Letters to the editor (02/23/13)

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Reasons why Paris would be good name
Editor:
Here are 10 more reasons why we should rename Rio Communities to Paris, New Mexico:
1. The Great Seal of the city of Paris, N.M., has an already-defined motto: Audrey Hepburn’s statement that “Paris is always a good idea.”
2. The new city council can outlaw wearing cowboy hats except by people who actually own a horse or cow. People who feel the need to wear a hat can buy a beret.
3. The schools can teach the kids how to sing “America The Beautiful” and “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” and “Home On The Range” in French.
4. An annual auto road race, that starts at the River Bridge, runs out the Manzano Expressway to UNM-VC, west to N.M. 47, south to U.S. 60, west to N.M. 304, and back. What will make the race exciting are the many potholes and the course being a figure eight. It would be called “The 24 Hours of Le Manzano.”
5. The restaurant at the golf course can add new items to the menu: French roast coffee and café au lait, of course, plus beignets, croque-monsieur and crepes suzette.
6. Wine sales will go up.
7. Instead of asking “Fries with that?” fast-food workers will get to ask “Avec pommes frites?”
8. We can celebrate Bastille Day on July 14.
9. The senior center can show movies with English subtitles.
10. The new Municipal Judge can sentence anyone convicted of DWI to the guillotine.

G.E. Nordell
Rio Communities

Board of Ed questions could’ve been better
Editor:
I read the responses to the Los Lunas Board of Education questionnaire with considerable interest because it reminded me of Norman Greenman’s demand that no plan go without a target to be achieved and the date by which it was to be accomplished.
Norman was a good CEO. He accomplished a lot during his tenure. If you didn’t concur, you could work elsewhere.
Then I thought how easy it would be to accomplish the objectives listed in the questionnaire. “What will be your top three priorities if elected to the board of education?”
No target, no date, no accountability. Nada. Just full of opportunities to weasel out of any accountability.
If Norman were on this board the question would be something like this: “List your three top priorities if elected to the board of education. For each priority what do you expect to achieve and when will you accomplish it?”  Target, date and accountability all with one simple change.
Given the change in the question, how might candidates have answered?
“Balance and keep the district budget balanced for each fiscal year that I am in office.”  Pretty easy to check, isn’t it?  There’s a target and a completion date for each year in office.  Norman would approve.
“To have 95 percent of our students reading at grade level by June of 2015.” Norman would approve:  A target, target date too. Full accountability.
“Increase and improve by 20 percent the safety and well-being of our students by June 2014.” Stop. Very difficult to measure. A non-starter for Norman. Warm and fuzzy, and if you can’t measure it, how can you be held accountable?
“To retain (and reward) all excellent teachers at the end of each June during my tenure.” Norman was tough on clarity. He would think that retention and reward are two separable priorities with different targets and outcomes. This sets an extremely difficult task for the candidate.
There has to be a mechanism for deciding which teachers are excellent. Then you have to make sure you keep them. At least there’s a goal and a target date and accountability if agreement can be reached on who the excellent teachers are.
“To reward excellent teachers each June during my tenure by two extra days of professional development training.” Teachers would love this.
Norman, not so much. The problem remains of selecting the excellent teachers. But there is a clear goal and a clear target date and accountability (if the excellent teachers can be identified.)
“To increase the graduation rate by at least 3 percent by the end of each year of my tenure.”  Norman can actually smile!  Good job!
A target, a time frame and perfect accountability. You either did, or you didn’t. And Norman would be watching and requiring progress reports. You wouldn’t like to be on a board and be hounded for performance by Norman.
And, finally, “Improve academic performance by our students by 5 percent each year during my tenure.”  OK, there’s a goal, an end-of-school year date, and full accountability.
If you’ve figured out how to measure academic performance. The state certainly has norms that can be used.
Or, you can develop your own.  Again, tough sledding. At least Norman is quiet.

Robert Sanders
Rio Communities

Gun owners take their rights very seriously
Editor:
I take offense to Mr. Nishiura’s comments concerning his very first question of asking, “What’s so sacred about the Second Amendment?”
Ask those who fought and died for all of the content put forth in the Constitution including these words you find so “vague and unclear …” The right of the people to keep and bear arms.
My interpretation and millions of other citizens in these United States is that there are no “vague or unclear” meaning to those words.
We “gun ownership rights people” as you state, lend themselves to an “interpretation” of those words, but in my opinion and many others, they are as relevant today as they were back then for all of us who want to have such freedoms now and for future generations to come.
No, the Second Amendment should not be repealed or debated because you and others like you cannot interpret its meaning. Our Founding Fathers knew exactly what those words meant  — freedom.

Kenneth Bullington
Rio Communities