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Talk of the Town


Jaywalkers Will Be Punished Severely

BEING A NEW resident of ABQ, I am amazed at APD operations. I live near San Mateo and Central, and, it is quite lawless around here. I always believed that the police were there to protect and serve. However, my eyes were opened (recently) as I was walking to Walmart.

Having gotten off the bus, I crossed San Mateo; apparently committing a serious crime by not using the crosswalk at the light. I’ve found that crosswalks are dangerous because some drivers don’t care if you’re crossing the street on foot. So, safely I avoid using crosswalks when needed; and, technically, I suppose that is jaywalking and illegal. But, never in my imagination did I anticipate that I — not a dealer, buyer or streetwalker — would be stopped, searched, run for warrants and then ticketed for jaywalking! Especially since I’ve seen many more serious and damaging to the community crimes occur in this area.

So, is it stupidity or incompetence that drives APD to operate in this manner? I didn’t feel safer or served, except, I was served a measure of humiliation that just made me angry and distrustful of APD. The officer actually jaywalked the smaller street to get to his car while writing my ticket. Go figure!

Oh, I know if they ticket jaywalkers the public is safer; and, of course, they can pad the city coffers. Bull Hockey! APD should do real police work, especially in high-crime-infested areas; scope out the real bad guys and hold them accountable for real crimes. Not jaywalking!



Water Is Finite; Money, Apparently Not

RE: “Water Utility Says Every Drop Counts,” published June 23:

We hear this all the time, no water, cut back, water restrictions in force etc.

If we are so short and almost out of water, how about the city stop issuing permits for new homes, apartments and other buildings?

Give us living here our water and stop allowing hundreds more to move in and use up our precious lack of water. The city and county building permit department should be ashamed of themselves for the continued issuing of building permits.



Now, Here’s a Pest We Can Get Rid Of

I NOTICED something interesting recently. The drought is preferentially killing off tamarisk trees. Tamarisk is an invasive curse, a nonnative species that has no place in the desert Southwest. Tamarisk trees suck huge amounts of water from our rivers and irrigation systems, water that’s needed for farms, livestock, people and native species.

Ordinarily, tamarisk is extraordinarily hard to get rid of. However, since tamarisk requires such a large amount of water, it appears to be especially vulnerable to drought. I wonder whether the Southwestern states could take advantage of this, pulling out and destroying dead and dying tamarisk. Although a number of federal and state agencies have tamarisk eradication programs, local grass-roots efforts might be most effective for this unusual opportunity.



There’s More to Xeriscape Than Gravel

In his June 7 letter “Who Wants More Dry Desert,” Leland T. “Tom” Taylor made some incorrect observations on contemporary xeriscaping. Xeriscaping embodies the principle of water conservation through creative landscaping. It’s possible to have a lush garden with far less maintenance than a traditional garden of blue grass lawn and water-intensive plants. While xeriscaping promotes the use of native, drought-tolerant vegetation, one can add a number of nonnatives such as iris, roses and daffodils that do well here in Albuquerque. You don’t have to have a yard of gravel and a few cacti. All one has to do is visit a local plant nursery to see the vast variety of plants that are drought tolerant and will thrive here.

Properly planned xeriscapes have zones requiring different watering needs, enabling quite a varied landscape. The garden doesn’t have to be lawn-less to be xeric, but it can be “less lawn” and still suit the needs of the homeowner. A properly done xeric garden adds value to a residence and enhances not just the curb appeal, but also the livability of the entire property.

A solid plastic membrane shouldn’t be used, as it does prevent water absorption into the garden. There are a variety of mulches that can be employed that add color, texture and interest as well as inhibit weed growth. Unfortunately there are too many examples of “zero scapes” in Albuquerque that are the bane of Mr. Taylor — but it needn’t be that way.

The members of the Xeric Garden Club of Albuquerque, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting landscapes that not only conserve water but also use it as efficiently as possible in the most creative ways possible, invite Mr. Taylor to attend one of its meetings to learn more. The club meets monthly with garden tours, demonstrations and speakers. We hope to see you there!


Public Relations

Xeric Garden Club of Albuquerque


Where Does Prescription Denial End?

SO A PHARMACIST at Walgreens takes it upon himself to deny the filling of a prescription for birth control pills from a female customer. The pharmacist cites a conflict with his personal religious beliefs. Well what if the religious beliefs of the lady customer embody the moral responsibility of family planning as well as responsible safe sex. What if the pills were prescribed by her doctor for a medical condition? Who is the pharmacist to play both doctor and judge?

Where does this all end? If a check-out clerk has religious beliefs in abstaining from alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, pork, etc, do they have the right to deny checking out a customer purchasing these items?

As a husband and father of daughters, I am offended by the treatment of this young woman by Walgreens pharmacy. They now have one less customer in our family.



GOP Playing Election Games? Never …

JUST WHEN I was beginning to settle in with Gov. Susana Martinez’s Republicanism, figuring she wasn’t as ideological as she could be, her Republican secretary of state pitches a hardball whose only apparent purpose is to reap a possible advantage for the GOP in November.

