LOCAL NEWS

Public Comment & Tied Loose Ends

By Kathleen Sloan

HERALD Reporter

The following are public comments made at the Truth or Consequences city commission’s regular meeting, held Tuesday, April 10, followed by a few answered questions brought up in previous public comments.

•Audon Trujillo, for about the fourth time, wanted to know what the disposition is of the pool cover.

About three months ago, the city disengaged themselves from their contract with Arizon, which had been hired to cover the pool. It was found they do not have a New Mexico contractor’s license and the state’s Construction Industries Division would not permit the pool cover construction by that firm.

Arizon has been paid $78,000.

City Attorney Jay Rubin, a few months ago, said the city is hoping for a good outcome.

Trujillo asked if the $78,000 had been regained.

No response was given.

The city said they would advertise a second Request for Proposals a few months ago, but has not done so at this time.

•Trujillo said the pool cover and the refusal of the golf pro/golf course management RFP (see related article located elsewhere in this edition) were examples of badly written RFPs. He said, “You’ve got a huge procurement problem.” He said someone besides City Manager Juan Fuentes and Procurement Officer Pat Wood should be writing them.

•Trujillo asked that the comprehensive plan scope of work document be put on the city’s web site so the public can participate using that medium.

•Hans Townsend said the New Mexico Spaceport Welcome Center, if placed near Interstate 25’s Exit 79, will attract new businesses there and cause downtown to atrophy. He said he saw it happen in Tucumcari, which is 50 percent “boarded up” and half the population because restaurants and truck stops. He said petitions are circulating for people to sign who are interested in opposing this location. He said he had written a letter to commissioners and was supposed to be on the agenda, but was taken off at the last minute.

Commissioner Steve Green confirmed he didn’t have Townsend’s letter in his packet.

•Ron Fenn said three city commissioners, two Planning & Zoning commissioners and other city leaders are violators of the sign code. He said Building Inspector Charlie Friberg, through inaction in enforcing the sign code or actively and unlawfully allowing infractions, had broken the law repeatedly.

Friberg has presented a new sign code ordinance to P&Z commissioners.

Fenn said a lawbreaker should not be writing code and the new code is geared to make city leader violators legitimate.

“What does this say to members of the community about our leadership?” asked Fenn.

He suggested Friberg and Code Enforcer Ray Chavez be fired and replaced by those who will enforce the existing laws.

•Gerald Trumbull said he bought a house in city limits that is not hooked up to city sewer and has no workable septic system. He was told he is responsible for constructing a sewer line to the city’s, which spans 240 feet. He quoted Ex-Mayor Jim Rainey in 2007 meeting minutes.

Rainey stated he thought it was in the city’s charter to provide sewer lines to private property lines.

The cost estimate from the city to hook in to the sewer is $13,000, said Trumbull.

He has requested a copy of the city’s charter from the Secretary of State’s office. The city does not have a copy, he said.

•A few months ago, Ron Fenn asked if the city was charging Walmart for trash pickup.

City Manager Fuentes, about two weeks ago, told The Herald that the city does not charge or pick up Walmart trash because it cannot provide the dumpster size they need. He said the city intends to do nothing about the situation, although the city’s trash ordinance says trash pick-up service is mandatory.

•City Manager Fuentes, asked how City Attorney Jay Rubin could be taken off the two Deborah Toomey vs. City Inspection of Public Records Act cases, directed The Herald to New Mexico Municipal League’s Ed Zindel.

Zindel said the city didn’t take Rubin off the case and hire Brennan & Sullivan of Santa Fe; the NMML did.

The NMML administers the city’s “Self-Insurers Fund,” and it was that insurance company that hired the law firm. The city’s ordinance states the city attorney will handle all cases.

Discussion

One thought on “Public Comment & Tied Loose Ends

  1. It would appear that the arbitrary application of a policy of prior restraint of freedom of speech as applied by Mayor John Mulcahy on April 10, 2012, along with discriminatory enforcement of time limitations upon local citizens seeking to express themselves, has ultimately prompted further action by the American Civlil Liberties Union of New Mexico.

    Just as in December of 2009, when prior recommendations by City Attorney Jaime F. Rubin resulted in the illegal and capricious denial of the civil rights of multiple citizens during the public comment section of city commission meetings, recent admonitions by Mr. Mulcahy would appear to have reignited interest by the nation’s foremost watchdog agency.

    Set for the agenda of the Tuesday, April 24th meeting, is a vote to remove certain requirements from city policy regarding the content of public comments made during city commission meetings. Hopefully, after the fourth attempt to control the free speech of the public in as many years, both newly-elected Mayor Mulcahy and veteran City Attorney Rubin, will accept the fact that such devious and manipulative excesses are beyond the scope of legality… even in the State of New Mexico.

    Posted by Durable Brad | April 22, 2012, 8:19 am

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