Manny: Saddened by Actions of Costilla County Sheriff’s Dept.

After attending my first Board of County Commissioners meeting in the county I call home, I left deeply saddened after being segregated from my fellow community members by an advancing wall made up of our public servants. I desired so intensely to approach a beautiful, shorter, middle aged woman who was shouting about an abuse of water within the county in the hopes that we could strike up conversation about a common issue and in the process perhaps meet a new friend. Once I attempted to cross this barrier of armed thugs in uniform in hopes of speaking with this woman, I was shouted at by several of our servants to leave or be arrested!

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After stating that I was in no wrong for merely standing on a public sidewalk I was told I was no longer allowed to be present here at this time. I was then forcibly moved back and continuously threatened with forceful kidnapping by a body of individuals who trained, applied for and accepted a position in which they took an oath to protect my rights; a position I support and help fund! After this I was left feeling assaulted and violated. As I wandered down the sidewalk I went through an emotional struggle, talking to anyone, trying to regain my own sense of humanity after being treated like lesser than… I soon came to find out that one of my new friends had indeed been detained without charge as these officers continued to harass bystanders.

On this day, officers took what was a community gathering with people openly expressing concerns with one another and segregated a seemingly random small group from the rest. This action implied threat coming from said group, ensuing a sense of insecurity throughout the larger remainder of the group and attempted to instill fear within the segregated minority. These actions ultimately provoked all now formed parties (the cops, the segregated group and the larger remainder) into both offensive and defensive displays of dominance which I can best describe as what felt like tribes of non compassionate apes participating in a turf battle.

I returned home that day ashamed to call myself a part of a community which supports the forceful eviction of fellow residents. Today I read two articles published in the San Luis town paper which violate me all over again. My friends, family and I are made out to be lawless and possibly violent societal leeches…

I can only hope that as residents of a greater community we can come together to openly address these rising tensions. That we may perhaps find a way to respect one another and work together to create creative solutions to the growing issues within our county. keep in mind, those who don’t care, don’t show.

My current concerns:

-It seems as though our county Sheriff and officers aren’t aware they are public servants, funded by all of the county residents to insure our state rights aren’t violated. I say this because they are either knowingly violating our rights or are ignorant of the law and what exactly their duty is to the public which they serve. This is a department, I as a land owner, tax payer and resident do not feel comfortable allocating funds towards for new militarized riot gear, which is what our sherriff’s office is asking for!

-Our BOCC seems to be allowing the enforcement of regulations without first adopting them and appears to have no interest in listening to the concerns of their county’s residents. How can you effectively and fairly represent a group of people if you actively avoid speaking with them???

“Commissioner Dolores Burns announced at the onset that the BOCC would not hear any public comments regarding the Land Use Code. She explained that the planning commission needs to meet and recommend any changes to the code before the BOCC can make any changes. She explained that if the BOCC were to hear comments regarding the land use code at this meeting it would be considered “ex parte” and would not be allowed.” -excerpt from article authored by Maria C. Martinez, La Sierra newspaper of San Luis, CO

These statements are absolutely FALSE!
The Costilla County Planning Commission has the power to recommend amendments to the text of the land use code; however, it is the BOCC which holds all authority over the amendments to text of the land use code. Section 6.30 of the Costilla County Land Use Code clearly states that the BOCC has to power to and is their duty to, “initiate, hear, consider and approve or disapprove applications to amend the text of these regulations.”

Life is hard enough. Let’s work together. ‪#‎costilladesertdwellers‬