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Opinion

  • First let us stipulate that we believe in the premise that allegations alone don’t automatically translate to guilt. In criminal court, the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty, and in civil claims, a preponderance of the evidence must be established before someone is held liable for an illegal or damaging action.

  • We, the family of J. Richard “Ricky” DeHerrera, would like to express our sincere thanks to all the people for their prayers, cards, food, phone calls, visits, and overall love. We appreciate all you have done for us in our time of need. We would like to thank all of his doctors who helped him in his long fight with diabetes.

  • Did voters send a message that they want change during last week’s school board elections?

    At first glance, one would think that they went with the status quo: Two of the three incumbents running in the East and West districts trounced their opponents.

    Ultimately, however, I still believe that 2009 was a year that voters showed they wanted change.

  • Often, people accuse the media of having an agenda. And in the Optic’s case, they are absolutely right. Our agenda is simple: Promote open government.

    On Jan. 26, Las Vegas resident Leith Johnson submitted a public records request to the city government for “all records pertaining to the collection of the one-fourth of 1 percent gross receipts tax specially to be applied to water.”

    She asked, “How much has been collected since the (tax) law was passed? How much interest has been earned on the money? How has any or all of it been used?”

  • Salary cuts have been a major topic throughout our nation during this time of financial crisis.

    The discussion is headed by Wall Street executives of bailout companies who raked in a reported $18 billion in bonuses. That incurred the wrath of President Barack Obama, who called it shameful.

    Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill has introduced legislation to hold executive salaries and benefits to no more than the $400,000 salary of the president of the United States. President Obama is suggesting a cap of $500,000.

  • I am writing this letter to gain the attention of the Luna Community College Board of Trustees and administration. I have made several attempts to meet with the vice president of academics and the president and have been unsuccessful in getting my calls returned or meetings set up.

  • Here’s a quote from Mayor Tony Marquez: “I’m very disappointed that these two councilmen persist in negativity, division, mistrust and fear-mongering. I had hoped that they would change for the better if the people spoke. Obviously, if they choose to continue the dark past, they are free to do so, but they will have to answer to their constituents.”

    Is this about City Council members Diane Moore and Andrew Feldman, who have been harshly critical of Marquez these days?

  • Last week, board members of MainStreet Las Vegas took it upon themselves to canvass business owners and residents who will be directly impacted by the Grand Avenue Streetscape Project. We talked with 27 businesses and one resident; we were not able to meet with four residents and two businesses.

    We asked, Which alternative do you prefer: the four-lane alternative or the two-lane alternative?

    Of the 28 surveyed, 27 agreed that the two-lane alternative will have a beneficial impact on their businesses and provide improved safety and beautification opportunities.

  • SANTA FE — A gutsy state lawmaker has forced the door open ever so slightly to audio and video transmissions from state legislative committee hearings.

    Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, an Albuquerque Republican, went out and bought a webcam and has begun streaming video and audio from the committees on which she serves.

    The Webcasting was unauthorized so there is no telling how long it will continue but it did get some wheels turning that had been stuck in neutral for years.

  • One thing is absolutely undeniable about the Rio Arriba Road railroad crossing just north of town: Two people have been killed trying to cross there.

    Now, some are calling for the installation of warning lights and other safety equipment at the site, rather than just signage.

    But so far, they’re not getting any response.

    To be sure, all agencies contacted agree on one thing: It’s someone else’s job to improve the crossing.

  • While campaigning for president, Barack Obama insisted he couldn’t make real change alone — he needed all of us to help him by making our wishes known. Newly introduced in the New Mexico legislature are Joint Memorials entitled “Withdraw New Mexico National Guard from Iraq” (SJM20 in the Senate and HJM18 in the House). It’s a perfect opportunity to make our wishes known to our legislators that we need our Guard to come home.

  • I’m writing again because I know that domestic violence is still with us. There have been individuals that say, “She does not know what she is talking about.” After 12 years in the field and having had the best training at the Police Academy from experts, I should know that what I say is fact, based on experience and education.

  • UP thumb ... TWO NEW FACES. Congratulations to the winners of the East and West school board elections — Elaine Luna, Gabe Lucero on the east side and Christine Ludi and David Romero on the west side. Lucero defeated incumbent Philip Leger and former mayor Matt Martinez to become the City Schools district’s newest board member, while David Romero won the open seat being vacated by Ralph Garcia, who chose not to seek re-election. Luna and Ludi retained their positions in re-election bids.

  • Councilor Morris Madrid spoke long and eloquently at the city council meeting. He was compelled to leave as much unsaid.

    It would have been the perfect moment to recall Donald Rumsfeld’s famous quote: “There are known knowns. These are things that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”

  • In these times, renewable energy cannot afford to be given a bad name by big business whose bottom line is bigger profit.

  • In response to Mr. Paul Gray, engineer for the New Mexico Department of Transportation, published Jan. 16-18 in the Optic (“Another killed in train wreck”): your assumption will not bring back the two people who got killed. This is called passing the buck. I don‘t have an engineering degree, but I don’t believe it’s the City of Las Vegas’ responsibility. There are two roads that access this crossing: one is Rio Arriba and the other is Aragon Road. The crossing provides access to either road; these are state or county roads.

  • Public officials should be held accountable, and that includes Las Vegas Mayor Tony Marquez.        Before last year’s election, we endorsed his candidacy for mayor, expecting him to be a breath of fresh air at City Hall. We supported his vision of transparency and accountability — and still do.

    But we have come to disagree with how he has tried to carry out that vision. He has brought great instability to city government, and that has high costs for our community.

  • Who around here needs to watch soap operas? Especially these last few months. Just watch what’s going on at City Hall. Nobody is suffering amnesia, as they typically do in soaps. But our community has plenty of other forms of drama — fights between former friends, lost jobs, chaos and lawyers.

  • We all know school board elections are coming up. In the atmosphere of hope that encompasses our country today, we can’t help but feel like we can make a difference. All elections are important, yet school board elections, the decision we make on behalf of the children in our community, typically have overwhelmingly low turnout rates.

  • We want to thank everyone who was part of the recent Cooney Fundraiser Concert at the First Presbyterian Church. What a joyful and heartwarming occasion it was!  Such talent, kindness, and generosity!  We are humbled and grateful and will put the money to very good use as we rebuild and rebound from the fire.