Thanks to New Mexico Highlands University Foundation
I would like to take this opportunity to thank New Mexico Highlands University Foundation, and Dr. Frank Sanchez. The scholarship won at the 2012 President’s Gala Dollars for Scholars raffle has now been transferred. This precious gift will allow a student to continue her undergraduate and graduate studies. A special thank you to Foundation Board member Felicia Ortiz for her help in making the transfer a reality. Your friendship is always appreciated.
Redistricting transparency concerns
Transparency is at the heart of everything we do at the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government (FOG). The New Mexico’s Legislature actions during this past special session show they do not share this value.
For months this summer the Legislature-mandated Redistricting Committee held public meetings and gathered public comment to create fair, equitable maps outlining congressional, state senate and state representative districts. It seems much of their work has been done in vain.
Surveys show that the public wants a process that is open and engaging. FOG believes the public’s business should be conducted in full public view, the actions of the public bodies should be taken openly, and all deliberations be made open to the public, yet the Legislature has conducted their meetings about redistricting behind closed doors, in partisan enclaves, eliminating any public access to the proceedings – access that is an essential element of a properly functioning democracy.
The voters in New Mexico deserve better. They want to see transparency in the redistricting process and the new districts. A fair process begins with genuine openness and transparency. The public hearings held across the state were an important blueprint for lawmakers. We request that all negotiations and deliberations regarding redistricting be conducted in an open and transparent manner that is accessible to the public.
New Mexico Foundation For Open Government
Issues for veterans at Walmart
The few remaining survivors of WWII are at least 95 years old. Do you hurt when walking, sitting, standing? Imagine being a shell shocked combat veteran mid to late 90’s waiting in the long, slow checkout lines of large mega wealthy corporate stores?
For more profit and less payout, shopping lanes for customer service at the corporate stores have been drastically reduced. Buyers need line up to self-checkout. Bend, reach, bend, bag, weigh broccoli or plantains, mark the screen, it’s difficult for us old ones. Yesterday at Walmart, again, long lines - very few self-checkout lanes open. Only two serviced checkout lanes open. Longer lines. Wait time to get through serviced checkout appeared to be a minimum of 20 minutes. Ahead of me in line, waiting behind younger folks with carts piled high and overflowing with goods, was a tiny ancient WWII vet holding a handful of supplies. Waiting, waiting and waiting, it appeared he suffered hearing loss. Who gave a hoot about him? One could see his legs were struggling to hold his wizened body upright and his arms struggled to hold onto his few items. I knew he had been in combat - had that look in the eyes… This tiny gentleman seemed invisible to store employees and other shoppers who appeared concerned only for themselves.
Up behind me came another elderly gentleman with his lovely senior companion. One can tell who has served in wars and who has not - that look in their eyes. I asked, “WWII?” Yes, Navy. “Ninety five?” Yes, his companion replied.
Enough was enough. Enough is enough! Unaccompanied, I was free to be me. Would I embarrass the waiting crowds? Why care what others think? I raised my clearly audible God-given voice. “Hey, where is help around here? Open the lanes. Get someone to help. You, manager open the lanes. People need help. Selfish corporate policies - what about some respect? Hey, you in the logo shirt, walking around, come and help. Please, these people need help.”
Another more-than-a-few minutes waiting but low and behold a clerk opened another lane. I could not get the attention of the tiny, hearing impaired, wizened WWII vet to get him into the newly opened lane. He might not have been able to maneuver himself to the other lane through the crowded maze.
A younger couple with loaded cart jumped into the newly opened lane. “Hey,” I said, “Hold a minute.” I motioned to the gentleman behind me, “This man is a 95 years old WWII vet - let him in.” And they did. Hooray! Relief. The old sailor moved to the newly opened register.
As the aged combat vet finished his check out he waved me over. We were masked - surely vaccinated but still… the virus threatens. This dear elderly gentleman reached out to me. “Let me give you a hug,” he said. Arm around me, eye to eye, “Thank you,” he said.
I wished him a Merry Christmas. His companion nodded her head. Ahead of me, the really, really old, tiny vet was finally being served. I almost cried. Obviously unable to hear, who would help him?
Merry Christmas. Wherever you are, please allow our vets to go ahead of you in the long check out lines at Walmart, Safeway and elsewhere. Please let the moneyed corporates know self checkouts are difficult, deplorable and disrespectful. We are neither cattle nor robots. We are human beings. Have a safe contented holiday season.