Sexual harassment crosses party lines | Letters To Editor

Two points in response to Milan Simonich’s column (“A rush to judgment in sexual harassment case,” Ringside Seat, May 11): First, I agree with Mr. Simonich that the state Legislature’s investigation of the charges against state Rep. Carl Trujillo should proceed. But Mr. Simonich should acknowledge that this is more than a “he said, she said” situation, as several people support Laura Bonar’s account. Until very recently, women who were harassed and came forward were summarily dismissed. Their allegations were never investigated. Many times their careers were ruined. For Laura Bonar to speak up is a brave act. When multiple people corroborate a woman’s accusations, there is strong reason to take those accusations seriously. Second, sexual harassment comes from across the political spectrum, left and right, Democratic, and Republican. Just because one likes an elected official’s politics doesn’t mean he or she is incapable of harassment.

As Santa Fe County attorney, District Court Judge Greg Shaffer demonstrated that he has the necessary bandwidth and empathy to be a judge. The county faces a multiple array of issues, ranging from water law, elections, employment and labor, land use, tort and civil rights litigation, and open government laws, to name a few. Greg showed that he could pivot from one issue to the next, quickly mastering the law and facts of each.

Regardless of whether it is a front-page issue, each county issue is critically important to the people touched by it. Greg always understood that, and treated the issue at hand as the most important one at the time. As Greg says, there are no small cases; only impatient judges. We need judges who get the importance of each case and master them all. That is why I support Greg Shaffer for First Judicial District Court Judge, Division 2, in the Democratic primary.

Intelligent and experienced

Recently, I met a wonderful woman who is a Santa Fe Magistrate Court Judge, Donna Bevacqua-Young. She is running for the position of First Judicial District Court Judge, Division 2 in the Democratic primary. I found her to be friendly, open, intelligent and confident. She answered all questions with experience and an understanding of her constituency. I think this is someone we need on our District Court.

The Public Education Department’s proposal to grade teacher prep programs is an ill-fated venture, to put it kindly. The rushed deadline for rule-making circumvents the legislative process while omitting educational stakeholders, which smacks of a power-grab. Both the failed PARCC and Common Core Standards are being abandoned across the country — only 7 states still use PARCC, and even Bill Gates admits Common Core was a failed experiment. But PED insists on continuing to use these as measures of accountability for our schools and teachers.

Since 1998, New Mexico National Assessment of Educational Progress scores remain stagnant, yet another indicator reforms haven’t worked. And now, PED wants to align teacher prep with ineffective approaches? How absurd. Test results can be predicted based on socio-economic status, which PED refuses to acknowledge, let alone address. The so-called failure in education lies with the PED and its failed reform approaches, not with higher ed or our elementary and secondary schools.

Priscilla Shannon-Gutiérrez