The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989

THE GAUNTLET

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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: free movie screenings

We were delighted when we saw a flyer announcing the free screening of Orwell Rolls in His Grave and Fahrenheit 9/11.

Most people have heard about Fahrenheit 9/11 because of the massive publicity, critical awards, and amazing box-office success. We’ve been wanting to see the Orwell movie since reading turnoffyourtv.com ‘s Ron Kaufman’s comment, Orwell Rolls in His Grave is a well-done film that presents the Orwellian notions of ‘doublespeak,’ ‘big brother’ and ‘the endless war’ in a contemporary context. Ironically, its message of corporate media control and the loss of free speech in America will never get any exposure." The previews that are available on the Web site were extremely compelling.

We appreciate the Signpost, which provides local news and a forum for diverse views. With the corporate-dominated media censoring, spinning, omitting, and distorting reality and failing to do their job of informing the citizens, it is also encouraging that film directors are willing to step up to the plate and present the other side.

We commend whoever is presenting the movies and look forward to fun and enlightening evenings. We hope to see many of our neighbors there who haven’t had the opportunity to see these movies yet.

Jerry and Janice Saxton
Placitas

    [Movie dates and times are as follows:

     Thursday, September 30, 6:30 p.m. “Orwell Rolls in His Grave”: Reminding us all that 1984 is not just a date. Avoid further electronic lobotimization! See the preview: www.orwellrollsover.com (Voter registration forms will be available)

    Tuesday, October 5, 6:30 p.m. “Fahrenheit 9/11”: Powerful! Controversial! Informative! Dittoheads welcome. (Sorry, too late to register to vote).

    Wednesday, October 13, 6:30 p.m. Greg Palast’s “Bush Family Fortunes”: Previews at: www.gregpalast.com/bff-dvd.htm

    Snacks/discussions Placitas Community Center. Info: www.politicalroy@yahoo.com,
    975-7777. Air America Radio is now live on 1350AM. ]

 

    re: Signpost rallies high

Dear Signpost,

Just read the September issue cover to cover last night, and found so many thoughtful articles. Again.

I was hell-bent on mailing you an extreme fan letter after the August issue, which was a very touching portrait of our wide Sandoval community—with tales of the Valdez's wedding anniversary, Moises and Donna Perea taking care of the fish at the old swimming hole, Bernalillo's two planned rail stops, your Time Off report, Carl Hertel's poignant last column, etc., etc.

But September's issue rallied high again. Mary Steuver's report on her job managing the burn areas in eastern Arizona, the High Country News article on other similar rural-urban areas of the west, Kristen Hertel's tribute, and the report of your-all's train trip to Chicago!

We made that trip in July of 2003, with nine-year-old daughter, fourteen-year-old niece, and our own over-the-shoulder padded cooler (always between my legs). I loved the pace and the landscape—relate totally to your story in words and pix! We found the state of our Albuquerque station to be appalling in comparison with all the other stations! Wish we could get the burned down depot cleaned up! (Of course wish we could have the Alvarado Hotel back from Urban renewal ....) You should have seen how many people had copies of Harry Potter last mid-July on the train ... we counted at least five, not including our two!

Great reporting, great vision, great keeping on!

Signed,
Extreme Fan
C. Snider-Bryan
La Alameda Press

 

    re: bicyclists on safer course

The repaving of a large section of Highway 165 makes it easier for automobiles and makes a very big improvement in bicycle safety. The shoulders (pavement to the right of the white line) of the region that is repaved were so rough that in most areas it was impossible to ride a bicycle anywhere except right on the white line.

Some drivers evidently took this as a challenge, as indicated by the fact that they sometimes came within one or two feet of the bicycle rider. Even more evident of an attitude, one day on talk radio I heard a caller complaining about those bicycle riders who "jealously guard the white line." Surprisingly, the vehicles that gave bicycles the least room and moved over the least have been the school buses.

