Letters to the editor (08/07/14)

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Aguilar should resign
Editor:
On Sept. 4, trash collection in the unincorporated parts of the county is set to begin, under terms of a contract approved by the county commission in December 2012.
However, two commissioners, especially Alicia Aguilar, who dearly covets the commission chairmanship, are determined to prevent this.  Aguilar never expresses the same concern for the massive dumping in the county.
Despite legally binding contract provisions, which require the county to make changes to its solid waste ordinance, Aguilar fights tooth and nail to prevent those changes from being made. Periodically she claims ignorance about provisions of the contract or the requirements to change the solid waste ordinance.
Only recently did she bring up her concerns, despite the contract having been signed a year and a half ago.
Valencia may be the last county in the state without a mandatory solid waste program. If Aguilar’s efforts succeed, that situation will remain.  We will continue to see that about 50 percent of residents in the unincorporated parts of the county do not have any trash service. Many of those will continue to dump wherever they want. Aguilar has never addressed how to solve the dumping problem.
The same applies to almost all public comments by people opposed to the program. Too many of them are only concerned with being able to choose a contractor. Other comments have claimed the county contract is unconstitutional (ha!) or that it is a tax (double ha!).
At a recent county meeting, one woman complained about the trash piles of her immediate neighbors. But she was adamant that people be able to choose whichever contractor they wanted. She made the suggestion that some voluntary program be used.  That’s what we have now! Does it work? No!
If Aguilar succeeds in her relentless effort to kill the solid waste program, henceforth all illegal trash heaps in the county shall be known as “Alicia Aguilar dumps.”
If she succeeds, you can kiss goodbye to any improvements at Conejo (as specified in the contract); Conejo will continue to be closed much of the time and the line into it will continue to be long. There will be no additional collection site, as also specified by the contract.
On another issue, at the commission’s Feb. 19 meeting Aguilar voted against a solar power array in Meadow Lake, which would have generated more than $100,000 annual tax revenue for the county.
She voted no because a handful of people in her district opposed it (among other things they said it would be noisy; but solar panels make no sound). Earlier, the planning and zoning commission had voted 4-0 in favor of the proposal.
If a county commissioner is unwilling to accept and enforce legally binding county contracts, he/she has no business being on the commission. Aguilar, who has been an obstacle to moving the county forward, is one such person.
She should resign now so the governor can appoint a rational person to the commission who has the best interests of the county at heart.

Jim Rickey
Los Lunas

Monopolizing the system
Editor:
I have been an observer of the recent discussion regarding the judicial vacancies in Valencia and Sandoval counties. I believe there is something that is astray here.
The monopolization of the judicial system is very, very dangerous. Regardless of what party one belongs to, it is inherently wrong to manipulate an important, long-term and serious process in our society.
People need to become more aware of what is going on in Valencia County politically and who is behind these moves. How much power can one elected official in Valencia County want and for what purposes?
Also, Mr. Campos, don’t shoot the messenger. Just concentrate on doing your job and get out of the personal politics. After all, we are paying your salary.

Laurence Sanchez
Tomé

Before Obamacare
Editor:
Before there was the Affordable Health Care Act, I did not have health insurance, and like many of us in New Mexico, I depended on the services offered at the University of New Mexico Hospital.
Back in 2012, I became gravely ill and had to use UNM Hospital and their services.  There was a significant problem though. I kept getting the run around, and my condition required immediate surgery. As I waited and waited for an appointment, my health continued to decline.
I finally turned to my senator, Michael S. Sanchez, for assistance. I called his office and explained my situation. The next day, I had an appointment. His prompt attention to the matter helped me get the appointment and surgery I so desperately needed.
I am not wealthy, nor a lobbyist, nor have even made a single contribution to a political campaign, but that did not matter to Sen. Sanchez. He helped me because I am a citizen in Valencia County and needed his support.
Today I am a healthy, happy camper. I will always remember his consideration and would like to thank Sen. Sanchez for all he does for the citizens of Valencia County.

Antonette D. Hurbina
Belen

Sanchez helped students
Editor:
As I approach my 17th year as a public-education teacher in Belen, I can’t begin to express my utmost pleasure and delight to witness three of my former students enter into the vocation of educating others.
It is with great enthusiasm that I will actually be able to call one of my former students my colleague, as we will both be teaching at the same elementary school. Another was offered a position in Belen last semester, and Albuquerque Public Schools saw the stellar abilities in another former student and hired him on the spot as a bilingual middle school teacher.
As I relish in the success of these outstanding individuals, I am also thankful for the opportunity they were given in tuition assistance through the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship.
While I have no doubt they are ambitious and eager individuals who were destined to be successful, I am certain that they can attribute much of their ability to complete their degrees at in-state universities to the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship.
This blessing of a bill was sponsored by Valencia County’s own, Sen. Michael Sanchez. Because of this bill, thousands of New Mexico students have benefitted from this amazing opportunity. I don’t believe we would see the bustling enrollment at our universities if not for the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship.
Sen. Sanchez knows that by providing a pathway to higher education for our students, we build brighter and more productive communities. For this, I, and countless college students and graduates are eternally grateful.
Sen. Sanchez, thank for your commitment to education and the citizens of New Mexico.

Carolyn Serafin-Abeyta
Rio Communities