Who Picks the Winners?
[RE: Alibi Inaugural Photo Contest, April 1-7]: I read your weekly paper all the time, though I have not ever replied to anything in regards to its contents 'til now. Of all the publishable entries that could be put to print in your paper, who in their straight mind thought your cover picture was a winner? I certainly didn't. That's all I got.
Music for the Rest of Us
I would like to express the displeasure with which I read your description of one of my favorite bands, Jyemo, in “Lucky 7” (March 18-24). The way you portrayed them was not only condescending and insulting, but inaccurate as well. To label this extraordinary band of musicians "Trustafari" (presumably because they hail from Boulder, with the implication that they are somehow rich Rasta types), is to assume too much. Yes, this band is white and from Boulder. They do play a fantastic, exuberant mix of music that includes reggae, as well as African, world beat, trance, rock and more. These hard-working musicians drove 500 miles to play at Stella Blue for a few hundred dollars—they do not deserve to be mockingly called "trustafari." They love what they do and are clear of their mission, which is more than can be said of many trust-fund types.
Finally, you also insulted their audience, with the exhortation to "dance your patchouli-scented asses off." Jyemo draws a fun, mature, sophisticated audience, and while there was lots of dancing there was not even a whiff of patchouli, sorry. It's one thing to be pithy, but when you make incorrect, insulting stereotypes, it ceases to be either newsworthy or funny.
Warning First, Punishment Second
[RE: “Ortiz y Pino,” March 4-10]: Finally, an unbiased report on the biggest gang in Albuquerque with the right to assemble at will and camp out, without any punishment. I'm sure that if it was a homeless person who did the same he would be sitting in another place, i.e. Metropolitan Detention Center praying that they won't be another victim by another gang (the jail guards ) who lash out and assault handcuffed inmates. I wonder what really goes on off camera. Any family member can make a mistake and go to jail, but let's not forget the man who was released from the jail only to wind up being killed by a tragic but preventable accident. It was our city that decided to put the jail out next to the Cerro Colorodo Landfill. I guess they think all inmates are trash so let's put them next to the dump. Hey people, let's not forget our local media coverage of the assault at the jail. The media is quick to place a mug shot of other citizens arrested, so why not show the pictures of the fired guards, or even release the video, that the law enforcement will surely edit before producing it to the public. Hey, I'm not done here. I still have to comment on more questions of accountability. Yes the fire dept fired the employees that "frauded" the tax payers out of thousands of dollars. If Martha Stewart can get charged, so can these thieves. How safe do you feel about the evidence in our city? Are the police going to use that missing evidence to hypothetically place it at crime scenes? With the mayor's property being torn down this week, it makes me wonder if the company he hired to demolish his sub standard property has any city contracts that the mayor or his administration signed off on. Let's not forget the traffic ticket the mayor's wife received, which a city employee changed to a warning. The officer got a reprimand, the mayor's wife still got her warning. I challenge the city to make all parking tickets on the day the mayor's wife got hers, warnings. That will surely show no favoritism, don't you agree?
[RE: “Newscity,” April 1-7]: To: Bridger-Teton National Forest, USDA Forest Service: I am writing to you today in order to ask a question that you might be able to answer. Let me preface my question by stating that I have 30 years of backcountry experience in various mountain environments including the Sierra, Rockies and Cascades. I am a scientist by profession and a nature lover by passion. I have just returned from my fourth visit to the Wind River Range.
On this latest adventure, my cohorts and I (three of us all together) entered the western side of the Winds at the Scab Creek Trailhead on Saturday, Aug. 16. We spent six nights in the backcountry, with a three-night high camp established just west of the outlet of Middle Fork Lake. Beginning on a quiet morning of day three at Crescent Lake and continuously onward for the rest of our trip, we all could hear a fairly dim and very low level drone or hum that sounded a lot like a plane, but at a much lower frequency and without any obvious directionality. Whenever it was quiet enough (no rushing water or wind noise), I and my cohorts could hear this droning sound. It was always present, 24 hours a day! The intensity of the sound never really changed, and it was clearly audible from Divide Lake up to and including the summit of Odyssey Peak. The fact that it was always present, seemingly nondirectional, and not obviously due to wind or water or wildlife, led us to believe that it was very likely caused by human activity far, far away. But considering how far we were distanced from civilization left me with a very puzzled feeling. I have never heard anything like this in all my years of backpacking in various alpine regions of the United States. Could you possibly help to inform me of the source of this low level noise? I would be most appreciative.
Homeless on the Westside
The Albuquerque Police Department's Westside Area Command, led by Capt. Conrad Candelaria, is to be applauded. He has recently begun to deal with business concerns of homeless people on the Westside of the city not by the typical round 'em up and haul 'em to jail technique, but by trying to link homeless people with services, in an effort to help them move off the street and into more permanent and safer living situations. Citation, arrest and incarceration are to be utilized sparingly, and only as a last resort. In my experience, this is the first time that this approach has been attempted in Albuquerque, and it seems that it is addressing many of the concerns of the parties involved.
