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re: Bernalillo’s Historic District threatened once
On Monday, September 26, at 7:00 p.m., the Town Council of Bernalillo
will hear an appeal of the Planning and Zoning decision to approve
a high-density subdivision cutting through the heart of the Abenicio
Salazar Historic District.
The proposed thirty-three-home subdivision, Cottonwood Ranch, will
require a new road, a cul-de-sac, which will be the only access
onto Camino del Pueblo, in the middle of a culturally sensitive
area already substantially affected by heavy traffic. This new road
and the high-density subdivision will generate a daily trip count
of almost four hundred vehicles and will radically change the entire
feeling of this part of town, which serves many civic functions,
including the San Lorenzo Fiesta, the annual wine festival, weekly
farmers’ market, as well as numerous parades on Main Street.
We, the residents of the Abenicio Salazar Historic District, would
like to see a smaller-scale development that is sensitive to the
landscape, and to the Historic District, as well as something that
maintains the integrity and small-town feel of Bernalillo.
Kelly Moe, Bernalillo’s own Planning and Zoning Administrator,
submitted a viable and attractive alternative plan for the P&Z
Commission’s consideration. Moe’s plan allows for fewer
homes and less traffic, more open space, and the proposal to perhaps
use this once agricultural farmland for family gardens or even communal
gardening. Wallen Builders, however, has so far refused to consider
Moe’s context-sensitive plan, and has remained inflexible
despite all concerns expressed.
This is a quality-of-life issue for everyone who lives here or
who visits the various cultural events in the Town of Bernalillo.
It is ironic that the Town advertises its Historic District on billboards
as you enter and exit Bernalillo, but may allow this type of development
to encroach into the historic character of this town in such an
“The preservation of the historical and
cultural elements of the MainStreet corridor is in the interests
of all who live in Bernalillo and love this community. This heritage
defines who we are today and what we want our future to look like.”
—Bernalillo MainStreet Association, published in “Why
is a MainStreet Overlay District good for Bernalillo?”
—THE CONCERNED RESIDENTS OF BERNALILLO’S
ABENICIO SALAZAR HISTORIC DISTRICT
re: flood control in Bernalillo
Last October, there was a major rain event that flooded all the
homes in the lower area of Hill Road, as well as all along Avenida
The "pond" on the corner of Avenida Bernalillo and Charing
Cross was filled to capacity within twelve minutes of the rain event.
I called 911 when the water began flooding my neighbor two houses
east of my shop, and the police report shows twelve minute respond
time for the police. By the time the police arrived, the pond was
full and slamming into waves against my east "levee" wall.
It was not the pond that protected my property from the storm,
it was my self-built "levee.” The emergency vehicles
could not pull up to the home that was flooding, because the waters
were gushing like rivers into the homes in that area.
The ponds are only effective in a "normal" rain event.
In a major rain event as in last October, they are as effective
as a thimble. We now have twelve ponds east of and all along Hill
Road (most of these recently in place on MTC property development
and were in place in the rain event last October) and the lone pond
adjacent to my shop.
If the City has the money to buy twenty-three acres plus eleven
acres, the size of the two north properties on Hill Road that they
want to acquire by eminent domain, "condemning,"—they
want to acquire the parcels to add more ponds?—they surely
have the money to begin and finish a "levee" along the
west side of I-25.
This issue is major, and it could effect the lives of more than
twenty-five hundred homes in the impact area.
I am sending this info to target people in the media who can bring
the issue to light, before action by the Town is taken. The info
is falling on deaf ears in the town.
—CECILIA "KIKI" TRUJILLO
[Editor’s note: Bernalillo town administrator
Lester Swindle told the Signpost that he has records of ten public
meetings held in Bernalillo since 1948 to address this issue. The
Town hand-delivered notices to over four hundred affected residences
in order to receive suggestions. Swindle said, “Levees don’t
always work, as we have seen. Eminent domain would have to be invoked
to build a levee system. This problem did not develop overnight,
and it won’t be solved overnight. Engineers have determined
that ponds have a place in containing storm-water runoff. I’m
sure there are other worthy opinions.”]
