Letters: Readers weigh in on issues of the day
Utility employee's mistake goes uncorrected
On May 11 I visited the city of Farmington Electric Utility payment window to pick up a needed copy of my bill. I always pay online and shred my bill on a monthly basis.
Our account with the city is 40 years old and through computer upgrades the city had lost some basic information and asked me to update my account. The lady proceeded to ask me for confidential information including social security numbers and date of birth. She asked me this in front of other clients who could hear my information.
I was uneasy about it but gave her the information.
I should have objected then and there. I left upset so called the City Electric Administration to express my concerns. I was called back by the same person who waited on me and was told that If I was uncomfortable I should have told her. She basically told me it was my problem. She missed the whole point.
In this day and age of identity theft and recording devices on every phone I am appalled that our City government hasn't established a policy that would allow clients to fill out a form with the needed information instead of being asked in front of others. In addition, I would think someone in management should have called me back.
Maybe the lady was a manager, but, if she is, then our city needs to take a hard look at what authority is given and consider the attitude of those who are given authority. There was no consideration given that perhaps the way it was handled needed to be reviewed and changes made. There is no wonder that WE the American public doesn't trust government at any level.
A reckoning for Ashlynne's killer
It is with sadness we are hearing of the abduction and death of Ashlynne Mike. The perpetrator is to face man's law and then the Supreme Being has his turn. I believe there is a special Hell for this man and those like him.
Ozone poses serious a health threat
As a physician, I was dismayed to see San Juan County’s “F” rating for ozone pollution in the American Lung Association’s just-released 2016 State of the Air Report.
Much more than just an environmental marker, ozone in the air we breathe creates a serious health hazard, especially for those with chronic lung disease. Ozone increases rates of asthma attacks and the risk of respiratory infections. Research has repeatedly shown that exposure to elevated levels of ozone increases
the risk of premature death.
As with many environmental hazards, high levels of ozone are particularly dangerous for children (who face high rates of asthma) and elders (most sufferers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Our Native American community members also suffer from higher asthma rates and thus may be disproportionately affected.
I believe that my patients should be able to be outdoors throughout the year without worrying that the air quality will set off an asthma attack or send them to the emergency room.
The “F” rating on ozone highlights the risks of dirty air for us all, but fortunately there are steps we can take to make our environment safer. Oil and gas facilities leak methane which drives climate change, and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which are precursors to ozone. Oil and gas emissions may be contributing to increases in ozone some places where development is on the rise. Stronger regulations on methane and VOC emissions from oil and natural gas production would be a win not only for the efforts to minimize climate change, but also for the health of our communities.
On Earth Day world leaders gathered to sign the Paris Climate Agreement, affirming international commitment to take the steps needed to ensure a livable, healthy planet. Here in northwestern New Mexico, the State of the Air Report is a wake-up call that strong local action is needed to protect the health of us all.
Valory Wangler, MD
Member of Physicians for Social Responsibility