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Don’t let season distract from serious issues

It’s sometimes disconcerting when real life – its problems, crises and everyday issues – get in the way of our busy holiday lives. We’re taken aback when tragedy like the terror attack in San Bernardino, Calif., happens because we’ve been distracted from the serious side of life with all the holiday activities and preparations. The juxtaposition of the horror against such a joyful season causes our world to tilt a little.

To a lesser degree, last week’s Rio Rancho City Council meeting dealt with some truly serious issues, and we should have been out in front reminding our readers to express their opinions and let their city councilors know where they stand. We apologize – guess we must have been distracted by our own ever-increasing holiday activities and the chilling effect of the tragedy in San Bernardino.

We do, however, want to praise the members of the City Council for deciding to work with the University of New Mexico to continue its growth in Rio Rancho. We agree that, at times, UNM has not been the partner we expected them to be, but, in the long run, the growth of our local campus is beneficial for all. The residents are certainly appreciative of the good UNM has brought to the city.

We are amazed at how frequently we hear of students who are taking classes at the Rio Rancho campus and how many classes they are able to take close to home. That’s great for our kids and for Rio Rancho’s future. New facilities for classes and more health care classes will serve this city well.

We are also pleased that our city councilors approved putting the revisions to the City Charter on the March city election ballot. It’s required that the people vote on them and it certainly makes no sense to spend money on an extra election, especially when so few people tend to vote on local issues, anyway. Also, the community representatives on the Charter Commission spent many hours with lots of discussion and lots of thinking before presenting these ideas to us. It’s time for us to let our voices be heard.

The council’s decision to proceed with asking the public to approve GO bonds to improve our roads was also a tough, controversial issue. We believe the taxpayers deserve to have a say in this issue. It will affect their pocketbooks and it is something that matters to the people. The council made the right call and our roads desperately need our attention.

We don’t always understand the controversy that surrounds City Council and we certainly don’t understand some of the opinions. Often, it seems as if issues that aren’t controversial become controversial for no rhyme or reason. We value a good debate and robust discussion is helpful, but only when it helps forge a better decision.

This is a joyful season, but the rest of our lives do not cease during this time of year. We cannot expect the season to be free of bad news (although we might wish it were so), but maybe the joy of the season balances out the negative.

Don’t forget that Winter Solstice is on Tuesday and, whether you’re a fan of winter or not, few people will complain about the days beginning to get longer. We think that is another good reason to celebrate.

Contact the Ryans at ryan@abqjournal.com.

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