Dear Mayor Kanin;
The article in the Saturday (9/10/05) Albuquerque Journal Westside
about the mosquitoes at the Corrales Recreation Center prompted
me to write.
I am disappointed that we allow mosquito spraying in Corrales.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has said that the spraying
of adulticides for mosquitoes is the least effective method of control.
The city of Corrales is doing a good job on all other aspects of
mosquito control but allowing the spraying of pesticides is counter-productive.
A study was done in New York several years ago where a mosquito-infested
swamp was routinely sprayed with pesticides on a regular basis.
A mosquito count was done at the beginning of the project and another
11 years later when it was finished. There were many more mosquitoes
after the spraying than there were before. The mosquitoes developed
a resistance to the pesticides, but all the other insects that feed
on mosquitoes, such as dragonflies, were killed. I believe that
this is what is happening at the recreational center. The mosquito
spraying is killing off all the natural predators of mosquitoes,
while they continue to thrive and threaten the visitors.
The pesticides used for mosquito control are synthetic pyrethroids.
Even though proponents of mosquito spraying will say they are “made
from flowers” and are perfectly safe, that is not the case.
These synthetic pyrethroids also contain a synergist, piperonyl
butoxide, which is a suspected carcinogen according to the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA).
Mosquito spraying is nothing more than a feel-good measure that
has no redeeming value. Many communities around the country have
outlawed the indiscriminate and ineffective spraying of pesticides
for mosquitoes as they have begun to realize that it will only exacerbate
the problem and not solve it.
The use of Gambusia mosquito fish, larvicides and public awareness
is all that is needed to make the community safe from mosquitoes.
The recreation center and all public areas can make non-DEET mosquito
repellents available for users if they wish. This would do a much
better job of protecting the public than having pesticide residuals
in the grass where children and pets will play.
Citronella and catnip based insect repellents are very effective
for short periods of time (about 2-3 hours) and are much safer than
DEET products, which are chemicals that can cause problems in some
I live in Corrales and I wear a catnip-based mosquito repellent
when I am in my yard and I never get bit. I keep standing water
out of the yard and my dogs are inoculated against heartworm and
our horse has received a West Nile virus vaccination. We are very
comfortable with the measures we take and we certainly don’t
need any insidious pesticides sprayed in our area that will threaten
or kill beneficial insects, birds or family pets.
Please reconsider the mosquito-spraying program. It is not effective
(as we have seen at the recreational center).
Taxpayer money can be put to better use.
—RICHARD “BUGMAN” FAGERLUND
Last night was my first time at a meeting of the Rio Rancho Board
I take exception to Dr. Sue Cleveland’s remarks, made at
the end of the public comment period. (Dr. Sue Cleveland is superintendent
of the Rio Rancho public school district.) As I heard them, she
drew or implied a distinction between “teaching” and
“discussion,” and said that Policy 401 does not require
teaching of “intelligent design.” Perhaps the district’s
attorney has suggested that Policy 401 be described in this way,
but the portrayal doesn’t withstand scrutiny.
Among all of the infinite varieties of communication embraced
within the term “teaching,” the actions of a teacher
to permit, lead, or moderate classroom discussion are certainly
Whenever a science teacher is engaged in the discussion method
of teaching, Policy 401 requires the teacher to belittle scientific
theories and data (and, inseparably, the scientific method) in deference
to individual religious and philosophical beliefs of students and
their parents. Such prescribed belittling is teaching; and its content
is “content,” in the sense that the word is used in
the New Mexico Science Content Standards, Benchmarks, and Performance
Standards. And such content will be religious content whenever it
is delivered in deference to religious beliefs.
