The Sandoval Signpost

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The Gauntlet - Illustration ©Rudi Klimpert


    re: pro-civil liberties resolutions in Aztec, Taos

As elected officials in Aztec and Taos approved resolutions affirming and protecting the individual liberties of residents in their communities (both groups unanimously approved the resolutions), U.S. Representative Tom Udall, D-N.M., today hailed passage of the measures expressing concern about the USA PATRIOT (Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act, the post-September 11 law that dramatically extended new powers to the federal government. 

"With the passage of these resolutions, Aztec and Taos now join other communities in New Mexico and throughout the country reaffirming the U.S. Constitution," Udall said. "While well-intentioned, the Patriot Act gave the federal government too much power to target innocent Americans. Indeed, most of the authority in the law is not tied to anti-terrorism efforts. I commend the citizens in these communities who worked hard to pass these resolutions. The electorate will listen to a strong, grassroots effort."

The Aztec City Commission adopted a Resolution to Protect Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights. The resolution affirms Aztec's "strong support for fundamental constitutional rights and its opposition to federal measures that infringe on civil liberties.” Aztec's resolution also directs public libraries within Aztec to post notices warning patrons that under the Patriot Act, records and other materials borrowed from the library can be seized by federal authorities without notifying the patron that such an inquiry has taken place.

Library privacy has also been the concern of the Taos Town Council. Spearheaded by Taos library director Dorothy Kethler, the Taos resolution specifically endorses a Udall-cosponsored bill, the Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157). 

Currently, under the Patriot Act, the FBI has vastly expanded authority to search business records, including the records of bookstores and libraries. The FBI may request the records secretly, and it is not required to prove that there is "probable cause" to believe that the person whose records are being sought has committed a crime. In addition, the bookseller or librarian who receives an order is prohibited from revealing it to anyone except those whose help is needed to produce the records.

Resolutions similar to those in Aztec and Taos have been passed in 129 communities in twenty-five states, and there have been three statewide resolutions. Forty-one library associations, including the New Mexico Library Association, have expressed concern. The national book chains Borders and Barnes and Noble actively support the Freedom to Read bill. 

The Santa Fe City Council, the Socorro City Council, and the Rio Arriba County Commission have passed resolutions targeting the most egregious sections of the Patriot Act. A resolution passed overwhelmingly with strong bipartisan support in the New Mexico House of Representatives, although it failed to reach the New Mexico Senate floor in time for a vote before the end of the session in January.

President George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act into law on October 26, 2001. It contains sweeping provisions that expand the government's authority to plant wiretaps, enter homes, search computers, and carry out other covert surveillance. The act also permits the FBI to subpoena private customer records from libraries, bookstores, hospitals, and credit-card companies without suspicion of a crime.

The Office of Representative Tom Udall (D.)


    re: unlicensed pesticide sprayers

I just got a call from a home owner in Placitas. Apparently she hired someone to spray her trees for bark beetles. When she asked the person what pesticide he was using, he refused to say. He also had an unmarked vehicle. It is clear this fellow is operating illegally in New Mexico.

When you hire a pest-control person to apply pesticides on your property, they have to meet certain legal criteria. They have to be licensed and insured. Their license number has to be on their vehicle, as does the name of their company and their phone number. If their vehicles are unmarked, they are in violation of the New Mexico Pesticide Act.

Also, whenever someone applies pesticides on your property, they have to give you a service ticket that tells you what pesticide they used, how much they used, what the target pest was, and the EPA registration number of the pesticide used. Failure to list these items on a service ticket is also a violation of the New Mexico Pesticide Act.

If anyone comes to your home to spray for bugs and they don't have a marked vehicle and a license in their possession, then you should get their license plate number and their name, if they give it to you, and report them to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. The NMDA is listed in the blue pages under State Government.

Most pest-control operators are decent, hardworking folks who do a good job, but there are a few people like the person I referred to above, who not only give the entire industry a bad name, but may endanger you, your family, pets, and property because they are irresponsible. Keep in mind that pesticides are the real weapons of mass destruction and should only be used with extreme care by people thoroughly trained in their use. The misuse of pesticides by some nutcase trying to make a buck can do irreparable damage to your property and the environment. Do everyone a favor if you encounter these people and turn them in to get them off the street.

Richard "Bugman" Fagerlund, B.C.E.,
Environmental Services
University of New Mexico

The black ditch

Carl Hertel

Carl HertelWhen Maya Lin won the competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.,. her design was subjected to outrageous criticism by the predecessors of today’s neo-cons, led by Secretary of the Interior James Watt.

