Letters to the editor (03/10/12)

........................................................................................................................................................................................

A message for the Lenten season
Editor:
Obedience, comformity to God’s will is the foundation of our Catholic lives and our existence.
“Quiet time with our Lord to overcome the temptations of the evil one and to find the truth of our existence,” said Pope Benedict XVI.
By paying attention to what God really wants us to do, thinking and living in accordance with the Gospel, correcting some aspect of our way of praying, acting or working and ones relations with others.
Jesus is concerned for our good, our happiness and our salvation.
For Catholics, sacrifice and suffering aren’t ends in themselves, they are merely the means by which God wants to help shape and form us.
“The world is improved by starting with oneself, changing, with God’s grace, everything in one’s life that is not going well,” said Pope Benedict XVI.
Hard lesson to learn: The Devil doesn’t always try to get us to choose something bad over something good. More often, he lures us with a choice between something good that isn’t in God’s will for us and something good that is God’s will.
For example, at one’s bedside all the time, the tempter desires you to over extend so much that when the time comes for the final watch, you will be too exhausted physically and mentally to give your loved one what he or she will need.

Gilbert Ulivarri Jr.
Belen

An open letter to Rep. David Chavez
Editor:
I hope your constituents are proud to know that instead of fighting to make sure that New Mexicans have work in extremely difficult times, you and our illustrious governor are wasting taxpayer dollars to make sure that (homosexuals) like me can’t get married.
I’m glad to know that the state of New Mexico has absolutely no other problems that are of a higher priority than to make sure that love between two people is de-legitimized by the very government you and those in your party say has absolutely no right to interfere in our personal lives.
How is it, Mr. Chavez, that you get to determine what my rights are when I had absolutely no influence when it came to deciding what rights you, as a straight man, could enjoy without question?
How do you justify an ideology that proselytizes small and limited government except for people who aren’t like you? Is it because your invisible man in the sky says it’s OK?
When I was a believer, Mr. Chavez, the Jesus I read about said not one word about love being a bad thing. In fact, the two Commandments he gave were all about love.
One is to love your God with every fiber of your being, and the other is to love your neighbor as yourself.
Perhaps it is you, Mr. Chavez, that is without love because us queers have nothing to do with the downfall of such a sacred institution that somehow manages to have a high divorce rate that only straight folks, like you, can enjoy for the time being.
We’re not asking for special rights Mr. Chavez. We’re not even asking that your right-wing churches be required to perform marriage services for us or recognize the legality of our marriages.
We’re demanding that our relationships be recognized the same way yours was in the eyes of the law (no invisible men required) because our Constitution allows for us to fight for our rights.
The beauty of it is that you don’t have to like what we’re doing, but respect the fact that we can believe two different things and somehow find a way to peacefully coexist.
I would like to know Mr. Chavez, how it is that when you and those in your party find something morally objectionable, you get to say that my tax money shouldn’t go to pay for it or recognize it, but when I find something (like war or tax breaks for people who have more means than they know what to do with) morally objectionable, somehow I don’t get to say that my taxes shouldn’t go to fund it or recognize it? How did you all get to be so special?
I hope you realize that these aren’t conservative principles you’re throwing people under the bus for, but instead, willingly colluding in the hostile takeover of a party by an ideology that advocates selfishness and hypocrisy as the highest of virtues at the expense of everyone.
I hope this letter finds you well and I look forward to having a robust dialogue with you about these issues.

