By George Wright
The 2022 municipal election is very important to conserving our lifestyle, quality of life, and legacy. In 2018, the Village Council passed a law (Ordinance 18-002) that banned commercial cannabis operations in Zones A-1 and A-2, the areas of the village where we have our homes.
Based on faulty input from the Village Attorney, the council revoked that 2018 law in August 2021. Corraleños, through petition and through their elected representatives, spoke out. The council realized its mistake, and during a special meeting on January 4, 2022, it reinstated a law that bans commercial cannabis operations in Zones A-1 and A-2.
The council vote was 5:1 in favor of the ban with Councillor Mel Knight of Council District 3 the only dissenter.
Councillor Knight is standing for re-election in March, and her opponent is Jonathan A. (Andy) Dilts. Andy shares a view of cannabis with the 1,200 persons who signed the petition to ban commercial cannabis in residential areas.
Councilor Knight does not share a similar protective view. She claimed that a residential protective ordinance violated state law, however she did not articulate why a ban would be against the law. Our neighbors in Los Ranchos have implemented a similar ban and they obviously feel it comports with state law and is defendable against legal challenges, and an independent legal assessment by a premier N.M. attorney firm also agrees that the ban will stand up to legal challenges.
I support Andy Dilts for District 3 Councillor. I believe that he will strongly support the legislation enacted by the council on January 4, and will defend it should the ban be the subject of subsequent litigation against the Village.
In the history of the Village’s struggle against Corrales becoming the “Commercial Cannabis Capitol of New Mexico,” there have only been two other councillors who have not voted in favor of ordinances which ban commercial cannabis operations where we live, and which were thankfully and ultimately enacted into law.
In 2018, Jim Fahey was one of two councillors who voted against Ordinance 18-002; the other was Ennio Garcia-Miera who no longer lives in Corrales. But Jim Fahey does live here and is running for mayor.
I am concerned that as mayor, Fahey would scuttle the good efforts of 1,200 constituents and five councillors who loudly expressed support for the legislation that bans commercial cannabis operations in residential areas. I am concerned that he will not strongly defend the law, if at all, should it be legally challenged, and he has a long legacy of favoring marijuana’s growth and production.
On numerous occasions, Fahey has expressed favoritism toward the cannabis industry’s growers and manufacturers. In addition to his 2018 votes against Ordinance 18-002, the following are some snippets of his past positions.
In a 2017 council meeting, he said, “The Village of Corrales is an agricultural community. You put a seed in the ground, it grows, it becomes a plant. Regardless of what list cannabis is on, it’s a plant.” I agree with Jim, when it is put into the ground a seed usually does grow into a plant.
But cannabis is not defined as “agriculture” anywhere in the N.M. Cannabis Regulation Act, nor in any other state or federal statute. In fact, at the federal level, the 2008 Farm Act declared hemp an agriculture product, but cannabis remained a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Following Fahey’s logic, hemlock and belladonna are plants too, but I also would not want them commercially produced on a lot next door.
When a councillor, Fahey was asked by constituents to help with the nuisances caused by the medical cannabis facility in his district in the north part of Corrales. He basically told neighbors that there was nothing that could be done to abate the odors, traffic and other problems, because he considered it a grandfathered-in, done deal, which was probably not totally the case. Even if the facility was legitimate at the time, Fahey apparently never offered to do anything to help resolve neighborhood complaints.
When constituents in his district asked for help to fight a proposed medical cannabis operation on a four-acre tract adjacent to their rental and other properties, his solution, according to the constituents, was to quit answering their calls and emails. That’s when Councillor Pat Clauser and I thought that such a solution was not a good one, and we began the long, but productive process of getting a council majority to enact Ordinance 18-002.
After that law was passed, the medical cannabis company pulled out and sold out. Instead of a cannabis facility next door, neighbors now see a well-done home that aptly fits with the prevailing architecture.
Jim Fahey’s record indicates that he likely won’t lift a finger, phone or pen to defend the ban on commercial cannabis operations in residential areas, and may instead work to repeal it. Gary Kanin is the only mayoral candidate who has indicated that he will work to keep our residential areas free from commercial cannabis operations.
Mayor Kanin was good for the Village before, and he will be good for the Village again. I strongly support Kanin for Corrales!
By Scott Wilber
Executive Director, New Mexico Land Conservancy
Following on the heels of her “30x30 Executive Order” earlier this fall to conserve at least 30 percent of the state’s land and water in order to “protect New Mexico’s lands, watersheds, wildlife and heritage,” Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham recently announced that the State will pursue a $50 million general obligation bond in the upcoming 2022 legislative session to provide much needed dedicated funding across multiple state agencies for a variety of existing land conservation, natural resource management and restoration programs.
The Land of Enchantment (LOE) Bond will be one of the governor’s signature agenda items in the 2022 legislative session and will supplement ongoing efforts to sustain and support New Mexico’s watersheds, wildlife, natural and working lands, scenic beauty and world-renowned outdoor recreation.
The LOE bond would be funded by a modest increase in state property taxes of about $2 per New Mexico household over the next 25 years. If passed during the legislative session, the bond proposal will appear on a statewide ballot for approval or rejection by New Mexico voters in November 2022.
This is exciting news —and, really, the culmination of the ongoing, collective efforts of many different conservation, wildlife, agricultural and outdoor recreation organizations going back almost 20 years— to establish dedicated state funding specifically for conservation in New Mexico. One of the important programs the bond funds would hopefully support is the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, designed to support conservation easements, restoration, forest health and watershed management projects.
This program, administered by the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, unfortunately has received no funding since its creation in 2010.
Without dedicated state funding, New Mexico misses out on millions of dollars through federal conservation and natural resource management grant programs that require non-federal matching funds. State funding would enable state land and natural resource management agencies, tribes, soil and water conservation districts and non-profit conservation organizations to access more of this federal funding.
To adequately address the myriad of challenges currently facing our state —and offset the impacts to our watersheds, forest health and water supply, wildlife and working lands caused by growth and development, prolonged drought and climate change, and increased wildfire— we need to fund more land conservation, restoration and better management of public, tribal and private lands. Meeting the goals of “30x30,” particularly at larger watershed and landscape scales, simply cannot be achieved through more public land acquisition alone.
Anyone looking at a land ownership map of New Mexico can see that roughly 40 percent is public, 10 percent is tribal and the remaining 50 percent is private, and also see how intertwined these ownerships are. Rivers, wildlife, cultural resources and scenery don’t just stop at boundaries between public and private land.
Watersheds, in particular, consist of multiple, different ownerships and jurisdictions across the state and, therefore, conservation and restoration efforts need to be managed in an integrated and coordinated fashion, but sometimes with different approaches and solutions. “30x30” was never intended to just be a public lands initiative and, if it becomes only that in New Mexico, it will alienate a large portion of the population.
