Alibi V.25 No.29 • July 21-27, 2016 

Letters

Why I am Suing N.M. PED

Dear Alibi,

After five years I have had enough! New Mexico Public Education Department picked no New Mexico book publishers for the 2016 Governor’s First Grade Reading Initiative. This year, $197,000+ of New Mexico tax money is going to book publishers in Arizona, South Carolina and New York. Of the 18 publishers who bid for the Initiative, three publishers were New Mexican. It didn’t matter. The low bids were not picked so that didn’t matter either. Bid materials were accepted way after the deadline and other rules were broken for the bid. That didn’t matter either.

A few years back, an online petition objecting to the use of tax money this way was signed by thousands and sent to our New Mexico politicians. That didn’t matter either or maybe they couldn’t read it. A letter was sent to N.M. PED Secretary Skandera and Governor Martinez by the largest New Mexico book publishers to celebrate New Mexico books and clean up the bid process. That didn’t matter either and the response that came back was strange and didn’t address the problem. Maybe a reading problem again.

Through the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) I asked to see who won and why New Mexico books didn’t have a chance. N.M. PED has gone out of their way to keep documents and other information from me, which I believe, breaks the law. I want that stuff. I am entitled to that stuff. I will fight in court to get that stuff. So I filed a lawsuit on July 8, 2016, in Albuquerque District Court through IPRA.

In a state that has money problems why are we sending tax money out of state? Are other states buying New Mexico books in quantity to give out to their first graders? No, they aren’t, so why aren’t we? Why is New Mexico not celebrating great, local authors and books? And why does our government treat us so badly? I am mad as hell and I won’t take it any longer. If you care, tell a New Mexico politician to get off their duff and do something—anything.

Barbe Awalt

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