Letters to the editor (08/29/13)

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Evaluations were flawed
Editor:
(This is in reference to) Dee Towndrow’s letter in the June 13 edition of the Valencia County News-Bulletin titled: “Trash Haulers Should Be Local.”
I agree with Dee; there is no good reason why our trash haulers in Valencia County should not be local. The vendor resources exist right here in the county, right now, ready to go.
The problem is in the way the county chose to solicit bids, but the problem goes farther than that. The “bid” process was actually a request for proposals, which was designed as though the county was buying some sort of commodity, such as furniture or copiers or landscaping. Conceptually, it was the wrong method.
In reality, trash collection is a utility. It is specifically called a utility in the state of New Mexico Purchasing Code, just as is the furnishing of water, natural gas, electricity, etc. With the issuance of the proper type of RFP, Valencia County could have negotiated a contract with the local vendor resources, and we could have already been enjoying the benefits of a cleaner Valencia County, plus all the jobs and revenue would have remained here in the county.
During the years leading up to this current RFP, (which is now facing litigation) there were many, many public meetings soliciting citizen input. Unfortunately, the vast majority of that citizen input was ignored, as was the input and recommendations of the solid waste committee, of which I was a member, and vice chairman.
One local company who submitted a proposal wanted to utilize all the smaller local companies as subcontractors, and to provide multiple convenience centers with nominal charges for certain outlying residents who did not/could not opt to pay for a standard container and its monthly charge.
They also wanted to provide recycling services to all residents at no charge. County purchasing never even tried to negotiate any such contract. In my opinion, the “evaluation” of the proposals was fatally flawed.
The now-disputed contract seems to me as though it was steered toward Waste Management, who just happens to own the landfill where all our trash will go. I have nothing personal against Waste Management. They are a well-managed upstanding company with global operations.
The problem: there is really no incentive for them to contribute to the local economy, nor is there any incentive for them to help us clean up the growing mess of garbage on our mesas and in our arroyos.
The recent (disputed) contract only requires them to pick up the garbage once a week and take it to the landfill, and very little else.
We need a solid waste management plan that takes control of our entire waste stream; a plan that actually works. We need a plan that gives each and every citizen the opportunity to do the right thing with the trash they generate.
I am deeply disappointed in the county leadership for not insisting on properly soliciting and negotiating the best possible contract for the county, and for its deserving residents.

Paul Alexander
Los Lunas

Words can hurt everyone
Editor:
How about us Americans? We have become so judgmental and sanctimonious.
Has anyone listened to rap music? The “N’ word is used so often by Black, so-called entertainers, in music, movies and the stage, such as Chris Rock and others.
Is the “N” word the only offensive word used today? What about the “F” word? It is used in movies and TV. It is used like an everyday word to some.
Too many, I am sure that it is as offensive as the “N” word is to Blacks. I guess it is all right to refer to African Americans as Blacks?
How many ethnic groups are referred to by names that are offensive to them? For instance, in many parts of the county, Hispanics and Mexicans are called “Greaser.” Italians are called “WOPS” and on and on.
I am not from the South, but have been around southerners enough to know that many of them have been raised by their parents to refer to Blacks as the “N” word. To them, it is second nature, especially the older generations of southerners who are still fighting the Civil War.
Is what is happening to Paula Deen right? To me, I do not know what all the fuss is about. If what I am hearing about, the case is accurate. To ruin a person’s career for something that she admits happened a long time ago is ridiculous. I am not what you call a fan of hers, but I guess she is pleasant enough and she surely seems to be a loving mother.
Her show is certainly enjoyed by many. I just don’t think that she should be crucified for this. As our Lord said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
And that goes for the use of offensive name calling.

Ron Salazar
Los Lunas

New year at St. Mary’s
Editor:
For almost a year now, a lot of work has been going on next door to Saint Mary’s Catholic School.
We will be moving into our new gym and cafeteria in late August.  Not only are we excited for our new building, volunteers and staff have been working hard on the classroom building all summer.
It is truly amazing how lucky we have been to have so many people donate time and services to us in our effort to give the school a “new” look on the inside and out.
Everyone on the staff at Saint Mary’s, as well as the parents, are so grateful to these wonderful people and businesses who have helped us.  Toby’s Doors provided a brand new set of front security doors for us.  Ned’s Pipe and Steel provided the materials for our beautiful new fence on our south end.
Willie Martinez with Kenyon Plastering brought his men in on three weekends and completely re-plastered our front entry hall and applied a beautiful brick façade around our new reception window. Manny Aragon at Carpet Warehouse donated flooring for the new staff bathroom.
There are no words to express the look on the faces of our alumni and friends who have dropped by to see the renovations. Teachers have been painting. Parents have been laying tile.   Mario, our maintenance guy has organized all the construction activities. It has been a productive summer!
This year and in the future, not only will Saint Mary’s be providing a top-notch academic education to area students, we will be basking in the beautiful blessings that members of our wonderful Belen community have bestowed upon us.
Thank you all so very much.  Come by and visit a “new” Saint Mary’s!

Melodie Good
St. Mary’s Principal