Conservation, restoration, agricultural and outdoor recreation groups have been working on and waiting for years for dedicated state funding for the important work that they collectively do. A bond like this will help state agencies, tribes, political subdivisions of the state, as well as non-profit organizations to leverage more federal funding to protect and restore New Mexico’s land and watersheds, improve wildlife habitat and connectivity, prevent land fragmentation, and support healthy land and natural resource stewardship across the state for the benefit of all New Mexicans.
Land and water conservation is essential to the health of our watersheds, ecosystems and natural resources, and fundamental to the welfare of our local communities and economies, and our overall well-being. We are encouraged by this proposed conservation funding initiative and the governor’s commitment to addressing these timely and urgent issues facing New Mexico today.
Spider-Man: No Way Home HHHHH Directed by Jon Watts. Starring Tom Holland and Alfred Molina. Plugs: Too many to count. Nearest: Cottonwood Mall.
Like many teenagers I was a fan of comic books, and my favorite superhero was Spider-Man. In fact Spider-Man is so popular that Marvel Comics had several different titles featuring the character, including Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Spider-Man Unlimited, Web of Spider-Man, and my favorite, The Amazing Spider-Man. The character has spawned a sprawling and lucrative (if understandably uneven) film franchise, of which Spider-Man: No Way Home is the latest installment.
The film is cleverly self-referential, which is a function of both its plot and our current zeitgeist; more cinematic nostalgia can be found in the new version of Scream, for example. It’s also self-referential in that in the film, Spider-Man literally refers to several other Spider-Men, though to avoid spoilers I’ll say no more.
Spider-Man: No Way Home isn’t the first of the franchise to have different versions of the main character appear in the same film; that was done —and very well, I might add— in the Academy Award winning 2018 animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The idea in fact goes back even further, being done a decade ago in Iron Man 2 when multiple Iron Men appeared together and teamed up, the idea presumably being that the only thing better than one superhero is more of that same hero.
The film’s multiple Spider-Men actually works as more than a gimmick, however, and brings unexpected humanity to the film.
The film begins with Peter Parker being outed as the titular hero. I enjoyed how the film took its premise seriously and explored what would really happen if Spider-Man’s secret identity was revealed. We see Peter’s carefully-guarded secret being broadcast as news around the world, and soon TV news helicopters are circling the apartment he shares with Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). Reporters harass him wanting a comment, and (arguably even worse) the applications to MIT that Peter, his girlfriend MJ (played by Zendaya) and his buddy Ned (Jacob Batalon) have submitted are denied because of the controversy, which propels the plot.
I admired the same element in Captain America: Civil War, which offered a real-world moral question: What if a team of superheroes existed, as an autonomous, extrajudicial entity? In the real world when a country threatens its neighbors or acts belligerently (thus threatening international security and world peace) there are various diplomatic sticks and carrots that can be employed to bring their leaders into line. Economic sanctions can be imposed or removed, foreign aid given or withheld, and so on.
But a team of superheroes have no such resources or internationally-recognized legitimacy: their method of control (or dispensing justice, if you prefer) is fighting, not avoiding fighting. Even heroes are —with all due respect— bullies in that they get what they want through violence and destruction. We all cheer because of course they’re on the side of truth and justice and using their powers against villains, but they are not peacemakers.
The film is loaded, though not larded, with great Spidey villains including Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Electro, and Lizard Man. Alfred Molina and Willem DaFoe make much of their brief but meaty parts as the first two, respectively. They are all together because through a botched spell cast by Doctor Strange (an always-watchable Benedict Cumberbatch) they have been plucked from alternative realities and show up here.
Strange appears now and then to help Spider-Man and his friends save the world —or at least help get them into graduate school. J.K. Simmons shot the film while on break from his Farmers insurance commercials, appearing briefly as Spider-Man’s longtime civilian antagonist J. Jonah Jameson. No longer at The Daily Bugle, the former editor is now a rabid Alex Jones-style social media sensation, gleefully stirring up trouble.
Spider-Man: No Way Home has its share of flaws; like many of its ilk it’s a bit longer than it needed to be, and there’s a surfeit of “meet cute” banter. There are a few plot holes, none larger than the key question of whether to return the various villains back to their own parallel worlds. This ethical dilemma, which unfortunately anchors key plot points, is about whether to “send them back to die.”
But (at that point in the film anyway) it’s not at all clear that the villains would inevitably die —at least no sooner than anyone else. In fact this should be a no-brainer for Spider-Man, who has seen first-hand over the years how little these ruthless villains care for the innocent lives they routinely threaten. They may (or may not) die if sent back to their own worlds, but they will certainly kill countless innocent people if they do.
One is said to “go home and have a chance,” though it’s not clear at what, but it presumably includes killing lots of people, if his curriculum vitae is any indication. This pickle is wisely elided in favor of astonishing action sequences and spectacular special effects.
I’ve usually disliked time travel films and stories because they often serve as a deus ex machina plot device, serving to create (or tidily wrap up) any conflicts or problems. The same applied to magic and multiverses, which are often used as a bit of a cheat and reduce the dramatic stakes. What’s the point of superheroes risking their lives to save the world if a simple magic spell or portal to another world can fix things and defeat the villains? (I’ve always felt the same about the Marvel superhero Thor; it’s a bit unfair to include an actual god to fight along with fallible, flesh-and-blood superheroes like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Green Arrow —he is a god, after all, and has innate supernatural powers far beyond anything we puny humans could hope for.
It’s sort of like bringing a nuclear bomb to a knife fight. But whatever.
Part of Spider-Man’s appeal is that he is caught between worlds: being an ordinary student by day and a web-swinging hero by night; trying to maintain relationships with girlfriends while needing to heed the call of duty at a moment’s notice.
Tom Holland captures this paradox perfectly and is one of the best actors to portray the character. Overall, Spider-Man: No Way Home succeeds on many levels, bringing humor and heart to a franchise sometimes weighed down with pointless action and scattered subplots.
By Laura Smith
Transitions are difficult. Since late 2014, on the third Thursday of each month, a group of volunteers have gotten together for the Village in the Village (ViV) board of directors meeting. Last month I said goodbye to the group after an almost seven-year stint. I hung up from the Zoom call with a mixture of emotions. I felt relief, gratitude, pride, and sadness. Here’s why.
Back in the fall of 2014, I retired from my practice of psychology and wanted to engage more with my community. A neighbor down the street coincidentally invited me to an information event about a new organization called Village in the Village (ViV). I was intrigued. After joining, another neighbor convinced me to become involved with the events committee for ViV. Before I knew it, I was invited to become a board member.
So, from early 2015 until December 2021, I dedicated almost every third Thursday of every month to ViV.
Back to my emotions upon leaving. I was relieved because there were occasions that being a board member could take considerable time. There were committee meetings to attend, applicants to be interviewed, handbooks to be updated, forms to develop and social events to attend.
