[Re: News, “Muddy Waters,” Nov. 10-16] The article by Jack King in last week’s Alibi regarding the San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project fails to mention a number of key facts that show the project is doing exactly what it was intended to do: preserve our underground aquifer by relying to the extent possible on surface water. First and foremost, after three years of project operation, the U.S. Geological Survey is reporting that the aquifer is showing signs of rebound. According to the USGS New Mexico Water Science Center, increases in winter groundwater levels (which are most representative of aquifer condition) are being observed. This is consistent with predictions from model simulations wherein groundwater pumping was reduced in favor of using surface water. Given that the water-level trend had generally been downward through the early part of this decade, the reversal is an extremely positive development.
Next, the fact that river diversions were curtailed this summer because of low river flows is merely evidence that the project is working according to plan. We use surface water as much as possible, and without damaging the riparian ecosystem, and then turn to the aquifer as a backup in times of drought. The suggestion by critics that doing so somehow proves the project ineffective misses the entire point of having the aquifer available as a drought reserve.
Finally, the story fails to mention that the Drinking Water Project is just one tactic in an overall Water Resources Management Strategy aimed at aquifer preservation. The Water Authority's reuse program, which will be expanded to Southeast Albuquerque early next year, will save about a billion gallons of drinking water annually. And there are also plans to store surface water in the aquifer itself. Perhaps most importantly of all, however, the Water Authority’s conservation program has seen per capita water usage decline by more than 90 gallons per person per day since the mid-’90s and is on track to meet its per capita usage goal for 2011 in spite of the ongoing drought. By taking this multi-pronged approach, I believe the Water Authority is acting in the best interests of the aquifer and the future generations who will rely upon it.
Art De La Cruz Chair, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority
The Occupy Movement Needs Clarity
I read with interest Andrew Beale’s opinion piece on the occupy movement and his experiences and opinions [Re: “Systemic Risk?” Nov. 10-16]. Like many Americans, I have been following the movement for the last several weeks and wondering if it would turn into a coherent social movement.
It is hard to disagree with the point that four major banks—in the wake of the federal bank bailouts due to their supposedly being “too big to fail”—have become even bigger and more dangerous. But, coming up with a coherent prescription for reform is where the occupy movement starts to struggle. In order for it to succeed, it must come up with such a coherent, more specific agenda. That is what effective social movements do. The civil rights movement demanded equality for racial minorities, the gay rights movement and women’s movement have largely done the same. More recently, the tea party has called for less government spending and debt. But what does the occupy movement want? Is it going to work to reduce the power of the international banks? Is it going to attack all corporations and big business? Is it anti-wealth inequity? Will it simply become a catchall for left-wing causes?
To the extent that the movement opposes genuine corporate welfare, crony capitalism, and special favors and bailouts for large banks, there is certainly a good deal of overlap with the tea party and mainstream Americans. I hold out hope that the movement will choose this path. Nonetheless, it is time to get specific.
Paul J. Gessing President, Rio Grande Foundation
Columnist Andrew Beale responds: Occupy Wall Street and the global protests can seem disorganized for the simple fact that everyone comes to the protests for different reasons. But there have been some concrete ideas proposed by the movement to help fix our broken political and financial system—a 1 percent tax on all financial transactions, for example. But the unifying theme of the movement is economic justice. Much as the civil rights movement fought for racial equity and the women’s movement for sexual/gender equity, Occupy Wall Street fights for financial equity.
The Real Spirit of Giving
The “spirit of giving” is a marketing ploy often associated with Christmas consumerism and only strikes during the holidays, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s defiantly not too soon to donate a winter coat to a person in need.
The weather has been freezing cold the past week, and it’s only getting colder as we head into December. Why not go through your closet and find some warm clothing you don’t wear any more and donate it now? You don’t need Christmas carols on the radio to be a good person. People who can’t afford coats are feeling the chill already; let’s help them!
By donating a winter jacket, you’re not just helping someone stay warm, you are also helping them to fight the colds and flues that get passed around this time of year. A warm person has an easier time fighting off germs than a cold one and, if my place of work is any indication, there are some nasty bugs going around this year.
Please do your part to keep our city warm and healthy this cold season—remember, Santa is watching!
Local charities accepting winter coats: Barrett House Attic, The Salvation Army, Big Brothers Big Sisters, St. Vincent de Paul, Goodwill Industries of New Mexico, and the John Marshall Health and Social Services Center.
A patriot constantly questions his country, correct? Then why are those who question the current humanitarian and ecological crisis silenced?
It seems we’ve missed something. The end result of prosperity, happiness and security was never meant for all, but for a few of us. However, things clearly cannot continue as they are currently.
We have to ask, “Is this what we were promised?” Potentially, we have been operating under an incorrect paradigm, without understanding. Competing against each other when the single strongest force for positive change is the mass of citizens.
Although, proof for the benevolence of human nature exists within each one of us; internal cultivation must occur before outward change is invoked. Cooperation is a base human characteristic, and once together, we will achieve our common goals.
In these times of war for profit, each citizen has the opportunity to prove one’s allegiances. A simple test of intelligence and wit, to avoid exposure to petrochemical carcinogens, included in nearly all consumables, awaits all of us.
The balance maintained by Mother Nature is available as our example. Even today, the majority of humanity tills the soil, only to reap bountiful harvests annually. Organic farming, conservation and sustainable lifestyles all contribute to this beneficent cycle.
Sustaining patriotism requires a re-evaluation of what it prescribes. The plan is to learn what it will take to knock down every wall that suppresses truth and allow for the freedom of expression of individuality.
A person’s natural state is perfect freedom; and the pure society encourages cooperation. Let us revitalize this true potential of civilization. For the question, benevolent human, is not whether Mother Nature can withstand our actions. It is whether she will see fit to allow them to continue ...
Michele Bachmann’s B.S.
Michele Bachmann recently was caught in two lies or distortions again. One was her description of occupy protesters as ignorant and disrespectful because they heckled her during a speech. Yet, in 2009, she loved it when tea partiers disrupted town halls held by Democrats to talk about health care reform. On a side note, tea partiers claim they committed no vandalism and were not arrested: While the latter is technically true, on the former, there were instances of busted windows, death threats, bounties placed on Democrats and guns outside of Obama rallies by tea partiers.
Second, Bachmann is again spewing the debunked Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac-caused-the-mortgage-fallout line. In October, she blamed Democrats and Fannie and Freddie for making banks lend to minorities and just the other day blasted them for receiving another bailout. However, most subprime loans were from nonbank or nonregulated lenders exempt from the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, the bogeyman law Republicans blame, and most borrowers were white, non-Hispanic. Fannie and Freddie only came in later at the behest of a Bush HUD appointee who wanted them to keep up with private finance markets; The two bought 97 percent of subprime mortgages between 2004-2006.
While her numbers are lower than a toilet, she keeps saying things that somehow continue to maintain traction with certain segments of the public. Until she and her ilk are called on these lies, we never will get to the core of the crisis and place proper safeguards to prevent such an epidemic again.
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