I wanted to compliment you on your excellent article about Aldo Leopold in this month's Desert Exposure ("Learning to Think Like a Mountain," August). I think you did a great job explaining why he remains an important figure, how the time he spent in the Southwest was so pivotal in the evolution of his thinking, tying in current issues, etc. Well done.
Kevin Bixby, Executive Director
Southwest Environmental Center
Nice article on Leopold. The environmental movement has rightfully claimed him as a guru. Something that is often left out is the fact that Leopold is known as the Father of American Wildlife Management. His 1933 book, Game Management, was the standard textbook for college wildlife management courses well into the 1960s. This textbook began as a collaborative effort between Leopold and New Mexico biologist J. Stokley Ligon. When Leopold transferred to Wisconsin, collaboration became difficult and Leopold's manuscript evolved into the college text. Ligon compiled his notes into his 1927 book, Wildlife of New Mexico, Its Conservation and Management.
In your article, I don't think you mentioned Curt Meine's biography of Leopold (Aldo Leopold, His Life and Work). Published in 1988, it is certainly the definitive biography. It takes some dedication to read, though, and perhaps falls into the category of "more than you ever wanted to know."
That was a wonderful, well researched and well written piece on Aldo Leopold. I still have Game Management, which was a college textbook for me in 1976. Also have a dog-eared copy of The Sand County Almanac and have even been to the Shack in Wisconsin — a pilgrimage for Leopold fans.
Thanks for a great read on a man I have long admired.
Yippee-i-ay! Jeff Berg lassoed a great yarn in his piece, "Hollywood on the Gila" (August). Great to see two old-timers, Ray Lopeman and Jim Essick, both in their 70s, have made a Western titled Long Gun New Mexico, and are working on a second "oater." John Wayne would be proud of these cowboy heroes who've shown such true grit.
I don't reckon these two saddle tramps will be riding off into the sunset any time soon.
Paul Hoylen, Jr.
Bill of Rights Watch
I just finished your great editorial on the Bill of Rights (Editor's Notebook, August). You are like the proverbial voice in the wilderness. I do know what that is like! I am the lone voice in Las Cruces that gets few echoes from my shouts and protestations of the violations of the Bill of Rights by the city, county and the Las Cruces Public Schools. I do get a lot of other type of comments. Of course, these listed government agencies are aided and abetted by the governor and other state offices, but more especially by the local sold-out federal judges, Robert Brack and Lourdes Martinez.
I would like to hope, not claim, that my adventures have brought some attention to the wink-and-nod religious activities of the New Mexico Department of Education and Secretary Veronica Garcia. In December 2007, with the absolute approval of the DOE and Gov. Richardson, all third-grade students were rounded up in the Las Cruces Public Schools and Gadsden ISD and forced to hear the reading of the "Santero's Miracle" the day before Christmas vacation. I don't know what was done in the other school districts in New Mexico, but every third-grade student in New Mexico was given a special copy of the book, a Catholic Christmas miracle story by Rudolfo Anaya. (There are a lot of recorded details about this event.) I got some ugly letters from the DOE lawyer and Garcia.
This could go and on, but I do not want to bore you. Everything I say or report is in writing and documented, whatever the case may be. The religious wall protects the violators.
The best example of the Catholic Church's 700-year-old unwritten doctrine of "mental reservation" are the words of the darling of the Mesilla Valley, federal magistrate Judge Lourdes Martinez, as she was holding a copy of the City of Las Cruces symbol of Latin crosses: "I just don't see that third cross you are complaining about, Mr. Weinbaum."
Thank you for your time and the article.
Paul F. Weinbaum
I liked your article on the Pledge of Allegiance (Editor's Notebook, August). One of Dorothea Lange's more memorable pictures (and she took a lot of memorable ones) was done in April 1942 of Japanese students at the Raphael Weill School in San Francisco reciting the pledge. Those children were so earnest in participating in this American ritual and pledging their allegiance, but our government did not demonstrate "equal justice for all" towards them. Within three weeks of the photograph, all the children and their families were relocated to the government-run internment camp.
Editor's note: Last month's Letters column included a
letter from Margaret Markham regarding Jeff Berg's article on colonias and the Colonias Development Council
(CDC) ("Neighborhood Watchdogs," July). Author Jeff Berg writes:
This note is in response to Margaret Markham's letter offering additional information on colonias, near and far, and also after meeting again with Diana Bustamante a couple of weeks after the July issue of Desert Exposure appeared, with my article about the CDC.
First, a clarification or two. I noted that Veronica Carmona had worked in El Salvador, when in fact it was Diana Bustamante who had done so. Also, I have been asked by the CDC to emphasize that the most important part of their work is collaboration with citizen activists of any and all colonias in the area, and that the citizens themselves do the work.
The idea for the piece came to be because I personally had little information about just what a colonia was, and how the numerous social justice and economic issues that are connected to them were handled and by whom.
Hence, the article was meant as an overview of the subject, a Colonias 101 if you would, and did not go into greater depth and detail due to space limitations. Desert Exposure is not a professional journal about issues, but rather a pathway of introduction to readers who seek information about regional issues, personalities, politics and history. Much more detailed information about colonias issues can be obtained by contacting the CDC office in Las Cruces.
It is my regret that details often have to be left out of articles such as this, but when one considers the other so-called "media resources" in southern New Mexico, Desert Exposure stands far above any of them in terms of subjects and information.
I strongly applaud and support Ms. Markham's continued interest in border issues, and have nothing but the strongest support and respect for Ms. Bustamante and her dedicated and professional staff at CDC.
Let us hear from you! Write Desert Exposure Letters, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Letters are subject to editing for style and length, and must be in response to content that has appeared in our pages. Deadline for the next issue is the 18th of the month.