Letters to the editor (11/14/12)

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Call off the coyote killing contest
Editor:
There are better ways to promote a business than sponsoring the mass killing of wildlife.
Killing contests contribute nothing to New Mexico culture or ecology, and further impoverish an already poor state.
Coyotes belong in New Mexico and their mass killing shows a total disregard for the ethics of hunting and the health of our ecosystems.
When ranchers lose animals, it’s mostly due to illness, birthing problems and weather. Coyotes and other native carnivores are not a significant cause of herd mortality.
Killing coyotes disrupts their social structure and results in more breeding to compensate for the losses.
Just because an action isn’t illegal doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. New Mexicans value their remaining wildlife and the disgust over this planned slaughter of native wildlife makes it clear that New Mexicans are no longer willing to accept this senseless waste and slaughter.

Charles Fox
Santa Fe

We shouldn’t reward those who kill coyotes
Editor:
New Mexico is once again in the spotlight, this time “killing for fun.”
Gunhawk Firearms, sadly a business in Los Lunas, is holding this killing contest, as I am sure you are aware.
Let’s be clear, I am not anti-hunting or in favor of gun control.
It is abhorrent and ruthless to hold a contest in which participants are rewarded for the most animals killed. Not only does this glorify wanton killing, but it also reinforces the idea that animals’ lives don’t matter, too many around anyway.
The owner of Gunhawk Firearms, Mr. Mark Chavez, is using this “killing for fun” hunt as a means to profit, charging contestants $50 each. He has now come up with the excuse that a scholarship will be set up with profits of selling the coyote hides.
Remarks that people don’t understand what it’s like to live in a rural area is showing unabashed ignorance and such a philosophy and evaluation of current conditions so far behind in practicality that it is surreal.
Unethical cattle growers, and be real, they do exist, will blame every loss of every head of cattle to predators as they seek financial reimbursement from state and or federal funding that they lobby for every year to increase. Isn’t that convenient and comfortable?
I am opposed to my tax dollars compensating cattle growers and others for their losses. These individuals chose the business they are in and should not be subsidized at every turn.  The prices they charge the consumer for their beef aren’t dropped for every dollar they receive in compensation for their supposed losses to predators.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s own data reports that coyotes and other native carnivores are responsible for a tiny percentage of all livestock losses. In their endorsement of the contest, the N.M. Cattle Growers Association attempts to justify this carnage by drastically overstating livestock losses to carnivores, applying national totals to just New Mexico. Why? Where is the ethics in this?
Published research shows that indiscriminate killing of coyotes throws off their natural social structure that keeps their own numbers in check.  Coyotes play a vital and natural role in the ecosystem, eating mostly rodents that can carry plague and hantavirus.
Mr. Chavez stated that it is his right to hunt and teach his kids to hunt. Yes, hunting is his right, slaughter is not.
My father gave me my first rifle at age 12 and took me hunting often, eating what we killed. My father started out ranching, but the big difference being he was very aware of the balance of nature, understood and treasured the diversity, and did not abhor the Creator’s wisdom in giving to our care an amazing assemblage of creatures.
Humans, given everything, the ultimate being created to dominate all creation, enjoys “killing for sport,” “killing for fun.”
Even so, often times he is a charlatan, using pretexts for hunting and killing that are dubious and perverse, without reason.
Unlike the true sportsman, he insists that his perversion is his right and he has his weapon to prove it.  Nevertheless, he is wrong.

