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    As long as the news stories fall his way, Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan loves the press. Criticize one of his deputies for using a Taser on a high school student or another deputy for abusing a store manager, without cause, and he seeks ways to limit access to documents, reports,…

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    Talk about the literal luck of the draw. Rio Arriba County Commissioner Leo Jaramillo had to draw straws with fellow Commissioner James Martinez to see who would get a two-year extension on his elected term.

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    Breaking our tradition of opining on local topics, the recent U.S. Congressional vote on raising the minimum wage from $7.50 an hour to $15 must be addressed. Specifically, how did New Mexico legislators vote?

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    It’s clear we won’t look for any sort of reconciliation between Hispanic and Native American history buffs anytime soon. The explosive remarks made by local history teacher Roberto Valdez and San Elizario (Texas) Historical District Director Al Borrego July 13 at the Española Valley Fies…

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    The general public missed an exciting, monumental event in December 2018. The Rio Arriba County Commission voted to rename the Rio Arriba County Complex Annex. The Rio Arriba County Emilio Naranjo Building.

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    Los Sombras Siete continue to disenfranchise Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative member-owners. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, or heard it all, these guys come up with another move to crush representation of members, this time in District 6.

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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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