July 29: OP/ED

In my opinion…

By Gilda Morales, Editor

Dear Mr. Bezos,

Or may I call you Jeff? After all, with the wall-to-wall coverage of your historic venture last week, and since you’ve been here in Van Horn for more than a decade, it seems natural to forego the formalities, and use our first names.

First of all, please accept my heartfelt congratulations on a perfect mission. I will admit that I was a naysayer who rolled my eyes when your manned spaceflight was announced, but only because I remember the lunar landing so vividly that a return trip to the mere edge of space seemed redundant. However, after watching the event with several members of your team, as someone who has problems parallel parking, I can truly appreciate the engineering feats that brought back the rocket and the capsule safely with pinpoint accuracy.

So how are things now that this launch is behind you? Hope you’re doing well and that you have recovered from what must have been an exhausting experience given all the press and hype involved. Here in Van Horn, except for the mural on my cousin David’s building, there is little left that would even hint at the frenzy of last week. We are all back to “normal,” which includes dealing with all the problems that were pushed to the back in the glow of last week’s exciting events.

I don’t know if you have been keeping up with the news in your local paper, not exactly the Washington Post, but for the past several years, the town has been struggling with an aging and failing infrastructure and how to finance the cost of the fix, $12.5 million dollars, which even over 10 years, would be a struggle for a community with very limited resources. This amount sounds minute when compared with your extraordinarily generous gift of $100 million each to Van Jones and Jose Andres, as part of your new philanthropic initiative. Those who have done any research should also know that you also founded the Day One Fund for homeless families and low-income preschool, the Earth Fund dedicated to work on climate change, and a healthcare venture to deal with health inequality and high healthcare costs.

We were all surprised when you gave Van Horn a “shout out” during your post-launch press conference and hope that you were sincere about your gratitude in letting Blue Origin be part of our town. That said after stating the obvious—that Blue has “made a dent” in the town. Those of us who are natives, couldn’t agree more. You are not a stranger to the small-town culture having been born in Albuquerque and working on your grandfather’s ranch as a kid.

Part of that small-town culture is an independence and reluctance to ask for help, but it is also a coming together to help when one of our own is in need. Jeff—your adopted hometown is in need. We are not asking for a handout, just a hand to help solve our worsening aging infrastructure problem. Neighbors helping neighbors type of thing, or as you said in your commencement speech at Princeton in 2010, “Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice.” Van Horn hopes that you make the choice to help. Regards to your family and we hope to see you soon.


Your neighbors


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