The Sandoval Signpost

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The Gauntlet

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The Gauntlet


re: U.S. military stand-down?

Dear Signpost:

Assume that a majority of nations, acting formally through a United Nations resolution and informally through public pronouncements, continue their objections to war in Iraq and warn the United States not to take unilateral military action. They argue that a UN resolution has the force of international law, and that otherwise, the formal resistance of a majority of nations is an exercise in international democracy.

Then assume that Bush ignores these objections and proceeds unilaterally, or with Britain, to attack Iraq and depose Hussein, exercising for the first time, contrary to established policy, a preemptive military strike. The immediate effects: inevitable dead (soldiers and countless Iraqi citizens) numbering in tens to hundreds of thousands; possible retaliatory use of weapons of mass destruction; damage to our weak economy resulting from a major war and a subsequent occupation of unknown duration; further political and economic destabilization in the Middle East; increased terrorism against our country and our allies; the environmental destruction of a nation the size of California; and irreparable damage to long-term alliances with many important countries.

Even in the face of these grave effects, other important consequences follow. Unilateral war on the other side of the globe, in defiance of almost universal condemnation, will suggest that the United States does not stand for freedom or democracy or the rule of law, but for the unleashing of absolute power for questionable ends. Instead of upholding our founding principles, the United States will have chosen power over principle.

On the other hand, what if Bush, while vehemently protesting that war is justified and appropriate, accedes to international demands and orders our military to stand down. Expressly or by implication, this action would demonstrate obedience to international law and deference to international opinion. The negative: an aging dictator in a pariah nation continues to abuse his people. The positives: no death, no endless occupation or further destabilization, no demonstration of disregard for the rest of the world. Rather, the most powerful nation on earth playing by the rules, honoring its promise of a better world, demonstrating freedom, fairness, and democracy, as well as respect for the opinions of our allies and enemies alike. Even Saddam would have trouble spinning this one against us.

We are at a crossroads, and the world is watching.

Michael Allison



It’s Not the Way of Jesus

    The President has told us,

    That Jesus changed his heart,

    But if he’s really read the Bible,

    It seems he’s missed one part.


    I know he’ll hate to hear it,

    Because it’s a bitter pill,

    But the Bible’s fifth commandment is,



    That’s not too hard to understand,

    It seems to be quite clear

    It’s not the fifth suggestion

    What part don’t you hear?


    You call yourself a Christian,

    I guess that might be true,

    But I’ve got a couple of questions,

    That I’d like to pose to you.


    If Jesus is your master,

    And really is your Lord,

    It seems that you should listen up,

    And hear his peaceful words:

    “Whatever you do to whatever has life,

    you do unto Me,” said the Lord.


    It’s right to live in love and peace,

    And it’s time to sheath the sword.

    But our main business is peddling arms,

    Their only purpose to kill,

    Many of us are filled with disgust,

    As more blood we’re planning to spill.


    “Whatever you sow, so shall you reap.”

    If that’s really true, we’re in trouble, and deep.

    The interplay of cause and effect,

    Is just a theory that gets no respect.

    And whatever happened to the Golden Rule?

    Now it’s “Do unto others, before they do it to you.”


    So don’t talk to us of Jesus, “The Prince of Peace”,

    Don’t talk to us of Jesus, as our bomb bay doors release

    Their terror in the night sky, and little children scream,

    “The Americans are killing us!”

    Their nightmare’s not a dream.


    And my guess is Jesus is crying new tears,

    His bleeding heart breaking, as the warmongers cheer,

    “To War, To War, We’re spoiling to fight,

    We’ll send our sons and daughters

    Let Iraq feel our might!”


    The chicken hawks will stay home, and they’ll run the show,

    Their friends and their families won’t have to go

    We’re so good at killing, it’s what we do best,

    “War times are good times,” say the merchants of death.


    As we get ready to bomb Iraq,

    In the name of the red, white, and blue,

    Just ask yourself the question,

    "What would Jesus do?”

Rick Burnley
February 2003


re: gate to the Open Space

I just wanted to say a big “Thank you” to the person or people who organized the gate to the Open Space for those approaching it via Sundance Mesa. For a period, we had to climb over or through it and now we are very happy walkers again! Once again “Thank you”

—From a couple of very happy hikers from Sundance Mesa, Placitas


re: "Placitas water-use evaluation" article in February 2003 Eco-Beat

UNM graduate student Andrew Sweetman's 2001 work was mentioned as a major resource for the information contained in this article. Andrew is now the wellhead protection specialist at New Mexico Rural Water Association. NMRWA, an Albuquerque-based nonprofit organization, employs a team of dedicated professionals working to serve small water systems throughout our state. We're proud to have Andrew on our staff and pleased that he was recognized in your article.

Gene Sikora
Administrative Assistant
New Mexico Rural Water Association (NMRWA)


re: new subdivision name

An Open Letter to Tom Ashe and Steve Gudelj:

What's in a name? With all due respect to William Shakespeare, often a great deal—sometimes even a bit too much. That's why we here in Placitas Trails usually refer to our subdivision simply as “Trails,” as I'm sure Tom Ashe often refers to his simply as “Ranchos.”

Your newest venture is currently named Anasazi Trails, with the result that "Trails" no longer uniquely identifies our older subdivision. Your original name for the new subdivision was Anasazi Hills—a perfectly good name, offering no confusion with any other in the area.

