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Opinion

  • Recently my father asked me to help compose a letter to the Veterans Administration. He said that the VA did not have any record of him being in Japan when he was wounded in Korea. I asked him if he had any letters or orders and he presented me with his discharge and, to my surprise, three letters recommended him for the Purple Hearts. As I read through the letters I was amazed that he had been wounded three times in one month. I researched more and found the name of the ship that transported him to Japan and the hospital he was in.

  • My dad, who lived almost 95 years and who passed away in 1998, might have believed that he and his own father invented the Spanish language. The few times I watched him become passionate about an issue often dealt with the language he so loved, usually a lament about the deterioration and especially adulteration of Spanish.

    Let me explain:

  • A few weeks ago, someone asked me if I could name anything good that Mayor Tony Marquez has done.

    Much criticism of the mayor has appeared on our Viewpoints page in recent months, including in this column. That’s because Marquez has been embroiled in a number of controversies.

    But I came up with three things immediately for which I believed the mayor could take credit:

  • For seven months, the Optic has been trying to give you the side of interim Las Vegas City Attorney Carlos Quiñones. But he has refused to answer our calls or e-mails. Last week, he finally spoke out publicly — on a local radio station.

    Let’s give you some background: This fall, the attorney general determined that the city had violated the Inspection of Public Records Act by not giving to the Optic e-mails between the mayor and City Council members. When the Optic challenged him on this issue months ago, he replied, “you’re full of s---.”

  • Nov. 11 of each year is the day that we ensure veterans know that we deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made in our lives to keep our country free. Veterans Day, honors all American Veterans, both living and dead, however, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank living veterans for dedicated and loyal service to our country.

  • I am a new citizen of Las Vegas. I have now been here for 2-1/2 years. When I was a visitor we stayed at the KOA south of town. We had two neighbors, both seeking a new place to put down their roots. One found a lovely restored 1880s railroad home and the other found a beautiful spot on Sheridan Road, overlooking the valley and the mountains across the way.

  • Recently I read in the Optic a couple of articles that question whether Las Vegas’ charter properly sets the mayor’s term at two years. I understand that the New Mexico Municipal League’s attorney, Randy Van Vleck, has taken the position that the mayor’s term must be four years under state law. If that is the position he has taken, I beg to differ. One must look deeper into the statutory history to avoid this incorrect conclusion. Let me explain.

  • New Mexicans can no longer depend on only elected officials to fix our state budget issues. We, as the people who elect them, need to make ourselves heard. The bickering which often occurs in state government inhibits results and must stop.  Energies need to be focused on working on solutions without concern for who receives the credit (or blame) for decisions that must be made.

  • thumb DOWN to ... A CORPORATE RESPONSE. Last week, advocates for the union representing employees at Alta Vista Regional Hospital went to the administration office and presented a proclamation asking that the hospital negotiate with the employees. They took their message right to the hospital’s administrator, Richard Grogan.

    They brought along a mop as a symbol of their desire to see a cleanup at the hospital’s parent company’s Tennessee headquarters and a chair to reflect the need for the hospital to sit down with the union.

  • As one with entirely too much time on my hands, I concocted a series of unusual movie, book and TV titles, usually with a letter or two altered to create an entirely different scenario.

    I received three e-mails from readers, Steve and Yolanda Jensen from Springer, Richard Lindeborg from Las Vegas, and Ben Trujillo, who lives in Albuquerque.

  • For many, the approach of winter means weatherizing the home or stocking up on heating fuel to burn in the cold nights ahead. For others, it means finding a way to survive — and that’s where the generosity of our community comes into play.

  • The Las Vegas City Council has accepted a proposed new city charter from the Charter Commission, but the council may make some changes to the document before it’s submitted to voters, likely in the March 2 municipal election. The existing charter, which is essentially the city’s constitution, has been in force for nearly four decades and needs updating.

    The commission performed well in its duty in come up with a better charter. The members decided to keep what works and change what doesn’t.

    Among the high points of the new document:

  • The finding of the State Auditor that Mora School District misspent some $64,000 is obviously appalling.  Worse yet, it indicates that the system of governance used by Mora must have failed three times simultaneously in order for this to have happened.

  • Social Security is an immensely popular program. After all, we as Americans believe that everyone should have an economically secure retirement.

    But sometimes we need to curtail this program’s spending so as to ensure its survival for future generations.

    To their credit, President Reagan and his Democratic rivals got together during the 1980s to take steps to keep the Social Security fund solvent. They increased payroll taxes to make that happen — not a politically palatable choice but absolutely essential.

  • thumb DOWN to ... A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT? The Mora school district deserves much criticism for its use of a big slush fund to the detriment of education. And we’ve joined in that chorus.

    But what about area state lawmakers who accepted thousands of dollars in gifts from the district, which serves one of the poorest areas in New Mexico? The primary recipients were Sen. Phil Griego and Reps. Thomas Garcia, Richard Vigil and Andrew Barreras.

  • It has come to our attention that Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons is proposing to trade the Aspen Hill portion of Unit 48 to the Stanley Ranch and The UU-Bar Express Ranch in exchange for some unusable and undesirable parcels of land. This is his third attempt at compromising the sportsmen and women of Northern New Mexico in exchange for favor among the ranching population.

  • 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.