The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


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The Gauntlet - Illustration ©Rudi Klimpert

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: Placitas Rock Thief

Be on the lookout for the Placitas Rock Thief! This thief or thieves removed several blocks in our brick border, then proceeded to steal a section of the rocks we’d hand-placed for aesthetics and erosion control. They replaced a section of the brick border (backwards!), so this was done knowing that it was private property. The suspects are driving a candy-apple-red, late model pickup truck.

Kayne LaTrans


    re: oral history of Placitas could begin at library

I would like to express my thanks to Tony Lucero, of the Las Huertas Land Grant. During a recent conversation at the dedication ceremony of the San Antonio Mission’s new wing , Tony called my attention to an article (“Traditional Procession … ,” May, 2005, The Sandoval Signpost) in which I mistakenly stated that eight families had joined with the Juan Gutierres family to establish the village of San Jose de las Huertas (the predecessor of today’s Placitas village). Tony advised that, in fact, twenty-one families, many of whose descendants are still an integral part of today’s community, had been the nucleus of the new village.

I greatly appreciate Tony’s comments. He has long been a source for me on the history of Placitas village and the greater Placitas area. His comments—and those of others who may read this letter—will continue to keep me eager to learn more about this community.

Eventually, it is hoped that this article might serve as the basis of an oral history program at the Placitas Community Library. Such a program, through personal interviews of residents of the greater Placitas area, would attempt to compile a comprehensive history of our community. Perhaps a “building survey” of the homes and structures in the village could be made to enhance our knowledge of what has happened here through the years.

The Placitas Community Library is making great strides in bringing a sense of place, a community gathering center for the diverse interests and talents of Placitas residents. “History of place” is a primary building block for understanding and appreciating the things we value.

If you would be interested in learning more about this Community Library project and perhaps participating as a researcher, interviewee, or interviewer, or in any other way, please visit the Placitas Community Library or call 867-3355 and leave a message for Don Clark or me. We’ll return your call as soon as possible.

Bob Gajkowski


    re: traffic signs on SR 165[

Copy of letter]

Tony S. Abbo, P.E.
NMDOT District 3 Traffic Engineer
PO Box 91750
Albuquerque, NM 87199-1750

Re: Recent Traffic Signing on SR-165

Dear Tony:

The newly installed traffic signs along SR-165 look really nice and provide the much-needed warning and guidance for motorists. However, there are a few irregularities that you ought to look into:

Approaching I-25 westbound, at the top of the hill, just prior to the old Speed Limit 45 sign, the pavement markings indicate that a Speed Limit 45 Ahead Warning sign was to be installed at that location. That installation would have been appropriate as the old Speed Limit 45 sign is not readily visible until one crests the hill. However, instead of installing the Speed Limit 45 Ahead warning sign at that location, the crew installed a new Speed Limit 45 sign at that point and located the Speed Limit 45 Ahead warning sign in advance of the new Speed Limit 45 sign. That application is contrary to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices because warning signs are to be installed to “call attention to … situations that might not be readily apparent to road users” (2C.01). The newly-installed Speed Limit 45 sign is readily apparent to motorists. I suggest that the new Speed Limit 45 sign be removed and the Speed Limit 45 Ahead warning sign be relocated to where the pavement marking indicates it was originally intended to be positioned.

Just east of these signs, facing eastbound traffic, an Intersection Warning sign is installed depicting three intersections in close succession. The intersection on the south (right) exists, but the two intersections on the north (left) do not exist. This sign ought to be replaced with a W2-2 sign.

The posted speed limit for eastbound traffic jumps to 50 mph opposite the old Speed Limit 45 sign facing westbound traffic and continues at 50 mph until approaching Placitas Village. The posted speed limit for westbound traffic was changed to 45 mph from Placitas Village to about Milepost 2.5, at which point it jumps to 50 mph until the top of the hill prior to reaching I-25. I believe these speed limits are inappropriately low and I request a speed limit study be undertaken to re-evaluate these limits. With the widening of SR-165 and the addition of more right-turn and left-turn lanes at intersections, an increase in the posted speed limit appears to be justified. The 85th Percentile speed along most of this highway is higher than the existing 45 and 50 mph speed limits.

Your investigation into these matters would be greatly appreciated.


