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Anson Stevens-Bollen

Letters to the Editor


September 28, 2016, 12:00 am

News, September 21: “Refuge and Respite”

Get Better Options

I am a member of the mentally ill homeless community in Santa Fe, and as a filmmaker who documents the treatment of this group in our community in the web series produced by me and my husband (The Land of Tranquil Light on YouTube), I am in full support of any crisis triage center and other resources that could be made available to this vulnerable section of society.

To those who are supporting the Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center as a viable option to the mentally ill, I have been a patient in the behavioral health wing of the hospital during which time I received exceptional treatment. A second time I was treated in the ER for my mental health issues ... Instead of being transferred to an adequate facility, I was locked in a cell where I begged the head nurse, the security and other aids to allow me to stay in an unlocked room, allow me to call my daughter (whom they refused to allow to stay with me), and to refrain from giving me a hypodermic injection. The first requests they denied me; the last they forced on me against my will.

Unfortunately, the ER staff members are not all trained to deal with mentally ill patients and they break their hypocratic oath to commit no harm. I will never return to the local ER again for behavioral health concerns or any other.

Jodi Drinkwater
Santa Fe

Food, September 21: “Nothing’s Wrong with the Co-op”

Pros and Cons?

I’d rather like to find a happy medium.

I’m not thrilled with the co-op’s reliance on “their distributor,” which seems to have a bias toward “corporate green” labels that have been co-opted by Big Food but still have their folksy founder’s name and reputations to sell them. I’d really rather feel my food dollars are supporting independent and local producers of tinned and packaged foodstuffs, frozen foods, deli meats and cheeses, dairy products, etc.

I’d also vastly prefer a more consistently abundant supply of reliable-quality basic organic produce items like celery, green beans, varietal apples, bell peppers, etc., at reasonably low prices, to shelves full of dragon fruit, kumquats, sapote, and five varieties of persimmons. ...

I preferred getting a rebate check to the current system of some sort of discount credit against current purchases ... I’d prefer my membership and purchase dollars go entirely to supporting the operations of the store, and let members who need a discount earn it with in-store volunteer labor. ...

Why not come up with a way to give members more say, that doesn’t involve trashing the whole institutional structure of the organization?

Terry Macdonald

Something’s Wrong

The title of this article is blatantly false—if there was truly nothing wrong with the co-op, there would have been no point to writing it in the first place. Just for starters, the fact that 1,000 members have called for a change of leadership is a big problem. A co-op where “nothing’s wrong” does not have long-term employees quitting due to the management, is not firing employees for speaking their minds, and has not had to pay fines due to labor violations.

Whether or not you agree with everything Take Back the Co-op has said, there are very obviously problems with La Montañita.

Phil Grossblatt

Long Live La Montañita

Thanks for reporting on this, Gwyneth. ... I have both served on the board, [am a] lifetime member, [an] investor in the farm program and I worked at the coop in my college years. ... [My] understanding of the petition is not that Robin [Seydel] or Martha [Whitman] lose their jobs but that the brand new GM is reconsidered by the board. And, the board itself is reconsidered.

That’s because after meeting with the new GM, we learned he has a vision that isn’t described in the 7 Co-op Principles. As he told us, “We’re going to make a lot of money.” Rather shocking from the guy running the “people before profits” grocery we all love.

When I was on the board we expanded to the North Valley store. It was not a plan initially embraced by the GM at the time, who had already begun the process of a site plan for a huge store at Eubank and Moon. Because the co-op is democratically controlled, the board scrapped that site during my first board meeting. The valley store opened and the success enabled the coop’s expansion to Santa Fe and Gallup.

... The 7 Co-op Principles ... do not include cheaper food, but allowing the members to decide with their purchases what is carried, and with their votes, who represents them on the board. Also you mention “destroying” the co-op and there is no indication that I’ve seen that by allowing the democratic process to move forward the co-op will be destroyed.

I’ve learned about co-ops over decades and was trained extensively on the board and as a staffer. This discussion can only happen while maintaining these principles, and using them as our guide. Long live La Montañita!

