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Opinion

  • 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.

  • Your readers may recall that in early March a letter accompanied by a petition signed by 180 people from the Las Vegas area was sent to Mr. Wayne Smith, chairman and CEO of Community Health Systems, the owners of Alta Vista Regional Hospital. The petitions asked that the corporation recognize the hospital workers’ legally chosen union and begin good-faith negotiations. It was pointed out that no responses had been received to the many personal letters sent to Mr.

  • A couple of weeks ago, I attended a more than two hour meeting on a proposed pedestrian-bicyclist path along Cinder Road. Backers touted it as a desirable extension of the riverwalk here in town.

    However, opponents claimed that the riverwalk is poorly maintained and that Cinder Road residents should expect the same thing.

    Up to that point, I had never walked or run on the entire length of the riverwalk. I have chosen other places for exercise over the years, including the tracks at Robertson High School and Highlands University.

  • On April 2, Steve Medina, the city’s wastewater utility supervisor, pleaded guilty to a petty misdemeanor charge of embezzlement. He admitted to having a city employee work on Medina’s personal vehicle on city time.

  • GOOD LAWMAKING. Anyone familiar with the legislative process knows that it’s much easier to kill a bill than it is to get one passed, so it should be no surprise when a session ends without much to show for itself, especially if you’re looking for progressive legislation. But the New Mexico session that ended a couple of weeks ago was exceptional in a number of ways — and with Gov. Bill Richardson’s signature, several good new laws are now on the books.

  • The 15th annual Fiesta de la Hispanidad took place on Friday, March 7, in Ilfeld Auditorium and was, as in years past, a huge success thanks to the participation of our community members, both those on stage and in the audience.

  • What is the argument with a union at Alta Vista? The workers voted for it. The doctors support it.

    I called the corporate headquarters of CHS — the company that owns Alta Vista — to ask the question. The receptionist told me she would have a man named Mr. Putoff return my call. But after I couldn’t stop giggling, she changed her mind and said that a “Mr. Hussy” would return my call. (I still could not stop giggling.)

  • On behalf of the Tri-County Farmers’ Market, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made Saturday’s Agricultural Co-op Exploration meeting a success. A thank you goes out to everyone who helped advertise and coordinate this important event. 

  • Every year on Good Friday people from far and near walk to El Santuario de Chimayo. They are called Pelegrinos (Pilgrims). Alice Bullock in a book called “Living Legends” published by the Spanish colonial altos society, gives her version of the story of “El Santuario de Chimayo.” Chimayo is a small village located in northern New Mexico, northeast of Santa Fe.

  • On Saturday, Martin Suazo was re-elected as the chairman of the San Miguel County Democratic Party. That victory doesn’t change the fact that it’s time for the party to clean up its act.

    By our reading of state statutes, a number of delegates violated the law by participating as delegates. This is likely a problem elsewhere, but our local party should lead the way by insisting on the highest standards.