 3 percent? Then do what I did, protest. Taxes in any form are not going away, got it? Unless our economy completely collapses and we all end up living in huts and bartering with one another, taxes are here to stay. They’re a necessary evil just like any form of insurance, extended warranties, flu shots, smart phones and the Ice Capades.
So take a chance and vote incorporation for Rio Communities. Or, do nothing and pretty soon we’ll be about as alive as the town of Chloride, N.M. Boo!

Rob Raucci
Rio Communities

Rio Communities should incorporate
Editor:
Mr. Sanders has shown himself to be a classic naysayer about the prospect of Rio Communities becoming a municipality.
His dismay about the lack of budget information shows the typical short-sightedness of all  uniformed protesters. As long as there have been enterprises in human civilization, there have been people who have raised their voices in protest.
Somehow, in spite of this, human history has moved forward. We now have nations worldwide, not to mention cities, businesses and basic philosophies that have had to overcome the mutterings of those who claim things such as, “It’s too problematic. We can’t afford it.”
However seriously they bicker, they fail to look at the long-term potential benefits.
Rio Communities is generating plenty of gross receipts now, all of which currently go to incorporated New Mexico cities. None of that goes to Rio Communities.
Besides N.M. 47 and 304, there are many home-bases enterprises and rentals that provide enough money to inspire the officials of the New Mexico Municipal League to give Rio Communities its blessing and support. That is something they don’t do lightly.
Their whole purpose is to promote municipal growth in the state, and if there were any cause for alarm, they would have voice it. Instead, they have expressed enthusiasm.
The Rio Communities Incorporation Committee is not just a group of bumpkins who have decided to form a town. There is high community motivation with the increasing crime rate and disappointing result from the county sheriff.
Neighborhood deterioration is a concern, and frustration at county apathy adds to the incentive. The group has been hard-working and diligent, watchful to avoid the incorporation mistakes of the past.
They have met weekly with unflagging dedication. There has been ongoing coordination with the municipal league. There has been an immense amount of careful research and some awesome expertise that make the incorporation of the town a lot less risky than that of most New Mexico cities.
The naysayers, such as Mr. Sanders, also fail to see the magnetic power of a community such as ours. Even now, there are businesses waiting and eager to start here once we become a city. They do not want to be under the governance of the county, with its fiscal incompetence and a reputation of questionable ethics.
With paving, water and utilities already in place, our area is ideal for new businesses. Once they know we have the police protection, zoning and a customer base for them, they won’t hesitate to get started. We also lack the problems that plague most older cities, such as family dynasties that influence policy and the resistance of competitors that could create a hostile business environment.
We can form our own governing principals to make us extremely attractive both commercially and residentially. We won’t have to struggle with pre-existing ordinances and budgetary failures that serve to impede growth. In a lot of ways, we are a “diamond in the desert” that can enhance the whole county’s economic atmosphere.
Mr. Sanders is concerned that the grants and other income sources will be temporary. That could be true in some instances; but the new businesses, the ones that are certain to appear here, will make long-term government support unnecessary.
The fact that now we cannot produce final budget figures is not because they don’t exist. They can’t exist until we are a city. That doesn’t mean that incorporation is therefore impossible or even improbable. If that were true, no city would ever get established.
What it does mean is that the residents have to become educated as to two things: one is the great benefit of having our own protection and control over our destinies; the other is the gloomy prospect of being under the control of a county commission that can’t control its own finances, that does not care about us, and that has imposed upon the unincorporated territories an oppressive solid waste policy.
When it comes time to begin our new township, we will not be alone. The county has promised it give us support until we can stand on our own feet, and the municipal league will provide us the step-by-step detailed guidance to design the necessary bylaws that will enable us to go forward without stumbling.
The prospect of incorporating is nowhere near as intimidating as it would be without that help. The incorporation committee has already begun forming steering committees to deal with public works, police protection, zoning, animal control and many other aspects of citification, elements and put us far ahead of most efforts in the past. The major component will be citizen input. That will be crucial to molding our town into something we can all enjoy.
I am asking Mr. Sanders to look, and then look again before adding his name to the list of the complainers that have plagued human endeavor since the beginning of the species. Instead, his concern shows that by joining us, he could be a real asset as we seek to staff our city with far-thinking individuals.

Clarke Metcalf
Belen