Like Water and Enlightenment
I was just reading the article about the San Juan-Chama project [Feature, “Parched?” May 31-June 6] and thought I'd send you a quick note to thank you for your balanced coverage of a very complex issue. The background information you provided would make an excellent primer for anyone wishing to be enlightened about the project.
A couple of things to file away for future reference:
1) Although the Drinking Water Project originated while the water utility was a department of the City of Albuquerque, the Legislature in 2003 removed the utility from city control and created the independent Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority. The Authority is governed by a board of directors consisting of three city councilors, three county commissioners, the mayor of Albuquerque or his designate and a non-voting member from the Village of Los Ranchos.
2) Bill Miller mentions aquifer recharge efforts in California and Arizona. The Authority is actually in the early stages of a project to test the feasibility of such an effort here.
Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority
I was intrigued but not surprised by the cartoon “El Machete" in your May 31-June 6 issue of Alibi. I am not as familiar with the ideas of Charles Truxillo as with those of Bob Anderson and Richard Berthold, but I do know them both to be truth-tellers—and, given today's political climate, it is not surprising that they would be punished for that. Today, as when Rome was in the process of “spreading empire," most people have a tendency to “kill the messenger"—even if the message is true but the truth is not what the hearer wishes to hear. It is easier to go into a state of denial about an unpleasant situation than it is to face up to and accept the truth if that might require some action on our part to remedy said situation. A case in point is the acceptance of the ridiculous assumption that we had to go to war against Iraq because of the government's assertion that a handful of poorly trained “Arab terrorists" totally destroyed the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon along with thousands of innocent people. Some people had the coolness of mind not to jump to unsubstantiated conclusions—and started investigating on their own. Where the government's story did not fit the facts, they sought a scenario that did.
The facts emerging about what happened on 9/11 do not substantiate the government's story (as anyone with a computer can easily attest by Googling words like "Truth" and "9/11"), yet almost anyone you discuss this with will deny that our government could, in any way, be involved much less have contrived the whole incredible affair in order to justify a war that served their ends. It is too horrific to believe and so much easier to deny. Most of us would rather deny logical explanations, along with the evidence to support them, than accept the horrifying conclusion that evidence would suggest.
Progressively Up in Arms
I am surprised that a self-proclaimed progressive like Jerry Ortiz y Pino is not more supportive of the mayor's effort to reduce gross receipts taxes slightly [Ortiz y Pino, “Marty the Street Fighter," May 31-June 6]. Ortiz y Pino must be aware that gross receipts taxes are regressive, falling disproportionately on the very low-income people that progressives claim to care most about.
While the tax cut is welcomed, the mayor's talk of raising the gross receipts tax to build a new arena and of diverting the quarter-cent transportation tax to fund a $300 million streetcar is confusing.
Limited government-types like me always wonder what elected officials are thinking when they blow taxpayer money on streetcars and arenas, but it is progressives like Ortiz y Pino that should really be up in arms. After all, while an occasional low-income resident of Albuquerque may venture into the arena, it is the fat cats paying big bucks for season tickets to sporting events or $100 for concert tickets that will benefit.
The same is true of the streetcar. That project will divert money from the rest of the transportation system to fund a streetcar for one part of the city. Who will lose? If you don't own property along Central and you'd rather expand Rapid Ride or any other transportation service for that matter, you will. Who will benefit? Wealthy property owners on Central and the developers they hire, of course!
Progressives and free market advocates often have common ground if both are consistent in their beliefs; ongoing battles over the gross receipts tax, arena and streetcar all present opportunities.
Paul J. Gessing
President, Rio Grande Foundation
Always, Always Good
Don Schrader uses the book Biological Exuberance by Bruce Bagemihl to assert that homosexuality is natural [Letters, “Football with the Don,” May 17-23]. By giving hundreds of examples of homosexuality in nature, the book proves the point beyond a doubt. Richard Krukar, in another letter [“Animal Instincts,” May 31-June 6], states that just because something is natural doesn't make it right. What Don Schrader was attacking, of course, is the constant rant of the religious right that homosexuality is wrong because it is "unnatural." Don is right, the primary argument of the religious right is clearly wrong.
Richard Kruker ends with a laundry list of natural "bad" behavior animals and humans have in common: killing, sex without consent, theft, war. All these behaviors involve injury of another and are not in the some category as homosexual behavior. About the most that can be argued against consensual homosexuality is that it may violate gender norms and may reduce reproduction (an actual good by many standards).
Also, why compare homosexuality only to natural evils? We notice that homosexuals often are creative, altruistic, in the forefront of constructive social change, amusing, intellectually perceptive, artistic. Not all the time, of course, but enough to get noticed.
Thus the argument for homosexuality should run something like this: Natural—yes. Evil—not in any fundamental sense. Good—frequently.
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