Letters to the editor (05/16/12)

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Obama came up with ‘admirable compromise’
Editor:
Lately there’s been lots of talk that by providing insurance coverage for women’s reproductive health care, our government is attacking religion. But who, exactly, is threatening whose religious freedom?
It’s election season. GOP candidates are praying on every street corner where there’s a camera, and church leaders have jumped into the political fray.
At issue is a section of the Affordable Care Act requiring employer insurance plans to include birth control.
The requirement never applied to churches, although it applies to church-related institutions such as hospitals and universities.
The requirement never compelled or even encouraged women to use birth control — it simply allowed the choice. The law did not cost extra money — contraception is far cheaper and safer than childbirth.
And the requirement will almost certainly reduce the number of abortions performed.
Nevertheless, twisted portrayals by the far right triggered the usual political uproar. In response, President Obama came up with an admirable compromise: Employees will still be fully insured, but insurance agencies themselves will pay for contraception coverage.
Institutions that oppose birth control will not have to pay that part of employees’ coverage, yet Obama followed our nation’s labor laws by making sure all employees receive equal coverage.
Obama also respected our Constitution’s clause forbidding the establishment of a religion. The insurance companies are happy enough to chip in — they’ll save money by reducing the potentially enormous costs of complicated pregnancies, difficult deliveries and resulting medical complications for women whose health made pregnancy dangerous in the first place.
Above all, Obama’s compromise preserves real freedom of religion. Church officials who want to control women’s bodies can keep trying. Yet the state will not collude in forcing women to risk unwanted pregnancies because of someone else’s dogma.
Families, instead of church or state, can decide whether another baby would be a welcome blessing or a crushing burden.
If you believe — along with our Constitution and Christian tradition — that religious observance should follow the dictates of one’s heart rather than the dictates of government, what’s not to like?

Laura Sanchez
Los Lunas

NB editorial was off the mark
Editor:
I find myself writing in response to the opinion expressed in “Our View” dated April 21.
Although it was opinion and everyone is entitled to their opinion, a media outlet such as yours should at least attempt to present accurate information.
In 1882, New York Mayor-Elect Thomas Francis Gilroy said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
As the primary media outlet in our great city, I would think you would understand the need to present and express accurate information without prejudice.
The author of that piece is correct, the devil is in the details, but the primary fault in the writing is that it assumed and I quote “Belen city councilors accept this inaccurate information …”
Please indulge me while I provide the truth. The Ameris feasibility study was presented at the Belen City Council meeting on April 16 as discussion only. No action was taken to approve, accept or reject the study.
Councilor (Jerah) Cordova presented the study, in public forum to the city council and the citizens of Belen. In fact, a reporter of the Valencia County News-Bulletin was in attendance and was afforded an opportunity to ask questions.
In addition, the opinion stated that the city councilors accepted the conclusions of the study, but yet they approved a joint powers agreement with the county that provides for a validation study.
If the council accepted the findings of the feasibility study, then why did they make it clear at the previous council meeting that, 1. The study will be independently validated; and 2. That “escape” clauses be included in the “JPA” where either party, Belen City Council or Valencia County Commission, can withdraw from the project if it is determined not to be viable?
The opinion questioned why BNSF, one of the largest employers in the county, was not included on page 50 of the study. Good question.  It was pointed out that a 7.19 GRT rate was utilized and the city councilors were accused of not knowing the GRT of Belen.
Perhaps a better question would have been, “why was a GRT rate of 7.19 utilized?”  Was it an average?
The interests of Belen and the citizens would have best been served had the author attended the presentation at the council meeting and asked these questions, but instead preferred to hold public hearings in your paper.
I fully understand that the Valencia County New-Bulletin is in the business of selling newspapers and controversy sells papers, but there is such a thing as providing the truth.
Baron John Acton wrote, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Wielding power over a captive audience and presenting inaccurate information is something the author should think about next time they express an opinion.
Or perhaps it was not so much inaccurate as it was lack of research. Either case, there is such a thing as “truth in journalism.”
I am confident the decisions of the Belen City Council and the Valencia County Commission will have the best interests of the citizens in mind when it comes to a hospital in Valencia County.
Public input and comment is critical in helping the city and county representatives make informed decisions. I was advised at my first council meeting by a concerned citizen that it is not all about the finances.  He is correct.
It is about the best interests of the citizens of our community and the direction given to the representatives by the citizens.
Lastly, the policies of the New-Bulletin requires names and contact information for all letters submitted to the editor, perhaps that policy should be required of all writings published. Hiding behind “Our View” places a dim light on your entire organization, especially when that employee decides to belittle the elected officials of the people.

