Friday, February 6, 2009

Lower Rio Grande Mutual Domestics Discuss HB 185

The Lower Rio Grade Mutual Domestic Water Association held their regular board meeting this morning in Berino. Among the items discussed was HB 185, introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Joseph Cervantes, which would merge the five mutual domestics--Desert Sands, Vado, Berino, Mesquite, and La Mesa, into one regional authority.

There appears to have been some confusion about the exact provisions in the bill inasmuch as a substitute bill was introduced last week, replacing the original bill. But the substitute bill was not published by the legislature until yesterday, several days after some citizens had complained about the wording of the first bill, thinking it was the bill before the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee. The two bills were not identical, and the original one contained language that empowered the proposed authority more than the substitute bill.

The New Mexico Municipal League worked with the sponsors of the bill, and it's language was altered. As citizens in the South Mesilla Valley became aware of the language of the substitute bill, opposition to it appears to have declined. Only one person present at the meeting this morning, Ms. Natalicia Mercado, expressed reservations against the bill. She indicated she was frustrated by difficulties in finding out whether the existing mutual domestic was running in the red or in the black and expressed her concern that the same people running the mutuals would be running the new authority. Mr. Martin Lopez and Mr. Martin Nieto, who helped lobby for the bill, answered a number of questions, reiterating that the only major change in the legal status of the five mutual domestics would be the economies of scale realized by the merger and the ability to use revenue bonds for improvements to the system.

Mr. Mitch Boyer, of Vado, indicated he felt more could have been done by the association to solicit "buy-in for the bill" and suggested the board of the new entity might build in more oversight. Mr. Manny Garcia stated he felt many citizens "didn't know about 185."

If the bill clears the House of Representatives it will move to the Senate. Should it pass into law new governance regulations will be created, including provisions for citizen input.


Confused on La Politica? said...

Dr. Garcia need to get your facts straight, the entire community of Las Palmeras signed petitions on Saturady. Dr. Garcia needs to leave Las Cruces and see what is happening on the ground. Your reporting seems pretty bias have you interviewed the opposition to this bill?

Lost in Las Cruces said...

I just started reading your blog sir. Have you interviewed the citizens of these communities affected by bill 185, it seems that the people pushing this bill seem to have express only there side. When you read the details of the bill and then read the articles on this blog these people seem to contradict their own bill. Why is that? Dr. Garcia we need to hear both sides to this. I feel this will allow your readers to form a fair opinion of the situation.Your blog is feeling pretty one sided.

Shame on you Dr. Garcia said...

Dr. Garcia, since you seem to be the expert in our valley, have you left your home in Las Cruces to see what grassroot effort is on the ground opposing Hb 185? Have you done any interviews with the opposition? Your articles seem to only have one side of a very complicated story. Where is your objectivity? Are you in support of Hb 185? What is your intrest in only reporting one side of the story? I will no longer read this blog and I will advise my coworkers to do the same

Anonymous said...

Your blog is extremely bias. I have not met one person who understands or supports this bill. The only people who do support it are on the various boards. Come down to the valley and talk with ALL the people who are against it as well as for it. This bill was not presented to the public in many of these districts. This bill has been pushed through in secret. Even one county commissioner kept it secret from the other commissioners. Isn't it a conflict of interest when that same county commissioner will also be the engineer for this authority? Is that right? If this bill is going to help hundreds of people like the supporters say then why has it been kept so quiet? There is a lot being hidden from the public that should be investigated by the State of New Mexico as well as the federal government.

Jose Z. Garcia said...

I have been able to find no one to interview who is opposed to this bill, except for Natalia Mercado, and I reported her comments about it fully in this blog. Mr. Mitch Boyer and Mr. Manny Garcia wanted more oversight but did not speak against the bill itself. The meeting on Friday was posted and open to the public, and those who now write anonymous notes criticizing me could have been there to criticize it. If there is opposition to the bill I would welcome knowing where it is coming from, and what are the objections to it.

I am in possession of a voice mail from Victor Montoya to Rep. Joseph Cervantes, criticizing the bill, but I decided not to make this available to the public because I felt it reflected a misunderstanding caused by the confusion of the original bill and the substitute bill, and because some of the language in the voice mail seemed unnecessarily personal and inappropriate.

teampurochile said...

I believe HB 185 is a good bill for all the communities involved. I have read it and followed the progress that the boards of Mesquite, Vado, Desert Sands, Berino and La Mesa mutual water domestics have done in the last few years. It is amazing that these communities have come together, knowing the turbulent history and difficulty in having these communities work together. This is great that they have taken the lead in bringing folks together to help grow these communities. I look forward to the opportunity to be more involved in that process.

