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letters, opinions, editorials

re: road bonds

Does Rio Rancho have one of those memory flashy thingies from the movie Men in Black?  In this film, government agents used this device to erase the memories of people who witnessed aliens from space. It seems the mayor/deputy Bernalillo County manager and city council believe they do.

The issue is the “diversion” of money from the last road bond to the Paseo Gateway f/k/a Green2V site. The project was not supposed to cost us anything. The Journal article of August 21, 2010 cites our mayor/deputy Bernalillo County manager laying down the criteria of success for Paseo Gateway f/k/a Green2V. “As long as the city hasn’t spent any tax dollars on the project—which it hasn’t,” Swisstack said, “it will still be worthwhile if Green2V eventually moves ahead.“ Let’s see… No Green2V, so we do not have a successful project. The mayor/deputy Bernalillo county manager now pushes the button on the memory flashy thingy, and voilà!—no memory of the criteria for success. Now, we are to believe we need this land for other unnamed commercial ventures: $7.2 million in infrastructure that sits idle among other unused commercial properties diligently documented by the Journal. Let’s see… Now, the mayor/deputy Bernalillo county manager wants us to pass a road bond, including improvements to Idalia, to the tune of $1.4 million. Again they press the memory flashy thingy, and we are to just forget the promised improvements to Idalia. $1.4 million gets diverted…. Oh wait, the memory flashy thingy again. Public officials do not like the word “diverted;” instead, the public is to believe money is “reprogrammed” or “shifted” or whatever doesn’t sound so sinister. Then information about the city being the worst foreclosure city in New Mexico comes out and again with the memory flashy thingy.

Several attempts to ask why that money did not get spent on Idalia as promised by the bond resolution of December 31, 2008 go unanswered by the mayor/deputy Bernalillo county manager, city manager, and District 6 Councilor Kathy Colley. They claim the project is complete, but refuse to answer how much and where the money came from.

They want you to give them more money for road bonds? In recent town hall meetings, the mayor/deputy Bernalillo county manager sold us on a set of road bonds that were supposed to be focused on maintenance of EXISTING streets, not creating more streets that need to be maintained. But then the city has the memory flashy thingy. I am not saying to say “Never” to road bonds, just not more money to this group. Make them prove that they will not “divert,” reprogram, or shift again, and then we can discuss more money.

—Todd R. Hathorne


re: PNM rate hike

My name is Carmela, and I work for a nonprofit group called Prosperity Works that advocates for low income New Mexicans. Currently, I am one of only a handful of groups still fighting the proposed PNM rate increase. As background, in 2010, PNM asked for a $165 million rate increase, which would mean people’s bills would go up by about 23 percent. This is on top of the 25 percent bills have already increased since 2008. That’s a total increase of about 50 percent since 2008!

In February, the Attorney General and other big parties convinced PNM to drop the rate increase down to a mere $105 million (an $85 million rate increase and an additional $20 million is “riders”). Now, PNM is getting credit for being “reasonable.” But $105 million is still the largest rate increase in the history of the state.

A few groups, including Prosperity Works, are committed to proving that PNM is already making huge profits and that this rate hike is just a way to deliver big payouts to PNM shareholders at a cost to New Mexicans, 20 percent of whom are living at or below the poverty level. We can prove our allegations with documents. For example, I am attaching a document, which shows the top executives’ compensation at PNM. You will notice that each of them has doubled his/her compensation in the past TWO YEARS—that is—during the time New Mexicans have had their bills increased since 2008. The top PNM person makes over three million dollars! And we are all paying for it.

The rate case goes to the Public Regulatory Commission in early May, and between now and then, we need to get the word out, so New Mexicans can call their PRC commissioners and tell them NO RATE HIKE FOR PNM.

—Carmela Starace, Lead Counsel, Prosperity Works

     

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