On the Chamber, WNMU, and coming together

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I had some good discussion yesterday with a number of key Silver City “playahs.” The scuttlebutt going around town is that Friday’s full-page ad and editorial concerning the Chamber of Commerce and Western New Mexico University has caused a stir quite unlike anything seen in recent years.

I can’t delve too deeply into the issue from a Daily Press perspective (that’s my boss’s job) but I do have a few observations, and a few things that I need to set straight.

It appears, upon first glance, that the individuals and business owners who purchased the ad may have lost their biggest ally on the WNMU Board of Regents, Tony Trujillo. Several people told me yesterday that Trujillo has been frequently frustrated with the administration at the school.

There’s evidence to this of course: he pushed for and allowed several speakers to address the Board of Regents about the Muir Heights issue, an opportunity that was squandered (see this post). In addition, he called for a motion to get a card check at the university. Student-regent Jennie Montoya, of course, made the motion, but it died for lack of a second (Trujillo couldn’t provide a second).

Now that the full-page ad appeared, I understand, Tony is going to be much less likely to lend his support to those who question the university (and, unfortunately, the Daily Press editorial may have had something to do with this as well).

All I can say at this time about the Daily Press editorial is that it was directed at the Chamber of Commerce selection of WNMU as “Large Business of the Year.” That decision was the target of the newspaper’s criticism, and not Trujillo or any of the other award recipients.

As for myself, I’ve witnessed, first-hand, the ways in which Trujillo has fought to make this community better, for its business-owners, students and the public in general. I’ve known his family my entire life, and they’re dedicated to Silver City and Grant County (and New Mexico, I might add).

I won’t second guess the editorial’s points on the Chamber of Commerce. Serious questions remain, in my mind, about its selection of WNMU. But the other award recipients have worked diligently and humbly to improve the lives of Grant County’s residents. They did not seek recognition, and were justly singled-out for their efforts by the Chamber.

Finally, I spoke with one individual last night, a frequent reader of this site, who brought up my post Sunday on the exchange between John Fridinger and Matt Runnels. This individual said my last statement in that blog, about coming together and working out differences, was spot on, and applies to this situation as well. “We need to be looking at the ways we’ve done things right,” he said, “and then try and do that again!”

This is absolutely true. Negativity can only take you so far (a lesson I should have learned long ago) but eventually you have to find common ground, and build from there.

I hope it’s not too late to begin that process in our community.

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