Command Center News, TMS Letter to Gov., Algren Redux

By: Bill Whaley
14 October, 2011

Kit Carson Command Center

The myth and the reality

By Gene Sanchez, Town Councilor

Oh what a tangled web we weave,

 

When first we practice to deceive.–Sir Walter Scott

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011 I spent two hours with Mr. Art James, Sr. Account Manager representing the Motorola Company in New Mexico. First, we spent about an hour at the existing facility and later took a tour of the proposed Kit Carson Electric facility. Present at the towns center were Mr. Rick Anglada, Police Chief, Mr. Barry Holfelder, Detective, Ms. Shirley Lujan, Communications Superintendent, and myself, Gene Sanchez, Town Council Member.

Mr. James was very informative about the operations of an E-911 Center. He was able to provide me with answers to some of my concerns.

I asked him how his company came up with the $840,000 estimate that they furnished the State Department of Finance and Administration, regarding the relocation of the equipment from the present facility to the proposed building. He informed me that Motorola was the company that installed the E-911 equipment and maintains same for the Town. Therefore, his company was able to establish an approximate figure and included a contingency for the unknown. The company engineers have yet to visit the new facility.

We visited the new Kit Carson Electric building. The same group was present except for Ms. Shirley Lujan.

Moving, according to Mr. James, to a new location would be the equivalent to starting a new service. All present licenses will have to be reapplied for and reviews by the licensing agencies, both state and federal. Physical inspections of the proposed facility would also need to be evaluated. The task is expected to take several weeks for approval.

Also, he pointed out that the E-911 center cannot use any of Kit Carson’s equipment. According to Mr. Art Rios, head of the States’ E-911 program the town must use their own electrical backup generator and not Kit Carson’s. The new facility does have the equivalent of two backup generators to insure safety and redundancy.

In order to submit a new relocation budget, Motorola engineers will have to physically examine the new location to determine what the broadcast spread will be and what will be needed in the way of antennas. One consideration that could present a serious problem is that the site is approximately 160 feet lower than the present location. It is also in a flood plane.

You have heard the Mayor and Councilman Abeyta state that this move is not something that can happen overnight. They claim that the project has been years in the planning stage and that there have been several meetings and workshops with community involvement.

According to the record, Mr. Reyes initially approached the council with the concept at one meeting in February 2005. There were five meetings in 2006, which addressed issues of the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). But these documents were never formalized. There were two meetings in 2008, giving out general information but no details; two in 2009, again of no significance and three this year.

Rudy Abeyta’s reference to the many community workshops with as many as sixty community attendees present never happened, according to the record. There is only one workshop listed in the Town Minutes but it was of little significance.

Mr. Reyes stated that the entities planning to locate in the building had input into the design, which was reflected in the construction of this facility. He claims that the Command Center is a state of the art facility.

Since Mr. Reyes and his design team spent so much time analyzing the needs of the E-911 facility, one would assume that all the Town needs to do is pick up the equipment and relocate it into the new building. Wrong.

To begin with, none of the design considerations that Mr. Reyes should have received from E-911 were incorporated into the building. There will have to be a great amount of work to provide for the electrical needs for the existing equipment. In addition, are other deficiencies: acoustics are a problem as well as privacy barriers. The north and south walls of this building are glazed with standard plate glass. The sunlight from the south wall shines into the E-911 area and will have to be controlled. Glazing will have to be replaced with bulletproof glass.

Access does not accommodate the American with Disabilities Act. There is an elevator from the top to the bottom floor but it does not exit into a common area at the lower level. Does this mean that the Town will be the sole occupants of the lower level and will only have to pay rent on the now proposed reduced area of approximately 2400 square feet? Or will another tenant in the building compromise security at the E-911 area—a no, no? The current design does not take the configuration of consoles into consideration.

I was on the Town Council from 2004-2006. The first proposal made by Luis Reyes was on February 15, 2005. His presentation consisted of a general description of a command center that would consist of approximately 11,000 square feet to accommodate multiple agencies and entities. The program lists twenty-two potential entities such as the Town, County, BLM, Forest Service, State Police, Schools, US Game and Fish just to name a few. Since the first presentation there has been no additional data relating to the design of the building presented to the Town Government. The Town is the only entity committed to move to this building.

During Mr. Reyes’ presentations to the Council I have asked him to present us with an updated program for the building. He referred me to the 2005 document and told me that nothing had changed. What happened to the twenty-two entities that were supposed to participate in the building? What was built is not even close to what was presented.

The Council has received nothing from Mr. Reyes in the form of a serious proposal. When I was presented with the lease prepared by Mr. Reyes with input from our contract attorney firm of Robles and Rael out of Albuquerque, I thought the lease was a joke. Attached is the contract approved by the Council. Read it and believe it. Common sense did not prevail and when there was no justification for this move it was approved under the guise that it was for “Health, Safety and the Welfare.”

