Letter to the Pilot

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Newell police problems show a need for unity


I was born and raised in Newell and as a third generation member of this community, I feel that my parents and grandparents would roll over in their grave because of the problems that are rising. Both born and raised in this community, they would be very unhappy with the way that we have been handling our affairs.

These problems have been present for three years and it seems that they are getting worse instead of better.

It is true that we are not a BIG CITY but we are having BIG CITY problems and we can either stick our heads in the sand like an ostrich or look away and hope that these big city problems don't get any worse or learn to deal with them, which we are trying to do.

The police chief has an "open door policy" in order to listen, receive and show respect to other people's opinion regardless of the police department's job, but we have not been taking advantage of this policy to the extent that we need to. As a matter of fact, it is known that other, not so direct sources have been misused to create rumors and innuendos among the community.

We voted 2 to 2 to hire Michael Belmarez as a police officer on the council meeting held on January 21, 2002. In the 2 to 2 vote we tabled this motion and went back to business. The next item of business was Phil Queen's application to be hired as a police chief but this petition was dismissed since Phil Queen had already been relieved of his job with the City of Newell as an assistant chief. The evening progressed and we went on to the rest of the businesses. The last item of business was again to hire Mr. Belmarez as a police officer and this time was passed 4 to nothing.

When Michael and his family moved in to this community he was welcomed by at least four members of the council but he never had the privilege of being welcomed to his job by the other council member. Seems like he is not letting the community pull together as a whole and focusing on bringing up issues that are not relevant.

We need to get ourselves back together and focus on the important things that are concerns of the community and the country because in times like this we ought to be working as a group instead of all in separate directions. That will make the difference and that will bring up change.

Steve Samelson,

Newell City Council

member and Newell

resident since 1949