Reality Check for the Tea Party
Dear Alibi ,
In 1773 the original Boston tea party occupied the ships of the world's biggest company and destroyed their low-priced Chinese imports. They came back the next day to finish the job under the guns of the world's largest navy.
They threw the tea in the sea to protest tax giveaways to colossal corporations that left local business unable to compete. They threw the tea in the sea to protest a lack of representation in their government: the world's largest empire, the biggest military power wedded to multinational monopoly.
We face a similar situation, but the modern tea party blames government alone.
Join us as we temporarily Occupy the Courts in more than 100 cities on Jan. 20 (in Albuquerque at 333 Lomas NW from noon to 3 p.m.) to protest corporate influence over elections and government. We demand our legislators overturn Citizen's United and the bogus doctrine of corporate personhood. We demand a constitutional amendment that establishes a level playing field where government of, by and for the people can flourish.
We Occupy the Courts to point out the radical conservative judicial activism that is source of the problem. We occupy the Roundhouse to demand a solution.
[Re: Opinion, “The Great Teacher Debate,” Jan. 12-18] Fair enough: Jerry Ortiz y Pino doesn’t like the plans by Hanna Skandera and the Martinez administration to evaluate teachers. At least he recognizes that the issue is not a partisan one, as the Obama administration is pushing states on the issue and making teacher evaluation mechanisms a centerpiece of their education reform agenda.
At the Rio Grande Foundation, we’d like to see alternative teacher certification so as to allow a new, deeper pool of teachers made available. Evaluation can work. It just needs to be implemented correctly. At this point, given the push from above, it is not a question of “if,” rather it is “how” the evaluations will be done.
But all is not discord in education. Ortiz y Pino has already prefiled a “special needs scholarship” bill that would create a privately funded scholarship program to give parents of special needs children the opportunity to attend the school of their choice. The Martinez administration has expressed support for this proposal.
Politics is a tough business. Not all issues are able to draw bipartisan support. But tax credit programs similar to the one proposed by Ortiz y Pino have been enacted on a bipartisan basis nationwide. Hopefully, New Mexico will do so this year.
An Honest Wage
I’ve been following with interest stories about Santa Fe’s upcoming minimum wage hike. Currently their minimum wage is $9.85 and now in 2012 it’s poised to increase to between $10.22 and $10.32 an hour. I think this is great. With more money in the pockets of the average family, not only is there more spending, there is more stability and an overall healthier economy and happier community.
Although I’m happy to see this happening in Santa Fe, I can’t help but wonder why we can’t implement this in Albuquerque, or even statewide. Many small business owners in Santa Fe who were unsure about the last increase have actually come out and said that it’s been a benefit to their businesses because, again, people are spending more.
A working person making the statewide minimum wage of $7.50 an hour, working full-time cannot support him/herself, let alone a family. It’s not rocket science. When prices for goods go up, wages should go up.
I think it’s time we use Santa Fe as an example of what can happen when we show our citizens that we value them. It’s time to raise the New Mexico minimum wage.
[Re: Letters, “Montaño Doesn’t Need a Wal-Mart,” Jan. 12-18] If this Wal-Mart is constructed it will be the third "supercenter" within an eight-mile radius. Directly across the street from the proposed construction site is a Keller’s Farm Store (a locally owned meat market), Albertsons, Walgreens and CVS. The site is also ecologically sensitive. This is the Bosque we're talking about razing and paving. And all the while there are neighborhoods in Albuquerque in desperate need of a substantial food market. The Westside does not need another Wal-Mart. (Nobody needs another Wal-Mart.)
Just Say Yes to Male Circumcision
[Re: Letters, “Just Say No to Male Circumcision.” Dec. 29-Jan. 4] I was circumcised as an adult but wish it had been done at birth. Sex is better without foreskin to get in the way. What I would like is for parents to be told the health benefits and the risks and make the decision that they think is best for their sons. The decision is easy for me—the benefits far outweigh the risks.
[Re: Feature, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It?”] All I need to figure out is how to cash in on the paranoia of nattering na-bobs and I'm set for life! Which I calculate starts on Dec. 22, 2012.