All businesses need help
I enjoy the activities on Becker Avenue and love the lights decorating the street this Christmas. I appreciate the Bugg Lights and Books on Becker.
However, as three of our elected city representatives or their friends or family have business interests on this street, I have to wonder if the lavish attention focused on Becker Avenue is to drive customers to these businesses.
These businesses include The GRID Gallery, which is owned by Mayor Cordova’s wife, Megan, and features the work of Danny Bernal Jr., and the Belen Art League, which features the work of Ronnie Torres and his friends and family.
At the end of Becker Avenue is Judy Chicago’s art gallery, where Megan (Cordova) Malcom-Morgan is employed, according to the information she provided in her recent city council bid. I often think of Judy Chicago as the un-elected fifth member of our city council because she holds so much influence over Bernal, Cordova and Torres.
When I attended a city council meeting after the flood this summer, Danny was wearing a Judy Chicago T-shirt at the meeting, and he has enthusiastically promoted her business during his tenure. Also, if you will remember, in 2018 Torres and Cordova attempted to have the citizens of Belen pay for a staff member for Judy Chicago, citing the tremendous amounts of revenue her business would bring to Belen (which has never materialized).
These elected Belen officials have not made the same offer to any other citizen business owner in Belen during their tenure, reinforcing the idea that Judy Chicago holds tremendous influence over these members of our city government.
I am pro-art and pro-local business, but the laser focus by these elected officials on building the art district in Belen, to the exclusion of almost all other businesses in Belen, is suspicious and concerning.
Of all the streets in Belen, Becker Avenue has become the focus of revitalization, including hundreds of thousands of dollars for new street lights, benches, signs, roadwork and trash cans. It is also the focus of each city celebration.
I understand and appreciate this is part of historic downtown Belen, but I would venture to guess that other parts of Belen, and other locally-owned businesses, would appreciate a concentrated effort to drive customers to their businesses with festivals and celebrations at their front doors.
These three elected city officials have seemingly focused all of their — and the city’s — revitalization and business efforts on building businesses along Becker Avenue, to the almost complete indifference of all other locally-owned businesses and business areas.
I would appreciate if our newly elected city leadership included the entire town and all local businesses in their efforts. I suggest a committee be formed of local business owners to create a revitalization plan that includes the entire city and benefits everyone, and not just a select, favored few.
(Editor’s Note: Jerah Cordova and Ronnie Torres no longer hold elected office.)
Mask or no mask?
I find it amazing that we live in a time when we are being forced to wear face masks in all public places because government officials and private business owners are scared of this virus.
We are supposed to be living in a free country, where we can make our own choices of where we go and how we conduct ourselves. If I choose not to wear a mask, that’ my prerogative and should be “mandated” by the state.
If you ask me (which no one has), we would all be able to go where we want, when we want and how we want. That’s all.
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