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Signpost welcomes letters of all opinions. Letters are subject to editing for length, clarity, libel, and other considerations. Anonymous pen name letters will not be published. Attach your name and contact information. Send to: Signpost, P. O. Box 889, Placitas, NM, 87043 or email@example.com.
re: Beware of Deed scam
Twice now Karl and I have received a "Recorded Deed Notice" in the mail, telling us to send $83.00 for a copy of "Your Current Grant Deed and Property Assessment Profile." Its letterhead indicates: First Documents, 160 W Foothill Pkwy Suite 105-47, Corona CA 92882, Phone #888-550-9588. The mail-in stub to be filled out asks for "PAY BY MAIL: Make check payable to: FIRST DOCUMENTS P.O.Box 6815, Norco, CA 92860."
I called the Deed office on Idalia Road and the lady there said, "It's been going on for about a year. Throw it away. Shred it! Some people send in the money. It's a business. We can't do anything about it, but it's needless. We have deed copies available here."
My only concern is for those who think they must send the money. They needn't. This is a scam. Perhaps you've already written about this in the Signpost, but just thought I'd let you know it's still going on.
Thanks, —Merle Johnson, Placitas
P.S. Your Signpost is terrific.
re: Small farm animals in Bernalillo's R-1
The Town of Bernalillo's Planning and Zoning Department is responsible for administering and enforcing "all applicable laws, policies, and regulations related to: Community Character, Land Use, Land Subdivisions, Transportation, Flood Plain Management, Building Construction Permitting and Inspections, Water and Sewer Connections, Business Registrations, Animal Services and Mapping." (Town of Bernalillo web page). During the past year, a proposal has been introduced to the Department to craft an ordinance to allow having small farm animals for "food, weed abatement, and companionship purposes" in Single Family Residential (R-1A) and on Multiple-Family Residential (R-2) zoned property. An online survey over a year ago produced a small number of responses (less than 1% of the Town population) which were slightly favorable in nature. Subsequent meetings in the Town Hall have been attended by a small but vocal number of citizens opposing the ordinance. Citing concerns about property value, noise, smell, control, and policing, these homeowners (of which I am one) want to have the ordinance stopped in its tracks. The few residents who have spoken in favor cite the traditional Bernalillo rural vibe which makes our town special, as well as a back-to-the-earth sustainable living movement.
I'm a relative newcomer to Bernalillo, having moved here four years ago. I also treasure the rural nature of the Town, but chose to live in a small development zoned R-1, precisely for the friendly neighborhood and small, close lots (to minimize yard work). I expected farm animals to live on more rural property, and still do. Limiting the number or size of farm animals will not make their introduction more acceptable, and I can't believe our Animal Control officer has the resources to police such an ordinance.
Property in Bernalillo zoned R-1 should not be permitted to keep small farm animals. Please, Planning and Zoning Department, drop the matter. Just say "NO"! For those who live in R-1 zones, please let Town leaders responsible for the issue know your opinion. Planning and Zoning Director Janet Cunningham-Stephens may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (505) 771-5896.
—Lynnie Wienecke, Bernalillo
Activists meet in Placitas, form discussion group
On March 14, a group of twenty local political activists met in the Collins Room of the Placitas Community Library to discuss local and national politics and what can be done to move the issues toward progressive goals. The meeting was sponsored by Concerned Citizens for the Common Good in these Uncommon Times—a newly formed discussion group chaired by Michael Crofoot who cites the words of eco-philosopher Joanna Macy: “We need to wake up to this new world and wake up together... we need to see our capacity to walk into the fire.”
Members of the local groups Albuquerque Indivisible and Placitas Solidarity came to offer encouragement to the new group. Introductions showed that some attending had marched in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Washington D.C. at the 2017 Women’s March. Many had been communicating with government representatives by phone, email, and in person.
During the meeting, the group shared various media resources they relied upon, such as indivisible.org, moveon.org, 5calls.org, Blue Dot Daily, retakeourdemocracy.org, Huffington Post, New York Times, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, John Fuglesang, the host of Page Six TV on Fox News, and Michael Moore. Their email addresses were added to a Placitas-based email list of one hundred concerned citizens to receive alerts about legislative activity, marches, and other avenues for political action.