Although I retired from the practice of psychology, I had not retired from my other job as an author. During those years, my husband, Chuck Elliott, and I wrote five new editions of our previously published books as well as a new book.
Those writing projects consumed more than a bit of time.
I felt grateful to have served on the board of ViV. Like many, I had lived in Corrales for a long time but knew only my immediate neighbors, other dog walkers and a few scattered friends. Being involved with ViV greatly enlarged my social circle. Whenever I shop for groceries, I inevitably find myself exchanging pleasantries with fellow ViV members. I am especially grateful for the experience of serving others through ViV.
Volunteering gives my life meaning and purpose.
I also felt proud. Proud of the many accomplishments of ViV, some supported by grants from Intel, and all involved volunteer effort. I’ll mention just a few.
Sadness also seeped in shortly after ending that last Zoom call. I already miss connecting with other members of the board. I loved watching the organization grow, planning and revamping procedures, getting involved in recruitment, and knowing that ViV helped many people stay in their Corrales homes.
Transitions are difficult. I look forward to continuing to be involved with ViV, but in a smaller role. My life, as has all of ours, changed during the last couple of years. I will be spending more quiet time reading, writing and connecting with friends and family.
Maybe, in the near future, we can all get together for a cup of coffee.
Laura Smith is a member and volunteer of ViV. You can learn more about the organization at http://www.villageinthevillage.org or call 505-274-6206.
A little note to thank you for publishing your great newspaper. The Comment keeps us COVID house-bound residents connected to the village, so you’re more appreciated now than ever before.
As a former newspaper reporter, I’m a real “news junkie!” I just wanted you to know how much we all look forward to each issue.
As I drive through Corrales (yes, I am a Rio Rancho resident who “cuts” through but I also patronize many of your businesses), I am seeing a lot of signs about growing marijuana.
Clean Air for All Now (cafanow) supports any Corrales residents’ efforts to make their community a better place, a safer place. If the residents of Corrales are concerned about odors and chemicals originating from grow facilities, I also share their concerns.
Cafanow joins your efforts to discuss and support the concerns about the growth of marijuana in your village.
Will you join us in our efforts to ensure Intel is held to account for the over 250 volatile organic chemicals it uses and the 95 tons of hazardous air pollutants it emits into your home, soil and air?
Cafanow has been concerned about the odors, chemical and hazardous waste pouring out of Intel’s outdated cub scrubbers and thermal oxidizers for decades.
Villagers have tried to work with local, state and federal government agencies to hold Intel to account without success.
Villagers have previously asked for basic protection from a chemical plant that sits in their midst.
1) Intel currently holds a minor source permit, like a dry cleaner! Based on this impotent permit, there is no government oversight whatsoever. Intel uses more than 250 volatile organic compounds and emits 95 tons of hazardous waste. Nothing less than a major source permit should have been granted. The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) completely failed to protect the residents surrounding the Intel/Rio Rancho plant.
2) Intel is currently using old and outdated emissions abatement equipment. Cafanow is requesting Intel install new thermal oxidizers and cub scrubbers to make their hazardous chemicals a “little less” hazardous.
Let’s face it, no chemicals are safe. The best we can ask for is to minimize Intel’s chemicals that rain down on villagers on a daily basis.
The chemicals and hazardous waste Intel emits and the concern of marijuana growth in your village addresses the same issues: the health, well-being and property values of your residents.
Ask yourself: is it safe to live under a giant microchip facility that has no governmental oversight whatsoever? If Intel becomes a superfund site, will your home values increase or will Intel leave a giant mess behind as it did in Mountain View, California?
Is living next to a marijuana grow facility safe if they use insecticides and pesticides?
The answer to both is no.
Cafanow is not asking for the removal of Intel! Cafanow is hoping/praying NMED will do the right thing, what they are charged to do: protect the residents surrounding the Intel/Rio Rancho facility. NMED must award nothing less than a major source permit and require the installation of new and updated emissions abatement.
Intel can afford it!
Please join our efforts as we join yours! Go to cafanow.com and sign the petition. Our goal is to reach as many residents who live near and around the Intel/Rio Rancho plant of the dangers of the chemicals being used in their midst.
See our website: Cafanow.com, and note our email address: cafanow @gmail.com
co-chair Clean Air for All Now
I agree with you, Johnny Martinez, it was “gracious” of Jeff Radford to publish your entire commentary (or was it a manifesto?). And that is the only thing I agree with.
If your commentary was meant to insult “newcomers” you have succeeded. You went on and on and on, about how things have changed since we newcomers have arrived. You said you are not the only Corraleño who feel this way. I am glad I was welcomed to Corrales by other Corraleños who do not feel as you do.
I moved to this area because it reminded me of where my dad grew-up in Colorado (“the Valley”). You not only insulted/slandered newcomers but the Village Council and also the mayor, (who many Corraleños voted for). Many of us believe Mayor Roake has done an excellent job as mayor, so she will be missed.
We seniors would like to think that things were better, “in-the-good-old-days.” Perhaps they were, but things do change, no matter where you live. The newcomers you have insulted are the people who have tried to assimilate into the community. Newcomers have supported the village not only monetarily but by giving of themselves (their time).
We newcomers have volunteered; volunteered at the library, senior center (delivering meals, teaching classes, painting, etc.) the old San Ysidro Church (mudding), organizing events, Corrales Historical Society, Village in the Village and St. Nicholas party (keeping the memory of Evelyn Losack alive) as each year newcomers and Corraleños have baked mountains of cookies for the party. Years ago, when we were younger, we newcomers volunteered to clean-up Corrales Road and Loma Larga twice a year. Newcomers have also volunteered/donated to the elementary school (school supplies, helped children improve reading skills, and helped pay for outstanding lunch bills).
Newcomers are regulars at Perea’s, Village Pizza, Frontier Mart, Mercantile, Hannah & Nates, the Bistro Brewery and Sandia Bar when it was open. As well as the galleries, shops, etc.
If you were not so busy finding fault with others you might have noticed newcomers also call on the sick, deliver communion and food, give rides, etc. Instead of complaining I would like to suggest you volunteer/donate. Depending on the COVID restrictions; the school, church, graveyard, Senior Center, and Village in the Village can all can use volunteers (garden work, cleaning, sanitizing).
Mr. Martinez what have you done lately to make the village a better place to live? Your “we-were-here-first” attitude is insulting not only to us newcomers but to the people who were “really” here first. I will go out on a limb and make a wild guess that centuries ago when Europeans were colonizing this area, someone else was here first. Just saying…. In short, things change! Get over it.
Dolores Chavez-Caballero Biehl
This is a needed follow up to my article that in the last issue of the Comment. If you did not read it, I encourage you to read “Elephant in The Room”.
Apparently, it struck a chord as I received numerous emails, was encouraged to run for office and I was even given a lead on securing the Corrales song. If I can get it, I’ll post it on YouTube for all to enjoy.
