County lacks authority
The commissioners voting in favor of the resolution declaring Valencia County a Second Amendment sanctuary county should have given some thought to the New Mexico Constitution, Article 2, Section 6.
Under a constitutionally prescribed oath, each commissioner — and the sheriff — promised to uphold the state Constitution, so it seems fair to expect some passing familiarity with that document.
New Mexico Constitution Article 2, Section 6 protects the right to keep and bear arms for specific enumerated and lawful purposes. The last sentence of the provision reads: “No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms.”
In that single sentence, the state Constitution expressly prohibits Valencia County officials from regulating “in any way” any matter incidental to the right to keep and bear arms. Under the New Mexico Constitution, the county lacks any authority either to restrict or to expand rights incidental to the guarantees contained in Article 2, Section 6.
Assuming the commission should act within its constitutionally-delegated powers, it was not at liberty to interfere “in any way” with the right to keep and bear arms. Yet that is exactly what the Valencia County Commission did when it adopted a resolution attempting to regulate matters incidental to the right to keep and bear arms.
In the interest of legislative consistency and to protect commissioners and the sheriff from potential claims of violation of the oath of office, the commission should consider a companion resolution declaring Valencia County a sanctuary from the provisions of the state Constitution.
Judge Chavez used poor judgement
(This is an open letter to Judge John Chavez and Valencia County residents)
Judge Chavez: Why did you let two killers loose in Valencia County? Two pit bulls killed my dog, but they are still alive and running free.
My dog is cold in the ground. These same dogs have attacked other dogs at least three times, mine was the fourth attack.
It is only a matter of time until they attack again, and it could be a dog or a child. These dogs have been moved from Rio Communities. However, after 90 days, they can return once the owner’s probation has finished.
On Christmas Eve, I was walking my dog, Jade, in Rio Communities on Carmel Road. Suddenly, two pit bulls charged through an open gate. The first pit bull grabbed my dog on her face, then the second pit bull came in and grabbed her under the leg. I tried to beat them off with my walking stick, (but) it broke.
I sprayed one pit bull with dog mace, but it did no good. Finally, a man ran out from the pit bull’s yard and pulled them off. My dog lay still on the street. After a time, she breathed heavy and stood up.
The whole side of her face and neck was torn up and a big wound was under her leg. I called 911 to report the attack. I called my wife to bring our pickup truck. We took her to our veterinarian’s office — they were closed.
With the help of (Valencia County) deputy sheriff P. Baca, we found an emergency veterinarian office open in Albuquerque. The clinic treated here, and we though she would live but she died of her wounds on Dec. 28.
Animal control told me the case would be heard Feb. 12, and said they would keep me informed, but they did not. The owner of the dogs appeared in your court on Jan. 25, consequently I was not in court and was unable to tell my side of the story.
Nothing was done to the pit bulls. My dog, Jade, did not receive justice. I will honor my dog’s memory by seeing she receives justice.
In a word — breathtaking.
As a former long-serving board member and president of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, which owns the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art (MOSCA) and hosts the Spanish Market (67 years and running), I want you to know that my heart grew with pride … when I set foot in the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts to take in Ayer, Hoy y Mañana – Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow: An Exhibition of Traditional Hispanic Arts.
I take great pride in MOSCA, but I don’t remember a time when that many of our living, or recently deceased, traditional Spanish Colonial artists — living legends and juried master artists — had their work featured all together in one, first-class museum exhibit in New Mexico.
Bravo and felicidades to Nicolas Otero, the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts board, the Friends of the Museum board, countless volunteers I met, the cocineros who fed the artists an incredible meal and to the village of Los Lunas’ leadership for having true vision.
In New Mexico, we often focus on our troubles or our weaknesses, but we rarely celebrate our cultura and tell our story that has a horizon more than 400 years out with Spanish Colonial traditions. Let’s continue to own our challenges, own the stains on our history, but let us celebrate our riches. Let us also own the fact that some of the most prolific and talented artists in the country are right here in New Mexico — several from my home county — the county that raised me — Valencia County.
I know this exhibit was years in the making and, on occasion it met resistance. I hope the countless folks who stood in line to get to see this incredible exhibit of traditional and devotional art will be a constant and long-standing reminder for us all that we should be “slow to say no” to first time events or new ideas.
Finally, I want to express my deep and very personal gratitude to all the folks in Valencia County and the amazing artists who had the vision and tenacity to find the right institutions, sponsors and community leaders to say “yes.” They said yes we will take an opportunity to celebrate tradition, heritage and culture in our small community with great possibilities.
¡Viva la Cultura y la Herencia!
Brian S. Colón, Esq.
Los Lunas High School Class of 1988
State Auditor of New Mexico
Spanish Colonial Arts Society, former board member and president