Concerned Citizens for the Common Good in these Uncommon Times’ monthly meetings are open to the public. The next meeting will be at the Placitas Community Library on April 11 at 7:00 p.m.
Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association report
The oil and gas industry is important for New Mexico’s economy. That being said, protecting our drinking water and the environment is just as important. As many of you recall, there was an effort to begin drilling for oil and gas in Sandoval County just west of Rio Rancho. While the zoning request was eventually withdrawn, it was never denied by the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z). It should be noted that Sandoval County has no regulations in place to govern this activity. And State OCD regulations have weakened enforcement powers, subject to a 2009 New Mexico Supreme Court ruling which has yet to be remedied in the Legislature.
The Sandoval County Commission called for an ordinance to regulate oil and gas drilling within the County and the P&Z staff has been working on such an ordinance. However, it has been almost a year since the above noted project was proposed, and the County has yet to introduce an ordinance.
ES-CA is calling upon the County to bring an ordinance forth and begin the public discussion. Oil and gas drilling affects everyone. Clean drinking water is the first issue that arises, but there are many others such as: transportation of the oil and gas; point of sale, whether Sandoval County would receive tax benefits, and increased truck traffic, just to name a few.
This issue needs to be dealt with in a thorough and transparent manner, and it needs to be dealt with now. We do not know when the next application will come and the County needs to be ready with regulations in place to insure our health and safety.
ES-CA has been working with the County on a number of issues, and we intend to continue to build on that relationship. But we need everyone’s support in order to affect these issues. Please come to an ES-CA meeting and visit our website (www.es-ca.org). The meetings are held on the first Monday of each month, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Placitas Fire Station on Route 165.
Las Placitas Association rolls out new website
Las Placitas Association announces that its new website, a year in the making, is now online at lasplacitas.org. Radically changed, this website roll-out is intended to encourage community input and conversation on issues such as gravel mining in the Placitas area, the danger from pipelines in Placitas, the BLM’s Resource Management Plan (RMP), and more. The new website will also list community activities, such as hikes and lectures.
CBPP report: New Mexico among states with highest income inequality
~Sharon Kayne, New Mexico Voices For Children
New Mexico is among the states with the highest income inequality in the country, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). New Mexico ranks 12th in the country, with its richest residents—the top five percent of households—having average incomes 15 times as large as the bottom twenty percent of households and five times as large as the middle twenty percent of households. The top five percent of New Mexico’s households receive 19 percent of the state’s income, even without counting capital gains.
The top one percent’s share of income rose in every state and the District of Columbia—and it doubled nationally, from ten percent to twenty percent—between 1979 and 2013, according to a recent analysis of IRS data.
For more than three decades, income gains in the American economy have accrued largely to the richest households, while many middle and lower-income Americans haven’t shared in the nation’s growing prosperity. This has reduced opportunities for working people striving to get ahead and weakened our overall economy.
The report offers recommendations about how state tax policies can be used to begin to reduce inequality. They include:
- Retain or expand taxes on inherited wealth, such as the estate tax.
- Eliminate costly and ineffective tax breaks for corporations.
- Expand earned income tax credits, such as New Mexico’s Working Families Tax Credit, which boost incomes among low-and moderate-wage working families.
- Maintain an overall tax system that raises sufficient revenue to pay for the building blocks of shared prosperity.
How State Tax Policies Can Stop Increasing Inequality and Start Reducing it is available on the CBPP website at www.cbpp.org/research/state-budget-and-tax/how-state-tax-policies-can-stop-increasing-inequality-and-start. There is also a chart of New Mexico income inequality on the website.
Rio Rancho outdoor watering restrictions begin April 1
Beginning April 1 and lasting through October 31, annual City of Rio Rancho outdoor watering restrictions will be in effect. To prevent water waste, spray irrigation (sprinkler or device that propels water through the air) during the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. is prohibited for all properties within the City limits, or that are served by the City’s water utility. Watering by hand is allowed during these hours.
Residents are encouraged to contact the City’s Water Waste Hotline at 896-8299 if they observe water waste violations. Those who are not in compliance with the City’s watering restrictions will be subject to fines. Some exceptions are permitted. Those with questions or seeking variances to watering restrictions should contact the Environmental Programs Section at 896-8737.