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    A parting gift from then-Rio Arriba County commissioners Alex Naranjo and Barney Trujillo was to reclassify Napoleon Garcia from Public Works director to Public Works administrator. So what, you ask? It’s all in a name, or a title in this case.

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    The city of Española’s Planning and Zoning Commission was on the ball May 9 when it voted unanimously to deny Edward Hunter’s request for a use exception for a commercial building. We eye suspiciously Hunter’s request, since he’s on the Commission.

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    Lawyers may head back to court in the Yazzie/Martinez versus the state of New Mexico lawsuit. As school districts around the state cobble their budgets, many will find where the Lord giveth, so also does He taketh away.

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    Rio Grande SUN cops and courts reporter Tabitha Clay brings us several stories this week detailing problems in the Española Police Department, an aggressive Rio Arriba County deputy and a Tierra Amarilla jail guard who apparently fell for the cliché bad boy and had inmates beat a man who…

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    We’re a month into a high nitrate scare at one of the city of Española’s wells and Mayor Javier Sanchez and city officials seem more intent on spinning the story, than actually addressing the issue.

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    Human beings naturally fall into ruts. We’re creatures of habit. So it’s our nature to say, “We’ve always done it that way.”

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    Kudos and thank you to the Santa Fe Reporter. The Santa Fe weekly dropped the hammer on the Santa Fe Police Department March 12 when it filed suit over police disciplinary records and complaints filed against four officers.

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    The Española City Police Department has never been long on following its own policies. Every iteration of command structure enters touting high expectations, an overhaul of training, a shuffle of key positions and of course paint the cars and change the uniforms. We never understand thos…

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    Any discussion regarding the two bills moving through the legislature that would create an ethics commission must begin and end with stating 75 percent of New Mexicans voted for the Constitutional amendment in November 2018 that would create the commission.

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It’s fitting that the final week of the state’s 60-day legislative session is Sunshine Week. This year we’ve seen more bills come from the House and Senate, from democrats and republicans, aimed at hiding public information.

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    It’s a little difficult to become upset with State Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Rio Arriba, over his remark on the Senate floor about Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan not getting his vehicles.

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    It’s become a perennial expectation that a senator or representative feels the need to tweak the lottery scholarship formula. They can’t stand to leave it alone.

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    Fred Nathan and the good people at Think New Mexico are again taking up the cause of exposing how denizens of the Roundhouse spend our tax money. Think New Mexico is a well-respected, non-partisan think tank that works year-round to champion causes for the public.

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The Española Valley lost another great advocate last week. Brian Thompson died Jan. 29 at the age of 68. He was a truly community-focused man, always ready to help others and better Española.

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    We’re seeing some great work and ideas come out of Luis Torres’ and the Conservation Voters of New Mexico Education Fund, a group interested in renewable energy, among other political initiatives. Torres doesn’t own the group but he’s sure a driving force and a needed thorn in the side o…

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    Editor’s note: this editorial was published Sept. 27, 2018. Senate Bill 259 is now moving through the legislature. It would make secret all applicants to public positions. The “possible open door” referred to at the end of the editorial has already been opened.

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    We’ve got an idea to help save Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham some time and work. She can skip choosing new regents for Northern New Mexico College. Just move on to the next task on your list, governor.

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    New Mexico State Sen. Pat Woods, R-Curry, Quay and Union counties, is not looking out for residents of New Mexico who want to know what their government is doing. He’s clearly working for bureaucrats who don’t want to fill public records requests, turn those requests into a revenue strea…

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    The new Rio Arriba County Commission needs to review its own and the state’s guidelines regarding the incarceration and care of inmates at the Detention Center in Tierra Amarilla. The Commission is the Center’s ultimate authority. The Commission should inspect the jail annually and in be…

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    We are joining Steve Terrell’s movement. Since there are two of us, we believe it can be called a movement. We don’t have banners yet, probably because we don’t have a name. We’ll have to get one of those hot-shot IT guys at the Santa Fe New Mexican to build us a website. Maybe Henry Lop…

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    Lucas Martinez, 19, of Española is not going to win any civic duty awards. He’s not a good guy. Putting all the journalistically required  “allegedly” in front of all his bad behavior, two courts are looking for him for three different crimes committed in the span of a month.

