As a vocal supporter of gay (and lesbian) rights, I'm very interested in seeing the HB 9 legislation pass into law. I wish it was written to give domestic partners virtually all the same benefits that marriage offers and I don't understand why only half were written into this legislation as indicated in your "What's in a Name?" news story [Outtakes, Jan.30].
To me, this is yet another frustratingly obvious case of inequality that needs to be resolved in order to give everyone equal rights regardless of sexual preference. But I do think the GLBT community shoots itself in the foot when they insist that such legislation must label these civil unions as "marriage." It's foolish to get hung up on mere semantics when doing so could risk the attainment of equal rights. I say throw the closed-minded bigots a bone by allowing them to reserve the "marriage" term for traditional heterosexual marriages.
Gays have to admit that there are fundamental differences between straight and gay marriage. The most notable difference, of course, is that a straight marriage can potentially produce its own biological offspring. While I personally care almost nothing about tradition, millions of people do and the centuries-old tradition of marriage as it has (more or less) always been should carry some weight.
No one can prevent gays from calling each other "married" or "husband" or "wife." No one can prevent gays from engaging in their own religious marriage ceremony. Gays should focus on attaining genuine equal rights and quit getting hung up on the fight to have their domestic partnerships legally labelled "marriage."
Concerning the State Democratic Party Caucus held Feb. 5, I would like to clear up a misunderstanding some may have. The caucus was conducted by the State Democratic Party" NOT the county clerks [Outtakes, Feb. 13: "Super Letdown"].
It is a good time to express appreciation to all our county clerks, especially to our own Santa Fe County Clerk Valerie Espinoza who recently received the highest marks in a study conducted by the Universities of New Mexico, Utah and Cal Tech/MIT regarding poll worker training and election administration. She chose the best of the best when she selected Denise Lamb as her Bureau of Elections chief. The staff of the entire office is made up of hardworking, dedicated and knowledgeable people. I know, I've been there and wish I could still be working alongside them. They are the greatest.
Thank you Valerie and the other county clerks who work so hard to assure the voters their vote counts - accurately, quickly, with careful planning, proper training and dedication to the voters who depend upon them to run our elections with the highest degree of integrity and performance.
FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE
OUT WITH INFILL
I read the profile of Robbie Dobyns and his belief in infill. The benefits of infill are myths and are particularly damaging when those with vested interests promote them as fact [Outtakes, Feb. 6: "Pop Quiz"].
Infill built in such areas as the Railyard, Agua Fria, South Capitol and Bellamah has resulted in pricey condos and rental units, raising the property taxes of long-established residents and compromising infrastructure. The ordinance that permits the destruction of our neighborhoods through lot-splits, multi-story renovations and 70 percent lot coverages are not subject to the affordable housing rules.
With infill, open yards with carbon-absorbing trees and vegetation are covered over with concrete, asphalt and air-conditioned faux-adobes. Instead of the natural percolation of snowmelt and rain to the aquifer through neighborhood yards, infill requires drainage to shunt the water off to the nearest arroyo (and south to Texas).
Infill was intended to address blighted areas. Infill, as promoted by the 2001 City Code changes, then sponsored by Councilor Patti Bushee, has brought wild land speculation, overloading infrastructure and has resulted in little "affordable housing."
From Sacramento to Missoula, infill does not stop sprawl. In Santa Fe, one only needs to look at the building boom south of Rodeo Road and the interstate.
The solution to sprawl that only the most ardent environmentalists acknowledge, is stopping growth. Failing a change in the paradigm that growth is the driver of a viable community, then sprawl will never stop. Remember, the city is planning for Santa Fe's population to be 130,000 by 2025.
I sincerely hope that Rosemary Romero, District 2 City Council candidate, will not surround herself with Anglos, thus rekindling a howl for the already disenfranchised locals who haven't had representation at City Hall for eight years running.
It's not just the City Council that city residents will be voting on this March 4. There are seven city charter amendments and a bond question on the ballot also. One of those charter amendments is Ranked Choice Voting or RCV. What I like most about RCV is that it removes the whole spoiler aspect from an election and gives everybody an even shot at the race.
There is nothing worse than feeling like you shouldn't vote for the candidate that would be best for the job for fear that if you don't vote for one of the front-running candidates you may be wasting your vote. RCV removes that concern. There are many positive aspects of Ranked Choice Voting and not the least of which is that the candidate that ultimately gets elected enters the job with over 50 percent of the voters having voted for him or her. Wow!! Democracy at work. I believe this will increase voter turnout and encourage positive campaigning by candidates to boot. It's really not any more difficult either. You just rank the candidates in the order of your preference: one, two, three, it's that easy.