Letters to the editor (02/06/14)


Volunteers made it a success
I am writing to thank the many individuals who, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s call to service, came together to offer two health fairs on Saturday, Jan. 18, in the communities of Meadow Lake and El Cerro Mission.
We detected many cases of uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes, provided free glucometers, and explained how to attain health insurance through the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange.
We are grateful to the following individuals and organizations for informing the public about the free health fairs: Jose Campos at the senior programs, the Meadow Lake Parks Area Association and Lydia Zazueta and Mark Rosenblum, county employees Lena, Manuel and Francisco, who helped with opening and closing the community centers on their day off; Kay Johnson and Tony Romero, who baked healthy snacks; and Jenell and Rob Kesler, who brought apples.
Lydia Zazueta, Leroy Cisneros, Annie Lawler and myself measured blood pressure and blood glucose levels. Alice Lawton, Mark Rosenblum and Jenell Kesler explained the Affordable Care Act. Somos un Pueblo Unido and Janet Yates registered voters, and Brenda Parra explained the programs of the Valencia County Literacy Council.
Sen. Michael Sanchez dropped by for a blood pressure check, too.
To the individuals who attended and the volunteers who made the event a success, thank you.

Teresa Smith de Cherif, M.D.
Los Lunas

County has abandoned us
On Jan. 15, County Commissioners Alicia Aguilar, Lawrence Romero and Jhonathan Aragon voted down a 1/8 of one per cent increase in the county’s GRT to fund increasing costs of the county detention center, which was under discussion for a couple months.
The county faces many financial challenges. Medical care costs for jail inmates have increased dramatically, the Conejo Transfer Station and public works have broken down equipment and the fire department is understaffed, among other concerns.
Eight of 33 counties in the state have a tax to support their jails. Valencia County did, too, before it expired.
The proposed tax would add 12 1/2 cents to a $100 taxable purchase. It would generate an estimated $1.5 million for the county per year.
During the county commission discussion, Romero said little and Aragon said nothing.
Aguilar went on and on with her thoughts. During her comments, all I could think was “The lady doth protest too much.” Her professed opposition was not convincing.
The county cannot put inmates in tents; it risks court action, lawsuits, possibly a costly riot if services deteriorate beyond a certain point. Because of overcrowding, the county spends $40,000 or more a month sending prisoners to Cibola County.
The county treasurer and the state need to redouble their efforts in collecting taxes. If the treasurer needs more resources to do so, the commission must work with her. The notion that the county isn’t collecting back taxes is baloney. Like it or not, there are restrictions on what can be done to collect taxes, regardless of how infuriated we may be with deadbeats.
Once real estate taxes are two years delinquent, the overdue bill goes to the state, which has total control on how those taxes are collected.  On the treasurer’s page of the county website, www.co.valencia.nm.us, is a link to a file of tax delinquents who owed the county $1,000 or more, put together by the News-Bulletin, published in June 2013. Go to this link to access that list: http://tinyurl.com/l2fywen.
Given the opposition of Romero, Aguilar and Aragon to the tax, residents of unincorporated parts of the county should consider moving to one of the towns in the county or another county.
County services will deteriorate further from already inadequate levels.  You have been abandoned by the county commission.
County employees should brush up your resumes because some of you will be laid off. None of you will receive raises for several years.
The county manager and senior managers hired under former manager Swingle should look for employment elsewhere; you have been abandoned by the county commission.
But look on the bright side, even if your roads get worse, Conejo is closed much of the time and it takes even longer for the sheriff or fire department to respond to your call, you will have an extra 12 1/2 cents the next time you spend $100!

Jim Rickey
Los Lunas

A nice sight to see
On Friday, Nov. 15, my husband and I stopped at Sonic at approximately 11:45 for a bite.
Three young men were sitting outside enjoying their treats. They laughed, joked around and made comments about our car amongst one another.
We were in a two-door silver Mazda Miata, a sporty car. They were in two vehicles, both trucks white, a Ranger the other a Power Stroke. They said goodbye to one another and departed.
My husband and I smiled to observe the wholesomeness of this. We don’t see it too often anymore, this put a smile on our face.
To the parents of these young men, what a blessing for you; we don’t know anything about these young men and by judging a book by its cover; and as we as a rule would not do, these boys I could see are respectful, kind and fun young men.
Keep up the good work parents and boys keep on shining!

TC and Joe Ray Chavez