Here are non-edited excerpts from some of the emails I received:
—“What an unwelcome, and I would guess, prejudiced commentary you wrote. This is a Hispanic MAGA sermon. All was the garden of Eden until the expats (whites) came.”
—“Johnny, I greatly appreciated your recent article in the Comment.”
— “We don’t feel we can honestly call ourselves Correlenos if it's defined by a long family heritage in the village. However, if Correleño is defined by a close knit group of friends who care for each other, we would consider it an honor to proudly wear that term.”
—“Thanks for speaking out in a respectful but honest way.”
—“Many thanks for your essay. It was obviously heartfelt and the result of much reflection, as well as conversations with other long-time Corraleños.”
—“Outstanding article, Johnny.”
—“Thank You for your text. You mentioned your grandparents house burning and I recall that Sunday. My Aunt Sofia and I were walking back home when we saw the smoke. Tia Sofia and Trinidad Perea got together to see what they could do to help your grandparents.”
As I wrote in the previous article, my aim was to expose a contrast of community and culture. As I read the comments emailed to me, I can say that was accomplished, as evidenced by the vastly different takes on my writing. My emphasis was the contrast between people from here who shared community and concern for one another and some people who have moved in but care about their own interests at the expense of others and community harmony.
I never mentioned a resentment for people of any color moving into our village. If you read about our village history, you’ll learn some of our original families were Italian, French, German, and more; we even had a Black mayor. I encourage everyone living here to buy a copy of Mary Pietsch Davis’ book Hometown Corrales, a Family Album.” She wonderfully highlights much of what the different families contributed to Corrales. Let me be clear; bigots of all races are ugly. Race and culture can be vastly different.
Culture is tradition, spirit and personality. Corrales, let’s get back to a culture of “close knit group of friends who care for each other,” as one commented.
Again, I solicit comments, stories and ideas for more articles. You can write me at Corralesstories@gmail.com or by dropping off written correspondence in the Comment’s drop box at the start of the walkway to the office door.
Be well, be a good citizen —a Corraleño!
Jim Crow 2.0?
Support voter rights legislation.
By Stephani Dingreville
A proposal for a new library annex was presented at the January 11 Village Council meeting, along with an appeal for a fund-matching grant. Kristie Gilbert of the Friends of the Corrales Library (FOCL) gave the presentation on behalf of the more than 200-member organization. The annex project has been in the works for over six years, according to Gilbert, and began with the simple desire to replace the shed adjacent to the bandshell in La Entrada Park.
Nearing the end of its lifespan, the shed was continually crammed with books for upcoming library book sales and beginning to fall apart. As described in the proposal for the new annex, the shed is still “overrun with mice” and fear of “a catastrophic roof failure” accompanies each and every storm. As the FOCL came nearer to replacing the existing shed, an unexpected development prompted them to think bigger. Namely, more and more books were being donated every year.
Faced with the overflow of thousands of volumes, the FOCL began to resort to renting a commercial storage space and utilizing the garages of various board members. Then another unexpected development, COVID-19, came to Corrales and the library had to close its doors. Many at FOCL began to dream of outdoor, safer meeting space for people to again enjoy the community spirit of the library.
FOCL’s book storage project began to morph into a bigger animal, a permanent structure that could not only store books but also serve as a community meeting area, a sort of outdoor supplement to the library.
Known as the “Library the People Built,” the Corrales Library was completed in 1979, in a style Gilbert describes as “inward-facing, traditional, and cozy.”
“The library doesn’t really take advantage of our outdoor space,” she concluded.
As the project grew, so too did community interest and funding. In particular, large gifts from the Fred Emerson Kenneth and Genevieve Gillespie estates gave the FOCL the funds it needed to move forward with a bigger plan.
That’s when FOCL sought advice from Corrales Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Siverts on where and how a permanent structure might fit in La Entrada Park.
Siverts advised the FOCL to try to use the existing footprint of the shed and portable restroom, due to the location of sprinklers and utility hookups.
Finally, the current plans for a 950-square foot annex were drawn by Gilbert and Lisa Demarr, a FOCL member and masters-trained architect. They include a space for storing and selling books, a concessions window for use during events, a covered patio with seating, and a permanent public restroom.
Back at the Village Council meeting, support for the project was overwhelming.
Councilor Bill Woldman, who had advised the FOCL during the process, said, “This is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community. I think it’s just a terrific idea.”
Echoing his enthusiasm, Councilor Stuart Murray said, “I would support this 100 percent. I think the attorney should draft a grant for $100,000. I would support it and let it move forward.”
Councilor Mel Knight also approved, but gave a word of caution, saying: “I think it’s a great idea; the only thing is when I was looking at your handout, [the annex] might encroach on the bandshell and we need to keep in mind that a lot of people put a lot of effort into that bandshell.”
And indeed, the proposed structure does encroach on the bandshell’s footprint. During the meeting, Gilbert admitted this might not be ideal. She told the councilors that the FOCL was amenable to the idea of other locations within the park.
Councilor Zach Burkett spoke up, saying “In the model displayed [the Village] would own the land and the money would be transferred to [the Village], so that should open up where we could put [the annex].”
Thus, encouraged by the council’s initial response, the FOCL will continue to move ahead. The next steps could include a presentation to Corrales’ Planning and Zoning Department.
Gilbert admits that the potential use of the adjacent Gonzales field for library parking could open up new possibilities for this project, which may yet change dramatically.
ADOBE THEATER STAGES ‘HONKY TONK HISSY FIT’ JAN.28
Four years ago, the Adobe Theater presented the comedy by Jones Hope Wooten, Doublewide, Texas to sold-out audiences and now the team is back with the sequel, Honky Tonk Hissy Fit. The play runs January 28 through February 20 Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Admission is pay-what-you-will on Thursday, February 17 at 7:30 p.m.
The tiny, but the wacky town has grown to 17 mobile homes and a weekend farmers’ market. But the rug is pulled out from under them once again. It appears their vacation rental trailer has drawn unwanted attention from a mega-corporation in Austin.
Directed by Georgia Athearn, most of the original cast from Doublewide, Texas will be reprising their roles, along with some new actors: Lacey Bingham, Maria Teresa Herrara Bustamante, Deanna Gonzales, Timothy Kupjack, Margie Maes, Joel Miller, Ruben Muller, Diana Segara, and Elisa River Stacy.
The playwrights, Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten are among the most widely-produced playwrights in the United States. They specialize in comedies that involve vivid, strong roles for women.
The Adobe Theater is taking special precautions to ensure the health and wellness of patrons. On top of our normal sanitization practices and using HEPA filters between performances, we will also be using Path-Guard Dry-fog technology. The dry-fog machine has been proven effective against pathogens of fungal, bacterial, viral, and yeast origin including COVID-19 and influenza. All Adobe staff and volunteers (including actors) have been fully vaccinated. All, with the exception of the actors during their performances, will be wearing masks. At this time, we will be requiring proof of COVID vaccinations or negative COVID test results, within 48 hours) to attend all performances. We are also currently limiting our capacity to 70 patrons to allow for social distancing. Ticket holders will need to show proof of COVID vaccination (or negative test results) and picture identification at the door for every scheduled performance. All tickets must be purchased in advance.
