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letters, opinions, editorials
Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association general meeting—October 15
—The Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association
The Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association (ES-CA) is a nonprofit association open to all residents and property owners in the part of Sandoval County east of I-25. This includes all of Placitas, the portion of Algodones east of I-25, and the portion of the East Mountains in Sandoval County. ES-CA’s role is to be a watchdog organization that monitors and takes action on events in county and state government that affect those who live and own property in the community. ES-CA developed out of the successful legislative effort of many citizens to sever Placitas from ESCAFCA (the Eastern Sandoval County Arroyo and Flood Control Authority). Members of ES-CA are presently active in the effort against the rezoning of the Cashwell property, redistricting, sand and gravel mining in the area, and other issues directly affecting the ES-CA community. ES-CA members also monitor meetings of the County Planning and Zoning Commission, the County Commission, ESCAFCA, and other government bodies.
The web site (es‑ca.org) is now up and running. There you will be able to view more information about ES-CA and current issues. On the website, you can join as a member and pay dues. The Forum is now active. It is the place for the community to exchange information and ideas about issues affecting the area. All members are welcome to register and post on the Forum.
ES-CA is formally incorporated as a 501(c)4 nonprofit corporation. Voting membership is $50 per person per year, and is open to all residents and property owners at least eighteen years old in the ES-CA area. Residents of the ES-CA area can also choose to be non-voting members and will receive information on issues, but will be unable to vote for directors or on issues.
There will be seven ES-CA directors, consisting of three at-large directors and four directors from each district in the ES-CA area. Nominations are open until October 15 for the four district directors. Voting members may nominate themselves or other members in their district. Nominations can be submitted to board@es‑ca.org. Please include a short bio to be posted on the website.
The first annual ES-CA general meeting will be held on October 15 at 2:00 p.m. at the Placitas Community Center on Camino de las Huertas, near the Village. Voting by electronic ballot will begin the next day, and the voting will remain open until October 31. The elected directors will be announced shortly afterward.
ES-CA also needs volunteers to serve on its various committees, and welcomes all community members to participate.
For further information, visit es-ca.org.
As a resident of Placitas, I am strongly opposed to rezoning the Cashwell property to enable a Cluster-housing project. I attended the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on August 25. I was not impressed by the applicant’s slippery argument that the project is consistent with the Placitas general plan because “open space” (so-called) can be achieved by increasing the density of houses within a parcel, thereby leaving “open space,” animal corridors and such, on the rest of the parcel. The open space envisioned in the Placitas general plan was open space of the old fashioned kind: low-density housing with one house for every two or three acres. If the applicant’s bureaucratically-inspired and tax-hungry form of open space had been envisioned, then this would have been reflected in Placitas’s original zoning, such that the applicant would not have to apply for a change in zoning to accommodate cluster housing on the Cashwell parcel. Besides, animals do just fine in Placitas, traversing residents’ property, and I like to see them on our property. It is doubtful that they would know to follow the ingeniously set aside corridors, which are supposed to achieve the residents’ “open space.” Finally, I have noticed that Rt. 165 appears to be already saturated with traffic. I would hate to see two or three times more cars added to this highway.
—Burke Ritchie, Placitas Resident
re: a blind eye and a deaf ear
I have never been convinced that Placitas County is the answer to all our prayers. I once submitted a message to the Placitas County website asking to see the numbers on what it would cost to set up and maintain Placitas County. I received this response: “You know it’s the right thing to do, so just sign the petition!” Sorry, but I want to see the pie chart, not the pie in the sky!
However, after reading about the recent Sandoval County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on the matter of the Cashwell development in the September Signpost, the idea cutting our ties to Sandoval County is starting to make more and more sense.
A few years ago, some exceptional members of the Placitas community pooled their considerable experience and expertise to research and draft a thoughtful master plan for the future of Placitas. Not as a lucrative cash cow, ready for milking by Sandoval County, but as a unique community of people who want to preserve the integrity, and the semi-rural look and feel of Placitas.
The Cashwell company must not have read our plan, nor for that matter the P&Z Commission, for the cluster housing project they are proposing to build is totally out of character with our present community. The preferential treatment given by the Planning & Zoning Commission to the Cashwell representatives vs. the unceremonious short shrift given to the tax-paying members of the Placitas community leaves little recourse but to find a way to liberate our community from the blind eyes and deaf ears of Sandoval County.
I’m still not convinced that Placitas County is the answer. Maybe it is, and maybe it’s not. But there are other avenues of self-governance that are worth exploring. We must find a way, and the sooner the better, to preserve our community and our special way of life. If we, the taxpaying residents of Placitas don’t, it is obvious that outsiders with short-term visions of maximum profit—no matter what the cost to our way of life—and those interested in the immediate collection of the maximum amount of property taxes, will forever despoil what has been a very special place to live.
—Gary W. Priester, Ranchos de Placitas
re: planning a visit to Patrick’s house
Dear Friends Back East,
Mighty Patrick the Cat and I are quite pleased that you’re again planning a visit to our habitat. Frankly, we’ve thought another visit unlikely given the unfortunate bobcat-in-the-bathroom incident that occurred last time (I assure you that window screen has been repaired), and our total failure to find sources of Brooklyn egg creams anywhere in the region. So, by returning, you are proving yourselves adaptable and adventurous.
On your list of things you’d like to do this trip, your hope to “…eat the whole enchilada” is, by far, the easiest to accommodate. Among the least likely would be “…seeing an ox cart race” and “…taking the subway to Chaco Canyon.” But we’ll do our best to show you a good time and most certainly will take some roads to ruins.
I will introduce you to our gaily decorated Rail Runner commuter train, which will take us to Santa Fe. The Rail Runner plays on the name of our state bird, the Roadrunner, whose fanciful red and gold image is wildly displayed over the length of each train. Just picture the image of your own state bird (the Partially Feathered Oil Crested Poop Pecker) splayed along the sides of your own trains. You’d find it quite cheery if done well.
Additionally, you’ll find that making occasional eye contact with your fellow Rail Runner passengers to be low risk, i.e. far less likely to stimulate resentful accusations of unwelcome intrusion, accompanied by psychotic threats of mortal damage to your personhood as often occurs on eastern commutes. So, in keeping with the lyrics of my favorite Engelbert Humperdink vocal, “Turn your magical eyes round and around, looking at all we found,” and you’ll see marvelous people and beautiful things on your Rail Runner trip.
As you know from previous visits to our home, Patrick has proprietary interest in all sleep-inviting surfaces—from sinks and placemats to baskets and beds. He is also in charge of security, and as he makes his nightly rounds, you may occasionally awaken to find him sharing your pillow and staring into your eyes with mind-reading intensity. We’re not certain why he does this, but suspect he entertains himself by watching our dreams. Or evaluating our karma. Or simply testing the strength of our allergies.
Regardless, we both very much look forward to seeing you.
Your Friend, —Herb