Alibi V.19 No.21 • May 27-June 2, 2010
An Open Letter to the President of UNM
Dear President Schmidly,
By now, everyone in the city of Albuquerque knows about the grim scene at the Duck Pond this weekend as hundreds of turtles and fish flopped in the reeking muck in 90 degree sun struggling for breath. It took the fish two days to die. The university publicly denied responsibility for the animals because they had not placed them in the pond. [NM Physical Plant Director] Mary Vosevich stated that during routine cleaning, the pool drained faster and lower than anticipated, causing the deaths of the animals.
Okay. So it was an accident. That is not the problem. The problem is that when the mistake became obvious, nothing was done to mitigate the suffering of the wildlife. Animal control and the BioPark both refused to save the animals. The BioPark told one caller that it was "too late in the day" to come down there. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was not concerned because the animals were not endangered species. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish was not concerned because the animals were on private property and therefore considered to be “domesticated pets.” The university did nothing because it did not "own" the animals. And perhaps most disturbing of all, campus police prevented citizens from rescuing the animals.
“So it was an accident. That is not the problem. The problem is that when the mistake became obvious, nothing was done to mitigate the suffering of the wildlife.”
I’m confused. If the university did not "own" the animals, why were people prevented from taking them? These few concerned citizens, the only people that did not deny responsibility, were ultimately forced to stand by and watch innocent animals die.
The university clearly benefits from the Duck Pond in many ways. Pictures of the pond are featured prominently on the UNM website aimed at perspective and future students. Neighbors of the university visit the pond, spending money at the SUB and creating a sense of community on campus.
If the University of New Mexico does not recognize the value of the lives of the animals on its property, surely it must recognize their monetary importance. Koi are expensive. A standard 22-inch Koi is priced at $600 dollars, while a premium fish can go for anywhere up to $3,000 dollars. Can the university really afford to let dozens of such expensive fish perish?
That this peaceful and lovely place should become the setting for such an atrocious, callous disregard for life is startling and profoundly disturbing. According to New Mexico Statute 30-18-1-15, UNM is guilty of cruelty to animals, and local and state police are mandated to enforce cruelty laws. The university should be held accountable for this abomination.
St. Francis, the patron saint and protector of animals, is one of the primary religious and cultural figures of the state of New Mexico. While thousands of animals die needlessly in the Gulf, the various agencies in the city of Albuquerque had an opportunity to prove that in our corner of the planet, this brutality would not be tolerated. They chose instead to do nothing. They chose instead to refuse aid and to prevent others from offering aid to suffering creatures. And why? Because it was “not their responsibility.” They were all wrong.
Apparently "alternative" (weekly) means "one-sided." This was clear in the Alibi's article "Climate Check: Arizona" [Feature, May 20-26], the message of which was: Anyone who questions whether it makes sense for society to allow its borders to be penetrated illegally en mass MUST BE a Mexican hater. And racists by definition say nothing worth listening to, so end of conversation.
No wonder we are at a standstill regarding this important subject. And besides an inability to listen, liberal thinking has taken on a fuzziness that is at times dumbfounding. Here's a quote from [a source in] said article: “If cop has to stop you for any reason and has reasonable suspicion to suspect you're in the country illegally, he can check your status." This was offered as evidence of the mean spiritedness of the state of Arizona.
Uh, do you know of any country where if you were stopped by a policeman who had a reason to think you were in said country illegally, that he could not check your status? And yet we are to see this quote as substantiating claims of "racism?" Hello?
Suffice it to say that for me, and apparently for many other Americans, it is possible to raise concerns about the unsustainable practice of excessive illegal immigration with no hatred whatsoever for Mexicans. (Now annoyance with thickheaded liberals—that's a different matter!)
Liberals preach "embracing diversity" and surely this must include diversity of perspective. Yet they allow for only one perspective, and that is their own. But cultural reality is not one-sided, and the liberal perspective is not the only one we need to consider to solve our major problems. Let's lose the reductionistic stance of "he who disagrees with me must be racist!" Let's lose excessive righteousness, listen to each other and integrate what is of value from both sides.
Now that would be a worthy "alternative" perspective. That would be "walking the walk." That would be "embracing diversity!"
Are you fed up with those California cities that have decided to “boycott” Arizona and have passed resolutions to make this point [Re: Feature, “Who’s Boycotting Arizona?,” May 20-26]? How about California taking care of our own problems and let Arizona be Arizona. I guess these cities—San Diego, West Hollywood, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Oakland, Baldwin Park, South El Monte—believe local control in Arizona is good only if you do what we say in California.
I am fed up with these pompous city governments. I am starting a one-man boycott of these eight cities. Won’t buy gas, food, entertainment, retail, anything within their borders. (I will cheer for the Lakers from the couch and not at Staples [Center]. I love Phil Jackson even more after he stated his opinion that Arizona was just following federal law, and picketers showed up to protest his statement.) And if you have a business inside those cities, complain to your elected officials. And if you work inside one of those cities, shop and spend your money in a neighboring community.
The eight are threatening to take their business out of Arizona but the real question is, Why are you spending California dollars in Arizona in the first place? Hello! (OK, the real reason you are spending tax dollars in Arizona is because someone there gave you a better price than someone in California. So now your dimwitted boycott will require you to spend more tax dollars with someone in California. This will hurt your own budget. Once again, hello!) But really, you don't have the courage to stop doing business with Arizona, as you would much prefer other individuals and businesses to do a real boycott instead of you. Arizona, you do your thing and ignore California. And I think you already do.
Thanks for the Midwives
[Re: Feature, “The Art of Baby Catching,” May 6-12] When I found out last August that I was expecting a baby, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to receive my prenatal care from a midwife. I was shocked to find out that many women and their partners still think of midwives as "hippie medicine" and could not understand why I would not seek the care of an OB/GYN. Midwifery is a practice that is centuries old and even appears several times in the Bible. In most other countries around the globe, women are cared for throughout their pregnancy and beyond by a midwife.
I was very pleased to discover that UNM hospital has one of the most progressive midwifery programs in the country. The midwives at UNM are amazing. They are very patient, kind, understanding and they really make you feel like they are focused on you and your baby. I couldn't be happier with the care I received and with the labor and delivery seven weeks ago of my son. The postpartum care I have received has been equally empowering, and although my original midwife Ellen has retired, I have never been made to feel that I was "being passed off" to another provider.
Bottom line, ladies—if you want a birth experience in which you control the shots and a care provider who is willing to listen and truly care about you and your family, midwives are the way to go. Thank you Alibi for bringing much deserved attention to these wonderful women and thank you UNM midwifery association for all you do for women and babies in the community. We are truly blessed!
Thanks for the Pot
You made a very smart career move getting into the medicinal-culinary business [Re: Feature, “Sweet Relief,” Nov. 12-18, 2009]! I am a 28-year old living with chronic pain caused by chronic regional pain syndrome type II (CRPS II) / causalgia, neuropathy of the lower extremities, and inguinal neuralgia with hypersensitivity. In simple terms: I suffer from extreme, constant pain. This is a condition that developed after several surgical procedures. [I’m] dealing with it for life.
Your drinks are top-notch and definitely help me out during the day. There are few days that go by when I do not have bad nausea and poor sleep. Your simple drinks help correct those issues—even if just enough for me to feel comfortable.
Looking forward to more products from you soon!
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