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Opinion

  • With the election of Barack Obama as president, the United States has taken a big step toward becoming what some call a post-racial society. Of course we’re a long way from there yet, but we're closer.

  • It’s almost an unwritten rule that among the first words one acquires in learning a new language are the inevitable “bad words.” Of course, that doesn’t occur so much in the organized, academic setting. Nevertheless, the dictionary is always available for one to sneak a peek at the “forbidden” words.

    Way back in primal times, as we labored through the conjugations and declensions of beginning Latin, my classmates and I at Cathedral High School found a way to pervert the regimented learning for our less-than-civilized purposes.

  • Fifty years ago in May, the Robertson High School Class of 1959 was instructed to report to Douglas Elementary School for last minute preparations (cap and gown) before graduation. Once everyone was ready and lined up, we quietly marched across the street to Ilfeld Auditorium, where school administrators, family and friends were waiting. There were no cell phones or digital cameras to be found!

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    GRAND AVENUE IMPROVEMENTS, ANYWAY. We’re noticing two things regarding Grand Avenue that we like. One is that the New Mexico Department of Transportation is talking about other ways to spruce up this main thoroughfare through town, besides the two-lane proposal that’s been shot down. Paul Gray, the DOT’s district engineer, said trees can be planted, patterned concrete will be poured and better crosswalks will be painted into place.

  • Last month, downtown merchants presented a petition calling for the city to enact a moratorium on all new film projects while the city makes changes to its ordinance dealing with such activities.

    The business people contended that movie productions pay little heed to them when they’re filming. They say they don’t receive adequate compensation for their losses and that the companies don’t communicate well to residents about their schedules.

  • The weekend was a great opportunity to live like an estimated 2.7 million people who went without.

    Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population watched blank TV screens, or nothing at all when the media industry converted from analog to digital. The rationale is simple: If you don’t already have cable or satellite and if you failed to acquire a converter box, your TV set went blank.

  • I am a little hurt after reading David Giuliani’s “Why denigrate Mexicans?” in the Optic on June 8. I can’t believe some people in Las Vegas would feel this way. It seems that whenever someone is losing an argument, they turn to slandering the race, looks or color.

  • Thanks to West Las Vegas’ architect, the community has scored a win over taggers. A crew recently completed a wall during the renovation of Don Cecilio Martinez Elementary School, but the architect, Antonio Ortega, figured the wall was an open invitation to vandals. So he ordered a special anti-graffiti spray, and the crew applied it.

    As sure as a politician finds a camera, taggers struck the Don Cecilio wall. But it didn’t take much to clean up the mess.

  • The City Council has decided to consider changes to its water conservation ordinance, which was drafted in 2001. Top state officials have touted this ordinance as a model for the rest of the state. And they should.

    But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need further improvement.

  • Since the Optic converted to mail delivery more than three months ago, the local post office has done a good job. Our local customers are getting their papers on the same day as our edition, just as the post office promised it would do.

    In fact, my boss was visiting his folks in Arkansas last week and his parents got their Wednesday Optic  on Friday, which, considering the distance, is quick.

    The credit for this would have to go to our local post office employees and their boss, Postmaster Alberta Ellis.

  • School’s out and there’s evidence of kids enjoying the outdoors. I hope the trend lasts and youngsters continue to soak up some rays instead of overdosing on video games.

    At the moment a dozen kids are enjoying a game of baseball in the field just north of our house. I don’t know all of them, only my three grandchildren and their neighbor Soley. It’s a loosely organized game of baseball in which every time the bat makes contact, it’s a homerun.

  • I am writing this letter in response to unsubstantiated rumors and concerns about law enforcement officers within our community, primarily with the Las Vegas City Police Department. As I read the Las Vegas Optic, I see articles to include letters to the editor. These articles are alleging that officers are violent, abusive, and not being held responsible. I have recently been hearing rumors about police officers abusing their powers and violating citizen’s constitutional rights.

  • Thumb DOWN for ... WITHOUT A HOMELESS SHELTER. Members of the Samaritan House have asked the city for help with getting a permanent place for a homeless shelter. The group once had one, but it didn’t meet regulations, members said.

    Last year, First Presbyterian Church and Faith Hall donated space temporarily for a cold-weather shelter. From Nov. 23 to April 1, that shelter served 47 people, who used the facility for a total of 835 days. So there’s clearly a need in this community for a shelter.

  • I’d like to support the proposal made in the letter by Paul Skotchdopole regarding the creation of a citizens police oversight committee. Such an entity makes only good sense and is the only fiscally responsible action possible given our society and human nature.

    Independent, transparent, and empowered citizen oversight would make police more responsive to all segments of society, more humane, and ultimately more respected, appreciated, and compensated for a difficult and dangerous job.

  • In recent months, top Las Vegas city officials have urged the community to focus on the positive in city government. Indeed, Mayor Tony Marquez has been upset with negative coverage of his administration in this newspaper.

    Now City Hall thinks it has figured out a way to get everyone to forget about recent controversies — just pretend they never happened. That smacks of the content of George Orwell’s novel, “1984,” in which officials revised history in favor of the state’s mere interpretation of it.

  • When the two local school districts cooperate on big issues, they deserve the public’s gratitude. Recently, West Las Vegas, which runs the area’s Head Start program, entered an agreement with the Las Vegas City Schools to provide early childhood program services on the east side of town.

    The most important reason for this agreement is that it benefits children. Need we say more?

  • I was delighted to see that Las Vegas (was) considering a moratorium on filmmaking. As a veteran location manager of many Las Vegas projects (including Wyatt Earp, East Meets West, John Carpenter’s Vampires and North Country), I have watched the film climate in Las Vegas steadily erode over the years. Most recently, the ambivalence (and dare I say greed) I experienced from some segments of the business community during the filming of No Country For Old Men left a bitter taste in my mouth.

  • The VFW in Mora has a new commander. His name is Sam Muniz. We must never forget the former commander Joe Gene Pacheco. It was through his efforts that land for the VFW was acquired and a building is in place. He did an excellent job and I’m very proud of his accomplishments.

  • Last month, when President Obama signed into law the furthest-reaching land protection in 15 years, he did it in the name of Theodore Roosevelt. In 1908, President Roosevelt established 150 national forests as America’s legacy for future generations.

    Here in New Mexico, Roosevelt’s vision created the Carson, Cibola, Lincoln, Santa Fe and Gila national forests. A century later, those forests and others like them still stand, because Americans enthusiastically embraced our heritage lands and pushed back when special interests threatened them.

  • A firm auditing a governmental entity’s finances should be unquestionably independent. That’s in the interests of public credibility.

    Recently, the West Las Vegas school board debated whether it should choose J.J. Griego Professional Services as the district’s auditor for the next three years, as it has been for the previous three.