Rarely do we at the Rio Grande Foundation agree with Jerry Ortiz y Pino, but I agree with much of what he says in his recent article on New Mexico’s broken education system and the prospect for a 1 percent statewide gross receipts tax hike [“Re-Reform,” Dec. 11-17]. Basically, although Ortiz y Pino ponders (misguidedly in my opinion) the possibility of increasing the income tax, he ultimately concludes that real reforms are necessary before we spend any more money.
Ortiz y Pino even mentions a Think New Mexico study, which advocates for smaller schools and argues that education results in New Mexico would benefit tremendously from a shift toward smaller schools. We support those recommendations, at least if, as Think New Mexico believes, this shift can be done without massive new spending.
One step in the direction of smaller, more effective schools that would not cost additional money is a system of education tax credits. Were such a program adopted, taxpayers could take a credit against their state taxes and then donate that money to nonprofit scholarship organizations that would allow low-income children in their communities (and their parents) to choose the school that is right for them.
Since private schools in particular tend to be smaller, this would naturally push us in the right direction without having to build dozens of new, smaller schools statewide. The fact is that both tax credits and mandates to build smaller schools can work toward the goal of smaller schools and better education results for New Mexico children. Both will be far more effective than a massive hike in the gross receipts tax.
Paul Gessing President, Rio Grande Foundation Albuquerque
Hi, we went to Madrid last night and it was beautiful! The whole town was lit up and everybody was really friendly and sweet ... it was like how Christmas used to be everywhere! I went out this morning and took some pictures ... even their "slow down" signs are hand-painted! I had to go down a road called "Back Road" to get the display of Baby Jesus with the Three Wise Men (Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. ... and Barack Obama!) but it was worth it ... the houses look pretty and old-fashioned, and even though I was a stranger, they all said “hi” and smiled.
If you guys get a chance to do Christmas in New Mexico stories, I think Madrid should be included ... also the South Valley in Albuquerque (because I live there and I'm cool).
P.S. more happy stories about pets, too, please!
I want to compliment the Alibi on its cover article about kickboxing by Skyler Swezy [“The Fight,” Dec. 4-10]. It was intelligently written, on par with articles in New York Magazine. It started with a hook, then continued to keep my interest. I knew nothing about kickboxing—and didn't care! But Mr. Swezy had a way of drawing me into his subject's world, making me understand him and be sympathetic. The article was fascinating! I shared it with friends.
I hope you continue to use writing by Skyler Swezy!
Julie Taylor Albuquerque
Normies vs. Nuts
[Re: Letters, “No Love [for the Don],” Dec. 4-10] It is no surprise to me that in his letter, Giles Daoust states that he is “very disappointed,” blah, blah, blah. That is often the head space of “normal” people. I surmise he is disappointed because around him life isn't a nice, neat little package.
The normal person more or less dresses like others and sits, talks and walks like others. The habits that they have created for self-expression and the reactions that they show their other “normies,” no doubt, have some differentiating characteristics, but the variations have definite limits. They don't considerably deviate from “normal” ways. The change “within the range of normality,” owing to the normies' conformity with acceptable patterns of responses and actions. The normal person of the world does not arouse any special interest: They are taken for granted and never seem to need any explanation. Explanation is necessary when the variations of a person's responses and actions transgress the limits of the normal range.
The responses and reactions acted out by the normal person are not determined by real understanding of life; they are determined by chaotic and conflicting tendencies created out of experiences that have neither been properly assimilated nor understood. The normies' outer behavior is in conformity to the average patterns of responses and reactions, their inner life is subject to mental conflicts and an ever-renewing sense of frustration. Giles, you ask “Why be fucking nuts?” Well, some people don't have a choice—they were lucky to be born “different” and have the courage to be who they are in spite of the attacks on them from “frustrated normal people.”
You say you don't give “a shit,” but I disagree. You have the consideration to recycle the Alibi (after reading it, you just can't resist, can you?) by using it as toilet paper for birds and rabbits. I'm glad that you can “think of the most absurd ideas” (there's hope for you). As for making “most people cringe,” I doubt that—insane people like myself, I mean like them, have seen and heard it all; nothing would make them cringe.
There's room in this town for both normies and “different” people. So leave “the Don” the hell alone! Go take care of your birds and rabbits.
Ayren Valery Albuquerque
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