A 'weak, embarrassing' government

WINDOW ROCK, Jan. 2, 2014

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I would like to take this time to weigh in on the pending bribery and conspiracy charges against several Council delegates involving the use of discretionary funds.

In particular, my good friend and former colleague, Johnny Naize, who is presently serving as the speaker of the Navajo Nation Council. The charges against him are serious and I would like to generously urge him to step aside until such time charges are fully resolved.

I'm sitting here in my family room wondering if the majority of the people actually understand the word discretionary. This particular word is causing a major controversy at this time and shaking the nation to pieces. By virtue of my understanding, discretionary is judgmental that allowed the delegates flexibility to use the funds the way they saw fit. It shouldn't have been discretionary in the first place.

The speaker, as I know him, is the kind of person with a big heart, someone cool and interacts politely with all walks of life. It's not by fault he is a Council delegate. It's his community members like you and me that elected him to serve as a delegate. The critics that are presently throwing mud at him should consider throwing mud at the people that elected him.

With all the mumbo-jumbo that is taking place presently I am wondering why people are not saying anything about the special prosecutors handling the investigation. I feel they are taking way too long and collecting millions and millions of our precious dollars. The focus of the investigation is all one-sided up to this point.

What about former president Joe Shirley Jr.? It seems he was given special treatment and let off the hook in the early stages though his dealings with outside contractors are in the millions of dollars. I wouldn't be surprised if he is planning to toss his hat for the presidency again in the coming months.

The other issue that should be brought to the forefront is the tribal law, which is practically teeth-less. Just about every tribal official like the employees and delegates know they will get only the five-year penalty and return to the tribal government and resume business as usual. Serious attention needs to be given to amending the law and make the penalties more severe than it is now.

This world is full of sinners that cause corruption and not only the tribal officials. The Navajo Nation has been severely corrupted since Title II of the tribal code was amended in 1989. There is no checks and balance as it was originally intended in creating the three-branch government. We still have a temporary government in place and it's weak and embarrassing.

I would like to see the speaker of the Navajo Nation Council step aside until the bribery and conspiracy charges are fully resolved. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to air my views.

Vern Charleston
Farmington, N.M.

'Drunk City'

In the Oct. 5, 2013 edition of the Independent, Mr. Zollinger asks for ideas concerning "What should we do about public drunkenness in this city?"
In 2013, this is not something that is just now coming to our attention. This has been an ongoing problem since Gallup has been Gallup.

The idea of eliminating the problem by eliminating the cause is danced around by elected officials, voters, and so-called concerned citizens. Banning alcohol is as far removed from the minds of all of these people as is the petting of a rattlesnake.

Gallup is the only city in the U.S. that has an N.C.I. (Navajo Comfort Inn). The change in management is equivalent to exchanging four quarters for a paper dollar, the problem gets eternally worse. Other cities also have drunks, but in Gallup we have more than our share of people that drink until their faces are in the dirt. If that and the recidivism in all alcohol related offenses, not to mention death, does not cause us to ban alcohol. We deserve to be called Drunk City.

If a Gallup mayor or council member loses a child to death or prison because of alcohol, will they stop their silence and get behind an effort to help our children, their own children, the exploited, the addicted, and the surrounding communities that keep Gallup alive by finally being instrumental in getting alcohol banned in McKinley County?
Those of us that have not yet lost a child to death or prison because of alcohol still have time to close the barn door before the horse is gone.

Louis Maldonado
Gallup, N.M.

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