Lin, a young graduate student from Yale, was the target of such remarks as “[Her design] was a black gash of shame and sorrow.” Others derisively called it “the black ditch.” Some detractors invoked the term “gook,” referring to Lin’s Chinese heritage and claimed having a design by an Asian American was an insult to American veterans who died in an Asian war. Others railed against the use of black marble—finding the color black dishonorable, dirty, shameful, and even “racist.” Only after General George Price, an African American, testified before the commission that black was beautiful and had very profound connotations were the anti-black critics silenced.

In her book Boundaries, published in 2000, Lin details her experiences and thinking about the monument over the past two decades.

The fact that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has become one of the most widely acclaimed public monuments in America attests to the fact that Lin tapped into the deepest layers of human feeling and grief over the death of thousands in America’s most unpopular war.

For Lin, the shiny black marble reflecting the viewer’s image back through a veil of the inscribed names of the fifty-eight-thousand dead is a perfect vehicle for being present with the individual one mourns. The dead are identified by name and grouped by the year of their death in the jungles of Vietnam. One peers at, and often reaches out and touches, the name of the loved one through the transparency of the reflective black surface; one can imagine their presence on the “other side” of that deep reflective space that we the living aren’t able to enter.

Thus black is both presence here and now, and resonance of the eternal space that is death. The monument is extremely American, unique, individualistic, personal, and novel. Most important, as Lin explains, “[The design] is experiential and cathartic, made expressly for the veterans and survivors to participate in. It is not a memorial meant to be viewed passively as we might view a sculpture of a general sitting astride a rearing horse.”

Lin details why she did not politicize or take sides regarding the war in Vietnam in her design. She writes, “I wanted to create a memorial that everyone would be able to respond to, regardless of whether one thought our country should or should not have participated in the war.” Politicians and others attempted to politicize the memorial and either stop its being built or fundamentally change its design, but because of its beauty, inclusiveness, integrity, and ties to the earth, all these attempts failed.

Boundaries is a book about many other things besides the memorial—Lin’s father, her roots in middle America, the heart and soul of her work in art and architecture—work that demonstrates a remarkable simplicity and reverence for the earth and nature.

Lin’s latest project, which she calls “The Last Memorial,” centers around the “extinction of species.” More specifically, the extinction of species caused by the acts of one particular species: ourselves. This monument will have seven sites to measure what I will call environmental degradation. The sites range from Tibet, Antarctica, Yellowstone, and Africa to the ocean floor and the Amazon. They are all connected by a satellite link monitoring the planet which gives—as did the Vietnam Veterans Memorial—constant feedback and information to our being on this planet. Her goal is “[To] give us a better picture of the earth as a whole.”

Lin offers us many insights into ourselves, death, violence, war, and the catharsis of peace and reconciliation. Her design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982 says it all. Lin’s memorial grasps the profound political and personal contradictions of these perpetual wars aimed at providing perpetual peace. Such contradictions were summed up in the final line of the Hollywood Vietnam War film Platoon in which Charlie Sheen as Chris leaves the battlefield saying “We did not fight the enemy, we fought ourselves, and we were not the enemy.” To Lin, her “Black Ditch” was “an initial violence [by cutting into the earth] that heals in time but leaves a memory, like a scar.”

"Vietnam: Voices and Visions Unfiltered," a multi-component symposium, will take place from October 2004 through January 2005 at numerous venues on the University of New Mexico campus and thoughout Albuquerque. The purpose of this project is to stimulate discussion and provide insight regarding the realities of the Vietnam War and its effects on those involved. The symposium currently consists of fifteen componets, including combat art and letters-home exhibits, public panel discussions, a speakers series, public radio, and television programming, and the Wall That Heals Memorial.

For further information and procedures for NM veterans submitting letters, please contact Brian McKinsey, Project Director at 344-7383 or via email at

    re: thank you to all

Recently I spent three weeks in the University of New Mexico Hospital. One night at 3:00 a.m. I sat up and caught my reflection in the window. I looked like my father in the year before he died, emaciated, bony jawline, oxygen tube up my nostrils. Inside the hospital bubble, where clock hands move but time stands still, my emotions lived on the edge. I stared back at my father and the tears rolled.

I spent the first week in the intensive care unit. I was delirious, going in and out. My brother told me later that on the night of the cardiovert (“Clear!” Foom!), he thought it was all over. He felt a little better after I requested that my IV be filled with liquid lobster.

After I was released, my brother asked me if my near-death experience has made me stop and smell the roses. I told him that I have always stopped to smell the roses. I told him that what amazed and deepened me was the love and concern that came my way, a ton of it, from family, friends, doctors, nurses, and techs. I am humbled, I am thankful to all who stepped in and helped bring me back to life. I have always had a high regard for family and friends. Now I have extended that high regard to the staff at UNMH.

Once again, thank you.

