The Sandoval Signpost

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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.

Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert

re: state representative McCoy schedules office hours in Placitas

To Placitas residents:
As part of my effort to stay connected, keep you updated, and learn more about your concerns and issues, I have arranged two days of "office hours" in Placitas. When the regular legislative session starts in January, it moves at breakneck speed, so it's much easier to discuss and digest things prior to the session. I also know that it's often difficult for you to travel to the Capitol to meet with me, so I hope this will make it more convenient to discuss those issues that matter to you.

Dates: September 23 and October 21
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Place: Placitas Fire Station
—KATHY MCCOY, STATE REPRESENTATIVE, HOUSE DISTRICT 22, P.O. Box 1488, Cedar Crest, NM 87008, 505-281-9540

re: Martha Liebert Library rededication

Dear Editor:
What a delight it was to open up the August Signpost and read the letter from our former librarian, Laurie Macrae. Her comments her on the rededication of the Martha Liebert Library were very much appreciated.

I am not as familiar with the circumstances surrounding the original naming of the library, but the renaming of the new library building was featured in the March issue of the Signpost. If I am not mistaken, this much welcomed action would appear to have been initiated during the last days of the outgoing administration. I also suspect it possibly involved a measure of intervention on the part of the always wonderful MainStreet folks—the timeline that I am suggesting is of course due to your photo, which I believe ran on the front page of a March issue showing the transferring of books from the old to the new library. In this wonderful photo, the schoolchildren from Roosevelt are pictured standing in a very long somewhat twisted and crooked line emulating the transfer of books from the old to the new. As I think you may recall, these events were in advance of the mayoral election in Bernalillo. So, as to the question of exactly who is responsible for the much awaited rededication, I cannot say, but, more likely than not, the wonderful town-council folks, including the former mayor, now running for probate judge, as well as the terrific staff at MainStreet, had a fair amount of input.

While searching for some completely different information, I came across a series of wonderful photos on the participation of the Friends at the wine festivals—there were quite a few of Laurie Macrae, Susan Macy, and others from those heady times back in the early ‘90s—the kindness of the wine festival and MainStreet, in letting the Friends have a booth sans cost,as a nonprofit, will never be forgotten.

As I mentioned, it is great to read that all is well with Laurie. And I can just imagine how pleased and proud she would be to realize that the new planned-for building, which will house the Southwest collection, is on target for completion in 2007-08. It will truly be a treasure.

Lastly, I want to take special note to mention the exquisite work of the Martha Liebert Library current librarian, Juanita Montaño, who has done a totally awesome job in keeping the dream alive of bringing the library to (misquoting Virginia Woolf) “a place of its own." She indeed is to be commended on her heroic efforts.


re: no lights for Ranchos entry, yet

Over two years ago, long before I became president of the Ranchos de Placitas Homeowners Association, the previous members thought it would be great to have a sign at our entrance to let people know where Ranchos de Placitas is!
Following a favorable vote, we hired a well-known local artist to do an artistic, appealing sign for us. This artist lives in the community and produced a beautiful sign in his recognizable style. Some people like it, while others find it too "artsy." Some would have preferred a plain, less artistic sign, not unlike several that you see coming up Highway 165 towards our neighborhood. But the sign appears to be doing its job—at least during daylight.

The residents voted approval for a light, believing it could prevent possible accidents, i.e., several individuals reported near-collisions at that corner due to overshooting the turn at night.

Based on PNM instructions, an electrical box was installed at the cost of $1,000-plus to dues-paying residents. Following all applicable state and county guidelines and regulations, we were informed to our considerable dismay that we would not be allowed to turn on our new light! Other community signs are illuminated, as is artwork at Homesteads. Pleas with the county commissioners and the sheriff have been to no avail, for reasons that remain a mystery.

In recent weeks, Qwest has installed a very ugly tall metal box to the left of our entrance, with no effort to disguise it. And to add insult to injury, with permission from PNM, they hooked up electricity from our box! Yes, the very same box, which our home and landowners paid for.

Now Qwest is not only using our power, but PNM said it was OK. And the county commissioners remain intransigent as to our proposed light. What am I missing here?

The home-owners’ board membership has said that we will get the needed permission, but that we'll just have to go through the "proper channels." Well, almost three years later we still do not have our sign illuminated, and responsible officials continue to ignore us.


re: gravel mine plans expansion

As president of Las Placitas Association in 1998, when Lafarge applied to the Bureau of Land Management for its gravel mine on BLM lands in Placitas, I was closely involved with the community's efforts to prevent this grossly inappropriate land use from being approved by BLM. We were unsuccessful in stopping the mine and as a result, community residents contend daily with the noise, dust, truck traffic, and all of the accompanying health, safety, and quality of life issues.

Now we have been informed of Lafarge's intention to apply for yet another and much larger mine in Placitas. In what appears to be a case of déjà vu all over again, the community once again finds itself in a face-off with this wealthy multinational corporation.

