Letter to the Editor (05/02/2012)

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Keep areas wild
Editor:
Each December, for my birthday, my husband and I make the journey to the Bosque del Apache and the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuges. When our daughter was a child, she’d accompany us — and the experience helped shape her love, care and respect for all life. This area is absolutely remarkable for studying wildlife, water, trees and plants — plus it is completely accessible for those who are handicapped, or elderly or very young. As a US citizen and an Audubon member, I am appalled that the Wilderness Study Areas in this vicinity would be eliminated — “developed”. This would utterly destroy this unique place.
Americans and people the world over need more places like the Bosque del Apache and the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuges, not fewer. Protecting our watersheds and our lands ensures the health and welfare of all. The Wilderness Study Areas of the Middle Rio Grande Valley offer all of us the great beauty that comes when we humans consider the seventh generation, always considering those who will come after us. What kind of world will leave our great-great grandchildren? One with the same diversity we experienced or one of parking lots, gravel mines and housing developments? (All of which will decimate the air quality, water, and land, as well as the rich wildlife and plants.)
Visitors to the Bosque and Sevilleta areas bring in tens of millions of dollars each year to the local counties of Socorro, Bernalillo and Sierra. Let’s do everything we can to protect these places, for the health and welfare of ourselves and for all of the generations to come.
Bobbe Besold
Santa Fe, NM

Youth contest rigged
Editor:
I find it reprehensible that the (Socorro Electric) Coop would participate in a youth essay competition rigged to select winners who are relatives of SEC officials or trustees. The recent Government in Action Youth Tour 2012 winners might have been fairly judged and selected, but inquiries have been brought to my attention.
I feel these questions must be addressed publicly and with a thorough investigation in order to allay feelings of mistrust in the community.
1.) The winners from Magdalena and Socorro high schools are relatives of Eileen LaTasa and former trustee Harold Baca, respectively — LaTasa’s grandson and Baca’s granddaughter. Relatives of children not chosen have come forward to question the fairness of the process or lack of inclusion in the competition.
2.) Mrs. LaTasa is known to be the chaperon accompanying the students on their excursion to Washington, D.C. Mrs. LaTasa’s husband is said to be also traveling with the group at SEC expense.
This is being questioned and I find it questionable, too.
These issues raise the spectre of manipulation in a seemingly noble educational cause. The coop’s recent history does not lend itself to implicit trust from the community. Parents must know their children will not be treated as less than equals when coop officers or trustees award scholastic prizes. The coop must not be viewed as a corrupt sponsor for junkets given to insiders or conspirators in unfair contests arranged for predetermined outcomes at members’ expense.
In addition to an investigation by neutral parties, preferably education professionals, I recommend the chaperons be selected from the ranks of teachers at the participating schools. That would be more educationally beneficial than sending Mrs. LaTasa and her husband.
Avoiding the appearance of a scandal is not enough. We must avoid scandalous actions in spirit and behavior as well. This coop must learn to be above reproach.
Students and their parents and families deserve better. The lessons being observed here are extremely harmful to growing young people. They deserve to become hopeful, optimistic adults; not cynical, distrusting politicians.
Herbert Myers
Socorro
Look into Co-op business
Editor:
Your April 28 article on Socorro Electric Co-op’s recent board meeting provided a piece of evidence that all is not well internally with this business. General managerJoseph Herrera reported that “there were 13 new connects compared to 99 cancellations during the month of March.” Trustee Donald Wolberg added: “This is troubling, the number of disconnects have far outweighed the number of new connects for the past year.”
At the very least, the Chieftain should follow up on Mr. Wolberg’s assertion and investigate and report the number of new connects and disconnects for each month since January 2011. It does not take an advanced degree in economics to note that a long term continuation of this “troubling” trend bodes ill for the membership; first on the list of remedies by the current board will be an across the board increase in all basic service fees. Should we, as the owners, demand similar decreases in employee benefits and employee numbers in exchange for these future increases? The first item on the agenda, however, is to elect five new members to the Board, five who will be more interested in serving others than in serving their own financial interests.
Tom Kimball
Veguita

Family Fun Fest big success
Editor:
On behalf the entire CYFD Protective Services Staff I would like to thank everyone who participated and/or donated items to help make this year’s 13th Annual Family Fun Fest a success. Everyone did great, and I look forward to seeing everyone at our 14th Annual Family Fun Fest next year. Thanks again for all that you do to make Fun Fest a great event. We could not do it without all of you.
Patricia Zamora
Socorro