Yolanda Garcia
Peralta

Peralta is better off without interference
Editor:
Once upon a time, about 15 years ago, Abenicio Otero, who was just Ben to all of us, asked me to attend a meeting at Peralta Elementary.
He gave me letter he had received from the state Department of Transportation regarding widening of N.M. 47 for a turning lane in the center of the road.
Ben’s great nephew, Leon, tells me that the issue has been going on since some time before the, maybe 20 years or more. The property Ben was concerned about is now my home, the old Peralta schoolhouse.
Anyway, now NMDOT and their engineering firm, Molzen-Corbin, is telling us that if wish to see that center turning lane, we have to take a lot of other things with that we don’t necessarily want.
Medians, for example, Nobody, nobody, but nobody wants them. How about those curbs, gutters and sidewalks? Most of us would prefer to pass on these if for no other reason than that we don’t care to look like Rio Rancho.
Bike lanes? For who? Who would risk life and limb riding even 100 feet on N.M. 47?
What about a fancy new drainage system? Do you trust that idea?
I was in New Orleans (recently) because Hurricane Isaac sank my fishing boat, even though it was stored in the best hurricane hole in the entire area.
But after Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent billions walling of the city of New Orleans.
That city is much safer now, but all of the surrounding communities are vulnerable. The thing is, high water has to go somewhere, and I think I know where it will go in our community when Molzen-Corbin is finished designing our so-called drainage system.
And I’m not the only property owner on N.M. 47 that will flood. They tell us it just has to be maintained. That should like a great way to pass the buck and avoid responsibility when it does flood us out, as it probably will.
I’ll be buying expensive flood insurance and possibly building an even more expensive barrier wall.
And how about those streetlights? Personally, I’d rather be able to look up and see some stars.
So why are all these extras being stuffed down our collective throats when all we ever asked for is a turning lane? Let’s cut right to the chase. There are $10 million, oops, I mean reasons. Actually, they are one and the same.
Imagine how much less the engineers and contractors will be paid for a simple turning lane without all the extras. And if we, the taxpayers, are footing the bill, why can’t we get what we want?
The engineers and the DOT are trying to tell us its for safety reasons. We all know that that is BS.
Creating a situation that will result in U-turns, people driving over medians and causing confusion among residents and drive-by traffic alike, by plopping down a different strategy for two miles between Bosque Farms and Los Lunas, is in no now bringing us a safer driving environment.
It’s all about their best interests, financial interests that is. These folks live in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho and who couldn’t care less about day-to-day life in Peralta.
I, for one, am tired of being treated and spoken to like a dumb kid who won’t eat his brussel sprouts.
Furthermore, I’d rather live with the devil I know than take on all these unknown situations they are trying to sell us.
We may not like what we have, but what we’re going to get from these guys looks and sounds a lot worse.
If you live or work on N.M. 47 in Peralta, how does four or five years of one lane and lots of orange barrels sound to you?
They’ll probably down play the length of time it will take to do the project, but we all know better.
After all, Molina Road and N.M. 47 were supposed to be done in a month, but four months later, are they finished or just taking a break?
In 1985, DOT embarked on a plan to widen N.M. 6 in Los Lunas. By the time they finished, small businesses were either closed down or starving.
I know because I was one of them. They are still working constantly on that road, and no residences exist there any longer. Do we want to look like N.M. 6 in Los Lunas? I don’t think so.
In conclusion, I want to clearly state that I think they can be beat. When this same DOT and this same Mozlen-Corbin wanted to condemn the Luna Mansion property for a right turn lane, we beat them.
It took a grassroots support from the community, historic preservationists from everywhere, and a district court judge in Santa Fe, but we successfully said no.
I hope Peralta won’t have to go that far, but I believe a good first step would be to tell these suits they can take their $10 million and put it where the sun don’t shine.
I’d personally rather keep the devil I know, even if it means no turning lane, than eat brussel sprouts.

Earl Whittemore
Peralta

People’s pets deserve better
Editor:
I was at the animal shelter in Los Lunas on Sept. 29 right before closing, looking for an animal to adopt.
A man and lady brought two bassett hounds on in on leashes and handed them to a worker, saying “They won’t know it was the neighbors, will they?” And the worker said, “No.”
Monday, on their website, they were listed as strays. There are so many things wrong with this I don’t know where to start.
1. Those people had no right to take someone else’s property to the shelter and leave them. They were healthy and not mean or vicious.
If you had a problem with the owners of the dogs barking or baying, they are hounds you know. You should speak to the owners. If you had already tried, there are still other measures you could take.
I guess you should get credit for taking them to the shelter instead of leaving them some where on the mesa, but I am not sure what was worse.
I called the shelter to find out what had happened to the dogs, left a message, and they never called me back.
2. They had owners who loved them. And I am sure they are worried about what happened to them.
Not to mention how the defenseless animals felt being taken from their home and left at the shelter. They do not know why they are not home or what they had done wrong.
3. The shelter knows they were someone else’s animals and they took them anyway. They were receiving stolen property.
I do not know how much it is to reclaim your dogs from the shelter, but they would have to pay twice because there were two dogs.
Maybe these were people who could not afford to reclaim their animals, or is that what you were hoping? If they were loose, you knew where they lived and who they belonged to.
The decent thing to do would have been to keep the dogs until the owners came home. I know you do not have pets of your own, which is probably a good thing.
Now I am not sure it is safe to adopt listed as a stray when it might belong to a family. Do they not check for chips when they get dogs?
Taking a pet away from someone who loves an animal is cruel to the pet and to the owners.
Taking someone else’s property to the shelter, unless they are being abused, should be the last thing you do.
I heard you mention there being a bassett hound rescue in Colorado, where I hope those two don’t end up. I can only hope they have been reunited with the owners.

Patsy Freeman
Los Lunas

Why do Catholics vote for Democrats
Editor:
Mr. Gilbert Ulivarri touts in his letter that “God’s Roman Catholic Church is the government of the whole universe.”
Why do so many Catholics vote liberal Democrat that supports killing unborn babies and same sex marriage, and then go to Mass on Sunday?

Delbert A. Gabaldon
Grapevine, Texas