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Court Watch
Most of you have probably noticed the remarkable job Santa Fe Reporter Staff Writer Corey Pein has done raising awareness of the very serious domestic violence problem in our community [ “Behind Closed Doors”]. If you were impassioned, incensed or awakened by his articles (as I was), now is your chance to DO SOMETHING about it. The Santa Fe Court Watch Pilot Program needs volunteer court monitors. This is our chance to get the citizenry back into the courtroom to see what is happening with all the cases—not just the ones that make headlines.

Please let me know if you or someone you know can spare at least one day a month to help.
Jenna Yañez
Court Watch Project Director
Santa Fe

Holistic Help
While no one in any way should excuse or rationalize any kind of abusive behavior, the fact remains that the majority of women who get into a cycle of abusive relationships come from a history of childhood abuse. This means that they probably do have some dysfunctional habits in terms of relating to others, expressing anger and setting boundaries—habits that can be so extreme that they would provoke many men who would not otherwise be abusive. The problem with most domestic violence intervention is that it demonizes the men (eg, the judgmental bus ad calling men who abuse “monsters”) and sanctifies the women as the poor, blameless victims who did nothing wrong. Sounds good for the women, at least—except that these same women are then sent back into the community, with their dysfunctional ways of expressing anger reinforced by a system that tells them they did nothing wrong—only to find themselves in the same situation again when they use their same negative, anger-filled coping skills in yet another relationship.

Does this justify abuse? No. But it does suggest that more emphasis on helping women to take responsibility for their poor relationship and coping skills might be a missing component. It’s doubtful that any domestic violence intervention will be truly effective until it deals with both sides of the issue—educating men about safe ways to handle their anger and educating women with abusive pasts about how to interact in an appropriately empowered, but responsible, way in an intimate relationship.
Alexa James
Santa Fe

Warrior Women
What a joke: that Gonzo the Magnificent and his ilk think they are superior to women.

Historically, men have been donning their silly warrior garb and marching off to prove something or other, leaving the woman to run the farm and raise the kids. In Scandinavia, Viking women were so good at this that they came to demand full equality with men, got the vote early on, elected the first woman president (Finland) and continue to have children out of wedlock. Why? Because marriage is a contract, and that guy with whom you were in love(?) and bore a child is not necessarily best-for-the-rest-of-your-life contract material. Especially if he thinks he’s a warrior.
Karen Embertson
Santa Fe

Harm Reduction
In response to “Party Packs”, I would like, as the executive director of the Santa Fe Mountain Center, for readers to better understand the intent of “harm reduction.” To borrow from Wikipedia: “Harm reduction, or harm minimization, refers to a range of pragmatic and evidence-based public health policies designed to reduce the harmful consequences associated with drug use and other high risk activities.”

In Rio Arriba County, the overdose rates are three times the national average; we also have higher than national average rates of hepatitis C, due to needle sharing among intravenous drug users. This is why the program is state supported; if the need was not pressing, scarce state funds would be spent elsewhere.

Our outreach consists not only of syringe exchange (referred to maybe too glibly in the article as “party packs”), but also of harm reduction counseling, basic wound care and more. Lastly, the teen referred to was over 18, a basic requirement to register as a needle exchange participant. If our communities were free from this kind of addictive harm, we would gladly focus our services elsewhere. We welcome all questions about this public health program and all other services the SFMC provides.
Sky Gray
Executive Director
Santa Fe Mountain Center

Chartered Fine
Local banks are really the only source for construction lending, and they weren’t doing anything wrong by funding development projects in Santa Fe. In fact, if it weren’t for Charter Bank and a handful of other local banks, nobody would be able to build affordable housing or any new housing, period. The issue here is more about timing: Charter got caught exposed by a fast-shifting market, and not one they created. If you would dig deeper, you would likely find that Charter originated almost no subprime mortgages, the default rate on mortgages they have made is comparatively low and they were not heavily invested in derivatives.

Charter is as much a victim of the market as, say, the person who now owes more than their house is worth. By having lots of construction loans out when the market for new homes disappeared, Charter became exposed to losses. It’s not that they were making bad loans; construction loans are by nature short-term, meant to fund the construction and be paid off when the house sells. So when someone who builds a house, or commercial building, etc. can’t sell or lease their product, eventually they run out of money to pay on the loan and they stop paying the bank; this eventually stacks up and, boom, you end up where we are.

In all honesty, even undercapitalized, I believe the loans that Charter has made are good ones; even if the bank doesn’t meet the new federal guidelines for capital coverage, they would likely survive without federal intervention.

I have worked with Charter Bank for years. They have helped hundreds of low- and moderate-income families buy homes here in Santa Fe, and have financed several million dollars worth of construction projects aimed at benefiting low- and moderate-income members of our community. They are a solid business.
Daniel Werwath
Resource Development Manager
The Housing Trust
Santa Fe

Correction: The
court hearing at which Thornburg Investment Management Managing Director Joshua Gonze withdrew his protection order petition and apologized to his second ex-wife was held on Nov. 30, not Dec. 1. SFR regrets the error.

The Reporter welcomes original, signed letters to the editor. Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to speci?c articles in the Reporter. They may be edited for clarity and space. Include address and phone number for veri?cation purposes; these will not be published.