Realizing that 5 percent more Democrats than Republicans voted a straight ticket in the 2010 New Mexico general elections, Diana Duran outlawed straight-ticket voting this fall, seemingly gambling that many Democrat-leaning voters will not bother to work through the whole ballot to make a selection, thereby negating, at least in some small part, any benefit for the opposition,

The first Republican to hold that office in 80 years, Ms. Duran announced her rationale for the action: It isn’t against the law. No matter that New Mexicans have been able to vote a straight ticket for generations — without breaking any law — Ms. Duran spotted a loophole that might be a possible boost for her party, so she leaped at it.

New Mexico is one of 16 states that has, until last week, allowed straight-ticket voting in one form or another. In New Jersey, it is permitted only in primary elections; in North Carolina, only in general elections. Among those states, there is one that has banned it for this November’s elections: Wisconsin.

Ethics aside, it was a clever move. I wonder if Ms. Duran thought it up by herself or had help from a national organization that may be attempting to build on the principles of Gov. Scott Walker, arguably the most ideological of all reigning state chief executives. Coincidence? Not likely.


Rio Rancho

Here’s a Fight That Transcends Politics

IT IS UNACCEPTABLE in this day and age that there is a cancer for which the relative five-year survival rate is still in the single digits at just 6 percent. It is particularly unacceptable when you consider that the overall five-year relative survival for all cancers is now 67 percent and the overall cancer incidence and death rates are declining, while the incidence and death rates for pancreatic cancer, the nation’s fourth-leading cause of cancer-related death, are increasing. This situation cannot be allowed to continue.

Congress has the power to change these statistics by passing the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act (S. 362/H.R. 733), which will ensure that the National Cancer Institute develops a long-term comprehensive strategic research plan. The bill has overwhelming bipartisan support, including half of the Senate and over half of the House. On June 26, advocates from New Mexico (joined) more than 600 individuals from across the country in Washington, D.C., for the Sixth Annual Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day to urge Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall to support the bill and bring it to the Senate floor for a vote before the end of the year.

Go to www.knowitfightitendit.org to learn more.

Together, we can make a difference in the fight against pancreatic cancer.


Community Representative/ Volunteer

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network


End Another Remnant of Barbarian Past

THE REFUGE from Cruel Trapping Act, H.R. 2657, has been introduced in the House of Representives by Nita Lowey of New York. It would make it illegal to trap within the National Wildlife Refuge System. It’s a start to end the barbaric practice of trapping. Martin Heinrich supports this bill.

I would ask everyone interested in this bill passing to contact their representative about their support of this bill. It is like cockfighting — it’s past time to end this cruel practice.



100 Years, That’s the Best We Can Do?

THE ALBUQUERQUE Centennial Celebration was something to look forward to and had the opportunity to show off our interesting state history. What we got was an ill-planned carnival that had little to reference to the past and suggested a bleak future as an uninspired state.

What happened, (Mayor) Berry? The presentation your staff gave to the Raynolds Addition Neighborhood Association was not recognizable at Saturday’s event. One could encounter larger crowds at the mall on a Saturday afternoon than what attended your event. Did you utilize actual event planners? Why were there few print, news and publicity references leading up to the event? Plus, by 6:30 p.m., most of the celebration was closing up and we were pushed to the plaza to listen to more music. How much did this free concert cost the taxpayer? We got ripped off!



High Desert Shows Off Its True Colors

HIGH DESERT Investment Corp.’s decision to pull out of its legal and financial commitments in Rio Rancho’s Mariposa is already proving to be an eye-opening “teaching moment” in many ways. Perhaps this is because High Desert is the investment arm of Albuquerque’s prestigious Academy.

Once again, High Desert and the academy have taught us that it is OK to ignore the responsibilities and impact that come from the decisions that we make. This was brought home by their absence at a meeting of the Mariposa East Public Improvement District, which was held at Rio Rancho City Hall on June 22. Did it matter that the PID was created at their behest in order to launch Mariposa? Or that the officials to whom they are accountable — and dozens of residents — expected their presence, if not cooperation, to sort out the quagmire they have created?

I have to wonder what kind of reputation and future that High Desert and the academy hope to protect by being absent and relying on empty explanations for their actions. Well, as a homeowner in Mariposa, if I had to answer that question, I’d have to take a look at what I’ve learned, and the lesson isn’t very good.


Rio Rancho

Time To Put Government in Its Place

THREE CHEERS for Steve Stringer and his response to Ruth Marcus’ column, “At GOP, Dogma Replaces Realty.”

For too many decades our government has grown unchecked, with blame to go around the political spectrum. Stringer’s assertion that this must end is dead on. In a free society the government is a means to an end. In current times that idea has been turned on its head. To remain free, we must take action against ever-growing government immediately. Democrat and Republican compromise and deal-making has our great country on the brink of disaster. We, the electorate, have the responsibility to elect mature, serious individuals who are ready to make very difficult decisions. We must not punish them for making those decisions, and begin to expect much less from our government.




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