DEDE FELDMAN BOOK TALK AT PLACITAS LIBRARY MAR.26
Former State Senator Dede Feldman will talk about her new book, Ten More Doors: politics and the path to change, at the Placitas Library Saturday afternoon, March 26. This is a re-scheduled event. It starts at 2 p.m.
“This is a memoir, written in the first person, not in the journalistic style I used as a journalist and a legislator to explain what happened and why,” Feldman said.
“Like all memoirs, it made me look on the past with new eyes. I am older and, I hope, wiser now than in the 1980s and 1990s when I campaigned hard for progressives and women —who generally lost— and in the 2000s when I began to gain steam as a senator.”
She hopes the book will inspire and encourage activists of all ages. “During these challenging times, it’s hard to find the inspiration and hope we need to keep knocking on doors, to keep working for change in whatever way we can, with the resources we have, starting from our own kitchen table,” she reflected.
“I’ve struggled to do it, and this is my story. I’m hoping it will help others on the same quest.”
Feldman previous books are Inside the New Mexico Senate: boots, suits and citizens and Another Way Forward: grassroots solutions from New Mexico.
CORRALENOS PRODUCE BOOK ON ‘TERRIBLE TRUMP TIME’
Corrales neighbors Kent Blair, long-time Corrales Comment cartoonist, and Lou Christen, who identifies as “the Lone Curmudgeon,” have published an illustrated book of essays mining the politics of the Trump years. Titled The Last Two Years of The Terrible Trump Time ending with one day of Trump-inspired and -led sedition, the 186-page book contains color and black-and-white cartoons featuring comments by the author’s sidekick, Hubris, the thinking horse.
In the book’s introduction, Christen points out “I consider both Democrat and Republican Parties useless, and terribly outdated in satisfying the political-structured needs of our electorate. And I have held that belief for more than the last half-century.”
He adds: “You should know that I consider Donald J. Trump a totally evil human being, and an incredibly shameful, embarrassing president of our country.”
Christen said the essays began as a blog sent only to family members and others who know him well. The book traces his revulsion with Trump and his supporters. “In summary, I’m hoping readers will realize that I believe that a real democracy is, and will be, the best form of government for the United States of America. However, I want that democracy to be a socially responsible democracy. I want our citizens to have the world’s best health care, free, and the world’s best education, free.”
Christen emphasizes that he sees “Donald Trump as a reflection of a significant part of the present American electorate. White supremacy, lust for power and privilege, avarice and greed have their roots in our Constitution, and those factors are still alive and well in our society today.
“And as I write, perhaps too many times in this work, the Civil War isn’t over. It has really never ended. A very significant portion of the American electorate absolutely detests the idea of this country as a democracy.”
In his concluding paragraphs, he argues persuasively that Trump’s presidency wasn’t a political problem; it was, and is, a moral problem. Hatred, avarice, greed and lust for power and privilege are not legal or political issues. They are all moral issues.”
The book can be purchased directly from Christen for $25 by contacting him at email@example.com.
An area of the Bosque Preserve that burned in 2012 has been replanted by volunteers and the Corrales Fire Department as a pilot project.
The project involving the Bosque Advisory Commission, N.M. Tree Stewards and Sandoval County Master Gardeners began December 7. An earlier attempt to restore the burned area was only partially successful.
Materials were donated, including plants and irrigation materials. Trees of Corrales donated 100 native plants in No.5 containers and Mike Halverson, manager at Santa Ana Nursery, donated a dozen cottonwood poles.
The project was initiated by the Corrales Fire Chief, Anthony Martinez, as a pilot for a low-cost, volunteer supported approach to replanting open areas in the bosque. John Thompson and Don Welsh with the Master Gardeners and N.M. Tree Stewards programs teamed with Martinez to begin the project. Initial watering was accomplished from the fire department’s water tanker; going forward the drip irrigation system installed will be watered from cisterns on top of the nearby levee.
“The Three-leaf Sumacs and Golden Currant plants donated by Trees of Corrales are drought tolerant, pollinators, provide food and habitat for animals, and provide color to the bosque understory,” project coordinators explained. “The Rio Grande cottonwood poles provided by Santa Ana Nursery are 12-13-foot cuttings that can be planted in holes reaching down to water table.
“The drip irrigation system is a gravity-fed system using a donated 500-gallon cistern placed on the top of the nearby levy. The height of the levy provides a usable 4-5 pounds per square inch water flow that is sufficient to supply a drip network covering an approximate 10,000 square foot planting area.
“The drip system is needed to establish the 100 native plants but is temporary and can be removed after a year and reused.”
On December 9, volunteers brought in plants, dug holes, planted and watered by hose from a fire truck. Materials for the drip system were donated by Ewing Irrigation Systems. The drip system was installed over the following two weeks with emitters to water each of the hundred plants. Each watering cycle can provide 3-5 gallons per plant. The Corrales Fire Department will refill the cistern as needed to provide regular watering of the plants.
“Cottonwood poles have to be planted into the water table. We used a hand auger to find that the water table was at 9-10 feet deep. Volunteers used the hand auger to drill the dozen holes for the donated cottonwood poles. Chicken wire cages were placed around the cottonwood plants to prevent beaver damage. Wood mulch will be added to the planting area as it becomes available from the Fire Department.
“The completed burn scar replanting area will be monitored on a frequent basis by volunteers who visit the area on a daily basis. Volunteers will check for vandalism, drip function, leaks and plant health.
“At the conclusion of the pilot project, we will be able to project success in terms of plant survivability, cost (with and without material and plant donations) and aesthetic improvement of the burn scar area.
“The pilot project can become a model for a sustainable low-cost replanting program for the Corrales bosque. The team will be seeking long term commitments from nurseries and N.M. Forestry for native plants and will seek commitments from volunteer organizations to provide the labor for planting and on-going monitoring.”
At the Corrales Village Council meeting held on January 11, councillors agreed to repeal a moratorium of cannabis-growing applications. The moratorium, which was imposed November 9, effectively paused all applications for growing cannabis in Corrales for 95 days. This specific length of time was agreed upon so that the councillors could have at least three general meetings to discuss and pass a cannabis-related ordinance, something they finally accomplished at a special meeting held on January 4. Ordinance 21-06, details exactly how cannabis applications are to be handled.
On January 11, all of the councillors except one agreed that the moratorium could be lifted, since the Village now has an effective ordinance to replace the moratorium. Only Councillor Stuart Murray dissented, saying the Village should keep the ordinance in place and “Look at what is in the commercial area that needs a few tweaks.”
“It’s only another 30 days or so,” Murray added, “Why rush it out?”
