Letters to the editor (11/14/13)

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Contests send wrong message
Editor:
Valencia County is again headquarters for coyote/wildlife killing contests. In the next month, two different businesses will conduct coyote killing contests. The contests promote slaughter for entertainment, publicity, and prizes.
Coyote killing contests have caused harm to those of us who live in Valencia County.  Since 2010, our county has been home to multiple contests and our coyote population has been drastically reduced.
Now we have more rodents, feral cats, and raccoons all of which harm our poultry and reduce songbird populations. As livestock owners, we like having coyotes around because they contribute to a balanced environment. If we have a problem, we do not need the “help” of commercial contest promoters.
It is clear that the contests serve no purpose except to enrich the corporate interests sponsoring them. Likewise, no one has shown that the contests result in effective control of problem predators. Most revealing is the motto of coyote contest promoters and contestants: “Kill ‘em all!” That is a call for species extinction and not rational management.
Teams go out to call in coyotes and other wildlife using electronic callers, semi-automatic weapons, GPS systems, and other advanced killing equipment. Some of the weapons shoot more than 1,000 yards. Sometimes children are encouraged to participate in contests. Public safety is an afterthought.
We know the contestants use public lands and have been known to shoot near residential areas, public roads, licensed game hunting areas and hiking areas.
The fact that some promoters pledge a portion of the proceeds to “charity” does not magically convert commercial mass killing of wildlife for prizes and money into something that serves the public interest. Regardless of the disposition of some of the money, killing for entertainment is still killing for entertainment. Surely, contest promoters can find other acceptable ways to support causes they believe in, just like the rest of us.
These contests do nothing to enhance the reputation, property values and safety of our county. Our county is already well-known for a high incidence of animal cruelty, child cruelty and violence.
Our median home prices have decreased by about 24 percent in the last year. Compare that to the increase in demand and prices for Albuquerque homes. No matter how many parks we put in or how many low-wage businesses open up, we will not be competitive in a modern, humane world if we do not take care of the underlying problem of violence festering in this county.
We ask the contest promoters to do what is best for our county: Cancel the contests and find another way to promote your businesses other than bloodsport killing contests.

Guy and Elisabeth Dicharry
Los Lunas

Late-term abortions are wrong
Editor:
Nearly a thousand signatures were presented to the Valencia County Commission on petitions asking the commission to enact an ordinance to ban abortions in Valencia County for pain-capable unborn babies past 20 weeks of gestation.
These signatures were collected in just a couple of weeks by a small group of persons, but they found great enthusiasm from people wanting to sign.
The idea for the petitions came from a public meeting inviting suggestions from county residents. The idea was to be proactive and not have to face what Albuquerque is doing trying to get rid of an abortion mill that advertises, “abortions up to 29 weeks or later with cause,” that has made New Mexico an abortion magnet to people all over the nation. We have residents of our county who were born at 25 weeks, 22 or even 21 weeks.
There is ample medical and anatomical evidence that babies at 20 weeks gestation are capable of feeling excruciating pain, more even than adults. We just can’t hear them try to scream.
A poll done in Valencia County in 2011 found that 60 percent of citizens of our county identify themselves as pro-life.  A survey done by Rasmussen Polling in the last few months found that half of all pro-choice voters support a ban on abortions after 20 weeks.  If that holds true for Valencia County, then nearly 90 percent of the people in our county would favor a ban on abortions after 20 weeks.
In fact, we found that even pro-choice people were happy to sign the petitions. Almost all people are either opposed to those late term abortions or are very uncomfortable about them.  And no one wants them done here.
We have a county which opposes cruelty to animals, passes ordinances that require euthanasia for unwanted dogs and cats to be guaranteed painless. We will not sit still for a barbaric and painful death for viable unborn babies.
At the future commission meeting there will likely be a vote whether to pursue this by publishing a proposed ordinance to be voted on at a later time.  If you have an opinion on this, please let your commissioner know how you feel.

Jackie Farnsworth
Los Lunas

Separation of church and state
Editor:
Letter-writer (Dana) Bowley “beat-me-to-it” as I seethed about Rep. Alonzo Baldonado’s comments made as he serves in the state Legislature.
He is entitled to say things in public forums as a private citizen, and I am strongly supportive of any citizen exercising that right. However, Mr. Baldonado’s privacy as a citizen is compromised while serving in his elected position.
It is a colossal error to fail to grasp how one’s intent is measured by the public against how one speaks on personal views, and moreover when the view is insulting to others. It is somewhat indicative of a price an otherwise ordinary citizen must pay to serve as our legislative representative.
Separation of church and state is the law of the land, and Mr. Baldonado should keep that in mind. Perhaps, he would benefit by reviewing his basic understanding of the idea.

Guy Glover
Los Lunas