In a letter to the Alibi (Nov. 28-Dec. 4, p. 6), former UNM President F. Chris Garcia offers an apology for “discomfort, embarrassment or pain” that he caused by his involvement in the website of Southwest Companions, a meeting locus for local men and traveling sex workers. I believe in second chances, and since he seems free of charges under New Mexico law, he deserves to be presumed innocent. However, the professor “protests too much” about his lack of responsibility for abetting prostitution in Albuquerque from his UNM office.
Dr. Garcia insists that he was “never a partner or associate” of Mr. Flory, nor was he “involved” in the recruitment or trafficking of women. From his letter it is hard to know what his role in the enterprise was beyond “being on that website,” although he does express regret for his “uncharacteristic, inappropriate and aberrant behavior.” One wonders if and how he profited from the business. Was it just a hobby? Or did he consider it to be a community service?
I knew Chris for most of his years as a faculty member (while he was running a polling organization), later as Dean, Provost and President. I believe that, as a local Hispanic, he was underpaid in the last position. Present administrators receive high enough salaries and retirement so they should not have to supplement their pensions with similar undertakings. As for his exile from the UNM campus, I have no opinion; but I recall that Bob Anderson of Stop the War Machine suffered a similar ban as a result of bravely expressing his anti-war feelings at a public meeting. That ban was entirely unjust.
—Philip K. Bock, UNM Professor Emeritus
No Perfect Proximity
Twice in the past eight months, Monte Vista Elementary School has been put on lockdown due to dangerous people and situations directly related to its proximity to the New Mexico Corrections Department Adult Probation and Parole Office (3010 Monte Vista NE). The latest incident on Nov. 21, where two pipe bombs were found across the street from a kindergarten playground where dozens of 5 or 6-year-olds have recess, resulted in a 2-hour shelter in place and increased anxiety and fear amongst children, teachers and parents.
Luckily nobody was injured during these incidents, but it seems that it is only a matter of time before one of these dangerous situations results in serious harm coming to the several hundred children that attend Monte Vista, or their teachers. Unfortunately these incidents are becoming so frequent that the reaction to them is often a shrug of the shoulders and moving on to the next news story.
I understand that NMCD has been trying to move this office for some time and that there is resistance to moving it downtown due to its proximity to youth programs nearby. I don’t advocate that the office be moved there for the same reasons that it doesn’t belong in its current location, and NMCD needs to carefully consider where the office is ultimately moved to. But since this resistance was raised last summer, the current solution seems to be inertia. While decision makers sit on their hands, these children are in danger.
This level of risk is unacceptable and unnecessary. Elementary school children and adult probationers and parolees do not belong on the same street. Already, in just four days, over 200 parents of Monte Vista Elementary School children and other concerned neighbors have signed a petition at change.org to demand that APS, NMCD and other decision makers put the safety of our children first and do everything in their power to move the office immediately. This needs to happen as soon as possible, and we will continue to raise awareness and exert pressure until NMCD moves this office to an appropriate location.
Mina Yamishita’s Obituary
Thank you for publishing Mina's obituary. The Alibi is where Mina did most of her writing and had her greatest following. It would have meant a lot to her.
Watching the Wells
David Correia’s cover article on the Kirtland fuel spill (Nov. 28 edition) sheds valuable light on a critical environmental issue that has been a priority for me during my tenure as a County Commissioner and member of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority Board. Because it represents such an enormous potential threat to our groundwater supply, the “bulk fuels spill” has been a subject of great concern for the water utility over the past several years.
I think it’s important to correct a misperception that may have been left by the article’s statement that if ethylene dibromide (EDB) “migrated into existing drinking water wells, we wouldn’t know.” In fact, the Water Authority tests its Ridgecrest wells regularly for EDB at a more stringent level of sensitivity than that required under the Safe Drinking Water Act, with no detections to date. In addition, the Water Authority paid the United States Geological Service (USGS) to drill and monitor an independent well between the known area of contamination and the drinking water wells to provide an early warning in the event the contamination continues to migrate towards them. There have been no detections of contamination at any level at the new monitoring well.
If contamination of the Water Authority wells becomes imminent, those production wells will be taken out of service long before we allow any EDB to enter the water supply. Clearly surrendering access to that section of the aquifer would be a great loss to our community’s drinking water supply. That is why the Water Utility Board will continue to pressure the New Mexico Environment Department and the Air Force to fulfill their commitments to mitigate the fuel spill before this occurs.
Although the Water Authority has no direct role in the remediation process, we will continue to provide expertise and support as they endeavor to resolve this profoundly important problem.
—Maggie Hart Stebbins, Board Member for Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority
What About the Doves?
It came as a great, not nice, surprise when I was called upon to accept a “wedding dove” into the Heart and Soul Animal Sanctuary from a wildlife rehabilitation service.
The so-termed “wedding dove” had been released as a symbol of perfection and peace. But the pure white dove fell to the ground somewhere and was attacked by a dog who pulled out all the feathers on its back as well as the tail feathers.
I accepted the dove, which is actually a rock pigeon, bred to be pure white. The wounds were so extensive, I brought the downed dove to the Smith Veterinary Hospital in hopes of rehabilitation. There, Dr. Julie Blossom assumed responsibility for our dove, “Dew Drop,” and she did an admirable job of rehabilitating her.
After several hospital days, which included antibiotic injections in Dew Drop's chest, Dew Drop was flourishing with fluffy new feathers on her back. Dr. Blossom said I could now bring Dew Drop back to the Sanctuary. She would run, hop, jump and flutter about, but was still unable to fly.
This inhumane practice of releasing doves at weddings is lucrative for wedding services. But ornithologists, biologists and bird lovers worldwide are shocked by the selfish inhumanity of this trend.
If these doves were all trained homing pigeons and could fly away from the wedding and find their way home again, that would pose less of a problem, humanely and ethically.
Our rescued Dew Drop is not a homing pigeon … and, according to one ornithologist, was probably inbred to the point where she cannot fly well.
The doves released at weddings are not native species. Where can they go? And what will they eat? Where is their family, their flock, their own kind? Death is inevitable.
According to one professional dove keeper, “This is like murdering the birds; I won't work with those people.” In the words of the Cornell ornithologist: “It is ridiculous, putting those birds out there to die.”
This practice of abusing an innocent bird to the extent that it dies at the feet of human arrogance casts a very dark cloud over the entire event.
The beautiful bird is sacrificed and for what? Are humans really entitled to do this?
—Natalie Owings, Director of the Heart and Soul Animal Sanctuary, Santa Fe
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