Greg Leichner


    re: water well not “dried up”

Cedar Creek is located approximately two miles north and west of the village of Placitas. Unfortunately, in spite of the best efforts of many people in and around the greater Placitas area, local media seem to think that the entire area is one single municipality rather than a collection of communities. For water-systems issues each subdivision is independent, serving the local needs with its own community water system or with individual private wells. As the following information will demonstrate, several comments in the Albuquerque Tribune article of July 23, 2003, entitled “Dry Times in Placitas,” by Sue Vorenberg, were inaccurate as to both the history of the Cedar Creek water system and our current plans that are being executed to address water supply, distribution, consumption, and conservation.

The first, and to date only, well in Cedar Creek was placed in service by Cedar Creek, Inc. approximately fifteen years ago. Studies by CCI’s consultants and studies by consultants subsequently engaged by Cedar Creek Water Cooperative indicate that the aquifer in the area of Cedar Creek is robust and capable of providing for the sustained needs of the full build-out of sixty-two homes in the subdivision. The infrastructure consists of a refurbished pump rated at 9.5 gallons per minute, a twenty-nine-thousand-gallon storage tank, water treatment facilities, supply-and-demand metering, and distribution piping. The well is approximately 460 feet deep with a static water level currently at 350 feet.

We have found from experience, however, that after several years of operation, mineral deposition and sedimentation—normal for the hard water we harvest—begins to restrict the free flow of water from the surrounding aquifer into the well casing. When this natural phenomenon began to prevent the pump from meeting total community demand in 1999 and 2000, we experienced a series of short-term pump outages that were overcome through voluntary increases in customer conservation. To address the issue, CCWC rehabilitated the well to break up some of the mineral deposits and restore the pumping operation to rated output. CCWC members have reported that the pressure and taste of the water improved as a result of the rehabilitation.

During the process of replacing the old meter on the well, a backhoe digger inadvertently damaged our main supply line between the well and the storage tank on July 2 of this year. This delayed returning the pump to service (not causing the well to become “dried up” as reported by Vorenberg). During the first week in July, including July 4, we scheduled commercial water deliveries to replenish the storage tank during the times we were unable to pump water.

During the current challenges that began in late June, CCI and CCWC had accelerated the discussions begun in January of this year on short- and long-term plans to strengthen the water infrastructure owned by CCI. CCI quickly determined that an automated controller would be installed on the existing pump to allow intermittent operation, and that a new primary well of higher-rated capacity would be drilled as soon as a permit could be obtained from the State Engineer’s Office. In addition, CCI determined that the existing well would be rehabilitated again (not scrapped, as stated in the Vorenberg article) and would serve as a backup source of water during times the primary well would be shut down for maintenance.

We appreciate that the community has pulled together in dealing with this problem, and we would appreciate the media’s recognizing that good planning and cooperation between CCWC and CCI will result in a robust long-term plan that will meet the needs of our community in a cost-effective manner.


Rick Shumard
Board of Directors
Cedar Creek Water Cooperative


    re: Hike “Booby Trap” trail with care

Many of us enjoy hiking, biking, and horseback riding the Bernalillo Watershed and Strip Mine area trails in southwestern Placitas. The main trailhead off Highway 165 and those distributed along the forest road loop provide access to what are arguably some of the best outdoor recreational opportunities in suburban Albuquerque. Although many of the more established trails are simply inherited, poorly aligned cow tracks that either parallel fence lines or head straight upgrade and hence are prone to degradation from erosion, those trails are here to stay and we are happy to have them.

Supplemental to the old trails are smaller and more interesting trails that provide variety to users; Birkenstock, and Love Bug are two that come to mind. These supplemental trails, when sensibly aligned and routed to enhance the trail network, should be welcomed. There is one such trail that sprang up in the past year or two that may be unknown to many of you. I call it Booby Trap. It bridges a mile-long gap between the two primary trails that start low on the west and top out along the forest road near Piedra Lisa Trailhead. Those of you familiar with the watershed area know which trails I’m talking about. I have hiked and biked Booby Trap and seen others enjoying themselves along its course. However, in recent weeks, some misguided jerk has sabotaged Booby Trap by blocking the trail with boulders, stringing cables between trees, and stretching monofilament line (complete with fishhooks) across the trail. The cables and fishhooks are gone (for now). For those interested in checking out Booby Trap, look for hazards, and enjoy.


    re: why the Placitas Senior Center is important to me

As I age, I more and more appreciate the services offered by Janice and Marylou at the Placitas Senior Center.

Three mornings a week I attend an exercise class that combines stretching, balance, and strength building. Meals are served five days a week and are delivered to the homebound even during temporary illnesses. You can have your blood pressure checked on Tuesdays by Vangie, who is an LPN. Transportation is provided to people who don’t drive but wish to participate in activities.

I teach a painting and drawing class on Monday afternoons and there are also craft, ceramics, and Spanish classes. The center has potter’s wheels and a kiln and will begin potting classes this month which I plan to attend.

They also have the best decorated parties in town.

Elaine Slusher




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