Congratulations to Jeremy Vesbach for his straight-shooting article last week entitled “Tunnel Vision—Westside Land Deal Smacks of Insider Politics and Failed Policies of the Past,” (Jan. 29-Feb. 4). He hit the nail on the head. The public needs more of this kind of reporting.
At the end, he asks whether Planned Growth is still possible? As a consultant who helped draft the city's Planned Growth Strategy (PGS), I have to say it's unlikely unless the public stands up and demands it. Here's why.
This year Senator Manny Aragon has introduced two bills (SB 422 and SB 438) that will, if passed, bestow remarkable powers on the joint city-county water utility super monster. Furthermore, this super monster will be exempt from any general law—a breathtaking display of grabbing power never before seen in New Mexico.
This legislation appears to sever any existing or future ties between land use and water use, as well as removing any constraints (general laws), such as the new State Water Plan or the new regional water plan, which might impede the goals of the water utility authority. As we all know, development will go where the water lines go and the water utility authority is positioning itself to have complete and final control.
Another sign of the pending demise of the PGS are the land use assumptions that the Albuquerque City Council is considering in February. The land use assumptions are the building blocks required by state law for preparation of impact fees. The PGS task force has forwarded land use assumptions to the City Council which roll back the PGS goals and return this city to “business as usual.”
Although the PGS and the land use assumptions (LUA) predict about the same level of growth by the year 2025 (PGS=183,329 and the LUA=173,041), they are dramatically different in where they expect the new growth to occur. Some quick examples.
The PGS calls for the city core (within the 1960 boundaries) to grow by 30,180 people by 2025, where the LUA anticipates only 11,819 people. The PGS calls for 582 new people in the northwest area of Bernalillo County while the LUA expects 9,509 people. The PGS earmarks 549 new people in the Volcano Cliffs/Horizon area while the LUA expects 8,235 new people! These are dramatic changes which, in my opinion, guts the PGS.
Some officials may throw up their hands in the air and say “Well, that's where the growth is occurring today and we have to follow it.” But that's exactly the mindset that the PGS is trying to change. The city is not obligated to follow behind the developers' bandwagon, to the detriment of the public goals and public interests. The PGS represents a balancing of public and private interests, but guess which suffers when the PGS goes up in smoke.
The mayor has not been shy about sharing his disdain for PGS and his goal of killing it altogether. He may just get his way unless the public speaks up now.
Lora Lucero, AICP, Esq. Albuquerque
After reading the article, “Roe v. Wade” in the Jan. 22 – 28 issue, I have to say that I have not read an article more biased in favor of the abortion industry than this article in a very long time. The “choice” of words used by the writer to describe “pro-life” as “anti-choice” certainly left no doubt as to where she stands on the subject. It was almost humorous to me, if the subject wasn't so serious.
Instead of the bias shown in the article, it would have been much more informative, unbiased and true, if the writer had written about what has been learned in the past 31 years since the 1973 decision of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. There is so much more to this subject than the political views of the opposing sides.
Today, we know that there is a heartbeat at 18 days past conception; at 43 days the brain can coordinate movements; at eight weeks all organs are functioning; at nine weeks there are permanent, individual fingerprints; at 10 weeks pain is felt and at 12 weeks a baby can smile, suck his/her thumb and make a fist. Any medical textbook will confirm these facts and that life begins at fertilization.
Today, we have learned about the emotional effects that abortion has had on women who have had them. Statistics reveal that women who on average had their first abortion 10.6 years prior to being surveyed suffer emotionally in countless ways. This includes denial, less self-confidence, loneliness or isolation, insomnia and nightmares, difficulty in maintaining or developing relationships, suicidal feelings, increased or began use of drugs or alcohol, eating disorders and attempted suicide. There is no doubt that it is unnatural for a woman to kill her own baby. Fortunately, there is help out there.
Today, we have learned why women seek abortions. We know that 75 percent said the baby would interfere with their lives, 66 percent said they couldn't afford a child, 50 percent didn't want to be a single parent or had problems in their current relationships, four percent had a doctor who said their health condition would worsen, one percent had a fetal abnormality and one percent were victims of rape or incest. Therefore, contrary to common perceptions, most abortions are for reasons of convenience not for rape, incest or the mother's health.
Today, many Americans are reevaluating their position on abortion on demand and rightly so. Concrete conclusions can now be drawn based on factual evidence procured over the past 31 years. The questions have come down to, “Is abortion good for women and furthermore, good for society?” “Is abortion discriminating and prejudicial towards vulnerable humans who have no voice to speak out for their rights”? “Is there more we can do as a society to support women financially and emotionally when they have an unplanned pregnancy to enable and empower them to have their babies?” These are the questions that must be asked, should be asked and answered by individuals who have taken the time to truly educate themselves on the realities of abortion and how our citizens, born and unborn, are effected by our laws.
Janet Estepp Albuquerque
The Government and Social Security
[RE: Letters, “People in the Private Sector”, Jan. 29-Feb. 4]: State employees pay approximately 8 percent of their wages into the PERA retirement fund. The government employer adds approximately 16 percent, an amount that really represents wages not seen in employees' pay checks. The total is approximately twice what gets paid into Social Security.
