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Opinion

  • 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.

  • Perhaps you read about the 6-year-old Cub Scout Zachary Christie being suspended for 45 days from his Delaware school. It seems that, without asking his parents, he brought his camping eating utensils to school (seemingly with which to attack the cafeteria mystery meat). A teacher saw it and, as required, reported it. The school district ruled that this otherwise exemplary student, in fact, brought a knife to school. So under the district’s strict no-tolerance policy, Zachary was required to be suspended for 45 days.

  • thumbs UP ... PUBLIC INFORMED. A little communication can go a long way — a truism that applies to movie projects in Las Vegas. “Due Date” starts filming Saturday in Las Vegas, and the producers have already put out public announcements about their schedule.

    This is thanks to new city requirements that notice be given to residents about filming. To their credit, officials appear to be following through on the rules drafted in the spring.

  • Years ago, I was associated with a person who was forever justifying her powers of observation by testifying very loudly that she was always right about wrong things. I recently read the headline article in the Optic which cited State Engineer John D’Antonio’s comments regarding the “water situation” in the Ojitos Frios subdivision and other communities directly south of Taylor Well No. 4.  

  • The city of Las Vegas hires an outside attorney to serve as the city attorney. The person hired (Carlos Quiñones) is not local. His office is in Santa Fe and from what I read and hear he is paid on a fee basis — time and expense. The Optic indicates Mr. Quiñones was paid the sum of $147,000 last year and this compares with $80,000 paid to the previous city attorney for the period of one year.

  • Las Vegas attorney Dave Romero had much criticism of the proposed city charter, which would essentially be the constitution for municipal government. The city is seeking public input on the document.

    The Charter Commission is proposing that the council have involvement in the hiring and firing of top officials. But Romero argues that this would be a mistake. He said the people elect mayors to get things done and that mayors need to have officials on board with their agendas. Therefore, appointment powers should rest solely with mayors, he said.

  • We would like to thank Mike Melton and the Bank of Las Vegas and Keith Tucker and Community First Bank for their continued support and contributions to the staff and students of West Las Vegas Middle School.

  • On a recent talk show, a caller said the radio guest had “hit the nail on the head.” Wow, what perception!

    I don’t mean to appear haughty, but I find it hard — always have — to commend such a caller for profundity. “Hit the nail on the head” is a metaphor meaning that what the guest said was absolutely correct. Up to that time, I’d never met-a-phor I didn’t like.

    How is it possible to comment further without carting out the vitriol and sarcasm? I’ll try.

  • For months, the San Miguel County Commission has been considering whether the Sheriff’s Department should use Tasers.

    Last week, the commission held a public hearing on the electroshock weapon. Sheriff Benjie Vigil invited several other sheriffs; speaking for them was the director of the New Mexico Sheriffs and Chiefs Association, Jim Burleson.

    Burleson’s message was simple: The sheriff should decide whether to use Tasers, not the County Commission.

  • I would like to offer some of my reasons for opposing consolidation of the East and West school administrations. First of all, I finished my elementary education in West Las Vegas in 1947. At that time, few of the kids from West Las Vegas would attend Highlands High School. Some of the West kids whose families could afford it attended Highlands High School or the I.C. Catholic School. ...