Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

The Gauntlet

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Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert

letters, opinions, editorials

re: let’s keep sticking our heads in the sand and pretend everything is okay

Between mid-October and early November 2009, a section of Enchanted Hills Boulevard was resurfaced utilizing a process called micro-resurfacing. The cost to the Rio Rancho taxpayers: $185,104.04. Within three weeks of completion of the work, significant signs of failure of the new pavement began appearing. Now, less than four months after it was laid, this section of roadway is breaking up. Why is it in worse shape now than before it was resurfaced? This project was ill-conceived and improperly engineered. Had the city’s specifications required sealing the cracks and re-compaction of the base where there were obvious failures in the existing roadway, the current situation would not exist.

On November 5, 2009, Mr. James Jimenez, Rio Rancho City Manager, was made aware of this situation. His response: “We made a conscious decision to apply micro-resurfacing to that street knowing full well that it was going to be a short term, five- to seven-year, fix. Our intent was to improve the safety and drivability of that section of the road and that was accomplished…We will monitor Enchanted Hills Boulevard and make the appropriate repairs as needed.”

More repairs, at additional cost to the taxpayers? How is that protecting the public interest? As for the conscious decision, when asked if the city performed a cost-benefit analysis of this process over other options, some less costly, they responded no. On January 5, 2010, a letter was sent to Mr. Jimenez which not only detailed prior communications with him and the District 6 City Councilor on this issue, but also pointed out (a) why the new pavement was failing, and (b) despite what he and the Councilor wrote, that this work would not extend the life of that roadway five to seven years without significant repairs each year. In that letter, Mr. Jimenez was asked what action he was going to take to rectify this situation and ensure it didn’t happen again. He never replied. The media was also copied in hopes that they would investigate, but they haven’t. My guess is that they won’t, because they don’t want to rock the boat with this administration, unlike what they would do if this situation occurred in Albuquerque.

Do the taxpayers of Rio Rancho care that the city wasted a big chunk of their road bond money? Probably not. Why? Because they have become so used to bad government run by officials who are guilty of nonfeasance, malfeasance, and misfeasance that they consider this the norm. Will that change? Probably not, because residents are so disillusioned with the system that they don’t care. That is why bad and ineffective government continues to exist in Rio Rancho.

Can it change? Yes, but that means taxpayers need to step up, not just stand up and yell “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore,” but become involved in their government and, above all, vote. Will they, for their sake, that of their families, and our nation? I hope so, because it’s time we put ourselves back in our government.

—Harry Gordon, Rio Rancho

re: letter to Representative McCoy regarding ESCAFCA

I am very disappointed to read in the Signpost that you said there is nothing that can be done at the state level about ESCAFCA. Clearly, this is not true. ESCAFCA was created by the legislature, and anything created by the legislature can be modified or terminated by the legislature.

1,400 people in this very small area want you to do something about this outrageous increase in our taxes. This is a very significant percentage of our population. It is not enough to just throw up your hands and say the legislature cannot solve this legislatively created problem.

I request that you sponsor legislation to require the ESCAFCA board to create three sub-districts within the ESCAFCA territory, and to require the county commissioners to place a measure on the next ballot to exclude a sub-district from ESCAFCA if at least twenty percent of registered voters in that ECAFCA sub-district petition to have their sub-district excluded. If a majority of voters in a sub-district vote for exclusion, the county would then re-draw the ESCAFCA boundary.

Since ESCAFCA is comprised of Placitas, Algodones, and Bernalillo, the three sub-districts should be equally representative of those three communities. If a majority of Placitas voters, for example, vote to withdraw from ESCAFCA, they would still be responsible for their share of the $3 million in debt already issued, but would at least not be subject to further robbery at the hands of the ESCAFCA board.

This is not an unusual or unreasonable amendment to the ESCAFCA law, and there is precedent in New Mexico law for this type of territorial exclusion in other special districts that are created in statute.

Please let me know that you will give your constituents an opportunity to reduce their future property taxes in this way. It is only fair to give the voters in your district a voice in this matter by allowing them to opt out of ESCAFCA. If the majority of voters see value in what ESCAFCA proposes to do, and still want to be a part of ESCAFCA, a vote would signify this, would ensure ESCAFCA’s ongoing existence, and would reduce the legitimacy of the voter outrage. Conversely, if the voters don’t want to be taxed for a program for which they see little or no benefit, they should be given a voice and a vote.

—Lloyd F.

re: street names

I have a minor obsession with the games we humans play around the naming of people, places, and things. In my collection of names, you’ll find a tavern called the Wiggle Room, an obituary for Luke Jaywalker, a pole dancer whose stage name is Kitten Kaboodle, a conspiracy freak named Lou Minotti, a best-of vinyl album by trumpeter Al Hirt called “Great Horned Al,” and a breakfast cook named Chris P. Bacon. Someday you may find yourself driving a Ford Fiasco, a Cadillac Curmudgeon, or a Mitsubishi Spork.

