Readers sound off: Elections, gun violence and trash

Gun Rights

Chris Rivera is a committed public servant and has worked quietly, steadily and successfully since I have come to know him through the group that I chair. Members of the Southwest Santa Fe Advocates have worked closely with our District 3 councilors, and Councilor Rivera makes a difference for the southwest part of Santa Fe, his home. I believe his skills are truly needed at the county level.

Our county District 3 representation has been slipshod to say the least, with the current commissioner seeming at times like a placeholder rather than a representative of the people who elected him to the seat. Without hesitation, I can say Chris Rivera will be a bridge between the city and the county and work for a successful working relationship between the two entities. Please investigate his record of service and support his candidacy for county commissioner for Santa Fe County District 3. Rivera will not disappoint you by failing to speak up for the voters that he will represent.

Alba Blondis

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chair, Southwest Santa Fe Advocates

Orlando Romero is the best choice for the Santa Fe County Commission District 1, and I encourage everyone in this district to vote for him in the upcoming Democratic primary election. Orlando Romero’s qualifications are superb. He’s a native son, a stand-up guy, and will work full-time for the constituents in this diverse district that includes most of the northern precincts of Santa Fe north to the county line.

David Oakeley

I’m very disappointed that there wasn’t a question to primary candidates regarding reproductive freedom for women. I’m wondering why? Do women not matter? The attorney general is particularly important, because the AG chooses which cases to pursue — especially should a GOP governor attempt to criminalize abortion.

Also, the Legislature could attempt to criminalize abortion and birth control. In my district, Democratic House candidate Joseph Sanchez does not support reproductive freedom sufficiently for me. For AG, Brian Colón has been clear that he supports reproductive freedom. Women’s rights matter. New Mexico as the Republic of Gilead is not imaginable to me, yet many candidates would like that.

Juanita Girardin

I support Raúl Torrez for attorney general for his competence and certainly for his experience. He has spent his career litigating — this is what our attorney general does. And he has done so as district attorney for the state’s largest metro area. I was a corporate lawyer and never appeared in a courtroom, but I have the highest regard for lawyers who have. The law is specialized and complicated, and for my work it was critical, when needed, for me to hire a lawyer who actually had the experience I was looking for (and paying for). Hiring a lawyer is not “on-the-job training.” I can’t imagine having as our attorney general a lawyer without extensive litigation experience. Steph Curry is a great basketball player, but I wouldn’t hire him to play for the New York Yankees — experience is absolutely necessary.

Tom Shillinglaw

I see the Santa Fe New Mexican has endorsed Henry Roybal in his race against Rep. Andrea Romero in House District 46. The endorsement did not mention that Roybal is endorsed by the National Rifle Association. No one who has an endorsement from the NRA will ever get my vote. Romero gets an F from the NRA. In my book, that’s an A. You have my vote, Rep. Romero.

Gayle Gertier

State House of Representatives District 46 incumbent candidate Andrea Romero has been given an F by the NRA. Her opponent, Henry Roybal, has been endorsed by the NRA.

Jeanne DiLoreto

I live in state House District 46 and am proud to be represented by Rep. Andrea Romero. She has a proven track record of supporting women’s reproductive rights in the Legislature and has strongly supported legislation to combat climate change and move New Mexico to a clean energy future based on renewable energy. She clearly understands carbon emissions are damaging our state through drought, wildfires and extreme weather. She has shown her commitment to clean air and water.

Her challenger, Henry Roybal, has no such track record. No doubt this is why he is being supported in part by Harvey Yates, a Republican devoted to oil and gas interests. Romero is young, energetic and is accomplishing great things for her district and New Mexico. Let’s keep her.

Charles Noble

Rep. Andrea Romero of District 46 has shown on many occasions her ability to help the people in her district in a practical, decisive way is proof actions can speak louder than mere words. She is a candidate who will deliver on her promises, and she deserves your vote.

