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Opinion

  • Thumbs UP for ... FIRST TIME EVER. Highlands University is sending its men’s basketball team to the NCAA Division II tournament. The Cowboys qualified as a No. 6 seed for this weekend’s regional tournament in Mankato, Minn., and will face No. 3-seeded Augustina College at 11 a.m. Saturday.

    Congratulations to coach Joe Harge and his team. It’s the second straight 20-win season and the first time in the school’s history to make it to the tourney.

  • While voting turnout was low, I would like to thank all voters who came out to exercise their constitutional right in Ward 1 as well as citywide. I want to thank all residents of Ward 1 who supported me during my campaign and gave me their trust and confidence.

    As I stated during the council race, my door will always be open to listen to our neighborhood concerns as well as citywide issues. I congratulate the winners, pray and hope that the new council and mayor will provide direction and leadership to unite us and move the city of Las Vegas in all areas of city government.

  • What does the future hold? Like everyone else, we at New Mexico Highlands University wish we could know with certainty, but we can’t.

    Nonetheless, planning for the future is essential. Since early 2009, Highlands has been working with Studio Insite, an architectural firm specializing in helping universities plan for growth. They have examined existing facilities, pedestrian and vehicular flow patterns, and the university’s programmatic and enrollment goals to formulate a master plan for the university’s future.

  • I would like to thank both the members of the Las Vegas Fire Department and Gallinas Fire Department  for all the help they gave me while I was in need of heart surgery. Also, thanks to everyone who contributed toward my cause.

    Everything was greatly appreciated. I went through my heart surgery and am doing well. Thank you again.

    Frank Lovato

    Las Vegas

  • ‘What’s happened to Lee?” my friend Susan Swan straight-facedly asked me this week, and I fidgeted while attempting an answer.

    “Well, Lee, our erstwhile features editor at the Optic, isn’t with us any longer,” I think I answered. Susan responded, “I don’t mean that Lee.”

    But let’s back up a little. We’ll get to the other Lee in a few graphs.

    Language is what people say it is, which is why you won’t ever find me criticizing its usage.

    Yeah, right.

  • Aside from the question about the percentage of votes necessary to pass the new Las Vegas city charter into law — a simple majority vs. a super majority  — this much is certain: Most of last week’s voters declared that they want change. Fifty-six percent preferred a new charter over the four-decades-old document that was approved when the two Vegases united into a single city in 1970.

    Actually, “change” is a familiar refrain for voters; we’ve noticed it numerous times in recent years.

  • Am I surprised that San Miguel County Treasurer Alfonso Ortiz handily beat two write-in opponents in last week’s mayoral election?

    No. It’s rare that a write-in candidate wins. Many mention how Republican Joe Skeen won as a write-in the 1980 congressional race in southern New Mexico. But he was only the third person in U.S. history to be elected as a write-in to Congress. And there were unusual circumstances — a divided Democratic opposition and no GOP candidate on the ballot.

  • The recent arrest and release of a retired San Miguel County deputy on a DWI charge reminded me of a great lesson I learned in a geometry class at Robertson High School. I was a sophomore. We should have been going over the finer points of a parallelogram, but instead we were talking school politics.

  • Last week, 56 percent of voters approved a new charter for the city of Las Vegas — a 35-page document that includes, among other things, a requirement for runoff elections when no candidate gets a simple majority of votes.

    But now some people, including former city attorney Danelle Smith, are suggesting that 60 percent was needed to pass the charter, which serves as the city’s constitution.

  • Ever had chills up and down your spine? I used to think it was a myth — until I saw the famous pea-soup scene in “The Exorcist,” when Regan, the possessed child, decorated Father Damien Karras’s face with it.

  • At the recent Health Summit held by President Obama at the Blair House, two Republican senators stated that we have the best health care in the world. One of them further told of two Canadians who came to the U.S. for that best health care, one for cancer and the other with heart disease.

  • Recently, former San Miguel County Undersheriff Joe Robert Urban was arrested on a charge of drunken driving. The gun-carrying Urban was stopped by state police on Mountain View Drive, officials said.

    While most offenders go to jail after being arrested on suspicion of DWI, Urban, who retired just a few months ago, got to go home. He was released to his former longtime co-worker, Sheriff Benjie Vigil.

  • Thumbs UP for ... A SMOOTH ELECTION. More than 2,000 Las Vegas residents cast ballots Tuesday, electing a new mayor and two new council members, re-electing by acclamation the municipal judge and approving a new constitution for the city. Alfonso Ortiz was elected with a commanding majority over two write-in candidates; Tonita Gurule-Giron and David Romero won pluralities in Ward 1 and Ward 4, and a strong majority said yes to the new city charter.

  • Las Vegans may remember when, in 2003, Mayor Henry Sanchez led a long procession (and) read a proclamation focusing on our community’s concern about the violence perpetrated against women in Las Vegas and ...

  • The Las Vegas Branch of the American Association of University Women wishes to thank the citizens of Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Women’s Club, Chapter H of the Philanthropic Educational Organization, Donnelly Library and Tome on the Range for their contributions of new and used books and other media to our annual Book Sale. Without your help and support, we would not have been so successful.

  •   ... The Pecos School District illegally used Pecos students to handout the bond pamphlets at the homecoming game. Using students to campaign for political purposes is against the law.  The Pecos School District just recently built two new administrative buildings that cost close to $1 million; however, the monies used to build these administrative offices could have been re-appropriated to accommodate the students’ needs.  The Pecos School District is trying to pass a bond for $5.1 million.

  • Imagine the following scenario: Bob has a for-sale sign on his Ford pickup truck. A stranger is looking it over, seemingly interested.

    “What will you pay for my truck?” Bob asks the man.

    “I’ll give you $3,000,” the stranger responds.

    “No, that’s too much. I’ll sell it to you for $2,000,”the seller says.

    Say what?

  • By the end of the day on Tuesday, all those who want to stake a claim on the future of Las Vegas will have voted in this year’s municipal election. They will have mapped out the next chapter in the city’s history — and since newspapers write “the first draft of history,” voters will be helping to decide the headlines to run in the Las Vegas Optic over the next couple of years.

    Is this municipal election really that important? Let’s take a look.

  • After many years living in a small community such as Las Vegas, one begins a list of the friends and acquaintances who have passed away. And gradually, a kind of phantom city begins to co-exist alongside the actual city. Here and there, as one goes about town, one passes a house that once belonged to someone now numbered among the dead. The house has new occupants. It is their house now. Yet it stirs up memories of its former occupant. It is still their house too!

  • A few weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against longtime bans on corporate and union contributions to political campaigns.

    The court said such bans infringed on First Amendment rights.

    Really?

    No law has prohibited people from exercising their free-speech rights, especially when it comes to politics. Yet some argue that restrictions on contributions are a form of free-speech infringement. If so, then wealthy people have been suffering for years. Or have they really?