Letters to the Editor - June 13, 2014

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Deadline should have been enforced
The Las Vegas fiestas are upon us again and as usual everyone in Las Vegas knows it’s either time to submit your applications for the different areas that comprise the fiestas; whether it’s running for fiesta queen, submitting your application for a good vendor spot or just submitting an art piece for the fiesta poster contest. And as we all know, there is one aspect that we all have to be concerned with the deadline. And according to Merriam Webster Dictionary,  the definition states that it is a “date or time when something must be finished or submitted.”
The fiesta poster call was found on Facebook and of course its “deadline” and theme. My first frustration was in trying to find an entry form from the city of Las Vegas. I finally managed to speak to Annette at the City. She informed me that I would have to visit the Arts Council to get an entry, and after several attempts and the frustration of having to go back to the Arts Council to get an entry, my daughter was able to downloaded one. Well, first frustration was taken care of; now it was time to begin working on the poster and considering the theme of the poster as well as the “deadline” I worked through the month of May to meet the “deadline” and managed to incorporate the theme. I got my poster in on time, following that magical word, “deadline.” I am beginning to believe that it is a common practice by those in charge to extend the “deadline” or “theme.” I was told that the schools had not gotten the word out to the students. But they are judged in the youth category, so why did it affect me as an adult?
I was upset upon receiving a call informing me of the change in status. I was invited to be on the committee after Fiestas to entertain the word “deadline” and to let the committee know how this year marked the third year in a row that the magic word had not been followed.
Next call came on June 6, informing me that I won third place, and invited to take pictures for the Fiesta Guide. How excited when I arrived I was surprised to see that first place was a computer-generated piece which had been submitted after the “deadline” and had not followed the theme. I do realize that different categories had been included by the committee, but the theme was not followed. When are we going to get this right? Also, if one states that a certain  group will be judging the pieces, why are they changing the protocol on who will judge the pieces? I will continue to submit my works but will the “deadline” and “theme” curse haunt me for the third year in a row?
Joan C. Crespin
Las Vegas

Disappointed in Arts Council
I recently entered my original painting in the 4th of July poster contest. However, it was a difficult task to obtain the entry form, after two weeks of going to the Las Vegas Arts Council Gallery on 140 Bridge St. and calls and going to the city offices. Finally I found someone there on May 20, two days before the May 23, deadline.
I was given a copy of another artist’s entry form and was told to white out her information and put in my name and information.
On May 23, I turned in my painting at around 4 p.m., deadline was 5 p.m. I was told they might extend the entry deadline because of the recent rains and that may have prevented others from coming in and entering. On May 30, around 6 p.m., I received a message on my home machine from the Arts Council stating that the deadline would be extended to Thursday because of the lack of entries ­— a different “story” ­— and would be judged Friday June 6, in the a.m. and would notify the artists that a.m.
On Friday June 6, at about 10:30 a.m. I received a call from the Arts Council president telling me I had won second place and asking if I could attend a small gathering; picture time was unknown but I would be called back with the time. About 15 minutes later they called again and left a message with my daughter that it would be at 4 p.m. and they asked artists to leave their art work up in the gallery through the month of June.
I got to the Arts Council Gallery a little before 4 p.m. They had set up the pieces in the back of the gallery in order of first, second and third place, including the youth entries to the right and others (non-winners) to the left. When I saw the first place winning piece I could not even tell exactly what it was and how it could compare to the hand-drawn and painted pictures that second and third place painting had been done. There was just no comparison to the computer-generated picture with no definition even distorted to the original hand drawn and painted entries that fell into the theme for the posters for this year’s Fiestas.
The arts council had a photographer present there to take pictures of the entries and winners, and it was actually the husband of the first-place winner who was an entry on the extended deadline. What’s up with that? It smells.
The entry form and committee told us that the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs  would be judging the entries. Then they told us the judge was not from Las Vegas, that he had no ties here and was from Santa Fe, when it was actually a native from Las Vegas: David Escudero.
I feel that the winning piece the computer-generated image should have been in a different category and should have been judged different from the original hand drawn, hand painted pictures. I ask the community to look at it and see how they feel.
Curly Chávez
Las Vegas