—Robert L. Bleyl, Ph.D., P.E.
Traffic & Transportation Engineer, Fellow, ITE


    re: love letters from war

I am the wife of a U.S.Marine. While my husband was in Iraq, we wrote many love letters back and forth expressing the care, concern, joys, and heartaches associated with such a separation.

I know I will forever treasure these tangible expressions of love that helped get both of us through a difficult time, and now an idea has occurred to me. 

I would like to compile love letters from all the wars and put them into a book. I want everyone to be able to read about the love that is able to stretch across the oceans and continents and that has sustained and continues to sustain military families worldwide. If you, too, have written and/or received heartfelt expressions of love during combat deployments, please submit your letters to me. I am looking for the following: World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Letters from Heaven (letters that were sent before the writer passed away in war)

Story Specifications:

  1. It is preferred that all submissions are sent via the mail to: 144 Los Padres Dr., Oceanside, CA 92054.
  2. Please be sure to type the author's name, war fought, branch of military, date, and contact information on the first page.
  3. No anonymous or author unknown submissions, please.
  4. Please do not send the originals, for they will not be returned.
  5. Also include a bio—a short paragraph (of about fifty words or less) about the person who wrote the letter and your relationship to them.
  6. You will be notified by mail, and your permission to print will be requested. However, if your story is not chosen, you will not receive a notification.

Madalyn Sandstrom
Oceanside, CA
[daughter of Jake and Tania Lovato of Bernalillo]


    re: flag desecration

An open letter to Representative Wilson

We are greatly disappointed that by your vote today (6/21) on the so-called “flag desecration” amendment; you demonstrated that you value a symbol of freedom rather than freedom itself.

The First Amendment was not designed to protect speech that everyone wants to hear but rather unpopular speech. With only 118 reported instances of flag burning in the last ten years, I fail to see that this is some massive problem. I assume most of them were made in China anyway.

I am a veteran, and I swore an oath to defend the Constitution not a flag. And that includes the First Amendment. You swore that oath to become a military officer and again to become a member of Congress. I wish you had remembered that oath.

This was nothing but a cheap political diversion by the ethically challenged house leadership to divert attention from the massive problems and plummeting poll results this administration is facing now and a cheap and disgusting gambit to gain some campaign advantage for next years election.

The biggest desecration of the flag is using it as a cheap tool to inflame and divide the country. Please focus on freedom, not a symbol of freedom.

Roy and Jodie Streit


©Rudi Klimpert

And the governor then announced ...

Wally Gordon

Governor Bill Richardson today launched New Mexico’s historic effort to combat climate change. The Executive Order signed today mandates a thorough evaluation of ways to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sets aggressive reduction goals, and creates the New Mexico Climate Change Advisory Group with broad industry and environmental representation.

After his second round of talks this week with a top North Korean official, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson announced seven-party talks on limiting North Korean nuclear weapons would open in Santa Fe on July 1.

“Because the six-party talks, with the United States, North and South Korea, Japan, Russia and China, have gone nowhere, I am today launching this initiative,” Richardson announced. “Seven is clearly a bigger and better number than six, as any craps player knows.”

Richardson said he was optimistic New Mexico would be able to convince North Korea to stop developing nuclear weapons “if the Bush administration and China would cooperate.”

China later sent a message to Richardson saying, “We would be happy to join in your initiative.”

The Bush administration has not been heard from.

After the first meeting of his global warming committee, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson announced today he is sending New Mexico’s new jet plane in a “precedent-setting globe-girding overflight of the Arctic and Antarctic to determine what immediate action New Mexico should take to stop global warming.”

Asked if he thought the state of New Mexico could halt the warming of the entire globe, the governor replied, “We certainly can if the Bush administration will cooperate.”

The Bush administration has not been heard from.

After a Santa Fe meeting with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson announced that the new state jet would soon begin flying rescue missions to Darfur in western Sudan.

“As soon as the jet returns from measuring the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps,” the governor said, “New Mexico will begin doing what the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union have disgracefully failed to do, which is to save two million people from starvation.”

Asked what he would do if the government of Sudan failed to cooperate, Richardson replied sternly, “If Khartoum obstructs this humanitarian venture, they will have New Mexico to deal with.”

After an unprecedented joint meeting that he had called of OPEC, the World Bank, and the United Nations General Assembly, Gov. Bill Richardson announced New Mexico will chair a new consortium of petroleum users and producers to stabilize world oil prices.