I believe that it is not good for us to attack the messenger. Asking co workers to not read this blog and to stay uninformed isn’t good for anyone to ask. We at least have somewhere to go online and check to see what is going on. Tell all your friends, co workers and family to read it. We at least have someone taking time who is trying to clue us in. That’s good for all of us. It’s not easy trying to bring folks together. If there is opposition to the bill, outline your arguments and put your name to it, organize those folks to come to the table. Demonstrate through action to articulate and voice your concern, or the peoples concern, who oppose this effort. From what I read in the Sun News and on this blog and from folks in and around these communities that I have spoken to, there isn’t much opposition.

I’ve learned that there are people who watch things happen, people who make things happen and people who don’t know what’s happening. We should all ask ourselves, which one do I want to be?

Arturo Uribe

Karen Perez said...

As the County Commissioner referenced in the comments below, I feel I must clarify one of the statements: this was not a secret from the County Commission. Over a year ago, the County Commission approved a CDBG grant to the Lower Grande for this project. If the other four Commissioners passed the grant (I abstained) without knowing about the project, I would be really surprised. Please check your facts.

Karen Perez
County Commissioner District 3

Anonymous said...

I have recently spoken with two of the county commissioners and neither had heard of this bill at all. So someone is lying.

Jose Z. Garcia said...

I received this letter from Martin Lopez this evening, and decided it belonged in the comments section. jzg

Dr. Garcia,
In response to the latest anonymous statement, I wanted to provide you with information pertaining to HUD CDBG funds for the regionalization (merger of the systems). We have secured over $2.1 million from the state, thanks to Representatives Cervantes and Mary Helen Garcia; Senators Nava and Papen, Colonias Initiative Funds, thanks to the Governor, and CDBG funds, thanks to the County Commissioners and New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration (DFA).
A little history: projects are presented to the Commissioners and they select and submitted to DFA. Attached is the letter which is part of the application to DFA from DAC. The project was selected on December 12, 2007 by the Commission and the application was submitted to DFA shortly after. DFA selected the project in April 2008 and we have been working on the project since then. I was not able to locate the minutes from the meeting, but I believe the project was motion by Commissioner Saldana-Caviness, Seconded by Commissioner McCamley. It passed 3-1-1 (Saldana-Caviness, McCamley and Evans in favor; Butler opposed, and Perez abstained).

Additionally, the Award Notification sent to Commissioner Evans (we got an advanced copy unsigned by Sam Ojinaga, but the original is with Nora Oliver at the DAC grant administration department) and finally, the legal publication required by the project signed by Commissioner Chair Leticia Duarte-Benavidez.
So in short 4 of the current Commissioners knew about the project and the regionalization. Perhaps the Commissioners did not realize the regionalization (creation of the Authority) was in conjunction with the project, but since 2007 we have been inviting the present Commissioners (Butler, Saldana-Caviness and Perez) to our meetings and functions along with all of the Dona Ana Legislators.

Hope this helps with clarification.
Thank you,
Martin G. Lopez, General Manager

Un Norteno said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Reason said...

Do not do unto others as you would expect they should do unto you.

Luke 10:25-28 said...

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
Luke 10:25-28

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

My name is Orlando-Antonio Jimenez. I am a community leader in La Mesa, New Mexico and former member of the board of directors of the La Mesa Mutual Domestic Water Association. As difficult and time consuming as it is going to be in order to become part of the Lower Rio Grande group, I believe in the long run it is going to be extremely beneficial.

Santa Fe is rumored to be "sick and tired" of every single mutual domestic water association going up there with their concerns and needs. Martin Lopez and his board are extremely competent people. I, for one, trust this board explicitly. I understand that it's Santa Fe's job to listen to our concerns, but we must get over that and realize that just because it's their job, they're not gonna' stop complaining about time consumption during the legislative session. So, we must take a more pro-active position. We can sit and gripe and complain that nobody informed us, but that just not tje truth overall. We must stand behind this group in order for our concerns to be taken seriously and taken care of in a more expeditious manner.

Let's all get on board and work for the common good. The more we fight each other with ignorance, the more Santa Fe is going to continue looking at the South like a bunch of complainers.

I do respect all points of view on this issue, but not when we are arguing just for the sake of arguing. There is no room for "devil's advocates" this late in the game.

~Proverbs 12:22 said...

Lying lips are abomination to the Lord. ~Proverbs 12:22

Ephesians 4:29;31 said...

Ephesians 4:29;31
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers... Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.