Apartment operator seeks fence

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By David Giuliani

The operator of a local apartment complex takes the old clich, “Good fences make good neighbors,” to heart.

Cathy Ray, representing Villa Las Vegas Apartments on Mountain View Drive, is asking the city to build a seven-foot fence between the apartments and next-door public housing.

At last week’s City Council meeting, she blamed public housing residents for repeatedly damaging property at the apartments, including breaking of windows. The current fence has been damaged to the point where public housing tenants are getting through, she said.

“How are people selected to rent units (in public housing)?” she asked during the public input portion of the meeting. “Are there background checks, like we have?”

She said the tenants are living in fear and that things aren’t safe for children.

The apartments’ community manager, Katherine Boyd, told the council she stayed up all night looking outside to make sure things were all right.

“We had a good fence,” she said.

Villa Las Vegas Apartments are managed by Farmington-based JL Gray Co., which has developments around New Mexico.

On Monday, Boyd said City Manager Sharon Caballero visited the apartments the day after the council meeting to see the problem firsthand.

On another issue during public input, Las Vegas resident Jose Maestas questioned the city’s recent decision to make a portion of Old National Road one way. He said residents weren’t consulted beforehand and are opposed to the action.

He said residents must travel a number of blocks farther than they did before.

In other City Council business

Las Vegas’ Keep Las Vegas Beautiful program won a statewide award, putting it into the top 10 cities in New Mexico for its beautification efforts.

Kelly Eversole, the city’s former Keep Las Vegas Beautiful coordinator, and Barbara Smith, a longtime volunteer in beautification efforts, presented the award to the council.

Eversole moved over to animal control recently. Her former position remains unfilled.

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The council voted to give 10 days for Richard Garcia, owner of 805 Pecos St., to clean up junk from his property. He can also appeal the matter during that time, which means the council would have to hold a public hearing.

Elmer Martinez, the city’s community development director, said the property has been a problem for some time.

Garcia’s attorney has argued that his client is keeping items on his property for a business at the flea market. The city, however, maintains that Garcia doesn’t have a business license on record.

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Councilman Morris Madrid said he wants to have council meetings aired on a medium that everyone has. He said not everyone has cable, where meetings are currently aired, but everybody owns a radio.

“Let’s stop feeding off the Optic,” he said.

He noted that some years ago, council meetings were aired on the radio. He said the city should consider paying radio stations to broadcast its meetings.

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The City Council held its first closed meeting in months. The city announced that it was to discuss bargaining strategy with a union. All council members voted to close the doors.

— David Giuliani, Las Vegas Optic