Letters to the editor (02/27/14)
LL firefighters take a stand
We, the Los Lunas Professional Firefighters Local 4297, are writing in reference to the upcoming village of Los Lunas mayoral elections. Recently, political propaganda was mailed out to all residents and we would like to educate village residents.
So readers and residents can understand, we’d like to give you a short run down on how the Los Lunas Fire Department functions. The village of Los Lunas, population of about 15,000, is protected by four firefighter/EMT’s 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week with rotating shifts of 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off duty. LLFD does have a handful of volunteers who are qualified to respond.
LLFD responds to fires, motor vehicle collisions, medical emergencies and any other situation that cannot be resolved by other agencies. The staffing has not increased since 2007 because the individuals that make decisions do not believe we need more staff or because there is not enough funds to pay for more staff.
Whichever the reason may be, the population keeps growing, new business keeps appearing and the number of emergency calls keeps increasing. Even with these short falls, the firefighters do the best they can with what they have.
The phrase “public safety” is a combination of fire, EMS and police all together. Most residents understand or assume this, but the problem is that this flier is stating that $1.5 million for public safety was achieved when in fact this only pertains to the police, not fire or EMS. In reality, none of that grant money has been put towards or was contributed to the LLFD. It was the Los Lunas Police Department that applied for the various grants and it is customary then for the governing body to sign off on approval for the grants.
In or around 2008, the village of Los Lunas purchased the property to build a west side fire station. It has been more than six years since the purchase of that property and no ground has even been broken. With the rising cost of construction materials, the cost for this station has increased from 2008 exponentially. This does not even include the increase of cost for equipment, personnel and apparatus.
Even though the population has increased on the west side and building of new businesses, it would appear that the citizens and businesses of that side of town are not entitled to the same level of service and response times.
With the current situation, the LLFD’s response from our main station (only station), depending on the time of day, it can take 10 to 15 minutes before arrival to the scene which can be a loss of life or property. You would believe that this response problem would make a higher priority on the list of importance, especially since Los Lunas police seem to have the funds needed to operate effectively unlike the LLFD.
According to the rank of village council’s importance, the police department sits No. 3 on the goals, but the fire department is fifth, better yet second to last.
Los Lunas Professional Firefighters Local 4297 is not trying to put down the police; they do a great job and deserve much more credit than is received. We are simply trying to educate the public on the truth of this specific campaign flier and do not appreciate being included on false facts to win votes.
Los Lunas Professional Firefighters Local 4297 encourages residents to educate themselves on what each candidate’s goals are for this village and remember we may be the “village” of Los Lunas, but we are in fact a city that is still growing.
Your local firefighters are asking for the citizens of Los Lunas to do their research and vote for the best candidate in the upcoming mayoral race. Don’t just vote for your friend — vote for who is best for this community and then hold them accountable.
Los Lunas Professional Firefighters Local 4297
Remember those who served
Mr. Lopez’s letter expressed his opinion and I think his views have some interesting “bullets.” Exercising letter-writers’ permission is apparent to readers of our weekly newspaper; he clearly was ticked about several issues and he wrote around those … good for him.
There is a talking point I’ll mention, then go back to my hot chocolate. Politicians are assumed to be representatives of the public will. It doesn’t matter to the average citizen if that’s true or not, unless there’s a personal ox being gored; you’ll notice that when those representatives ignore or pay small homage to one of our “congressionally designated celebrations.”
Yes, we do rankle as that happens. Still, honoring veterans isn’t a political event.
It just is not true that correct and grateful attention to Veterans Day requires service in the military or to be attached as a qualifier. I did, perhaps Mr. Lopez served, and (thank you for the service), that is a wonderful contribution to citizenship. My bride did not, and she’s a patriot at the same level as I, and many others.
That intention aside, a broad-brush is a poor painting tool in a tight corner of our community, and I would urge all citizens to hold up a light to see that politicians, neighbors and all friends of this country, remember those who have served.
Mr. Lopez is correct to have us be mindful.
F. Guy Glover
RC incorporation rushed
First, I want to assure everyone that I have no interest in the politics of the community in which I reside. I do believe, however, that there needs to be truthful discussion on the premises upon which folks voted for incorporation and the community’s future under incorporation.
Before the vote to incorporate, I had great reservations about the capacity for the future community, financially. I have a background in such matters, hence a particular concern and understanding of what I was told; I asked about finances and how we were going to finance services, including a police force. I asked about the possibility of tax increases.
I was told that start up funding was committed by COG, the state of New Mexico and Valencia County. I was told in great detail the amounts and the plans after the vote to incorporate. I might add that other people were told the same thing in detail.
I was told the plan for the police force; the JPA with Belen. Frankly, I was impressed and reassured that this person had done his homework and that this time the proposal to incorporate was well planned. I also volunteered my expertise to the project if requested (No request ever came).
After the incorporation, I was not prepared to find that the community had not the financial support as I and others had been assured.
I believe that it is important for the residents of the community to reaffirm or decline the incorporation as the original vote appears swayed by false pretenses or beliefs. If indeed it will take five years to produce a viable municipality as we are now told do we have five years?
The infrastructure has deteriorated remarkably in this short time; apparently we have no ordinances nor do we have any enforcement capacity. We have no police force.
What we have is a sign proclaiming our township the “City of Rio Communities.” To put it simply, the residents always have the right to vote under prescribed circumstances.
I think the authorities of the municipality should welcome an affirmation of the incorporation through the voting process and that all should accept the final outcome. Incorporation should reflect the will of the people unfettered by the faulty information that was presented before the election.
A municipality should not be created for the benefit of those who have political aspirations, but rather to truly serve its residents.
If one considers there to be inaccuracies within this letter I would encourage the reader to reflect on all the information printed in this paper both before the election and to this date.
Thomas P. Zanotti