Letters to the editor (11/17/12)


Where is the outrage about other hunting
Well enough is enough.
All we have heard lately besides politics is the coyote hunt — not coyote killing, a term used to make all more than it is.
Each year, and for as long as I can remember and that’s a long time, there have been hunters going after game, such as deer, elk, bear and antelope; and on special hunts on the White Sands Missile Range, there are hunts for Ibex.
Where are all the Pollyanna`s then? Isn’t it just as bothersome to these same people to see these so-called game animals hunted and killed? There was a time that hunting game was for food, but not today. It is considered a sport.
It seems that protesting is a sport for people, who for whatever they don’t like, the solution is protest.
Myself, I am not a hunter, nor am I a gun enthusiast. But like so many despicable so-called sports I believe that what one man or person feels is bad, there are many more that think it is alright.
Protest about what one sees on TV when you watch cage fighting. Now that is barbaric and inhumane.
I suppose that all the complainers are mostly urban dwellers and have not had a special pet, say a dog, cat or whatever, carried off to be killed and eaten by coyotes.
Ask ranchers about newborn calves carried off and eaten, or sheep or any innocent animal that finds itself at the mercy of coyotes.
Please don’t give that story about calves and so on that are lost mainly through illness or whatever. If any of you were to lose $100 to thieves or say pickpockets, wouldn’t you like to see them punished.
The population of coyotes will probably not be known, but be sure there are thousands, and each female gives birth to litters of six or eight or more. I have never been around a birthing of coyote pups, so I can not answer how many to a litter.
I feel for the store owner, a small businessman trying to do business up against the super big sporting store like Walmart or Caliber’s. What chance does David have against Goliath?

Ron Salazar
Los Lunas

It’s a sad situation for a wonderful county
I am a disabled veteran, handgun trained, wartime service.
I oppose this wanton killing of the coyote and want to let your (readers) know. I also am a landowner of 40 plus acres. Why not engage in tourism instead of killing?
Don’t these folks get that many New Mexicans have not even seen a coyote? Why not take folks on tourism trips on the ranches, serve lunch, meet the rancher, charge a fee? People will pay. I would.
Is this all about a free gun? Why not just have a raffle? Why involve killing innocent animals?
Coyotes are the voice, like the wolf,  for the wild. They take care of critters and are pretty entertaining. If one is worried about their stock, there are folks who ranch in New Mexico who use other methods of curtailing coyotes and killing them isn’t an option.
Thanks for listening to me, and I am sad for Valencia County to have this blot against an otherwise wonderful county.

Beth McDonald
Santa Fe
Slaughterfest is blight on treatment of animals
“It’s a helluva a thing killing a man. You take away all he’s got, and all he’s ever going to have.”
That line, uttered by Clint Eastwood in his movie “Unforgiven” can pertain to animals as well.
Animals have always been, at best, second-class citizens. A prime example of their status in this world and their treatment will be on display this weekend during the statewide coyote slaughterfest sponsored by Gunhawk  Firearms.
I call it a slaughterfest because you really can’t call this a hunt, not really. Using a semi-automatic weapon to obliterate an animal is not really a test of skill. Maybe if you were hunting a cheetah it would be, but not a coyote.
However, the real problem with the hunt is a bigger issue, a societal issue. It is our overall perception of an animal’s place in this world, which if you’ve seen a factory farm lately, is basically hell.
As humans, we’ve never had a problem with playing God, meting out death with the pull of a trigger or the slash and pull of a knife and fork. And I say “playing” God because if we behaved like the God I know, the God I believe in, a God of love, compassion and mercy, we wouldn’t kill anything, for any reason.
I’m not a Bible scholar like many of the writers in this newspaper, but I believe in Genesis when God speaks of having “dominion” over all the animals and creatures that creep upon the earth, having dominion means being the caretakers of the animals not their killers.
Matthew Scully, a former speech writer for George W. Bush, in his book, “Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Man and the Call to Mercy,” gives a conservative Christian perspective to this issue.
He gives evidence how we as  humans have a great responsibility to treat animals with simple dignity and compassion — something you don’t see too much these days. Ask anyone who is involved with dog fighting.
We do have a double standard for animals in our culture. No doubt about that. We love and pamper our dogs and cats, while we munch away on our steaks, veal, pork, Big Mac’s, Whopper’s — you get the idea.
Philosopher Jeremy Bentham said it best when he stated, “The question is not, can they speak or can they reason, but can they suffer?”
So, on with the coyote slaughterfest in all it’s blood-drenched glory. But fear not animal lovers. Karma is always at work in our world and animals do have their ways of extracting revenge — it’s a called a heart attack.

