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Anson Stevens-Bollen

Letters to the Editor


April 26, 2017, 12:00 am

Endorsement, April 12: “Vote No in the Soda War”

Can’t Afford It

Can you read this? If so, you are ahead of a quarter of our state’s kindergartners who cannot read one single letter on the first day of school. When our children reach third grade, three-quarters are not proficient in reading or math. Our children’s prospects, from birth to career need help.

Pre-K is quality standards-based education for 3- and 4-year olds (not “a sort of hybrid between childcare and nursery school”). The benefits of high-quality early childhood education have been shown by non-partisan peer-reviewed research to last through kindergarten, third grade, and well into adulthood.

In a state in which funding for public education, higher education, and social services continues to shrink, local communities must come up with solutions. One way or another, these children will touch your life. We can either invest in them now and give them the opportunity to succeed, or we can pay for them when they are youth in need of much more costly services.

Pre-K gives children the opportunity to enter kindergarten ready to learn, and that is the first step to breaking the cycle of poverty and improving our community. How can we afford to say no to that?

Katherine Ortega Courtney
Santa Fe Community Foundation

Ooh, They Mad

Your “no” endorsement of the pre-K initiative was appalling. You show little understanding of the urgent need for early childhood education and its well-documented public value. And your reasons for opposing the measure are bizarre.

Support from the “progressive cabal” is a turn-off? Would we be better off if Santa Fe were run by the corporate cabal that rules most of the country? Policies that support working families face brutal, well-funded opposition and require smart supporters who can raise money to fight back.

You worry this will create a bureaucracy? All vital public programs require humans to implement them. Nobody argues that we should eliminate social security because a fraction of its cost goes to administration (also known as decent jobs).

You think this is “political posturing?” This is how politics is supposed to work: We should elect leaders who run on their track record of delivering bold achievements for their constituents, rather than lining the pockets of their corporate sponsors. If Mayor Gonzales is thinking of running for governor based on delivering for kids over Coke, then sign me up for his progressive cabal.

Mitch Ackerman
Santa Fe

What is it, Javier?

After listening to Mayor Javier Gonzales on KSFR and reading the Reporter, my resistance to the sugar tax has increased.

Gonzales said that 100 percent of the tax would go to pre-K education. The ordinance allows 5 percent of the tax to go for administrative costs, an undetermined percentage for building construction and annual quality and fiscal audits. The audit process alone will require more bureaucracy and probably at a cost of 10 percent or more.

The mayor said it will pay for 1,000 children to go to pre-K but only if most can pay at least half of the cost of a high quality pre-K education.

He said that the program will be ready next year. [Gonzales] fails to mention that the ordinance requires one year of data collection before the program begins. In my opinion, the mayor is not honest when he says the city will not be hiring extra staff—surely the city manager as per ordinance is not going to collect the money. He cannot even do his own job without the help of an assistant city manager.

The city has other options including using texting fines and creating economically diverse neighborhoods to help children be successful.

Stefanie Beninato
Santa Fe

Clutchin’ Pearls

SFR notes that you “join others who are suspicious of the mayor’s intentions”—those intentions being higher office, of course. You suspect that Mayor Gonzales might even go so far as to use the success of his leadership on an important issue as a barometer for his next career move.

I’ve got white knuckles from clutching my pearls so hard. STOP THE DAMN PRESSES. A politician is aspirational for higher office, hoping his leadership on a particular issue could further his career. ... Sorry, SFR, I was unaware we were running a monastic order and not a local government here.

SFR opposes the initiative because it ”requires the city to take on a whole new bureaucracy, not just hiring a third-party contractor to collect the tax from distributors, but also overseeing who gets the money and monitoring outcomes.” Good point, except—this isn’t new. The city already collects taxes, already distributes and monitors grants. ... So what’s that “whole new bureaucracy” is SFR referencing here? ...

I get that we’d all like for the state, an entity that can levy truly progressive taxes, to foot the bill here. But it won’t. And the low- and lower-middle income children of this town—the kids whose parents can’t afford a year at a private preschool—need this program yesterday. ... There is no better tool at our disposal than early childhood ed for stopping the prison industrial complex, dismantling white supremacy, and smashing the patriarchy.

Sascha Anderson
Santa Fe

Lame. Duh!

How lame is it to come up with a lot of namby-pamby arguments to stop lots of low-income kids from pre-K and keep their parents from wasting health & funds from too much soda? Sorry, SFR—that’s LAME! ...

