I read with interest and then alarm Jerry Ortiz Y Pino's Feb. 10-16 opinion column titled "Wilson Abandons Bush's Crusade," which basically credits Rep. Heather Wilson with opposing Bush's campaign to privatize Social Security. The fact is, Heather Wilson supports the Bush plan, but she has crafted a position paper which makes it appear that she opposes it. Her strategy comes from a 1998 Republican party playbook. Here are the facts. In response to a constituent's December 2004 inquiry regarding her Social Security position, Wilson sent an e-mail, pertinent parts of which are quoted below.
"I have remained firm on my core beliefs about Social Security. There must be no changes in benefits for retirees or near-retirees. That wouldn't be fair to people who need to know that their check will arrive on time and in full."
This statement clearly conforms to Bush's assertion that benefits should remain unchanged for people over the age of 55. (Personally, I have no confidence that, if Bush gets his way, benefits even for this age group will remain intact.) "The government should not invest Social Security funds in the stock market." Not even Bush proposes to invest "government" funds in the stock market. Rather, privatization supporters believe that individuals should invest their "own" funds in the stock market with money that would have otherwise been subject to the Social Security tax.
Once again Heather Wilson is misleading her constituents on an issue of vital importance to all of us. So, rather than give her credit for breaking with the president on the issue of Social Security as Jerry Ortiz Y Pino suggests, constituents need to contact Wilson and pin her down, which is no easy feat as reporters and constituents have discovered. Wilson also needs to know that voters have not been fooled by her duplicity and that she needs to clearly and unambiguously oppose private investment accounts for all Americans regardless of age.
Ellen Leitzer Co-Director Senior Citizens' Law Office, Inc. Albuquerque
Dishing It Out
Entertaining, cute and witty as she might be, Ms Dolan's (sic) colomm (sic) leaves a lot to be desired in terms of colinary (sic) wisdom. The bulk of her words are self consumed: "... Why would I waste time whipping up a minor masterpiece when no one will applaud?," graphically unneccesary (sic) "spraying oblody (sic) mucus..." and insensitively tasteless, "The Rape of Brocolli (sic)." She proudly brags about rarely cooking while simutaneously (sic) filling the weeks and pages with her insights? Food is such a crucial political and personal aspect of living that deserves more than a a (sic) trivial perspective. Please do yoru (sic) paper and the public a better service and offer a more substantial and healthy alternative to the present "dish," one that didn't make me want to yack."
P.S. Good work on the APS Story.
J. Bagley Albuquerque
A Fine Red Whine
President Bush and his fellow Red Heads are whining about a handful of judges that were blocked by Senate Democrats. The percentage of President Bush's nominees stopped by Democrats is a lowly 2 percent. Democrats have agreed with President Bush and the Red Brigade 98 percent of the time. Not good enough cry the Republicans, "Activist Judges, Activist Judges" they chant.
President Bush cited the Dred Scott case in one of the presidential debates as an example of "Activist Judges," because they ruled that our Constitution did not allow for slaves to be a part of "We the People," and therefor Mr. Scott was not free. Unfortunately for Mr. Bush the interpretation of the judges at that time were in fact a strict interpretation of the Constitution and in their decision they were anything but Activist. Perhaps President Bush never got to reading the 13th Amendment which does outlaw slavery and was passed in 1865, eight years after Dred Scott. A strict interpretation of our Constitution does not allow women the right to vote, child labor law protection, safe working environments, protection from predatory financial practices, minimum wages, a clean environment and many other issues. That is why we have amendments.
The Founding Fathers did not envision our government and the needs of the people to be stagnant, that was their genius, in structuring our government into branches with checks and balances. They wanted, believed in and promoted debate.
We have had our share of shameful moments, and our share of pride. We have overcome cultural inequalities and they came at the hands of activists throughout our population, not just in the judiciary. So when the president and his friends try to bring about a change that limits the debate, it is only for short term political gain, it is not done in the name of liberty or freedom: It is done solely to promote their political ideology, and that is simply wrong. It is only the spillage of a fine red whine.
Jim Ridout Albuquerque
Props for Mayer
I disagree with Mr. Scarantino's unfair criticisms of Councilor Sally Mayer ["Commentary," Feb. 17-23]. One of Councilor Mayer successes for both her constituents and all city residents and small businesses is her alarm ordinance bill.
As several Southwestern cities have stopped responding to burglar alarm calls in an effort to preserve police resources, Councilor Mayer skillfully worked with APD and the security industry to craft a bill which is fair to Albuquerque taxpayers and the alarm industry. With the community's concern for safety and security, this bill insures that permit fees are collected and responsible homeowners and businesses will continue receiving police response to alarm calls.
Mr. Scarantino's comments regarding the vacant storefronts in District 6 and laying blame on Ms. Mayer is also unfair. Since when did a city councilor assume responsibility for the success of the retailers in their district? Perhaps the reporter should focus on the effects of the Big Box retailers and the pressures being exerted on local independent businesses throughout the city to gather a more accurate reason for retail closures.
Robin Phillips Albuquerque
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