Alibi V.19 No.46 • Nov 18-24, 2010 ››
Kudos to Jeffrey A. Davis for his letter to the editor [“Boys Gone Wild in an Agency Turned Rogue,” Nov. 11-17]. I agree that the New Mexico Game and Fish Department acts in obvious conflict with the public’s interest in “managing” our wildlife populations. Because the department makes money from selling hunting licenses, it caters to its hunting constituency and ignores the majority who fund public lands and pay other federal taxes that support wildlife.
It is an archaic and misguided viewpoint that fewer native carnivores mean more deer and elk for hunters. Aldo Leopold learned this lesson long ago; native carnivores are crucial to the health and vitality of our ecosystems. The documentary Lords of Nature keenly shows how ecosystem collapse happens in the absence of large carnivores. Carnivores actually benefit prey populations, say biologists.
While sheep and cattle ranchers too complain about native carnivores, they have more to fear from weather and birthing problems than predation. The government’s own data shows that native carnivores kill few domestic livestock: less than 1 percent of cattle inventoried and about 5 percent of sheep.
To add insult to injury, in addition to jumping up the cougar and bear quotas, now the Game Department has declared that coyote trapping can continue in the Mexican wolf recovery area, despite Gov. Richardson’s July executive order and the October Game Commission’s unanimous decision to ban all trapping on public lands in lobo country. Lobos are highly imperiled and deserve immediate protections from traps.
Ridiculously, Game and Fish declared it has “no authority” to regulate coyote trapping. Of course the agency has the authority to regulate not only coyotes but also trapping activities.
Game and Fish profits from the guise of making the public safe, but it fails to serve the public when our rare native wildlife are hobbled to extinction. Supposedly, the huge increases in bear and cougar kills will protect us from “nuisance” wildlife and trapping coyotes will help those in agribusiness.
People, not wildlife, are the problem. People not only crowd wildlife in their last shreds of habitat but also attract bears to backyards with garbage and bird feeders. Livestock growers can use a host of nonlethal methods to protect their stock. Instead of taking responsibility while growing livestock in wild country, a few expect that all our majestic creatures be wiped out as part of their entitlement and over-exaggerated sense of fear.
Large carnivores increase ecosystem balance. Yet fear, ignorance and greed by the few drive New Mexico’s wildlife policies. If we are to thrive, we must do so while coexisting with carnivores because they make ecosystems functional and diverse. In the words of conservationist leader Dave Foreman, “the heart of darkness was not held by wilderness, but lurked in the breasts of men and women.” It is not wildlife we should fear, but the New Mexico Game and Fish gone rogue. It envisions a world without native carnivores. Now that is scary.
Woe Is the Rail Runner?
Readers, if you ever intended to take the Rail Runner, now is the time. Once the state leadership changes in January, prospects for our commuter rail grow dim. I have been a RR commuter for three years. Our family is able to be a one-vehicle family despite having two different commutes. Using the train is safe, easy, affordable and relaxing. It reduces traffic, stress and is ecologically responsible. If you think the new administration won't shut it down because of the money already spent on infrastructure, think again! Ten years ago I was a Vermont resident. A commuter rail system was implemented in a busy corridor by then-governor Howard Dean. When Dean left office in 2000 and was followed by a Republican governor, the Champlain Flyer was totally shut down in its infancy. Furthermore, this was in the progressive Northeast. I don't think it has a chance in the mavericky West!
The Spirit of Love
At their annual summer gathering, Quakers from Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico (known as the Intermountain Yearly Meeting) approved a statement about immigration. The Peace and Social Concerns committee of the Albuquerque Monthly Meeting of Friends, a participant in New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice, wishes to share this statement with the wider Albuquerque community.
As a faith community committed to welcoming the stranger, we are dismayed and saddened by the failure to find a way forward to craft an immigration system that respects the fundamental rights and dignity of all. We recognize that inaction at the national level has created a vacuum into which states have stepped to create their own immigration laws.
