Special Olympics might

not survive without cash


Many of the county residents probably don’t know that there is a Special Olympics team in the county. Well, this letter is a plea to the community as well as business owners and organizations. We have recently lost sponsorship for our team, leaving us in a bind. We have approximately two months to raise the registration fees for our athletes, $35 a person (for 13 to 16 athletes).

It may not sound like much to most people, but, when you add on the cost of rental fees for the van, motel rooms for the overnight stay in Albuquerque for the state summer games, (it mounts up).

I am asking the community to open their hearts and wallets to these very deserving and very determined athletes. Please don’t let them miss out.

These young men and women work very hard and need the help of the community. Please don’t get me wrong — we will be holding fund-raisers around the community, but it does not seem to be enough. For further information on how one may help, they can call me directly at 861-0926 or Glenna Luna at 864-1898.

Israel Benitez


’03 should be good year


The community should be really excited about next year’s Los Lunas High School boys’ varsity basketball team’s chance of competing for a state title. Next year’s team could be made up predominately of seniors. This class, with the exception of Jason Utash, who is now a starter on a very good La Cueva team, has survived the coming and going of coaches. The class has been broken up over the years and spread among the varsity and junior varsity teams. However, when they were together as freshmen, they managed a 20-2 record.

This is a class that has consistently fielded an AAU team during the summer since fifth grade. They have competed against select teams across the state and have brought home their share of trophies. This class of young men loves to play basketball and knows how to win. They possess the talents necessary to compete at the highest level. Their strengths are diverse and provide a foundation for a very strong team. They provide decent size at the wings and inside the paint, good ball handling at the guard and wing positions, scoring from all positions, speed when needed, and a whole lot of experience and court sense.

One important aspect about this class of athletes is that their skills complement each other. Defense keeps a team in the game, and there are some very aggressive defenders in this group. And while defense keeps a team in the game, it is offense that wins games. These guys, when on the same team, provide great balance on offense that will make it very difficult for other teams to defend against.

There are four or five guys in this class that can consistently score a lot of points. This was demonstrated on varsity and junior varsity during the past season. Varsity and junior varsity were each led in scoring by two players who will be seniors next year. These players each averaged over 13 points a game. There is another group of guys within this class that may not be as consistent in scoring, but they also can score a lot of points on any given night.

Next year’s seniors are not only great athletes, but they are also great students. These young men are leaders on the basketball court and in the classroom. Los Lunas should expect a very exciting basketball season next year. The coaches will have a group of boys who have a history of winning. Having this much talent in one class has not happened at Los Lunas for some time. Coaches from other teams may be caught off guard wondering where these guys came from, not realizing that they have been here all along. It is time to regroup these young men and make a push for a state championship.

Steve Ortiz


Bravo for Mr. Burnett


It was with great pleasure that I read about the extension of Mr. Danny Burnett’s contract. I was hoping it could have been extended even further, as the job he has done as superintendent has been terrific. His focus on the welfare of the students and their learning, rather than his career, is not only refreshing but rather novel in this state and in these times.

Were his appointment and retention the only entry on this board’s resume, it would be more than satisfactory. I have heard comments both good and bad about Mr. Burnett, but, if the people making these comments had sat down with him, I would hazard a guess that the bad comments would disappear completely. I have found him to be forthright, honest and not inclined to give the answer one would like but the one that supports the needs of our students.

About the only improvements I can see is to get the State Board of Education out of our system and let the capable Mr. Burnett do his job.

James Taylor

Los Lunas

Rehire employees


I have always believed that it is the responsibility of management to establish an environment that assists in hiring and retaining valuable employees. Evidently the two new Bosque Farms Village councilors (David Linthicum and Ginger Eldridge) do not share that belief. At the March council meeting, they stated that they could not approve the re-appointment of three top village personnel – the police chief, the village administrator and the village treasurer — until they had received updated resumes from them.