Response to editorial
This is our response to the editorial on Monday, June 9, 2014. In our opinion it was reckless, under investigated, knee jerk, ignorant, fear mongering, off topic, insulting to our intelligence, and historically off target.
Reckless: First; the Optic has not called me for any clarification on the issue of a community rights ordinance. The question posed to me was, Over the last few years, there has been a push for the county to adopt a community rights ordinance similar to the one adopted by Mora County last year. What is your position on community rights ordinances and on the proposed ordinance on oil and gas drilling being considered by San Miguel County?
I stated my position on the Mora ordinance as: We should commend them for their bravery in a David and Goliath struggle. The community rights ordinance was never considered by San Miguel County Commission, it was never on the table. We certainly support our vecinos in Mora county.
Under-investigated: Second: the Optic has my phone number … they have never called me for clarification on the issue of a community rights ordinance. It runs so much deeper than a questionnaire, If you’re going to take a position,  investigate … that’s your job and duty, it’s incumbent of you.
Knee jerk: Third: The Optic and the opposition are stunned that they have lost three elections in a row. They are grabbing at straws, trying to undo what looks like a fall from power. The people from the Westside, like minded people from the Eastside, and the ranchitos in district 1 have spoken!
Ignorant: Fourth: It is obvious that the Optic has no clue how our majority based county government works. One man or woman does not control. There are five members that have to come to a consensus of sorts (3-2) on any legislation.
Fear mongering: Fifth: My campaign was a campaign of courage. The Optic wants to use the elections in Mora to instill fear of litigation and the reelections of candidates, in order to control the thoughts and mind of the people, as well as other members of the county commission. The Optic stated “we fear the election of Rock Ulibarri…”, Who is “we”?... The Optic editorial team? To me the collaborative “we” Implies the shareholders who that have a common cause with those who have been here throughout countless generations.
Off topic: Sixth: if the Optic bothered to read my platform, they may or may not have noticed that a Community Rights Ordinance was not a part of it. My platform included    grassroots economic development, collaboration with city and surrounding counties to address poverty, summer youth programs in rural areas, alternative energy/education center, and a reintegration center. In addition, I will support any ordinance that gives the rights back to the people that live on the land.
Insulting to our intelligence: Seventh: Does the Optic really believe that they can control the masses, disrupt elections, and second-guess the people? We are poor but we are not ignorant; we have learned over time who serves our best interests and who does not. We do not need media to tell us what to think.
Historically off target: Eighth: The Optic naively portrayed my Tios Juan Jose Herrera, Pablo Herrera, and Nicanor Herrera, as well as all those who rode, as bandits; outside of the law, and downright criminal (All that were Las Gorras Blancas). The Optic projected a landslide victory of the Republican Party at the time period, 1890s. A third party arose, El Pueblo de Partido Unido, and won every seat they ran for. The Optic has tried to be a continual force in elections ever since, and have not succeeded. They are not connected to the people on the ground.
In conclusion, we can and will debate all issues stated above to any who will accept the challenge. As I said, our campaign was a campaign of courage. The people of San Miguel have declared their independence from the Patron System and elected a representative that believes in transparent, honest government, by the people and for the people. We would look forward to a debate before we take office.
Rock G. Ulibarri
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Ulibarri’s response when asked his position on community rights ordinances:
“Although the C.R.O’s legality has been challenged, a C.R.O. is certainly legitimate and justifiable. I will support the ‘belt and suspenders approach.’ This approach will have a C.R.O. backed up and supported by a rigorous regulatory ordinance should the C.R.O fail. Mora should be commended for having the courage to stand up to the oil and gas industry. We, as their neighbors, should stand with them.”

Help us buy shoes for kids
United Health Care is coordinating an event called Kicks for Kids on July 19 at the Abe Montoya Recreation Center. The proceeds from this event will be used to buy shoes for some of our children in San Miguel, Mora, Colfax and Guadalupe counties.
We are asking our local businesses and affiliates to join us to make this event fun and exciting. We would like to have 60 businesses participate in setting up a game booth so that the children can have an enjoyable day.
Anyone who is interested in assisting us can do so in one of the following ways: by purchasing a booth for $10, which includes setting up a game for children with prizes, or with a donation of food or money. Other ideas are also welcome. Anyone who assists with this event will get local recognition in our local newspaper and radio stations.
We greatly appreciate your time and your willingness to assist us in this event. If you are interested, please (contact me at 425-3893).
Employees of UHC are volunteering their time to make this event possible.
Tanya Mascareñas
Las Vegas