Put Death to the Test
So who died and left Rep. Gail Chasey (D-Albuquerque) God? I can't think of a reason other than a person's individual conscience that would make them oppose the death penalty. But wait, Chasey is a vocal opponent of the death penalty but tabled the measure to reinstate it instead of allowing the voters to choose. If I'm not mistaken, the Rep. in Chasey's title stands for representative and not self-appointed conscience. Why not allow citizens to vote on the death penalty? What does Chasey have to lose? I am not arguing for or against the death penalty. I am questioning how our representatives cast their votes. Their votes are supposed to reflect the majority of the voters who elected them. All too often I hear and say how our representatives are out of touch with the citizens. And these representatives may not be casting their votes that represent the majority of us. So why would they do this? Personal interests are the only reasons I can think of. There are some issues that the voters should decide directly. The death penalty is one of those issues.
Who’s Schooling Who?
In all of the newspapers’ postmortems I have read about the disappointing 2011 legislative session, I have seen nothing about Senate Bill 2, School Capital Outlay, Grants and Consolidation. It passed the Senate Education and Finance Committees unanimously, and then languished on the Senate floor for weeks.
This bill would have slanted capital outlay funding toward the creation and maintenance of smaller schools. It would have provided strict requirements for closing or combining small schools.
SB 2 recognized many experts’ preference for small schools. From Think New Mexico’s issue statement: “Smaller schools have higher graduation rates, higher student achievement, lower levels of student alienation and violence, and higher levels of satisfaction among students, parents, principals and teachers.”
Without the protection afforded by this bill, village and neighborhood schools are at the mercy of local school boards. They can be closed by non-educators whose eyes are on short-term financial rather than on long-term educational goals.
It is vital for all New Mexicans, whether or not they have children in our public school system, to monitor the actions of their school boards, and to voice their concerns when budget-cutting threatens their communities’ welfare with the loss of their schools.
A Nationalistic Rant
This letter is in response to Jerry Ortiz y Pino's support letter of driver's licenses for illegal aliens in New Mexico [Opinion, “License to Rage,” March 17-23]. While I agree with some of his points, I greatly question two. First, he states that these licenses "led to a major decrease in the number of uninsured drivers on the state's roads." Where are the proven facts to support such a claim? I seriously doubt most illegal aliens buy car insurance. They have no real assets to protect and barely squeeze by as it is! When an illegal alien hit me from the side last year he had no insurance, and I had the honor of paying my $500 deductible to fix my own truck, despite him being at fault. Give us facts, not wishes stated as facts!
Secondly, Ortiz y Pino claims illegal aliens “pay taxes like everyone else ... ." How can this be? Given that Ortiz y Pino admits these illegals have no Social Security numbers, how can they file state tax returns? Federal tax returns? They send their kids to our schools, but does [Ortiz y] Pino want us to believe they pay property taxes to support those schools? How can they can get a mortgage without a Social Security number?
The issue of illegal immigrants is compelling enough without writers like Ortiz y Pino issuing opinions as though they are facts. In fact, he discredits his editorials when he uses such methods. I respectfully request he address each of my points specifically in the Alibi. But I'll bet he doesn't. At least not specifically.
[Opinion, “A Swing and a Miss,” March 31-April 6] Right on, Jerry. Too bad the Albuquerque Journal can't find some space for critiques of the last legislative session, as you have spelled out. Thanks for your perspective and honest appraisal of what we are all up against.