Peralta: A factory town?
Very quietly, shielded from normal public disclosure by COVID-19 restrictions, the Peralta town government has been trying to push through a zoning change to convert several parcels that are presently zoned residential to commercial designation.
Meetings to approve this change have been conducted remotely, using Zoom technology, something which many Peralta residents do not have and/or do not know how to use.
The town zoning ordinance requires the town to notify near-by landowners of any proposed zoning change at least 15 days prior to any meetings about the proposed change. This notification must be by mail.
In addition, all other Peralta residents must be notified at least 15 days in advance, usually by publication in the Valencia County News-Bulletin. The town government, for whatever reasons, failed to provide many of these required notifications. The town went ahead and approved the changes anyway.
A group of concerned citizens filed a lawsuit against the town in District Court. The case has not yet been heard, but the filing may have caused the town to rethink its’ previous actions. A new series of hearings are now scheduled to revisit the issue. The first hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m., Friday, March 19. This meeting will be held remotely using Zoom.
If approved, the zoning change is designed to bring in a factory making pre-fabricated trusses and/or walls for buildings. The factory will be directly adjacent to Sutton Estates, a residential subdivision of $300,000 homes. Over-size truck/trailer traffic, the beeping of fork lifts, nail guns, commercial saws, compressors, air pollution and N.M. 47 traffic problems on an already dangerous curve are just some of the issues.
Zoom meetings are far from ideal for reasons I have listed above. The 5 p.m. start time for the … meeting also acts to suppress public input because many folks are not yet home from work.
In an attempt to try to increase public participation, a petition is circulating enlisting the support of residents opposed to the rezoning. There are currently about 40 signatures. If you would like to be added to the petition, please call me at 910-0005.
Teachers don’t have an easy job
The decision to reopen schools at 100 percent feels like a punch in the stomach to every educator.
What does it mean when non-educators tell a teacher, “we need to do what’s best for the children?” Do they know that every second of a teacher’s career is dedicated to doing what’s best for their students? Teachers are frontline workers for children everywhere.
During the pandemic, we completely renovated what it meant to teach overnight. We did what needed to be done for the children. For a year, teachers are told “children aren’t learning,” yet I see an entirely different generation of children this school year than the past eight years of my education career.
I see a maturity that comes from life experience; I see a knowledge of technology that is irreplaceable to this generation, and parents are engaged in their children’s learning. Yes, many students struggle, but do these issues not exist within the walls of the classroom? Does going back to school fix depression, anxiety and learning discrepancies? Maybe it’s easier to ignore issues when they are not in front of you.
Teachers do not feel betrayed because we want to “stay home.” We do not have an easy desk job; our job is strenuous. We are a profession that is underpaid and overworked, but worst of all, today we feel completely disposable.
We are given vaccines so that you can send us back like soldiers in a war. “Full reentry, school is safe,” said via Zoom.