I watched Tuesday’s 2021 City Council budget hearings. I was impressed by the thoughtfulness, resourcefulness and command of programs and budget details shown by every department head. One of those whose decisions have the most immediate impact on residents is Parks and Recreation Director John Muñoz. It’s a shame that one of my council members, JoAnne Vigil Coppler, who represents the Genoveva Chavez Community Center district, chose to spend several minutes dressing Muñoz down for failing to make a critical hire at Chavez during the pandemic rather than commending Muñoz and recreation staff for their efforts to do more with less. Vigil Coppler’s leadership often appears limited to channeling the complaints of her constituents. She does more criticizing than problem-solving. In these times, we need more of the latter.
A true loss
It was very sad to hear of the death of Harlan McKosato (“Journalist addressed Native issues in columns, radio shows,” July 23). I used to listen to his radio show; he was a wonderful guy and seemed to be a central figure globally in the work to help First Nations tribes recapture their tribal languages and cultures. I thank the family for straightforwardly saying that alcohol killed him. He would have agreed with this truth telling and hopefully its warning to First Nations youth. I hope he was aware in his final days of the successes of Black Lives Matter, a dramatic, historical success for people of color in our nation and around the world. Peace, my brother. My condolences and best wishes to his family.
Not too long ago, you published a letter (“Adjust the anthem?” June 13) urging the country to adopt “Amazing Grace” as its national anthem. As moving as that melody is (see the 2015 impromptu version by President Barack Obama), it runs afoul of the separation of church and state. I would suggest instead a song Bruce Springsteen termed “The greatest song ever written about America.”
Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” is unifying, moving and can be sung by young and old without the benefit of operatic training. In a time where the the president strives to fracture and pull apart our citizenry and our visitors, this song would help bring us together.
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York island
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulfstream waters
This land was made for you and me.
As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me the golden valley
This land was made for you and me.
(Verses 1 and 2)
In my opinion, the recent article about Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart (“New Mexico’s education secretary working from out of state,” July 21) was unnecessary and appears racist. What is the point? It could have been an article that addressed the climate of our nation and telling what a dedicated employee, boss, husband and father this man displays. I know the Santa Fe New Mexican is a conservative paper because it has proven to be so over the last 171 years. Yet I am shocked to see there isn’t any regard or discussion about the potential problems such an article could cause for this man.
Marissa R. Roybal
The write stuff
Sara Eyestone is so right about writing (“In times of trouble, sit down and write” My View, July 19). Thank you, Sara, for the weekly memoir writing group that led so many of us to engage with our own life stories. And thank you for continuing to send prompts out to us every Thursday morning. It will be much better when we once again meet at La Posada, in person, over cups of coffee. In the meantime, however, continuing our group virtually has been a personal sanity-saver. Sara’s prompts are amazing and inspiring. They are helping me not only with memoir writing, but also with completing a novel I started 10 years ago. If Sara’s prompts could be available to all New Mexican readers, what a boon it would be to people who love to write.
Elaine Pinkerton Coleman
Since President Donald Trump’s sole purpose in sending federal agents to Albuquerque and other cities around the U.S. is to cause problems and create chaos, I’d like to suggest that for the next two weeks all protesters stay home, so that whenever the agents show up they will be the only ones in the streets and look like even bigger fools for being there. Don’t play into Trump’s game; beat him at it by staying home.
An inspiring column
I never had the opportunity to meet the late John Lewis, but I feel I know him after reading Michele L. Norris’ insightful and inspiring column (“John Lewis: A giant passes the baton,” July 21). Many thanks to Norris, the Washington Post, for which she wrote the column, and The New Mexican for sharing it with readers.