Dear Editor:

Climate change is a massive problem among our world making landfills and dumping nuclear waste are not helping. Humankind could go extinct by us destroying rainforests, oceans and making densely-populated cities are having us over-populate and run out of space on earth.

My opinion is that we need to save animals, stop dumping nuclear waste an stop cutting down  trees.

Odin Bader

Fourth grade, Corrales Elementary

Dear Editor:

Is earth’s climate change? Earth’s climate is always changing. There have been times when earth’s climate has been warmer than it is now. There have been times when earth’s climate has been cooler. These times can last over 1,000 years! People who study Earth see that Earth’s climate is getting warmer. Earth ‘s temperature has gone up about one degree Fahrenheit warmer in the last 100 years.

Colter Juan Tacksman

Fourth grade, Corrales Elementary

Dear Editor:

I am concerned about climate change because it is killing all the polar animals. I hope everyone will switch to electric vehicles. I love that out plant is very green. I want t stop climate change to protect my family.

Cam, Corrales Elementary

Dear Editor:

As a businessman and a longtime Corrales resident one of my first priorities for my family and for our community is making sure that we do everything in our power to drive economic development and attract and grow businesses. Access to reliable and high-speed internet has become one of the key drivers of business growth and economic development, which has only been made more important by the need to work and do business remotely during the pandemic. 

 With all of the opportunities to leverage the billions of dollars in federal money that is earmarked for broadband infrastructure —along with the many local providers that have resources to invest in broadband— the prudent choice is to prioritize investing in fiber optic broadband technology wherever it is feasible. 

It’s clear that fiber optic broadband technology is superior to fixed wireless, copper and cable broadband. Fiber optic broadband is faster, offers symmetrical speeds, works even in severe weather events, and has a lower 30-year cost of ownership relative to other broadband technologies. 

I worry that if we in Sandoval County choose instead to install fixed wireless, copper or cable instead of fiber optic broadband, we will be choosing to settle. And I don’t want to settle. Our community deserves the best technology to prepare us for the future. 

We have to seize this opportunity to really invest in this critical infrastructure. I’m hoping you’ll join me in urging our Sandoval County commissioners to prioritize investing in fiber broadband as they determine future investments in our internet infrastructure.

David Smoak

Dear Editor:

I am writing with a suggestion hoping that the Comment might find a way to have a follow-up article on the Bosque clearing topic.  In the last issue there were many quotes from advisory committee members, but none from Village officials. 

In talking with a number of neighbors, all of us are a bit confused as to whether the clearing project might, in fact, be going forward using many of the common sense suggestions from community members.  It could be that the formal approval to go ahead was adopted with an understanding that the Fire Department will have discretion to adopt many modifications. 

For example, will the project simply clear cut all trees and vegetation along the entire length of the levee in Corrales?  Or will this project be implemented with the idea that cuts will be made at periodic intervals to allow access for the fire department to easily access a fire?  Perhaps the village officials could shed some light on this?

Or is the real purpose to eliminate tree roots that could cause buckling and erosion of the actual levee? I and the friends and neighbors who I spoke with are confused as to the exact purpose of this project.  My wife and I live somewhat close to Romero Road at the north end of the bosque and, like so many others, treasure our frequent visits. 

We have learned that many cottonwoods in the bosque are at risk because of the drought. Will this project spare cottonwoods even if they are close to the east side of the levee? I have the sense that many of your readers would appreciate a follow-up article especially if you were able to get Village officials to clarify some of these and other questions about the clearing project.

Jerry Sterner

Dear Editor:

As a resident that lives on Corrales Road I would like to weigh in on your new proposal.

So far I have received conflicting information about how this came about and am truly fascinated by the run a round.

It was reported by the Corrales Comment that the councilors were looking into this possible change. Then I was told by my councilor that it was because of the scenic byway designation; coming from COG, the Rio Grande Council of Governors, and that the council had nothing to do with this new proposal. Who knew the scenic byway designation was going to affect how rules were applied to just us on Corrales Road. Then I talked to P&Z for the village and was told that the reason the council was looking at this again was because Councilor Zachary Burkett made the request.

See above mentioned run around.