Eleanor Eisenmenger

I chair the Civil Rights and Criminal Justice Reform Committee of Indivisible SOS Santa Fe. I met Sheriff Adan Mendoza when I was interviewing/grilling candidates for election in 2018. I and my committee have since had many meetings with him exploring use-of-force policy, strengthening relationships with minority communities, training for crisis intervention and transparency. He has listened, incorporated some of our ideas, and our efforts have evolved into a partnership to improve statewide training for law enforcement. He has brought state-of-the-art training resources to his workforce during challenging times. I find him to be genuinely open, honest, compassionate and sincere. He is overwhelmingly more qualified than his opponent, represents his office and our community with grace and quiet competence in the national media, and is serious and realistic. Mendoza is the real deal: a progressive, well-educated, competent sheriff. He deserves another term to build on his record.

Rachel Feldman

My guess is, at best, Congress will pass firearm laws that only the law-abiding will obey. While they are at this, they must pass commonsense laws that will harden targets. Schools need to be reconfigured so that all entrances are secured, along with armed security guards. No one should be able to just walk into a soft target with firearms without being confronted by armed security.

David Martinez

Another human tragedy by gun violence that creates the loss of innocent children in Uvalde, Texas. Just outlaw in America the sale of AK-47 and AR-15 weapons to citizens. Only the U.S. Army and law enforcement should possess them. To protect the Second Amendment right to bear arms, make gun-buying safer — just as with the concealed-carry gun license with safety classes and target training. Have background checks, insurance and registration of gun ownership.

Why haven’t we enacted in Congress more serious gun laws? Know this: Axios news reports Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has personally received $442,000, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell $247,000, as PAC contributions from the gun lobby. We are no longer dealing with muskets here, but dangerous technology that should be eradicated from our daily lives. Then, we can begin to live in a safer America again!

Frederic Verswijver

“What then must we do?” That is the question Tolstoy asked Russian society after his 1886 study of social conditions in Moscow’s slums. Finding deplorable and seemingly intractable poverty, he challenged the public to work for solutions to those problems. After these latest slaughters of innocents — African Americans in Buffalo, N.Y., and Hispanics in Uvalde, Texas — we must all challenge ourselves to vote for people who will have the courage to change our gun laws and policies. Otherwise, we are doomed to repeat these slaughters. How can one be against abortion and not be opposed to current gun laws? We protect the fetus, but not the young child at school or those who simply want to shop without fear of being killed.

All candidates for an office with authority over gun laws should be asked: Where do they stand on stopping the gun violence? What gun law reforms will they support? The NRA is a dangerously strong lobby that opposes gun law reform; however, it must not be allowed to hold sway in these issues. We could stop the slaughter. Do we have the courage? “What then must we do?”

Barbara MacPhee

While it is entirely appropriate to remember and honor those who died in Uvalde, Texas, last week, I think it is much more important to remember and support the survivors. What about the little girl who smeared her dead friend’s blood all over her so if the shooter came back, he wouldn’t shoot her? She wants to share that idea with other children so they will know how to protect themselves in an active-shooter situation. And how about the dad, an off-duty EMT, who went to pick up his little girl and was told by one of the surviving little girls that his daughter was dead? Let’s remember and keep in our hearts and thoughts and prayers all the sisters and brothers and parents and cousins and friends of the dead and wounded. They will carry emotional wounds the rest of their lives. How can we support them?

Mary Ellen Gonzales

When I was in school, we didn’t have active-shooter drills. Now they’re teaching kids to silently hide and avoid attracting the attention of the killers who hunt them like vermin. Now children go to school in fear. We had no active-shooter drills when we were in school because there were no school massacres.

Back then, there were fewer guns and stricter regulations on them. No one outside the military had access to the battlefield guns used by today’s mass murderers. Also inaccessible were hollow-tipped bullets designed to make bodies explode. Australians, after a 1996 mass shooting, said “enough!” and their government implemented a gun buy-back program and imposed strict regulations. They haven’t seen a massacre since 1996. Who has more freedom — Australians who are free to go to stores, theaters and schools without fear? Or Americans who are “free” to own weapons of war but are safe nowhere?

