Letters to the editor (08/28/14)
Citizens need to be aware
What a privilege to have freedom of speech affording us the ability to express opinions and different points of view.
Having said that, I want to take this opportunity to offer my perspective on the issue of judicial fairness and proper legal protocol. The one place where our rights cannot and should not be monopolized, injured or compromised is in the courtroom.
Attempts by Sen. Michael Sanchez to manipulate the courtroom is very disturbing and dangerous. How convenient and easy it would be for lawyers and powerful elected officials to affiliate themselves with the “judge” who is going to dispense judgements and consistently rule in their favor, dismissing, in the process, a client’s real needs and legal options.
Citizens, be aware and knowledgeable about how serious it is to monopolize the judicial system.
The future of our water
When my wife and I suddenly moved to Los Lunas about five years ago, I knew there was a problem with water.
I assumed that this was such an obvious problem that much of the difficulties already being experienced by places such as Albuquerque and Phoenix would have resulted in practical policies and ways of dealing with the problems already being in place and fairly well worked out.
I thought all of this would have been so well understood and dealt with that I could count on the rampant growth of the near and distant past not being something I would have to deal with living in Los Lunas. And the driving desire to live here, which appeared the morning after my wife, Julia, and I stayed overnight here only once would turn out to be a good thing.
So we moved here, and it certainly has turned out to be a good thing. There are problems, of course (clouds of sand and grasshoppers, to name a couple), but this is a wonderful place to live and we are blooming here in the desert.
But water! Sure it is occasionally yellow in the bathtub and has a bit of arsenic in it. But there seems to be enough to drink available from the faucet without hindrance.
Yet, I am finding out that far from any practical solutions being in place, Albuquerque is mining water from an aquifer at a rate beyond its capacity to renew itself.
It seems that it is still the prevailing opinion that the only way for an American city to survive financially is to build, build, build, and attract more and more people to come live here and drink water, wash their cars every day and have yard plants from Georgia.
So I recently have been attending free lectures on the water situation in the Western United States at the Kimo in Albuquerque, and I have learned that there are few bright spots on the horizon with regards to water here where I live.
There is one bright spot, however. It seems that we, here in New Mexico, rather than being at the bottom of yet another list of our shortcomings, are ahead of the curve, the leaders of the Western states, in a very important area — water law.
I know it seems dry, distant and impossible to understand to the most of us, the law and the many words of law. But it turns out that our founders were intelligent enough to put basic law about water usage into our state Constitution. And over the years, through the complexities of court cases and legislative wrangling, there has been sound legal development of the original, basic water rights law in our Constitution.
This is good news because as awkward and slow and complicated as it is, laws about water rights are just not there in other Western states. We have the tools to figure out how to survive in spite of large corporations, smart money manipulators, and just ignorant folks who can’t see beyond their imaginary financial wealth in their efforts to build their personal or corporate fortunes on the usage of water, that important thing without which we cannot continue to live here in the beautiful desert.
I recently heard that California, the supposedly forward-thinking place, doesn’t even have laws concerning (or even keep track of) wells drilled in their aquifers. Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.
So we can be proud of another very important thing here in New Mexico, thanks to our wise forbears.
Customer service lacking
During my recent visit to Los Lunas, I was visiting my sister-in-law. Their little dog, Roxie II, was ran over by a truck and killed in front of their house as my sister-in-law watched in horror.
I had the grim task of burying Roxie II on their property. I dug a deep hole and with the help of my nephew, made a nice grave site under a shade tree. My nephew asked if we could make a cross for Roxie II. Being a retired carpenter, I thought the local lumber and building supply possibly would have a couple of scrap wood stakes to make a cross.
When I got to the lumber and building supply, I told them the story of what had happened and asked them if they might have a couple of scrap wood stakes to make a cross. They told me, “We only sell stakes by the bundle.”
I asked if I could look for a couple pieces of scrap wood. They sent me with a yard man to look. I found a couple pieces of scrap wood that would work for making a cross. When I went back to the office area and showed them the two pieces of scrap wood, I asked, “What do I owe you?” Expecting them to say, “Just take them,” the woman said, “That will be $1.08.”
Shocked, I thought to myself, does this woman know what karma is? I gave them their $1.08, leaving the building thinking, “Is this what has happened to compassion in our country today?”
Emissions testing is critical
I am trying to get mandatory universal vehicle emissions testing throughout New Mexico. I have written to Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, Sen. Michael Sanchez and Rep. Kelly Fajardo and received no reply.
When I contacted the New Mexico Municipal League, I was told that this issue is “best addressed at the state level,” but I’m at a loss as to whom to contact next.
I am asking for someone to introduce legislation requiring emissions testing throughout the state. Although newer cars have built-in emissions controls, the Union of Concerned Scientists points out that the car owners drive more now than before, and light trucks have more lenient emissions requirements than cars. Besides, there are still plenty of older vehicles on the road.
Vehicle emissions of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide remain a problem. The UCS points out that “Transportation produces almost 30 percent of all U.S. global warming emissions — but cleaner vehicles can help.”
It makes no sense for those who drive to cities that do require emissions testing not to get their vehicles tested. And it makes no sense for them to pollute their own rural areas and smaller towns. We all share the same atmosphere, so we should all share the same responsibility to reduce global warming.
I hope your readers will support my efforts for mandatory emissions testing.