Everyone keeps citing the Los Rancho ordinance on fences, the issue is they only want to apply it to homes on Corrales Road. This is what came up, a decade or so ago, and it was pointed out that we could not be discriminated against. But I guess they can now, using the scenic byway designation. The Los Rancho ordinance applies to the whole village, not just Rio Grande. Although Rio Grande does have a 150’ setback that applies only to Rio Grande, can you imagine applying that here? Think they can take our property and homes away so Corrales Road will be more scenic? What else is in the designation that we don’t know about?

I have a taller fence which I need for my animals plus quite honestly we were tired of staring at an unrelenting parade of traffic. If you think about how Meadowlark got massive speed bumps and a lower speed limit because of traffic, it seems a bit odd and cruel to insist that we on Corrales Road open up our homes, yards and lives to all the noise and sights of traffic.

It is a major thoroughfare, perhaps we would like to think of it being scenic but it is still a major road with some lovely and not so lovely spots. Perhaps we need to leave well enough alone. Please think about how you personally would feel if rules in the village only applied to an isolated portion of the population, which included you. We kind of keeping getting put in this position, ie , the sewer.

I am not wild about the concrete block walls along Corrales Road either but it seems there should be a better way to address this issue.

Ginny and Timothy Lodge

Dear Editor:

What you are about to read is only a short version of what has happened to us in the last four years, and the Corrales Comment says they cannot post our 23-page commentary to them.

We, long time resident Suzanne Huff-Flora and I, her husband Curt Flora, are calling out the Village. Her parents bought their property here in the village in 1953, and she has been a resident since she was born here in 1958.

We have been in a battle with the Village of Corrales for 3½ years, and the corruption has gotten deeper than you can imagine. We were trying to subdivide our property —we have 6.12 acres— in two separate lots. We should have been able to do a lot line adjustment and split one of those using a summary plat. We were forced to do a preliminary plat instead. There was one mistake on the plat that was fixed before we even went to our first meeting. We went to our first Planning and Zoning meeting and were denied to speak in the meeting, and it was tabled because the Village Attorney was not there to render an opinion.

A commissioner asked for Village Attorney opinion during the meeting. The Village Administrator, Suanne Derr, and Laurie Stout, Community Development Coordinator at that time, wrote the Village Attorney an email asking for the Village Attorney to supersede the ordinance we are using. He wouldn’t do it.

The Village Attorney wrote his opinion and gave it to Village Administrator Derr, stating that the Village obey what the ordinance states; that we could subdivide our property using “gross” acre instead of “net” acre. Derr wrote us an incorrect letter saying the Village Attorney denied us using gross acre and we would have to use net.

We filed a request for inspection of public records (IPRA) to get the denial letter; the Village Administrator says they don’t have one (although they really did.) They refused to give it to us for 811 days, after many requests for it.

After finally obtaining this letter, we found a reference in it to what he called a note from Laurie Stout, asking him to override the ordinance. In the meantime, we filed an appeal on the letter we received and paid for the appeal. We were never given an appeal hearing, so we consider the Village to have extorted the money.

After our first meeting, a Planning and Zoning commissioner resigned and sent her resignation letter to the mayor, dated August 4, 2018. In this letter she states, “The lack of clarity and communication on ordinances even affected our last meeting” (meaning our meeting.) “I was personally embarrassed. Anytime I have asked a question about zoning or subdividing I get a roundabout unclear answer.”

She states she expressed this to Laurie Stout and her response was, “I’m taking it on a case to case basis.” The commissioner states “there was no call to the Mayor or the Village Attorney to get clarification.” She also states “I have seen some subdivisions on gross acres approved while others have been aggressively tabled or denied.”

We IPRA requested this resignation letter, and the mayor refuses to hand it over to this day. There is more to this letter.

In the next meeting we fought the “net” vs “gross,” and were then told they wanted opinion letters from our attorney and the Village Attorney on “net” vs “gross.” At this meeting, Stout stands up saying the application is not correct and wants a resubmittal of the application. She doesn’t tell the commission that the application has already been fixed, even before the very first meeting. Our surveyor tells the commission the plat was already fixed, and they refuse to acknowledge this.

Under Ordinance 18-86 and 18-87, also Resolution 16-006, they state you can have three mistakes on a plat before you have to resubmit it. Our surveyor was charged $1,000 and we were charged for the mailing fees to re-submit this new application.

