News, Aug. 13: “Deep Doo-Doo”
Sweeping the Mess
I've loved working at Santa Fe Community College for the past 15 years and have felt proud to be a part of this invaluable community resource. Until a year and a half ago, the budget had been balanced for many years, student enrollment continued to grow, innovative programs were being developed and staff morale was mostly positive.
We all watched with concern as many of our admired colleagues, mentors, friends and supervisors left or were pushed out under the last president. A culture of fear and mistrust developed, and as a result, a tsunami of talented people who held decades' worth of institutional knowledge have now left. Those of us still here are left wondering how this could have happened and why.
The leaders at SFCC are now left with a monumental challenge that was not of their making. Not only do they have a significant shortfall of funds to work with, but they are left with a profound "brain drain" of knowledge and experience that has been key to the effectiveness of this college for so many years. What they need and what we need to succeed is the support of the community, so we can move toward brighter times at our beloved college.
News, Aug. 13: “Staffing Showdown”
On the Record
I have worked at St. Vincent Hospital for the past 17 years. I have been on the hospital's staffing committee since its inception, and I have been the expert witness for safe-staffing legislation in 2013 and 2014.
I have personally kept records of staffing insufficiencies (based on Christus' 40th percentile for staffing) for the past three years.
Month after month, the union presented these reports to the chief nurse executive and Bruce Tassin. The director of human resources sent a letter to the union stating Christus will not officially provide responses to these reports—which in essence says we should stop sending the reports.
As a nurse, I am accountable for my nursing practice. It seems a common sense conclusion that the more face time a nurse has with their patients, the more opportunity the nurse has to provide better observation and care. The Christus staffing approach substantially reduces my time with patients. This is not good, by any measurement.
Is this how you, the community, want your community hospital to be staffed?
[The union has] never left the table. We are looking at empty seats across from us. Christus refuses to meet with us face-to-face. Santa Fe deserves safe staffing.
Sex Ed, Aug. 6: “Losing the Battle”
In a Gender Binary
In retaliation for the Hobby Lobby war on women, anyone with any kind of progressive leanings should boy/girlcott them.
As with so many liberal critiques of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, Hunter Riley fails to address the central issues in the case. Instead, she prefers to play up the "War on Women" meme and rail against the court's supposedly sexist views.
The central issue in Hobby Lobby is the federal tax preference for employer health care purchases relative to those made by individuals. Absent this provision, which was literally an accident of history dating back to World War II wage and price controls, employers would have literally no say in their workers' health care decisions.
Unfortunately, the Obamacare health "reforms" failed to address this simple, misguided provision, which created a number of harmful consequences, most notably the dominance of insurance companies in American health care.
The court simply decided that certain businesses had an interest in not purchasing for their employees certain forms of birth control that they believed to cause an abortion. Sixteen of 20 approved forms of birth control remain covered, and there is nothing stopping workers from purchasing these products on their own.
Ultimately, the reproductive rights community should get over their misguided obsession with "free" health care and work with libertarians to end misguided policies that place employers and government bureaucrats in control of our most intimate medical decisions.
Paul J Gessing
President Rio Grande Foundation
The Supreme Court ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores does not deny contraceptive coverage to employees. Hobby Lobby offered contraceptive coverage to their employees before the Affordable Care Act and will continue to do so after the ruling.
Where exactly is the "restricting access to birth control" that was noted? Birth control is available at all pharmacies, most grocery and convenience stores and most importantly, in individuals decision. Do you consider it a restriction when someone else doesn't pay for something you want?
As far as not trusting women with their own reproductive choices, you are correct in that analysis. It is very clear that the creators of the government's new health care law felt that women can't be trusted and that is why it is law that myself and others are financially responsible for others' birth control and abortions.
Reading the article, I am not sure the writer knows that the vast majority of pregnancies are the result of consensual sex. The right to prevent or end a pregnancy is not a health care issue. It is a choice issue that far too many people believe that everyone but themselves are responsible for.
News, Aug. 6: “The Last Farmer”
Roy Stephenson and David and family, thank you for creating such a delightful event. As president of our Agua Fría Village Association, I was honored to be in attendance. The farm is such an iconic part of our village. As I mentioned at the event, John Stephenson gave village boys in the late 1940s a little red wagon full of vegetables and sent them in the village to sell them, and if they sold them they got a quarter out of the money and if they didn't, they got to take the vegetables home to their families.
William H Mee
Cover, July 30: “Shattered”
A good indicator of recycling success is the absence of recyclables lying along streets. A trashy environment indicates that people just toss. It also indicates that there's nobody around willing to pick it up. People complain about "shopping cart" people and dumpster divers, but those people could earn enough cleaning up after those who didn't give a damn to pay for necessities.
In response to letters that blamed Santa Fe's inconvenient recycling program, I feel that those people are being kind to Santa Feans. For a city that prides itself on being progressive and eco-friendly, I find that much of the mentality is actually careless and wasteful. The other day I watched someone break up a perfectly good set of bedroom furniture and toss it into a dumpster, even though Goodwill was just down the street. Since then, I've been looking in dumpsters and have been appalled at what I've been finding: items like undamaged ceramic flower pots, boxes of unexpired canned foods, bundles of National Geographic magazines, which many thrift stores will sell for 10 to 25 cents. Santa Feans simply do not have recycling on their minds, because recycling also includes disposing of usable items in such a way that they do not occupy landfills. Santa Feans throw away.
Debra L Wiley
I read the article about recycling with interest. I too wonder what becomes of the things I send off to recycling. I would be happy to recycle more of my "waste stream," especially all of the No. 1 and 2 plastics such as yogurt containers and clamshell containers. Why can't we recycle them in Santa Fe when they can be recycled in Las Vegas at Highlands University?
I'm also concerned that the "single stream recycling" proposal will result in an even lower recycling rate for Santa Fe. What are we going to do with all the glass that we can recycle now? I expect that many folks will not go to the trouble of bringing their glass to Buckman.
Out of Duty
I have homes in both Santa Fe and Baltimore.When a community has single-stream recycling and very few limits on what it is willing to recycle, people not only find it easy to participate but they do so out of a real sense of duty. However, Santa Fe's program is bound to fail unless more recyclables are accepted. I have recycled paper, glass and metal since 1969. Even most plastics are accepted in Baltimore. Here I am tempted to just chuck it all in the garbage since most of my recyclables are going there anyway. Wake up, Santa Fe!
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