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Talk of the Town


Does river trump city residents?

I READ IN a city-produced flier that the city of Albuquerque has installed infrared cleansing techniques to the water that is discharged into the Rio Grande so the chlorine won’t harm the fish. That’s great, but our own water piped to our home continues to have very high levels of chlorine, which is harmful to humans. So the city chooses to protect the river before protecting its citizens?

Last summer I used my pool chlorine tester on my tap water and found the city tap water has four times more chlorine than my pool. My pool is in excellent condition, not any algae or any other issue for 30 years.

I can smell strong chlorine odor when I run my tap water. Have I got this all wrong or does it really seem as if the city wants to protect life in the river before our lives?



Limit crime by deterring child abuse

DEBORAH ZIFF’S April 14 article, “N.M. among worst in child abuse deaths” demonstrates how parenting programs, such as home visiting, can reduce child abuse. As a police chief, I’d also like to note their long-term impact on lowering crime as well.

Even after isolating other risk factors for crime, like growing up in poverty or with high-crime peers, child abuse and neglect remains a significant driver of crime rates. Compared to youth from similar backgrounds and neighborhoods, being abused or neglected almost doubles the odds that a child will commit a crime by age 19, according to the research cited in Fight Crime: Invest in Kids reports.

But voluntary home visiting programs can help. For example, a randomized study of the Nurse Family Partnership program, demonstrated that it not only cut abuse and neglect in half, but by age 19 the children served were half as likely to have been arrested for a crime. That is important because in 2011 more than 5,600 children were victims of abuse or neglect in New Mexico.

Thanks to support from Gov. Susana Martinez, bills to strengthen the quality of and increase funding for home visiting services for at-risk children and families were recently enacted. Continued support of these proven programs is vital for protecting the safety of New Mexico’s children today and the safety of all New Mexico communities for years to come.


Albuquerque Police Department

A tax solution for our income gap

SINCE GOV. Susana Martinez signed the tax package reducing corporate taxes, many communities will receive less state funding. This may necessitate a raise in local Gross Receipts Taxes. Here is an easy, equitable solution especially considering the wide income disparity in New Mexico:

New Mexico’s highest income tax bracket currently begins at $24,000 — 4.9 percent. By adding higher brackets, maybe $150,000 at 5.4 percent and $500,000 at 5.9 percent, we could solve the shortfall problem and perhaps even lower the current rates that 98 percent of us now pay.



BioPark remains largely under-funded

RE: BOND money for BioPark

The small blurb printed in the Journal April 17, beneath the photo of the peacock, was very misleading. “….. Mayor signed legislation that allows $92 million in 2011 general obligation bonds to be used for the zoo and other biological park facilities, etc.”

The money allocated for the BioPark from these bonds in 2011 was closer to $3 million, mainly for construction. This was approved by voters in 2011 but the BioPark is just now getting that $3 million. Long overdue.

The true facts: The BioPark is desperately in need of funding to fill necessary staff positions. Do not be misled into thinking the mayor was being generous. While the mayor brags that his administration has not had to have layoffs, currently, the BioPark has 19 open, unfilled positions and are told eight of these positions will be eliminated. These proposed staffing cuts mark the seventh consecutive year of decreased staff at the BioPark. From 2007 to present, the BioPark lost 40 positions — an average of over five positions per year.

Additional cuts will deal an enormous blow to the BioPark. This facility is the jewel of the city and should be funded to ensure the continued care and safety of its inhabitants, the staff and our visitors.



Pick up your own trash in parks

RECENTLY A NEWS item was televised by one or more of the Albuquerque news stations that expressed complaints against the U.S. Forest Service and the federal government for the accumulating trash in some of the parks around New Mexico. Cameras depicted litter and graffiti and blamed the closure of park restrooms, removal of trash receptacles and curtailment of other park services for the mess.

The truth is that we are too ready to place the blame on others for our own actions. If the Forest Service has to curtail some services and amenities due to budgetary concerns that does not mean that it’s the government’s fault for the trash deposited by uncaring park visitors. It is the responsibility of park visitors to clean up after themselves.

The trash we are seeing is probably the same trash left by the same trashy people that we would find in the parks even when facilities are available. What’s missing are the people who clean up after the slobs.

The government is not your babysitter, regardless of what you might wish for or believe. The idea that trashy parks are the fault of an under-funded bureaucracy is ludicrous and asinine. We only have to look in the mirror to see who’s responsible.


Bosque Farms

Protect environment with vigilance

DURING A 10-YEAR period in the days of bipartisan cooperation, Congress passed a series of environmental protection acts: the Wilderness Act (1964), the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (1968), the National Environmental Policy Act (1969), the Clean Air Act (1970), the Clean Water Act (1972), and the Endangered Species Act (1973).

