Alibi V.14 No.5 • Feb 3-9, 2005 


Reviving the Clothesline

Dear Alibi,

[RE: “Here Comes the Sun”] Advertising has an effect. The back covers of many magazines have been ads for photovoltaic panels manufactured by Shell Solar and BP Solar. If you are amused at how oil companies are exhausting themselves to impress you with their commitment to clean energy, think again. You are paying for these ads. There is a huge market for photovoltaic panels only because your taxes buy them.

Twenty-five years ago, before the subsidies and ad campaign, we knew the most cost effective uses of solar energy: lighting buildings, heating water, drying clothes on clotheslines, winter heating through south windows and growing food. Along with the forgotten businesses that served these uses, today we even thwart our solar powered children. They are driven to school. Their solar fuel backs up. These children grow fat and unhappy; their parents are harried and we burn more and more gasoline.

Solar power is children walking and biking to school; using windows for light and heat; clotheslines.

The state must get out of the business of choosing how the public shops for solar energy. The state finds collaboration with huge business irresistible, however miserably inefficient the results. We need the market place, not bureaucrats and new laws. If the governor wishes to promote solar energy, he could help revive the super effective clothesline. He could go on TV. I'd like to see if he hangs up clothes the way I do, or if he does it carefully as my wife does.

Steve Baer
Zomeworks Corporation

Healing Homelessness

Dear Alibi,

I am writing in response to Jerry Ortiz y Pino's poignant article in the Jan. 20-26 edition of the Alibi, "Some Numbers Demand Action". The city of Albuquerque has an estimated 3,000 homeless persons (estimated 10,000 across the state) on any given night and more and more of them are families. Albuquerque Public Schools enrolled more than 2,000 homeless children during the last school year alone!

Regrettably, there are an insufficient number of affordable housing facilities available and while there are a patchwork of excellent programs trying to work together to bring an end to homelessness, the issue is much larger than merely providing affordable housing. As described by Ortiz y Pino, it requires workforce development, case management, behavioral health services, including access to long-term substance abuse treatment, child care, transportation and, more importantly, restoring their dignity as human beings.

As the author pointed out, homelessness "can be ended, but it will take genuine leadership from our elected officials and a willingness to commit adequate public funding to the effort." I commend Ortiz y Pino for keeping the issues of homelessness front and center (as it should be) and for pointing out that for any meaningful change to occur, it will take a sincere commitment and adequate resources, not to mention societal change.

Daryl T. Smith
Executive Director
Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless

No Choice in New Mexico?

Dear Alibi,

Americans want a Supreme Court that will respect the right to privacy and uphold constitutional traditions interpret the law with an understanding of its impact on people's real lives. Recent polls by Gallup and the Associated Press have found that 60 percent of the public oppose overturning Roe v. Wade. Most New Mexicans and Americans believe that decisions about when to have a child should be private, and that abortion is a matter for women, their families and their doctors--not politicians--to decide.

Anti-choice leaders in New Mexico plan to introduce a deceptive and callous measure in the upcoming legislative session that supporters claim will protect pregnant women from violence. But the real objective of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act is not about protecting women. To the contrary, anti-choice leaders have openly admitted that they aim to use this bill to undermine women's constitutional right to choose.

The pro-choice community strongly believes that violence against women, especially pregnant women, is tragic and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. This can and should, however, be accomplished without supporting measures that potentially conflict with a woman's right to choose abortion. Anti-choice advocates, however, refuse to support a noncontroversial approach, which suggests they are more interested in playing politics than in ending violence against women.

Our legislators must oppose this deceptive bill and instead support common-sense measures that promote women's health and rights, not undermine them. We must make abortion less necessary by improving access to contraceptives and comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality and health education.

Giovanna H. Rossi
Executive Director
NARAL Pro-Choice New Mexico

Barelas Box Cutters

Dear Alibi,

[RE: "Payne's World," Jan. 13-19] I am amazed by the comments made about neighborhood associations not being realistic about in-fill projects. I guess the easiest way to encourage growth is new development—a no brainer! What ever happened to thinking outside of the box? The last thing this city needs is a cookie cutter growth mentality. We neighborhood residents understand that every vacant lot cannot be a park or community center, but I think others need to get back in touch with reality and take a good hard look at our existing neighborhoods, and the issues they deal with.

Maybe it's time for Payne to attend a neighborhood meeting once again—better yet, maybe it's time for him to actually attend a meeting in another neighborhood other than his own, especially in the pocket of poverty. Maybe doing this will open up that box, and help him to better understand issues regarding neighborhoods both new and existing.

Our city has an opportunity to be a truly unique place to visit, hopefully one that will include ideas from your average neighborhood residents along with the expertise of our great developers. Yes, PGS will have to accommodate and address both new development and in-fill; this means that developers will have to be creative, but the outcome will be a great city that we can be proud of!

I welcome Payne and others to attend our neighborhood meetings; they are held the last Saturday of every month at 9 a.m. at the Barelas Community Center.

Robert J. Vigil
Barelas Neighborhood Association

Letters should be sent with the writer's name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to 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.