Letters, May 24:“Ain’t What You Think”

Woodsy Propaganda

As Cate Moses points out, Forest Service propaganda about "decades of fire suppression" is wrong. But her idea that we must learn to live with "natural" fires is also wrong. And the argument about whether "historically" high-severity fires were rare in the Southwest is irrelevant.

The Forest Service was created in 1905 to protect the forests, not burn them up, and its policy, vigorously defended by Aldo Leopold, was to extinguish all fires quickly if at all humanly possible. The Forest Service abandoned that policy in 1972 under pressure from the timber industry, with predictable results. The last 45 years of letting natural fires burn and conducting more and more prescribed burns has been catastrophic.

What has happened to common sense? Where are the environmentalists, the ornithologists, the global warming activists? Everybody seems to have forgotten that fire is fire, and whether started by lightning, or accidentally or intentionally by humans, it looks the same, burns the same, produces the same smoke, releases the same carbon monoxide, destroys the same trees and wipes out the same populations of birds and wildlife.

Arthur Firstenberg
Santa Fe

News, May 31: “TVMLA”

Garages ‘o’ Food

I live a block from the market [in Venice Beach]. This article does a disservice to me and my neighbors who object to the misuse of this building. The old Kim's wasn't a "dive," it was a corner market carrying the kinds of groceries you suddenly realize you've run out of (cat food, beer, milk). As such it served the neighborhood well. ... While we may find the idea, the food, the "vibe" of this market attractive, the point your article misses is it is not an appropriate location. There is no parking lot to accommodate the cars that a restaurant would bring in, straining the already-scarce street parking in the area. The noise from the restaurant patio would disturb the neighbors, who did not bargain for a restaurant in their residential neighborhood. Zoning laws exist to protect all of us, and this business is trying to get around them. We know exactly what they are "trying to do there." I do not for a minute buy that [Alicia] Searle is confident that the neighbors will come around, we have already caught them trying to illegally turn their garages into kitchens (another zoning violation) and we are tired of their lies and manipulations.

Dawn Hollier

Just Be Nice

I am a Santa Fean who happened by TVM while walking in Venice. Disappointing and overpriced selection. Despite being empty of other customers, no one greeted us. There is nothing friendly or enticing about this place, whether in Tesuque or Venice Beach.

Laura Wagner
via Facebook

News, May 31: “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”

Shift the Focus

Appreciate the coverage of ¡YouthWorks!, but wish we weren't still stuck presenting the opinion of those in the trenches that the work is hard to quantify rather than earnestly investigating sloppy allegations of quantification.

Zane Fischer
via Facebook

Winners and Losers

The Reporter's story on Youthworks in the May 31 edition included a paragraph which stated, based on a recent article in The New Mexican, that the Santa Fe County League of Women Voters "appeared to question the city's decision to pour a reported $1.2 million of economic development money into YouthWorks, making it the second-highest receiver of such funds."

Your story then stated that the League "suggested that the city tighten its accounting." We would like to clarify what we did say about funding ¡Youthworks!.

The New Mexican's story (May 22 edition) about the League's study of economic development dealt largely with one of five background papers that the study committee wrote—the background paper that dealt with the history of the city's economic development fund.

This paper did not state that any recipient should or should not receive funding. What it did say was, "It would be useful for the city to consider how broadly 'economic development' should be defined for the purposes of making Economic Development Fund expenditures." ... It then pointed out that, "Should the city decide to spend its economic development funds to achieve these narrower goals, it would probably need to finance some activities currently financed from the EDF from other city funds. For example, ¡Youthworks!, which has received $1,192,090 over the course of 8 years, the second-largest award of EDF funds to a single organization, might instead get support from Public Works."

The League appreciates the recognition given to our work, but we want to assure readers of The Reporter that we have not tried to pick economic winners and losers, nor will we going forward. We look forward to using our positions to support sensible government investment in local economic development, by focusing mainly on the processes, including planning and oversight, as well as transparency in operations.

Jody Larson, Chair LWVSFC
Local Economic Development Study Committee

Cover, May 31: “Mortally Maternal”

End the Wait

Thank you to the Reporter and to Elizabeth Miller for this excellent article, and to Anson Stevens-Bollen for the beautiful (and heartrending) cover art. I also want to emphasize that midwives and physicians are united in disagreeing emphatically with the governor's stance against the maternal mortality review board. Our state and our country need a multifaceted approach to the tragedy of maternal mortality, not denial of the problem. Women deserve to have respectful, easily accessible care from midwives and physicians who have the resources they need and the systemic support to implement care that is both culturally congruent and evidence-based. And we need the public health data to be able to tease out the underlying causes of both mortality and near-misses so that we can address those causes vigorously and effectively. What are we waiting for?

Nancy L Brannin
Santa Fe

Headed to Dark Ages?

I feel horrified to be transported by this article back to the 1970's before [the Health Resources and Services Administration] began its push to bring infant mortality into the range of the developed world. Community clinics were funded and birth centers. Until the late 1980's and early '90s, state-operated public health field offices around New Mexico provided free prenatal care until the end of pregnancy when women would be referred to the doctors who would provide labor and delivery care. The field offices also provided free Well Child Care which assured follow-up care for new moms. The state infant mortality rate fell so low in those years that we did not earn extra points when applying for HRSA programs. From those achievements to these data is an indictment of conscious state and federal policy to turn the War on Poverty into a War on the Poor.

This article reflects back two decades of financial assaults on low-income and poor women, especially women of color. A correlation between changing federal economic support programs from Aid To Families with Dependent Children to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families plays a role. New Mexico was one of only a handful of states that reduced financial support for women with children since the 2008 economic collapse. In its cruelty, New Mexico gives a woman with 2 children [less than] $390 a month in cash assistance, a criminally low amount.

This problem is fixable. But it needs government at all levels to provide social, economic and health justice.

Carol Miller

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

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