Finally, such belittling of science and scientific data by a science
teacher will constitute the teaching of intelligent design whenever
it is delivered in deference to a student’s or a parent’s
belief in intelligent design. Moreover, it will constitute sectarian
religious teaching, since the belief in intelligent design is fundamentally
faith-based and promoted most particularly by elements of the Christian
What’s at stake in the evolution
—PEPPER TRAIL, WRITERS ON THE RANGE
On my desk is the fragment of a tooth from an ancient camel that
roamed the area around Fossil, Oregon, 40 million years ago. My
kids and I unearthed it on a summer camping trip, and today I found
myself fingering it as I read yet another story about the evolution
This controversy pits Darwin’s concept of evolution and
natural selection against "intelligent design," which
asserts that life is so complex that it must reflect a guiding intelligence.
Mindful that the teaching of creationism has been barred by the
courts, intelligent-design advocates are careful not to name the
designer, but their arguments postulate a creation that was perfect
and unchanging; in other words, divine.
Across the country and throughout the West, school boards are
struggling with this issue, often seeking incoherent "compromises"
that satisfy no one. They must certainly confuse students. In Utah,
for example, a conservative state senator recently withdrew his
plan to require instruction in "divine design," but only
after being assured by the state superintendent of public instruction
that human evolution would not be taught in Utah schools.
Meanwhile, in a recent sit-down with Texas journalists, President
Bush weighed in on the issue: "both sides ought to be properly
taught so people can understand what the debate is about."
Many may feel, well, fair enough. Give this intelligent design idea
equal time, or at least a fair hearing. What’s the problem
The problem is that there simply is no debate in the scientific
world about the validity of evolution. After a century and a half
of research, there is near-universal agreement among biologists
that Darwin’s principle of natural selection, coupled with
modern knowledge of genetics, explains the development and workings
of life on earth. This consensus is fundamental to modern medicine,
to genetics, to embryology, to the classification of plants and
animals, and to every other branch of biological science.
Everywhere we look, the living world shows evidence of both past
and continuing evolution, from the development of feathers on dinosaurs
and birds to the rapid spread of antibiotic resistance among bacteria.
In contrast, "intelligent design" makes no testable predictions,
and it is not supported by any data at all—certainly nothing
as tangible as my fossil camel tooth.
No, the debate over evolution is not really about a scientific
idea. It is just one part of a struggle over how Americans understand
the world. At issue is this: Will we continue to be a reality-based
society, or not?
Placing our understanding of reality in the hands of purveyors
of belief—whether they are political ideologues, religious
zealots or corporate spin doctors—would mean that we have
decided to believe what we choose, rather than rely on factual evidence.
Unless compelled by facts, people rarely choose to revise comfortable
assumptions or to make sacrifices. America’s conversion into
a belief-based society would mark the beginning of an inexorable
slide into delusional thinking. Some could argue that this process
is already well advanced.
Before the invasion of Iraq, neoconservative members of the Bush
administration disparaged "reality-based" diplomacy as
quaint and old-fashioned. An unnamed senior official was quoted
as stating: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create
our own reality."
The disastrous course of events in Iraq following our "victory"
there has proved the folly of allowing belief to preempt attention
to facts. Any society that believes it is immune to the basic workings
of cause and effect is doomed to decline.
Relying on science to understand reality and to predict consequences
does not diminish religion. For almost all people the world around,
religion fills existence with meaning and provides moral instruction
on how to live. Neither evolution, nor the fact that the Earth is
not the center of the universe, nor any other once "blasphemous"
finding of science, threatens religious faith.
Those who condemn science in the name of religion have a terrible
record, ranging from medieval Christian clerics who plunged Europe
into the Dark Ages, to contemporary Islamic extremists who reject
any conclusion that conflicts with their interpretation of the Koran.
How could the United States even contemplate surrendering our understanding
of the world to purveyors of belief? That surrender will have begun
if we allow a trumped-up debate between science and non-science—evolution
and intelligent design—a place in our education system. The
stakes could not be higher.
Pepper Trail is a contributor to Writers on the
Range, a service of High Country News (hcn.org).
He is a Ph.D. biologist who lives and writes in Ashland, Oregon.