Letters to the Editor (12/01/2012)

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Phillips left out things in response
Editor:
On Nov. 21 Mr. Fred Phillips responded to my Nickle. I appreciate the time that Mr. Phillips took to do so. I also appreciate that he delineated, better than I have, how deeply embedded the tentacles of government intervention and intrusion have become in our daily lives. Mr. Phillips obviously sees this as a boon. My cynicism tells me that anything government gives it can take away. It can also demand our obedience by just threatening to take it away.
However, certain things were left off of his list. Harry Bradford, of the Huffington Post, writes about the 42.2 million Americans who are on food stamps — an increase of 70 percent a year, on average, since 2007. The work requirement in the welfare reform that was signed into law by President Clinton was gutted by a President Obama executive order. Add in the public sector union pension plans that were bailed out by the stimulus in 2009, and the cynic in me sees a purchased constituency.
There is one area that Mr. Phillips and I are similar: we don’t have the skill set and the tenacity to become extremely successful entrepreneurs. However, I celebrate and applaud their success and pragmatism to see the real world around them and use the resources available to them to provide their goods or services. He on the other hand appears to have succumbed to the green-eyed monster and wants some of their pie.
Mr. Phillips also claims that I am unable to render an opinion on this matter if I have ever received any government benefit. To use his logic, that felon who took a break from his incarceration and came to my high school assembly was a hypocrite for telling me to behave and avoid jail. The roofer with the flat thumbs was a hypocrite for showing me the proper way to hold a nail. The former teenage mother is a hypocrite for advocating abstinence to her daughters.
Your right to comment on any and every issue is ensured by military men and women who are a long way from home, protecting our way of life and enjoying the largess of the American citizen. I have to ask, if they disagree with you, will you deny them their opinion too?
Gene Brown

Responding to two letters
Editor:
Mr. Sichler’s letter to the editor “Wheelock voice offends reader” in response to one of your columnists, Mr. Wheelock, struck a disappointing yet familiar chord in today’s discourse on political opinion. It was neither addressed to Mr. Wheelock directly nor did it manage to elevate the discussion that (I believe) the Pencil Warrior intended. Instead the letter came across as a direct appeal to the editor to censor an individual’s opinion. In these irrational times of partisan politics, let us not forget the sentiments from a more enlightened period, “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death our right to say it.”

In response to Gene Brown’s latest tirade directed against the 47 percenters; here’s my nickel. How Mr. Brown connects the dots between teenage mothers/fathers and their children as hopeless future cases for a college education is beyond me. In his eyes, are their destinations so clearly pidgeonholed to handyman career opportunities? Not a thing wrong with such careers, but let’s not fast-track students’ choices in a Hauptschule fashion based on the age of their parents or the number of school days absent.
Persuasive essay writing such as his would not make it past student peer review much less the instructor in any composition course (college or high school). Here are a few pointers: Writers can appeal to logic when writing to persuade using the appeal known as logos. This appeal is manifested in the supporting statements for the writer’s claim. In most cases, a successful appeal to logos requires tangible evidence. Mr. Brown, if you did indeed obtain a degree from a 4-year college (a certificate you seem too willing to deny the offspring of teenage parents), you were either truant for class on literary and critical writing, or simply didn’t get your nickel’s worth.
Michael Heagy
Socorro

DAV grateful for all the help
Editor:
The Disabled American Veterans and the Disabled American Veteran Auxiliary wish to take this time to thank all the wonderful donors (food and monetary), servers, prep workers and cooks that made our community Thanksgiving meal a true success. We were able to serve over 480 meals and enjoy the companionship of the day. We hope to do the same again for our Christmas meal with your help from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 22. May we all be blessed this Holiday season.
Vidal C. Moya
Commander Socorro DAV Joe C. Montoya Chap. 24.

Co-op members investigate
Editor:
In the weeks since the District 4 election, Gayl Dorr and I have been looking into the procedures that were in place for that vote. There seems to be a wide assortment of problems.
Earlier this year, when the members were divided into five districts, each district was to be just under 2,000 voters. The co-op’s own website lists District 4 as having 1,993 members. Since mail-in ballots are not permitted, a post card mailing was done by Survey and Balloting Systems, a third party, neutral firm. They worked from a list provided by the co-op. Only 1,648 names were given to them, according to their sworn count.
Previously, Gayl Dorr had asked for a list of District 4 members and was given a list with 1,605 names (no addresses). The voting sign-in books at the meeting on Oct. 6 had more than 2,600 listings. Many of these were duplicates, such as Fish and Wildlife, BLM or other government groups. Even allowing for this, and members moving etc., the wide disparity in voter numbers made it worth a careful examination of all the signatures.
We found more problems. At least one signature and address was for a property outside of District 4. Several voters voted for their residence but were also given a second vote for a security light or a pump. Under current bylaws this is not allowed.
There are also examples of proxy voting, someone else voting for a person who did not attend. This is also not allowed under the bylaws. There are places where a person voted but were not required to sign the voter role.
A few of the business votes, within the city limits, are not backed up by a city business license. Some even seem to be imaginary, yet they voted. The mail-in ballots for businesses did not include any instructions for sending an affidavit, while in person business voters were given one to sign.
With all these irregularities, a full audit of this close election is appropriate. As the contract with Survey and Balloting Systems says they cannot be held liable since they can only work with the information they are given.
The number of these discrepancies makes the results suspect. To resolve this situation the election should be overturned and the member owners given an opportunity for a fair and honest vote.
Marie Watkins,
San Antonio

Information requests ignored
Editor:
Recently we received a flyer from the Socorro Electric Cooperative. It was their attempt to gather information. Ten thousand were mailed at a cost of $7,000. Out of the 10,000 only 49 were returned, so the cost per flyer would be $140 each. With so little response, what information can they ascertain?
We have repeatedly asked for information about the SEC spending practices but have been road blocked or flat denied, their reasoning being it costs money.
The board recently passed a ruling that if you go in and ask for information it will cost you $1 per copy. The Chieftain was asked to pay close to $100 for public information that is made available for free at meetings of the Socorro County Commission, City Council, etc. This is beyond highway robbery, it is an attempt to discourage anyone from looking into the matters of the member owned S.E.C.
Prior to all of this, I had asked the general manager to see about putting everyone’s district on the light bill — that way folks would know who to vote for and what district they were in. I was informed that it cost too much money for the software. Do you imagine it costs more than $7,000?
Also, FYI, at the last SEC meeting our new board member from Catron County was in the audience. Mr. Wagner asked if she could be seated on the board immediately. Catron has not had representation since April when we went to a five-member board. The board’s response was a resounding “no” and they also declined to certify the District 5 election even though they had the election summary, the official results and media breakdown. Even with all the media coverage and court intervention, the SEC board is still not complying and just being a bunch of thugs. Hope to see you at our next SEC meeting.
Charlene West
Lemitar