Giving of our history


I wish to extend my deepest gratitude and gracias to Los Lunas Mayor Charles Griego for accepting the historical voting lists of Los Lentes residents that my father, Nicholas Baca, left in my possession.

It is a fact that Los Lentes is both Mayor Griego’s and my hometown, and both of our parents are included in these documents. In past years, I spoke to a number of persons in Valencia County of my desire to turn over these historical voting lists to an individual or institution that understands and deals with history.

My hope was that the documents would be housed/preserved, so persons in the community could view and utilize them. I have two main reasons for returning these documents: No. 1: It has taken close to 70 years for these documents to be returned; second, it is my firm belief that these documents belong to the people of Los Lunas, Valencia County and especially Los Lentes.

For the record, I am including a few pertinent facts about my father and mother. My father, Nicholas Baca’s parents were Jorge and Sarita Baca who lived and resided in upper Los Lentes near Mayor Griego’s parents’ home, where he still resides.

Nicholas served in World War II, was a justice of the peace, deputy sheriff and precinct captain (Democrat) in Los Lentes in Valencia County. My mother, Eloisa Carrasco Baca, and her family were born and raised in Los Lentes, where I was raised and lived until age 10.

In the early 1950s, my parents moved to San Diego, Calif., where they lived until they moved to my adopted hometown of National City, Calif., where I grew up, attended school, worked and raised my family for more than 65 years.

Today, I turn over these historical voting lists to Mayor Griego in remembrance of my parents, family, friends and reverence to all the men and women listed in these documents. In my opinion, these men and women were historically responsible for Los Lentes, Los Lunas and Valencia County being what it is today, which we today owe a great historical debt of gratitude.

It remains my belief that the men and women listed be remembered by their children, grandchildren, posterity and their immense contributions are never forgotten. The documents, I believe, will also serve another purpose: to educate and remind newly arrived persons about this generation of men and women who lived, worked and sacrificed to lay the foundation in the areas in which they now live, work and reside.

For the record, I am turning over to Los Lunas Mayor Charles Griego the following documents:

• One list of five pages of about 180 names of “voters,” dated 1950.

• One list of six pages of about 216 “qualified registered voters” names dated 1952.

The above lists, signed by then County Clerk Eloy Garley (1950) and County Clerk Bernie Tapia (1952).

Herman Baca

National City, Calif.

Opposing Western Spirit Transmission Line


Electrical transmission lines are needed to move energy from its source to the customer. These lines can and should be constructed to provide a win-win solution for producer, consumer and those along the way.

Pattern Development’s proposed path for its Western Spirit project of enormous transmission towers, lines and right of way imposes a win-lose situation. The company wins and New Mexicans lose, especially those living along or near its path.

New Mexicans lose because our New Mexico Constitution is trampled upon. The Rural Electric Transmission Authority is administering this project as a governmental entity for the sole purpose of turning it over to a private entity, Public Service Company of New Mexico. This violates Article IX Section 14 of the New Mexico Constitution, the anti-donation clause, which clearly states that “[n]either the state nor any county, school district or municipality, except as otherwise provided in this constitution, shall directly or indirectly lend or pledge its credit or make any donation to or in aid of any person, association or public or private corporation [ ].”

The people of Socorro and Valencia counties lose by virtue of Pattern Development’s stated decision to use the “path of least resistance.” Our low-income population will bear the burdens of this project, without benefit, so that urban more wealthy persons will not. The proposed 140 mile path could easily be shortened to about 61 miles if it went from the Pajarito station via I-40 and thus still provide the producers with a means to market their product.

All Americans lose when the state’s power of eminent domain is employed or even threatened to be employed. Much like a menacing thug looming in the background of some negotiation, the state can legally threaten to take the property of unwilling rural and poorer individuals without their consent. Some residents will elect to sell their property or the right of way of their own volition, but the majority who won’t should not be intimidated by this frightening power when more reasonable alternatives are available.

On Sept. 24, the Socorro County Commission heard from project representatives and concerned residents. The many residents who commented pointed out that the proposed transmission line with its substantial right of way will irreparably and permanently despoil the natural beauty and vistas of its crossing path; render useless or otherwise endanger the flight path of two private airplane landing strips; create an undetermined hazard to migratory geese, cranes and other birds; impose economic loss to residents by lessened migratory-related tourism and property values; render some unknown level of environmental and safety hazard for residents and their livestock due to initial and ongoing right of way clearance activity and electro-magnetic field effects; seriously degrade the preferred rural quality of life enjoyed by those affected; and will not result in lower electrical rates since power is supplied by Tri-State, not PNM.

For these reasons, the Socorro County commissioners unanimously oppose the Western Spirit Transmission Line Project. The board calls on RETA and Pattern Development to abandon their ill-conceived and damaging path and re-route the line to create a win-win solution for all involved.

Martha Salas


Socorro County Commission

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