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Las Vegas Optic Newspaper Archives Sep 2 2015, Page 4

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Las Vegas Optic (Newspaper) - September 2, 2015, Las Vegas, New MexicoWhen people my age were in school, the word processor consist- ed of 1) a pencil and 2) a piece of paper. Just like today’s comput- ers and calcula- tors, our tools of the ‘50s also had an “enter” and a “delete” function. They’re called lead and erasers. When my sister, Bingy, and I were at Immaculate Concep- tion School, we often shared a teacher, Sister Mary Matematica Primera, who dreamed nightly about the amount of arithmetic homework she was about to pile on. Bingy and I had an advantage: We had a 50-some-year-old cal- culator we called Tío Juan, who could perform dazzling mental computations. His forte was in multiplying or dividing two dig- its by two digits. Anything larger took a bit longer. Once, in front of some visiting I.C. schoolmates, Bingy set up Tío Juan to perform an arithme- tic show-and-tell. She’d recite a host of equations for our uncle to solve. To the amazement of her classmates, Louise, Isabel, Agnes, Mary Rose and Joan, our uncle provided answers almost as quickly as he received them. As the grand finale, my sister set out to astound her friends with an Einsteinian question: “Uncle, what is a million (dra- matic pause) and one?” Expect- ing to begin smelling sizzling cranial tissue, Bingy was instead surprised and a wee bit embar- rassed with his answer: “’A mil- lion and 1’ is a million and 1.” The obviousness of the answer cracked me up (but I too expect- ed a complicated answer. Yet I played along, as if I’d known the answer all along. Now if Bingy had asked Juan to subtract 1 from 1,000,000 there’d have been a more seemingly complicated answer. By acting as if I knew the answer already, I played a com- mon game: We don’t know the answer, but once the answer is revealed, we pretend we knew it all along. The hand-held computers with No. 2 lead, that people used eventually morphed into more sophisticated things. My first summer at the University of Missouri I became somewhat familiar with the calculator. The one I checked out actually required an extra step. Instead of merely punching in 1+1=2, we needed to “confirm” each entry, So instead of only pressing a key, we needed to follow that with a yes-I-mean-it function. I’d heard the Missouri Student Union had some of the then-new LED calculators, available for checkout, but I didn’t realize that this university of 40,000 students had all of 10 such devices and the terms were more than the usual arm-and-a-leg; instead, we had to surrender our student I.D. card, which we needed for meals, access to the library, etc. And the students who managed to score on a calculator for a day, often spent hours on mindless computations that had nothing to do with their studies. Did elementary school teach- ers’ rules about no calculators in class actually help students figure things out on their own? Has the reverse been true? Did the requirement that students have such a tool augment their learning? I believe that whatever calcu- lators did, they failed to teach people the simple act of making change. Although somewhat of a mathematical misfit myself, at least I do know how to make change. I can often determine how much change I’ll be receiv- ing, without having to write it down or punch it in. Isn’t that what we learned in grade school? Recently I read on Facebook about how people in sales often struggle making change. I don’t like clutter in my billfold and try to divest myself of the smaller denominations first. For exam- ple, at a restaurant, if the tab is, say, $11.65, I will often plunk down a twenty and two singles, in order to get back ten plus change. I’m thinking: Hold on to your singles. But quite often I get back the same singles I handed over and wait for the receptionist to tediously count out the rest of the change. When I try to help out by telling the person, “You owe me $10.35,” I usually get a you’re-trying-to-cheat-me-glare. Another time, we went to a popular restaurant in town that had a discount of one percent per year for the birthday hon- oree. Our youngest, Ben, had just turned 16, so, after he blew out the candles, we expected his por- tion of the bill to be discounted from the five or six dollars his meal cost. Well, we weren’t prepared for the hand wringing that followed. The waitperson struggled with her tiny calculator and deter- mined that we were entitled to a discount of 16 cents — on a bill that totaled 30 or 40 dollars. There was no time to present a math lesson, and Tío Juan wasn’t around to explain exactly what the discount would have been, so we paid what the receptionist said we owed. And her tone was such that she must have expected us to be grateful. And to tip her extra. Finally, once, in around 1996, my family was returning from a trip east. We began with a convoy of two cars, but Ben returned with a gift from a rela- tive, a well-worn VW Rabbit. We stopped at a convenience store in Fort Sumner to gas up all three cars. Those purchases cost us about 44 dollars. As I pulled out a fifty and went in to pay, one of my sons said, “Dad, the sign says they won’t take anything larger than a 20.” “Nonsense,” I answered. “On a purchase this large, they’ll have to accept it.” My logic was that the change we’d receive would be proportionately the same as a 14-dollar purchase when hand- ing over a twenty. Diego insisted he was right, saying, “They’re not going to accept your 50. I’ll bet you a dol- lar on it.” Challenge accepted. Oh well, I had an extra dollar anyway and Diego said he could use it. Art Trujillo is a copy editor at the Optic and a contributing member of the newspaper’s Editorial Board. He may be reached by calling 425-6796 or by e-mail to atrujillo@lasvegasop- tic.com or art@rezio.net. 4 Wednesday, September 2, 2015 LAS VEGAS OPTIC As secretary of state, Dianna Duran is the New Mexico official