Letters to the Editor: June 26, 2024

Readers sound off on driving, flying, fire and more

(Anson Stevens-Bollen)

Cover Story, June 12: “The Fast and the Furious”

Driving home the point

I moved to Santa Fe two years ago as a retired city attorney. Having spent years working with two local police departments prosecuting traffic cases, I was shocked to read Santa Fe, a city of almost 100,000 people, has only three officers dedicated to traffic enforcement. The much smaller jurisdictions I worked with both had larger traffic control divisions than Santa Fe. Traffic enforcement is, or should be, a primary function of any local PD.

Aggressive driving becomes habituated when there is no law enforcement presence on the roads. That’s not a “standing joke,” as Mayor Webber said. It’s axiomatic. The City Council should step up and fund the PD with necessary resources to address this very real public safety issue.

Bryan Fredrickson

Santa Fe

Thank you for your recent reporting in “The Fast and Furious.” I live in a quiet neighborhood a few blocks off Cerrillos Road, so it’s normal to hear the whoosh of cars at certain times of day. But at night, it sounds like I am at a race track, with the raucous sound of cars obviously ripping up and down the road at high speeds. It’s disturbing, it’s dangerous, and it’s difficult to sleep.

Katherine Ware

Santa Fe

It’s not generic “people” who are racing and using obnoxious mufflers. It’s boys and young men, many no doubt inspired by movies that glorify this behavior.

Why is our society incapable of constructively giving these young people the attention they so obviously crave?

Diana Thatcher

Santa Fe

Thanks…for bringing your readers up to date on Santa Fe’s dangerous roads and what is being done—or not done—to make them safer. [Staff writer Evan Chandler] points out what many of us know, that our city is full of reckless drivers and noisy cars, and the residents are fed up. Evan talked to the police, who know there’s a big problem but need help from automated camera systems and more dedicated traffic cops.

Our organization, Stop Aggressive Driving (SAD), is trying to bring attention to these problems and push our elected leaders to, well, lead. Come on City Council! Come on Mr. Mayor! Use some of the budget surplus to jumpstart the deployment of cameras, and don’t just do a study that sits on a dusty shelf either. Watch for more information from SAD and a public meeting later this summer to talk about what we can do together.

Adam Wasserman

Santa Fe

Morning Word, June 12: “NM Oil and Gas Revenue Continues to Rise”

Petrol POV

The author highlights New Mexico’s increasing reliance on the oil and natural gas industry, citing its substantial contribution to the state’s revenue—$15.2 billion, as reported by the Legislative Finance Committee.

This dependence is underscored by the industry’s role in supporting more than 92,000 jobs statewide, with roles ranging from petroleum engineers and truck drivers to manufacturers and contractors. These jobs not only inject over $6 billion in wages and benefits into the economy, but also serve as foundational elements for its overall health.

The economic significance of these roles extends far beyond the industry itself, creating a ripple effect that nurtures a plethora of other sectors. The earnings generated circulate through local businesses, restaurants, car dealerships and more, bolstering their viability.

It’s also worth noting that the industry is addressing important environmental concerns, emphasizing its commitment to meeting energy demand while reducing emissions. For example, since 2015, methane emissions intensity has decreased by 55%. Along with following New Mexico’s stringent regulations and the industry’s robust standards, the industry prioritizes health and wellbeing. This supports the notion that economic prosperity and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive. America’s oil and natural gas workers help strike a practical balance.

Holly Hopkins

Washington Vice President of Upstream Policy at the American Petroleum Institute

News: June 19: “Flying Start”

Flights of Fancy

As a frequent flier to and from Santa Fe airport and occasionally ABQ Sunport, I read with great interest the progress at our tiny airport. My husband and I are thrilled that the two major airlines are adding more flights to more destinations, but it would have been nice if the story had included which airline is now offering direct flights to Houston as we still maintain business there. We are also curious to know if there are plans to “enhance” the beauty of the area by perhaps creating some kind of structure or trees that would block the view of the junkyard as you approach the airport.

And finally, it would be fabulous if there were a shuttle that could pick up and drop off the locals that prefer to use this airport instead of driving the hour to and from ABQ. The current “taxis” and Uber/Lyft options are unreliable at best, especially if you are the last flight coming in at 10 pm and chose not to park your car for two weeks at the airport for obvious safety reasons.

We look forward to all the improvements!

Margie Schneider

Santa Fe

Online News, June 13: “Fire Alarm”

Wildland 101

As a journalist who, in the 1990s, did countless stories warning of the Southwest’s “forests of gasoline,” I think residents focused on a lack of fire alerts miss far more critical points.

It’s 24 years since the Cerro Grande Fire burned Los Alamos. Where is ANY state or federal leadership to educate municipalities to protect themselves with “fuel breaks”—clearings—of sufficient size along urban/wildlands interfaces? Los Alamos was long warned but did nothing to address its timber-dense westside.

Who is teaching the public that which wildland firefighters know? Define “safe zones,” free of “fuels,” should escape be blocked. In towns, parking lots or playgrounds can save lives.

Where is leadership, nationally, to create specially trained prescribed burn teams—like Hot Shot crews but specific to prescribed burns—rather than using poorly trained, poorly staffed local crews? You know? Like those who ignited Cerro Grande and the Hermit’s Peak-Calf Canyon fires!

Are leaders requiring developments with multiple escape routes, rather than—as in Los Alamos even today—developments with only one egress?

Leadership is not applying for federal aid after a fire. Leadership is leading communities to protect themselves before fire, but we seem not to grasp that.

Kathleene Parker

Los Alamos

Letters to the Editor

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