Councillor Zach Burkett said he agreed with Murray, however he felt their meeting schedule would not allow them to effectively discuss any tweaks before the moratorium ran its natural course.
By Kitty Tynan
Corrales Historical Society Archives Committee
At the end of November, while watching the Corrales Fire Department use the “jaws of life” to open the time capsule from the Village’s 25th anniversary of incorporation, Mayor Jo Anne Roake knew she and her team needed help. To rescue the waterlogged contents of the time capsule, she reached out to Corrales Historical Society (CHS) member Anne Van Camp, a retired professional archivist who had recently moved to Corrales.
After assessing the materials, Van Camp asked for help from the society’s Archives Committee. Mary Davis, long-time unofficial Village historian and I (a retired university librarian) answered the call. We removed the materials to the former Jones residence west of the post office, made available to us by the mayor and Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Siverts, and spread them out to dry.
The three of us quickly determined that the album of photographs was a complete loss. The photos looked like abstract watercolors as the emulsion had melted away. That left two albums of documents.
The papers were spread out over several large tables, interleaved with plain paper to absorb moisture. Blocks of drying documents were gently separated into individual sheets, and plain paper again inserted to continue soaking up the moisture. In this way, over the course of several days, the majority of the documents were salvaged.
Some papers could not be saved, but they could, in most cases, be identified as items (mostly books) that already exist in the CHS archives or as articles from local newspapers that can probably be found and duplicated.
Materials that could not be saved were photographed to document their existence and condition and then discarded to prevent the spread of the mold that was inevitably growing on the damp paper.
As pages were separated or photographed, the group created a descriptive inventory of all the materials. We then took the saved documents to the Village offices and spent several hours carefully photocopying every page. In many cases the photocopies made it possible to read documents that were so badly water damaged that the print was almost illegible.
An article in the December 4 Corrales Comment, reporting on the opening of the time capsule, provided information to help identify many of the lost photographs, and Barbara Williams of the Archives Committee was able to confirm that they are already in the CHS collection.
Among the materials rescued from the time capsule are extensive materials about the plans for the 25th anniversary celebration, planning and advertising materials for the Corrales Harvest Festival, documents regarding the Village’s incorporation, materials about the organization and early meetings of Corrales Horse and Mule People (CHAMP), information about local businesses, and a directory of all residents of the Village.
Sadly, some original handwritten items could not be saved. Most notably, there was a spiral bound notebook that was completely fused together. If anyone knows what that notebook contained, please reach out to the CHS Archives (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Village will receive a copy of the inventory as well as the photocopies of the salvaged documents. Corrales Historical Society will also keep copies. In addition, copies of some of the materials will be given to the organizations that originally donated them.
We’ve learned some lessons for the 50th anniversary of Corrales’ incorporation time capsule, for which materials are being collected:
Anyone with suggestions for what to include in the 50th anniversary time capsule should email Village Clerk Melanie Romero, (email@example.com)
Mayor Jo Anne Roake has urged her staff to propose big projects for which funds might be requested during the 30-day session of N.M. The legislature began on January 18.
Legislators anticipate unusually large revenues that could be divvied up. Some of those billions would come from federal sources and other dollars from oil and gas production.
The mayor and councilors discussed funding requests at their January 11 meeting when Roake reported that legislators are expecting “literally a tsunami of money.”
Under those conditions, Village Administrator Ron Curry urged, department heads of Village government should “go big or go home.”
Among the projects mentioned at that council meeting was full funding for the proposed new gym at the rec center, expansion of the Village’s sewer lines, better broadband service, and conversion of the old Jones residence west of the post office to better municipal use.
That latter site has been indicated for a performing arts center. In mid-January, it was rumored that Mayor Roake would request an appropriation to build a 15,000 square foot facility there.
Not specifically mentioned at that council meeting but perennial projects for which funds are sought include:
In past years, Village officials mostly have relied on legislators choosing what to fund from Corrales Infrastructure Capital Improvements Project (ICIP) list.
In 2020, the Village listed the following needs on its ICIP list. It said an estimated $10,740,000 would be needed for municipal projects and upgrades.
The Village Council adopts an ICIP list yearly. In theory, no project gets funded through N.M. Legislature unless it is specified in such a plan. At its September 8, 2020 session, the council approved a plan which gave priority to the following:
Farther down the ranked list of projects was:
Several of those projects have since received the funding needed to proceed. But many have been on recurring ICIPs for years while their rank has risen or fallen as other needs surfaced.
At the January 11 Village Council meeting, Corrales Fire Department Battalion Commander Tanya Lattin gave a longer presentation than usual about COVID-19 in Corrales. Lattin reported an unprecedented spike in COVID cases here. November of 2021was previously the worst month of the pandemic, with a total of 82 positive cases recorded. At the council meeting, Lattin said 45 positive cases had been reported just in the first six days of January.
The resulting case-per-day average jumped from 2.73 in November to 7.5 in those early days of 2022. And that important statistic has continued its upward trajectory. As of Wednesday, January 12, 127 positive cases had been reported in Corrales, resulting in a case-per-day average of 10.6.
As of January 17, the N.M. Department of Health reported Corrales had 808 cases of COVID. In a speech given January 13, President Joe Biden announced that New Mexico will be one of six hard-hit states to receive a team of federal medical personnel to assist in hospitals.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham put out a press release that same day, saying, “I am grateful to President Biden and our federal partners for their continued support in our ongoing battle against COVID-19, New Mexico health care workers are counting on each and every one of us to do our part to ease their burden —get vaccinated, get boosted, and mask up.”
Back in Corrales, Commander Lattin was frank about the rise in cases, saying, “If I could stay home, I would! Unfortunately, the fire department is busier than it has ever been.”
And indeed, the other part of her presentation detailed the extraordinary effort the fire department has been making to protect Corrales citizens, and others, from this virus.
As of January 6, the Corrales vaccine site has administered a total of 11,776 vaccines; 1,106 of those vaccines have gone to children ages 5-11.
Lattin emphasized the importance of wearing a good mask, either a KN95 or N95, when going inside a building and even when outside in a crowd.
With the national government offering free at-home tests online at COVIDTESTS.gov as of January 19, Lattin requests that villagers report any positive at-home tests online at nmnotify.com, a confidential mobile application that will notify persons they have been in contact with for 15 minutes or more for a period of two days prior to your positive test.
In her weekly newsletter, Corrales Mayor Jo Anne Roake gave the following advice, “We all know COVID is rampant and Omicron is sweeping our state, including Corrales.
“The guidance is just plain confusing. But this is clear: if you are vaccinated and boosted you will overwhelmingly get a mild case. If you are not vaccinated you will get sicker, require hospitalization more often, and you even risk death. What a pointless waste of life. Support Corrales: get vaccinated and boosted!”