responsible for ensuring that our elections are fair and conducted with integrity. She is also responsible for making sure that candidates follow our state’s campaign finance laws. That’s why the charges Attorney General Hector Balderas filed against Duran last Friday are so trou- bling. The 64-count criminal complaint accuses Duran of embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and cam- paign finance violations. She is also accused of tamper- ing with public records, conspiracy and violating the state’s Governmental Conduct Act. The Attorney General’s Office began investigating in July of 2014 when it received a tip that Duran was funneling contributions intended for her campaign into personal accounts for her own use. Duran is a Republican and Balderas is a Democrat. But not even Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, is rushing to her defense. The governor issued a state- ment Friday in which she noted that nobody is above the law. The investigation appears to have focused on depos- its of large amounts of cash and campaign contribu- tions into personal and campaign accounts controlled by Duran. The Attorney General’s Office contends that the movement of money often culminated with cash expenditures at casinos throughout New Mexico. “Investigators obtained subpoenas for multiple casinos where Duran withdrew cash,” The Associated Press reported. “Records show those electronic debits totaled more than $282,000 in 2014 alone. Another $147,641 was withdrawn in 2013.” Among the allegations made in the criminal com- plaint is that Duran used her powers and status as a public officer, employee and the office of the Secretary of State to obtain personal benefit or pursue private interests and that she conducted herself in a manner that did not maintain the integrity, ethics or responsi- bilities of public service. As always, it’s worth noting that Duran is innocent until proven guilty. That said, the charges she is facing are so egregious that, in our view, she cannot effectively carry out the duties of her office while simultaneously battling them. Balderas has pledged to present his evidence to a judge during a preliminary hearing. If that judge determines that there is sufficient probable cause to move forward with the criminal case, then Duran should resign and focus her attention on her legal defense. If a judge finds probable cause, and Duran refuses to resign, then the state House of Representatives should move forward with impeachment proceed- ings against her and the Senate should follow suit and remove her from office. Lawmakers must put party affiliation aside on this one. Corruption cannot not be tolerated. Serving the community since 1879 EDITORIAL ART TRUJILLO Troubling allegations Tío Juan rescued us WORK OF ART Optic editorials, located on the left side of this page, are the newspaper’s position on issues impacting our commu- nity, state, nation and world. They are written by members of the Optic’s Editorial Board and represent the institutional voice of the newspaper. The Editorial Board consists of Martín Salazar, editor and publisher; Art Trujillo, copy editor and columnist; and com- munity representatives Lupita Gonzales and Joseph McCaffrey. Anyone wanting to meet with the board may contact Salazar at 505-425-6796 or msalazar@lasvegasoptic.com. Columnists represent their own viewpoints and don’t nec- essarily reflect the views of the newspaper or the editor/publisher. Readers are welcome to submit guest columns for consideration. Please limit the submission to 750 words and send it to msalazar@ lasvegasoptic.com. Letters to the editor are valued and encouraged. Please consider the following points when submitting a letter for publication: • We need specific information about you. We need to know your real name and your city of residence, for publication along with your letter. Plus, we need a phone number where we can reach you, for verification purposes. Anonymous letters, and those we cannot verify, will not run. • Timely, concise letters are preferred. Because of space limita- tions, lengthy letters are difficult to place and may not run as a result. We recommend letters of less than 250 words, which are more likely to be published quicker than longer letters. Those that exceed 400 words may have to be edited down or discarded. • Letters expressing a viewpoint are best. Your opinion, concisely written, about an issue covered in the Optic is our top priority, and we will run it as soon as practical. • Stick to the issues. The letters section is intended as a community forum. Factually questionable information, personal smears and libelous charges don’t contribute to the conversation and won’t likely run. • Mil Gracias letters should be as short as possible. Long lists of thank-yous make for difficult-to-read letters, and will likely delay its publication by days or even weeks. • And finally, it’s the editor’s call. We welcome dissenting opin- ions, and we strive to run all letters submitted, but in the end it’s the Optic’s decision as to which letters will run. How to submit your letter to the editor By e-mail: msalazar@lasvegasoptic.com By fax: 505-425-1005 By mail or in person: 614 Lincoln Ave., P.O. Box 2670, Las Vegas, NM 87701 ABOUT THIS PAGE ——— www.lasvegasoptic.com ABOUT US 614 Lincoln Avenue • Las Vegas, N.M. 87701 Phone: (505) 425-6796 • Toll Free: 1-800-767-6796 Fax: (505) 425-1005 • E-Mail: optic@lasvegasoptic.com The Las Vegas Optic is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS RATES: Home Delivery in San Miguel County: $62.99 • In New Mexico: $81 “Periodical postage paid at Las Vegas, N.M. 87701” POSTMASTER: Please send address corrections to: LAS VEGAS OPTIC P.O. Box 2670, Las Vegas, New Mexico 87701. USPS 305-180 Editor and Publisher Martín Salazar msalazar@lasvegasoptic.com Composition Manager Maria Sanchez composing@lasvegasoptic.com Office/Circulation Coordinator Cynthia Fitch cfitch@lasvegasoptic.com

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