Letters: Readers weigh in on issues of the day

Farmington Daily Times
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College fails to support aspiring students


I am writing about President Pendergrass and the board of directors of SJC's failure to open the medical laboratory technology science 120 class for enrollment of students who want to pursue a career in medical lab technology. From talking with the director of the MLTS program, I know that there are nine or ten students who have expressed a desire to get into the program, but cannot because the college has not opened MLTS 120, which is the first class that teaches the basic lab skills for the job.

I think it is shameful that SJC is trying to close a program not by official action, but by just refusing to offer a required class. I know from the reactions of the lab managers of  the hospitals in Farmington, Durango, and Cortez that lab techs are in high demand in the Four Corners region because it is difficult to recruit for jobs from outside the area. There are people right here who want to train for these jobs. Why not offer the training? I recognize that the class is expensive to run, but it is a specialty in which almost all of the people who finish the training get jobs.

I am extremely frustrated that the college could be fulfilling its mandate to provide an education that will improve students'  lives by preparing them for employment, but is failing to do so. President Pendergrass and the board's actions are a sneaky way to get rid of an expensive, but effective program without drawing attention to their underhanded methods. The only thing that might stop them is an outcry of public dissent with their decisions or lack thereof. Citizens of Farmington, Durango and Cortez why are you not caring that the powers that be at the college work this way? Do you believe that what you think does not matter? Or don't you care?

I ask that the students who want to get into the MLTS program and their families contact President Pendergrass, Dr. Ake, and the board to demand that the MLTS 120 class be opened for enrollment for fall 2016. Call all these people OFTEN and express your desire to have the class opened. Get involved! Make some noise! Advocate for yourself! No one else is going to do it for you!

Deborah Barnhart


D.C. doesn't understand New Mexico's struggles


Speaking at a July 25 business luncheon in Albuquerque, former U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said building consensus is the best way to govern. But Mr. Salazar neglected to mention that as Interior Secretary, his unilateral actions to close New Mexico’s public lands to the public decimated our state’s rural communities.

His actions, on top of President Barack Obama’s rule-by-fiat Environmental Protection Agency regulations, have hurt tens of thousands of rural New Mexicans who earn income from public lands through work such as chopping firewood, leading wildlife tours, and extracting natural resources.

Far from “Let’s collaborate on solutions,” Mr. Salazar’s and the entire Obama Administration’s approach to New Mexico has been dismissive and condescending. This stance continues with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who proposed spending $30 billion to help coal mining communities that she admits have been disproportionately hurt by EPA regulations intended to eliminate coal mining and coal miners.

Their stance is, “Don’t worry, New Mexico. We’ll take away your jobs and dignity of working, and we will come visit you on vacation.”

This is what compromise looks like. A state with fewer voters and weaker voice gets run over by a federal government pushing an agenda. Meanwhile, 4 of 5 members of our congressional delegation were active participants in – and actually celebrated – the closing of our public lands. They comply with the president instead of caring for the people they represent.

If you want a future with oil workers making beds in hotel rooms for minimum wage, keep voting these folks into office.

Mick Rich


The Navajo Nation needs an Amber Alert system


The Navajo Nation is finally moving forward and filling critical public safety positions, such as the recent announcement of the hiring of Phillip Francisco as the new chief of police. Congratulations to the Navajo Nation Police Department!

The new Navajo Nation police chief discusses his priorities in an interview (in The Daily Times, July 23). One of his priorities is to establish a tribal Amber Alert system on the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Police department has been in operation since 1872, why isn’t there a system already in place? Is it due to the lacking of resources and funding? My guess is there may not be enough resource and funding due to the long vacancy, since 2008, for the chief of police position. (Editor's note: The Daily Times wrote a story about money that has been allocated for a Navajo Nation amber alert system  on May 7.)

Federal assistances are available to help with establishing an Amber Alert system. President Barack Obama, signed the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 into law on July 29, 2010. The purpose of the Act is to ensure that justice, safety, resources, education, prevention and treatment is provided in Indian Country. Navajo Nation Public Safety and Police department needs to take the Act into consideration to help establish and start the operation of an Amber Alert system.

In recent events, the kidnapping and murder of the young Navajo girl could have possibly been averted if a tribal Amber Alert system was in place.

A completely established tribal Amber Alert will not only save lives but is progress toward a healthier and brighter future for the Navajo Nation.

Melinda Frank, public health professional