The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

 
THE GAUNTLET

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letters, opinions, editorials

Stereogram, by Gary Priester

(above) Stereogram, by Gary Priester. Find the 3-D hidden image. Relax your eyes and look “through” the image, not focusing on the foreground. Let your brain work the magic.

Here is what the image will look like, except it will be colorized with the pattern

re: break-in attempts in Placitas

I just want to pass on a warning to fellow residents of Placitas that there have been at least two attempts to break into homes in the Placitas West area while residents were home. One was at 4:00 a.m. and the other at 2:00 p.m. Luckily, both times the doors were locked when the bold, would-be intruders tried to open them.

I’d like to believe that here in Placitas, we’re safe from these types of events, but, unfortunately, a little complacency could be dangerous.

Let’s watch out for each other and stay alert for suspicious activity to help keep Placitas safe.

—PLACITAS WEST RESIDENT (NAME WITHHELD)

Signpost cartoon, c. Rudi Klimpert

re: tailgating letter in August Signpost

From the tone of the tailgater’s letter, I’m not sure she knows the meaning of the word “courtesy.”

I’m in the same company who asked to please cease all tailgating on Highway 165. I would like to see all tailgating cease on all highways.

No one gets anywhere any faster by tailgating.

Tailgating is dangerous. It is also against the law. Does she know the law re: tailgating? One car length for each ten mph. What right does she have to put others in danger by tailgating?

She had better not tailgate me. If she doesn’t back off after I tap my brakes, she will find herself going slower and slower until she backs off.

I pay my road taxes and my car insurance, and I have my right to safety on the road.

—A., Placitas

 

re: pull over and let us pass!

To the drag-ass drivers who wrote to the Signpost (if drag-ass isn’t allowable, how about the gettin-where-we’re-goin’ challenged individuals or old women drivers?):

Between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m., are you going to have a rural, relaxed breakfast with Mildred or taking your cat to the vet, or do you have to be at work soon like all those people in that long line behind you?

Are you going a mile or two to have coffee at the Merc, or are you in the first mile or two of a thirty-mile commute like all those people behind you?

Between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m., are you on the last mile or two of a thirty-mile commute and really have to pee or just want to get home and relax, or are you on your rural way to have tea with Mildred?

Cruise control saves precious gas. Set yours at fifty mph on 165 and see how much gas you save having to kick it in and out of cruise for those rural sweeties who like to do 35-45 on 165! (Those writers don’t have to be anywhere anytime soon, so they can waste your gas!) You have to work; they don’t!

They’ve mentioned the Law—do you know that there’s a law on the books that says it’s unlawful to drive at such a speed as to impair the normal flow of traffic? If there’s a line of cars behind you, you’re violating this law!

Are law enforcement people servin’ and protectin,’ or are they revenue-collectin’ along 165? I’ve never seen them enforce the above law, have you?

Did you know that it’s not really worth their revenue-collectin’ time unless you’re doing ten or more over the limit? Folks who have to be somewhere know this and leverage it at five to six mph over—now you do, too, and should drive accordingly!

Emergency or not, many of us have to be at work or somewhere else thirty-plus miles away. So, yes, speed up or pull over so others can pass, dammit!

—BOB MARTIN, Placitas

re: characterized as the villain—the evil transplant who people love to hate

My letter to the Gauntlet [August 2007] regarding the motorist complaining about tailgaters and his dismay that “she learned nothing from the bird I flipped her” certainly provoked some melodramatic responses invoking the typical Placitas villains: ruthless realtors and, by inference of course, dastardly developers. I was characterized as the villain that all true Placitans love to hate—cue the screechy organ music—“The Transplant,” one of those evil people who moves here from the big city on the east or west coast, hell-bent on inflicting toxic Type A values on the peaceful Placitas “locals” by advocating tailgating and speeding. Wait. You forgot talking on a cell phone. I must also be talking on a cell phone in order to be properly vilified.

What I found most puzzling about the responses to my letter is that while I was castigated for my assertion that folks should drive the speed limit, only one respondent found bird-flipping and swearing at a “sixtyish woman” rude or offensive and one even stated, “flipping the bird is an option we’ll retain.” Also odd was that nowhere in my letter did I advocate tailgating or speeding but that is what the responders somehow read, perhaps because of the audacity of my observation that some drivers impede traffic by driving way under the speed limit. I stated that if a person has a repeated problem with tailgaters—something the letter writer indicated but something I personally haven’t encountered much on 165—then a safer and saner alternative to the erratic behavior of slowing down, speeding up, and flipping people off is to simply pull over and let them pass.

This radical assertion was somehow clear proof of my transplant status. Who else would be so inflamed by the suggestion to drive the speed limit or pull over and let others pass? Yeah, well, I’m not a “transplant”—Placitas lingo for somebody who moved here the day after they did. Just for the record, I’m second generation, born-in-New Mexico. I’ve lived here all my life.

