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Opinion

  • Every year there are two big events that make me miss Las Vegas: the electric light parade in the winter and the Fourth of July Fiestas.

    They are celebrations unrivaled anywhere else in the country.

    This year I missed the fiestas a bit more because I noticed through Facebook that quite a few of my high school friends were going to be making a pilgrimage back to Vegas.

    I also missed a spectacle: a rainbow decorated float with George Michael music and people dancing.

  • LISBON, PORTUGAL — Bom Dia! That’s how each day began once I arrived in Europe — Portugal, to be exact. No snags, wonderful people, the ideal vacation and the realization of an almost-lifetime dream.Who could ask for more?

  • District Attorney Richard Flores has cleared Las Vegas police Officer Martin Salazar of any criminal wrongdoing in his handling of a suspect earlier this year. Earlier this summer, Flores sought a state police inquiry into jailers’ allegations that Salazar threatened a female arrestee with violence.

    We don’t know why the DA cleared Salazar or why prosecutors didn’t give credence to the jailers’ version of events. But Flores hasn’t shied away from prosecuting officials in the past. So it’s likely that he had good reasons for his decision.

  • First, my best friend got struck by lightning. The next day, my high-school buddy suffered a heart attack while boarding a bus. But the upside is that a man who works near me is now $7 million richer.

    Such would all be true if certain threats and promises really came true.

    But first some background:

    One of my teachers at Immaculate Conception School, Sister Ständige Angst, did a good job of convincing us of consequences. “If you fail to put others first, you will suffer,” she reminded us.

  • Often, I read stories in which someone reflects on his career or life and insists, “I have no regrets.”

    Really?

    Boy, some people must be perfect. Being an imperfect person, I have my share of regrets, especially after I read my stories in print.

    Recently, I wrote a column using the word “jihad” in referring to a battle at City Hall. A local police officer, Clarence Romero, wrote a letter to the editor, rightly chastising me for the use of that word, noting that it creates negative connotations about Muslims.

  • ‘The problem

    with cockroaches’

    During an economic downturn, citizens are willing to sacrifice as long as the burden is divided fairly.  Inequalities breed irritation and that itch, not scratched, festers and builds to a level of frustration that leaves the average man with only two options: He can curl into a fetal ball and surrender or use the ballot box and demand his voice be heard. You are the voter. You are the one person who makes politicians wake up in a cold sweat at night. You have a voice if you’ll stand up and speak.

  • Now that the saturation coverage over Michael Jackson’s death has subsided, leaving only the cable news channels to continue picking apart every titillating detail about his family and his dermatology, perhaps it’s a good time to take stock of the Fourth Estate.

  • DWI INTOLERANCE. Following the June tragedy in Santa Fe, when four teenagers were killed by the drunken driver, old wounds surfaced. Again, it was a tragedy that defies explanation, and will call many into another round of action to combat DWI.

  • I am flabbergasted by the farce that is labeled the “health care debate” currently playing out in Washington D.C. and in the media.

    Each one of us has entered a local store and seen a container near the check-out counter with a label asking for donations to help someone in need of medical treatment. Nowhere else in the industrialized “developed” world would such a request be seen. Why not? Because nowhere but in these United States is health care rationed either by one’s ability to pay or by a bunch of profit-hungry insurance bureaucrats!

  • Just a few weeks before my 70th birthday in April, a friend from High Rolls, N.M., sent me a booklet that tells all about my birth year, 1939. It’s an easy-to-read booklet whose facts I can hardly believe.

    Let me explain:

    All my life I’ve refused to believe that things could ever inflate as many as 10 times. For example, if I could buy a Coke for a nickel during my youth, I would never expect to pay 10 times that amount or 50 cents, even if I lived to be a hundred.

  • During Mora County’s public hearing on oil and gas drilling, everyone agreed on one thing: Mora County is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And, indeed, the view is incredible.

    Many of the speakers at the hearing said they didn’t want anything that would spoil the scenery, and in their minds, oil and gas drilling would do just that. They also contended that the drilling would cause water and air pollution.

    To help their arguments, some ranchers came in from San Juan County to talk about the negative impacts of natural gas drilling there.

  • The inaugural Inside Adobe Walls festival took place June 27-28 at the Inn on the Santa Fe Trail, and was a big success.

  • The city’s Charter Commission, charged with reviewing the city’s most important document, is busy these days, preparing to hold public meetings in all parts of town and make recommendations to the Las Vegas City Council in early September.

    We’re looking forward to the input citizens will have on what should and shouldn’t be changed in the city charter, and thought we’d get our two cents in early:

  • This letter is in reference to the unfair and brutal stabbing death of a young male individual that left an 8-year old without the loving, caring presence of his father.

  • The disheartening story about lifelong Las Vegas resident Gordy Thatcher and her struggle to maintain and keep her home on Tilden Street is a tale of systematic failure — on the part of social services, the city and private individuals with the best of intentions.

  • The Public Education Department recently held a public hearing on a rule change that would allow students to choose to opt out of the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The opportunity for written public comment will continue through 5 p.m. on July 27, so it’s not too late to express your opinion.

  • Can you imagine having a job that wherever you go, someone is unhappy that you’re there?

    That would largely define the job of a police. officer. You stop someone for speeding, that person is mad. “Why don’t you go after the real criminals?” the speeder asks.

    Truth be told, officers often catch the bad guys at seemingly routine traffic stops.

    When an officer responds to a domestic violence call, you can be sure someone is upset about his arrival. And trying to bring peace is like bringing the Israelis and Palestinians together.

  • I recently retired as the WLVMS principal after 32 years in education.   Throughout my career, I have found that it takes a community to raise a child.  I would like to thank the many individuals and businesses in Las Vegas for helping me make a difference as a teacher and as an administrator.

  • The Optic gave it a thumbs down (but) I like using the intersection of Grand and University. No, I am not kidding. For years we had traffic lights and it was the worst intersection in town. I had many near misses there because someone was running the light or simply wasn’t paying attention. Since it’s become a four-way stop, I like using it because it is an experience in human interaction. Everybody is on guard. Everybody pays attention to their surroundings and their place in line. I have yet to see someone being rude or pushy.

  • Every summer the noise from Harleys and loud cars gets worse. It’s too noisy here! It’s noise pollution gone wacko!

    Warm weather used to be birdies singing and flowers blooming. Now it’s an unrelenting onslaught of nerve-wracking explosive noise. I’ve come to dread the nice weather because I know what’s coming.