I hope that others at APD, the city, business owners and the wider community will take note of Capt. Candelaria's approach as a new model of how to help both business owners and homeless people meet their needs. The basis of this type of approach is a realization that homelessness is a societal problem and that the existing model for interacting with homeless people isn't working. That model centers around passing new laws which make illegal harmless activities that homeless people undertake in public, arresting and incarcerating homeless people for petty crimes or for merely being in public spaces to which they invariably soon return, and "moving them along" to other areas of the city where they become somebody else's problem, all do nothing to ameliorate the situation.
Not only do these tactics not work in the short term, but in the long term, the criminal justice-based solutions make it much more difficult for homeless people to get themselves off the streets. This is so because as homeless people get caught in the revolving door of the criminal justice system, the criminal records they are saddled with act as a barrier to housing, employment and family reunification, among other things.
Unfortunately, Capt. Candelaria, his officers and the business owners at the shopping centers who are engaged in this enlightened approach are now facing one of the main difficulties many of us who work in the homeless community have always faced: The services available to people experiencing homelessness in Albuquerque are minimal and do not come close to meeting their needs. At the same time as services are so lacking, homeless people are being unfairly targeted by laws such as the city's new anti-panhandling ordinance. I would like to encourage the Westside team to continue their efforts, and at the same time call on them and the greater Albuquerque community to join with homeless advocates as we press the city to provide the resources necessary to finally solve the homeless problem for all homeless people.
Denial of Ballot Access
Dear Ms. Giron and Ms. Madrid: As a candidate for United States representative in New Mexico's first district, I have fulfilled every legal requirement for ballot access as a member of the New Mexico Green Party for the June 1 primary. Further, I participated in the New Mexico state Green Party convention and received more than half of the delegate votes to support my candidacy and placement on the primary ballot. Now I am informed, through the media and NMGP state officers (not by the secretary of state), that I have been denied ballot access due to a clerical oversight. Apparently our NMGP state officers neglected to report the results of our convention in a timely manner so the New Mexico secretary of state has decided to use this excuse to deny me and the other NMGP congressional candidate, Abraham Gutmann, access to the primary ballot.
A review of the relevant state election law reveals that there is no legal basis for this punitive action. Further, as a candidate, I am being denied legal access to the ballot for actions or inactions over which I had no control. Further, the political rights of registered Green voters who signed my petitions and delegates to the NMGP state convention who have supported my candidacy are being effectively ignored.
It is a simple fact that when the reporting date had come and passed for the reporting of the results of the NMGP state convention, the New Mexico secretary of state did not immediately communicate with NMGP officers (as required by law) to correct a simple clerical oversight, but initially remained silent. It is a simple fact that the New Mexico secretary of state did not communicate at all with NMGP officers, but rather communicated directly with democratic congressional candidates and then went to the media to announce the decision to deny New Mexico Green Party candidates ballot access.
It is a simple fact that the New Mexico secretary of state has declared that the two NMGP candidates will not be allowed to deliver additional petition signatures by April 2, to remain on the primary ballot, an option provided for in New Mexico election law, since both did receive over 20 percent of their delegate votes at the NMGP convention. Quite simply, the New Mexico secretary of state is playing "both sides of the fence" on the issue of party convention designation, declaring that for the purposes of legal designation, the NMGP candidates are not designated candidates, since NMGP officers missed a reporting date, but at the same time declaring that since both candidates actually did receive over 20 percent of the vote in the NMGP convention, that both candidates are designated candidates, and therefore may not file more petitions and signatures to remain on the primary ballot.
Well madam secretary, are we or are we not designated candidates? If we are, then allow our names to remain on the June 1 primary ballot. If we are not, then allow us to file our additional petitions and signatures, an option provided for in New Mexico election law for any candidate not legally designated by his or her state party convention. The attempt of the New Mexico secretary of state to "have it both ways" is possible evidence of prejudice, interference with legal ballot access and possibly the basis for a federal civil law suit. We can and will pursue this option if the New Mexico secretary of state and the New Mexico attorney general make it necessary.
Our local UPN and WB television stations have cut a deal with the new USDTV service. USDTV will be providing digital programming, including our local and other network programs, to the Albuquerque area. It will originate from TV transmission towers from the Sandia Crest and will require a user to buy a special box to receive these transmissions to decode them for their TV, and a monthly fee. However, one nasty thing has occurred to make this happen.
ACME corporation who owns both our local UPN and WB stations have leased a major portion of their digital frequency bandwidth to USDTV so they can transmit their own programming to the Albuquerque area. Because UPN and WB are then left with a small portion of their digital bandwidth, they will never be able to transmit their own network high definition programs in high definition to us here in Albuquerque. In a time when most of the national networks are ramping up their high-definition content, our local UPN and WB stations are robbing us of the means to enjoy it at all. The UPN and WB stations are currently only forwarding their standard definition channel over their digital channel (requiring only a small bandwidth), and they have no intention of changing that.
I understand that the FCC has caught wind of this and are not very happy. The FCC feels they are leasing these digital frequencies in good faith to the TV stations. The FCC requests that if the TV station is an affiliate of a network then they will forward any prime-time evening programming in high definition to its viewers if the network provides them with the programming in high definition.
People may feel that this is not a world crisis type situation, but this is setting a bad precedent that should be stopped now before it spreads over the country. We deserve better in Albuquerque. Don't sell us out ACME corporation for a few extra bucks of profit!
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