Well, now most of that problem has been solved with the new repaving. This part of the road will have four-foot-wide bicycle lanes, making it safer for bicycles and easier for automobile drivers. Unfortunately, there is still a couple of hundred yards where the shoulders do not qualify for bicycle lanes because of their rough and pitted surface. This is the region south of Ranchos de Placitas, except for the first fifty feet or so, up to the rise where the road curves south before the S-curves start. Also, for about a hundred feet north of Ranchos, there still is no shoulder, so the bicycle has to ride on the white line. Moreover, the edge of the pavement drops off about four inches, making it necessary for a bicycle to stay well away from that. The highway department tells me that dirt will be built up to the edge of the road this winter to solve that.

But overall, the repaving makes a big improvement.

Most drivers are very careful of bicycles, moving several feet to the left when passing; however, some move over only a couple of feet and a few don't move over a bit. In spite of the new lanes, drivers should be aware that to be safe a car should allow at least six feet clearance from a bicycle. Should the rare tire blowout or encounter with a stone occur, a bicycle could fall over to the left.

As a personal observation, riding from Santa Fe to Missouri in a group of bicycle riders, we were all struck by the change in driver courtesy as we passed through Kansas. As opposed to Colorado and New Mexico, in Kansas we were amazed that without exception every vehicle that passed us (we were in single file) moved over to the opposite lane even though sometimes that meant that because of oncoming traffic they had to stop!

With the new bicycle lanes and reasonable driver awareness, both bicycle riders and drivers should be able to rest assured that one safety problem has been greatly improved.

Richard Moore
Placitas

 

    re: the Merc–use it or lose it

I noticed a departure from the Merc's usual ad in the back page of the September Signpost. The headline read "Please help support your local grocery store. Shop at the Merc." This headline suggests to me that the days of the Merc may be numbered. And if the Merc should close, Placitas will be the poorer for its loss.

The Merc is not a convenience store; it's a first-class market. And while their prices may be pennies higher than say, Raley's, the convenience of having fresh produce, fresh meat, a well-stocked deli, a wine section that is first class, and a full selection of grocery products—all a moment's drive away—more than compensates.

But unless we as a community support the Merc, we may lose it.

If you have never shopped at the Merc, or have not done so recently, I strongly urge you stop in and see how much this store has improved. And consider what a void it would leave in our community if it should close.

Gary W. Priester
Placitas

 

    re: human waste drying in the sun

Thank you for publishing “Stink Again” in the September Signpost. As your story stated, nearly two dozen Bernalillo residents attended a town council meeting on August 23 to voice their outrage about the offensive odor from the town's sewage treatment plant each spring. This was the largest turnout at a council meeting to address this problem since 2002.

Several residents, myself included, expressed anger and frustration that the problem has not gone away. Mayor Charles Aguilar and Town Manager Lester Swindell say they are aware of the problem but do not know where the estimated $8 to $10 million to make improvements will come from. How is it that the town allowed the problem to get to this critical stage?

Aguilar stated that other projects, such as the redesign of the entrance to City Hall were funding priorities, and other money is in short supply. He says other major problems on the horizon, such as the reduction of arsenic in community water, will compete for town dollars.

For the past several years, a dubious sign of spring is the ominous odor that drifts over the town as mounds of human waste are left out in the open to dry. The smell is upsetting to those of us a mile away, but is most disgusting to the hundreds of residents who live within a few blocks of the plant.

Many of these people live in mobile homes nearby and say they can't leave their windows open or go outside due to the sickening stench. Many of these residents are retired or elderly. Some have respiratory problems that are exasperated by the foul odor. Children at a nearby day-care center aren't allowed outdoors when the stink is at its worst.

Town officials say they await a report by a consulting firm, due in November, that will detail the scope of the repairs necessary and the cost estimate to make improvements. However, a suitable fix of any kind seems to be at least five years away.

On June 30, an Albuquerque Journal story, “Town Has a Fix for Stench” said Bernalillo had obtained a $500,000 loan that would be matched with more than $1 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to start to make improvements to the plant this fall. Now that funding and start date is questionable according Swindell.

This problem, as Dick Knipfing proclaimed in a KRQE TV news story, is like something from the Third World. People who are low income, who have health concerns, and can't sell their property have become victims of bad planning and poor development. Meanwhile Bernalillo continues to welcome new housing, businesses, and motels that will further impair the sewage infrastructure. Does this make any sense? It's time for town officials to get their heads out of the muck and get to work.

