The letters have been modified to reflect the correct name of letter writer Ellen Stone, which was published as Ellen Brown in the print version.

Here we go again: another legislative session, another same-old regressive, reactionary backlash approach to an age-old challenge with an onslaught of crime bills at the Roundhouse. Let us review just one of the past tough-on-crime regimens we’ve endured: Richard Nixon was big on the idea. He got tough on crime with his much-ballyhooed war on drugs. It was actually a war on people and did much to turn our country into a prison planet. The sentiment of the times lead to other such blunders as mandatory sentencing minimums, three-strikes-you’re-out laws and federal sentencing guidelines. Along the way, we’ve watched as bad ideas become bad policy and then become enshrined as law of the land.

Fifty years of failed policy ought to direct us toward a new approach, not facile blandishments. Too often, this get-tough policymaking amounts to just another pathway to prison for people of color, people with fewer resources and those born in the wrong place. It should be obvious to our lawmakers that more tough-on-crime legislation is not the way forward. More laws will fail the desired, stated result, which is less crime. More laws equate to more people in jail. Is that really what we want for our families in New Mexico? We need to look at root causes and not just symptoms. It’s absurd that drug use is coupled to legal consequences, but that’s what tough-on-crime attitudes foster. It’s a means of selective punishment for a segment of society that needs our help. Let’s push for a more enlightened approach during this “short” session, please.

David Franke

Santa Fe

Expanding airport won’t help

For months, I have believed we would emerge from the coronavirus pandemic determined to make a more just society and more sustainable economy. I am beginning to doubt my optimism.

If we are not to destroy our home, the natural world, we cannot maintain the economic model of expansion followed in Western countries for centuries. Our beautiful planet is not infinite; it does not have unlimited capacity to fulfill our ever-expanding desires. A major contributor to global warming is the release of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, partially caused by burning fossil fuels to power transportation systems. Air travel is one of the most polluting means of transport. Although we know all this, we are enlarging our airport. Is all mitigation of air pollution up to others? If our climate crisis is to be solved, all must do their part. Enlarging the Santa Fe airport won’t improve anyone’s climate.

Allison Lemons

Santa Fe

Save the open space

Ken Brown’s recent “My View” regarding the South Meadows Road field perpetuates a false narrative about the land beloved by residents. Brown, outreach manager for Homewise, disparaged our field while touting trails far away. Like Kim Shanahan, a developer friend of Homewise, recently wrote, Brown gave instruction on what a park should look like. Both men insisted that parks are developed and unfenced, characterized our field as an eyesore and chastised south-side residents for cherishing it in its current state. However, much effort went into planning a mostly naturalized park with learning opportunities for students in neighboring schools on our field. The residents cannot be blamed for loving and valuing the field for its quiet beauty and walking trails rather than dwell on the forgotten promises of city and county officials. This moment swells with opportunity to reestablish communication between officials and their constituents. Save the south-side open space.

Ellen Stone

Santa Fe

(1) comment

Ella Frank

Well said.

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