Letters to the editor (04/10/14)

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

Political season is upon us
Editor:
Spring, hillbillies and politics.
What an interesting set of words. This spring has come in usual fashion with the day-to-day wonder about what the weather is going to do. It also has brought us to another political season with the upcoming primaries just at hand.
I’m always fascinated with the dynamics that is a political season inspires. You have your usual and unusual set of individuals attempting to run for office and with some difficulty trying to articulate why it is they are running for office.
At the usual, but not enough candidate forums, one gets to meet-and-greet the candidates with the hope that a clear picture of that individual emerges. Sadly, the forum leaves you disappointed as the real issues do not surface.
Rather, you begin to understand and confirm what you already knew and that is that some who are running for office were handpicked by some powerful and influential person and their destiny as a public servant becomes questionable and you have to wonder why this handpicked person is really running for office.
There are at least three races that come to mind where individuals have not been active at all in their party and have not been vetted properly but because they were anointed by some political figure, they then become credible. On the other hand, you have a situation whereby a popular candidate whose constituents pleaded with him to run for office is placed at the mercy of these powerful and influential persons that are, for whatever reason, out to diminish the candidacy of the people’s choice.
Oh, and let’s not forget how quickly some politicians dismiss their constituents just after the elections. They become annoyed that a constituent called them inquiring about a particular issue or concern. They can’t handle tough questions that are important to the citizens of the valley and they treat you very badly when you attempt to visit them in Santa Fe.
This brings me to the last word. Robert Hendrickson’s “Word and Phrase Origin,” third edition, describes hillbillies as a derogatory name for hill people: “… first recorded in 1900 and usually implies laziness, ignorance and stupidity.”
The implication that a group of people in Valencia County are hillbillies as noted by a certain elected official will someday be a turning point for that individual. In the meantime, let’s just hope that the results of the primary and, more importantly, the general election favor the people.
Finally, I do concede that running for office is difficult and I give credit to those who do it for the right reasons, but something is definitely wrong with a system that allows the above-mentioned to occur.

Rita Padilla-Gutierrez
Bosque

Unintended consequences
Editor:
As reported in April 4 edition of the News Bulletin, if Valencia County and the Los Lunas Village Council implement the Hold Harmless GRT, the sales tax rate would go up to an onerous 8.3125 percent.
I would like to suggest that the Los Lunas Village Council and the Valencia County Commission consider the “Law of Unintended Consequences” before taking such an action.
Although I do understand the desire for additional revenue for both entities, I would like to remind those in charge that increasing tax rates will not necessarily result in additional tax receipts. This may seem counter intuitive, but let’s consider some of the unintended consequences:
A retail business is looking at opening a new location in Los Lunas or a couple alternative municipalities. Since sales tax essentially increases a retailer’s price to the consumer, that business may find greener pastures at an alternative location.
The current sales tax rate in Albuquerque is 7 percent. Valencia County residents may find it advantageous to purchase all of their food in the county but shop in Albuquerque for their non-food items.
Although I don’t recommend such a thing, as tax rates begin to be perceived  as oppressive, consumers and  small businesses have a greater tendency to make transactions in cash or barter in order to avoid taxes completely.
Finally, thanks to the Internet, the greatest legal method to avoid paying sales tax is to shop online. The higher the tax rate, the more incentive to do so with the added advantage of free, front-door delivery.
In conclusion, Los Lunas is my home by choice. Without being nit-picky, I think that the Los Lunas municipal government is a model of efficiency and fiscal responsibility (the county, not so much).
The only long-term solution to financial obstacles is to increase economic activity in the village. The more profit to be had, the more businesses will open. More businesses create more jobs and more stuff for people to buy. The more stuff that gets bought, and voila, more tax receipts and more importantly a shining village on the hill where all come to enjoy an increase in personal prosperity.

Dennis Schlessinger
Los Lunas

Our beautiful bosque is ruined
Editor:
The red-tailed hawk sat on her nest and watched and waited. She had used this nest for many, many years in the cottonwood bosque of Sabinal.
The smoke was thick, the fire was getting hotter and hotter. The cottonwood tree that held her nest caught fire. Still she waited, until at last the branch where she was sitting caught fire and she reluctantly flew off, leaving eggs or perhaps babies behind.
The bosque here is ruined. The places where our neighbors walk, fish, hunt and ride are gone. Perhaps part of the penalty for causing this senseless damage could be community service work such as planting trees and repairing some of this habitat.
Thanks to all the dedicated and trained volunteer firefighters who took time off  from work or from  irrigating or from being with their families for several days in order that our homes could be spared from this fire.

Beth Crowder
Sabinal

Angels are amongst us
Editor:
Do you believe in angels? I sure do.
I ran out of gas about four or five miles out of Belen on my way home from Albuquerque. Two gracious male angels, having completed a meeting with our new mayor, Jerah Cordova and council members, were on their way back to Albuquerque.
They noticed me, a frantic female in distress, turned around and came back to help. They drove me first to Walmart to guy a gas can, then to the nearest gas station, back to my car and then serviced my car.
All of this cost them at least an hour. They refused to take any pay. Their names are Rick Williams and Eduardo Martinez, who work for the Economic Development Administration.
Praise God for chivalrous males, so characteristic of New Mexicans, who are willing to help a person in need. Rick Williams and Eduardo Martinez are great examples of this chivalry and the God’s word: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Belen has many citizens of this nature. Belen is a great place to live, and it’s my opinion that much good progress is coming to the city.

Billye Porter
Belen