Taos Readers Comment on Budgets and Trash

By: Bill Whaley
16 June, 2011

Below we post comments from readers and activists. As many of you know, the billions of dollars in the LANL pipeline makes no sense—either in terms of security or in terms of investment. Greg Mello comments on the current irony—House Republicans are holding up the funding cycle while alleged Demos, Obama, Udall, Lujan, push war profiteering and environmental injustice in El Norte.

Lorraine Coca-Ruiz comments on the TMS budget. We’d like to know where the Union and The Taos News are. Former board members were criticized for asking rude questions. But shouldn’t someone investigate the current budget and ask why teachers were laid off but not administrators? Why is the school budget a “Top Secret” document or is TMS an extension of NNSA? Why do the current board and Superintendent treat the public with such contempt?

Native Taosena Judi Cantu writes below about the simplest way to improve the quality of life in Taos: Pick up the trash.

The schools, local government, and local public-private partnerships should use this economic down time as an opportunity to reboot the transparency of the process. Then we shall be able to see the natural wonders, the cultural beauty—not to mention the shiny bright faces of children with teachers in the classroom.

Think about those great kids from Rwanda and what joy they experienced and how well received they were in the community.

From the Los Alamos Study Group

(Apparently, the House Republicans are holding up funding levels on any NNSA programs and projects in any CR, including the proposed new facility at LANL (called the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility or CMRR-NF).

Study Group Director Greg Mello (says), “While not yet law, the endorsement of this deep cut and the associated delay of at least one year in the project by the powerful House Appropriations Committee is yet another indication that Congress doubts the wisdom of proceeding with this project at this time.

“NNSA should analyze the readily-apparent alternatives to this wasteful, unnecessary, and destructive project, which we believe will harm national security, our environment, and the federal fisc. We need to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy infrastructure and jobs, not wildly wasteful new nuclear bomb projects. NNSA must try to understand that the Cold War is over.”

Chicken Little is not coming home to roost

By Lorraine Coca-Ruiz

Those hoping for complete clarity when they get a first look at the TMS School District’s proposed final budget will likely be disappointed. The pink slips were distributed without a budget.. Real cuts can be made only when there are real numbers. The apparent victims of the financial ax must live in limbo.

Superintendent Rod Weston will present the budget to the board on Friday, June 17, 2011 and will recommend approval of a budget that the board has not seen. To vote on a budget that has not been made public is ludicrous; it’s like polishing the glass on the Titanic — pretty pointless when everything is going down.

Every thing should be on the table.

The board is in charge of budget. Board members should go through the budget line by line to reconcile the fit of employees and positions into the district’s plans. I understand that newly created positions that were not advertised are included in the budget, for example:

The Vice-Principal at the high school now has a half-time secretary and there’s a half-time lunch room cashier at an elementary school.

The counselors at the High School now have an administrative assistant.

No salary cuts are in the budget for the CRAB hall employees.

The board needs to make sure the public is educated on the cuts and how the impact will affect children.

The budget has a lot of fat at the administration offices, the low-hanging fat you burn off the first week of the diet. No board member, teacher or any other employee in the district should agree to pay cuts until the district cuts the fat first!

Parents need to wake up and start attending board meetings. Let the board and the superintendent know that student needs should come before the needs of management and their friends. The students bring in the money and management lines their pockets. This district has already cut custodians who clean our children’s classrooms. They’ve cut people who work in the classrooms, yet they hang on to managers.

Give a few independent educators, journalists and accountants access to the district budget and we could cut 1.8 million without eliminating one cent actually spent on education. I am not talking about cutting jobs, but rather decreasing salary, including the superintendent’s salary, and those huge stipends that are given to friends and relative.

The public needs to know who decided on what cuts to make. Who was the budget committee? Were community members involved? Was it the superintendent and administrators who made the decisions?

If the board expresses their concerns on the budget this Friday afternoon at 1:30 pm, this meeting could actually be very interesting. Board members are dealing with taxpayer dollars. If the cuts are only made in the classroom, the Public Education Department will send the budget back for an overhaul. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

The previous board frequently engaged in “the sky-is-falling scenario.” But the idea was not embraced. Now, the folks at PED say Chicken Little is not coming home to roost.

I’ll be watching.

Respect Taos and clean up after yourselves

By Judi Cantu

I Love Taos. I was born and raised here and plan on being here until I take my last breath. Taos is Beautiful and Northern New Mexico is such an exquisite place and we should all be Honored to live here. I like to go for walks but my walks now have turned into walks to pick up other peoples garbage. Nasty dirty people and they happen to be many of you. Hey what is so hard about putting your garbage in a trashcan? What’s more, what are you teaching your kids about honor and respect? Man just let a celebrity say that our state is a dump and filthy and everyone gets all bent out of shape. Well, have you opened your eyes and taken a look around? Hey, wake up and smell the coffee litterbugs. The trash isn’t going to pick itself up and no one seems to be interested in picking up trash either.

I went for a ride down the Canyon a couple of weeks ago and stopped at one of the rest areas to enjoy the view and listen to the river. Man was I disgusted by what I saw down in the sagebrush. A literal dump and down farther, closer to the river was even more trash. How embarrassing to ourselves and visitors. Apparently the County who provides the dumpsters turns a blind eye because it’s not their job to clean up trash.

Well, its everyone’s problem, are you part of the problem or part of the solution? You need to be part of the solution. God doesn’t make trash. Humans create trash and shame on all you litterbugs.

I drove down the canyon headed through Espanola and up through Truchas and Trash, trash, and more trash. I felt so bad at the bitter ugliness of people. All the way through Trampas, Ojo Sarco, Penasco, Vadito, US Hill, and back home was trash. Unbelievable!!! Do the people of Taos and Northern New Mexico have any pride? Even in Town and all over the outskirts there is so much trash.

People have some respect, show some pride! Teach your kids to have pride. Save the garbage in your car until you get home or to the gas station or a garbage can; trash cans are everywhere. It’s horrible to see a bag of Sonic food or McDonalds or anything else just thrown out fresh in the middle of a community

You, nature boys that like to go cut wood, you need to show some respect as well. Nature is providing you with wood and a way to make a living as you strip the Monte of wood. Take your beer cans or bottles home with you as well. I am not the only one who sees the small dumps you leave out in the mountains or Carson or Hondo, San Cristobal or wherever. You need to respect nature more than others because it provides for you. Remember this and grow a conscience Ese!

I went for a walk to the High School today and ended up picking up 3 bags of trash and several boxes which if I had taken 10 bags with me, I would have filled them all. Some of you people who watch the football games from the road there on Gusdorf are disgusting!! There was so much trash there next to the fence that never gets picked up so maybe you shouldn’t go support the Tigers as many of you are pigs and hypocrites as you leave behind your trash; support the Tigers and leave behind all your disrespect along with your garbage in support of Taosenos. Yeah, I said it.

So, Everyone, look in the Mirror, the change can only come from that person who is looking back at you. Stop being so de-sensitized by the world and help take care of our small piece. Why would we want to trash our Beautiful community? Tengan Respecto, Por Favor! Have some respect Please. Next time you go for a walk, take some trash bags with you and see for yourself.

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