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Refusing to negotiate should not be option

January 26, 2019

I understand that the government shutdown was the president’s fault, and that many are angry at President Donald Trump and his behaviors. Meanwhile, New Mexico’s residents, heavily dependent on federal spending, were badly harmed by the partial shutdown. While federal employees will receive back pay, national lab contractors are lost and some might not recover that pay.

The most core function of politicians is to negotiate with others with whom they disagree and even dislike. It is unclear whether the motivation of our state’s Democratic representatives to Congress is to harm the president politically, to toe the line of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s wealthy California contributors or to protect their own political careers. Whatever their reasoning, they have worked against our state in refusing to negotiate. Now, I ask our representatives start to do their jobs and insist on further negotiations (lead if they must) with the president and Republicans.

Thomas Conroy

Santa Fe

No national emergency

Donald Trump said, “I’ll build this [wall] very inexpensively. I will build a great wall on our southern border. …” How long a wall does Trump want? Executive Order 13767 states the wall will “… secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border. …” Trump’s $5.7 billion request for around 200 miles of wall at approximately $29 million per mile covers just a small part of the promised wall. Total cost for the entire border is unknown.

Is this a wise use of taxpayer money? No cost-benefit analysis has been completed. How the wall fits into the border security strategy is unknown. U.S. Department of Homeland Security data do not support that the current lack of a wall constitutes a national emergency. Instead, a nonpartisan national discussion is needed about how best to address border security, immigration reform and the humanitarian crisis driving people to seek asylum in the United States. What is not needed is more divisive fearmongering from Trump.

Doug Dasher

environmental engineer and researcher

Santa Fe

Budget analyst needed

Thank you for providing valuable information on the New Mexico Rail Runner Express (“Report: Shrinking ridership hampers Rail Runner,” Jan. 17). We learned that 8 percent of operating revenues come from users; rephrased, 92 percent comes from the taxpayer in some form. And ridership is at a record low. Has anyone examined capital expenses? How much debt is outstanding? When are payments of debt service due? What are the sources of repayment (e.g. grants, gifts, etc.)?

If you combine annual operating expenses with capital expenses and also provide an historical look at ridership, then the public will have a much clearer idea of the total annual expenses associated with the Rail Runner.

Richard W. Haber

Santa Fe

Freedom rings

Recently, on my drive to work, I came upon a slow-moving vehicle in the right lane on N.M. 599. As I changed lanes and began to accelerate, I noticed the vehicle was following a hearse. It did not appear to be a funeral procession at first, but as I passed, I noticed a flag-covered casket in the hearse. I felt a sense of solemn respect when I realized that this lonely motorcade likely carried someone who had faithfully served our fine country and would soon be laid to rest.

I imagined several reasons why a hearse would be followed by just one vehicle on its way to the Santa Fe National Cemetery, and my heart ached at the thought of each. Whatever the reason, this loss would not rate front-page news like that of a homeless man found dead near the Santa Fe Plaza (“ ‘He was just trying to live,’ ” Jan. 17). Perhaps in our liberal community, it is more rewarding to present oneself as a social justice warrior than to risk being considered a patriot who respects military veterans and mourns their passing.

Martin Perea

Santa Fe

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