Disappearing view
To a resident living within sight and sound (construction) of the new Alameda Condominiums, Zane’s article about this project’s marketing difficulties came as no surprise [Zane’s World, July 9: “Do I Hear…?”].

One can only guess how much persuasion by the Texas-based developers resulted in the city’s granting the permission to build such an architectural monstrosity.

Even without the current global economic realities so aptly enumerated by Zane, it wouldn’t be long before the Alameda Condominiums would become the City Different’s newest horrific addition: a full-blown tenement.

It used to be a joy to watch the spectacular sunsets sink below the Jemez mountains. Now the sun and the Jemez range disappear behind this three-story-high eyesore.
Alma P Bobb
Santa Fe

Nowhere to ride
I found it ironic that this past week’s article by Zane Fischer [Zane’s World, July 2: “Rack ’Em”] mentions both the recent renovations to Guadalupe Street and Councilor [Patti] Bushee’s plan for a bike share program. I find the coupling interesting because what good are free bikes if, due to poor city planning, there is no good way to get around via cycle in this town? A good case in point is Guadalupe Street. The recent renovation has made it even more unsafe then before to get around on two wheels.

Ms. Bushee and the mayor touted an agenda to make Santa Fe a bicycle-friendly city; however, little has been done to improve the safety of bicyclists in this community. The only real project in the past year has been adding a bike lane to Don Gaspar, and this small project took several meetings and countless letters to accomplish.

I would like to see Ms. Bushee concentrate more on improving the bicycle infrastructure of the city (adding more bike lanes and bike paths; removing the traffic circles and other traffic calming devices that are hazardous for cyclists; providing bike racks) and less on pursuing a free bike program with all the complications outlined by Mr. Fischer.
Chip Upsal  
Santa FE

Attitude check

I have always enjoyed the Reporter.

However the recent letter that you published attacking New Yorkers was mean, base, vulgar and uncalled for [Letters, July 2: “Overhear This”].

I thought the spirit of Santa Fe was to be “anti-stereotypical,” “inclusive,” “enlightened” and “multicultural.” Is there a double standard excepting New Yorkers? Would you have published such an unkind attack on Mexico City’s Chilangos? No—that is politically incorrect.

Yet a vast number of people in this country are ignorant about New York. When you attack New York you are attacking an essentially ethnic minority city containing huge communities of Jews, Puerto Ricans, Bosnians, Chinese, Dominicans, African Americans, Indians, Russians, Irish, Poles, Amish, etc. etc.…and some of the toughest, most conversational folks on earth—something severely lacking in oh-so-trendy Santa Fe where rampant petty crime is accepted as a fact of life.

Finally I wish to remind you that many New Yorkers such as myself are kind, decent human beings raised on dairy farms in upstate New York where the collapse of the industrial economy has created tremendous devastation, tragedy and decades of extremely painful suffering.

Where is your compassion and your integrity?

Displaced New York farmer ready to go home to an authentic, economically struggling, commu-nicative, multiculturally rich community:
Peter G Ogden
Santa Fe

To clarify
I would like to contextualize a somewhat controversial statement attributed to me in the July 2 SFR Talk, “Social Studies,” concerning NGOs (“NGOs are bitches for the US government.”) Many NGOs that are both recipients of US government funds and operate in strategically critical countries such as Afghanistan are hamstrung by financial, staffing, procurement, branding, reporting and programmatic restrictions imposed by the US government. This makes it impossible to act independently or outside of a narrow foreign policy agenda.

What is the incentive to accept these funds? The US government offers compelling financial resources to NGOs willing to comply with its regulations and restrictions and this often distorts the entire developmental playing field in resource poor countries driven by foreign aid. When the promotion of official governmental policy is adopted as an NGO’s modus operandi, the non-governmental part of NGO becomes meaningless.

The fact is that tens of thousands of international NGOs are NOT recipients of US government funds and are therefore free of such restrictions. I got smart several years into my career when I realized that these NGOs were the ones that I wanted to work with.

What’s more, based on my experience in international relief, development and rule of law work, I can attest to the fact that such NGOs successfully distinguish themselves every day by supporting the rights of vulnerable peoples, providing key services and developing capacities in weak and failing states around the world.
Shaheen Rassoul
Santa Fe

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