The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Municipal elections seem focused on growing government

 

February 16, 2020



A few thoughts on Clovis’ municipal elections:

n Where did anyone get the idea crime in Clovis is rising, as several candidates have suggested?

Clovis police statistics show calls for service have been dropping steadily since at least 2014. Police received 17.4% fewer calls (that’s more than 6,000 fewer calls) between 2014 and 2018, the most recent year statistics are available.

Violent crimes are down as well and the number of burglaries dropped from 736 in 2014 to 375 in 2018.

The District Attorney’s Office reports it opened 1,716 criminal cases in 2018 compared to 1,621 in 2019. So far in 2020, the DA has opened 173 criminal cases compared to 214 during the same time period in 2019.

Also, the Curry County Adult Detention Center’s population suggests crime might be falling. CCADC booked 2,844 inmates in 2018, but only 2,568 in 2019. Felonies booked into the jail in January 2019 numbered 327, compared to 318 last month; misdemeanors totaled 420 in January 2019 and 382 last month, according to Detention Center Administrator Mark Gallegos.

And a few weeks ago, county officials said they’re considering closing their juvenile jail because there are so few juveniles housed there.

Multiple candidates for mayor and city commission have talked about their perceived need for more law enforcement officers and better pay for retaining those officers. Those views may or may not be valid, but if they think justification is based on rising crime — as several have said — it would be nice to hear where they’re getting their numbers.

Also, has anyone said how they plan to get the money for more law enforcement with more experience?

There are only two choices — raise taxes or reduce spending in other government arenas. It’s kind of important to know the rest of the plan.

• A few candidates have been hesitant to say they support a racino for Clovis if that ever becomes an option again. Their opinions are their opinions, but this would be a good time to ask yourself how big you want local government to grow.

The issue seems to be “morality,” but whether the topic is gambling, alcohol, or guns, some of us think those are individual decisions. Not government decisions.

• Most of the candidates have given lip service, at least, to economic development. Several have said it’s important to support the taxpayer-funded Clovis Industrial Development Corp. to achieve a healthier business climate.

Has anyone seriously suggested lowering taxes as a means of encouraging businesses to stay in Clovis or move here?

Again, how big do we want government to grow?

• But there have been some encouraging ideas this campaign season. Several candidates have been promoting voluntary “neighborhood watch programs” and more privately funded youth programs as ways to address crime. Finally, we’re talking about average residents taking control of their lives and not looking to government to solve problems.

It’s nice to have candidates for public office who recognize the power of a community lies within its citizenry.

We don’t need any more government “help.” What we need is for government to get out of the way so we can help ourselves.

— David Stevens

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