Regarding the piece “Santa Fe has lost its sparkle” (My View, July 25), the same is true practically all over the city. Downtown isn’t the only area that needs to be cleaned up. We live in the southwest part of town, and if the tourists found their way to that part of the city, they would see fast-food paper cups on the sides of the roads, along with Styrofoam containers, beer bottles, cans and masks, etc., not to mention dog waste on most of the trails and sidewalks.
This is not new, though. We have lived here 18 years and have seen this the whole time. What I’ve noticed is that it’s mostly where there isn’t a homeowners association. When we first moved to Santa Fe, we tried to organize a little cleanup day in the neighborhood. One senior lady showed up. Over the years, from time to time, we have tried picking some of it up. But I don’t feel it should be the responsibility of any one person. I hate to say it, but it’s almost to the point where we’ve come to accept it. The city of Santa Fe should appoint a permanent team of workers to go to the downtown area, and areas that don’t have HOAs, to clean the sides of at least the main roads and trails on a regular basis. When we travel to other places and notice how clean their cities are, I can’t help but think how proud the people who live there must be.
Tips for service
Put New Mexico legislators on the state payroll? Pay them minimum wage, and if they provide good service, tip them.
Speak up for voting
Nothing is more important than protecting and preserving our democracy. Without that, nothing matters. I want to thank President Joe Biden for the American Rescue Plan, the Jobs and Family Plan and the infrastructure bill. Now we really need our president to stand up for democracy.
We need his leadership to end the filibuster so we can protect our democracy. We need him to act decisively and powerfully, beyond his eloquent speech. We must have a way to counter anti-democratic legislation, such as laws that ban honest discussion of racism that are being passed in state houses across the land. We need a clear statement from our president supporting the end of the filibuster as it exists today because it is the barrier to federal voting rights protection. We need our president to use his bully pulpit to educate Americans and to advocate forcefully for voting rights protections. Voting rights are the basis of all other rights. Please make this your priority. Speak out and often.
Sandra L. Dransfield
president, Indivisible SOS
Paul J. Gessing (“Heinrich’s coming for your stove and gas heater,” My View, July 25) seems to think that “natural” gas is clean, affordable and safe, and that without it we can’t properly cook food. And, oh yes! There is no climate crisis that should make us want to replace gas with electricity. Gas, like all fossil fuels, is not clean. Burning it produces carbon dioxide and toxic air pollutants. Nitrogen dioxide, for one, reduces indoor air quality and can contribute to childhood asthma. Faulty gas appliances produce deadly levels of carbon monoxide.
Gas is “affordable” only because the costs of extracting this “clean gas” and its climate and public health impacts are not covered by what we pay for it. Our world will soon have to pay many trillions of dollars to cope with the burgeoning droughts, heat waves, wildfires, catastrophic storms, flooding and forced migrations that global warming is already causing. For comparison, a single intense storm like Hurricane Sandy caused an estimated $70 billion in damages. Can we prepare food without gas? Gessing seems unaware that electric induction hot plates and stove tops are widely used throughout the rest of the world and increasingly in the U.S. They are safer than gas, they heat more quickly, heat levels are equally or better controllable, and there is little wasted heat to overheat home and restaurant kitchens. New Mexicans can be grateful that Sen. Martin Heinrich understands and supports the need to move away from the burning of gas and other fossil fuels and to transition to clean electricity, and quickly.
Joseph Eigner, Ph.D.
‘Sound of weeds’
Sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things,” sung by Julie Andrews in the 1965 film version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The Sound of Music.
Goatheads and ragweed, Cirsium vulgare,
Broadleaf dock, crabgrass with Malva neglecta,
Carpetweed edging itself through the town,
Dandelions hiding from gardeners who frown.
White clover blooming and look morning glory!
But bindweed and witchgrass make up a new story
Of calls to the neighbors and pleas to our friends
Can you eat wild carrot in salads with stems?
Now the pokeweed,
Then the mustard,
It all makes me mad,
But then I remember Oxalis stricta,
And so I won’t be so sad.
Notes: Cirsium vulgare is the common thistle. Malva neglecta is common mallow. Oxalis stricta is sheep sorrel.