Letters: Readers weigh in on issues of the day
Bail reform could save taxpayers money
I would like to respond to the article, "Senate passes bail bill, sends it to House."
Housing inmates is big business in this country. We have 5 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the the world's incarcerated. You'd think this would give us less crime. This is certainly not the way it has worked out and it costs a fortune.
If 39 percent of the jail inmates are nonviolent and not convicted, I would like to see an article telling us how much money would be saved by the county and state should the bill pass.
I don't know the average time spent before trail, but these people are losing jobs, their families are probably seeking state aid and some are innocent. More money charged to Joe Taxpayer.
Maybe the county would be sued less over the jail situation, if it were not overburdened.
As the state's revenue decreased, this seems as one very good way to control the budget. Once again, as there were no figures as to how much this is costing us, my guess is that this could be a huge savings for the county and the state.
Leaders are lacking when it comes to highways
Here it is the last stages of the term for the elected officials of the Shiprock Chapter and one wonders at the accomplishments for the community. There is an existing list of at least 100 projects that the chapter president has shared a few times and some that I will mention. The most obvious is the Bluff Road project that is said to be approved with a big dollar amount, which has been mentioned again and again, only to appease the people who use that road daily. This road gets graded once in a while, but it is only temporary; the potholes reappear after much traffic and after the winds blow the dirt out of the ever-existing potholes, or occasional rains wash the dirt away.
The BIA road department has denied responsibility, indicating the Navajo Transportation Department has assumed maintenance of the Bluff Road.
The BIA Division of Transportation has a Mission Statement which says; “To provide for and assist tribes in the development of their capacity to plan, construct and maintain safe and efficient transportation networks.” (http://www.bia.gov/WhoWeAre/BIA/OIS/Transportation/index.htm)
The Navajo Department of Transportation and the BIA Division of Transportation exist in name only, with people working there who have titles, and attend endless meetings to talk about fixing the roads. But, the problem is the talk does not produce any results, not any that will fix the Bluff Road nor the access road at the Indian Village which gets ignored and has never gotten bladed in many years.
Other responsibilities of the Navajo Transportation Department include the care and repair of the street lights in the town of Shiprock. There are lights lining Highways 64 & 191, roads going in all four directions. In the daytime hours, the street lights stand majestically and look like guards along the roads, but in the nighttime hours, those street lights fail to come on and they are useless. The highway roads have many dark places that are unsafe for cars and pedestrians.
My question(s) for the local Shiprock Chapter government and the Navajo Transportation Department, as well as for the BIA Division Transportation, are why do you allow such unsafe conditions of roads that are traveled by school buses and private citizens to exist continually? Do not all Navajo people matter?
Wilford R. Joe
Local representatives opposed ethics commission
In a year when state scandals have filled the headlines, the state House of Representatives actually managed to get a bill for an ethics commission onto the floor of the House. The final vote was 50 yea, 10 nay. How did our local representatives vote? Clahchischilliage was excused, one hopes for good reason, Montoya voted nay, as did Strickler. Those votes weren't for partisan reasons. HJR5 was sponsored by a Republican.
This is an election year, I present this information in the hopes that voters will question all three of the representatives on their vote. This commission has overwhelming public support from all sides, we deserve to know why our representatives oppose it.
Another chance to get rid of Ordinance 95
In January, the San Juan County Commission passed the Business Registration Ordinance, (Ordinance 95) so that every home business must get a work permit from the county before March 1st. We must list any “hazardous materials” on our property. Although “hazardous materials” is not defined, if we fail to list them all, it is a very serious crime. The Fire Marshal can then inspect our property to see if we are telling the truth and if our buildings are up to code. Then the Code Compliance Officer decides if our business can be permitted. This ordinance limits garage sales, yard sales and the selling of personal property such as vehicles. At a time when young men and women in this county are being laid off by the hundreds, Ordinance 95 is a bad idea.
When the County published the notice in the Daily Times on Dec. 7, they left out the part of the enforcement clause which says they can prevent you from going into your own building or land. They can withhold permits or inspections as appropriate. In fact, they gloated at the January meeting they hadn’t had many calls against it. Then they glorified all the selling points that this ordinance would make the community much “safer.” It sounds like a tremendous amount of police power to me.
Many citizens attended the commission meetings in order to express our opposition to Ordinance 95. Each time we brought up a concern we were told, “Don’t worry about it, it doesn’t even apply to you.” We have since found out it does apply to us; everyone who has a state tax number is affected. I believe the statements by county attorneys that “it didn’t apply to us” swayed the commissioners to vote this ordinance in. Now we hear some of the Commissioners didn’t even read the fine print before they voted.
You can read Ordinance 95 at sjcounty.net. Notice the penalty and enforcement clauses that were not published in the Daily Times. And if you value your freedom, come to the next meeting at the San Juan Commissioners Room in Aztec on Feb. 16 at 4 p.m.