Rob Raucci
Rio Communities

Valencia County has changed its ways
The coyote hunt contest is appalling to any compassionate person. As the mother of all that is grass-roots animal activism, I applaud the outraged citizens who have come to carry signs and protest.
What I find troubling is the same protesters are creating a general indictment against Valencia County about animal cruelty.
More than a decade ago, I launched a petition drive and succeeded in gathering close to 1,000 signatures in order to file a citizen’s petitioned grand jury investigation into allegations of cruelty at the Valencia County Animal Shelter.
Animals routinely froze to death in outside cages or were killed with cruel heart shots or gunshots. Complaints of animal cruelty in the county were virtually ignored.
After my petition was filed, the county received a grant to rebuild the shelter, but the culture of cruelty remained throughout the tenure of several directors.
All of that changed when Erik Tanner arrived. As an animal control officer, Erik fought to make Valencia County Animal Control a safe and humane agency, quickly responsive to cruelty complaints.
VCAC really turned a corner when Erik became the director. He has brough his agency up to the highest standards of animal control/shelter operations.
In contrast, I am still at war with Albuquerque Animal Control for its inhumane practice of abandoning unadopted shelter cats back outside at construction sites, shopping centers, etc., where the cats have never been. Some have been burned after climbing into car engines for warmth.
This program was started by Director Barbara Bruin, who also forbids animal control officers and dispatch from handling cat complaints in order to keep the shelter cat population down. I even filed a police report against Bruin for criminal animal abandonment.
Thank you Erik Tanner for your tireless work in improving the lives of the animals and people of Valencia County. I wish Albuquerque Animal Control had a director like you.

Marcy Britton

Angel Tree program needs your help
Angel Tree is a nationwide program where prisoner moms and dads sign up their children.
Folks, usually through their church, purchase small Christmas gifts and give them to the children in the name of the incarcerated parent with the love of Jesus.
The good news is all the 250 some Angel Tree kiddos in Valencia County are covered.
The bad news is some 750 other New Mexico Angel Tree kiddos are not covered, primarily in the south and northwest.
We purchase two gifts per child: one useful, one fun, $15-$25 per gift.
Call me at 980-8837 if you want to help out.

John Shipe
Angel Tree elf

Two women have made a difference
First, I would like to take the time to tell you just how impressed I am with the way this area treats their elderly senior citizens.
I grew up in the West and spent years in the Midwest. In these areas, we each take care of our own, but I have never seen the extent of “caring” from a whole community as I have seen here.
I attend the Del Rio Senior Center in Rio Communities. The whole staff is very helpful, attentive and efficient, but there are two women who are exceptional.
Rosemary Marshal and Bertha Flores go way above and beyond the call of duty. They are both greatly appreciated and loved by the senior members.
These two women are not just a blessing to the senior center, but to the whole community.
Thank you to all who give so much, but especially to these two beautiful, caring women.

Lois Bulkey
Rio Communities

It’s time for RC to take care of itself
Almost four years ago, at an RCA meeting, I heard several speakers address questions about incorporation with the members and guests.
Rio Communities had unsuccessfully attempted to incorporate some years before, and many reasons were given for that defeat. The question was still very much alive for the folks at a (recent) meeting: How would we best get our needs met as a community?
Later, I was elected president of RCA. We continued to have meetings, form study committees, contact government officials, engage in a full out investigation of what might be best for the citizens of our Rio Communities.
We had a number of invited presenters speak to our membership at public meetings. The possibility of being annexed into Belen was explored with representatives of the city and other interested people. There was a brief window when this looked like a real possibility that would benefit Belen and our communities.
Just recently, Belen formally let us know that they had no intention of annexing us and that we were free to continue our efforts to bring the incorporation issue to a vote.
Businesses are clear that they will not locate in the Rio Communities until we are incorporated. We need a police force that will focus completely on our community’s needs.
A large group of citizens from throughout the area began to meet months ago to seriously address the issue of incorporation. The committee is not part of RCA, but is supported by RCA.
Our citizens feel vulnerable as an unincorporated area. Our county is very large and county resources are stretched very thin.
After an unfortunate crime spree this past spring, we became more aggressive in our consideration of incorporation. With great help from the New Mexico Municipal League, we were able to get preliminary estimates of income and other resources that would make our viability as a township feasible.
We have been assured by many government officials and consultants that we are in a very good position to take our government into our own hands. Our community is poised to grow and many of the dreams that we have been dreaming are set to happen.
Some people want assurances. These years of study keep resulting the same answer. We can continue to complain about the lack of services, be frustrated that our voice is not heard at county commission meetings, but we have an opportunity to design a government that is responsive to our people, our needs.
This is our community. It is time we take responsibility for it. Our citizens will have an opportunity to vote in January and we can take charge of our future.
We can develop the programs we want for our youth. We can protect our homes and businesses. We can focus on safety and beauty as we invite new businesses to serve our needs. We can bring back to life the potential that our township has.
It is time to risk the change.

