Response to ‘Our View’

Editor:

I feel it is important to respond to the editorial that came out on the opinion page as “Our View” titled, “We expect more from our elected officials.”

I first want to thank our Valencia County News-Bulletin for always providing great, local coverage. Now, I would like to take the opportunity to provide my view on the June 9, 2021, publication of “Our View.”

Yes, Secretary Ryan Stewart suspended the entire Los Lunas Board of Education on May 26. I personally have not had the privilege to respond to Mr. Stewart’s removal letter claiming Los Lunas Schools Board of Education members have persistently violated procurement and public laws, the public school code and professional ethics standards.

Yes, several complaints were brought forward by employees (past and present administration and their support staff), to my knowledge, all without valid accusations. I have all the confidence that I made fair, honest and just decisions.

Yes, some people did resent my actions, while many supported my actions as an elected official. In the editorial, you stated, “time and time again, this board has been made aware (my interpretation would be accused) of concerns of bad behavior.” Yes, accusations by those who were against me were for looking into questionable purchases, structures being built without specs and or drawing while being constructed by unlicensed contractors. Also addressed were alleged infractions (thank you for stating “alleged”).

Let me now address the Open Meeting Act violations. It was always my understanding that the Los Lunas Schools superintendent facilitated the BOE meeting. We were never corrected in a meeting that we were stepping outside of the posted agenda. To my recollection, the answer would be no. The question of violating the Inspection of Public Records Act, is very vague, and who is to say I did not comply?

The question of extortion, (I had to look up the definition of extortion). No single BOE member has been identified, why? Yet another unanswered accusation. Question: Has the confidence of our constituents been shaken? Time will tell!

I totally agree with “Our View” by the statement: “This is truly a sad state of affairs.” All these “sad state of affairs” has a direct impact on our most important assets — our children. Have we disappointed the district, administration, teachers, staff, students and the community? Here again, time will tell.

I can say I have disappointed some administrative staff members by my actions in question, that includes, but not limited to, certain expenditures by the district (this is what started the snowball effect on the allegations).

Finally, I personally have not been contacted by the New Mexico Public Education Department to respond to the many allegations. I look forward to and have a strong desire to addressing PED on these allegations.

Finally, I ask the readers of this great local newspaper, please reserve your judgement until all the facts come to the surface.

Steven R. Otero

Los Lunas

(Editor’s Note: A superintendent of schools does not facilitate board of education meetings. It is the duty of the board president to run each meeting.)

Are HOAs necessary?

Editor:

Homeowner Associations? Love them or hate them, but after this story I’m sure you will know the answer!

There are many who would refuse to ever live in a community with an HOA and for good reason, but then there are those who may seek them out. What happens when an HOA runs amuck, violating state statues, CCRs and refuses to allow the homeowners by their own legal rights to govern their own board? What happens when they refuse to provide requested financial records per state statute requirement to the homeowners?

What if I told you that one of the board presidents was quoted telling a homeowner to, “go kill yourself,” when they challenged the board? Do you know the definition of conflict of interest? What if I told you the board president and the hired attorney were business partners in several other affairs?

What if I told you a new board was selected without informing the homeowners and denying the right to vote? What if I told you that the HOA dues were increased because the then board president claimed 360 developer voting rights despite the HOA CCRs stating otherwise?

Since when do we allow a group of individuals to run a non-profit with authoritarianism? Have we become so desensitized to this behavior? Have we forgotten what our own rights are?

We are the homeowners of Eastland Hills in Los Lunas; this is our home and community and we will not tolerate this authoritative regime any longer.

Ken Nordin and Token Garnica

Los Lunas

The lying must end

Editor:

We really need to do something about all the lying. It’s become a threat to this nation’s survival.

Several things seem to make us vulnerable to lies right now: Many people only consume news that agrees with what they already believe. This country has always discounted scientific research in favor of “Joe Sixpack’s common sense.” We have a severe problem with innumeracy — we’ll fall for statements where the figures don’t even come close to adding up. And reporters feel obligated to “show both sides,” even if one side is profoundly, bug-nuts crazy.

A single public lie is one thing, but thousands of public lies organized into a huge, traitorous pile of deceit is another. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump constantly groomed his followers to reject news that didn’t flatter him as “Fake News.” As the election neared its conclusion, Trump cranked his accusations of fake votes for Hillary Clinton up to a constant scream. Then came four years of whining about unfair treatment from the media.

As the 2020 election neared, Trump led the GOP in massive attacks against voting methods that had long been used with no problems, claiming that mail-in votes and early voting by legitimate voters were illegal. Long after Biden’s win had been verified repeatedly, Trump insisted the election had been stolen from him, finally goading his followers into a violent, traitorous attack on the Capitol itself in a failed attempt to overturn a valid election, to attack democracy itself.

The careful grooming has been effective. A recent poll showed that 53 percent of Republican voters still believe the election was stolen. The Big Lie has allowed Trump to keep raking in donations from his true believers. And the Big Lie has also become an excuse for GOP politicians in 43 states to introduce over 400 bills to restrict and suppress legitimate voting, to attack democracy itself.

There’s not much we can do to stop people from lying, but we can stop being suckered by their lies. If you read something, particularly from a GOP source, that seems to be unlikely, too good or too bad to be true, or just plain weird, check it.

Helpful fact-checking sites include politifact.com, snopes.com, factcheck.org, and fivethirtyeight.com for statistics.

Laura  F. Sanchez

Los Lunas

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.