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Opinion

  • The Ride To Pride 2009 Annual Benefit, Dinner, Dance and Auction proved to be another success! Serving over 280 persons for the dinner, the fundraiser brought in over $12,000 in proceeds. An outstanding success that could not have been done without the support our community. On behalf of Ride To Pride, the Board of Trustees would like to thank the following for their generous support of this year’s event:

  • We’ve lost yet another significant member of our community. On Monday, Oct. 19, Steve Flores passed away. Thankfully, he was at home with his family, where he wanted to be.

    Steve was founder and president of the Northern New Mexico Hispano Coalition. He was a founding and active member of the San Miguel County Detention Center Citizen Advisory Committee. Steve’s advocacy work on behalf of those unjustly treated by the system was invaluable.

  • In today’s column, Art Trujillo mentioned his granddaughter, Ellen, and a “mal ojo” incident. At a presentation on Latino folklore last week, an audience member referred to mal ojo. Subsequently, memories of experiences with this and other topics of Hispanic folklore (the learning of the people) surged in my consciousness.

  • Three of us were at La Kocina de Raphael earlier this month when we observed a ritual I’d not seen in 30 years.

    My son Stan, with his wife Lisbeth, with daughter Ellen Vestergaard, 7 months, joined me at the restaurant for lunch. In a nearby booth, behind Ellen, were three women who were causing my granddaughter to turn her head to see them. Ellen enjoyed the sights.

  • We are outraged with the gross misspending of education money in the Mora school district. Heads should roll.

    Last week, State Auditor Hector Balderas exposed a slush fund that demonstrated incompetence at best and an arrogance of power at worst.

    The district’s superintendent, Dora Romero, sought the audit earlier this year after the Optic submitted a public records request in connection with thousands of dollars in spending for gifts and refreshments to area state lawmakers.

  • Recently, the San Miguel County Commission decided to slap liens on more than 100 properties for unpaid solid waste bills.

    The county didn’t enjoy having to do so. For some time, its finance staff has been trying to get people to pay their bills for the use of the county’s solid waste convenience centers. But, apparently, they haven’t been tough enough in their efforts, since the county is now sitting on $161,000 in outstanding solid waste bills.

  • In the state’s effort to combat drunken driving, Gov. Bill Richardson has worked hard to reverse unfortunate trends. He can rightly claim credit for having some success in this regard.

    For the first time, New Mexico has dropped out of the top 10 for DWI fatalities. In 2008, the National Traffic Safety Administration ranked the Land of Enchantment 11th for the number of such fatalities per 100,000 population.

  • Incumbents have a big advantage when it comes to raising campaign funds. Lobbyists and big business shower those in office with money.

    Just look at the last local race for state representative. Incumbent Richard Vigil got thousands and thousands of dollars in out-of-town special interest money. In total fundraising, Vigil raised $60,000 to Travis Regensberg’s $12,000 and Naomi Montoya’s $6,000.

    Regensberg got just one out-of-town special-interest donation, $500 from the New Mexico Federation of Teachers. Montoya got none.

  • On Sept. 6, Las Vegas citizens were rocking to the beat of the first annual Ain’t Got No Frijoles Blues Festival at King Stadium, right behind Camp Luna.

  • I’ve had mixed feelings about President Lyndon Johnson for the last 44 years. He contributed much to the welfare of American citizens but at the same time, he held responsibility for so many wasted lives in the rice paddies of Vietnam.

  • I sense an increasing anxiety about the future of our country and thus offer the following modest proposals for improvement. Call it a baker’s dozen for a better America:

    1. Shut down all coal burning power plants by 2015, replacing them with solar, wind and conservation. Natural gas (expensive in the short-term) can ease our transition, but the fossil fuel burns have got to go. It’s either that or the polar ice caps. (And we need others to help: China, India, etc.)

  • thumb UP to ... HEALTHY TENSION. Las Vegas Mayor Tony Marquez, who for months has not returned our messages, responded to an e-mail about an open-government issue recently. We hope this is the beginning of a new approach to dealing with us “inky wretches.”

    The mayor has become something of a mystery man since he stopped communicating with the Optic last March (other than at City Council meetings, where it’s harder to avoid us). This has on occasion left the newspaper and its thousands of local subscribers in the dark about the goings-on in city government.

  • In reading this week’s column, you might get the impression the poofreader is on vacation. That’s a common enough assumption but a rare occurrence. But look carefully. Your job is to figure out that we mean by these cryptic titles to books, movies, plays and TV programs.

    But be warned: Some of the puns and plays on words are atrocious; there’s bilinguality, far-fetchedness and even a few titles made to fit the local scene. Most titles involve changing a single letter; occasionally, you may need to make two changes or even divide a word.

  • Last week, the San Miguel County Commission had to decide whether to abandon one mile of a county road in the Ribera area.

    The petitioners were a family that had owned the road for generations, but it ended up on the county road log in the early 1980s. They said that keeping the road open to the public has led to trespassers vandalizing, rockhounding and creating disturbances on their property. They said their father never meant for the road to be public.

  • If Las Vegas attorney Dave Romero had lived in the late 1700s, he likely would have been a follower of Alexander Hamilton, who supported a strong executive and central government.

    By the same token, Las Vegas’ Charter Commission would likely have fallen behind Thomas Jefferson, who advocated the spreading of power.

    A couple of weeks ago, Romero criticized the work of the commission, a city-appointed panel charged with drafting a new charter, which is essentially the city’s constitution. The current charter is nearly 40 years old.

  • Two weeks ago, Las Vegas City Attorney Carlos Quiñones declared that the release of city e-mails to the Optic was a “breach of confidentiality.”

    These were the same e-mails that the state attorney general had already deemed to be public record. And the same ones that Mayor Tony Marquez himself already released, prompted by the AG’s legal opinion.

    But Quiñones is defying logic. He asked the mayor and the City Council in a confidential memo about what the city should do about this “breach.”

  • I have no reason to doubt that Las Vegas Mayor (Tony) Marquez’s “intentions are clean and good,” as a city councilor attests, when he advocates that Las Vegas City Council meetings begin with a prayer. However, I do wonder if his intentions aren’t misguided.  The council already makes a moment of silence available for meeting goers to pray or not, as they choose. Why narrow their choices to a ceremony that may not reflect their religious beliefs, or their desire not to believe in a god?

  • The local AARP Chapter of AARP No. 3258 members spent a day of service with patients on Sept. 11.

    Rosie Armijo played the piano and accordion as she also had a sing-along. Her music brought out the spirit and joy in all of us.

    Another activity which brought out excitement in the patients was the selection of their choice for a hygiene product. AARP members bring hygiene products to the monthly meetings and they are taken to the nursing home for distribution.

  • It was after 8 p.m. on Sept. 16 when my wife Anita Vigil received a phone call from a male who identified himself as Mr. Garcia, the owner of Pizza Pro. Anita was told her name had been drawn as the winner of the $1,000 prize. Being aware of the present day scams I questioned her on its validity. She assured me it was factual, that in fact she has signed up for the drawing, since it is her favorite pizza and a place we frequent.

  • I am having a heck of a time understanding the term “interim.” A dictionary I used said it was “a temporary or provisional arrangement; stopgap; makeshift.”

    If this definition is correct, then why would the Great City of Las Vegas, New Mexico, want to use a stopgap or makeshift attorney?

    It would appear to me with elections last March, that there was plenty of time to find a fella that wanted to do a fine job for us and become a permanent part of our city family.