However, since the Gauntlet letter-writers are intent on playing that judgmental, self-righteous game, Mas Placiteño Than Thou, I’ll see your thirty years and raise you another twenty-plus to 1956.

So, now that I can’t be vilified as a “transplant” who is “really unhappy with our rural lifestyle,” let’s refocus on the original Highway 165 traffic issue, where I had the impudence to suggest that there might be legitimate reasons to be in a hurry, besides being an over-caffeinated, always-in-a-hurry east or west coast transplant. Of course, these examples were riotously mocked as the ridiculous hypothetical fantasies of a self-important “transplant” and were even the subject of snarky cartoons. Actually, several of the emergency examples I cited were things I’ve had the misfortune to experience. But I’ll relate only the most recent one and how “locals” reacted: When my canine soul mate of twelve years suffered massive internal hemorrhaging and was bleeding to death in my arms, my boyfriend did use high beams and flashers (as one writer sarcastically suggested) as he was racing us to the emergency animal clinic. While one person did actually pull over, “locals” responded with indignation that an obvious “transplant”—who else could possibly be in such a hurry that they would use emergency flashers and high beams—could behave in such an arrogant manner. Taking this arrogance as a personal challenge to enforce official Placitas “slow lane” values, they sped up, edged over, and used other tactics to prevent him from passing.

A leading cause of accidents is faster vehicles overtaking slower vehicles. So, while you are within your oh-so-mellow right to drive under the speed limit on a two-lane highway, it’s just not very safe or courteous unless you’re the only car on the road.

Here’s my radical suggestion. When you’re driving, pay attention to the road, not the scenery. Drive friendly. Instead of flipping people off, wave. Drive the speed limit. And, if somebody comes up behind you at high speed with their brights on and flashers going, don’t judge them as arrogant “transplants” that must be obstructed from their haste in order to heal their harried lifestyle. Please, just pull over. They might actually have an emergency, and, believe it or not, you might have one someday, too, and will appreciate the same courtesy.

—SUSAN BLUMENTHAL, Placitas

re: ESCAFCA—back to the drawing board

BACKGROUND—The recent legislature created an Eastern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (ESCAFCA), and the Governor appointed five people to serve as an interim Board of Directors. In 2008, the people of Placitas, Algodones, and Bernalillo will vote (a) to authorize (or not) ESCAFCA’s continuance, (b) to approve (or not) a bond debt so ESCAFCA can tax residents, so as to build flood control projects and structures, and (c) to select a non-interim Board of Directors.

DRAFT DOCUMENT—The interim Board of Directors hired Bernalillo’s engineering contractor to develop and publish a Needs Assessment for the covered area. Some limited public input was obtained. The “Interim Preliminary” version of the Needs Assessment document has been made available for public inspection on the Town of Bernalillo website (fourteen pages plus appendices): http://www.TownOfBernalillo.org/ESCAFCA_interimPNA_Final.pdf. Also, the Town of Bernalillo receptionist in the Municipal Building has a paper review copy.

PUBLIC MEETINGS—Sometime in the next few days or maybe as much as weeks, the Board said ESCAFCA will be holding public meetings to obtain input on the Interim Preliminary Needs Assessment document. As of this writing (September 21), the final dates, times, and locations have not yet been announced. [See Signpost calendar, this issue, for meeting details: October 2, 3, and 4.]

MY PERSONAL EVALUATION—In my opinion, the Needs Assessment document needs lots of work. And I encourage the citizens of Placitas, Bernalillo, and Algodones to attend one of the sessions, and let the interim Board know how they see the situation. To me, the Section VI Proposed Program in the current version reads more like an engineering company sales catalog than a “needs assessment” for the specific area—proposing everything that could conceivably be done under the name of storm issues. To pare down the proposed actions to a reasonable size, two principles should be followed.

PRINCIPLE ONE, NO REDUNDANCY—First, ESCAFCA should not make the management mistake of splitting or duplicating responsibility for tasks between entities. All proposed actions that are Sandoval, Bernalillo, PNM, or Pipeline Company responsibility should be removed from the ESCAFCA document. ESCAFCA should not see a need and adopt a task and associated liability simply because it has to do with storm water, or because the proper responsible entity is seen not to be performing adequately. As an example, responsibility for adequate road drainage should be clearly left with the respective public works departments (Bernalillo and Sandoval). At most, ESCAFCA should encourage adequate local government behavior. Responsibility for any particular road drainage failure should be kept unambiguous, clearly linked to the appropriate road department.

PRINCIPLE TWO, SUBSTANCE ONLY—Second, ESCAFCA should put any remaining proposed action through a cost/benefit evaluation before calling it a “Need.” An action should be kept in the Needs document only if it rises to the level of being a bona fide problem/need, appropriate for ESCAFCA to address. The analysis should focus upon the probable level of cost and inconvenience to the public that a significant rainstorm might cause, as compared to the approximate costs and inconvenience to the public of building sufficient structures to properly address any potential storm.

