Sept. 22, 2017
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Anson Stevens-Bollen

Letters to the Editor


May 18, 2017, 12:00 am

News, May 3: “Addressing a Household Crisis”

Not Enough

The New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney in Santa Fe recently suggested decreasing the amount of required counseling time for offenders of domestic violence, from 52 to 26 weekly meetings. I have been a professional counselor for over 25 years and have experience counseling domestic violence offenders. Domestic violence is a multi-faceted social problem, not just an anger problem. Often among many offenders, cultural and societal issues of sexism, chauvinism, misogyny, privilege, entitlement and power and control over another person contribute to a lifetime pattern of aggressive, harmful behavior.

Among male offenders, [those in] denial are the highest of all client populations getting counseling. Consequently, time and work are needed (by client and counselor) to effectively intervene in the abusive behavior, and to have offenders take accountability and responsibility for their behavior. Recommending only 26 meetings for offenders to achieve this is unfair to the client, unrealistic, and suggest an expedient “quick fix” cure for abuse and violence in domestic relationships.

John F Moreau
Santa Fe

Works for Some

I applaud District Attorney [Marco] Serna’s decision to shift the way his office handles domestic violence cases. Clearly, a more thoughtful, nuanced approach is needed. But the research tells us that if we want to change behavior, we need to distinguish who is doing what to whom and with what impact.

For traditional battering patterns that grow out of a belief that men have a right and a duty to control women, our existing batterer intervention programs, along with programs designed to empower victims, have been shown to work. These offenders are good candidates for deferred treatment, as long as there is a system in place to ensure accountability.

Situational violence is an entirely different dynamic. For example, a man may hit his wife because she gambled away all their money, but he does not use a pattern of intimidation and violence to establish control or dominance over her. Those cases may not be appropriate for deferment to a batterer’s intervention program.

Other men may be similar to batterers because they use violence to establish relationships of dominance, but they do so in many areas of their lives. These men are singularly resistant to change and, according to the research, they do not benefit from batterer intervention programs. Imposing traditional legal consequences may be the only viable response for this personality type.

In the end, using deferred prosecution and batterer intervention programs to change a batterer’s behavior makes sense. The challenge will be identifying the right candidates. DAs and their advocates will need to work closely with law enforcement and domestic violence programs to ensure that batterers are given an opportunity to change, but those who are not amenable to change are held accountable.

Sheila Lewis
Santa Fe Safe

Cover, May 3: “Sugar Crash”

Tax Animals

Santa Fe may have rejected a sin tax on soda and other sugary drinks, but officials can still raise revenue for preschool programs—and save animals and the environment—by levying a tax on meat and other animal-based foods.

Animal-based foods are linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other life-threatening illnesses, and according to the United Nations, the production of animal-based foods requires more resources and causes more greenhouse-gas emissions than the production of plant-based ones.

If authorities were to levy a 10-cent tax on every pound of meat—and a modest tax on each dairy item and carton of eggs—it would give consumers yet another incentive to eat tasty vegan foods, which are humane, environmentally friendly, and relatively inexpensive compared to meat, eggs, and dairy products, especially if you factor in all the medical bills you can rack up if you eat a lot of fatty, cholesterol-laden animal-based foods.

Heather Moore
PETA Foundation - Norfolk, Virginia

Hey Naysayers

The sugar tax didn’t pass, but the two issues the measure was intended to address linger and loom larger. New Mexico has poor education outcomes for children coupled with poor health outcomes such as elevated levels of childhood obesity and diabetes exacerbated by overly high consumption of sugary drinks.

Responsibility to act now rests with the 57 percent of voters who cast a “no” vote. It’s not enough to just say no—it’s your turn now to come together to propose other alternatives. We need to see a plan B, C and/or D that can be debated, moved forward, voted on and passed. In the face of years of inaction, the mayor proposed an idea to address the two issues together. He moved the ball forward despite the loss. Now Santa Fe residents, community leaders and politicians need to reconvene and resolve these issues in new ways.

If you really believe in producing better outcomes for children in New Mexico, if you support pre-K education and merely voted no because you were opposed only to this specific sugar tax and felt that wasn’t the best way to fund pre-K, then now is your time to step forward. Now is the time to come up with constructive alternative solutions, support them wholeheartedly and make a difference.

It’s easy to vote no. It’s far harder to take the next step. Let’s hear some reasonable, viable, alternative ideas and let’s get going.

Jill Jones
Santa Fe

News, May 3: “Almost Flunking”

I’m Lovin’ It

I read your article with interest and know that Christus St. Vincent has an image problem. My experience there last August—five days hospitalized—was very different. Every single person I dealt with—doctors, especially Dr. Ali, nurses and support staff—was fantastic. I couldn’t have had better treatment.

Morgan Smith
Santa Fe

Letters, May 3: “U Da Best”

Pay Attention, SFR

In the “Letters” section [was] a sweet note from Michael Friestad, giving big love to Santa Fe Brewing and their Freestyle Pilsner.

It is too bad that no one at the Reporter paid any attention to the photo that was chosen to run along with the letters. A photo of a Blue Corn Brewery beer?! Even if you were unable to locate a photo from Santa Fe Brewing (hard to imagine), you could have been savvy enough to run an image of a plain glass of beer. …

You made a poor choice to visually highlight a different brewery.

Wynn Hohlt
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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