Mail letters to Letters, Santa Fe Reporter, PO Box 2306, Santa Fe, NM 87504, deliver them to 132 E. Marcy St., fax them to 505-988-5348 or email them to the editor.
The Santa Fe Reporter has devoted attention to allegations of fraud in the Department of Health's Women, Infants and Children program. We want to make it clear that we took those allegations very seriously. Both internal and external examinations of our accounting practices determined there was never any fraud. We did have accounting issues that we have since resolved.
We understand that the state auditor plans to do an additional review of our most recent external audit. We welcome the review and expect the results will show again that there are no financial concerns involving our WIC program. We regret that the Santa Fe Reporter has approached this issue from a "guilty until proven innocent" direction. The innuendo and slanted implications have caused great pain to many honest, hardworking people who are deeply committed to the WIC program and its financial credibility.
We congratulate our financial staff for working hard to rectify any accounting issues, and we appreciate the work of our WIC employees, who make sure women get the nutrition and health education they need to support their young families.
Secretary, New Mexico Department of Health
Behind White Peak
As a conservationist who knows the White Peak area intimately, I wholeheartedly support the White Peak land transfer. Those who love the wild lands of northern New Mexico should back this deal, which is good for the land, wildlife, state, and our children and grandchildren.
Newly consolidated state trust lands have abundant springs, lakes, meadows and forests. They have been given the highest possible elk habitat ratings from the state Department of Game and Fish. I know the areas that are being traded very well as I have hunted that backcountry for the past 15 years.
The trade also opens up a new recreational area for campers, hikers and mountain bikers who will now be assured permanent, legal access to land which rivals the majesty of Valle Vidal.
Ray Powell and others have framed the issues politically, around Democratic populism, in support of victimized hunters versus a Republican land commissioner who is acting entirely on behalf of rich land owners. The result of this political posturing is that the general public has been sidetracked from getting the facts, which would have otherwise created massive grassroots support for this unprecedented opportunity.
With neighboring ranches, the area proposed by state Commissioner of Public Lands Patrick Lyons could, with support of a united conservation community, create a million continuous acres of wild lands. Before the trade, these lands, without continuity and legal access, would have been almost impossible to protect from oil and gas drilling.
David Stanley, the first rancher in this land trade, runs an organic cattle operation with another rancher who sells beef at Santa Fe Farmers Market. If the current trade is revoked, as Powell urges, Stanley will sell his ranch. In five years, the entire White Peak area might look as impacted as the Turner Ranch.
I have strongly opposed Commissioner Lyons' liberal drilling policies, particularly in Mora County but, in this case, he has committed to not leasing the White Peak area to oil and gas.
Unfortunately, many of those in favor of this trade, who know the contested land's history and politics, have been reluctant to take a public stance in support of Commissioner Lyons—including myself, until now. The White Peak area has been the scene of a low-grade range war for the past 50 years. Historical structures have been burned to the ground and people's lives have been threatened.
But what's past is past. Get the facts on the State Land Office website. Given the coal methane reserves under the areas of dispute, our ability to come together, as a community, will be the greatest test for the land we all love.
Shiny New Toys
You've got to be kidding regarding the ill-informed and heartless article bashing electrical and chemical sensitivities. It is becoming more clear every day there are serious potential health threats from the microwave and other electropollution that is spreading throughout our environment. And like chemical pollution, some people, including children, are more vulnerable to its effects. Because of safety concerns, close to a dozen countries around the world—including the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Israel, Russia and India—advise that children limit their cell phone use. I can only surmise that the Reporter staff is so wedded to its electronic devices that it chose to attack the messenger rather than heed the message that these shiny new toys can have a downside. But denial of this inconvenient truth is a public health disaster waiting to happen.
Chair, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Task Force
In Zane's World we learned that "speeding doesn't cause many accidents." I guess that means that speeding causes just the right amount of accidents. Or, that it only causes an acceptable number of dead cats and dogs. Or, it's actually safer to race through yellow lights way over the speed limit. OK then. Glad we got the facts.
In response to Zane Fischer's premature review of Casablanca, we want to share that we are delighted by the opening of this wonderful, new Mediterranean restaurant downtown! The location is perfect, the ambiance is inviting, and the food is homemade, delicious and affordable. And being that Casablanca just opened, the menu will be evolving in exciting directions until the perfect alchemy of flavor, presentation and availability is reached. In addition, every Friday night from 7-9 pm, customers can experience a beautiful and professional belly dance show for free while dining, presented by yours truly, The Saltanah Dancers. Come check it out!
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.