AIN'T IT THE TRUTH
Not only do I admire Zane Fischerï's writing and thank the Reporter for bringing his work to us every week, but also I do believe that the lead sentence of his latest column [Zaneï's World, March 19: "Park Raving Mad"] is as eloquent a piece of literature as I've read in a while.
Zane, your parking article left me feeling peeved. You call us whiny people who don't want to use our legs, get fresh air or conserve energy. You failed to mention the lawless essence that Santa Fe will lose when a bunch of shiny parking meters are installed at the Railyard. Santa Fe isn't about conformity and rules! That's why we "whine" when "progress" rears its ugly head.
Your article mentions how no one expects to park on the Plaza for free, why not the Railyard following suit? Because it is one of the last bastions of free local downtown parking! Many locals patronize those businesses when we don't go to the Plaza to avoid paid parking. Will we race the rabid meter man with the clipboard and his little pen five minutes too late? You write, "Metered parking will bring order." Santa Fe isn't about order! That's why we moved here in the first place! I'll take that rutted dirt parking lot and a light fender bender! This isn't about being green and getting exercise. We can't all ride the bus or bop around town on a scooter. Parking meters are a noose around the neck of any undomesticated Santa Fean.
We were surprised and concerned to read Zane Fischer's rant regarding the Santa Fe Farmers Market and parking in the Railyard. Zane makes reference to "Farmers Market representatives," but never bothered to contact the official representatives - the staff or board of the Market itself. To write a critical and vitriolic commentary about us without knowing our position is journalistically irresponsible at best.
The small farmers who make up our market work 60 or more hours per week all season long and compete with Whole Foods, Albertson's and many others. None of their competitors make their customers pay to park. These companies already have huge advantages over our small farmers due to their large scale (and unsustainable) growing practices. We need to make it as easy as possible for the community to buy local produce and make small, local farming economically viable. The more barriers we put up against customers getting to the Market, the fewer will come. Our vendors understand this and are legitimately concerned.
Alternative transportation is important - but imagine riding home on your bike with a watermelon in one hand and bag of produce with a dozen eggs in another. This is why successful retail businesses of all types have ample free parking. We should make as many alternative transportations options available as possible. But if you try to force it on customers, they simply will not come.
Zane is right that nobody expects to park for free on the Plaza. He fails to mention that few local residents go downtown at all. If we agree that we want locals using the park, coming to the Market every weekend and making the Railyard a true community hub for local residents, there should be free parking on all weekends for all Railyard users.
SANTA FE FARMERS MARKET DIRECTOR
AND PHIL LOOMIS
SANTA FE FARMERS MARKET BOARD
Hey Zane, stop whining about parking revenue at the Railyard. Meters will not bring order more than yellow lines. The installation of meters will force locations in the area to also install meters. If this happens the area should be named the Santa Fe Parking Meter Market.
What is the cost to purchase, install and maintain meters as well as providing bus service from other parking facilities that are probably already full compared to free parking? This affects not only Farmers Market vendors and customers but family recreation, school children on school trips to the area, seniors out for a walk along the park and other business in the area. Lets take a poll to see who is in favor of parking meters or no parking meters.
In response to Zane's "green transport" quote, is it better to have meat and produce grown and sold locally or to shop at the supermarkets that import produce and meat an average 1,500 miles in tractor trailer trucks? Super markets don't have meters and have parking lines and everything looks orderly to me.
Are the mayor and the parking people going to nickel and dime us or in this instance quarter us to death about parking fees????
CAN IT BE TRUE?
Your interview with Ron Edwards [Outtakes, March 19: "Don't Forget Vets"] raises several questions.
Mr. Edwards said that he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1981 "for the structure." Well, OK. It's true that we do have great structure and our esprit de corps is internationally acclaimed. Then he admits that he went AWOL for nine months because he didn't want to kill anybody.
Mr. Edwards' naivete is astounding. When he enlisted, did he expect a Boy Scout Jamboree? Our mission is to close with and destroy the enemy. We are trained to do this and we did it in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and we are doing it in Afghanistan. We are also trying to keep the peace in Iraq, clearly a more difficult assignment.
After a Marine has been AWOL for over 30 days, he (or she) is classified as a deserter. When the Marine comes back to the fold, or is apprehended, the Marine faces a court martial followed by certain brig time. This wrongdoing usually results in a "bad conduct discharge," making me wonder how Mr. Edwards got an honorable discharge.
LT COL, USMC (RET)
Thanks for dedicating so much space to the dynamics of eating locally [Devour, March 12]! Food is the core of much community life, and we're fortunate Santa Fe is supportive of local foods and local traditions.
We thought readers might want to know about Tree House Pastry Shop & Cafe and how community, sustainability and local agriculture are the core ideals on which we operate.
Named one of Gourmet Magazine's "100 Best Farm to Table Restaurants," Tree House is an all-organic, vegetarian restaurant within the grounds of Plants of the Southwest. Since opening in 2006, we've proudly participated in Santa Fe Alliance's Farm to Table program, developing mutually beneficial relationships with many local farmers.
In the summer and fall, 98 percent of our produce comes from the wonderful Santa Fe Farmers Market. Even in winter, most of our produce comes from local sources, and all the flours and nuts in our bakery are New Mexico grown.
