This morning I overheard a visiting couple say, “This is an ugly town!” I was shocked at first, but then realized what greets people as they enter from the south: big-box stores, fast-food outlets, car dealerships, cookie-cutter neighborhoods, manufacturing sites and newly constructed apartment complexes that I think resemble prison blocks. The small remnant of our city that is advertised as “Santa Fe” to tourists and second-home buyers does not reflect the reality of what our town has become: a small, semi-historic city center that offers “elite” art and music, bounded on the north and east by over-large, obscenely expensive housing for the very rich and sprawling to the south by compressed, crowded stick-built housing (plastered to imitate Santa Fe Style) but unsupported by adequate job and educational opportunities for the not-so-rich. Crossing all boundaries are the shopping carts of the homeless. I wonder why our mayoral candidates and city officials are so keen on expansion when we have so utterly failed the majority of our current population.
I attended Sunday’s production of Lungs presented by the New Mexico Actors Lab. Contrary to the negative review of opening night that appeared in Friday’s Pasatiempo, I found it to be a wonderful performance (“Shouting their way to the end of the world in ‘Lungs,’ Pasatiempo, Oct. 8). The acting was excellent and the audience apparently agreed as we joined in a standing ovation. The play runs until Oct. 17. I recommend seeing it.
No on bonds
Unfortunately, I am not one of the voters who can support Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez’s call to support the Santa Fe Public Schools bond issue and mill levy (“Voters can support schools with bond, mill levy,” My View, Oct. 10). With consistently declining enrollment and absolutely horrible student-achievement scores as of the last measurement in 2019, it makes no sense to put more money into a failing system. It is time for the voters to send a message to Santa Fe Public Schools and its administration by voting no.
Now I’m really confused. In the article (“A year later, obelisk fallout remains,” Oct. 10), police Capt. Michael Champlin states “officers were being punched and kicked and choked.” He saw it as a dangerous enough situation for him to order a retreat and not secure reinforcements. Yet the penalty for assaulting police officers and destroying public property is community service? The more we learn about the inept handling of this disturbing incident at all levels, the more outrageous it becomes. The mayor said, “Even though it was illegal, unlawful and painful, the aftermath can be one of healing and reconciliation and bring out our better angels.” Oh really? If the mayor is counting on our collective amnesia to get him out of this mess, I think it’s going to be a while.
Wear it right
Good grief. The large photo on the front page of Monday’s paper shows three of the four children wearing their masks incorrectly (nose exposed, essentially not masked). The photo purports to be about teaching mathematics, but what is clearly being taught here is that wearing masks correctly is unimportant, despite the state mandate on wearing masks indoors. And we wonder why children get infected in schools, why teachers and parents worry about COVID-19 transmission in the classroom, why mask-wearing is ridiculed or disregarded on so many fronts.
I strongly encourage The New Mexican to print only photos of people wearing masks properly. Printing photos of folks not following state mandates is tantamount to sanctioning this behavior and seriously undermines the use of one of our most valuable tools in fighting this pandemic.