Cover, Sept. 4:
“Hard Harvest” God Bless the Workers

God bless those who work in the fields—as my father did all his life. I know the feeling; [I’ve] been through this. It breaks my heart to see these people in these conditions. It was hard, and me and my brothers and sisters are done with this. But I wish the owners of the fields would help more. God bless you all who have helped these people. God praises you. Always. God bless the farmworkers all over the world. Peace! Mary Najar

The Trenches
My grandfather worked in Pennsylvania coal mines in the 1920s in (situation adjusted) similar conditions. It wounded him forever, and thus his children and grandchildren. I recently labored for a company [that] treated its “workers” in a very similar way. So, when I hear people say, “Hey—it’s better than Mexico,” I just shudder.

You see, they come here not just for work, but for a kind of freedom (the freedom to truly climb out of the trenches, which they do not have back home), and instead find an abusive employer, few options, a strand of hardship that comes out of my grandfather’s desperate era, no sympathy from the public, and no freedom to move out of the trenches.

Before you so glibly tout their privileges, please come up here and spend a couple weeks with me in a lumberyard I know. They are always looking for more bodies. Sevan

News, Sept. 4:
“You’ve Been Served”
An Oozing Odor

The odor from this administration is continuing to ooze through the cracks of their information lockbox. The smell of rancid meat cannot be hidden, yet the [Gov. Susana] Martinez folks still think everything they do smells like roses. Wait ‘til that lockbox is forced open and either the smell will be as faint as one of the gov’s bologna-sandwich toots or so overwhelming that a hazmat team will have to be called. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I’d bet it’s time to go down to the Army surplus [store] and get one of them WWI gas masks! Smell Tester

Free-Press Values
Great job! Great writing, great reporting, great sourcing, great due diligence and great on backing up your free-press values with a lawsuit. Making Martinez accountable is painful, but highly necessary. Your paper so deserved your New [Mexico Foundation] for Open Government award. Thanks for taking on this battle for all of us. Kathleen Sloan

Arts Valve, Sept. 4:
"Blow Hard"


Let’s look at the article: Someone is breaking the law—a law that does not change daily, but is pretty clear—and he wants to be able to break the law because “they should be used to him by now”?

Perhaps Santa Fe does not want to be a center for buskers, who routinely break the law, [Americans with Disabilities Act] regulations; make it impossible for the differently abled to navigate the streets and Plaza; set up camp outside stores; do not seem to charge gross receipt’s tax; interfere with ordinances and bandstand events.

On the other hand, perhaps the city does want this, but the regulations are in place for a reason, and they should be followed and enforced. Some buskers are using their activities to cover up drug dealing; others are simply begging. This is not busking.

Santa Fe is incredibly relaxed [about] enforcing the regulations, out of friendliness to the buskers. Just because someone wants to bend or break the law doesn’t mean he or she can. If the law says a busker cannot perform during a Plaza event, that’s the way it is. We do not live in Deadwood. There are regulations in place for good reasons, and fairness to all is one of the reasons. Elizabeth Pettus

A Great Guy
Fight the fight, Duke. My daughters love him every time we visit Santa Fe. And I grew up with him—great guy, just trying to make a living.

Anthony V Montoya