Letters to the editor (04/17/14)

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Moving to a better Belen
Editor:
I watched, for the first time, an uncensored video of the killing of the hillside homeless man by Albuquerque police officers. It aired on MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” on March 31. It included a visual transcript of the dialogue that preceded the shooting.
Following the incident, Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said that this was a justifiable shooting. The chief must have been watching some other video.
At the time of the shooting, the victim was face down on the ground. His arms were pinned under his body. He told the officers that he could not move. He begged them not to hurt him anymore.
They shot him twice and then allowed their police dog to attack the man. The man did not move.
The video speaks for itself. This is New Mexico’s version of California’s Rodney King video. It is brutal, shameful and shocking.
The comments from Chief Eden are a disgrace. His remarks were criticized by Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry. Chief Eden needs to resign. He lacks the leadership that is sorely missed.
The victim, James Boyd, was on that hillside because he was a homeless person looking for a place to rest. He trusted that hillside spot would provide the safety and shelter that he desperately needed. The price he paid, for this, was his life.
As a New Mexican, who lives in Belen (aka Bethlehem), I take this story very personally. In the center of our town is a sculpture that is dedicated to the memory of a homeless family. Yet, the fact that is Belen has no emergency shelter beds.
This can and must change. Mayor Jerah Cordova says that he is ready to move Belen in a better direction. What better way is there than to honor the memory of that homeless family by providing at least three emergency shelter beds?
Yes, we have our limits, but the mayor believes that this is possible and would be a source of community pride. He welcomes your support and feedback. We can and must do this.

Marie Forman
Belen

City of RC is transparent
Editor:
There have been recent allegations of “transparency” violations in the city of Rio Communities. These allegations have produced a lot of heat (emotion) but no light.
Wikipedia defines transparency as: ”The right and the means to examine the process of decision-making. In politics, transparency is used as a means to hold public officials accountable and to fight corruption. When a government’s meetings are open to the press and the public, its budgets may be reviewed by anyone, and its laws and its decisions are open to discussion, it is seen as transparent, and there is less opportunity to abuse the system for their own interests.”
Transparency Lesson No. 1:  The governor, attorney general, New Mexico elected officials (state or federal) are charged with oversight duties. The New Mexico Municipal League and the Mid Region Council of Governments (all advisors) maintain the city of Rio Communities has not violated the Open Meetings Act or for any violation of Sunshine statutes, which define violation of any transparency allegations. The city of Rio Communities is, by definition, transparent.
Transparency Lesson No. 2: Let’s explore transparency of the seemingly small number of Rio Community citizens who charge the city lacks transparency. Obviously, you are not an organization as you are not registered with the New Mexico Public Regulations Commission.
It appears that you are a group of dissident disillusioned individuals sponsoring a petition to force election for a return to county government. You have zero accountability and transparency. The city of Rio Communities has total accountability and transparency.
What are the names of your members? How do I contact your leader? Do you have officers in your group? A president? Do you have meetings?  Is the public invited? Is public input solicited? Have any of you addressed city transparency issues with any responsible government agency monitoring municipal transparency?
As Butch Cassidy in a movie said, “Who are these people?” So, who are you? You have no transparency. So much for Lesson No. 2.
Transparency Lesson No. 3: If any citizen wants to be informed, then effort must be made by that individual to become informed. In this case, it means attending and participating in city council workshops and P&Z meetings as well as council meetings and reading VCNB current event articles. Volunteer to work at city hall. Be informed.
An educated and involved citizenry is an asset to its community, making a contribution toward success. You have lost the last three Rio Communities elections. Do you want your city to succeed? And if not, why not? It’s easy to sit back and criticize without facts.

Bill Brown
Rio Communities

County in need of help
Editor:
I am fed up with the lack of non-provided services of Valencia County.
For months, I have been trying to get a trap for dogs that have been using my yard as the neighborhood bathroom. I have contacted the Valencia County Animal Control and the county commissioner for my district. All I get is lip service and no action.
I am told that there are only three of these traps for the entire county and they are all in use. Three traps for all of Valencia County? With the dog problem we have? Ridiculous!
Also, every time I try and take my trash to the Conejo Transfer Station, the equipment is broken and the station is closed. The equipment is from the 1960s and in constant  need of repair. It is way past its useful service life and is in need of replacement.
My opinion is that the county commissioners are more worried with PR and political correctness than they are with their duties of their assignments. People cannot do their jobs if their equipment isn’t in proper working order.
More money needs to be allocated to equipment and not to PR frivolities, trips, education or any of the other baloney that administrators mistakenly think is necessary.
A three year hiring freeze is also very necessary. A reduction in commissioners and administrators’ salaries would also be useful to purchase needed equipment.
There are a lot of very wrong decisions being made within the Valencia County government. Higher taxes are not the remedy to this poor management problem.

Mark Carrillo
Los Lunas

Community is appreciated
Editor:
Belen Goju Ryu Karate school would like to thank the students, families and all who contributed to our Kick-A-Thon for the Belen Area Food Pantry.
All the karate students kicked for 15 minutes non-stop and then went into the community asking for help to kick hunger out of Belen.  We are very happy to have presented the Belen Area Food Pantry with $705 raised to help kick hunger out of Belen.

Richard and Cindy Long
Belen Goju Ryu Karate
Belen