A dark night sky filled with stars is as spectacular as a brilliant sunset. We all deserve it as our birthright. It seems this is the moment for the city to step back and rethink streetlights. Going to LED is unquestionably the right move for energy conservation, but dimming street lights or eliminating them as the location allows is imperative for a healthier environment for humans and all species. I am so pleased to live in a neighborhood with no streetlights. Car headlights are so much more efficient now. Timed lighting and motion-activated lighting are routine now. Blasting the public realm with artificial light throughout the night is wasteful, harmful and antiquated. And having Public Service Company of New Mexico own streetlights is like having the fox own the chicken coop. Many thanks to the Dark Sky Association and the Soft Lights group for their advocacy on this topic.
Vote, vote, vote
The best revenge we can have as a society on former President Donald Trump and his storm troopers is to vote. We should teach our children to be voters and we should convince our relatives to stop watching Newsmax and Fox. If you watched the impeachment trial and saw the horrors of Jan. 6, you cannot, in all good conscience, ever consider that faction of the Republican Party for public office. Cheers and kudos to the courageous Republicans who condemned Trump and his minions and voted to impeach and convict. I hope the Republican Party remains, but only in the hands of the never-Trumpers. Trumpers are not the party of law and order, nor for the fine law enforcement officers who tried to prevent assassination that day. They are a national disgrace.
How long is too long?
Does MAGA really mean Make America Great Again? That doesn’t ring true after the events of the past few weeks. Manipulate All Gullible Americans better describes Republican supporters who believed the “big lie” and stormed the Capitol while considering themselves patriotic Americans. Even after being thrown under the bus by former President Donald Trump’s lawyers negating their claims that they were doing what Trump asked them to do, many still believe President Joe Biden did not win the election. Manipulation characterizes the actions of Republican members of Congress who violated their oaths to support the Constitution, voted to acquit Trump for inciting the violence, continue to prey on the gullible, perpetrate the big lie with lame excuses for voting not guilty, whose only concern was keeping the support of the base and who chose wrong over right, evil over good and lies over truth.
Their desire for reelection over the good of the country screams for the need for term limits. Consider Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in office 36-plus years, and his obsession to reclaim being Senate majority leader. He deliberately delayed the impeachment trial until Trump was out of office, giving himself and sycophants an excuse to acquit. Then, using blatant manipulation, he made the hypocritical declaration: Trump is responsible for the riot and should be criminally prosecuted by the courts, not Congress. By continuing to reelect folks singularly dedicated to being reelected, are we abetting them to manipulate the voting public? Is it time to begin a serious movement for term limits?
Regarding Sen. Greg Baca’s question about a woman of color’s qualifications to serve a constituency that is not representative of her gender or ethnicity: Baca is a Hispanic male (“Senator criticized over question he asked Black Cabinet official,” Feb. 13). His constituency is about half female and includes men and woman who are not Hispanic. There also are LGBTQ people of many ethnicities. By the standard that Baca put forth regarding an ability to represent different constituencies, he is uniquely not qualified to represent people different than him. His state of mind makes his service incompatible with serving all the people.
Inadequate jury protocols
I received my latest summons to jury service last week. I must say, I was disappointed with the COVID-19-safe practices enclosures. It was not much more than the no-brainer list of precautions. For example, we had 6-foot social distancing, forehead temperature checks, face masks required and sanitizers available.
As a background actress, most film productions that employ me require me to take a COVID-19 test in the week or days before I am to be on set (at their expense, plus I am paid for my time). When that comes back in a few days as negative, I am informed I am eligible to work. Then when I report for work, I am typically given the rapid COVID-19 test and am told I can stay and work pending a negative result. I would have expected these same or similar procedures by the state and county.
I feel the film industry cares more about their employees than the state. The state should lead by example. Better yet, give us the vaccine a week before we enter the courthouse or give people their jury summons after they are given the vaccine.
Don’t say his name
Now that the verdict on the impeachment is in, let’s not give 45 the attention he craves. Let’s not ever mention his name again.
What about bus drivers?
I am a frequent rider of the wonderful Santa Fe Ride and the local bus system. I continually ask the drivers if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine (in my opinion, they are first responders), and the answer has always been “no.” They tell me they have never been tested for COVID-19 since February 2020. Yet they drive seniors and people with disabilities every day. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate these services and the kindness and consideration of the drivers and staff. I cannot understand why they are not tested more frequently and haven’t received their vaccines yet.
A windfall tax
It will be interesting to see the annual reports for our big-box “essential” businesses for 2020. It seems they had record earnings while our New Mexico small businesses suffered greatly during this coronavirus pandemic after being ordered to close or limit entry of consumers. While I was glad the big-box stores were there to meet my needs for food and sundry needs, we need legislation creating a future emergency fund for events like our current pandemic or similar situations where the population and businesses at large are restricted on their movements.
My proposal is a windfall profits tax that would kick in when government-ordered closures are needed. The big-box suppliers that have the OK to stay open would need to report the increased business activity (earnings) and pay a percentage into the fund that could be used to help the closed and severely restricted small businesses. Since this windfall tax should be set up to only take effect during an emergency shutdown, the funds collected ought to actually be used to reimburse the state for monies it spent trying to help the small, home-grown businesses meet payroll, rents and other overhead.
Harvey Morgan II
Apropos of the missing plaque on the path leading to the Cross of the Martyrs, the destruction of the obelisk on the Plaza and other misguided acts of theft or destruction, I’m reminded of Edmund Burke’s version of what George Santayana first suggested: “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Take care of our monuments that teach our history. By all means add to them, in creative ways, to reflect rather than ignore more enlightened modern views and advocate for this when you feel moved to do something. But anyone who takes it on themselves to destroy them is a criminal.