The three have been employed by the village for a significant length of time and have established a high level of job performance — their performance record should be examined, not their resumes.

Incumbent Councilor Ken Hays supported the new councilors, even though he stated: “I think that all of the present employees do an outstanding job.” That opinion is shared by many of us who care enough to learn what is happening in our village. Obviously, the new councilors did not care enough to familiarize themselves with key village personnel prior to or after their election.

Resumes are used as a basis to identify individuals who have a high probability of having the required skills for a specific position. Interviews are then used to gain more information about a candidate and to observe such critical attributes as interpersonal skills. Once an individual has been hired, the performance review is used to determine if the employee is indeed performing a satisfactory job – and should be retained. (I have over 20 years of experience as a manager and have been through this process numerous times).

Can you imagine requiring an employee in private enterprise to submit an updated resume every time a new supervisor/manager is appointed over them? That is exactly what the coalition of Hays, Linthicum and Eldridge is doing. This is very insulting to the three village employees — no, it is extremely demeaning. The three councilors owe all three employees an apology and immediate action to re-appoint them.

Village employees should be hired and retained based on merit — they should not be political appointees. Yet this is exactly what it appears that the three councilors have in mind.

Coincidentally, I have been on the (village) planning and zoning commission for the past two years and have been presented as a candidate to serve another term. I have not received a request from the councilors for an updated resume — I only hope they have the courtesy to call or meet with me if they have questions concerning my qualifications. Unfortunately, with their political approach to their job, this will not happen.

I hope that the three village employees are retained and want to stay; however, I would certainly understand if they sought employment in a more friendly and respectful environment that is not so political.

Bob James

Bosque Farms

Keep our air clean


It is old news that there are three power plants proposing to come within twelve miles of each other in the Belen area. Now there are two more making inquiries at the State Air Quality Bureau. Unfortunately, we are just a small part of a tidal wave of proposed power plants sweeping our country. Last year, over 400 new plants were proposed in the U.S. and that number is rapidly rising.

During the March 19 county commission meeting, the room was filled with local citizens who were there to present their concerns. Among them were Danna Loori and Gil Gray who presented a petition asking that “the county commission update and strengthen ordinance requirements for commercial and industrial zoning … to insure that public interest and welfare is a priority.” Gil reported that he has made some inquiries of other commissions in New Mexico and other states to see how they are dealing with this issue. A commissioner’s concern was that Valencia County is unique and that we need to create our own solutions.

On June 15, 2001, the Brow-ard County Commission in Florida declared a moratorium on permits for new power plants. In Tacoma, Wash., there are five proposed power plants. They are concerned because there is no way to judge the affect of multiple gas-powered plants on their air quality. Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida and Illinois have all declared moratoriums on new plants.

How does this relate to Valencia County? We now have a potential for five power plants. This is a national problem. In this, we are not really so different. How much room is there in the Valencia County air shed for more air pollution? Already we have haze obscuring our mountains. The State Air Quality Bureau is required to allow a certain level of pollution. Do we have to fill up our air with the EPA’s allowable amount? Do we have to achieve L.A’s smog standard?

The commissioner is right; we are different in one important way. We have relatively clean air. Let’s invite in clean industry that supplies jobs, requires minimal water and will pay its share of gross receipts tax. According to the presentation that was done by the Belen Chamber of Commerce last month, there are such industries wanting to come to Belen. Call all your elected officials, write letters, talk to your family and neighbors, and interview the candidates that are running for office. Find out how they will protect your health, welfare and safety. It is time to answer the wake up call and make your voice heard.

Carol Hart


Preserve our history


Yet another of Belen’s historic buildings is being torn down!

I refer to the old 5-Points Bar and Dance Hall at the corner of Aragon Avenue and North Main Street.

We’re told that the structure is physically unsound and cannot be restored, so it’s the wrecking ball once again, dear reader!

Will the destruction of Belen’s past ever end? Out there somewhere is a zoning and planning board, working historians at the Harvey House Museum, a phantom group of paying members of the Valencia County Historical Society and you, of course — all respected conservators of Belen’s history.