RECOMMENDATION—Before the public is asked to vote to approve the continuance of ESCAFCA, to approve the incurring of debt, and to elect the new Directors, I would recommend that the ESCAFCA interim Board of Directors and its engineering contractor go back to the drawing board and take the steps necessary to implement the above two improvements to the Proposed Program in the Needs Assessment.

MANAGE YOUR TAXES—Again, I encourage all citizens to review the document and to attend one of the public input sessions. Whatever your opinion is, make your voice heard. This is your opportunity to guide how many of your tax dollars will be required, and how those tax dollars will be used.

Regards,
—BOB WESSELY, Placitas

re: Autumn signage

Dear Friends Back East:

Your recent letters include tenderhearted feelings for yet another autumn, including picturesque, Nat King Cole-like descriptions of the falling leaves drifting by your windows (“…the autumn leaves of red and gold”). And, yes, I agree that soon you’ll “… hear Old Winter’s song”—at least in the near term. Hopefully, the current condition of the Arctic ice pack doesn’t suggest a serious muffling of said melody in the future, but I strongly suspect it does.

We are experiencing comparable seasonal sensations, e.g. the daytime temperatures are finally regularly below ninety in our area, and our erudite Maine Coon Cat, Patrick, has decided to temper his shedding downwards to three moderate-sized skeins per day. And, to be sure, there are items drifting by our windows as well, but they are usually in the form of patio chair cushions caught up in the Placitas winds or a hummingbird with a damaged global positioning system.

Other signs of autumn in this area are to be found on menus. For example, in one of my favorite coffee joints, one can now purchase a pumpkin spice latte with apple, cranberry, nutmeg, cinnamon, and turkey-with-stuffing flavors in a mixture of coffee and apple cider, all covered in whipped cream. And, for a limited time, you can enjoy a mocha-butternut squash cappuccino. I love the place. Someday I’ll try a cup of their coffee.

Furthermore, my spouse and I have been invited once again to a Halloween party. You are, of course, familiar with the old fall custom of bobbing for apples. Here, we bob for cilantro—a ritual which greatly challenges my powers of adjustment, but I do my best.

We have yet to decide upon costumes. A local store contains quite a selection of pre-formed Halloween outfits, more of them now bearing the evil, rubberized faces of political figures than traditional skeletons, ghouls, and vampires. In fact, the political figure monster masks now include, for the first time in my memory, cabinet officials. I even noted the creepy faces of a couple of Deputy Undersecretaries.

But we prefer to use our own imaginations. My spouse, hoping to win the prize for the most frightening outfit, will dress as a Chinese import. I’m not sure what I’ll do, but suspect I’ll just go as a ruptured spleen.

Patrick would like to go—he’s very social and loves to dress up in his golden retriever outfit. But, he’s in the autumn of his life, tires easily, and has a badly damaged immune system. Hence, we will leave a stack of CDs playing (primarily Marty Robbins, Frankie Laine, and The Irish Tenors) and let him do what he does best—sleep, shed, stretch, and yawn.

Perhaps we’ll bring back some cilantro to accompany his favorite, evil-smelling Mixed Grill dinner.

So, let’s enjoy this season one moment at a time. Old Winter’s song will come—and go—soon enough. Thanks for your letters.

—YOUR FRIEND, HERB, Placitas, New Mexico

Thank you to the Signpost for your support in publishing the article on our health freedoms at risk last month.

Because the media has been silent about the motives and plans of our FDA to adopt the rules of the Codex Commission (which are devastating to natural nutrients and unadulterated, organically grown foods), informed citizens are writing the FDA, but unfortunately, our letters go unread and our emails are blocked as well. The fact is that the FDA doesn’t want to hear from the public about their plans, because they don’t care. Their goal is to become Codex-compliant, and they are racing against the time clock of 2009—the date that Codex will become adopted in this country. In order to do that, Congress has already passed Senate Bill 1082 and the House has passed Bill 2900—all very devastating to the DSHEA Act. (The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, passed in 1994, gave the public the right to choose any natural product or natural modality they wished.)

As a result of this continuing assault by both the Codex Commission and domestic forces which seek to undermine our access to natural health options, the public is left to spread the word and take action on their own. It’s the proverbial David and Goliath story—the little guys against the mega-funded giant Goliath industries (big Pharma and big Chema).

There are many Health Freedom forums out there who are working feverishly to educate the public. One is Natural Solutions Foundation, which is sponsoring Health Freedom Rallies throughout the nation. Ours will be in Albuquerque on October 24. Although we do not yet have a location, interested readers of the Signpost may tap into this website to get updated information: www.healthfreedomusa.org. The guest speakers are Rima Laibow, MD, and Major General (retired) Albert Stubblebine—a wonderfully intelligent and fully-informed couple from New York, who have gotten on the Health Freedom bandwagon, and are alerting the country as to what’s REALLY happening to our health care in Washington.

Again, many thanks—and see you at the Rally. And oh, yes—P.S.: Volunteers are needed!

—JUNE TREZZA, Placitas, 867-6842

 

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