The Sandoval Signpost

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letters, opinions, editorials

The Signpost welcomes letters of opinion to encourage dialog in the community. Letters are subject to editing for length, clarity, libel, and other considerations.

    re: trailer eyesore

We were all proud when the Spartans won the basketball tournament this spring, and probably noticed the "Go Spartans" trailer at the intersection of I-25 and 550. Since that time, however, the trailer has become a shambles and needs to be removed immediately. The image of Bernalillo, as we all know, is not stellar, and an eyesore like the trailer that I am referring to only enforces this image. Town leaders, please take care of this.

Mark Fodness


    re: animal friendly?

Yesterday I saw the Sandoval County Animal Control person going after someone's dog in San Francisco Hills. In order to do this he had to drive past the "This Is an Animal Friendly Village. Drive with Care" sign. This is a county sign and might as well say "Total Disregard of County Animal Control Ordinances Ahead, Drive with Care." How can the county "bless" certain areas, then take people’s animals if they aren't in the "Animal Friendly Village?”

Bob Martin


    re: meet force with force

I am more that a little surprised at the [sic] naivete of an article in the June Signpost (Up Front) [“County Line—Speaking our conscience about the Middle East”] by the chairman of the Sandoval County Commission concerning the war on terrorism, especially since he is Jewish. I suppose he has a comfort zone in the United States that perhaps those in Israel do not have, never having seen any of his friends or their children stricken by suicide bombers. 

He should know that there is absolutely no compromise with that small but deadly faction of the Islamic world that wants us and our way of life dead and destroyed. Additionally, and unfortunately, most of the rest of the Muslim world supports or at least does not condemn the work of these deadly and totally committed killers.

We have no choice but to meet force with force, but it will take time for us to adjust our military might to this new unconventional warfare. What is very good for this nation is that the evil resources of the enemy are being expended in Iraq and Afghanistan, and thus not in the USA. Further, thank goodness, our very fine professional forces are facing them there, rather than here. They, our troops, are really good and they will eventually gain the upper hand.

Finally, having been a thirty-year warrior who has experienced terrorism and evil around the world, I wish he had solicited the local populace to join the fight. The man and the woman on the street are truly a significant key in the defense against these evil terrorists. An alert populace knows what is right and what is wrong and can detect and detour those bent on destroying our way of life. Hopefully they will simply call the FBI or local law enforcement when something appears wrong!

It would be nice if we did not have to “blow up” those committed to killing us, but certainly the history of Israel should clearly demonstrate that there is no compromise, as Presidents Carter, Bush I, and Clinton unfortunately learned. Further, to think that the corrupt UN could help in any fashion is truly dreaming. When the “Oil for Food” investigation is finally finished, it will be clear that Germany and France illegally benefited significantly, not unlike some key members of the UN, from the fraud. Why we Americans can easily see or find fraud in the US but fail to find it in that great and wonderful UN and in countries we either saved or rebuilt, is beyond me  I would add that I lived in France for three years and this I can say, the French do not even like themselves and really do not like those who succeed —ask Lance Armstrong!

It is a very mean and evil world and we must realize that there are people who have been schooled since a very young age to hate us and want us destroyed. As in the past, the US will eventually win, but it will be a long and arduous battle. We need a united nation like we had in WW II, not petty uniformed sniping and discord. F.D.R. had national support and our President today needs the same because this is deadly serious business and truly maybe the ultimate threat to our way of life.

Barry Howard
Col. USAF (Ret.) WGFP


    re: outside lighting highlights architecture

Uncle Duffy misses the point entirely in his two tirades against night lights by not understanding that lighting both inside and out are part of the architecture of a building, a quality most lacking in 95 percent of the homes built in Placitas.

Almost all the homes built here are known in the trade as "Flintstones," or so-called adobes which are not historic but came about in 1910, less than one hundred years ago. Our version has one drive-up to a three-car garage, or worse, the fourth door, for the RV, leaving one to wonder where the front door is. A low wall probably indicates a  courtyard usually filled with nonnative plants as the way to the entry. The house itself is stuccoed with one of the ninety-seven approved shades of brown; woe be unto the architect who wants some differing hues. The house has all of eight to ten double-hung windows along with a "view" window that usually overlooks the neighbors' roofs or, worse yet, the gravel pit. Of course the natural slope of the lot has been leveled, giving neighbors a wonderful view of a cascade of earth on the back side. Not that any thought has been given to the rear facade; it is merely a storage area for white plastic chairs.