Marcy Matasick

People in Uvalde, Texas, have told the president to “do something” — that was on the front page of The New Mexican on May 30. Here’s an idea: Suggest to Uvalde citizens that they not vote incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzalez — he of the perfect NRA record — back to office in November. That would do something.

Our children have not been cared for and protected.

Our most vulnerable citizens abandoned and murdered by hatred and racism.

Our villages are burning.

Our planet is burning.

Guns won’t put out these fires.

This proverb, attributed to Africa, says it all: “The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.”

Jasmine Stewart

There is a gun control law that Republicans could support and might cut gun ownership significantly. Just as the state has the power to decide whether women should bear children, so should the state have the power to decide whether women should bear arms. It is clear that at the time the Constitution was written, women were not part of a “well-regulated militia,” and so the state, using the originalist theory of the Constitution, could decide that women should not bear arms.

The state can constitutionally legislate that only “men” over the age of 18 can bear arms.

This won’t stop mass shootings? Oh well, controlling women by legislation is such a good idea.

Anne Albrink

Two thoughts: Redefine weapons of mass destruction to include anything that can quickly kill two or more people; anyone who purchases a military-style weapon is automatically enlisted in the U.S. military so they can learn how to use it properly.

Susan Maslar

I think we’re witnessing a classic case of misplaced blame carried out by the NRA, the media and politicians as regards the Uvalde, Texas, massacre. However egregious it may be that police officers did not do their duty in storming Robb Elementary School, the true culprit behind the Uvalde killings is that there are too many readily available assault rifles in the hands of Americans. After every mass shooting in our country, the blame is craftily shifted by the NRA and others away from their weapons. Other countries, without readily available assault weapons, but with just as high a proportion of mentally ill citizens, do not experience anywhere near the per capita rate of mass shootings as occur in the U.S. The problem, dear sirs, lies not in ourselves but in our guns.

John McClure

Why would caring public officials, be they county commissioners or tribal leaders, take away a really important service like the Tesuque Transfer Station. For decades it has provided an easy-to-access, efficiently run, friendly operation that the neighborhoods just north of Santa Fe really depend upon and appreciate. Perhaps there is a compelling reason? But at this point, no one seems to know, and the speculations are not fact-based. So, let’s have some transparency. It’s a simple question: Why is the Tesuque Transfer Station being closed with no public discussion?

Barak Wolff

The residents of Tesuque recently learned their waste transfer station is to close as of June 30. The station has been a vital service to those of us who live in Tesuque, as we don’t have municipal waste removal. An inquiry was made to Gary Giron, county director of public works, who sent this reply: “In response to your question about why Santa Fe County is vacating the Tesuque Solid Waste Convenience Center located at 50 NM 592. It is because the Tesuque Solid Waste Convenience Center is located on Pueblo of Tesuque land and the pueblo and county agreed to close the Convenience Center at the end of June. The County could not unilaterally decide to keep the Convenience Center open. …” Is it the rumored rent increase the pueblo supposedly wanted? If so, the county explanation lacks a critical fact. If higher rent is the issue, perhaps the county should see if residents would pay more to keep the service.

Richard Renaldo

Closing the Tesuque Transfer Station is unacceptable. The drive to Jacona or Nambé is a major journey of at least 45 minutes to an hour round-trip. This means more cars on a road that is notoriously dangerous with high traffic volume traveling at high speeds. And that’s not to mention the wasted gas and pollution factor of more cars on the road — for no good reason. Some in our community can afford alternatives, but it is also home to many who are elderly and/or struggle to get by. Having to waste expensive gas and time places another undue burden. The Tesuque Transfer Station is an efficient, small-footprint operation, staffed by wonderful, caring public employees. Certainly county officials and the tribal leaders can get together in the next 30 days and resolve whatever has led to this dreadful mistake.

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