Letters to the editor (02/20/13)

........................................................................................................................................................................................

N.M. education system need to be reformed
Editor:
The concept of raiding our permanent fund for early childhood education is flawed.
While we can all agree that we need legitimate reform in our education system, this is not the answer. For decades, it seems that the solution lawmakers have reached is to throw money at problems and hope that they will disappear. The truth of the matter is that it has not worked — and it will not work.
We cannot pour money into a broken system and simply hope for the best. That is not reform. That is not the type of change we owe the children of New Mexico. That is a Band-Aid solution at best.
I stand firmly in favor of enhancing our education system and strengthening our schools for our children and for future generations. However, this raid on the permanent fund will not be a lasting solution.
The money, along with the hope that it will make a difference, will be gone in a matter of time, and we will be right back where we started.
We must look to genuine solutions that will implement lasting reform. Therefore, when looking at solutions for our education system, we must look to the root of the problems.
Earlier this year, our graduation rates showed improvement. Seventy percent of New Mexico students now graduate from high school, and while we can celebrate that progress, we are faced with the sad fact that three in 10 do not. That is not a static — those numbers represent the New Mexico teenagers who slipped through the cracks.
We owe it to those teenagers — and to all the children of New Mexico — to do something. The problem begins early, and we need to implement early childhood intervention. We need to use our resources to make sure that children can read at grade level.
Additionally, we must pass reform that provides for the best possible teachers to be in our classrooms. These are steps we can take toward lasting change.
With these reforms, we can truly make a difference in the lives of our children. By throwing money at the problem, we often skirt past the details that matter the most.
We must focus on our children’s future — not on instant gratification. This is not a problem that will have a quick fix, but we can find common ground and implement legislation that will have a lasting effect.

Rep. Kelly Fajardo
House District 7
Valencia County

Commission needs to make a good decision
Editor:
This is to the county commission regarding the hospital. I was one of the majority who voted for a county hospital several years ago.
I believed the Rio Communities site was the best site for the population as a whole. However, you, our county commission, killed it. The two major arguments I heard against the Rio Communities site were the majority of the population resides in Los Lunas, and the hospital should be near Interstate 25. Remember?
Last year, a representative from Presbyterian told you that this county might not be able to support a hospital at all. Remember that? However, Miller gave us all hope with the announcement of a hospital to be build west of Walmart in Los Lunas that would be in operation by January 2015 (within two years from now.) Remember that? That was a great day for me. Finally, we would have the hospital that we all want.
So what did you do? All of a sudden, you thought it was a good idea for the county to have two hospitals. What? And within a couple of weeks, you signed a joint powers agreement with Belen to commit all the mill levy funds to a Belen hospital to be built on a questionable site that has in the past been used to catch basin for flood waters. Your hurried action stopped the Los Lunas hospital timeline in its tracks.
What a slap in the face to the village of Los Lunas, where the majority of the population resides. What an insult to all the residents of this county, including Belen. All we want is a hospital, not an urgent care for an Albuquerque hospital, and not two hospitals. We want one hospital, a good one, and not one 20 years from now, please.
The Rio Communities hospital could have been done by now; the Los Lunas hospital would have been running within two years. Yet we have nothing. Meanwhile, is the proposed Belen hospital site in a flood zone? I hope the Belen hospital would be more than a glorified urgent care; it is hard to visualize.
Meanwhile, it has no clear startup date in sight and assumes a renewal of the mill levy. Really? What are the chances of that happening?
We are tired of your divisiveness. We are not in the mood to give the county more taxes for nothing. How long we have suffered through the politics of this process.
You, commissioners, have an opportuntity to correct this madness. Please don’t let us down again. In January, the state denied the hospital joint powers agreement between Belen and the county as written. Thank goodness.
Now, please, please, please, do not sign any amended agreement, and drop this highly unfair joint powers agreement.
Let Belen and Los Lunas duke it out on an equal playing field as to who gets the mill levy funds. Be fair. That’s all we ask.
May the best site win, and may we the people of the county finally have our hospital. Soon.

Claudia Gale
Rio Communities

ROTC youth were respectful, helpful
Editor:
We would like to send a special thanks to Mr. Oscar Magallanes and his ROTC class at Belen High School.
They folded the flag that was flown over the U. S. Capitol in memory of the Ann Parish Elementary School.
This flag had been given to my aunt, who has since passed away. The family would like to donate the flag and the certificate to the school. Mr. Magallanes and his class were all so gracious and helpful.
With all the bad news about our young children, it is so nice to see the respect and manners we saw in this group of young students. It is a group we can all be very proud of.

Bob and Wanda Williams
Rio Communities