Yet this time, we approach the contest a little wiser, with a better understanding of the NEPA process, and with far greater insight into the formidable foe we face. As history has demonstrated, Lafarge is no friend to this community and will doggedly pursue its plans for a new mine unencumbered by past promises, formal agreements, or ethics.

I take this opportunity to remind the community of Lafarge's history of broken promises and reprehensible tactics so that we may prepare ourselves in the event that history repeats itself this time around.

Four administrative appeals were filed against BLM's decision to allow the mine—two by local residents, one by LPA, and one by the City of Albuquerque, who owns the Placitas Open Space. The City later dropped its appeal after a settlement agreement was reached with BLM and Lafarge. In exchange for dropping its appeal, Lafarge agreed to pay the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division $30,000 a year (or five cents per ton) to be used for the management of the Placitas Open Space. After three years, Lafarge stopped making the payments, claiming that the agreement had “outlived its usefulness” (letter from David Plummer, Lafarge, to Steve Anderson, BLM, dated May 13, 2002). In the settlement agreement, Lafarge also promised not to apply for any more mining leases “near the Placitas Open Space.” So much for promises and agreements.

The environmental-assessment document submitted by LaFarge for the 1998 mine application followed the protocol recommended by the BLM in its NEPA Handbook, with one conspicuous modification. The section that should have been entitled “Conformity to Statues, Regulations, and Other Plans” was omitted. There was no mention made of the fact that mining in Placitas does not conform with local statutes.

The Resource Management Plan for the BLM holdings in Placitas, which was adopted twenty years ago, when the total population of Placitas was less than two thousand, allows for mining. As such, BLM cannot easily reject a reasonable application for mining, just as a city cannot reject a reasonable application from a developer to build homes in an area zoned for residential housing. It is therefore important that we seek a moratorium on further mining until BLM can revise its outdated plan. If you haven't already done so, please sign the petition for a moratorium, which will then go to our congressional delegation, who can make it happen. Copies of the petition are available online at


re: SAD in Placitas

Regarding the letter by the Lands End wearing easterner Herb who is lamenting the rain drops on his trousers [August, 2006, Signpost]. If this wasn't sent tongue-in-cheek Please please leave! Go back to your beautiful east coast where God never rains on your beautiful parade. Why in the world would an elitist snob move to the desert and complain about the weather? I suppose you have to be an elitist snob to understand. I don't, thank God. Perhaps Herb should put on a tank-top and a pair of cut-off jeans, grab his apricot colored poodle and go down to one of the arroyos and watch a scene we Placitas residents haven't seen in years... "Water"! Good luck, Herb, and good riddance!

—Stan, Placitas

[Editor’s note: Herb's coping skills were also severely challenged by the drought, evident in this following letter he submitted to the Signpost in June.]

Greetings old friends back East:

The New Mexico drought is, I fear, posing new dangers. The rabbits are now eating virtually anything to survive—things they've not eaten before—as their favorite wild plants aren't available or contain no moisture. I have reasons to believe they have abandoned their traditional vegetarian habits and become carnivores—tens of thousands of little bucked tooth flesh-eaters in our midst. And breeding like rabbits.

As I write this, there are about a dozen cottontails looking in my window, staring at me in a way that could only be called menacing. Just yesterday, I discovered a body on my favorite hiking trail, horribly mutilated by thousands of little buck toothed bite marks and drained of virtually all fluids. There were huge numbers of Thumper-like tracks in what was apparently the killing zone. Despite my arguments, the local sheriff's department has ruled the death a suicide. I believe, however, it was a fatal, catastrophic nibbling by cottontails and possibly by the far larger, even fiercer jackrabbits.

To be killed out on the trail by a mountain lion or by a huge black bear has a tiny bit of glamour and charm to it, especially if I am able to strangle the big beast(s) with my bare hands despite suffering the deeply unpleasant process of disembowelment. That would be swell tombstone material and the stuff of legends. But to be nibbled to death by rabbits is lacking, I think, in drama and heroism and I am seeking to avoid such an ignominious end.

My spouse says I'm paranoid. I reply, predictably, that that doesn't mean I'm not being stalked by cottontails. We simply don't venture out after dusk, and I always carry a club and/or machete.

Uh oh. The doorbell just rang. I suppose it could be the UPS man with another QVC delivery. On the other hand, it could be a vertical daisy chain of bunny rabbits astride one another's little shoulders, pressing the bell and hoping to force entry and eat us to the bone. After all, what am I other than a [handsome] mobile, highly nutritious meaty bag of body fluids? But don't worry. I'll be careful. I'm onto them.

Do you have such a problem back east? I'd appreciate any advice or observations. Be very careful.

—HERB, Placitas

PS. Have also noticed many birds with hacking coughs, chills and runny beaks and all wrapped in tiny blankets even in the heat of the day. This seems to be particularly prevalent amongst the Chicadees, Ravens and the Mountain Blue Birds. ... Could it be......? Gawd, let's hope not.



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