The city Water Division needs more than a public relations firm (“City holds off on PR contract for embattled Water Division,” Jan. 28). No amount of PR is going to paper over the obvious incompetence there. The Water Division needs to get its act together and at least start sending accurate bills out on time. This proposed contract looks like pork for Santa Fe-based PK Public Relations.
Spending that money on extra personnel to get the mess cleaned up instead would go a long way to appeasing a pubic that’s practically up in arms at present. If something needs to be “explained” to us dunces, stick a notice in the water bill and maybe run a press release in the newspaper — that won’t cost $235,000. We already have sky-high water rates and low per-capita consumption. Give us a break. I lived in Española, one of our more dysfunctional towns, but employees there could run a water company and get a bill out on time.
What? Daniel J. Chacón told us the city Water Division plans to ask the City Council to approve a four-year, $235,000 contract with a Santa Fe-based public relations firm (“City holds off on PR contract for embattled Water Division,” Jan. 28). In other words, the city Water Division — for whose activities we pay — wants to ask the City Council — for whose activities we pay — to allocate more funds — for which we pay — to hire someone on an ongoing basis to help convince us that everything we know is wrong. Did I miss something?
Albo P. Fossa
It appears the city Water Division is planning to hire a public relations firm for $235,000 so that it can “educate” the users (“City holds off on PR contract for embattled Water Division,” Jan. 28). Or perhaps more accurately to use the funds and publicity to justify the Water Division’s never-ending bad decisions, excessively high rates and lack of service.
I have managed public water companies before, and with very little effort the Water Division could reduce its staff by one-third, double its service, start following the law, and provide for water rate reductions. However, given a council and mayor who cannot even balance a budget or account for millions in missing funds, why would we expect good management to trickle down to the Water Division?
Circumventing open government
On the agenda for Monday (Feb. 8) for the House Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee was House Bill 336 — Public Peace, Health, Safety and Welfare. The league [of Women Voters in New Mexico] and other good government groups know that title shows that HB 336 is a placeholder or dummy bill with no content. During every session dummy bills are filed prior to the filing deadline so bills can be substituted later.
It’s time to stop this ridiculous practice that circumvents the legislative process and is a clear violation of the intent, if not actual content, of the Open Meetings Act. The league realizes it might be necessary to file a bill after the filing deadline, but that should be an open procedure approved by a majority vote of the relevant body. The public should be informed of the content of the proposed legislation in advance of any hearing.
Dr. Meredith R. Machen
president, League of Women Voters of New Mexico
Unfair to consumers
As the New Mexico House of Representatives considers House Bill 140, we must ask “is a company’s bottom line more important than consumer fairness?” This bill and Senate Bill 213 place the burden of expanding natural gas on existing natural gas customers by increasing their bills. This legislation doesn’t serve New Mexicans. It serves the natural gas utilities by saddling customers with the cost of clearing, grading, and trenching gas lines — $1 million per mile. Are the investments promised by natural gas companies dependent on this legislation passing? These companies should start investments like every other business in the state operating without an unfair subsidy.
The Legislature shouldn’t allow natural gas utilities to use their existing monopoly power over customers to finance uneconomic natural gas service. This practice is unfair to existing natural gas customers and every supplier of energy, propane, electricity and fuel oil in the state.
owner, Rio Grande Propane
More information, please
Before we jump to conclusions about the Chamber of Commerce report (“Chamber study says Santa Fe’s workforce is bloated,” Feb. 3), let’s dig a little deeper. Mr. Simon Brackley, chamber president and CEO, says, “If you compare those cities, not everywhere has an airport and a convention center and a golf course … .” So you can’t use those cities for comparison then; you’re comparing apples and oranges. Santa Fe offers such services, so let’s compare our city with those that do unless we’re prepared to eliminate the convention center, airport, senior centers and libraries.
Santa Fe has an older demographic, too. What’s the median age for those other cities in the report? Perhaps the report is suggesting facilities such as the convention center and airport don’t bring in the revenue to support the number of staff assigned there. Libraries, parks and senior centers are not enterprise operations, so they need to be subsidized. Perhaps more information is needed.