Public, private investment
I would like to respond to a letter by Ms. Maggy Fitzgerald published in the Jan. 13 edition of the News-Bulletin.
I wish to start by saying that I do not personally know any of the people, politicians or otherwise mentioned in her letter. I do not live in the city of Belen, but I do frequent the city and its businesses. In doing so, I am familiar with the community and have met and have occasionally spoken briefly with the individuals mentioned.
Being self-employed and running a business, I understand needs for investment in infrastructure and the promotion of economic activity in a community. I also realize that public investment will follow private investment. That is exactly what happened on and near Becker Avenue.
Of the people mentioned in Ms. Fitzgerald’s letter, I have come to view them as devoted cheerleaders, supporters and advocates for the city and community. Judy Chicago, having her art displayed in world class galleries across the nation, decided to invest in Belen. Her restoration of the historic Belen hotel as a private residence, along with her gallery represents considerable financial investment not to mention the time and energy to make it come to fruition.
If Danny Bernal Jr. wishes to wear a T-shirt with Judy Chicago printed on it, I would view that as promotion of an attraction within Belen. I’ve viewed Facebook posts by Danny promoting local restaurants and encouraging people to shop locally.
Megan (Malcom-Morgan) has an art gallery and where else to put a gallery than what is being called the art district of Belen? She has been renting space for her gallery but now she and her husband, the former mayor, have recently purchased an empty lot in which they plan to build an a more suitable and permanent home for the art she wishes to display and sell. This represents more private investment to attract economic activity and if she wishes to display are created by Bernal, that is strictly her prerogative.
Another considerable private investment and one that is enjoyed by many is the Jaramillo Vineyards Tasting Room. Owned by Robert and Barbara Jaramillo, it sits across the street from Judy Chicago’s gallery. The award-winning wines are consumed and sold there. The grapes are grown and the wine produced locally. Their wines are sold … and featured in local restaurants bringing outside revenues to Belen and the local community.
The beautifully restored building housing the tasting room is owned by Robert’s sister, Lenora, and her husband, Chip Wyly. Again, private investment to the city’s benefit is being followed by public investment — a proven strategy.
The accusation that the rest of Belen is being neglected for the sake of improvements on Becker Avenue is unfair … From my recollection, it was under then mayor Ronnie Torres’ tenure … that construction of sidewalk, curb and gutter along Main Street entirety was completed. Under mayor Cordova’s period, I’ve witnessed Tractor Supply, Loves Truck Stop, Circle K and Ace Hardware come to Belen. I do not know nor have I ever met Ms. Fitzgerald, but I view the motives behind her allegations as suspect.
I have never met another person that I agreed with every decision or policy they pursued. With that in mind, I feel secure in my believe that individuals mentioned in Ms. Fitzgerald’s letter, Judy Chicago, Danny Bernal Jr., Jerah Cordova, Megan (Malcom-Morgan), Ronnie Torres all “Believe in Belen.” They are on the train and shoveling coal. I have a healthy respect for that.
Newspaper is fair
Regarding the letters to the editor in the Thursday, Jan. 20, paper, one of my several thoughts was:
1: Wow, the people who wrote (to the) paper must have very thin skins and just can’t take a little criticism!
2: Maggy Fitzgerald had a right to her opinion — it’s called freedom of speech, and the parties who wrote in … (the) paper had a right to their opinion, also under the category of freedom of speech.
3: I was shocked at the personal attack on you and the VCNB!
As far as I can tell, you have been more than fair in your publications and also have every right to publish whatever you think applies to your newspaper. Their complaints against you and the paper sounded very petty and self-righteous.
Personally, I commend you for running the only newspaper in Valencia County, and very well.
Donna L. Crawford
New beginning for Belen
With the election of Robert Noblin by an overwhelming majority, the voters made clear their preference for a new approach and new blood in city government. The election of Steven Holdman essentially seconded that motion.
Now if Belen is to move on and prosper, grow and improve the quality of life, attract new business and fix our infrastructure, then the members and former members of the city governing body have to lay down the personal attacks and family grudges, stop reacting to every slight and act like we are a real city.
We have major challenges ahead: A fight to put a new hospital in Belen instead of Los Lunas, major infrastructure projects that need study and funding, revitalizing Main Street by utilizing or getting rid of those closed, boarded-up buildings, improving our Chamber of Commerce, seeking out and procuring major industry in the clean energy and manufacturing sectors to locate in Belen, and protection of our water resources to name just a few.
Yet, in the last weeks, we have been mired in the old habits, grudges, feuds and slights that have driven politics here for far too long.
The voters of Belen will not reward that kind of behavior any longer. That was clear from this last election.
Let’s lift our gaze up from the petty, the provincial and stop fighting amongst ourselves to focus on the future. Let our accomplishments speak for themselves. Let’s concentrate on getting positive things done for Belen.
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