I challenge the Mayor and Council to schedule a community meeting on the matter and try to inform and enlighten the community on why this move makes sense.

Alleged Town–KCEC Contract on Command Center

Letter to the Governor

Hanna Skandera, Secretary of Education

New Mexico Public Education Department

Jerry Apodaca Education Building

300 Don Gaspar

 

Santa Fe, NM 87501

Dear Ms. Skandera,

My name is Lorraine Coca-Ruiz; I am an advocate for the children of my community.

I attended the Taos Municipal School board meeting when the board voted to approve the 2011-2012 fiscal year budget in June; my understanding was that PED had also approved that particular budget.

The Taos District employees signed an offer of employment contract August 8, 2011 that included 175 teaching days plus 7 non-teaching days for a total of 182 days.

On September 27, 2011, according to some employees, they were threatened and forced to sign a replacement contract that included a 4.5% reduction in pay with 175 teaching days plus 7 non-teaching days for a total of 182 to include up to 6 furlough days.

Before the employees signed the replacement contract, a 4.5% deduction from their payroll checks was instituted.

Teacher morale is a major issue at our school district. Low morale decreases engagement with colleagues and students, diminishes productivity, reduces student learning and breeds cynicism and fear. Being overworked and underpaid is a recipe for morale disaster.

The teachers will be facing gloomy holiday seasons this year because of the un-necessary cuts. Teachers are unhappy because their understanding of state policy was that the cuts wouldn’t hit the classrooms.

I receive phone calls on regular basis the following are comments from teachers:

“They keep telling us to tell them how we want to take our medicine.”

“Did you ever notice it’s always the lower paid staff and extras for the kids that get cut, and it seems like the Administration never really shares the pain?”

“My retirement is based on my best years, and now my best years will be in the past, you think your retirement will be based on your last years, but that’s not the case. “

“There are more furloughs coming. There will be more cuts, and it may even impact student days. “

“The superintendent gave a very unclear financial speech stating that he was going to continue paying the financial consultant whatever was necessary. The heck with the teachers he doesn’t care it’s not his community why would he care about our kids? “

“We teach we love our kids; we didn’t create the mess to pay us with a huge reduction and then to be threaten forcing us to sign a new contract because they know we need our jobs.”

“I was absolutely shocked by the new contracts, and so was virtually everyone else.”

“The political leaders that write to the governor asking that the PED doesn’t take over the financials don’t have a clue as to what goes on at the schools. They never attendant board meeting they simply want votes and so they write letters to help themselves.”

The following are comments that were written to me from a union representative

“The governor is a republican and Taos vote’s 85%-90% democrat, so she probably doesn’t care what we think, but she is one of the worst culprits there is. We need to call and write her along with our regional representatives

“I know that current legislation will bring the amount of Permanent Fund and Severance Tax Fund interest toward education down from 5.8% to 4.7%. How can that happen? Your beloved governor, Susana Martinez, campaigned on a promise not to cut education. Why hasn’t she put re-funding education on the agenda for the special legislative session? Will you turn your impressive fury towards her because of this betrayal? Why hasn’t she fired her Secretary of Ed Designate for the $37,000,000 accounting error that occurred because 3,500 New Mexico students were not put into the funding formula? But obviously that kind of negligence passes for due diligence in your circles.”

I am asking you to please step in and protect our teacher’s salaries and jobs. Thank you very much for your attention.

Sincerely,

Lorraine Coca-Ruiz

Children advocate

Cc: Governor Susana Martinez

Book Review

 

 

SOMEBODY IN BOOTS by Nelson Algren

“He knew a dim feeling as of daily loss and daily defeat; of having,

somehow, been tricked. A feeling of having been cheated…that was it. He felt that he had been cheated with every breath he had ever drawn; but he

did not know why, or by whom.”

These opening words aptly describe many young people today, not only in

the USA, but in Greece, UK, North Africa and elsewhere–young people who

cannot find jobs, who are increasingly disaffected from the world in which

they’ve grown up, and in which–at least in the USA–they were promised

Everything. They could have been written now.

But they were written in 1935 by the late, gritty Chicago-based Nelson

Algren. Though better known for “The Man With the Golden Arm,” the journey of a heroin addict, “SOMEBODY IN BOOTS” was his first novel, and the chronicling of a youthful disaffected drifter still resonates with great power.

In a 1963 new preface, Algren remarked that when he contemplated the

protagonist of “SOMEBODY IN BOOTS” who drifts from southwestern Texas to Chicago, to New Orleans, and points in every direction, he saw the face of Lee Harvey Oswald. If Algren were alive today, (he died in 1981) he might also include Timothy McVeigh.

SOMEBODY IN BOOTS is still in print, and if you want to get the feel of

the Great Depression, into which we are rapidly descending (again) read

this one. —Joanne Forman

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