The piece by Sen. George Muñoz (“Stimulus — spent right — will promote opportunity,” My View, Aug. 23) about “not squandering” New Mexico’s share of federal stimulus money is right on, well, the money. And who knows the needs and concerns of New Mexicans better than New Mexicans?
Imagine having financing available for projects that “support and enhance existing industry while also diversifying our revenue streams, improving quality of life through enhanced education, roads and health care systems, and retain and attract a quality workforce” as Muñoz writes — financing run by New Mexicans rather than out-of-state shareholders.
That possibility, a New Mexico Public Bank, presented to the state legislators during the 2021 legislative session, will likely be presented in 2022. The Alliance For Economic Prosperity (aflep.org) has advocated for a public bank precisely because “We must utilize and invest those dollars in a way that will foster new growth in the economy and improve quality of life for all New Mexicans.”
Mandates are legal
Several other old-timers have written to note that when the Salk polio vaccine became available, the lines were out the door. That’s why almost nobody in the U.S. gets polio anymore. Same with measles, whooping cough and many other diseases that were common before vaccines.
Of course, that was before social media, when no reasonable person listened to crackpot theories. And, all those vaccines used actual viruses to build immunity unlike the two most common SARS vaccines. It is likely that virtually every unvaccinated person will catch COVID-19 sooner or later. Most will recover; many will need extensive medical care estimated to average $50,000; and about 2 percent will die.
COVID-19 is now the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. In 1905, the Supreme Court upheld the right of the state to mandate vaccines against the Spanish flu. Court fights against mandates today will have the same fate. Finally, if New Mexico ICUs need to start rationing care, unvaccinated COVID-19 patients should go to the bottom of the list.
retired N.M. assistant attorney general
Palm Springs, Calif.
Bees vs. birds
We have a problem. Every summer for the past few years, we have put a hummingbird feeder out on our front porch. Every year from mid-August to early September, we have always sat on our front porch rocker, watching the cute little guys buzz up and dip their long beaks into the delicious fare inside the feeder. Then came 2021 summer. One morning last week, we put two feeders out, and we noticed a lot of what we first thought were honeybees buzzing around the feeders. We learned soon enough, these were not cute little honey bees. They took over.
When a hummer approached, the bees would buzz around the poor little bird while it bravely tried to get at the food that we had prepared, but soon had to give up and fly way. This was war! When I went out to shoo the bees away, they reacted in a very aggressive fashion. Not especially wanting to get stung by them, I quickly retreated into my house. Well, doggone! Not only were the hummers denied access to their feeder, we were denied access to our own front porch. Finally, we had to take it down for good. Three losers: The bees lost their conquest territory, the hummingbirds lost the feeder and, while we can once again enjoy our front porch, we have lost the joy of watching the hummers. Anybody else have this problem?
The pool metaphor
In most communities, people with a pool are required to fence it. That protects the rest of the community from accidental drownings. If pool maintenance is so deficient that pool owners are breeding mosquitoes, they are putting their neighbors at risk for mosquito-borne illnesses, such as West Nile.
With COVID-19, unvaccinated people are providing a pool where the virus and its variants breed, putting the people around them at risk of contracting disease. Communities have regulations about private swimming pools for this very reason. We are less prepared for pandemics, so we are struggling mightily to create appropriate protections for our community. We all need to fence our pools by wearing masks and maintain them by getting vaccinated. Be a good neighbor.