Greg Johnston
Bernalillo

 

    re: a positive view of Placitas County

The September Signpost contained a Man on the Street column that painted a negative picture of the idea of Placitas County. As a proponent of Placitas County, I would like to counter with a more positive view of Placitas County.

One person expressed a concern that creating a Placitas County would take money from the surrounding communities. I wonder if this person would be surprised that neither Corrales nor Rio Rancho pays property taxes in excess of their population percentage, and they seem to handle the guilt well. Only Placitas pays a disproportionate amount, specifically 15 percent of the county property taxes from only 6 percent of the people. Keeping this tax money in Placitas for the benefit of the people who live here would have no effect on schools since the school districts are separate entities from the county. On the issue of fire and sheriff protection, the removal of Placitas County would reduce some of the funding for unincorporated Sandoval County, which would require these areas to begin to pay their fair share of taxes instead of having us subsidize them.

 Another person states that creating Placitas County would be too expensive, the implication being that taxes would be raised. Our taxes are constantly raised by Sandoval County, so I share his concern about raising taxes. However, there is no need to raise taxes. Estimates of income to Placitas County are in excess of $3 million a year [and] will grow every year. These are not new sources of income. This is the amount of money that we already generate, but instead of using it in Placitas, we send it to the rest of the county. Does anyone really believe that Placitas receives anywhere near $3 million in services from Sandoval County?

One person rightly points out that Placitas County would have its own sheriff. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a sheriff, clerk, treasurer, and assessor that live in Placitas? People you might see and talk with at the post office or the Merc. How about having three commissioners from Placitas who would actually care about our community?

Another person states that Placitas County would increase the size of government. I just don’t understand this argument. We already live in an unincorporated county area. Under Placitas County we would continue to live in an unincorporated county area. The only difference is that it would be a local government. Placitas County would be totally separate from Sandoval County. There wouldn’t be any new level of government.

This same person thinks that Placitas County is “pro-developer.” I have not heard of a single developer that is for Placitas County. None of them want to go through a zoning commission comprised of people from Placitas. They are very comfortable with the current process in Sandoval County where they are rarely denied anything that they want.

Finally, the last person thinks that Placitas County is a silly idea. If Placitas County is a silly idea it does not come close to the silliness of people who believe that our community can be fairly and effectively represented by five part-time commissioners, four of whom we cannot even vote for, and all of whom live in other communities.

Charles Mellon
Placitas

 

    re: Murphy political agenda out of place at benefit concert

We attended the Labor Day benefit for the Placitas Library and Wild Horses of America. We were disgusted that Murphy used this benefit concert to push his fringe right-wing political views—religious rights, fundamentalism, NRA, Bush, anti-civil rights. Had we known what we know now we would have never attended this event.

We are assuming that the people who organized the event did not know of Murphy’s agenda, or they would not have booked him. The event itself (leading up to Murphy) was excellent). Everything was organized very well; the food and the service were excellent; and the money going to the library and Wild Horses of America was why we were there.

Dale and Debby Kruzic
Placitas

 

    re: Interjected political commentary

My wife and I, like dozens of other Placitas residents, attended the Michael Martin Murphy concert in Placitas on Labor Day. Unfortunately, Murphy continually interjected political commentary in between songs that I found to be personally offensive and inappropriate for a community event. In spite of his assertion that his statements were nonpartisan, they clearly were not. For example, he made derogatory remarks about the Democratic political candidate, promoted the NRA, and denounced the laws of this country that uphold separation of Church and State.

I am upset not so much because I disagree with his right wing ideology as I am by the fact that I paid to attend a concert that was billed as a community event supporting local causes. Instead I got Murphy’s political rantings. Clearly this was not the proper forum for politics.

As a side note, I contacted McCole’s Pub, who organized the event, and they very graciously refunded my ticket cost, which was then donated directly to the library. According to McCole’s owner, they had no prior knowledge of Murphy’s intentions and apologized for the offense that his remarks caused me and others.

Mike Schulz
Placitas

[Editor’s note: That’s Cowboy Logic.]

 

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