In 2007, Chris and I visited Frank and Donna, who live in a vast new housing development south of Reno. We entered on Damonte Ranch. I drove, and after each of seven turns Chris read the next entry from Frank’s scrawled directions: “...right on Roaring Flume... left on Midnight Storm... right on Crooked Kitten. Crooked Kitten?”

Crooked Canyon.

These days there is a certain wacky madness involved in the naming of the streets in new housing developments. In a parallel universe, I drive, and with each turn Chris reads the next entry from the scrawled directions: “...right on Broken Spirit... left on Peeping Tom... right on Catchy Tune... left on Silly Putty... right on Folding Chair... left on Scented Candle... right on Withered Vine... left on Shattered Dreams.”

We the people of Sandoval County must work together to keep that certain wacky madness at bay. Please help keep our street names dignified.

—Greg Leichner, Placitas

Blessings Day really shares blessings 

—Nancy Hawks

Under the umbrella of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, San Antonio Mission, Las Placitas Presbyterian Church and the Sandoval County Sheriff’s department, one hundred families, from Placitas, Bernalillo, Algodones, Cuba and Santo Domingo received gifts of clothing, toys, and a Holiday dinner. This was our eighth Blessings Day, in which those who could shared their blessings with those in need. We started Blessings Day eight years ago sharing gifts with twenty-five families and have grown each year. Due to the economic times the number of families that were helped grew again.

The committee could not have accomplished this without the help given to us by many individuals and organizations. We appreciate the school nurses, counselors, and principals who worked with us on this endeavor.

We would like to publicly acknowledge our sincere and grateful thanks to our generous donors:  Elaine & Bernie Sullivan of B & E Home Repair, T Hall, Dave Harper of Placitas Realty and Marilyn Wilkerson, coordinator at La Puerta Real Estate. Many others: Curves, Family Dollar, and Quiznos in Bernalillo also donated to our Blessings Day. We especially would like to thank the generosity of the Jardineros de Placitas and members of Our Lady of Sorrows and San Antonio Mission, who again provided us with the turkeys. Mr. Joe Torres of T & T who helped us by providing and storing the turkeys that were needed. In the spirit of cooperation Casa Rosa Food Bank in Placitas and St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank helped us with non-perishable food. The children of Placitas Elementary School, Village Academy Charter School and Bernalillo Civitan Club also collected food for our families. For the first time we received lots of volunteers from the Bernalillo Civitan Club helped us wrap presents and collect food. Our Placitas Community Library donated books for our children.

We are so grateful for the parishioners of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church and San Antonio Mission, and many other people who generously bought outfits for our three hundred and thirty children and non-perishable food and turkeys for one hundred families.

The Rio Rancho Toy Run sponsored by the Italian American Club and Sandoval County Sheriff’s Department donated toys to us for the children. The Sheriff’s Community Service department has the monumental task of delivering all the gifts and food. They came on their own time to wrap and to deliver the toys and wrap the gifts.

Our one hundred families from the greater Sandoval County Area had a happier Christmas because of your generous donations of time and money and most of all your generous giving spirit. People in this area are so generous with their time, talents and treasure. This truly was a huge successful community effort. Thank you all, the Committee.

Homestead Village Portals

On December 2, 2009, a petition was presented to us requesting that three Native Americans who were selling under the portals be allowed to return. Since there were no addresses or telephone numbers included in the petition, we have no way to communicate our response except through this medium.

In 1994, when the shopping center was built, we decided to allow Placitas resident artists to display their wares at no charge to them under the following conditions:

   1) The products were to be made by the artists themselves.

   2) There were to be no dealers.

   3) Activities of the vendors were not to interfere with tenants and customers of the shopping center.

Later, upon request by vendors in the neighboring pueblos, we expanded our policy to include them under the same conditions.

Over the years vendors have taken advantage of that policy, but not without problems.

   1) Some vendors parked their vehicles in front of their tables interfering with tenant parking (ignoring frequent requests by us to move the vehicles).

   2) Vendors took free samples from the Merc and abused the restroom facilities.

   3) Vendors tried to set up in front of the ATM.

   4) The flea market is operated by the elementary school parents for the benefit of the arts program. The policy set by the flea market is that all vendors must pay a nominal fee to participate. All of the proceeds go to the arts program. The Native American vendors refused to comply with flea market policy and refused to pay fees on that date.

   5) Vendors complained about each other and complained that a Placitas artist had set up near them.

   6) Vendors insisted that they set up at a particular space notwithstanding requests by the tenants and us to move elsewhere. It seemed that we were called upon weekly to referee some dispute caused by the vendors’ activities.

All of these problems culminated when a tenant held a well-advertised event. The vendors got wind of this and seven of them showed up on the day of the event. They showed no regard for tenants or customers and blocked the normal flow of traffic.

After this fiasco, we decided that the cost of our generosity was just too much trouble and, with reluctance, set a policy that no artist, Placitas or otherwise, will be allowed to set up and sell their wares under the portals at no charge.

It seems that we are victims of the saying: “No good deed goes unpunished”.

   —Orville and Judy McCallister






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