Unlike the Social Security taxes that go directly into the federal general fund to be spent today and never seen again, PERA is a real fund with real assets. The earnings on investment of these assets pay the pensions. The state pays nothing further toward employees' pensions after they retire.
Michael Gold Santa Fe
All Human Life
In response to the “Roe v. Wade” issue, (Jan. 22-28), I just have to wonder if the so-called anti-choice camp is guilty of blatant hypocrisy, or simply demonstrating embryonic—if not abortive—reasoning. This being the case, I've a few questions for all allegedly anti-choice and supposedly “Right To Life'” folks who claim to “value all human life” or who, “even if raped, would never” resort to “destroying an innocent human life.”
How can your expressions of belief be received as true when you (use your right to) choose such willful and proud killers as Mr. George “We'll not stop ’til the last of them ’terrorists' is brought to justice (dead)” Bush, or Saint Pete Wack 'em! Domenici et. al. as your elected leaders? Do you, like they do, weep crocodile tears over our “heroic sons and daughters who make ’the ultimate sacrifice'” by getting killed in your leaders' killer line of work? In truth, doesn't your choice of leaders suggest that you believe the untold numbers of unknown, unnamed, unwanted people in this world, be they enemies or simply regrettable collateral damage as they fall (dead or devastated) under our WMDs in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Palestine, Colombia or where have you, are not to be considered as part of the “all human life” you so value, and as such are not possessed of same said “Right to Life”? And if this be the case, would it be correct to assume that you not only permit, but encourage the abortions, even the destruction of entire families, if the teeny tiny babies in question were sired by someone of (poor third world) color or one of the multitudes of non-Jewish Semites your chosen fearful leaders work so fiendishly to “liberate from their ’evil leaders,' ’WMD,' etc.” (read: rich lands and resources) and then walk away and forget? You have no problem with that?
Further, given your blaring silence as your leaders pour our vast resources and wealth in wars, weapons, drug deals and drug wars, prisons and other (predominantly private) interests, as over and against all the desperately needed fair-waged jobs, affordable housing, child care, health care, education or, in a word, domestic needs of healthy human living; is it possible you believe the “human life” you so value actually ceases the moment those “teeny tiny babies'” leave their mothers' wombs, where they're then to, by God, get off their lazy asses and fend for themselves!?
God (does) forbid, are you in fact choosing to work for the counterfeit “Christian” (read: Anti-Christ) leaders' “Kill thine ’evil' neighbors” agenda, to ensure there shall always be plenty of “precious children” born to serve as an endless supply of wage-slaving tax-payers, cannon fodder, and/or those “unfortunately lost” and “criminally poor” souls who can satisfy our need to “be charitable” and/or to fill up our ever growing number of (privately run) prisons? Here again, your choice in leaders, coupled with your silence on these social (read: human life) issues ren
ders highly suspect your purported reverence for all human life.
One last thing, this regarding the suggested “required” use of ultrasound on a developing fetus. Check it out for yourselves: the incidence of hearing impairment/loss in children has increased dramatically along with the frivolous use of ultrasound assaulting the ears of those teeny tiny babies it's so fun to peek at as they develop in the womb. Think of it, even fully developed whales have been destroyed by its' use. Well, that's it for me, I now sincerely hope you'll choose to deliver unto us a beautiful, well-developed response. Godspeed.
C. Magirl Miller Albuquerque
Animal Welfare at Risk
As you may have seen or heard, the Shrine Circus is coming to Tingley Coliseum on Feb. 13, 14 and 15. The Shrine Circus still uses wild exotic animals in their acts. Animals that are held captive in a traveling circus live in cramped cages and work out of fear. Whips, electric prods and other tools are often used to force them to perform. When elephants and big cats rebel in an attempt to escape their sad existence, they are often blamed and killed, a sad ending to a sad life. The Shrine Circus escapes the scrutiny of governing bodies and local animal control agencies by not owning the animals used in its shows or possessing an exhibitor license. The animals are leased from outside companies so Shrine Circus is not subject to citations under its name.
The USDA has cited Shrine Circus exhibitors for failure to provide veterinary care, adequate shelter from the elements, nutritious food and clean water, as well as failure to handle animals in a manner that prevents trauma and harm.
There are numerous reports, going back to 1978, about elephants, bears and big cats attacking and injuring trainers and spectators. In one of the more recent charges, the USDA filed charges against Hawthorn Corp., a company that supplies elephants and tigers to the Shrine Circuses. The complaint alleges 47 violations of the minimum standards of care established in the Animal Welfare Act.
Charges include using physical abuse to train, handle and work an elephant, causing physical harm and discomfort, failing to provide veterinary care to an emaciated elephant, and failure to provide veterinary care to an elephant suffering with severe chemical burns and a bacterial infection.
But for the use of physical punishment by, and fear of, their oppressors, animals would never be a part of a circus.
Do not ignore cruelty to animals. When you have a choice, choose compassion. Boycott exotic animal acts, do not support the Shrine Circus until they are animal-free. Every animal has a right to a safe, healthy, happy, cruelty-free life.
Darren Pfeffer Albuquerque
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