By Tracy Dingmann
Here’s a quick nitpick on something I saw in the Aug. 21 edition of the Journal.
“Only 600 Allowed Into Town Hall,” reads the headline on a Metro & NM page story about Rep. Martin Heinrich’s health care town hall meeting that’s coming up Saturday at the University of New Mexico Continuing Education building.
“Only” 600? That’s an odd slant to put in a headline, considering that most town halls in New Mexico in the past have typically drawn anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred people.
Of course, this town hall is about health care, an issue that has galvanized Americans in other town halls across the country these last few weeks. So there is certain to be a sharply increased demand for access.
But Heinrich secured a capacious venue for this town hall – with room for 600, plus an overflow room with closed-circuit television access to the meeting for another 300.
A cursory check of the Journal archives shows that Heather Wilson, who preceded Heinrich in the congressional seat, favored much smaller venues for her town halls in Albuquerque. According to Journal stories, past Wilson town halls were held at Palo Duro Senior Center, the Barelas Multi-Service Center and the West Mesa Performing Arts Center.
It seems to me that this headline, which implies that access to Saturday’s town hall is somehow meager or inadequate, is not fair to Rep. Heinrich.