EDUCATING RITA

SCHOOL-BOARD MEMBER RITA MONTERO FOUND HERSELF IN EXPLOSIVE TIMES IN THE SEVENTIES.

Montero says she doesn't think the wiring diagram for a bomb discovered in police searches of the victims' homes was a compelling reason to focus on the group.

"They could probably find bombing manuals in a lot of people's houses," Montero says. "That's something you can get out of the public library. We wanted a full investigation, and they never gave it to us."

Montero's connections to the 1974 incidents have long been well-known in Denver's Hispanic community. But they were never raised by the media during her two recent campaigns for the school board.

Montero ran unsuccessfully for the board's at-large seat in 1993. In May she beat Jose Soliz, a college administrator, in the race for the school board's District 5 seat, which represents voters in northwest Denver.

Montero, married and the parent of a DPS second-grader, is a paralegal with the National Lawyers Guild, a voluntary association of lawyers and others that promotes social justice through pro bono legal work.

Those who know Montero say her political views remain well left of center but that she is not the militant radical she once was. The fact that she ran for the school board post, they say, shows she has chosen to work within the system rather than outside it.

Asked if she thinks the American system is fundamentally fair or corrupt, Montero says: "I think the government is inadequate. If you want to call it `corruption,' that's your word.

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