An Open Letter to the Santa Fe New Mexican in response
to their June 16 editorial “Lannan credibility suffers self-injury“
Newspapers these days are strapped for cash and staff, but I hope the New Mexican will follow up this editorial with an in-depth examination of the Lannan Foundation: how it is funded, who sits on its board beside family members and family employees (lawyers, accountants, etc), its mission statement, and a comparison of the costs of running the foundation—staff, offices, travel, entertainment—versus the miserable 5% the IRS requires it to give to non-for-profits to retain its tax-free status. All this is public information.
Inherited money sometimes comes with inherited attitudes about class, gender and race; it would be interesting to know what percentage of the Lannan presenters are members of minorities, especially Native-Americans and Spanish speakers who do not come from Latin America; women; and writers who happen to live in New Mexico.
Private money comes with many prerogatives, but also with a moral, if not legal, responsibility to support all members of its community.
SANTA FE NM 87501
“Don’t take your kids to a war,” the gunner remarked after shooting down civilians, including two children, on a street in Iraq. “How cheerful,” a man in the audience remarked in the horrified silence that followed Sunday’s showing of The War You See (again, bravo to The Screen for giving us this opportunity).
These two remarks frame our difficulties, as a society, with taking responsibility for the violence all around us; as we came out of the movie, the sun was a fireball in the middle of a dense mass of smoke rising from our newest fire, twelve miles from the border of Los Alamos… An AP story this morning reveals the large number of people who live around our nuclear facilities; meanwhile, the nuclear waste stored in barrels on the mesas around Los Alamos remains as it was during the last fire, when warnings prompted no action on the part of the Labs or the Federal government. How much more is it going to take before we as a people decide to act?