Each of these acts has been attacked by short-sighted opponents in modern times, especially the Endangered Species Act, which has been called the most important legislation designed to protect the natural world and its inhabitants — including us — ever to have emerged from the U. S. Congress.

In the present Congress numerous “riders” — bills attached to major legislation to avoid public scrutiny — have been introduced to water down or avoid the intent of major environmental protection laws. We must be eternally vigilant to avoid such desecration.

Keep in mind the history, especially as it relates to New Mexico. The first wilderness established in America occurred on the Gila National Forest in New Mexico due to the efforts of far-sighted Aldo Leopold 40 years before the Wilderness Act passed Congress.

New Mexico Sen. Clifford P. Anderson supported the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that included the Ute Mountain Run of the Rio Grande, the river segment recently given greater protection by the establishment of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

Like him or loathe him, conservative Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law 40 years ago.

It has been instrumental in helping to bring back from the edge of extinction the bald eagle, whooping crane, Kirtland’s warbler, peregrine falcon, gray wolf, gray whale, grizzly bear, sea otter and black-footed ferret among other species.

As citizens we must let our elected representatives know where we stand on environmental protection, including endangered species.



One corrections office is wise

AS A TAXPAYER and former probation/parole officer who worked out of the Monte Vista Office, I think the consolidation of all the corrections offices in Albuquerque is a wise and fiscally sound decision. I know from experience that the “high risk pool of people” do not loiter outside of the PPO Office. There is no reason for them to do so, coffee and donuts are not being served.

Take a look at the proximity of the current offices to day-care centers and schools. As an educator I would use this opportunity to point out to students that is one building you do not want to have to report to.



Paseo, I-25 full of crazy drivers

LAST WEEK I had to drive on I-25 and Paseo del Norte. I made six roundtrips from Gibson/I-25 to Paseo/Golf Course Road, and I couldn’t believe all the hazardous driving I witnessed. Among the things I saw were people using exit lanes to pass cars then swerve back onto the highway, people driving across two or more lanes to exit the highway (at the last possible moment), excessive speeding (more than 20 mph), tailgating, running red lights, driving at dusk without headlights on, etc.

I was so glad when I no longer needed to drive on I-25 or Paseo del Norte and thankful that I survived unscathed. Just imagine the number of tickets the police could give out in one day. It would be a massive amount. Unfortunately, the times when I was on the road — both morning and night — I never once saw a police car. It’s no wonder people feel free to drive like maniacs.

I thought the UNM area was bad with pedestrians crossing on red lights, sometimes making cars that have the right-of-way stop, and bicyclists and people on skateboards ignoring traffic lights, but now that seems tame compared to driving on the highway.



Myth about vegetable enzymes

FIRST OFF, let me state that I am not a registered dietician, I do not have a degree in nutrition. I’m just an average Joe, trying to change my own habits and follow a healthier lifestyle. This is why I am disappointed in the Journal’s article on sprouted grain from April 24.

Separating nutritional fact from fiction is hard enough; we depend on those who have specialized knowledge to provide factual information to guide our decisions on what to eat and why. I was disappointed because in the article “Sprouting Increases Nutritional Benefits,” the author stated the disproved myth that plant enzymes are beneficial to humans because ingested plant enzymes reduce our need to make enzymes of our own.

This is just wrong information. To quote (the website) Eating Well: “Those enzymes are made for the survival of plants; for human health, they are not essential.” (http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/the_13_biggest_nutrition_and_food_myths_busted?page=5). This is a quote from a published advocate for raw foods.

I agree that there are probably benefits to eating sprouted grains, but intact plant enzymes are not a benefit; they’re just more protein human stomach acid breaks down into basic building blocks. They do not survive intact to provide a mythical health benefit that we wouldn’t otherwise get from eating grains.



Day brings food for thought

APRIL 25 WAS certainly an interesting day. The first notable event was the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Texas. While the idea of presidential libraries has become de rigueur, the idea of associating a library and all that it stands for — knowledge, learning and the thirst for information – with W is risible. He is perhaps one of our most egregiously anti-intellectual presidents who by his own admission preferred not to be informed of events surrounding him.

The second notable event was the reporting of comments made by the local Republican leader of Bernalillo County as well as those of its former executive director. Insensitive and tone deaf hardly begins to describe the utterances of these two individuals. To make degrading remarks about women in the name of humour as putative leaders is simply unacceptable!

Do the Republican Party and its adherents still not understand that the sands around them have shifted irreversibly once and for all? Saying his comments were “insensitive and moronic” is not enough. Let me be perfectly clear: this is not about party politics but rather about decency, dignity, and respect.




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