High Five for Heather
Heather Wilson was the only Congressperson in New Mexico that voted herself a nice pay raise. Both Mr. Udall (D) and Mr. Pearce (R) voted against this bill. It's nice to know that in these troubling times when real average wages are down, bankruptcies are at all time highs and healthcare is unavailable for 400,000 New Mexico citizens, Heather will be taken care of.
Who says that government officials should look out for their constituents? Given her party line voting record, not Heather. Heather voted against the "American Jobs Creation Act" in June. Hey, why would Americans need jobs? Heather has a nice job and she thinks it should pay just a bit more. Heather voted against the "The Child Credit Preservation Act," since it would only benefit the poor and Heather doesn't need any child tax credit. You sure didn't hear Heather raising any stink over the removal of the Assault Weapons Ban because she knows that Terrorists don't use assault weapons, they use box cutters.
Heather did support the changes in Medicare to provide prescription drugs to seniors, and she loves to tout that. Of course that was the same bill that forbids our government from negotiating prices; the same bill that was presented to Congress as a 300 billion dollar bill, but then after passage the White House leaked that they knew it was going to be 450 billion dollars all along. The same bill where the voting was kept open for several hours as strong arm and possibly illegal tactics were used to "get" the needed votes.
But nobody had to strong arm Heather Wilson! She knows that the insurance and drug companies are all nice people, so why would they collude to drive prices up? I mean, what role does price negotiation really play anyway? It's not as if there've been any cases of large companies bilking the public out of billions of dollars for their own selfish gains. Heather believes in justice: And if grandma and grandpa hop the bus to for perspiration drugs at one third the cost, well then they're smugglers, plain and simple.
Heather Wilson had the courage to stand up in the halls of Congress and declare "I deserve more money!" She took a stand, a lonely voice in our state, working hard, making us proud.
The City, United
I attended most of the unification charter commission meetings this spring and summer and listened to their deliberations. I helped draft some of the language in the charter that I felt was extremely important to make the Planned Growth Strategy work. I've read the proposed charter cover-to-cover. I'm supporting city-county unification and I hope your readers will too. Some of the reasons for my support:
1) Unification is a smart move for smart growth. Unfortunately, the Planned Growth Strategy (PGS) was crippled by state legislation last year (SB 241 and SB 887) and by local actions fueled by two dueling governments. If the status quo remains, I fear we will continue to see sprawling, low-density residential subdivisions and this region will turn into just another "Anywhere USA". The unification charter puts "teeth" into our community plans which we don't have currently. Article 6 of the proposed charter includes strong "consistency" language which will require our elected officials to follow the adopted plans.
2) Unification is a smart move for strong development impact fees. If Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque adopt separate and conflicting impact fee programs, it will undermine the goals of smart growth and the PGS.
3) A single, unified government is in a better position to respond to the impacts of growth, while the two existing governments can't. Whether it is scarce water resources, degrading air quality, increasing traffic congestion, visual blight or any number of other impacts from growth—they are better addressed by a single, unified government.
4) A single, unified government can more efficiently and effectively deploy resources and services without duplication or tripping over each other as the city and county currently do.
5) A single, unified government will be easier for the public to engage in and monitor. Currently, the city council meetings have better public attendance than the county commission meetings—while many important decisions about this region's growth and development are made by the county commissioners in relative obscurity.
6) Unification is a smart move for rural preservation. Although opponents (primarily from the east mountains and south valley) fear that unification will destroy their quality of life, I believe unification is essential in order to protect the rural character of Bernalillo County. One needs only to witness the status quo to realize that our city and county are competing for the title of "sprawl king" in the region. Unification will remove the dynamics which fuel this competition and sprawl development. The charter (Article 6) puts the citizens back in the driver's seat.
There are other reasons to support unification, but these are my reasons. Your readers can find the proposed charter at www.abcucc.net and then decide for themselves.
The War on Nouns
Didn't anyone but I notice when, during the second presidential debate (Oct. 8), President Bush said about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, "I was upset when they didn't find 'em."?
Could it be Bush is "unhappy" because the evidence makes it harder to throw up a smokescreen of "self-defense" to cover a U.S. grab for control of Iraq's oil reserves? Could it be that without lying to the American people, he'll have a harder time tricking their children into dying so the U.S. can get a foothold for advancing control over the entire mid-east region?
According to National Priorities Project (www.nationalpriorities.org), in New Mexico:
• We've spent an average of $281.89 per citizen, equal to $512.8 million, to pay for the war.
• Our state will pay another $168.0 million per year on the estimated $50 billion per year tab for the war.
• Seventy-nine New Mexico soldiers have been wounded, five have died, and 1,308 New Mexico National Guard and Reservists are serving there.
All for a "war" against a noun (terrorism), not a nation or even any entity that stays the same from day to day. A war against a kind of human conduct that has existed for all time, not against anything that can ever be conclusively countered and ended. A war that, as such, is un-endable.
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