More than 600 New Mexicans have died due to the new coronavirus. We are astounded by how many are dead. We are astounded, but our astonishment brings no real grief. We should be weeping for the dead, but we aren’t. We busy ourselves with masks, social distancing, restaurant openings (or not), how many beds are in the ICU, how many ventilators, a shortage of personal protective equipment.

A deadly virus is among us, and we number things like exhausted bookkeepers. We number the dead along with everything else, and the number keeps growing. It is tragic, but it is difficult to grieve over numbers. We socially distance ourselves from each other, but we simply distance ourselves from the dead and count ourselves lucky. Who are they? Who is in that body bag being stored in a refrigerator truck? Is it some body? Or is it somebody? Who was the 600th New Mexican to die? What is the name of No. 600? Tell me something about No. 600. Move me closer to the dead, closer to No. 600. Close enough for grief. If we are going to count, at least let us count through our grief, our tears, our feeling that we have lost one of us. We owe No. 600 more than astonishment and anonymity.

Walter Howerton

Santa Fe

Parting company

Every few days, like most of Santa Fe, I waste a few minutes of my morning reading Milan Simonich’s latest angry diatribe about something or someone he doesn’t like in Santa Fe. I think both Santa Fe and Simonich would be much happier without each other’s company. I think thousands of us readers would.

Earl Potter

Santa Fe

On target

Once again Milan Simonich’s opinion column was right on target (“Mayor reinvents the wheel, spins it as ingenuity,” Ringside Seat, July 24). It was absolutely correct in stating that the mayor should be asking if city government works at all. Better yet, the question should be: Is city government working to serve the residents of Santa Fe or support poor judgment by the mayor and City Council?

In these difficult times, let’s support the mayor’s desire to “reimagine and reshape the way city government works.” We can do that by defunding the Mayor’s Office and City Council. Let’s establish a governing body that truly reflects the views of Santa Fe residents and improves the city’s public health, safety and welfare.

Alan Richardson

Santa Fe

A pay raise, not cut

Randy Randall is the most professional and effective city tourism director we’ve had in the 30 years I have lived here. As a member of the historic preservation community, I have worked closely with Randall during his tenure. He should have a pay raise, not a pay cut. And he should continue to be the driving force for this critical department, not be diverted or buried in the political morass at City Hall.

Marilyn Bane

Santa Fe

We’ll miss Bill

I join many in our community who will grieve the transition of William Smith from CEO of Santa Fe Community Foundation to private citizen. The mission and leadership of Santa Fe Community Foundation will remain strong; there is no doubt. Strategic, collaborative and visionary are the qualities I learned to expect from this CEO.

But what makes me hope Smith remains in Santa Fe is his sense of community and his gift of building relationships. When I met Smith, he did not ask just about Silver Bullet Productions, he asked about me — my values, my vision, my passion to our mission. He remained interested in each aspect of our work. Every segment of this unique population, organizations small and large, had dreams become realities, even in a time of pandemic. Relationship building. This is why, if timing and demands change, Santa Fe will still need Bill Smith.

Pamela Pierce

CEO, Silver Bullet Productions

Santa Fe

Water wasters

What are people thinking! Santa Fe is a high desert city. That means that our water is precious and needs to be carefully used and not wasted. A fountain in the Plaza is not a good idea.

Fountains need a lot of maintenance, they get dirty with sand and organic material, people put their hands and feet in the water and possibly even their bodies. Fountains are expensive water wasters with high maintenance and potentially a high grossness factor. Stop that suggestion.

Cecile Ward Catanach

Santa Fe

Command, not commandeer

The man who occupies the Oval Office is clearly pleased with a recent medical examination that shows him to be “cognitively there.” But inquiring minds may be excused, perhaps, if they wonder how rigorously that mental test addressed issues such as orthography and semantics. Because it now appears that our patient is a bit confused about the meaning of “commander in chief.”

White House interference in local law enforcement — tactics that have enraged civic authorities in Portland, Chicago, and Albuquerque — would suggest that a chief executive who regards himself as “a very stable genius” is under the impression that the first word in his military title is “commandeer.”

Wouldn’t it be a relief if we were able to conclude that he’s merely having a bad spell?

John F. Andrews

Santa Fe

Hanging on

Wow! Two pages of sports news today, and it isn’t even Sunday. Thank you, New Mexican, for hanging in there through these tough times. Brighter days are surely coming!

James K. Gavin

Santa Fe

Helpful officers

One recent evening, our daughter and friend were having car trouble downtown. They were concerned as the vehicle would not start and it was getting late. They spotted a nearby police car and decided to ask for help. The young officer accompanied them back to the vehicle and attempted to help them in getting it started. All attempts at starting failed and they called an Uber. The officer stayed with them all the time and we are grateful to him for doing this.

I am sure that there are other instances where people would like to compliment an officer. Perhaps if officers had a card that they could give you with their names and a survey number you could call, you could register your compliment that way.

John J. and Maria King

Santa Fe

The water’s great

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all have had to sacrifice, live without, and forgo the ordinary, routine pleasures of daily life in Santa Fe. It was thus such a pleasure to welcome the partial reopening of the Genoveva Chavez Community Center last week. The GCCC staff and larger Santa Fe Parks and Recreation Department deserve praise for their prudent, controlled reopening of their remarkable facility.

Those of us in the Santa Fe swimming community are most thankful for the opportunity to return to lap swimming after so long a hiatus.

Andrew Veech

Santa Fe

A hollow apology

A Florida congressman who, until last week, was probably little known outside Florida’s 3rd Congressional District and among his colleagues, made headlines when he accosted, on the steps of the Capitol, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and greeted her with an epithet, the initials of which are F and B. And no, I don’t think he called her “Facebook.”

U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho later addressed the House, neither exactly apologizing nor exactly acknowledging that he’d said what he’d said, but indicating that whatever he may have said was inspired by his devotion to his God and his family. Interesting justification.

A few days later Ocasio-Cortez eloquently described the encounter to the assembled House and called attention to attributes of “dignity” and “respect” as necessary elements in human interactions.

President Harry Truman used to say “hell” and “damn,” especially when critics harshly judged his daughter’s singing. Richard Nixon said in his Checkers speech in 1952 that he was glad President Dwight Eisenhower had brought good language back to the Oval Office.

What a difference 68 years makes.

Judy Mellow

Santa Fe

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(4) comments

Stefanie Beninato

I could not agree with you more, Cecile.

I could not agree with you less, Marilyn.

Khal Spencer

Well said, Walter Howerton. About time we got some compassion in a letter rather than a rant. And Earl, if you can't stand Milan's columns, why do you keep reading them? Is it a sort of painful penance for something you did in your last life?

Barbara Harrelson

John Andrews, your wordplay is, as always, so on the mark. Your command of language is distinctive and delightful. And, it is the gleaming sword that cuts through the woefully degraded use of language, as Miss Mellow describes, in so much of our society today.

Barbara Harrelson

Very powerful comments, Mr. Howerton, and you are so right. Thank you for getting us to pay attention to what really matters today and in the months to come.

Welcome to the discussion.

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