[RE:Letters, “What Courage?” July 5-11] Kathleen Parker, the name of our law-breaking attorney general is Alberto, not Anthony, Gonzales. Sen. Patrick Leahy and other Democrats have shown political courage in issuing subpoenas in their ongoing investigation of his corrupt Department of Justice. Officials have resigned. It has become known that the department has been packed with young graduates of Regent University, a right-wing Christian school, such as Monica Goodling, who admitted that former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin was "caging" voters, i.e. illegally removing voters (especially blacks and soldiers) from voter rolls to suppress the Democratic vote. Tim Griffin has since resigned. Rep. John Conyers is also strongly pursuing this case.
If there are other Republicans like you who are fed up with Bush, good. Your party is beyond saving; it is disintegrating. Even Pete Domenici now has his tail between his legs on Iraq. Don't tell me we should be bipartisan when for six years your party has been so partisan as to call me a traitor for opposing the invasion of Iraq for oil and done zilch in saving the Earth from climate catastrophe. You had your turn, now it's the Democrats' time.
Reregister as a Democrat or a Green. Onward to 2008!
Beyond the Boyd
At least half a dozen friends have come up to me in the last couple of weeks and said they'd read my letter in the Alibi. This surprised me, since I haven't written anything to the Alibi in a long time. One friend even told me that my letter didn't sound like me; that it seemed angry and slightly unhinged. When I read the letter by "John Boyd" to which they were referring (regarding the ostensibly elite character of our City Council), it seemed like something I might have muttered incoherently during an acid flashback that had returned me to 1967. Just kidding, at my age I don't have acid flashback, I have acid reflux. But I knew I had to do something to save my reputation from the scritti politti of "the other John Boyd."
Apparently, Albuquerque has grown enough that there are (at least) two John Boyds who have strong views they from time to time express in letters to the editor. I've tended to write my letters to the Journal instead of the Alibi because expressing my liberal views to Alibi readers seems like preaching to the choir, whereas many Journal readers need all the help they can get in trying to figure out how come our national government is in the hands of a criminal conspiracy.
Like any other self-respecting, letter-to-the-editor-writing crank, I try to make my letters effective and, in that vein, I generally try not to rave and, instead, try to appear thoughtful and measured. I would not, for example, have launched into the type of pseudo-proletarian screed against the members of the City Council that my doppelgänger ("the other John Boyd") included in his letter to you, which you had the incautiousness to reprint in a recent issue of your otherwise fine rag. In fact, I think we have some very good city councilors.
Keep up the good work and, if you print any more letters from "John Boyd," please find out which one of us is writing and, if it's the other one, please include the following disclaimer: "This letter is from the intemperate John Boyd, not the local lawyer named John Boyd, who is temperate." If, on the other hand, it's from me, just turn the sentence around. Or maybe whichever of us is younger should change his name.
Be a Good Neighbor
It felt very peculiar to me to read an article in the June 28 issue of the Alibi [Newscity, “Homeless Services Under Pressure To Relocate”] about homeless services in Albuquerque which included no reference to the Albuquerque Opportunity Center for the Homeless (AOC) and its parent, the Metropolitan Homelessness Project (MHP). The AOC is New Mexico’s largest year-round emergency shelter for men. It houses 71 men nightly and over the past three years since it opened, we have sheltered 2,500 men, more than 30 percent of whom we have helped to get permanent housing and employment.
My experience in providing services to the homeless in Albuquerque bears little resemblance to the issues cited in the Alibi. When we planned to open AOC, there was strong resistance from the local neighborhood association and commercial business. We worked together to establish a “Good Neighbor” agreement that met the needs of all the parties, through respectful negotiation and compromise. Those same neighbors and businesses are among AOC’s strongest supporters today.
Unique among shelters in Albuquerque, AOC’s only criteria for entrance is that a man be over the age of 18 and homeless. AOC provides each resident with a 30-day stay, used all at once or in different stays over the course of a year. The AOC staff, headed by its exit planner, works with each resident to implement a plan to assist that resident in getting suitable housing and employment.
All residents are oriented to the AOC rules and abide by them with few exceptions. This is accomplished through mutual respect and trust that we extend to all residents until they show us otherwise. Unlike many other shelters, we do this without line-ups, breathalyzing, demanding sobriety before entrance, use of electronic wands, fingerprinting or a requirement of religious commitment. We respect our residents as they are and work with them from there.
The real news about homeless issues in Albuquerque is positive. AOC works daily with all the agencies named in the article and many others on a daily basis to keep all of us in Albuquerque, including the homeless, safe from harm. AOC works with the APD’s street outreach team to shelter the homeless they encounter while on patrol during the late evening and through the night. The program is working well.
Please learn who the homeless are. The National Alliance to End Homelessness has “fact checkers” about all segments of the homeless population at www.naeh.org. I also invite all groups and individuals to come to AOC for a tour. Please call me at 344-2323 or e-mail me at email@example.com, and visit our website at www.abqaoc.org.
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.