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EDITORIAL: Openness can only help

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By The Staff

For years, the Las Vegas City Council and city staffers have discussed the thoughts and statements of Floyd Duran, a federal official with great power over the local housing authority.

The Las Vegas native placed the authority on troubled status in 2005, which meant greater federal scrutiny. But he has said nothing publicly about the process since that time.

That changed last week when he made a long-awaited appearance before the council and explained the federal agency’s position on the authority. He told the council that the authority has been progressing since 2005, but he pointed to where the authority still needs to improve. It was great to hear this directly from the federal official in charge, not through the filter of the city manager or the local housing director.

It’s been particularly frustrating for our newspaper because Duran has declined to comment on local housing issues because he says his agency prohibits such contact with the media.

Opening the lines of communication with Duran can only help the city of Las Vegas. We need to make every effort to make sure Duran comes by Las Vegas more often.

Duran noted that he and four other employees are in charge of overseeing 43 housing authorities in New Mexico. True, but the Meadow City’s authority should get more attention than the others for a couple of reasons. First, our authority is in troubled status, so it’s imperative that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development do what it can to help us move up to the next level. HUD has given assistance, but it’s nice when the decision-makers over the authority get firsthand accounts from the federal agency. Second, Las Vegas has one of the bigger authorities in the state, so it deserves more attention.

Councilman Morris Madrid told Duran that he appreciated his speaking to the council, but he pleaded for more attention in the future. That attention could be in the form of either scrutiny or assistance, Madrid said.

That was an important statement. We don’t want HUD’s analysis of our local authority to be sugar-coated; we want to get the straight scoop. Such truth will benefit the residents of public housing.