• Once again we recognize Cinco de Mayo, an unofficial celebration stemming from the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It’s not widely celebrated because its significance is not that great — the Mexicans’ win in Puebla only delayed the French advance into Mexico City — but it’s a point of pride nevertheless, since the Mexican forces won the day despite being seriously outnumbered 2-to-1.

  • In the old Westerns, sheriffs didn’t have to contend with anything resembling a bureaucracy. The sheriff was a county’s top lawman.

    Maybe that’s the way it was, but not anymore.

    At a recent sheriff candidates forum, San Miguel County Sheriff Benjie Vigil told the audience that his deputies would start carrying Tasers in June. Never mind the County Commission’s opinion.

    Of course, the sheriff still has latitude in how he runs his department. But the County Commission indisputably holds the purse strings.

  • This is in response to the article which was published on April 23 in the Las Vegas Optic, regarding where we claimed Head of Household.

    Our primary residence is on El Llano Road. This is the only property where we claim Head of Household.

    The San Miguel County Assessor’s Office claims that we had two head of households for four years which is incorrect. This office has no proof of a signed affidavit to make such a claim.

  • In 2008, a pollster called me to ask about the presidential race. The first question: “Do you belong to a media organization?”

    I answered yes.

    The caller said, “Thank you very much,” and hung up.

    In other words, someone didn’t want the media finding out about the poll. It was likely a push poll, in which the caller asks questions with a bias — an example of a question on abortion: How do you feel about Barack Obama’s position in favor of killing babies?

  • The Las Vegas City Council has authorized Mayor Alfonso Ortiz to negotiate the closure of a longstanding dispute over a Luna Community College natural gas bill.

    In mid-2007, the city discovered that it had incorrectly billed Luna for several years, and back-billed the college $122,000. That set off a series of attempts to resolve the matter and recover the money, and the accusations started to fly.

  • To the West Las Vegas School Board: Five and a half years ago we made a decision to move our family to New Mexico. We had fallen in love with the “original” Las Vegas and all of the benefits we felt it offered – history, local culture, educational opportunities, job potential, great weather, future friends, and a beautiful setting. We have been delighted with everything we have found here.

  • The Pecos Independent School District will be facing a budget reduction for the 2010-11 school year. We are looking carefully at all operational budget areas to apply a reduction to create a balanced budget.

  • Few conversations with my neighbors in Ojitos Frios Ranches near Romeroville, south of Las Vegas don’t include water. “How’s your well?” “How full are your tanks?” “Where are you getting your water?” These questions have been a part of nearly every discussion since we began experiencing a plague of well failures last fall.

  • Imagine a cruise ship whose captain is required to set and maintain the course, handle disgruntled passengers, manage an increasingly dwindling cash box, assure quality on all decks, feed and nurture all members of the ship’s crew and passengers. In addition, this captain holds responsibility for the intellectual and physical development of all members of this floating community. There are occasional leaks, rough seas, and perhaps an iceberg at times. Successful voyages demand a qualified captain.

  • What do the U.S. Secretary of Education, the Highlands and Luna presidents, the New Mexico Secretary of Education and our local school superintendents have in common?

    For starters, they are all educational leaders who spend large amounts of our tax dollars.  They are also subject to judgments of their value based on measurements of what their students learn — or don’t — in our schools.

  • This is a response to (the letter which ran April 2 titled “Don’t gamble with our future”): In 2009, I began attending Mora County Commission meetings in hopes of learning more and being able to dialog with the commissioners on issues going on in the county. I publicly offered to assist with grant writing as a volunteer.

    What I got was a stop watch that was monitored more carefully than the words I spoke.

  • Bill Norton’s letter about drunken drivers and apathy (Optic; April 12), reminds us how critical it is to have a strong judicial system. A magistrate judge election will be held on June 1, and voters will be asked to select one of the two candidates. Magistrate judges are the men and women who are on the front lines with DWI cases. We voters need to know the position each candidate takes on DWI.

    We ask that both candidates write a position statement about DWI in their courts and publish it in the paper.

  • In newspapers all over the country and the world, we read about people who welcomed industrial wind turbines in their neighborhoods to find out when they came on line that it was impossible to live near them.

  • I appreciated your viewpoint expressed in “Balancing the Needs.” (April 19 editorial)

  • On Line What? This is the response one may get from someone who does not use a computer for any type of transaction.

    The marvels of modern day communication gives us the opportunity to bank online, which includes paying bills, receiving direct deposits, automatic payment withdrawals etc. In addition we can purchase online, make travel arrangements, research anything and everything, plus read our newspaper and contact just about anyone.

  • An open letter to Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico:

    I was personally devastated to read a three-inch news article where your position in regard to the Arizona governor and the possibility that she would sign racist legislation affecting those of us brown-skinned Mexicans and the net result of which would affect all of us. Your efforts are what is called “atole con el dedo,” “spoon feeding us with porridge” believing that it should satisfy us.

  • Regarding (the April 19 editorial) “Balancing the needs,” I write to those who made comments on the Internet saying a 47-wind turbine facility on Bernal Mesa is the way for the county to get rich. Imagine putting those 47 turbines on the Las Vegas ridge where all the schools’ “letters’ are. If it were impacting all of Las Vegas and it would never be a quiet, sleepy village, let’s see how long you stay in town.

  • Thumbs UP for ... WELCOME HOME. After a year in Iraq, the 720th Transportation Unit of the National Guard is returning home — a great cause for celebration. It’s the latest in a long line of deployments and returns, and we’re thrilled to have these patriots returning to the arms of family and friends.

    A welcome-home rally is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday at Plaza Park in Las Vegas. We hope the turnout will be strong for these returning soldiers who have given so much for their country.

  • Parents should pay more attention to their children; they really should. Children have a habit of saying inconvenient truths aloud that we adults prefer to keep buried. It is an endearing trait.

    The First Lady recently told a charming little story about how 11-year-old Malia Obama is continually pestering her father to save endangered tigers. One interpretation of that story is that she means the physical tigers, presumably animals in an exotic place like Sumatra.

  • On April 13 the commissioners for San Miguel County voted on the membership of a task force to update the county rules on oil and gas drilling. This should be of concern to everyone in our community as how and where drilling takes place in the county could have serious impact on our land, our water, and even our culture. The techniques and chemicals used can be quite dangerous.