‘Things that ought to happen’

November 13, 2018

I commend The New Mexican, in collaborative partnership with ProPublica, for initiating this muckraking investigative report that highlighted significant lapses in safety standards at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (“Exposed: The life and death of Chad Walde,” Oct. 26).

These exposed safety violations — revealed through the lens of Chad Walde’s final few years of a life cut short after having been exposed to dangerous, radiation and chemical levels during his 18 years as a maintenance crew employee and supervisor — attest to a pattern of workplace endangerment.

The toxic muck generated from lax safety standards must be cleaned up and not be sanitized by an institutional whitewash. Powerful institutions must be held to account for their willful negligence. This story must be followed and tracked in order to exert heightened public pressure.

As the reform-minded publisher Joseph Pulitzer once said, “The newspaper that is true to its highest mission will concern itself with the things that ought to happen tomorrow, or next month, or next year, and will seek to make what ought to be come to pass.”

Barbara Allen Kenney

Santa Fe

Career building

Please allow me to express my disappointment in Ben Ray Luján’s actions on election night, though I am hardly surprised.

As I was watching the election results come in, the network showed a “victory” speech in Washington, D.C., by Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California. At her side was local-boy-made-good (on the coattails of his father), sixth-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Luján.

I’m assuming since it’s his sixth victory for that seat, and now that House Democratic Leader Pelosi hand-picked him for the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he’ll just be dialing in his campaign race every two years. (Actually, I think he’s been dialing it in since he won the first time.)

We’ll see how that plays out when and if he decides to run for U.S. Sen. Tom Udall’s seat if and when Udall, a New Mexico Democrat retires, or, God forbid, Luján gets hand-picked to run for governor in eight years. Point being, shouldn’t Luján have been celebrating here in New Mexico with New Mexicans, at least the 154,072 that voted for him?

Mark P. Ortiz

Santa Fe

Having compassion

In 1970, my husband, teenage sons and I were sent to Sydney, Australia, for five years, where my husband was to manage a U.S. company. On arrival at customs, we were each — surprisingly — handed individual cards giving us free medical care during our stay.

My sons, active as they were, never needed their care, nor my husband. However, I did have surgery, which was most successful.

I write this to add my opinion about objections to “Obamacare” or Medicare. Although taxes on upper-middle classes are higher, Australians are not failing socially or economically as a society. Their only frequent complaint about Americans was that “Yanks only care about the dollar.”

Perhaps we should look abroad, listen and learn, and begin to incorporate in our government how other countries are succeeding with their health care systems. Having compassion does not make us a socialistic society.

Libby Ericson

Santa Fe

Way forward

In New Mexico State University’s recent report on teacher shortages (“Schools statewide see increase in teacher vacancies,” Oct. 31), the report’s authors rightly highlight how these shortages are specific to certain areas and subjects, like special education. NMSU should be applauded for what many fail to do — looking to fill the gap of teacher supply and demand data and calling for teacher prep programs and state policymakers to address this issue.

It is unfortunate, however, that the authors argue efforts to improve teacher quality through more selective admissions and robust evaluations are to blame for the shortage. Changing or dropping these policies would come at the cost of teacher quality. Instead, the way forward is tailored solutions to specific shortages, such as offering higher pay to positions in high demand (i.e. special education and STEM teachers), and policies that enable teacher prep programs to align the candidates they produce with district needs.

Kate Walsh


National Council on Teacher Quality

Washington, D.C.

MVD annoyance

Recently, while attempting to register a new vehicle, I was informed that I would need to present a DD214, verifying my military service, in order to transfer my veteran plate.

Prior to going to the Motor Vehicle Division office, I had looked at the MVD website to ensure I had the necessary documents.

I also searched for information on titling a new car bought from a dealer. Neither site mentioned a requirement for a DD214 to transfer a veteran plate.

I did a search on the MVD site for “DD214 transfer plate.” There is no mention of this requirement, only about eligibility and how to get a veteran plate.

I registered a newly purchased car in 2010 and transferred my veteran plate without requiring a DD214.

I can’t understand why the MVD has failed to make it clear that I would need my DD214.

This is the kind of incompetent management that so annoys people about government — and the MVD in particular — and I say that as a former government employee for 30 years.

Bob Gaines

Santa Fe

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