George Moscona
Rio Communities

The facts are the facts, despite letter
In response to Mr. Zanotti’s letter with regards to my supposed false statements about PNM’s La Luz Energy Center on the West Mesa, all the facts I stated in my letter of Aug. 29 were taken directly from PNM’s documentation at the CAC meetings, statements from Doug Campbell/PNM and state documented depth of wells on the mesa.
All the information I passed out when myself and other residents were contacting our neighbors with the petition were copies of the maps and printed material PNM had supplied at the residents meeting and at CAC meetings.
Doug Campbell of PNM did an interview for this paper that stated the same information after my letter of Aug. 29. How would I have stated those facts in my letter before Doug Campbell’s interview if I didn’t already have that information from a CAC meeting?
Our petition had more than 107 signatures of Valencia County residents who were opposed to the La Luz Energy Center and the rezoning on the West Mesa. It would have been more had we had more time.
I’m not trying to control the future energy for Valencia County, as Mr. Zanotti calls it, but it seems he may be making false accusations. I believe, as do my neighbors, that we have the right to have a say in what happens to our environment and the place we live.
The number of wells, depth of those wells, evaporation ponds, etc., have all been address at the public meetings and at the P&Z as well as the county commission meeting by PNM. Was Mr. Zanotti asleep at these meetings when Doug Campbell was making his presentations or was he counting ceiling tiles?
As to disbelieving what PNM says, I think that is my right as a citizen. It is still a free country isn’t it? I am not totally convinced that PNM will do what they claim at the energy center or for the residents of the West Mesa. I do not follow blindly.
Once PNM has what they want, will they just walk away? The reason I volunteered my time to be on the community advisory committee was to make sure I got firsthand information on the La Luz Energy Center.
As to the explosion at the PNM substation here on the mesa, they probably do happen elsewhere, but they happened here. I think I have every right to be concerned about explosions when they happen within a few 100 feet of my property.
I would hope others would be just as concerned after finding out that the people in charge of building a new project on the mesa did not know a thing about the explosions. It leaves one wondering what would happen in the future.
I do give Laurie Moye of PNM credit for finding out for us what caused the explosions.
Mr. Zanotti needs to listen better at the CAC meetings, read the notes from those meetings and get his facts together before he makes accusations.

Mary Holmes

Commission should reconsider Miller
(Recently) I attended the hospital presentation and was quite impressed with the plans for a hospital in Los Lunas, but was disappointed to learn that our esteemed county commissioners had voted to send the hospital funds to Belen.
I further learned that our Los Lunas commissioner had been the third vote. When asked about the vote, her reply was that she had not heard of the hospital project.
This does not square with the facts Miller and associates spoke to three commissioners, sent letters to the commissioners prior to the vote and the project had a lot of coverage in the News-Bulletin.
This excuse does not pass the smell test. I would guess that our commissioner had not heard of World War II and it was in all the papers.
I just hope that when she runs for re-election, that the voters in Los Lunas do no forget.
The only request that Miller had was for the commissioners to make their decision after the presentation in Los Lunas. They did not even consider the request.
It’s becoming painfully clear that our commissioners do not care what the voters want, only their own selfish interests. As a matter of opinion, I do not believe there will ever be a hospital in Belen, and we had better keep a close eye on those funds as money seems to have a great proclivity for being mishandled in Valencia County.
For those who remember, the last hospital in Belen was shut down because the citizens turned down an increase in the mill rate.
This is not the representation we voted for, and hopefully it will improve in the next election cycle.

James Taylor
Los Lunas