Why couldn’t Pre-K for Santa Fe wait another year for a regular city election? Because tons of kids would be a year or more older, duh! Every formative year [before age 5] is crucial for child development! If not now, when? Do you see the state or others stepping up in the Martinez/Trump climate of NO? Not gonna happen.

Tnx. Also, feel free to be convinced to do a pre-K retraction ... that you came around to YES! Because the counter-arguments I see in SFR and The New Mexican seem to be simply not wanting the mayor to be a successful progressive. That’s why we elected him, duh!

William Ferguson
Santa Fe

Ask for Help

For years I have supported the idea of a similar tax—but with a major distinction. I envisioned imposing a tax on companies that choose to create products with high fructose corn syrup, etc. This would incentivize these manufacturers from producing more detrimental forms of their products. If they bore the burden for the quality and health effects of their products, they would produce them more conscientiously.

Taxing the people at the bottom of the totem pole does NOT achieve these ends, and the companies will continue on as before. Furthermore, lumping kombucha into the category with sugary beverages is entirely misguided and you are making it harder for people like me to gain the health benefits of this vital drink by taxing it along with the others.

I wish you had solicited broader-reaching input before presenting this tax plan to the people. I would have loved to assist.

Anthe A Kelley
Santa Fe

Not a Potato

As a community, I think we should be paying attention to the core issue surrounding the so-called ”sugar tax” vote on May 2.

The issue at stake is improving the educational future of our city’s children! That is essentially what it is about, not who is paying for what ads or whether you will be forced to lessen your sugar intake or whether the money will be spent on intended targets. ...

The point is to create equal access for all children in Santa Fe and to expand existing enrollment in these programs. ... Demand continues to exceed supply! Have you been paying attention to the budget crises in the schools in our state? ... Why not look at this vote as an opportunity to change your level of sugar intake and to support the improvement of the education future of Santa Fe students? ...

This is not a political issue. It is an educational vision! Do we need to be constantly reminded that we are 49th in the country? Que lastima! Please vote YES for this very needed initiative!

Eslee Kessler
Santa Fe

From A Tax Pro

I don’t question the intentions of our Mayor pushing this tax and I also support the goal of funding pre-K for those in need. ... Something needs to be done now more than later, but I think its overall tax structure is bad tax policy. ...

During this time of year I see firsthand and feel the anguish when people come in with their tax bills and tell me they feel blindsided with all the increases. Santa Feans have been hit with more and more new taxes. ... This would be the highest tax ever imposed here. ...

This tax ... is going to push those families deeper into poverty and make it harder for them to pay their bills. This tax is not equal. The burden of the tax will be paid by the low- and middle-class because that is what they buy. By its very intention this tax will end up being a sinkable fund, which means in three years the city will have to increase taxes somewhere else to fund the pre-K program because people will go elsewhere to buy or not buy at all. ...

There are [other] sources of revenues that would have less of a negative impact and be more fair to everyone. Some cities are taxing plastic containers at a rate of 1/8 of a cent which is used for public good, like senior care. Everyone contributes and the burden is distributed across the board and is not overwhelming against those who can least afford it, like this tax would be.

Patrick Varela
Santa Fe County Treasurer

News, April 19: “When SFUAD Closes a Door, it Opens a Window”

Remote and Small

Except for tourism-related arts and shops/hotels/cafes and the luxury real estate “industry” (and I use this word charitably), Santa Fe remains an economic basket case especially hard on the condition of the lower and middle classes. Chasing movie makers and producers is fine, but the local pols need to try to sell the city as a place for software developers. Its outdoor attractions and character would be a natural for techie millennials and their companies if certain infrastructure was provided by the town. This would bring the kind of good-job enterprises that can be conducted from anywhere, so Santa Fe’s remoteness and smallness would not be a great drawback for such investment.

Jay Reedy

They’re Endless

Look how well the film industry is doing in New Mexico. Why is that? One reason is lots of tax and rebate incentives. Why not offer incentives (such as no corporate state income taxes to any business) to all New Mexico businesses? Just think of the possibilities.

David Dennison
Santa Fe

Picks, April 19: “Science Matters, Y’all”

Love Yer Mama

Having the sciences is extremely important, but being conscientious in creating a better world for each other is even more important. This starts with realizing that all of our actions/interactions have an effect on other species, the planet and each other.

We ALL need to be accountable and acknowledge that we can make a difference. One person individually can start a motion and make a difference. The little details in life can add up to make a tremendous impact.

Take a stand and say something if you see someone litter, hurt people, or cause destruction. These times and the planet are in a scary place. We must now earn to keep what we have. Respect other people, other species, and the Earth!

CD Friedman
Santa Fe

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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