The long-proposed senior living project at the corner of Corrales Road and Dixon Road inched closer to approval at the January 11 Village Council meeting when councillors expressed support —if it can be shown consistent with Corrales’ one dwelling per acre rule. That’s likely to be difficult since the proposal by Frank Steiner, owner of the site where Sunbelt Nursery is now, has made it clear that the project is to build 10 separate residences as a series of five duplexes on that 1.89-acre site.
Steiner has been persistent in demonstrating community support for his idea. It has been strongly endorsed by Village in the Village (ViV) for more than two years; the proposal to the council January 11 was presented by that non-profit’s Lawrence Blank. Also submitted were results of an online petition signed by more than 200 villagers. Notable among them were: Marg Elliston, Sue Evatt, Hope Gray, Jim Wright, Jerry Dusseau, Chris Allen, Chris Wentz, Susan Cahill, Bob Zachary, Hoyt Hart, Ben Blackwell and Greg Foltz.
The mayor and council were given a similar presentation last month. This time Steiner and ViV urged a specific action by the council to move the project along: approve a special use permit and recommend it to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Steiner suggested a year ago that “We need a majority of the councillors to vote for approval of this project and direct P&Z to offer the appropriate zoning solution.”
Councillors took no formal action on the request at the January 11 meeting. But Mayor Jo Anne Roake said Village Attorney Randy Autio would be directed to consider how the project might move ahead in collaboration with the P&Z board.
Councillor Zach Burkett seemed to speak for fellow councillors when he remarked “I like this issue a lot. But we need to consider what precedent we might set. We need to find a way to make this work.”
But, he added, “Maybe we’re opening a can of worms.”
Councillor Stuart Murray also urged caution. “This could open a Pandora’s Box because it clearly violates our one-acre zoning ordinance.”
Murray also questioned the need for an application for a special use (SU) permit through the P&Z commission, since Village ordinances already allow an applicant to seek that designation.
Councillor Bill Woldman added, “I’d very much like to see the Village move forward on this.”
The Village Attorney said he would consult with P&Z to “see what the most direct route is to address this. It’s not a cut-and-dry issue.”
Mayor Roake said this kind of conflict might best be addressed through a long-delayed revision to the Corrales Comprehensive Plan. By state law, such plans are supposed to be the basis for municipal government policies and ordinances.
A decade ago, Village government went to extraordinary lengths to approve a much larger senior living project on 22 acres of the old Sandia View Academy property. (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXVIII, No. 2, March 7, 2009 “Proposal Would Turn Old Sandia View Academy Into Senior Living.”)
Despite Village approvals, the earlier project failed because the developer could not get the financing needed through the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency.
In 2009, the P&Z commission was asked for a zone change for the 22 acres along with two variances. One variance was to allow the developers to exceed the Village’s limits on structure height and the other on the length of time allowed to complete construction on elements of the site plan.
Eventually, Village officials found ways to permit the project, but it died without the financing.
With Steiner’s project, he said it would be developed through financing he himself would arrange.
The floor plan for the dwellings he proposed shows two bedrooms, two baths, kitchen, living room and dining room with another wing with bathrooms and kitchen separated by a two-car garage. Those features are enclosed within 1,290 square feet.
Steiner said his units would be “designed around senior living accommodations as defined by AARP,” including being wheelchair accessible and age-friendly bathroom facilties. The dwellings would also have “solar power with electric vehicle charging stations; installed greywater recycling system with up to 45 percent recapture of used water,” a waste water system that discharges to the municipal sewer line, and a “pet relief area with a synthetic grass cover over a catch basin that drains into the sewer line is planned.”
Addressing another contemporary issue, he said all “perimeter walls will be see-through to allow viewing of the extensive park-like landscaping.”
He said all maintenance on the units and grounds would be performed by the landlord.
In his presentation, Steiner argued his project would actually decrease development density in the commercial area. “It will not jeopardize the residential neighborhood zoning of one dwelling per acre. We meet the P&Z requirement of a maximum of 35 percent lot coverage, and we are actually building less density than the commercial development just to the south of our property.”
The abandoned 2009 Sandia View Academy project included development of a vacant area of the Seventh Day Adventists’ property sold to partners David Dronet and David Abel.
That area south of the old school complex was to have been for independent living units referred to in promotional material as “The Villas in Corrales.”
(See Corrales Comment Vol.XXVIII No.14 September 5, 2009 “High-Density Residential Okayed South of Sandia View Academy.”)
The would-be developers’ Corrales Senior Living website described that component of the 22-acre development as follows. “The Villas is a unique community for seniors that provides all of the amenities and services its residents and members desire. Located on a one-of-a-kind 22-acre campus in the heart of Corrales, New Mexico, its residents will have access to concierge services, a bar/lounge, a cafe, a full services restaurant, over two acres of gardens, walking paths, outdoor and rooftop patios, a salon, computer lounge, transportation services, a banquet hall for events, and a wide variety of activities including fitness, cooking and art classes.
“As the only retirement community of its kind in the State of New Mexico, The Villas will provide independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing services with no entry fee required. Anticipated opening: Spring 2013. Reservations are currently being accepted for both phase 1 and phase 2 of the The Villas.”
On the main part of the old Sandia View Academy, elderly residents requiring more intense care would have been housed and treated. Developers proposed a full-service pharmacy there which could also serve other village residents.
With the Planning and Zoning Commission action August 27, 2009, a high-density residential project that would not likely have been permitted in any other part of Corrales was approved on Seventh Day Adventist property because it was a component of a proposed 22-acre senior living complex.
The P&Z Commission approved a site development plan for the acreage that includes the existing Sandia View Academy facilities and now-vacant land to the south where “independent living” housing would be developed at a density of approximately eight dwelling units per acre.
The plan presented by developer David Dronet also won a unanimous recommendation that the Village Council grant a zone change to “municipal use” which, according to a Zoning Ordinance amendment that summer, included senior living facilities.
In a clean-sweep victory before P&Z, the developers also got the variance requested to take longer than two years to complete components of the site plan.
The townhouses for “independent living” shown in the site plan were in a second phase. The Zoning Ordinance amendment specified that such senior living facilities would have a restriction that at least 90 percent of the residents had to be aged 62 or older.
By Jeff Radford
Even as Intel readied its production lines to produce its new, stacked photonic computer chips, the factory on the escarpment above Corrales was running at 89.2 percent of capacity this month. Intel officials declined to say when they will begin mass producing the new chips, but conceded at their December 15 Community Environmental Working Group (CEWG) Zoom meeting that chemical emissions will increase when that happens.
According to draft minutes of that meeting, a CEWG member from Corrales, Dennis O’Mara, asked whether Intel would release emissions above current levels as a result of the expansion. Intel’s primary representative on the committee, Sarah Chavez, replied that “Intel expected emissions to increase as the existing technology became operational.”
According to draft minutes, O’Mara, who moved here after retiring from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asked Chavez for a ball park estimate of how much the emissions into the air would increase. She said she could not answer because Intel “did not know what the future would look like.”
