We have all heard unsettling reports that the new Congress is gearing up to make radical changes to the social safety net by dismantling programs that allow millions of people to make ends meet every day. We need to prevent this from happening because poverty not only hurts the poor, but it also harms all of us. Almost 1 in 7 Americans live below the poverty line. Every day, people must face the scarcity of food, unstable housing, limited educational and employment opportunities, and even worse, they must deal with health care expenses that they cannot afford. Living with these conditions limits opportunities for them, which in turn influences prosperity of the nation as a whole. Federal anti-poverty programs have allowed millions of Americans to move out of poverty and the uncertainty of living day to day. We must not only protect, but also strengthen these critically important programs.

Gerry Fairbrother, Ph.D.

Santa Fe



Puffed-up politicians

People who support runoff elections for Santa Fe object that a candidate for mayor, for example, now can take office after getting just 30 percent of the vote (“Election reform begins at home,” Ringside seat, Dec. 19). Runoff elections between the top votegetters, the argument goes, would ensure that elected officials take office with a majority of votes cast. This is assumed to be an obviously good thing. Why is it a good thing? A majority vote gained in a runoff election is an artificial majority. The “majority” winner could claim that more than half the voters were just dying to see him or her take office, when most voters actually wanted someone else. Do we really need more puffed-up politicians claiming phony mandates? A mayor taking office with a fraction of the vote would know that he or she has a lot of work to do to gain everyone’s support. A little humility is a good thing.

Tom Day

Santa Fe

Verde comments

The Bureau of Land Management appreciates The New Mexican reminding people of their initial opportunity to provide input about the proposed Verde Transmission Line project (“Comment on Verde before it’s too late,” Our View, Jan. 2). We’d like, however, to elaborate on the headline that stated, “… before it’s too late.” Let us explain.

The National Environmental Policy Act requires the Bureau of Land Management to involve the public in its environmental review process and to disclose the potential impacts of projects such as the Verde Transmission Line before project decisions are made. We are now in the first phase of the National Environmental Policy Act process, that of public scoping. Although Thursday, Jan. 5, is the end of the scoping period for the proposed project, there will be additional opportunities for the public to provide input as we proceed with our analysis.

The Bureau of Land Management has not and will not reach a final decision on issuing a right-of-way for the transmission line until we have thoroughly evaluated and analyzed the proposal and developed a range of reasonable alternatives, including a no-action alternative. We look forward to continued public input and participation as we proceed through the process.

Sarah Schlanger

Bureau of Land Management

Taos

Missing family photos

After a fantastic week in Carlsbad and then in Santa Fe, where I took my entire family for the holiday, the last day while checking out of the wonderful La Posada de Santa Fe, my camera bag went missing. I can replace the camera. I cannot replace a week’s worth of family photos. We all had such a fantastic time. Santa Fe is a wonderful city, with fantastic food and wonderful sights to enjoy. All to say, if that person who has the camera could remove the disk and send it to the hotel, I would be deeply grateful. I am 79, so I probably will not be repeating this trip. Thank you.

Adele McGee

Pismo Beach, Calif.

Watching PBS

Let me begin by saying I am no fan of the president-elect. Secondly, I am longtime subscriber to The New Mexican and value it as a source of local information. But your “TV top picks” on Tuesday, Jan. 3, made no mention of the PBS Frontline documentary on Donald Trump airing the same evening. Is NBC’s The Wall and ABC’s American Housewife really more important to note? Please add PBS to your TV top picks.

Douglas Conwell

Santa Fe

Correction

A letter by Stephanie Rowe (“Why we celebrate,” Jan. 2) ran with the word “never” missing. It has been corrected online, but for those who read the print newspaper, Rowe’s letter should have read, “I hope we can all remember why we celebrate Christmas — we are commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. President-elect Donald Trump will never be able to take that away from us.”

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