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    New Mexicans voted Nov. 6 overwhelmingly (75 percent) in favor of Constitutional Amendment 2, establishing an ethics commission to oversee the foxes in the hen house aka the Roundhouse. That message can’t get much clearer for those representing us in the state legislature.

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    When Española voters elected City Councilor Denise Benavidez they didn’t choose someone to sit at the dais and pontificate. They elected a city councilor of action.

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    Basketball is a religion in Northern New Mexico. More people attend a Thursday night basketball game than all the churches in the Valley combined on Sunday morning.

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    This isn’t about a sexual predator being allowed to run loose in our schools for many years.

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    It’s standard practice when a board or group of entrusted people run into accounting problems, a loss/theft, lack of reporting or failure to maintain its status everyone runs for cover. Rhetoric increases, facts trickle, documents are hard to come by and those in charge can’t be found to…

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    Española city officials think we have a gang problem. It’s more like we have a delinquent teenagers problem that festers, becoming an adult felon problem. This is one of the many reasons the New Mexico Supreme Court should not seal juvenile records. The Court has already closed them but …

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    If you see Rio Arriba County Assessor Levi Valdez in the grocery store or at a gas station, please shake his hand and thank him for his thwarted efforts to bring oil and gas companies into compliance with the County’s tax schedule.

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    Rio Grande SUN staff writer Austin Fisher in the Sept. 27 issue tried to explain to readers how much water the city of Española loses annually to leaks, bad meters and theft. That number is 19.4 percent, enough to fill 140 Olympic-size swimming pools, Fisher wrote.

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    The cliché is, we’re a litigious society. Two clearly frivolous lawsuits were in the news over the past week.

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    A La Mesilla family suffered a heart-breaking loss from Sept. 10 to 22 at the hands of Santa Clara Pueblo when it bulldozed and bladed the private property of Jean Aeby.

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    There’s one thing proponents of open government can count on a few months before a long (90-day) session of the state legislature. Some group will start working on legislators to add to the list of exceptions in the Inspection of Public Records Act applications for a public position.

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    It’s illustrative that the “threatened shooting” at Española Valley High School revealed a large hole in the school’s and law enforcement’s response plans and efforts.

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    The Española School District Board took a giant step backward Monday night as it appointed city council retread Cory Lewis to fill the Board’s district 2 seat, vacated by Patrick Herrera.

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    We supported Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver when she ran for office in 2014. She ran a “let’s clean house” sort of platform, promising to update voter registrations, making voting easier and providing faster, more accurate election results. She’s delivered magnificently on alm…

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    The Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees erected another barrier to transparency Aug. 24 with its passage of Board Policy 150, which should be titled “Nick Naranjo’s Next Gag Order Incarnation.”

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    We’ve kept silent regarding the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities and its sorry story of misspending, deceit and exposure. However, with the recent release of an audit and no clear mission, it’s clear the group is nothing more than a slush fund for politicians. Taxpayers must push t…

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    The Apache Nation, Dulce School District and Apache Nugget Casino, all synonymous, are finally having a spotlight focused on them. This, thanks to some brave women who are members of the Nation tired of the abuse, theft, lying and outright apathy the tribal council and school Board show …

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    Española School District Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez is preparing to jump into what professional wrestlers like to call a Battle Royale. Gutierrez is setting up a partnership with a Santa Fe non-profit to come into the District and do something regarding sex education with school tee…

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    A change in state law sent Española School District Board member Patrick Herrera packing. Herrera does not live full-time in the district he represents on the Board. House Bill 98, passed in the 2018 legislative session makes that a problem for folks like Herrera.

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    Another great idea brought to you by Shel Neymark, Embudo ambassador, library guru and all around outside the box thinker. Also if you check the letter to the editor (opposite) you’ll find he’s an evil liberal.

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    Luiz Torres’ letter to the editor published July 12 was spot on. Torres stated in his letter Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative Trustees had no interest in the membership showing up at the annual meeting.

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