Not a lot of hope in this week’s news

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By Ralph Damiani

Some Congressional candidates in New Mexico filed the required campaign financial reports. Some did not.

There are a lot of candidates in all three districts as all of the incumbents are running for Senate.

The campaign finance reports were filed with the Federal Election Commission.

In our 3rd District, the report is broken down by party.



• Don Wiviott had a cash balance of $299,466 in his campaign. The Santa Fe developer reported total receipts $345,839, including personal loans of $325,000. His campaign spent $46,374.

• Ben Ray Lujan had a campaign cash balance of $92,247. He had total receipts of $103,500, including a $50,000 personal loan. His campaign spent $11,253. Lujan is a member of the Public Regulation Commission.

• Harry Montoya had cash-on-hand of $4,557. He received contributions of $8,491 and his campaign spent $3,934. He is a Santa Fe County commissioner.

• Jon Adams, a lawyer, had a cash balance of $15,370 in his campaign. He reported total receipts of $11,591, including personal loans of $6,511. His campaign spent $10,240.

• No campaign finance reports were available from the FEC for 3rd District Republicans Marco Gonzales and Daniel East and Democrats Rudy Martin and Benny Shendo Jr.


Let’s keep up efforts


While it was good to see that Rep. Mimi Stewart’s educational funding bill died in the Senate, we must understand that the challenge to Los Alamos is not over.

The Bernalillo Democrat vowed to carry her bill across the state and get support to see that it passes next time. And we fear she will be successful.

Se, the only school district really hurt by this bill is Los Alamos.

So we have to start our own campaign to get some fairness here and to see to it that our school officials start keeping the records necessary to see to it that we are not hurt.

Just because we are successful is no reason to punish us. But tell that to most people in the state.

While they are out promoting the bill, we should be out educating people on the problems with this education bill.


MVD disgrace

The state Motor Vehicles Division, who created a huge problem when sent out notices suspending hundreds of driver's licenses in error, has decided it will let judges sort out the problem.

What a way to step up to the plate!

Alicia Ortiz, deputy director of the MVD, had said last month that the agency would notify drivers whose license suspensions were in error. But last week, she told the AP that the MVD had decided that instead, it would send spreadsheets to the judges so they could figure out which drivers have yet to satisfy the requirements of their sentences for traffic tickets.

"We thought it would be more beneficial if we generated a list of all of the drivers who would have had to appear in those courts ... and let the court then do the research and tell us whether or not we should suspend them," she said.

It is a perfect solution from government – you create a serious problem and then let someone else solve it.



Sad state of affairs

The John McCain saga this week – I hate to use the word story – highlights the sad state of affairs in our world.

Journalism has come a long way down – in large part due to such sloppy and lazy work as shown in the New York Times piece.

It is too easy today to smear someone – just make an accusation, have someone print it and there he or she goes down the drain.

Forget that there are no facts to back it up, no evidence to support it, just say it and that is enough.

While that is bad enough, for journalists to take part in this with unnamed, unidentified sources is even more shameful. Listen; if someone won’t stand behind what they say, then truly they are not worth listening to.

If someone does wrong – especially an elected official – they should be held accountable. But that accounting should be based on facts and evidence, not from rocks thrown at you from the dark or as you hide behind someone else.

It is no wonder our profession today is held in such low esteem.


Freedom worth defending 

There are many people who question why we are involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these questions are legitimate and deserve honest debate.

But one reason we are there is to support democracy and the rights of all people.

Anyone who does not think that given the chance any one will choose freedom does not understand human nature. People want to be free. Period.

Look at recent history. Despite the real threat of violence and the actual acts of violence, people in Iraq and Afghanistan turned out in the thousands to vote.

And they did so as well in Pakistan just this week. And this election was under the cloud of violence and the real threat of death.

Here, we so often tend to forget these realities as we vote in safety and security. But we must not forget that that safety and security was paid for with the lives of our fellow countrymen.

We must not forget that, nor the unique liberty we have.

And we should not just dismiss President Bush’s comments – as many do – that it is America’s role to promote freedom.

Another, more respected American, made a similar statement on Friday, January 20, 1961, that the United States must stand up for freedom.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty,” said John F. Kennedy.