Katie Stone

Take Back SFR

Not only do we need to take back the co-op; apparently, we need to take back the media as well.

From the headline on, there was not the slightest pretense of fair reporting—not even basic journalistic integrity to include a direct quote from the two Take Back the Co-op folks interviewed. Such conspicuous bias would be comical if it weren’t so disheartening. Time to go back to journalism school, Gwyneth Doland. Or maybe you just need a hard look in the mirror. Shame on you.

Carol Norris

Thanks, Gwyneth

Thank you to Gywenth Doland for her excellent article in support of La Montañita Coop. I have been an owner/member of La Montañita for more than three decades, and it is the only place I shop for groceries. The professionalism, dedication, and accomplishments of their staff and board are remarkable, particularly in these difficult economic times. Their commitment to making quality food available to all, and to listening to their member/owners, should be celebrated. The so-called “Take Back the Co-op” movement is wrong-headed and should go away.

Sterling Grogan
Santa Fe

Slander at the Co-op?

Last week when I went to the co-op there was an employee sitting at the door handing out the “co-op’s” side of the story. I am a co-op member, so I was sort of offended. Then I saw that the letter implied that those of us who are part of Take Back the Co-op had slashed the manager’s tires. I would like to see the police report. That is slander.

I am 70 years old, not privileged, living on social security, but I’ve made it a priority to buy organic food because it is good for our environment, good for our local farmers, and people who have cancer, immune deficiencies, etc., have no choice. ... There is a price to pay for cheap food: the loss of our bee population, etc. Not to mention putting poison into your body.

[Take Back the Co-op] is not a small group of people. It’s over 1,000, and many of these folks are not wealthy. This is also about labor rights. There has been retaliation towards workers at our co-op after they joined the union. The last time workers tried to unionize, the administrators hired a union-busting lawyer.

Is this really what we want at our co-op? People handing out lies as we walk in the door? Administrators who alert the police that there is going to be a demonstration in front of the store? ... If we don’t win this, I will not renew my membership that I’ve had since the late ’70s.

Dr. Benay Blend

Letters, September 14: “Beef with Beef”

Let ‘Em Burn

Marc Bender’s assumption that “clearly grasslands existed before either bison or cows” ignores another powerful sculptor of landscapes. Environmentalists who think grasslands are natural should go back and read the work of anthropologist Omer Stewart, and of geographer Carl Sauer, who concluded that most if not all of the world’s grasslands were created by fires regularly set by human inhabitants over very long periods of time. They should go back and read the work of Aldo Leopold, who observed firsthand right here in New Mexico that grasslands were gradually replacing forests wherever prescribed burning was practiced, and that forests were reclaiming land when periodic burning was halted.

Arthur Firstenberg
Santa Fe

Cover, September 7: “Major Beef”

Let ‘Em Graze

New Mexico’s cattle culture goes back to 1598 when Juan de Oñate drove 7,000 head of livestock to NM. Among the livestock were 1,400 head of cattle and 400 horses. The rest were sheep, goats, hogs etc. Other Spanish explorers had driven cattle to NM but only as a food source. ... The Spanish started grazing cattle in the Santa Fe National Forest then and they are still doing it! Now the USFS and other organizations want to end grazing in the forest to protect the watersheds and other riparian areas. One of their main targets is the Northern New Mexico Cattlemen’s Association, which is almost entirely Hispanic. In fact, they are targeting Hispanic ranchers all over the state in an effort to eradicate the Hispanic contribution to the ranching industry. … I don’t know about you, but I’d rather drink from a creek or river where there are cattle and wildlife grazing than a creek where people are urinating and pooping all over, carrying every disease and taking every prescription drug known to mankind.

Luciano Martinez

SFR will correct factual errors online and in print. Please let us know if we make a mistake, or 988-7530.

Mail letters to PO Box 2306, Santa Fe, NM 87504, deliver to 132 E Marcy St., or email them to Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.


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