Letter to the Editor


Too little, too late

I am beginning to doubt the competence of the Socorro Electric Cooperative’s board, and Mr. (Paul) Bustamante in particular, to conduct business of any sort.

First came the remarkably late realization that the American system of law is an adversary system, and that courts adjudicate disputes rather than ruling by fiat.
Now comes Mr. Bustamante’s apparent belief that he can sit down in a room with a mediator and a few of the cooperative’s member-owners and negotiate permission to not abide by the cooperative’s bylaws, and that the rest of us would go along if, improbably, that came to pass.
Yes, there was a role for mediation. It would have been appropriate last January, when he might have been able to negotiate a set of bylaw changes he was more comfortable with. His choice not to do so is another of his bad decisions.
Barry G. Clark

Here’s my side of the story

This letter is in reference to the story regarding the Socorro Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees meeting in July, by T.S. Last (El Defensor Chieftain, July 31). I would like to address some of the many inaccuracies in his story.
I was identified in the story as a co-op employee. While that is true, I am also a member of the cooperative just like anyone else that was present at that meeting. The fact that I work for Socorro Electric is irrelevant. I have the same right to attend the meetings as any other member does.
As for my attendance at the reform group meeting in May of this year, I went so that I could be more informed on what the reform group stands for. My co-worker and I chose to attend the meeting of our own free will. It was obvious from the moment that we walked into the room we were not welcome there. The stares, glares and whispering were quite obvious.
Twice, we were called out by members of the reform group as employees, not members of the cooperative. Twice I had to correct them. I would have continued to attend more of the reform group meetings but, sadly, they haven’t been advertised since I attended for the first time. So much for wanting open meetings! I guess it only applies to co-op board meetings, doesn’t it?
My reason for recording the reform meeting was we wanted to have a record of what was said; just the same as those who attend the Cooperative board meetings wish to record video of what takes place there. I did report Mr. (James)  Padilla’s comment about “wanting to take a 2-by-4 to the side of their (trustees) heads” to my manager because I felt that it was a threat that should be taken seriously. If Mr. Padilla were to have acted on this threat, I would not have not been able to live with the fact that I had prior knowledge of his intentions.
At no time during the board meeting did I accuse Mr. (Charlie) Wagner of lying. However, I did accuse a member of the reform group of lying. He tried to accept responsibility for the comment made by Mr. Padilla.
As for Mr. Wagner, I did point out the fact that we were both present at the reform group meeting when James Padilla made the comment about assaulting board members. Mr. Wagner responded by saying he didn’t hear it. Funny thing is, he was standing next to Mr. Padilla when the comment was made. He obviously has selective hearing and memory loss.
In the future, I would like to ask that Mr. Last contact me before he makes statements or assumptions about my actions or words. He obviously knows who I am and where I work, so he is free to give me a call at any time. I am open to any questions he may have.
Maria G. Rivera

Viewing from a distance

I have been a member of the Socorro Electric Co-op for many years. I have always supported the actions of the board. I understand that the co-op is a private business, not a public entity. I find the thought of asking such an entity to follow the public meeting law completely inappropriate.
Mr. (Paul) Bustamante’s recent statement that most members of the Socorro Electric Cooperative’s board did not think that there would be defendants when they brought an action seeking a declaratory judgment either strains his credibility to the breaking point or shows a level of ineptitude heretofore unknown in the annals of the world of business.
Francis J. O’Reilly
New York City