Janice Devereaux
Albuquerque

APS administrators are making wrong choices
Editor:
Albuquerque Public Schools  Superintendent Winston Brooks and Monica Armenta, a $100,000 plus per year-public relations bureaucrat, have done it again!
Ever since Armenta was hired, I have contended that APS was spending thousands on an unnecessary employee given that Rigo Chavez was the district spokesman and that he had been doing an adequate and superb job.
In fact, after Armenta came on board, and to this day, Chavez continues to be the spokesman 99 percent of the time. I’m not sure what Armenta does.
On Jan. 24, the Albuquerque Journal reported that through Armenta’s efforts, $50,000 in APS Foundation money was being spent for radio and television ads touting APS student success stories.
Armenta was quoted as saying that this was money well-spent, especially because the N.M. Broadcasting Association had given APS a discount and that the ads were done in-house, never mind that an APS board member is president of the association.
She went on to say that the response she was getting from parents wanting to brag about their children was phenomenal.
In my eyes, just like the lottery scholarship staff, this is simply another example of staff   grandstanding and nothing more then an opportunity for a handful of parents and success story students to receive media notoriety while hundreds of other students continue to fail and many parents continue to wonder where things went wrong, asking themselves what they could’ve done or what the district should have done differently.
Face it, there will always be success stories amongst the failures to be told and this is good! The successes can sometimes be attributed largely to direct stimulation from APS staff.
Very often, however, the success results from stimuli offered by the home, role models, self-motivation and, undoubtedly, appropriate facilitation practiced in the classroom by professionals working for APS, whose job it is to enhance a students chances for success.
The $50,000 the Foundation had laying around, I believe, would’ve been better spent in the classroom given the financial red ink the district is experiencing.  The $50,000, coupled with Armenta’s $100,000 plus salary would’ve gone a long way toward increasing the number of APS success stories.
Recently, the N.M. House Education Committee led by Rep. Rick Miera (D-Bernalillo), voted along party lines on a public schools’ budget that included an increase but protected the status quo method for spending the money.
The committee’s action clearly tells us that the majority believes in local governance regardless of the need to change the manner in which we do business.
I, too, am a strong believer in local governance, that local school boards, in this case, can do a better job of running their respective cistricts, and that state and federal bureaucrats should only act as channels to funnel available tax dollars to the district.
However, in this case, I believe that, perhaps, Gov. Martinez and her public education staff, with input from knowledgeable educators and legislators, should have been given an opportunity to introduce new methods.
Oh, forgive me! I forget this is a partisan issue and only one party can be right, especially with a presidential election looming in the horizon as well as all the seats in New Mexico’s Legislature being up for grabs.
The enormous amount of evidence clearly reveals we are not getting an appropriate return on the millions we have been investing in our public education system.
Why not be daring and courageous and earmark some of the dollars, for example, to look at improving reading skills at the third-grade level?
Armenta’s ad campaign, to me, is another example of why cries for local governance often fall on deaf ears. Sadly, however, the deafness is often overwhelmed by stimuli, i.e. re-election lobbyists’ input, campaign contributions, that are far stronger and that present immediate rather than long-term gratification, i.e. student success, for the lawmakers who hold the purse strings.
Incidentally, until the current expenditure of funds for public education is carried out in a more efficient manner, I oppose dipping into the permanent fund to supplement public education funding.
The time is not here yet for that to be seriously considered.
One of these days, I am hopeful we will come to the realization that from time to time partisanship has to be set aside for the good of the state and the country and, in this case, for the good of our children.
Until then, keep the faith, don’t give up! New blood will hopefully soon fill those seats in the Roundhouse, and will hopefully eliminate business as usual in New Mexico.

John Lopez
Bosque Farms

His experience with solar energy
Editor:
In the predawn, I was snooping around like a stray dog.
I happened to look on top of the porch and the Hilltop Apartments. I was really surprised to see two solar panels up there.
It got me to thinking about my studies at TVI in plumbing for a career in solar, although I don’t much see what plumbing has much to do with it.
I could not get passed the math, so I failed.
My interest continued.
Good chicken yards face the low winter sun to keep the chickens warm. I saw an excellently designed one way before the time of solar.
Once in Mexico, I brought up the idea of putting the galvanized bath tins in the sun in the patios in the winter — it would at least make the water luke warm.
Once I waddled to the solar power tower at Sandia Base with no security guard even questioning me. I saw a melted hole in a very thick piece of steel melted by solar. There are acres of big mirrors that track the sun.
A long time ago, I saw solar panels on a home roof, and the nice man invited me into his home to look at the pipes and explain the motors.
The main library in Albuquerque had many books on solar. They let me check out all I wanted even though I had no address.
I love houses with clerestories, which are peaked roofs with glass on them facing the low winter sun.
I made a model of one with tiny adobes. My grandpa was so proud of it.
Martin Frank Kirtley
Los Lunas