As Friends, we believe that there is that of God in everyone, regardless of citizenship or legal status. Our testimony of community challenges us to live with all of our neighbors in a way that encourages trust, love and security. Our testimony of equality leads us to value each person as an individual and to respect the human rights and dignity of all persons. Our testimony of peace guides us to take nonviolent action to resolve conflicts in a way that brings us together and promotes justice.
Arizona Senate Bill 1070 and similar proposed legislation in other states divides our communities and criminalizes immigrants. These kinds of unjust laws create a climate of fear for those whose area of residence, line of work, complexion, spoken language or accent is deemed suspicious, even if they are citizens or legal foreign residents or visitors. When state legislation is passed that compels people to hide their identity from authorities, they must live in fear that they will be separated from their families, that they will become victims of crime, that they and their children will not receive an education, and that they will lose their livelihoods and their homes.
We bear witness to our friends and neighbors in our community who suffer division of their families, exploitation in the workplace, and the daily fear of deportation. We bear witness to the thousands of deaths on the border and the destruction of border communities and the environment. The estimated 12 million persons living and working in the United States without papers are essential parts of our communities and economy, yet the system for regularizing their status is woefully insufficient. Criminalizing immigrants and those who care for them, as in Arizona Senate Bill 1070, does not address the real challenges our country faces with immigration reform and resolution of the humanitarian crisis that results from the broken system.
We, as people of faith, are called not only to resist unjust laws and to work to change them, but to take the initiative to act in accordance with higher laws. We call upon people everywhere to urge our elected representatives to immediate action on humane immigration reform. We call upon ourselves to act with integrity in response to these challenges, and we rededicate ourselves to loving our neighbors, to doing justice and to walking humbly in the spirit of love.
Be More Careful
[Letters, “Bikers Beware,” Nov. 11-17] I hate stop signs when I'm in a hurry, yet I obey them not out of a fear of being ticketed, but because I don't want to cause or be involved in an accident.
In the congested area between UNM and CNM, there is an unfortunate amount of new, unskilled drivers who are impatient, distracted and very self-absorbed. Some are intoxicated, while others’ driving skills may be impaired by loud music and the perpetual cellphone stuck to their heads. While riding a bike, it only goes as fast as the rider can pedal it, and few people can get out of their own way should a car bear down on them when they breeze through a stop sign.
I agree there should be a better bike lane, and I wish it was possible for the city to spend some money making a bike path. However, I am happy with the Silver Avenue Bicycle Boulevard. Even as a gesture, it shows that the city is at least making efforts to make this place more bike friendly. In the meantime, please be mindful that someone might want to breeze through the same stop sign as you.
Highbrow Hate Mail
Hi, John Bear
While taking a shit today, I happened upon your piece titled " The Pink Panther in Repose" [Culture Shock, Nov. 11-17] in the Alibi. As an active member of the local arts community (gallery owner, curator, musician), I experienced feelings of disappointment and frustration while reading your article. This city is full of creative individuals who are working very hard on new and exciting art, but the arts editor at the Alibi is wasting limited print space on pathetic drivel.
So you were drunk and thought that an anonymous velvet painting of the Pink Panther on the toilet was funny. Meanwhile, artists and galleries across the city are struggling to survive. Does the Alibi's arts editor care about these dedicated individuals? Apparently not. John, have you ever considered reviewing one of the numerous exhibits that opens at the beginning of each month all over town? Do you need a list of interesting galleries to visit, or great artists to interview? Do you need help understanding high art? I can help you with those things. And yes, I realize that you wrote about the Talking Fountain (a fantastic art space) on the same page
Arts Editor’s Note: I'm sorry you don't like "The Pink Panther in Repose." I find it to be a shining example of mid-20th century unlicensed border pop art. It espouses the pain of a struggling artist. He is a man who pines for the day when cigarette and bathroom breaks no longer have to be consolidated, but are mutually exclusive of one another.
A Great Profile for a Great Guy
[Food, “Paternoster’s Table,” Nov. 11-17] Thanks, Mina. Steve is a wonderful character who has done so much for the community while dealing with personal losses. Albuquerque is lucky to have him around, and I hope to see his friendly face at Scalo for a LONG time to come.
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. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.