No ART = Nonsense
I thought you guys edited letters for length and clarity? If so, then why did you print such nonsense as “Wolf in ART’s Clothing” in the September 28 issue? Outside of a silly metaphorical analysis of the word “ART,” the writer appears to be confused as to the purpose of mass transit and the functioning of a democracy. If he had read the ballot in the current election he would have seen that there was no opportunity to vote on federal transportation money expenditures. Why? Because local citizens only vote on local money; it’s up to elected officials to make decisions on federal money. Contrary to popular opinion you can’t decide how to spend it either—it’s all or nothing. (The ART project also included funding to upgrade utilities along the roadway, saving local tax money.) Democracy doesn’t mean you get to vote on every decision government makes! Do you remember voting on the I-25/I-40 interchange improvement?
We elect government officials to take the time to consider relevant information, not base decisions on unfounded opinion. If the author of that letter had read the information the city put on the website or gone to the meetings he would have learned that there will be a net gain of trees along the ART route and also that the new trees will be water efficient. Other information included the fact that peak usage along Central Avenue is at capacity according to real data. Casual observations and biases seem to be taking the place of rational thought regarding ART.
Concerned about crime in Albuquerque? Rightly so. But check the numbers—we also seem to be at the bottom regarding education and economic development, so fighting crime should include not dropping everything in favor of more police as the author suggests. Improved mass transit increases access to education (UNM and CNM are served by the Central route) as well as increasing economic development in the long run. The loss of businesses is unfortunate but all major cities experience this in the short term during major transit construction. ART is nothing compared to the disruption of a rail or subway system that most cities endure.
I’m really shedding a lot of tears over the author’s inconvenience over his loss of usage of Central Avenue. I guess he wasn’t inconvenienced by the Gulf oil spill or his water won’t be affected by fracking in order to drive his single occupancy vehicle as much as he wants. Perhaps architects can also afford refrigerated air in their offices while the rest of us endure increasing air temperatures and yellow air days. And, are you kidding me, as if Central Avenue was a pedestrian friendly road?
The author may be confused over the aim of mass transit but the benefits are clear. I do believe in climate change and I would have welcomed a 20 minute shorter commute when I attended UNM.
Our Great Divider
President Donald Trump is railing against those athletes who are kneeling during the National Anthem and the display of colors. He is ignoring the fact that they are doing so as a peaceful protest against police treatment of people of color and racism in general.
Trump clearly has no understanding of the US Constitution which he swore an oath to “preserve, protect and defend.” In this particular case the First Amendment protects the right of people to free speech and peaceful demonstration. Kneeling as a protest before the flag is a powerful visual symbol and certainly is “speech” whereas money used to buy elections most certainly does not fit the speech definition.
Our Great Divider doesn’t know or support the Constitution or respect the rule of law as shown by his total disregard of the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution. This clause was put in to protect the United States from corrupting foreign influences. In Trump’s case he is making millions from foreign countries and foreign diplomats who attempt to garner influence by renting from Trump hotels and doing business with other Trump financial entities.
Several constitutional amendments, specifically the 15th, 19th and 26th, protect voting rights, yet our president has established a commission, the Election Integrity Commission, which seems established to specifically deny the right to vote, and especially targeting minority and poor people.
Congress passed a statute prohibiting nepotism after Kennedy appointed his brother to the position of Attorney General. Donald Trump’s top advisors in the White House are his son-in-law, Jared Kushner and his daughter, Ivanka. Where is the rule of law?
Now the flag which these athletes are kneeling before is more than our colors. It’s an expression of our cherished American values. These are things like a handshake and your word serving as a contract, respecting women as well as all and various religions, embracing immigrants and diversity, and helping people rather than hurting them.
The National Anthem was written during the bombardment of Fort McHenry when dawn’s early light celebrated our flag, battered, but still flying—a proud moment in a battle against America’s enemies. In Trump’s case, he is trying every trick in the book to counter the investigation of Russia’s war against America’s free elections, and god only knows what else. He is known to have stood in the Oval Office of the White House and given the Russians classified and top secret information. These acts in my opinion are deplorable and even treasonous. How can it hurt to conduct a thorough investigation of Russian meddling?
The protest by the NFL players and other athletes is a courageous display of patriotism in a country being torn apart by a divisive president who’s narcissistic and racist values will taint this country and people and, yes, our future generations, sadly perhaps forever.
Negotiations vs. Nukes
Saber rattling, to be more specific, nuclear saber rattling has become the hallmark for the Trump administration in its public relations approach to North Korea. Led by the ill-advised comments of Trump and the equally ill-advised echoing by the UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, the path to diplomacy is being fast substituted with an aggressive and destructive road to Hell.
Though North Korea is viewed as an “existential threat” to the United States and its allies, I would like to note that North Korea does not have a history of attacking other nations nor engaging in wars of occupation. While we may not agree with its treatment of its citizens and condemn its human rights violations, it is important to distinguish these actions from assuming Kim Jong Un’s rhetoric is an action.
At the very least there is a path to detente. Kim has a strong desire to be recognized as a legitimate leader of a nation among nations. In addition he wants the US and other nations to recognize North Korea as a nuclear nation -- which clearly it is! These positions are consistent with Asian culture’s strong emphasis on being respected and afforded dignity.
The United States’ position is that diplomatic talks do not begin until North Korea stops flying missiles and dismantles its nuclear capabilities. This is what we are told is the US non-negotiable position. This is not a negotiation it is a dictation! The ideal negotiation involves each side giving up something in order to get more of what they want.
If the United States reduces its military provocations—joint maneuvers with South Korea, fly-overs as a show of force—in exchange for stopping all missile launchings, I believe there is a good chance that the North Koreans will come to the table. North Korea’s nuclear program is a non-negotiable; it is a reality—it is their insurance policy against a military attack.
So give a little in order to get a seat at the table.
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