This category will hold letters to the editor, as requested by at least one Beat reader. This editor agrees that letters to the editor should be separate from editorials. Letters to the editor may not reflect the opinions of the editor.
NM State Representative Gregg Schmedes, Tijeras
"First, do no harm." It's a saying almost as old as the idea of medicine itself. I heard it a lot in medical school. It's something that New Mexico's leaders need to think long and hard about right now.
At the beginning of our fight with COVID-19, our leaders acted quickly on limited information. But now, we have better data and experience that beg a more sophisticated approach as our nation grapples with balancing public health and the economy.
Dear Ms. Webb:
I heard your message to Grant County residents today, Saturday, April 25. You said that COVID infections were on the rise in Grant County; that we should continue to stay at home, especially to protect our health care workers; and made a plea that Grant County should take this seriously. I thought at first it was an outdated message until you mentioned the Governor's extension to May 15.
Wondering what I had missed, I immediately pulled up the New Mexico Department of Health website I check almost daily: https://cv.nmhealth.org/cases-by-county. I was surprised to see that cases in Grant County remain at 14, which it has been for at least a week, so your claim that cases in Grant County are on the rise is absolutely untrue. Additionally, there hasn't been anyone hospitalized at Gila Regional for COVID-19 as far as I know.
New Mexico is at a defining moment. With the best of intentions to stop the spread of COVID-19 across our state, Governor Lujan Grisham has issued several public health orders that have effectively shut our state down. While it is difficult to estimate the effectiveness of the stay-at-home order in slowing the virus, there is no doubt her public orders have created an economic crisis unlike any in our state's history. Record levels of unemployment, small businesses being forced to close, historic declines in the price of oil, and unprecedented restrictions placed on people's civil rights have shared the headlines with uneven growth of COVID-19 cases and deaths across New Mexico's 33 counties.
I have read the NM COVID-19 update, and I have also read the Governor's rationale for keeping non essential businesses closed. And there are some weak spots.
First, the Governor says by keeping non essentials closed, we reduce the number of places where people might get infected. The problem with that argument, especially in low density areas such as Silver City, is it begs the question "why have several (in our case four: Walmart, Albertsons, Food Basket, and COOP) primary food stores open"? The Governor's argument would suggest only one should be open, so three should be closed. This is a paradox caused by applying high density area logic to low density places. And that is symptom of diverse opinions from low and high density areas not being involved in the decision. Small businesses employ well over half of the workers in NM.
As socialist democrats move us closer to socialism and many Americans are out of work, Congresswoman Torres-Small is silent and stays at home and continues to collect a paycheck. Why is she not traveling throughout the district and pressuring the governor to help New Mexicans get back to work? In return for her silence and votes, she has received over 3 million dollars including large campaign contributions from lobbyists and out of state billionaires who want to take away our freedoms and change America from the "Land of the Free" to "America, land of socialism and the deep state."
Today, we see more and more irrational behavior by many socialist democrats, driven by their thirst for power and control. The following examples are unbelievable:
Pick which New Mexico you'd rather live in right now.
A New Mexico with a healthy $3 billion safely tucked away in reserves, and no overspending? Or a New Mexico that is facing a budget crisis, with about $2 billion of excess expenses, and no way to currently cover that spending?
Unfortunately, we all find ourselves in the second scenario right now, thanks to the reckless spending spree of the majority of the state legislature last January. How on earth did we get here? Let's try to unpack this together.
Until recently, I thought the state government was doing a very good job managing the COVID-19 problem. The trouble is that every solution is always the generator of the next set of problems, and it is those generated problems that have not been given much thought.
I have seldom seen a state or federal government use a problem solving model; I have seldom if ever seen a state or federal government solve anything by using overriding power, or exercising a right because they don't go a step further and look at the underlying needs and interests from which much better solutions can grow.
April 13, 2020
To: Governor Lujan Grisham
From: A New Mexico Small Business Owner
Dear Governor Lujan Grisham,
As your administration continues to take action to decrease the spread of the Coronavirus, we as small business owners (and the families of those working for these business) are at or nearing a point of no return. To put it bluntly: Your decisions are destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands.
New Mexico is one of the least densely populated states in the country and yet we have mandates from your office that are as strict as that of highly populated states. Your policies are holding our economic, social, and spiritual well-being hostage.