What a year. Most people’s humanity kicks in when witnessing suffering, sacrifice and difficulty. But not always and we’ve got plenty of folks spending our tax money who kept with the “me first” lifestyle as a pandemic pushed everyone to test their own mental and emotional toughness.

    Others thought better of their bad behavior and resolved to change their lives and the way they approach life, difficult situations and humanity itself.


    Municipal Judge Stephen Salazar resolved to not sue the city of Española next summer. When city councilors gathered several times to work out the 2021 budget, Salazar whined his budget was cut too much, claiming politics.

    While it’s true there’s not much love lost between Salazar and, well most folks, but especially city leaders, the budget process everywhere was difficult. Salazar ignored the collapse of economies everywhere and just demanded more money to meet state mandates that were mostly smoke and mirrors.

    Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan resolved  . . . wow where to begin. He resolved to not aid nor abet suspects being sought by law enforcement for felonies. He also resolved to not show up at a tense stand-off drunk and try to take over the scene, with no authority whatsoever. He was feeling especially petulant and also resolved to abide by search warrants just as every suspect he serves one to must abide.

    Who are we fooling? He just filed two motions to suppress proper search warrants and claims he was interrogated without being read his Miranda rights. District Court Judge Brian Biedscheid set him straight but it demonstrates Lujan still doesn’t get it. He either believes he’s above the law or just ignorant of it.

    Española City Police Sgt. Michelle Ortega resolved to answer her phone, empty her voice mail and respond to requests from the Rio Grande SUN.

    Española Hospital spokesperson (gatekeeper) Amanda Schoenberg resolved to no longer keep the public in the dark regarding what is happening inside the hospital. The first vaccine administered in Rio Arriba County was a monumental, probably historic event. The Santa Fe New Mexican and Albuquerque Journal published photo essays, accompanied by interviews with nurses and staff on what national media likes to call “the front lines” of the pandemic. We were denied access to anyone and received an out of focus low resolution picture of someone getting a shot.

    We routinely get sparse reports of what’s going on inside Rio Arriba County’s only hospital. Schoenberg is lending a new definition to public relations.

    Former Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative Board member-at-large John Tapia resolved to get out of Co-op politics and administration.

    There’s a solid reason we refer to perennial Co-op Board members as washed up or has-beens. They’ve lost their muscle or never had it.

    His and the former Board majority’s giant miscalculated move to make him general manager taught him a lesson and he only wants to do good now.

    Soon to be former Co-op General Manager Ernesto Gonzales resolved to not come out of “retirement” again to be used by the same failed politicians. The way the Board used Gonzales is unforgivable. Leave the poor man alone.

    Española City Councilor John Vigil resolved to break off all contact with Phil Chacon. Vigil’s friendships with Lujan and Chacon have cost him his reputation, friends, relationships and most importantly, votes. He’ll need the whole Salazar clan to get re-elected.

    Just because the Sheriff lacks common sense doesn’t mean you call him to help with a search warrant problem. He proved he’s no better at ducking warrants than Vigil.

    We suggest befriending some of our more colorful Españolans who frequent the parking lots at Walmart, Speedway and Lowe’s Home Improvement. They have admirable skills at slipping through warrants.

    Rio Arriba County Adult Detention Center Director Larry DeYapp resolved again this year to resign his position at the jail. Three more people died in the jail's custody in 2020. County commissioners don’t seem to care, Jail personnel continue with business as usual and no one has held DeYapp responsible in any way.

    At any properly operated detention facility, one death would spark a huge investigation but not in Rio Arriba County.

    Tomas Campos resolved to retire. He said he’d had enough of being abused by the local newspaper while trying to lead clueless politicians. Campos’s parting wish is that Chris Madrid replace him. He would  finally be in a position to earn his bloated salary and do something that’s attached to any verbal phrase except “spend taxpayer money.”

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