By the Village doing this, they have now extorted more money from us. If you all remember the Corrales Comment article of August 11, 2018, “Amendment tweaks ‘Net vs. Gross”, we fought the Village for all of your rights to build on your gross acres that the Village was refusing to let you do.

We have seen time and again that Laurie Stout’s minutes don’t match what was said in the meetings, so we started getting the audio from the meetings and transcribed them ourselves, to find out she is not correct in her transcribed minutes. Changing words around —for example “we” (referring to the Village), was changed to “They or he” “wanted to wait to fight “Net vs Gross” before there is a resubmittal of the application.” That is not what was said, why would we even think of doing something like that?  

We had over 120 signatures on a petition signed and turned into the Village that they refused to show the commission in the meeting, hiding it in someone else’s packet. In this meeting, our deed was kept out of the packet on purpose as well.

At the next meeting, the Village Attorney agrees on the “Net vs Gross” in our favor. This has now cost us over six months lost time and attorney fees so far, to force the Village to obey its own ordinances.

Then there were hours of argument on our private road easement. We agreed to a “hammerhead”-style cul de sac for the Fire Department, and challenged their Ordinance 18-81 (2)(d) under “Lane” that states we can have a 20-foot road easement. The ordinance reads 20-30 feet for five acres or five dwellings. Even though we have 6.12 acres, we fall under the ordinance having less than five dwellings on our private property.

We thought we won this, as Commissioner Sawina states in his motion he is using the plat dated October 5, 2018. Even before he made the motion, he states two different times that he wants to be sure the commissioners are all looking at the plat dated October 5, 2018, which has a 20-foot road easement. Laurie Stout conveniently left that out of her written minutes.

There were three conditions in the meeting: 1) that the hammerhead be 120 feet long by 26 feet wide; 2) that Laurie Stout learn the weight-bearing capacity of the culvert and 3) that Net and Gross be shown as the same on the plat.

On November 30, 2018, after that meeting, our surveyor received an email from Stout stating the Village expects a 30 foot road easement. Did the Village have a meeting after our meeting to determine this, or is Laurie Stout acting as Village Czar? She refused to work with the MRGCD, and did not tell us. She had since November 14, 2018 to do this. We should have been put on the January 16, 2019 agenda to be heard, so that the Village did not pass its 60-day deadline to have this heard, but apparently the Village does not have to follow its own Ordinance under 18-87.

We were then scheduled for the February 20, 2019 meeting. We were then told that we didn’t get the weight-bearing capacity on the culvert, and now they wanted it certified by an engineer. This was not part of the motion, and they are now trying to force a 30-foot road easement. We appealed this, and next were scheduled to have a special appeals hearing that was set for April 19, 2019. We got to this hearing and were not given the packet for this hearing until almost 10 minutes into the hearing. The Village refused to let Commissioner Sawina testify on our behalf. He was the one who made the motion with the 20-foot road easement.

Their reason was that they have the testimony from Suanne Derr, (the one who wrote the questionable document) and Laurie Stout, (the one who has changed all of our meeting minutes in every meeting, and asked for a resubmittal of the application after it was already fixed.) So they don’t need Commissioner Sawina’s testimony. What kind of kangaroo court is this? Then, they tried to throw in another condition that was not even on the agenda.

We filed an appeal on their decision in the special meeting in district court and had a hearing on June 11, 2020. Right away, the judge says there is a page missing from the Village Finding of Fact, and was apparently told there was no motion made on the 20-foot road easement. I see why the judge doesn’t see the 20-foot being approved in the meeting, as Laurie took the statement Mr. Sawina said in his motion out of her written minutes —to use the Plat dated October 5, 2018— that showed the plat being approved.

By Stout taking statements out of a motion deliberately is “spoliation” and could be considered a felony act, and the mayor is letting her get away with this and a lot more. Not only in our case, but in many other cases being brought against the Village.

Since Stout and the Village Attorney have misrepresented in their records to the district judge, and he believes them, we are now heading to the Court of Appeals.

These criminal acts the Village is doing have to stop. We filed a lawsuit on the Village May 14, 2020, for $350,000 for falsifying documents, extortion, and IPRA and Open Meetings Act violations. This case was stayed until our other case goes to court. As I stated in the beginning of this letter, you are not hearing half of what we have been going through with the Village corruption.   

Curt Flora and

Suzanne Huff-Flora 

            

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