Our commitment to sustainability continues beyond the kitchen. We compost all food waste, recycle all containers and are even powered, in part, by solar energy. All this is done out of a deep commitment to those core ideals.
To top it off, we make great desserts. At Tree House, those interested in sustainable practice and local food really can have their (organic, locally made) cake and eat it, too.
MARIA ELENA BUSTAMANE-BERNAL AND CAROLE KOZAK
TREE HOUSE PASTRY SHOP & CAFE
The article - Lawmakers tackle bipolar/antidepressant controversy - [Outtakes, March 5: "Suicidal Tendencies"] is very misleading on many levels. First, it states that actor Heath Ledger overdosed on a combination of antidepressants and painkillers, however there were no antidepressants found in his blood at autopsy, but rather anti-anxiety and pain medications.
The article also implies that the black box warning on antidepressants has been extended to all ages, when in fact the warning only applies to adolescents and young adults up to the age of 25.
In addition, it suggests that antidepressants can lead to suicide. The black box warning states that antidepressants can lead to an increase in suicidal thinking and behavior. But in the adolescent studies presented to the FDA, there were no deaths by suicide.
Finally, it is unclear to me why the article was titled "bipolar," since neither the article nor Senate Memorial 9 discusses bipolar disorder.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education. We believe that recognizing and treating the disorders that can lead to suicides are the best way to prevent them.
DR. PAULA J CLAYTON
AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION
In response to William Mee's letter [March 19: "Don't Vote Nader"], I'd like to add several thoughts.
The two-branch, one-party "system" that controls electoral expression in our country is the primary reason that our great nation is going down the drain, fast. In the past 60-plus years, Democrats and Republicans have colluded to create a hyper-militaristic "security" state that has squandered trillions of dollars while making us much less secure. Ralph Nader and Ron Paul are the only two candidates to question this disgraceful policy.
Aside from an impending national bankruptcy, these unnecessary wars have cost America hundreds of thousands dead and mutilated. And the disasters we inflict on human beings living in targeted countries? They are "the other," less than insignificant compared to the precious lives of our own.
Democratic and Republican misleaders are wholly responsible for this carnage. Scratch McCain, Clinton, even Obama (I suspect), and they will admit to embracing the exceptionalism of the American Empire. "Sure, we make some mistakes, but we mean well, bringing democracy, prosperity, etc.." People in other countries think our belief in this self-image is delusional and grotesque.
As Mee acknowledges, Ralph Nader is one of contemporary America's heroes. He is incorrect, however, when he asserts that Nader has been inactive since 2004. Every week brings a thoughtful essay or opinion piece, usually disseminated on the Internet (see counterpunch.org). This is not stuff you're going to see in the corporate media. If iconoclasts like Nader didn't exist, how would you know if your food is contaminated or your political discourse corrupted?
Finally, a word about this "Nader ego" cliche. I know Ralph Nader a little. He is exactly the opposite of someone who values his self-esteem above results. When asked what key trait a leader should have, Nader has replied, "To help create many more leaders", so that they can carry on the good work, against the odds.
Regarding Dave Maass' March 19 generally interesting article about Eliot Spitzer and his New Mexico connections, there were a number of items that left me scratching my head [Outtakes: "Spitzing Distance"]. There was the slightly substantive (Spitzer is being accused of being the perpetrator of several serious federal crimes, not merely an accomplice), the not-very-substantive (I wonder if "high-priced" prostitute would have been more accurate than "high-class" prostitute) and then the not-at-all-relevant-and-yet-truly-bewildering ("From capital to capital, New Mexico is 7,839 miles from New York.") Regarding the latter, I suppose that may be true if you took the scenic route. The very scenic route.
Indeed, SFR acknowledges having inadvertently published incorrect mileage for the distance between Albany, NY, and Santa Fe, NM. The approximate distance is 1,780 miles. SFR regrets the error.
SPEAKING FOR TIBET
The situation in Tibet: Capital city Lhasa and many other cities are on fire, in what is truly an emergency situation. China has been killing many Tibetans, 1.5 million since the 1951 invasion. Now they kill many more nuns, monks, brothers, sisters, children and the elderly. The world should be able to recognize by now this criminal situation with the worst human rights violations, which are so bad that China should lose its chance to be the Olympic host.
We have been sending petitions to Olympic Committee Chairman Jacques Rogge, who has spoken out recently to help Tibet. France's Foreign Ministries has threatened to boycott at least the opening ceremonies if not the entire games; the European Union has also spoken similarly. One Taiwan presidential candidate has openly stated that if elected, Taiwan will not be in the Olympics.
What really is needed is a United Nations Task Force to go to Tibet and report back with the horrible truth about genocide, repression, political prisoners and economic and cultural destruction. Santa Fe's Tibetan Association is hosting an early evening candlelight vigil at the Plaza every night indefinitely into the future, perhaps 'til the Olympic games. We cordially invite all of your readers to join us, to show the world that Tibetans need you and your help at this moment, so full of our own sadness at the brutal destruction of our homelands by the biggest future player in the world, China.
To [US Rep.] Tom Udall and [US Sen.] Jeff Bingaman: Will you use your power to ask United Nations and Red Cross to go to Tibet to see the truth? Will you please go with them and report back to Congress?
BELL AND DORJE TIBET EMPORIUM
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