Rail Runner needs to run more often
Your article (“Report: Shrinking ridership hampers Rail Runner,” Jan. 17), does not consider the true cost of commuting by car. Given the IRS mileage allowance of 58 cents per mile and the distance of 60 miles from downtown Santa Fe to downtown Albuquerque, the cost each way actually comes out to more than $34. Moreover, roads, like public transportation, are subsidized by taxpayers. Gas taxes make up less than 50 percent of the money spent on roads in New Mexico.
The answer to declining ridership on the Rail Runner is to expand Rail Runner schedules as well as local bus connections so that more people can take the Rail Runner. Affordable, convenient public transportation makes a community much more appealing to new businesses. New Mexico has so much potential as a tech community, including truly beautiful places to live and a reasonable cost of living. Expanding public transportation should be one of our new governor’s top priorities.
Like a first-grader
Some random observations on today’s political scene. President Donald Trump’s favorite television show is Fox and Friends. Doesn’t that sound more like a children’s TV show or a picture book for first-graders? President Trump’s base is prominently mentioned. One of the definitions of “base” in Webster’s dictionary is “having or showing little or no honor, courage or decency.” The real cliché in play now — speaking power to truth. And is it possible that Trump is our first openly anarchist president?
A Legislature that works only 30 or 60 days per year (what one might consider to be a temporary gig) is still going to attract only those who can afford the time, whether paid a salary or not (“New proposal floats salary for lawmakers,” Jan. 18), per Ranchos de Taos Democratic Rep. Roberto Gonzales’ comment, “You have to be wealthy, retired or have a very supportive employer.”
I propose a compromise: Stop giving legislators $161 per diem and pay them the state minimum wage ($7.50 per hour). Of course, because they consider themselves to be professionals (like teachers, for example), they would not qualify to be paid overtime for working beyond 40 hours per week.
Not a good sign
Risk and liability aside, has it occurred to anybody that the decision of Santa Fe Public Schools officials to give former schoolteacher Gary Gregor (“Jury splits 8-4 in Gregor’s second trial,” Jan. 18) a “neutral job recommendation” led to children in Española being sexually abused? Gregor has been convicted on charges of raping and assaulting elementary school students (Jury finds ex-teacher Gregor guilty in child molestation case, Dec. 12, 2018).
Doesn’t bode well for real improvement of the system, does it?
Our democratic republic was not set up as a zero-sum game. It is a structure designed not to force one side to accept everything the other wants. The filibuster serves to keep the process of political negotiation going until a mutually agreeable compromise is reached. When Republicans and Donald Trump decided to use governmental shutdowns as an extortionist tool to get their way, then democracy is on a slippery slope.