So let's not tell builders or landscapers, "heads up"; they are doing what their clients want: a house that is an architectural statement. As far as outside lighting is concerned, the last time I looked, light still went in a straight line; outdoor lighting is always low voltage and, when done correctly, highlights some feature of the building. It is not to be confused with Hollywood opening-night searchlights going straight up, but directed lighting that never goes higher than the parapets. (Far more annoying are the thousand-watt sensor lights that go off every time a rabbit hops by.)

A house is more than a home; it is a statement of the people who live there. Placitas already has too much of a cookie cutter look to it. Let's champion those few who want to make our community a more architecturally interesting place to live.

Jack Schwarz


    re: stealth pay raises for county officials

The recent revelation of stealth pay raises for Sandoval County manager Debbie Hays, county spokesman Gayland Bryant, and county attorney David Mathews appears to indicate an isolated episode of questionable behavior in the Sandoval County manager’s office.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that it is a pattern. About six years ago, the county manager received a 27 percent pay increase without any public notice until revealed by the Sandoval County Watchdog. Three years or so ago, Ms. Hays’s contract was placed in the consent agenda in an apparent attempt to avoid answering any questions about it. These episodes were well covered in the press.

This brings up a bigger problem that must be addressed by the people of Sandoval County. How long are we going to tolerate the stealth control of our county by county manager Debbie Hays? In my opinion, Ms. Hays was a purely political appointment, who, during her fourteen years in office, has garnered de facto control of the Sandoval County government. Those of us who watch Sandoval County government closely feel that major decisions are made by Ms. Hays and that the commissioners are dependent upon her to enact policy rather than the other way around. This, of course, makes a mockery of our democratic form of government since an un-elected, non-term-limitable employee appears to have more power than our elected officials.

In my opinion, it is not a coincidence that the county spokesman’s and the county attorney’s pay raises are connected to this incident, since they both essentially serve the county manager, not the commission, the other elected officials, or the people. To my knowledge Sandoval County is the only county in New Mexico to have a spokesman. Few people realize it, but the spokesman’s real job is to allow Ms. Hays to remain in relative obscurity while influencing events from behind the scene. Having seen five county attorneys come and go, it is my opinion that the county attorney acts for all practical purposes as Ms. Hays’s representative. Any attorney who does not understand this role is promptly terminated.

It is time for the county commissioners to replace Ms. Hays and return democratic control to the people of Sandoval County.

Charles Mellon

[Editor’s Note: Commission Chairman Damon Ely took the blame for the controversy over the Hays’ raise, but also said that all commissioners are obligated to read a proposed budget before voting on it (see page 10). When asked by the Signpost about Charles Mellon’s letter which also appeared in the Rio Rancho Observer, County Spokesman Gayland Bryant stated that Hays’s salary is comparable or less than other county managers. He said that other counties also have paid spokesmen.]


    re: e-voting machines

I have been attempting to get information out in the local press concerning the implementation of the new so-called e-voting machines.

I would like to inform the voters that there is no meaningful "independent from the machine" audit capability. So far the state director of elections, Denise Lamb, has refused to clarify how these machines comply with federal voting law. She has stated that "it is not my duty to interpret federal law." I find this to be a very interesting stance, as all voting equipment and counting practices in New Mexico are required to follow federal voting regulations.

I have requested an investigation of possible advocating her oath of office and ethics rules violations. Unfortunately, both Ms. Lamb and the ethics division reside within the secretary of state's office.

The Rio Rancho Observer has not seen fit to print my recent letter pointing out the serious flaws currently being introduced into our voting system.

Charles Arasim
Rio Rancho


    re: apostrophes

I'm not one of those grammar sticklers, and I know I certainly make my share of errors, but I can't take it anymore regarding the apostrophes.

Recently I've seen signs—and I mean huge signs—that show that people don't have a clue about how to use apostrophes anymore. And you should see some of the letters and e-mails that I receive as part of my monthly column in the Signpost Web site. They're loaded with grammatical errors, of which the most common is the incorrect use or nonuse of apostrophes. 

Folks, you don't need an apostrophe with every word that has an s in it. There's a hot-dog restaurant on Menaul that has a sign which proudly proclaims Hot Dog’s. Why? And, how about the Sonic in Bernalillo? Their banner, which was up for months, said "We're having an anniversary party and your invited."

Check out a new book from England called Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, by Lynne Truss, in which the plight of the poor apostrophe is discussed.

Your welcome (just kidding!).

Uncle Duffy




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