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Opinion

  • Today marks the big 1-0-0 for President Barack Obama, and it’s been an impressive start. Not since Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose administration coined the term “first hundred days” have we seen anyone so aggressively changing things. Part of it is that Obama is following a terrible presidency, so cleaning up the mess as quickly as possible is tantamount. But it’s also because Obama knows he rode a wave of change — the time is right for a new national direction, and Obama recognizes that.

  • Perhaps no mark of punctuation — this one among the smallest in the English language — has caused more grief. It’s misuse appears to be what its best noted for.

    Let me explain:

    The apostrophe (‘), that little cosa that few people are able to master, more than anything else, has caused English teachers to turn in their chalk prematurely and declare, “never again.”

  • I have a comment to make regarding my actions as a professional and a private individual. Recently, I agreed to assume a position at Robertson High School. When I was asked if I would fill a position made vacant by the resignation of a teacher, with little hesitation, I agreed to.

  • It is a shame when you walk in to the office at the City of Las Vegas to ask questions about your bill, or call and leave tons of messages because phones don’t get answered nor do they return calls. I walked in and both ladies from customer service and billing couldn’t help me. ...

    I received two bills that are due by April 16 and 27 because they forgot to bill me. Whose fault is that? So my question is, whom can we go to at the city offices when we have questions with our bill or need help understanding it? Because, customer service and billing can’t!

  • District Judge Abigail Aragon made a mistake when she decided to move the case involving the murder of a 6-year-old to Santa Rosa. This crime happened here; this is where justice should occur.

    David Levi Chavez, 21, has been charged with an open count of murder in this case. He allegedly shot Jasmine Garcia as she was sleeping in her bed late one night last summer.

  • At one time, the Luna Community College Board of Trustees spent most of its time behind closed doors. Such secrecy created much suspicion — and rightfully so.

    These days, the board doesn’t hold closed meetings. I can’t remember the last time it had one.

    That’s probably because of the new president, Pete Campos. I’m glad he convinced the board that nearly all of the college’s public business should be discussed in the open.

  • UP thumb ... MAKE SURE IT’S SOUND. Last week, the Las Vegas City Council delayed a decision on a proposed ordinance that would make it easier for landlords to avoid being held responsible for their tenants’ unpaid utility bills. The council opted to put the matter on hold until the ordinance is determined to be legally sound.

    This issue has been lingering for years. Let’s make sure that the ordinance, which looks good on the surface, will resolve the issue once and for all.

  • With the recently released “torture memos,” we have evidence the U.S. has authorized torture in the past under the Bush administration.  We can’t afford to move on without first holding those responsible accountable.  

    I urge you to send a clear message to Congress and the White House by endorsing, in a newspaper editorial, accountability for those who designed and authorized the U.S. torture policies — policies which have endangered our national security and our national soul, and violated international law.

    Bernard Schaer

  • The formidable challenges to public educational systems seem almost infinite, especially for those located in the economically and intellectually destitute environments of our racially and ethnically unbalanced inner cities (and in places like northern New Mexico).

  • For anyone who hasn’t seen the Oliver Stone film “W,” we recommend it. It’s particularly interesting in the way it portrays George W. Bush and his relationship with his father, George H.W. Bush, and how that strained relationship helped define the son’s presidency.

    And of course, the duel Bush legacy is particularly interesting in that, while the son was more successful politically — after all, “W” had two terms in office; his father only one — “Poppy” Bush was by far the better president.

  • “You’re doing fine, Dad! You can make it.” With that, my youngest son Ben, less than half my age, entreated me as I climbed and descended a mountain — all part of his and his wife Heather’s gift on my birthday. I didn’t need a pep talk; I needed some horse liniment.

  • So this is Earth Day, a moment in which most of us give little more than lip service to the world we live on. But in recent years, it seems there’s been a growing national consciousness in recent years. Maybe it was Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” that shifted our focus from feel-good environmentalism to real-world talk about carbon footprints. Or maybe it was the war in Iraq, which has highlighted our need to be less independent on foreign oil, but Americans are clearly “thinking green” as never before.

  • The city’s auditing firm last week requested authority to launch a thorough investigation into the utilities department’s finances. Jeff McWhorter from Albuquerque-based Accounting & Consulting Group told the council that he found “anomalies” in billing records at the department.

  • Las Vegas City Manager Timothy Dodge took the helm more than a month ago after having served several years as the manager in Santa Rosa.

    So far, he has been receiving good reviews. He has been credited with getting citizen input in the Lee Drive area about a controversial roundabout and acting on their concerns. And he has also gauged residents’ views on various issues in the area of Robertson High School, especially when it comes to traffic.

  • I am responding to the debate about the death penalty. If you believe the absoluteness of so-called science fiction, you are strongly deluded. Anyone who has studied science and statistical analyses should know that you could interpret and make numbers (percentages, significance, error, etc.) say whatever you want them to say!

  • Whenever there’s an error in the Optic, some readers likely  think we messed up. And they holler, “Hire a proofreader!”

    But isn’t it possible that we merely plant a typo here and there? Why? To give readers something to talk about and us something to write about. Like now.

  • The state attorney general’s office stepped up to the plate when Jerome Block Jr. admitted to the Optic last fall that he had lied on his campaign finance report. The AG immediately launched an investigation of Block, who won a seat on the state Public Regulation Commission in November.

  • Congratulations to our City Council! In a rare display of wisdom, they nixed the silly ideas that have been proposed for beautifying Grand Avenue.  These proposals are a fine illustration of a general law: Give a committee enough money and enough time, and it will inevitably come up with the worst possible solution. This law, which I will modestly name after myself, should rank right up there with Murphy’s Law as a guiding principle of the universe.

    Bob (Robert K.) Johnston

    Las Vegas

  • In his recent “sheriff’s corner” Optic article, Mora County sheriff Roy Cordova expressed concern for the safety of police officers now that capital punishment has been abolished in New Mexico. He’s so right to be concerned for officer’s safety; they have a dangerous job which goes terribly underappreciated in our society. I’m reassured by their presence, hard work and dedication to the safety and humanity of everyone in our community and I favor  measures which would decrease their hazards.

  • Recently, the recreation center gave its customers questionnaires to gauge how well it is serving them. We applaud this effort.

    The center’s new director, Robin Abreu Martin, has been working hard to improve the services. She recently reported to the City Council about how she and her staff are addressing recommendations from a citizens advisory committee. Among other things, the center is getting a machine to scan members’ IDs and developing an hourly cleaning log.