Why the change? As developers, you create subdivisions—and only subdivisions. The people who live in the subdivision then create a community, a community that takes on a character and builds a reputation—in the case of Placitas Trails, a character and reputation of the finest [quality].

Lacking any evidence to the contrary, one might be led to believe that by using "Trails" in your new name you are attempting to trade on, and thus profit from, something that you did not create. I base this on the comments—all of them negative—voiced by several of my neighbors here in (the original) Trails regarding your name change.

If you truly do not care about the goodwill of your neighbors here in Placitas, you will undoubtedly ignore this letter. However, if the former good-neighborly atmosphere of the area means as much to you as it does to so many of us, you will reinstate the original name of Anasazi Hills for your new venture.


Barry Gordon
Placitas Trails


re: getting Placitas Open Space into compliance


[To:] Mr.and Mrs. Alan Friedman
15 Calle Corvo
Placitas, NM 87043

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Friedman:

Senator Bingaman, in his letter dated January 16, 2003, has requested that I respond to your letter of November 21, 2002, regarding the Recreation and Public Purpose (R&PP) Act patent that the City of Albuquerque holds for the Placitas Open Space.

It might be helpful to provide you with some information pertaining to the R&PP Act. A patent is a conveyance document similar to a deed. Under this Act, government entities may acquire parcels of land for recreational purposes at no charge to the government entity. However, the patentee, in this case the City of Albuquerque, must comply with patent provisions (43 CFR 2741.9) and continue to seek the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) approval for any deviation from the original development plan, any change of use, or any attempt to transfer title to another entity. The patent also contains a reversionary clause, which returns title to the United States if the tract is used for purposes not provided for in the patent and not allowable under the Act. Therefore, due to the patent provisions and restrictions, the BLM maintains a long-term compliance role for all R&PP patents.

Recently, the BLM's Albuquerque Field Office completed reviews on all 30 R&PP patents and leases located within its resource area. Periodically, the BLM reviews areas leased or patented under the Act to ensure continued compliance with the terms of the lease or patent. During this review, each land parcel was inventoried, its boundaries validated, and the land inspected in regard to whether it remained in compliance with their Management Plan of Development.

In the case of the 560-acre Placitas Open Space, it is my understanding that the original development plan was for the most part never implemented. Although it is technically out of compliance, it has been used for recreational purposes. However, recognizing the effort that went into the Placitas Open Space planning effort, documented in the February 2002 document, I have directed the Albuquerque Field Office to work with the City of Albuquerque to resolve any issues with the intent to get this patent into compliance.

Thank you for your interest in this matter. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Edwin Singleton, Albuquerque Field Office Manager, at (505) 761-8951.


—For Linda S.C. Rundell
State Director
Bureau of Land Management


re: don’t poison bark-beetles

Having read Paul Stamm’s “Bark Beetle Update,” and having researched the subject in depth beginning nearly one year ago, I feel it necessary to clarify some points he has made.

County extension agents, state foresters, U.S. Forest Service employees, and employees of the USDA Land Grant College, NMSU, and others are the so-called “experts” cited by Paul and most others. They all advocate thinning trees and killing the bugs with pesticides.

Frankly, I’m fed up with their Neanderthal mentality. I even had a parks and recreation manager tell me face-to-face that he could increase the effectiveness of carbaryl by mixing it with diesel fuel. I queried him as to what that might do to the combustibility of trees. This was a town that had experienced a major wildfire two years prior that started as a prescribed burn by public employees. Un-freakinbelievable!

So I pose the question, Why should we trust these experts and their opinions? I for one, do not! My research on carbaryl is that it is highly mutagenic and carcinogenic and has high organ toxicity. While the public employees are telling us how safe carbaryl is they certainly don’t reference the pesticide information profile produced in 1993 by their own.

EXTOXNET (Extension Toxicolgy Network) a cooperative of Cornell University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, and the University of California, Davis, states the danger of mixing carbaryl with nitrites. Nitrites can be found in food additives and human saliva. The study goes on to describe how ingestion can affect human lungs, kidneys, liver function, the nervous system, and the immune system in animals and insects. It controls over a hundred species of insects, including killing honeybees. It has a half-life in the air of one to four months (all of this is within the profile or from many other sources). It has been listed in the United Kingdom as a known human carcinogen.

The pesticide alternative Astro has a similar set of problems. Neither product does anything to promote the health of the tree. They treat the symptoms, not the causes. Spraying poison all over the forest or your backyard is not the answer. If a tree’s natural defense against the pest is sap ooze, then why is it so difficult to believe that if we can increase sap flow, we won’t have a beetle problem?

Watering your trees is the most important thing that one can do. Vita Planta also increases hydration and sap flow. If your trees aren’t stressed, they do not become targets, period! Healthy trees and plants can resist pest and disease on their own! One needs to water well beyond the drip line on established trees. A mature piñon’s root mass can be up to twenty-five feet from the trunk. Beetles fly up to three miles and they are literally everywhere throughout the West, the Midwest, and the East in one form or another. Twenty-one million acres are affected, and the number is growing daily. There is nowhere to hide.

However, we do not have to abandon our own common sense during a disaster, as the government is urging us to do now. We can use nature to battle nature. Should we trust the so-called experts? Answer this question: When you have a tax question, do you call your accountant or do you call the IRS?

Peter C. Benjamin




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