Letters to the editor, January 6, 2017
I applaud Joan Logghe’s letter (“No to Verde line,” Dec. 30) regarding the proposed electrical transmission lines to be built in our state. As one of the founding members of the film worker’s union in New Mexico, I know the positive economic impact film has brought to New Mexico.
We are rapidly losing unspoiled landscapes, which are essential to filming exteriors. This proposed transmission line would have a major impact on filming in New Mexico. The lead story (“Celluloid legacy,” Dec. 25) in The New Mexican lays it all out. This proposed transmission line would negate and ruin a very large portion of our landscape for filming if allowed to be built above ground.
If it is too expensive to bury the cable, then it isn’t needed as much as the powers that be claim. As a result of the size of New Mexico and its varied landscapes, it doubles for many other states and cities in films shot here.
Several weeks ago (“Report finds New Mexico in ‘dire’ need of teachers,” Dec. 7), The New Mexican ran a story on the “dire need” for substitute teachers in the Santa Fe public school system. I called the district office and left a voicemail for the human resources department. When my call wasn’t returned, I phoned again and was transferred by the operator to a woman she said was in charge of hiring substitutes. Again, I left a message. I also called the licensure department. After listening for at least five minutes to a recording that said my call would be answered shortly, another recording told me the voicemail for that number had not been set up. I’ve waited a month, in vain, for a return call from the school district. Could my experience hint at a possible reason for the “dire” need of substitute teachers?
Diplomacy our only hope
I attended a “conversation” at The Lensic Performing Arts Center on Dec. 4, titled At the Nuclear Brink. This event brought the members of the audience close to the author Eric Schlosser and defense policy wonk William J. Perry, who described the current dangerous situation of living with nuclear weapons, thousands of them, worldwide, on a hair trigger. At the end, the audience asked questions. One audience member asked — I’m paraphrasing here: “Why don’t we spend more money modernizing these weapons and delivery systems — some rely on landlines — so they can be more reliable thus reducing potential accidents?”
My opinion is that modernizing (think Los Alamos National Laboratory) and maintaining (think Sandia National Laboratories) these weapons is the wrong approach.
These weapons need to be eliminated. Say what you will about former President Ronald Reagan, but he actually reduced the number of these weapons by negotiating with Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev. Diplomacy is our only hope.
I have read many of your articles on the truly terrible state of public education in New Mexico, and most recently even the dismal state of Head Start. It occurs to me that if all the people who have complained so loudly about the election of Donald Trump would put the same energy and effort into the education of children here in New Mexico, we might make some progress in this area.
If inequality and the well-being of hardworking Americans are truly important to the new Congress, they are now in a position to prove it. More than 43 million people in this country still live below the poverty line, and that number would be more than twice as high were it not for federal anti-poverty policies, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Why, then, would the new Congress be gearing up to attack these programs? Can you imagine a New Mexico without the healthy people that “Obamacare” and expanded Medicaid created? I can, and it’s not pretty. I hope we can count on our members of Congress to reject any proposals that would take us backward — whether gutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by turning it into a “block grant” or reducing access to Medicaid.
Instead, they should focus on doing some good, like expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to workers not raising children, who are currently taxed deeper into poverty. They should also consider a guaranteed income because it could be a very efficient way to protect all workers. Now more than ever, we need to focus on making things better for hardworking Americans. Dismantling our safety net is not the way to do it.