During his campaign, Mayor Alan Webber proposed to “make sure every child in Santa Fe has a fair start in life.” We applaud his planning and urge him to take action now. If our city is to prosper, we need to make sure that all children have the opportunity to develop socially, emotionally and intellectually. A city that demonstrates attention to its youngest will see benefits ripple through the community. When babies are healthy, their parents miss fewer work days. When there is more high-quality, affordable infant and child care, more parents can choose to be in the workforce or improve their education. Early investments reap dividends as healthy child development grows into better educational and economic outcomes. A baby with a solid foundation grows into a member of a solid community. Now is the time to invest in our youngest for the health and prosperity of Santa Fe.
director, Santa Fe Baby Fund, Santa Fe Community Foundation
Anna Marie Garcia
early childhood director, LANL Foundation
This is a frustrating year for taxpayers who have previously used the free tax prep service through AARP. This year the Santa Fe Community College site is only open three days a week and is unable to handle the previous volume of taxpayers, preparing only 50 returns a day. Taxes are still being prepared at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 417 Agua Fria St., but they can only assist a limited number of taxpayers during their morning hours. The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department no longer is preparing taxes for low-income and/or senior taxpayers.
The other alternative is going to Tax Help Santa Fe in the Santa Fe Place Mall and entrusting your return to Peter Doniger who previously ran the SFCC site (“Tax filers start lining up,” Jan. 30). Although Peter and his experienced tax preparers may charge a modest sliding-scale fee to cover rent, equipment, etc., they are able to process more complicated returns with rental, investment or self-employment income. Low-income and senior taxpayers continue to have their returns prepared for free. Appointments can be made, so there is no waiting.
I am writing in support of the Endangered Species Act, and in opposition to efforts by Congress to undermine this landmark wildlife conservation law. The Endangered Species Act is a safety net for fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction and inadvertently everybody else. Since the law began in 1973, hundreds of species have been saved from disappearing forever, including the American bald eagle, the peregrine falcon and the American alligator, and many more are on their way to recovery.
But now, some members of Congress are trying to weaken the Endangered Species Act to benefit special interests in the extractive industries. Protecting endangered species and the ecosystem from a poisonous peril is important to me. We have a responsibility to future generations to be good stewards and protect imperiled wildlife and the special places they call home. Our senators must oppose efforts to weaken the Endangered Species Act.
Coverage for all
I applaud Democratic Congressman Ben Ray Luján for his stand on making health care more available and affordable (“N.M. is leading the way,” My View, March 11). President Donald Trump’s efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act have caused more people to be uninsured and pushed up costs. To fix this outrageous problem, Rep. Lújan has introduced federal legislation to allow everyone, regardless of income, to buy into the Medicaid program. But we in New Mexico do not need to wait for federal action. We can take the lead, as our legislators have done by passing a memorial to look into ways to implement a Medicaid buy-in in New Mexico. I am grateful for the leadership of our N.M. legislators (like Rep. Debbie Armstrong, D-Albuquerque and Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque) and advocates in pushing for this much-needed reform that will lead to affordable coverage for all. Let’s get behind this, New Mexicans.
Gerry Fairbrother, Ph.D.
I was in the room when Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, made his now -amous comments about Parkinson’s. All of us present laughed. Almost a laugh of relief, after some really heavy and emotional testimony from me and others on the lack of adequate health care for people with Parkinson’s in New Mexico. All this “righteous indignation” over Sen. Ivey-Soto’s comments is misplaced.
If we are to have righteous indignation, it should not be about the senator’s comments. It should be about the fact that it can take nine months to get an appointment with the three movement disorders specialists in the entire state. And nine months is a very long time when you have a progressive, degenerative neurological disorder.
Our indignation should be about the total lack of medical resources for Parkinson’s and other movement disorders in this state. It should be about the fact that those who can afford it go out of state to get timely care. It should be about the fact that those who can’t go out of state have to suffer and live and die with substandard care. How was this allowed to happen, and why has it not been addressed sooner by our medical communities and our state government?
Karen St. Clair
New Mexico Parkinson’s Coalition
Holding criminals accountable
I am appalled and sickened every time I read of another child abused or murdered by a family member, another drunken driver with seven convictions let back on the street and repeat criminals let out of jail/prison with only time served or probation (with no probation oversight) — who then go on to commit the same heinous crimes over and over again.
The standard response to incidents such as the abuse and fatal beating of Jeremiah Valencia is to “offer our thoughts and prayers” and/or hold community vigils. Both of those are meaningless and do not lead to any effective change in the system. As The Santa Fe New Mexican said about Jeremiah Valencia’s murder (“The boy who had no one,” Our View, Feb. 2), we “have to focus on why [accused killer Thomas Wayne] Ferguson was not in prison.”
If we really want these crimes to stop, we need to inform ourselves, vote for individuals who will hold these criminals accountable for their crimes (i.e., make them serve their full sentences), and press legislators for increased funds for the services meant to protect children from abuse.
As a responsible citizen, I have to make a choice about whom to believe on the Russia investigation. Do I believe Robert Mueller III? He’s a Marine who served two tours of duty in South Vietnam, was awarded two medals (one a Purple Heart), graduated from Princeton University, served as FBI director for 12 years under three different presidents, is a registered Republican, was deputy attorney general (serving in 2001), helped establish America’s first terrorist database and who has maintained a bipartisan investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 elections. Or do I believe Donald Trump? He’s a realty TV star with three military deferments (didn’t serve because of “bone spurs”), a businessman with six bankruptcies who has faced 3,500 lawsuits (169 of them federal), a serial misogynist with 14 assault charges pending and a daddy who was having an affair with a porn star while his wife was at home with their new baby. Boy, tough choice.
Abuser in chief
You said, “I love you. You’ll be great again.” After we married, you began to hurt me. You’re giving my beauty away. Your friends drill into me, pollute the air I breathe and the water I drink. You attack the parts of me that hold you in check. You say they’re against you. They just disagree with you. They have that right. Playing with my friends made me healthy. But you hate them. “Different color; different ideas.” You’re throwing them out. That bully sneaks in at night, breaks the furniture and steals my secrets. You let him because you’re afraid he’ll beat you up. My friends think I’m crazy or stupid. They shun me. People tell me to kick you out. I have that right. I should before I’m too weak. Every time you hit me I get weaker. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe you’ll kill me.
Barry M. Panter, M.D.
Hear the cries
I know some of you will not like me. I know some of you own AR-15s. I know some of you don’t even care. But still, I must ask you, “Do you hear the children cry?” I hear them. I hear them, and it makes me cry.
It makes me cry that some of us feel it is our right to own military style semi-automatic rifles designed to kill human beings. Well, I say this to you and your argument: My 12-gauge shotgun will bring a charging 1,000-pound brown bear to its knees. No civilian needs an AR-15. There will always be mentally ill people; there need not always be AR-15s in gun stores across this nation. I wish you peace, and I wish all our children the right to the same life we had as children. They deserve it, and we owe it to them.