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letters, opinions, editorials
(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
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)
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
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.
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
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
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.
—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
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
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