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Housing is a problem, but so are false facts

May 12, 2019

The current housing debate in Santa Fe appears to be perpetuating several myths that must be addressed before any changes are made to accommodate the infilling of our cherished, single-family neighborhoods. First is the myth that properties in established neighborhoods are not already being rented with no property owner on-site. Second is the myth that we must make changes to encourage infilling before we see what detrimental effects might surface.

Perhaps the greatest untruth being perpetuated is that multiple rentals on single-family properties will alleviate an affordable housing availability crisis. There is nothing affordable about the properties being rented in my charming South Capitol neighborhood now. Finally, there is the myth that “young professionals” are somehow owed housing in their preferred neighborhoods, something that I never expected when I was a young professional struggling to purchase a house in Santa Fe 20 years ago.

Alysia Abbott

Santa Fe

Republicans standing silent

President Donald Trump is not Adolph Hitler. Trump is an ignorant authoritarian who violates the Constitution and rule of law. More troubling: The president is a deliberate liar lacking any moral or ethical values. Most troubling: The Republican Party is standing silent as Trump destroys our democracy. History stands ready to be our guide.

Journalist-historian William Shirer’s The Collapse of the Third Republic, Inquiry Into the Fall of France, recounts how cowardly, craven, foolish French politicians lacked the will to stop Hitler while they easily could. Later, after France’s 1940 defeat by the Nazis, those same politicians sitting in the French National Assembly voted to end France’s constitutional democracy and to make the aged Marshal Pétain “dictator of France.”

After the war, those politicians were barred forever from holding public office. Marshal Pétain and his premier, Pierre Laval, were sentenced to death for treason. Laval was executed. Pétain’s life was spared because he had been the revered World War I “Hero of Verdun.”

Bob Siegel

Santa Fe

Naming opportunity

Los Angeles has just renamed a street “President Barack Obama Boulevard.” It would be appropriate for Santa Fe to rename Wildlife Way, off of Caja del Rio, after President Donald Trump. This street leads to a Santa Fe landfill, or dump, which is exactly where Trump is leading the country.

Gary W. Rodenz

Santa Fe

Federal lands belong to all

I am a retired federal archaeologist. I know Chaco Cultural National Historical Park. There is zero fracking or oil drilling going on there. The controversy is centered on federal lands located in a 10-mile-wide ring surrounding the Chaco Canyon park. The Bureau of Land Management has issued some drilling permits. For those folks not familiar with federal land laws, any land disturbance on BLM, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service or other federal lands must, by law, be surveyed for ancient ruins like the Anasazi culture ruins present in Chaco and throughout Northern New Mexico. The National Environmental Policy Act requires this.

It is also federal law that if drilling will harm a ruin, the feds or the private driller must hire a crew of archaeologists to excavate, preserve and document any ruins that will be disturbed. Since there are thousands of “arky” sites on federal lands in the Western U.S., this “mitigation archaeology” work has been going on for decades. There will not be massive disturbance to ruins or ancient sites on fed lands that surround Chaco Canyon. Consultation with Native tribes also is required by the feds before land is disturbed. However, federal land belongs to all Americans, and resource exploitation on federal lands has been going on for more than a century.

Thomas J. King Jr.

Santa Fe

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