David J. Carter
Belen City Councilor

(Editor’s Note: The Valencia County News-Bulletin stands behind our editorial of April 21 regarding Ameris’ hospital feasibility study. It, in our opinion, is filled with inaccurate information. Much like 99 percent of newspapers across the country, the News-Bulletin doesn’t place a name on its editorials. The opinion in “Our View” is that of the entire newspaper, not necessarily that of just one person.)

Obama has helped the country
Editor:
The letter by Darla K. Gleason titled “Obama is trying to divide the country” ridiculously blames President Obama for divisive rhetoric when Republicans in Congress have made it their official policy to obstruct whatever the president proposes.
Ms. Gleason claims that we have become the “laughing stock of the world.”
Ms. Gleason cites a Prague newspaper article that calls President Obama a fool and those who vote for him a “multitude of fools.”
It is not foolish to support the most brilliant and charismatic leaders of our lifetime.
It is Ms. Gleason that has foolishly been “frightened” by the right wing zealots into believing there is a “conspiracy to take away our constitutional rights” and give what is hers to those that are “too lazy.”
I suspect Ms. Gleason has had an overdose of Fox News or Rush.
President Obama has not taken anything away from you, to the contrary he has helped turn the country around from the greatest economic downturn since the great depression.
President Obama has promoted U.S. interests around the world and destroyed those terrorists who would harm us.  The only laughing stocks are those who vote against their own interests and support the wealthy, trickle down economies, and the destruction of medicare and social security.
Now that is foolish.

Mike Griego
Los Lunas

Health fair was a great success
Editor:
On behalf of the village of Los Lunas mayor, council and village staff, we would like to thank all the vendors that participated in our seventh annual Health & Wellness Fair held Friday, April 20, at Daniel Fernandez gym to include: Amanda Vigil Insurance Agency, Benefits Plus, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New Mexico Medicaid Blue Salud Department.
Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Children Youth and Families/Foster and Adoptive Parent Recruiter, Comfort Keepers In Home Senior Care, Corporate Health Resources/Employee Assistance Program, Delta Dental.
Thirteenth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Donate Life New Mexico Donor Services, First Choice Community Healthcare Los Lunas, Health Quest Chiropractic, Herbal Life Independent Distributor Michelle Candelaria.
High Resolution Mammogram Van, Hogares Inc. Valencia, Human Services Department, Juvenile Justice Probation and Parole, Kiwanis, LaVida Felicidad, Los Lunas/Valencia County DWI program, Los Lunas Fire Department, Los Lunas Police Department, Los Lunas Parks and Recreation, Los Lunas Schools
Lovelace Community Health Plan, Managed Heath Care Bureau, New Mexico State University Valencia County Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition program, Organo Gold,  Office of New Mexico Attorney General Gary K. King.
Paradigm Physical Therapy, Presbyterian Health Services, Sam’s Club, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, United Blood Services/Blood Mobile, UNM-Valencia Campus Fitness & Wellness Education Center and Campus Wellness Club.
Valencia Counseling Services,  Valencia County Chamber of Commerce, Valencia County Civitan, Valencia County News-Bulletin, Valencia Shelter Services, Valencia County Sheriff’s Department, Voter Registration, VSP, and Youth Development Incorporated Valencia.
A very special thank you goes out to Los Lunas Parks and Recreation and Rachel Pugh for all the extra help!   Congratulations Valencia County, due to all those special men and women who chose to be heroes and donated blood, our goal of 17 donors was met.
Finally, we would also like to thank the generous sponsors Business Women of Valencia County, the village of Los Lunas, and Quiznos. Without your participation and support, this health fair would have not been possible.
So again, thank you all for such a huge success! Our community is a healthier, safer place as a result of your agencies and the services that are provided. It is our hope that you will agree to join us again next year.

Ginny Adame
Interim DWI Coordinator