“We in New Mexico drive further on a per capita basis than anybody in history has ever driven with the possible exception of World War II ambulance drivers, and we are one of the world’s leading producers of hydrocarbon fuels. Thus we are more aware of this problem and its complexities than anyone else,” Richardson noted.

“Consequently we are leading a new international effort to end the boom-and-bust cycle of world oil prices. Given our knowledge and experience, we have no doubt that New Mexico will succeed in rationalizing the use and production of the commodity that is most likely to trigger the great wars of the 21st century.”

“On the shoulders of New Mexico,” the governor sonorously intoned, “now rests the peace of the world. All we need to move forward is the cooperation of the Bush administration.”

The Bush administration has not been heard from.

As the United States moved haltingly toward war with Iran over its all-but-declared intent to develop nuclear weapons, Gov. Bill Richardson called a news conference in Santa Fe to announce to the assembled international press and diplomatic corps that he would follow an unaccustomedly quiet, behind-the-scenes approach to resolving this dangerous international crisis.

He said he would make no further announcements on the subject until the crisis was over. Observers noted that as he spoke the Israeli defense minister was standing on his right and the pilot of the New Mexico jet was standing on his left.

The governor added, “All we need to solve this problem is the cooperation of the Bush administration.”

The Bush administration has yet to be heard from.

After a catered dinner at the Governor’s Mansion in Santa Fe, Bill Richardson announced that former convict Martha Stewart had agreed to redecorate the mansion without charge.

“President John Kennedy had his ex con [Executive Committee of the National Security Council] to deal with the Cuban missile crisis,” Richardson joked, “and now I’ve got my ex con to deal with the Santa Fe decorating crisis.”

The only thing Stewart was asking in return, Richardson said, was the opportunity to do for the White House what she was doing in Santa Fe.

“All we need is the cooperation of the Bush administration,” the governor said, before adding ominously, “or I will take this matter into my own hands in January 2009.

The Bush administration has not been heard from.

This article was originally printed in The Independent (Vol 7, No. 24, June 15-21, 2005), a newspaper serving the East Mountains and Estancia Valley, New Mexico.


AG alerts New Mexicans to Internet “pharming” scams

On June 14 Attorney General Patricia Madrid cautioned New Mexico consumers who regularly use the Internet about “pharming,” a new technique identity thieves are using to steal personal information from online users.

Madrid said, “Most people have become aware of the dangers of ‘phishing,’ so-called because the scammer sends out an e-mail to ‘lure’ you into giving up your personal information. ‘Pharming,’ however,  is a potentially more dangerous and sinister technique scammers are using to collect your private information because of the transparency of the scam. Whereas a ‘phishing’ scam tries to trick the user, a ‘pharming’ scam tricks the computer. There are very few signs to indicate that you are visiting a ‘pharmed’ Web site. Because of this, it’s especially disconcerting for Internet users who regularly bank or maintain their credit card accounts online.”

In a “pharming” scam, the user is surreptitiously redirected from a legitimate Web site to a fraudulent Web site without his or her knowledge. The fraudulent Web site, sometimes called a “spoof site,” is often difficult to differentiate from the legitimate site. This is especially problematic in the case of fraudulent credit-card or bank sites, where users are asked to enter identification and password information. The fraudulently redirected Web site collects that information and allows the scammer access to a user’s account information and, potentially, to steal that person’s identity.

“The victim of a ‘pharming’ scam often has no idea that he or she has just visited a fraudulent Web site and has given private information to a con artist,” said Madrid. Consumers should pay close attention to the following indications while online:

  • If a site is truly “secure,” users should see a closed padlock icon in the corner of their Web browser. 
  • Click on the padlock icon. If the Web site is legitimate, it should display a “security certificate.” If it’s a phony Web site, the certificate will either not appear, or will be owned by an entity other than that of the Web site.
  • A legitimately secure Web site will also show “HTTPS” in the browser’s address window. If the address window simply shows “HTTP,” and the Web site claims it’s secure, it could indicate that the Web site has been redirected or “pharmed.”

Some “pharming” attacks happen because of a virus that is secretly downloaded onto a user’s computer. Attorney General Madrid recommends Internet users install and keep updated antivirus and anti-spyware software running on their computers. Users of high-speed DSL or cable Internet connections are especially vulnerable to this type of attack and should install a personal firewall to prevent any viruses from being surreptitiously installed.




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