Our Readers Write
Tom Barry's article, "The Coming Water Wars" (April), was as disturbing as it was extraordinary. After reading it, I was left wondering if all our efforts to conserve our region's precious water and improve our agricultural practices will be undermined by ideologues such as the farmer Barry quoted as saying, "We don't know about the water... we are only here to use these natural resources the best we can to be productive." This is the kind of short-term thinking that led to human-influenced climate change in the first place. We ignore long-term management of water at our peril.
Many consumptive exploiters of wilderness and wildlife admire Theodore Roosevelt (Ramblin' Outdoors, April) as an ardent hunter who was a notorious trophy hunter. His study was lined with stuffed "dead heads" of many species of animals he had killed on his foreign and domestic big-game escapades. He pressed the federal government to purchase wilderness for forest and parks, largely to manipulate their use for hunting and trapping. Sadly, he lived in an age of wildlife management ignorance, with practices that persist. Showman and showoff Ted Nugent [also mentioned in the column] no doubt places himself on the same level as Roosevelt, suggesting non compos mentis.
Bravo for Boston Hill
I've been thoroughly enjoying Hiram Lewis' essays on Boston Hill ("Jesus Grass," April Tumbleweeds). His descriptions of the land, the light and the living things take me right there! His keen sense of humor, especially regarding tarantulas and dogs, keeps me laughing. Thanks for sharing your view of the world, Hiram!
Early and Often?
The March Editor's Notebook mentioned that our Rep. Diane Hamilton is pushing for a voter ID bill "to address the largely non-existent problem of voter fraud in New Mexico." I have heard Rep Hamilton speak several times at the Newcomers Club. She is a good speaker and there is always a good turnout. One time she related how after one talk a woman in the audience came up to her and told her she was very impressed and would vote for her. Hamilton said she replied that she thought the woman was a "snowbird" with a permanent residence somewhere else and wasn't suppose to vote here. The woman replied that she didn't see why not because she paid taxes here.
It is generally accepted that our federal census regularly undercounts the poor in urban areas. I have also read the assertion that the census overcounts wealthy people. Being counted more than once can happen when people own more than one home.
I can understand how census workers, when coming on a massive home for which the construction costs might have been higher than for the high school they went to, might very well enter on their forms the whole family that owns the place even if no one is home. I bet there is overlap in the "permanent" residents enumerated in Palm Beach, Fla.; Palm Springs, Calif.; Aspen, Colo.; Greenwich, Conn.; Beverly Hills — and as a result these cities end up with bloated population figures.
I began to wonder if there are some (or many?) people who live at different places during the year who end up voting everywhere they live. It is easy to see why some might think the issues in an election are so important and will affect them, so it is unfair to be excluded from voting just because they also vote somewhere else. Although I can understand the motive to want to vote where they live, it is essential to know that in this country, as Hamilton tried to convey, people have the right to vote only at their primary residence.
In addition to Hamilton's proposal for Voter ID we should think about fighting fraudulent voting by instituting checks to determine if people are voting in more than one place. The potential exists for more than just the super rich, because they are not the only people able to be snowbirds.
I know that there will be practical problems. It would be insufficient to just check voter registration lists because states can be very slow to remove names. As a consequence such lists often include many dead people and people who have moved away. Maybe we could institute the practice of cross-referencing a list of snowbirds who vote here with a list of the voters at their other residences.
I don't think it would be fair to insist on Voter ID to protect against voter fraud without also making an effort to determine if there is voter fraud from multiple voting.
Credit Where Due
I noticed that in the article "Ground Zero" about the Trinity site (April), although much was written about the role of the US Army in the Manhattan Project, not a single reference was made to Gen. Leslie Groves, the Civil Engineering Corps officer. He was responsible for the infrastructure and was as crucial to the accomplishment of the job as any of the scientists involved.
Bittersweet at the Border
Although I am from out-of-state, I am regularly in Las Cruces, visiting family. I "discovered" your paper two years ago, and now it has become a monthly ritual to enjoy each issue. I congratulate all concerned on an excellent publication! Silver City can justifiably be proud of the "biggest little paper in the Southwest." Your April edition, in which you celebrate a decade, was no exception. In fact, you really outdid yourselves!
Among all the fabulous articles, however, pride of first place must go to Henry Lightcap's Journal. His essay, "Missing Mexico," nearly brought tears to my eyes. This brief but poignant piece perfectly expressed the way so many of us who went adventuring in Mexico independently and for so long now feel about travel to that great republic. It is a bittersweet requiem, really, and I kept thinking as I read: "I have felt this way exactly about my inability to go south the way I used to."
Alas, like the author, it is with deep regret that I must now keep my ice chest safely north of the border. Thank you for reminding me what we have lost. I look forward to your paper's next decade.
Green Valley, Ariz .
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