Letters to the editor (04/17/14)
The informed cynic
Several years ago I set up a website, www.informedcynic.com, dealing with issues affecting the citizens of Socorro County and the surrounding area. I also began filming the meetings of the Socorro Electric Cooperative in an attempt to present a unbiased record of events to the membership. News archives, commentary, the meeting videos, etc. are all posted on the website.
On Jan. 23, 2014, I began my first attempt at an Inspection of Public Records Act request with a letter to Mr. Joseph Herrera, SEC general manager, soliciting documents relating to fees paid to SEC attorneys from 2010 through 2013 and all contracts between the SEC and those attorneys. On Feb. 26, 2014, I picked up a packet of documents for which I was charged $1 per page for a total of $344. On examination, I discovered that the file of documents was incomplete with entire years missing and gaps within years furnished. Invoices were heavily redacted. Only one attorney contract was included. I detailed the lack of compliance in another letter to Mr. Herrera dated March 31, 2014. That letter has not been answered.
The received information, though incomplete, is very interesting and it is important that those facts and figures be made known to SEC members. If additional records are received, they will be added to existing data posted on the website.
The records from Dennis Francish are complete and his contract is included. $113, 818.06 was billed to the SEC from 2010 through 2012.
• Kennedy & Han: Only seven months of billing supplied, February 2012 – September 2012 in the amount of $53,534.11 although the firm was hired in June 2010 for the case in which the SEC sued the members. No contracts supplied.
• Foster & Moss: September 2012 to October 2013 billings $11,605.69. No contracts or other documents.
• Wiggins, Williams & Wiggins: At least $209,616.29 billed from 2010 to 2013 as there are gaps in years 2010 and 2011. One of the most intriguing items billed by the Wiggins firm deals with the “investigation” by Ira Bolnick. This action was taken against Trustee Wagner and authorized by the SEC Board of Trustees upon the recommendation of Attorney Lorna Wiggins. Part one of the “investigation,” which cost the SEC $11,789.61, is posted. Part two of the report has been kept from the members. Ms. Wiggins hired and paid Mr. Bolnick and then billed the SEC for that amount. The second item lists Cordova Public Relations to which the Wiggins firm paid $25,094.61 from July 2013 to December 2013 and billed back to the SEC. There is no indication as to why the PR firm was engaged. No contracts pertaining to the Wiggins firm, Mr. Bolnick or Cordova Public Relations provided. The total derived from these incomplete records is $388,574.15 for the three years, 2010 to 2013. The actual total is higher but unknown due to the noncompliance of the SEC general manager.
Memories of the Loma Theater
I was 16 years old. My dad, mother, sisters and brother were in the theater when (the fire) happened. When I saw the article you printed (about the Loma Theater), I told my son, “See, I told you ‘The Day the World Ended’ was playing” (when the theater burned down).
Back then, my sisters and my brother would go to the Saturday matinees to see Roy Rodgers and Gene Audrey. There was a young man who took tickets at the door — Albert Zimmerly. (He) was a very nice guy. Sometimes, we would not have enough money for the show. So we would ask him “can we go to the bathroom?” and we’d sneak into the movies.
(Back then) movies were 14 cents. Popcorn and cokes were 10 cents and candy was 5 cents. On the week before Christmas, we would get in for free — free popcorn, candy, nuts, an orange, an apple.
Years later, he (told) me he felt sorry for the kids who couldn’t afford to go in. We thought we were putting something on him, but he knew what we were up to. He owned a hardware store for many years where teenagers would gather after school to play the record player. He would call us the “Lipesticathas” — in English, lipstick girls. He remembered when (at the movies) we would go into the bathroom and come out wearing lipstick. Our fathers wouldn’t let us wear lipstick when we were teenagers.
That was years and years ago. I’m 74 now, but still remember all the good memories!