Letters to the editor (01/09/13)


Medians in Peralta might just save lives
I was not born nor raised in Peralta, but I have lived here for 36 years, long enough to have raised a family here and to have seen many, many changes come to our small community.
The reason for incorporation was to bring new opportunities, especially business opportunities, for the betterment of our town.
And with those new businesses brings more traffic. In order to get a turn lane, certain thing have to happen to accommodate a broader road and prevent flooding and whether we, as citizens, want those amenities, such as sidewalks, curbs and gutters, they are required to make the design work.
All of us would love to retain our rural lifestyle, but when we ask for more, we have to expect change. And I though that the bottom line for this turn lane was for safety with or without the extra frills.
We have lost too many lives not having a turn lane. So if having curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and yes, some medians means saving one life, then I am all for it, no matter how long it takes to complete the project.

Jeanette Wayne

Joint powers agreement doesn’t seem right
I have serious questions about the hospital joint powers agreement between Belen and the county.
I wonder just what is that Belen is offering. I looks like they have no intention of donating the land to the hospital. They’ll just let the hospital use it. The county will be responsible for getting someone to build the facility.
So what are these powers? Belen will not have anything to do with the development or operation of the hospital, nor with the transfer of the mill levy. They are just going to let it happen on Christopher Road. Whoop de-do!
The city councilors are trying to make us think that they are doing us a great favor by enabling a hospital in the county, when I am sure that lots of landowners would be willing to donate or sell and equal amount of land to a hospital operator without restrictions.
Belen tells us that the taxpayers won’t have to pay for the construction. If not, why get the county involved at all?
The commissioners aren’t going to build the facility. It’s not going to be a city hospital, and apparently not a county hospital either.
That means that the project will have to be in private hands. Why would a private hospital investor want to get mired down in governmental red tape when they could build, as Miller Architects plans to, on their own terms.
So again, what are these joint powers? The whole thing is a joke. The mill levy is the whole cause of this mess, as (former) Chairman (Don) Holliday told us.
The agreement should be dropped and the mill levy allowed to go to the first hospital to open its doors.

Jane Underwood

Banning any kind of hunting isn’t feasible
Recently, an acquaintance asked why I had not commented on the Coyote brouhaha. I guess I waited until I got my temper under control.
Earlier this year, I spoke with a school administrator from Eastern New Mexico University regarding the Eddie Eagle Gun Safe Program. Her husband is a rancher and as they sit in their yard in the evening coyotes come to the edge of the yard and stalk their young children.
A  federal agent told me about a farmer near La Joya that lost his entire crop of watermelons to coyotes.
In Arizona, at an area of 100 homes restricted to retirees, coyotes can be seen any evening walking between the homes, hunting.
Most of these folks have small dogs or cats and the coyotes are looking for a quick take out meal. We received an email regarding a rabid coyote in that area.
Since we’ve been brainwashed that the government will take care of all our problems, residents called two different agencies. Since this was a national holiday weekend, no one was available. A resident dispatched the sick animal so no one would get bit.
In a written statement, the New Mexico land commissioner used the word “ban” regarding coyote hunting. What else will he ban on public lands? Deer and elk hunting, fishing or maybe recreational prospecting?
In New Mexico, there are 224,000 resident sportsmen who spend $456,000,000 per year. These figures are from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
There is also a 17 percent federal excise tax on fire arms, ammunition, fishing tackle and archery tackle.  Maybe the antis would like to replace this tax out of pocket when hunting and fishing are banned.

Paul Rockhold
Rio Communities

History shows their solutions don’t work
I’m writing this in response to the letter to the editor by Dennis Schlessinger in the Dec. 1 News-Bulletin.
His conclusion that stimulus programs prolong a depression and austerity programs shorten depression is not supported by history.
He states (paraphrasing) that the 1920 Depression was short because of Harding’s austerity program, and the 1929 Depression was unnecessarily long because of FDR’s “massive government programs (stimulus money).” He apparently believes that if FDR had implemented an austerity program, the Great Depression would have been over much sooner.
And for our economy, all we need to do is to follow the Republican plan of deep cuts to government programs, and tax cuts for the rich, enabling them to enjoy an additional digit in their bank accounts.
However, a broader understanding of history does not support his claim. Austerity and tax cuts for the rich do not improve the overall economy. The non-partisan Congressional Research Service recently issued a report concluding that supply-side economics (in other words, the claim that cutting taxes on the rich will benefit the middle class) actually hurts the middle class.
The 1920 Depression lasted 18 months, but only four months of it was during Harding’s administration; hardly enough time for anything Harding did to significantly affect anything.
And what is more, the 1920 Depression is commonly attributed to changing from a war economy to a peace economy, a difficult but not unexpected transition in any society.
The European economies provide ample evidence that austerity does not work. The first austerity measure was implemented about 18 months ago. Why do the European economies continue to worsen with no end in sight after implementation of several austerity measures, if Mr. Schlessinger were correct?
The Great Depression had been going on for almost four years before FDR became president. Hoover did the sorts of things that Mr. Schlessinger advocates and the economy continued to worsen.
If Mr. Schlessenger were correct, why was the Depression consistently getting worse for almost four years, before FDR came into office?
There are good reasons to believe that American capitalism was on the verge of collapse as a result of the Depression and Hoover’s policies. For a large part of Hoover’s term, his top priority was to balance the budget. Sound familiar?
Mr. Schlessinger ignores the fact that the turnaround occurred after, and as a result of  FDR’s stimulus policies. And contrary to Mr. Schlessenger’s claim, the economy did begin getting back on its feet before FDR’s policies were scaled back.
In fact, in 1937, Congress did reduce FDR’s stimulus, and as a result, the economy faltered a bit. That should demonstrate that FDR’s policies were effective.
If we want to look at a response that worked, we should study how Iceland recovered from the economic crash. Iceland changed the government, jailed some corrupt bankers, nationalized the banks, and provided an economic stimulus to the people. And after some pain, they’re doing much better than Europe.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to study a success case to see what might apply to our country instead of instituting policies that history has shown do not work?
But more importantly, I think the issue deserving focus is the disconnect between Congress and their constituents, and that’s something about which the entire spectrum of grass roots organizations can agree, from the Tea Party to Occupy.
Politicians do the bidding of their biggest campaign contributors, and it’s primarily corporations and the rich who provide the really big donations. Follow the money.
We need to implement a system where “we the people” pay them so they will answer to us. And we must overrule the Supreme Court’s erroneous decision that corporations are people and money is protected free speech. Overruling the Supreme Court requires a Constitutional Amendment.
Let’s all pull together and force this common issue by pressuring Congress as well as our local politicians.
Please visit the www.occupyloslunas.info web page and watch the Lawrence Lessig videos (on the right side). He makes clear the problems that money causes in everything from science to politics, and that’s something on which we should all be able to agree.
So let’s put aside our disagreements and work together at changing our “legalized bribery” method of campaign finance. If we don’t fix this problem, nothing else is going to get fixed.
Our small Occupy Los Lunas group meets at 10 a.m. every Sunday at  the River Park. We would welcome anybody, including Mr. Schlessenger, to drop by and talk about what we all have in common so we can work together on the issues on which we agree.

Paul Kinzelman