letters to the editor; commentary
Thank you for your article under Corrales Para Los Caballos in the June 6 edition. However, I must take exception to something you said: “Nothing is being accomplished by current marches and looting….”
It’s irresponsible to lump together marchers and looters. It’s been pretty well established that in all the cities that had violence, it was white supremacists who came in to cause trouble. The marchers were overwhelmingly peaceful.
Marching is how the people let the government know how they feel in between elections. It stopped the Vietnam War. Marching is how women got the vote. There are too many successful marches to list. There is already nationwide talk of changes to policing as a result of the current marches.
I will march for causes I believe in as long as I am able to walk. I want my voice to be heard. Staying home doesn’t cut it. Peaceful marches are an important part of democracy.
On June 6, Steve Komadina wrote in “Corrales Para Los Caballos” wrote that “Nothing is being accomplished by current marches…”
I wish to point out what has been accomplished by the peaceful protests of the past two weeks:
• Minneapolis bans use of choke holds.
• Charges are upgraded against Officer Chauvin, and his accomplices are arrested and charged.
• Dallas adopts a “duty to intervene” rule that requires officers to stop other cops who are engaging in inappropriate use of force.
• New Jersey’s attorney general said the state will update its use-of-force guidelines for the first time in two decades.
• In Maryland, a bipartisan work group of state lawmakers announced a police reform work group.
• Los Angeles City Council introduces motion to reduce LAPD’s $1.8 billion operating budget.
• MBTA in Boston agrees to stop using public buses to transport police officers to protests.
• Police brutality captured on cameras leads to near-immediate suspensions and firings of officers in several cities (i.e., Buffalo, Ft. Lauderdale).
• Monuments celebrating confederates are removed in cities in Virginia, Alabama, and other states.
• Military forces begin to withdraw from D.C.
I as many of you have anger and immense frustration over the killing of George Floyd by a person who is sworn to protect us. However, it is equally frustrating to me that all law enforcement is being painted with the same brush as Officer Chauvin. A week ago, we had an election. I have heard over and over again since the election that people did not vote for Kevin Lucero because he is a Bernalillo County Deputy Sheriff. I have known Kevin Lucero for 15 years or so. He is my neighbor and like family to me. I can guarantee you that if he saw one of his fellow deputies doing what Chauvin did, he would have stepped in and stopped it.
Lucero has been a Village Councillor for over two years now and those that know him will tell you that he will go out of his way to help you. He is not only ready and willing to help his constituents but anyone in Corrales who calls and ask him for help. He has no ego, all he wanted to do was serve the people of State Senate District 9.
I have been told that progressives came out in great numbers to vote against him. What is a progressive anyway? When people ask me what I am, I say I am a Democrat but unclear to me at this moment whether that is what I will be in the future. I have worked hard for many years to elect Democrats around the state and in Sandoval County. I am currently a ward chair for the Sandoval County Democratic Party. My ward includes Corrales.
Today, I am questioning whether I want to continue serving in that role and working to elect Democrats. I do not like what took place Tuesday where a person was judged primarily because of his occupation. A person who has always supported candidates in the Democratic Party by knocking on doors, making phone calls and donating to their campaigns.
The last three paragraphs of my letter are from Sanya Sharma who is sharing an experience that happened to her and her husband, Morris White, and reflects who Kevin Lucero really is as a person and as a deputy sheriff.
“My husband and I were verbally attacked with racial slurs by two white men while walking our dog in Corrales. We were shocked. The last thing we expected on our daily walks through this beautiful village was to be almost run off the road by a pickup truck and met with such fierce hatred that we saw in the eyes of these individuals and then to have “Nigger, Nigger” shouted at us with such vehemence that we were truly scared for our safety.
“Being obviously shaken, upset and new to the neighborhood, we felt a little lost over what to do and who to turn to without the safety net of our longtime friends and family. We needed a friend and someone we could trust to understand, listen, and take us seriously first and foremost.
“The first we thought to call was our neighbor, friend and coincidentally Corrales Village Councillor and deputy at the BSCO, Kevin Lucero. Kevin listened to us. He shared our outrage, our anger, our sadness. He made sure we felt safe, secure, understood and accepted as his first response to our call and outreach. He personally went to talk to the Corrales Police Department to make sure they were aware of the incident.
“He made sure we knew how to properly report the incident and assured that the Corrales community would respond appropriately.
“Beyond that day and that incident, he has always gone above and beyond in making sure we feel safe, included and part of a community that cares. It is this caring response that made us grateful to live next door to Kevin and to call him our friend. He truly lives the values that he represents as councillor and protector and strives to treat everyone with respect, inclusion and, above all kindness.”
Boy, for someone that hates hate speech, Ennio Garcia-Miera's last letter was packed full of it. I appreciate the history lesson of his past, but whatever came to him before, he is living in the now.
His family may have helped mold him into what he is today, but it’s the person he is today that is judged good or bad. Ex-Councillor Garcia-Miera left his office before the end of his term and moved to Jemez without informing the governing body. What he accomplished in office, or didn’t, and how he will be judged is up to the voters in his district, and Corrales at large.
In my opinion, now is not the time to publish hateful, fear-mongering posts like Garcia-Miera’s. Threatening members of the Village, members of his own party, and gringos at large accomplishes nothing. If there is fear and hate in your speech, there is fear and hate in your heart, and we need neither.
I think it would be a great public service to see a well-organized article about COVID-19 re-openings, reservations, etc. in our Corrales community in the upcoming June 20 issue.
Corrales Village information including the library, Village Offices, senior center, and rec center, etc. is needed, of course. Then additionally listing what stores and restaurants are open and on what basis would be great. Lastly, even include Corrales church information would be much appreciated.
