Letter: Dooda Desert Rock supporters urge Navajo government reform

To the editor,

This letter is a response to people who tell me they want to know where Dooda (NO) Desert Rock stands on the Dec. 15 election to reduce the size of the Navajo Nation Council and give the president a line item veto.

First and foremost, we want people to get out and vote. No matter how you feel about it, if you are a Navajo voter, you owe it to yourself to vote. That will show the politicians that the vote matters.

I agree that a change in the size of the council is not a magic pill. A lot more government reform is needed, and neither the Speaker's or President Shirley's plans go far enough. They propose to put lipstick on a pig (as the saying goes), and we need a lot more.

Even if the reduced council vote isn't enough, it is important that the People vote. Otherwise, we can't expect change. What kind of change?

We need government that is open, inclusive responsive and clean. We need safeguards in place to assure that corruption can be prevented. Take the comptroller as an example. The statutes that give him his powers don't allow him to independently stop check writing when discretionary funds are being wasted. The auditor can't do spot checks.

The Ethics and Rules Office is under the control of the council. We need functions that have to do with spending limitations, spending controls and ethical conduct to be completely independent. They should be in the "Security Branch" that is mentioned in The Fundamental Laws of the Diné.

We have a legislative dictatorship and that has to stop. When the council spends money on trips to Las Vegas or buying friends or votes, that takes money out of the mouths of the elderly, the veterans and the children. It makes sure we can't build jails to take care of abusers.

Please do get out and vote. And please, when you do, vote for the betterment of the Navajo Nation.

Elouise Brown

Chaco Rio, NM

(Editor's note: The above letter to the editor were received prior to the historic special election that was held Dec. 15 to allow Navajo voters to decide on two important referendum issues. Due to the significance of these referendums, this letter is being published despite the fact that the special election has already taken place.)

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