Unless the single individual speaks out or such organized groups as mentioned above get involved and take a stand, I fear that it is only a matter of time until the physical remaining reminders of our heritage are truly gone for good.

Ken Gibson


It damaged morale


This letter is in reference to the Bosque Farms Village Council meeting, which I attended, held March 21, 2002, and the article about this meeting in the March 23, 2002 News-Bulletin. I applaud the News-Bulletin for covering this story in a very professional and accurate manner. The actions taken by the council were very one-sided and not only damaged the morale of all the Bosque Farms village administration but also the Bosque Farms Police Department, the planning and zoning commission, the library board and the residents of Bosque Farms.

I have found the village office to always be very helpful in acquiring any information I may need. During my campaign, I spent time with Julie Harding, village administrator; Julie Olona, village treasurer; and Chief Burchard. Before appearing at the village office to request some one-on-one time from each one of them, I always called them and made appointments. I respect their titles and realize that I am not the only person who wishes to take up some of their time and that they have a job to do in keeping our village running smoothly. Each one was very gracious in setting some time aside for me to visit with them and become acquainted with them and the jobs they are hired to do. They were very thorough and answered the many questions I had, and I came away with a feeling that our village is in very good hands and that our mayor has done his homework well in having these people employed by the Bosque Farms Village. Had the other candidates done the same thing, they would have been prepared to approve these appointments.

As I walked door to door in my campaign for councilor, I talked with many people that don’t fully understand how the government works in Bosque Farms. I tried explaining that our mayor basically manages the affairs of the Bosque Farms Village and the councilors govern the village. Most people were quite surprised at this. They thought the mayor had pretty much a free hand in doing what he thought was in the best interest for the village. However, it’s the opposite. The councilors are supposed to vote on what they consider is the best for the village and the mayor manages their decision, whether it was a good call or a bad one. So trying to put the blame on our mayor for not having adequate information on these appointments is unjust. Our councilors, all of them, should be held accountable for their actions and not blame our mayor or someone else for their lack of preparedness.

Councilors Hay, Eldridge, and Linthicum didn’t even have the courtesy to allow our mayor to present appointees before they rudely cut him off and voted to table any other appointments. This is disrespect to the mayor and the office of mayor. Voters had hoped that our new council would put aside their personal agendas and look after the business of the village, but this doesn’t appear to be happening. The law says the mayor must make these appointments shortly after the election and, by tabling this, they are hindering his ability to do his job and abide by state law. Our mayor is also an elected official of the village and deserves respect.

Dolly Wallace

Bosque Farms

Consider village first


Re: Bosque Farms Council refusal to accept mayor’s appointments.

Thank you for the well-balanced and accurate article which appeared in today’s paper. I attended that meeting also and would like to comment.

Who do they think they are kidding? Of course the councilors knew exactly who the mayor was going to appoint! During the campaign and since the election two-and-one-half weeks ago, the new councilors have had access and ample opportunity to acquaint themselves with the qualifications of the top appointed employees. And Councilor (Ken) Hays has worked with these employees for years. This was a blatant political attempt by three councilors to usurp the statutory authority of the mayor.

The mayor has the duty and responsibility to appoint certain key employees and all members of the various boards and commissions. The council may confirm or deny. In this case, the councilors chose to abort the whole process, throwing the village into uncertainty. These three councilors were elected to conduct the necessary business of the village, not to pursue their personal agendas. They would do well to remember that the mayor was also elected by the people to do his job.

Like it or not, these people have to work together for at least the next two years. We residents have a right to expect them to put the welfare of the whole village as their top priority, even though they may not agree on every issue.

Although tension was high during the meeting, and the agenda was very long, Mayor Baldwin is to be congratulated for maintaining order, and for conducting himself and the meeting professionally and with dignity.

Sharon M. Eastman

Bosque Farms

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