And the mudslinging continues, though it should be no surprise. When it comes to running Luna Community College, politics is the rule rather than an exception, so why should the Board of Trustees elections be any different?
The latest round, reported in Friday’s Optic, includes a fuss over who attends Luna board meetings and work sessions and how often. And the winner is: Tony Valdez, who missed only one of the 70 meetings held over the past three years, according to a document drafted at the request of the board. That’s an impressive 98.6 percent of the meetings.
Insert obligatory applause here. That’s impressive, but Valdez isn’t facing re-election this year, so that’s not the information anyone was really seeking. Instead the real applause should go to one of this year’s candidates, Thomas Jerry Maestas, who missed only two of the 70 meetings, or a 95.7 percent attendance record.
Such dedication to the job is commendable. But don’t worry, the sacrifice isn’t too great, since board members get paid a $95 per diem for each meeting they attend. So perhaps some more obligatory applause is in order.
Still, let’s continue down the list. Coming in a distant fifth is Abelino Montoya, whose attendance record comes in at 70 percent. Montoya was the one who started a feud with Maestas last month by pointing out that Maestas had taken too much per diem money for measly little meetings that took only a few minutes — pointing out that he, Montoya, doesn’t even accept his per diem for committee meetings. What a guy.
Montoya explained his absences by saying that he missed several meetings in the past because of his job in Santa Fe, but now that he’s retired from that post he’s attended nearly every board meeting. Interestingly, Ambrose Castellano, who came in sixth in the attendance race with only 43 percent of meetings attended, said he decided not to seek another term partly because of his job in Santa Fe. Seems it’s hard to serve on the Luna board and work out of town at the same time.
And bringing up the rear? That would be Levi Alcon Jr., who has attended just 40 percent of the meetings. He said he had shoulder surgery and problems at his other job, then alluded to Luna President Pete Campos’ five-year contract, suggesting that there’s not much a board member can do when the prez is in such a secure position.
And yet, he’s running for re-election. Go figure.
• • •
So in case you’re wondering by now who’s running against whom, here’s a breakdown:
• In District 1, Maestas is being opposed by Kenneth C. Medina.
• In District 3, Alcon Jr. is up against Peter A. Martinez and Ernie Chavez.
• In District 5, Montoya is running against Anthony D. Marquez.
• And in District 7, in which Castellano is not seeking re-election, Richard N. Rivera, Daniel J. Romero and JoAnn Alcon-Ortiz are vying for the position.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you think the incumbents are doing a good job, despite or because of their attendance, then by all means vote them back in. But if you think otherwise, then feel free to vote ‘em out. It’s your choice. Please, vote.