Stop the Destruction of the Paolo Soleri Amphitheater
[Re: Guest Editorial, “Creators and Destroyers: On the Paolo Soleri,” July 1-7] We have visited this wonderful amphitheater and are in total protest that it be demolished. My husband and I are also contributors to the Indian schools and cannot understand the real reason for the destruction of this cultural icon that represents many cultures of ethnicity and the arts. The Paolo Soleri is an institution.
It is understood the cost of restoring this building to its original state would be expensive; but there are many opportunities for federal, state and private grants to accomplish such a task. As for the inappropriate behavior of some attendees, that is an issue for all public events and the public safety institutions. There are ways of avoiding this issue as well.
Please do all in your power to stop the demolition of this building and the destruction of an important architectural and cultural inheritance.
Sounding Off About Paolo Soleri
Great article, Patricia [Arts Commentary, “Building Something out of Nothing,” June 24-30], but there's some problems that show you're not really the local you profess to be. Anyone that knows and loves the Paolo knows that they don't serve alcohol because they're on the campus of the Santa Fe Indian School. So the alcohol problem lies in the fact that people feel they need to get to the show drunk already, and sneak some booze in as well. You get angry, tired drunks at the end of the show but no plastic cups to clean up. The crux of the matter is the stupidity of the owners who don't understand what they have (which could be a massive source of revenue for the school if run correctly) and Live Nation (i.e., Clear Channel) squeezing them out of the concert business by bidding wars with the local casinos. I have seen 15 shows there, the last of which will be Lyle Lovett at the end of July, and every show has been beyond amazing. At Red Rocks, you can have bad seats and bad sound far away from the stage. Not at Paolo. Ever. The front row has their feet resting on the stage. Where else does that happen? Run your closing line by someone who's been here a while next time and you'll come off with better authority.
Propaganda? Oy Vey.
A few additional comments are in order concerning the El Machete cartoon [June 10-16] that depicted the United States (Uncle Sam) as a compulsive supporter of Israel.
In their letter of June 17 [ “For Shame, El Machete”], the Jewish leaders made one legitimate point. The overweight thug labeled "Israel" should not have been wearing a skullcap. This is so for two reasons. First, the Middle East turmoil is not about the behavior of Jews. It is about the behavior of the Israeli government. Second, not all Jews support Israel's behavior, nor do they support its heavy-handed treatment of Arabs in general and of Palestinians in particular. The self-described Jewish leaders are wrong in saying the cartoon is using "anti-Semitic iconography." The cartoon objects to the persistently barbaric, murderous and self-destructive policies of the Israeli government. Anti-Semitism is a red herring.
The leaders claim the cartoon is "propaganda that misrepresents the U.S./Israel relationship." Upon consulting a dictionary, one will find that the objecting Jewish leaders are themselves using propaganda, so that complaint is a dead letter. What, then, of the U.S./Israel relationship? One long-lasting example may serve to cast some light on this.
That example is the Israeli policy of building settlements. Every U.S. administration since Lyndon Johnson's has opposed the settlements. In April 1968, the Johnson State Department issued a statement wherein it noted its "continuing opposition to any Israeli settlements in the occupied areas ... ." During the following 42 years, U.S. opposition to the settlements has varied; however, to reiterate and emphasize, every administration, Democrat or Republican, has opposed the settlements. Despite this, every administration and Congress since Johnson's has continued to pour tax dollars into Israel. What does Uncle Sam say in the El Machete cartoon? "Please just give him [Israel] whatever he wants and put it on my tab." How does this misrepresent the U.S./Israel relationship?
A Warning to Albuquerque Drivers Who Don’t Remember Driver’s Ed
Unless you want to contribute $20 of your hard-earned money to the city’s coffers, you’d better read this letter! OK, imagine this: You park your vehicle then pay the meter (or parking station). Then you walk away to do some shopping or get to class or whatever. But when you get back there’s a ticket on your windshield. What the hell? you say to yourself, knowing that you still have plenty of time on the meter. You scan the ticket certain that there’s been a mistake. But there it is: Violation # 8-5-1-8. What’s that? Well, a gold star for you if you remember the driver’s ed. instructor mentioning that “you should not park more than 18 inches from the curb.” For the rest of us idiots, that will be $20, please! That’s right, even if only one tire is 18 1/2 inches from the curb, you’ve committed the heinous crime of parking too far out! Sure, it would be nice if there were signs somewhere to remind you about this law, but then the city wouldn’t be able to squeeze that $20 out of so many unsuspecting beloved citizens, now would they? Do the math. If parking enforcement writes “only” 200 of these tickets per day, times five days a week, ka-ching, that’s $1 million a year for the city! Not too hard to figure out why they’re quietly but aggressively milking this cash cow violation, is it? It’s a very sly way to generate more revenue for the city, but unfortunately, it’s legal, so consider yourself warned, folks!
Fear Is Not Freedom
[Re: Feature, “Know Your Rights?,” July 1-7] Freedom is in a sorry state when a local civil rights attorney and a national civil rights organization make special politeness to the police the centerpiece of their advice to citizens. It is good, practical advice, to be sure, but more properly offered to an occupied people than to free citizens. Far from being public servants, police have become a special class, set apart from those they term "civilians" by special privileges and immunities, free to use force to uphold their own understanding of the law. Urging unconditional submission to even the unjust and illegal actions of police officers is no way to educate a free people about their rights. Americans should not fear the personal displeasure or wounded dignity of the people they've hired to enforce the law, and attorneys should be writing articles warning police of the dire, career-ending legal consequences of violating the rights of a citizen. If only there were any such consequences!
Education Dilutes and Can Defeat Fear
This article [Feature, “Know Your Rights?,” July 1-7] was written by Carolyn Carlson, who owned and operated a newspaper in Torrance County for many years, then wrote news stories for the Journal for more years. After over 3,000 news stories, she now freelances, and works part time on a few cases in my firm. The article was not written by any local civil rights attorneys, by me or anyone on behalf of my office, nor the ACLU, nor anyone at APD. I don't know of any civil rights attorneys who are afraid, and I am sure the ACLU is not afraid. As I read the article, it does not urge unconditional submission at all, nor sanction fear. It promotes knowledge of specific rights, and implies cops needs more training and education, too. Ignorant fear by both cops and civilians is what creates many constitutional violations, and the point of the article seems to be a reminder that young people do not have to talk to cops or let them in, without a warrant. I would add that the first thing every kid should know how to say, repeatedly and nothing else, is: "I would like to speak to an attorney." While it is true there are no consequences for officers in N.M. that do violate civil rights of citizens, that is a matter that should be addressed with legislators. In some states, for example, judgments against officers involve their personal assets and homes, not just taxpayer dollars, which one would think increases care taken by cops in their training units, and their interactions with people.
Face It—Albuquerque Has Been and Is a Car-Oriented City
[Blog, “The People Have Spoken,” June 22] Lowe's Downtown is a decent grocery store, but to get the variety of T.J.'s, Albertsons or Smith's you have to drive there. I talked to a Trader Joe's manager a few months ago, and the likelihood of T.J.'s Downtown is still slim, because there isn't the density of yuppies found in other areas of the city. Notice that La Montañita Co-op hasn't expanded all that much either.
Let's worry more about getting everyone employed (yes, I'm looking for a job too, does someone out there need a programmer-analyst?), and less about the distance you have to drive to the grocery. If you want to have a grocery store you can walk to, maybe you should look into building one in a storefront near where you live.
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