I know that San Ysidro Church now has four weekend masses, at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays and at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sundays. Attendance requires a mandatory reservation at 898-1779 by Thursdays at 5 p.m. Masks are required for all over three years of age.
I notice a long, disorganized many page “explanation” of the Health Security Act. I have several quick comments.
How can you expect to reduce the administrative costs from about 34 percent to less than 5 percent? (Average of 34+ percent nationwide). I have never seen a government program with low administrative costs, primarily due to all of the governmental regulations requiring reporting and justifying. Nothing is said about the over $50+ million annually in medical malpractice legal “winnings” which don't include legal fees.
During the Affordable Care Act discussions, it was mentioned that 30 percent of healthcare costs was for legal expenses. Nowhere has anyone discussed capping these costs like several other states have done.
Has anyone looked at their Medicare and Medicaid receipts as to how much compensation your doctor and hospital receives compared to what is billed? Has anyone looked at this new system from the doctor and hospital side without private insurance no longer being available to tap? Has anyone looked at the doctor population in New Mexico regarding age, income, time they remain in practice, expectations of income, etc.?
Last but not least, if you had a retail business, would you continue in business if the government came to you and said you can’t sell your shoes in your store for $30, you had to accept $10? With the same overhead, insurance risks, etc. I know what my answer is. With over 50 percent of New Mexicans being on public assistance, aren’t we just increasing an already untenable situation? Kinda like giving away that land for conservation in Corrales.... how much tax money do we give up for that? How long can we sustain giving something with nothing in return?
Oh, one more thing; once you give that affordable healthcare, try pulling it back or reducing it when you can no longer afford it. And how many residents (like me) move to another state?
By Mike Tarter
Former Corrales Police Chief
What is Community Policing?
That is the question, and the answers will determine what your community is made up of, and what your police department is made up of.
You first must identify who is in your community. The man who wrote the first book on this was Robert Trojanowicz, and he came up with six categories: the police, the business, citizens, the media, other government agencies and the elected officials.
I met Dr. Trojanowicz at a community policing conference and found out from him that the experiment in policing we did on the west side of Albuquerque helped contribute to his book. He used information from a grant that was awarded to APD in 1976 and ran until 1980. As a police officer it was the hardest job I have ever loved to do and did not realize it until it was disbanded. (That is another story, why that happened.)
I never thought I would be involved in something like that again until I retired and came out to Corrales.
In both experiences, the police did not trust the elected officials and the citizens, it was the same feeling for the citizens and the elected officials in trusting the police. It took several years to build that trust between everyone, but once it was done you could not stop the commitment to make your area of responsibility the safest, and get the quality of life that everyone wanted.
Once you have that commitment from all concerned, you start with small problems to give everyone the ability to succeed and see their successes as partners in solving community problems. (The how-to of problem solving is another story as well.)
Most problems do not involve using all six groups at once, and you set achievable goals. Most problems are not eliminated but can be greatly reduced whether it is a crime problem or a quality of life issue. I think the title of “community policing” was chosen because usually the first call you make is to the police. At the end of my Corrales and (SCCOPE) Sandoval Community Oriented Policing Effort experience (which also is another story) we in leadership positions renamed it “Results Organized Government,” because everyone wanted results and all government agencies from the New Mexico United States Attorneys Office down to state and county agencies were involved in one way or another when we needed to partner with other police or non-police government agencies to solve problems.
That being said, both police agencies I worked for had one thing in common: the personal contact with everyone in those six categories to find out what their issues were.
This has been true since policing was created in the 1800s until today.
The one key difference during that time period was the method used to make that contact, identify the problem and then get to work reducing it or stopping it. From the late 1970s in APD to the early 1990s in Corrales and now in 2020, the methods have been different but the results were the same. Technology has played a very big part in what community policing has been over the last 20 years.
When implementing community policing, my most successful method came from the Bible at James 1:9 “You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry”
When I started writing this guest commentary at the editor’s request, I was going to talk about each period of time I was involved with community policing, the people I worked with, friendships made in the communities, some of the projects, the grants and the awards.
Instead I think there is something more important to discuss. That is, what is community policing during a pandemic?
All of those gatherings we went to, such as Coffee with a Cop, DARE, Neighborhood Watch, Crime Prevention, Village Council meetings, and on and on, are gone for now.
Have you noticed wearing the mask has made you invisible? I go to the Post Office on a regular basis and almost always run into someone I know. Now we just walk by each other not knowing it, or too afraid to say “hi.” The first time I walked into a bank wearing the mask, my first thought was “I hope they do not think I am robbing them.”
We have become so protective of our six-foot distance. I have spent a life time watching people, and this pandemic is changing the way we act when coming into contact with people.
We have the NextDoor app, which the police, fire and Village government have been using and that has been helpful. Our small group Bible study has been using the Zoom app to meet with each other and our church is on every app to view the services and keep in touch.
At this point, I would ask all of you to think about this issue and see if we can come up with a way to stay informed on policing and quality of life issues. I like being the safest community and county in New Mexico and want to keep the contact going both ways.
It sure would be nice to have a meeting in person with everyone like in the past, but if that is not possible then let’s come up with ways to deal with this.
Let’s solve this problem like we have solved problems in the past. Crime may be down because of the virus, but our quality of life is not doing very good. You can send your ideas to me or better yet to the Corrales Police Department.
I served in the Marine Corps, and when we had a problem we were told to “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome!” We can become an example for other communities in finding a way to keep the doors open to our Village government regarding their needs and ours even if we cannot do so in person. When you see our Village employees, say “hello,” wave or give them a thumbs up. They are doing a difficult job during this shutdown.