Letters to the editor (05/23/13)

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Unfair pay increases
Editor:
I am curious to know the rationale behind the reason/s why state policemen are treated so differently from other state employees.
Whenever the Legislature and the governor get around to finally doing their primary job, preparing and approving a budget, state policemen get a substantial salary increase while others get nothing or a minimal increase.
The $5.9 billion budget gives state police a 4 percent salary increase and l percent for all other employees, including teachers.
While I have tremendous respect for state policemen, I don’t agree with the Legislature or the governor that they are entitled to that much special treatment. They are in no more danger than are members of local police departments when performing their duties.
In fact, I believe local law enforcement personnel are subject to greater potential danger on a daily basis than state policemen and, yet, they, generally, go with minimal increases.
And, if we really want to be fair and objective, teachers and other employees are also confronted with danger, different but, none-the-less danger, on a daily basis when performing their duties.
We often hear of teachers getting physically abused in addition to the verbal abuse to which they are subjected from students and parents simply because of the nature of their job.  Other state employees, as well, face some type of danger when carrying out their duties, especially those who deal with clients who may react negatively when they don’t get the assistance they are asking for. The verbal abuse alone can be as painful as some of the dangers faced by a state policeman.
Now, if there are some other logical reasons for granting state police a 4 percent salary increase, reasons that are supported with empirical evidence, I would be happy to reconsider my opposition.
Until then, Mr. Legislator and Madam Governor, don’t do this. You are hurting employee morale; something AFSCME should be raising hell about.  I realize you have the luxury of being removed from your constituents and, thus, easier to forget about what you do in Santa Fe. Regardless, it doesn’t justify your action.

John Lopez
Bosque Farms

A stuck-in-the-sand angel
Editor:
It was below freezing. A young man’s truck was stuck in sand. He had no shovel or jack.
We couldn’t get the truck unstuck. Then he took off his coat when he found some gravel and carried gravel in his coat.
He put the rough gravel under the stuck tire. I helped by pushing the truck. We got it unstuck.
He offered a fist full of coins. He helped me much more than I helped him. He may have been an angel.

Martin Frank Kirtley
Los Lunas

Garbage tax is unfair
Editor:
I would like to thank Stella Creek for her great letter to the editor on March 23.
The previous commission gave this contract to Waste Management.
My trash collector is doing an excellent job for me at $15 a month. A.C. stops and picks up wind-blown trash. Wind-blown trash is ignored by Waste Management.
The big trucks Waste Management are crunching up our fragile, narrow roads. (Those with asphalt.)
And the people did not vote for a tax to enforce trash pick up.

W. A. Dean
Los Chavez

Bosque in serious danger
Editor:
This time every year we brace ourselves for the dreadful inevitable bosque fires which are consuming trees faster than we can replant them.  Even if we could replant our native cottonwood trees as fast as they are being destroyed, we absolutely cannot grow them to their full grandeur as fast they are being overcome by the invasive salt cedar aliens following the fires.
A couple decades ago, around the time I was realizing that I had discovered a lost breed of living history, the New Mexico Dahl hair sheep, I wrote an op-ed for this paper sounding the alarm, beseeching the public to recognize that we should return to countenancing nature’s efficacious way of preserving of the bosque.
That is, before humans arrived in New Mexico herds of native deer, sheep, buffalo, antelope, etc., grazed the greener parts of the landscape in the warm months.
Then, as the grass and graze were in shorter supply, and became covered by snow they descends into the valley among the cottonwoods and cleaned up all the nutritious fallen leaves covering the valley floor.
In this way random lightning strikes will take out a single tree. Without an abundance of slash and leaves the burning tree will not spread and consume everything.
Because the substantial loss of bosque forest does not directly affect the public, the masses shrug it off as the day’s bad news and get on with their own lives. This indifference will however prove fatal for a near generation of humans as the same indifference is leading to severe climate change.
Allan Savory explains how the desertification of the planet can be reversed by mimicking wild ruminants with domesticated livestock.  Using Allan Savory’s methods here in New Mexico means we could not only save our bosque forests and save the almost extinct breed of New Mexico Dahl sheep, but help re-green our planet before it is too late.
These sheep will eat noxious and invasive weeds that cattle and other sheep will not. This is a “win-win” solution which both the business community and tree-huggers can agree on. Hopefully, our lawmakers are paying attention.

Donald Chavez y Gilbert
Belen