Market forces affecting demand for the new chips presumably would drive production levels. Chavez then declined to say when production of those chips is expected to begin, saying that was confidential information which, if disclosed, might give chip competitors an advantage. Although the air above Corrales may become more polluted with waste industrial chemicals in the months ahead, villagers got better news early in January when Intel announced it will begin getting water needed for chip production from two Rio Rancho wells six miles away.
Over time, that should allay Corraleños’ concerns over depletion of the aquifer from which domestic wells pump. For more than a decade, Intel has pumped an estimated two to three million gallons of water every day. In 2020 Intel pumped more than 756 million gallons of groundwater, or more than two million gallons a day.
According to the project announced January 6, the two City of Rio Rancho wells six miles to the west that were abandoned due to excess arsenic levels will begin delivering water to Intel by the end of 2022.
O’Mara told Corrales Comment that Intel has signaled it will no longer pump potable water, which, presumably means that by early 2023, Intel will no longer pump from its own wells above Corrales.
More immediately, he and others in the newly-reconstituted Clean Air for All Now (formerly Corrales Residents for Clean Air and Water) citizens’ group are demanding that the N.M. Environment Department (NMED) Air Quality Bureau regulate Intel as a major source of pollution.
More than a decade ago, the bureau initiated a “major source” permit for Intel, but that was quashed by Intel. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXII No.17 October 19, 2013 First in a four-part series “Intel Will Be Regulated As Major Source of Air Pollution.” and Vol.XXXIV No.7 May 23, 2015 “Intel No Longer Regulated as Major Pollution Source.”)
The “major source” permit for Intel was revoked on August 6, 2014 at Intel’s request when state regulation reverted to the earlier “minor source” permit No. 325.
Back in 2004, the bureau’s Jim Shively insisted Intel’s air pollution permit had to be withdrawn and developed anew.
A former bureau permit enforcement manager, Debby Brinkerhoff, told Corrales Comment at the time that 80 percent of the bureau’s staffers supported Shively’s position. She cited incidents in which she was directly involved where NMED higher-ups aborted enforcement action against Intel when stack tests revealed excessive acid gas emissions. “We were never allowed to issue a notice of violations,” Brinkerhoff recalled in 2004.
But the political hierarchy within State government with rare exceptions declined to take corrective steps.
Shively said the political courage within NMED to call for corrections was lacking. “In my gut, I think they know this permit is not right and needs to be re-opened. But I don’t think they want to go there.
“To re-open this permit is not a safe thing for them to do. There’s a risk involved [for NMED officials]. This is a large, influential corporation, and there’s a risk involved if you mess with them.”
Scuderi also questioned her about modeling for State-regulated toxins not covered by EPA regulations. He pointed out that results of modeling for New Mexico’s list of toxic air pollutants (TAPs) are not in the pending permit. He said it was not clear whether Intel maintained it did not emit any of those more than 500 carcinogens listed, or that the expansion would not change what is being released now. Chavez replied that Intel does release some of those TAP chemicals, but none of them above a level that would need to be modeled.
Days after he retired in 2004, Shively wrote a letter to N.M. Environment Secretary Ron Curry —now Corrales’ Village Administrator— outlining his concerns about the Intel permit.
In his letter, Shively gave reasons why he considered the current air pollution permit to be a sham, as defined by a federal policy memorandum.
“The permit is impractical and unenforceable. This has been repeated and emphasized many times and by many people during the review process and since.”
Shively’s 2004 letter said he had supplied the names of 16 other former NMED employees who shared his concerns about the Intel permit and how it was approved.
Shively said the permit “is written with the emission factors provided by Intel that have never been independently validated. The department cannot determine Intel’s air emissions, nor can the factors or emissions be determined with any real confidence or precision.”
The result, Shively pointed out, was that “Intel can’t be found in violation of the emission limits in the permit. Only Intel knows the origin or validity of the factors.”
Intel’s Permit No. 325-Modification 9, approved in March 2000 to cover the massive Fab 11-X expansion, was based almost entirely on calculating emissions of industrial pollutants, rather than measuring them. Those calculations were based on “emission factors,” or multipliers, generated at Intel’s research and development facility in Oregon.
Documents and notes in the N.M.Air Quality Bureau files on the Intel permit as far back at 1994 reveal that Shively repeatedly sought independent verification of those emissions factors.
Unless the bureau had some means of checking or validating the emissions factors, he said, state regulators were left only with Intel’s word that emissions did not exceed limits set in the permit.
NMED Secretary Curry took no action back in 2004 when Shively and other Air Quality Bureau officials and former officials urged that a more protective permit be written for Intel’s operations here.
In subsequent years, Curry was appointed regional administrator for EPA’s office in Dallas.
Back in 1994, when Curry was NMED’s deputy secretary, he said state regulators were wary and uncertain about prospects for imposing restrictions on Intel. (See Corrales Comment Vol. XIII, No.13 August 20, 1994 “Intel, Corrales In Step For Tighter Air Quality Regulations.”)
“We knew they were big and getting bigger,” Curry recalled in 1994. “Intel was like a giant gorilla, and we weren’t sure how to get a hold of this gorilla; we didn’t know if this gorilla would let us get hold of it.”
Rio Rancho realtor Marcy Brandenburg, who attended the December 2021 CEWG meeting, observed “Intel needs to quit talking about how they follow the rules when there are literally no rules to follow. The EPA is a sieve.”
The old “minor source” permit issued by the N.M. Air Quality Bureau allowed Intel to release to the air up to 24 tons annually of federally-designated Hazardous Air Pollutants, more tons of state-designated Toxic Air Pollutants, 96.5 tons a year of volatile organic compounds (mostly solvents) and 14.2 tons yearly of particulate matter (mostly silica dust).
The air pollution permit that Intel now seeks to receive will not be subject to a public hearing unless citizens demand it. Those emissions ceilings would not change under the proposed permit, but Intel tends to demonstrate that it will meet state and federal air quality regulations by submitting results of computer modeling for emissions dispersal.
Another Corrales participant in the CEWG meetings, Louis Scuderi, will analyze those modeled air pollution results. He is a University of New Mexico geology professor who has specialized in remote sensing and global positioning systems. He is studying the effects of Intel’s chemical emissions on vegetation in the surrounding area.
O’Mara explained that Intel and NMED have agreed that a new permit is not needed, since the chip-maker would keep the existing pollution control equipment and add one new incinerator to burn off volatile organic compounds.
“Instead they are moving a number of the existing thermal oxidizers and scrubbers from the southern part of the campus to the north end where the new production is going to take place,” he said.
Scuderi has sent an extensive critique of the application to NMED and has demanded that they provide him with the modeling done by the Intel contractor.
The next CEWG meeting will be held February 16 starting at 5:15 p.m. It has usually met at the Corrales Senior Center, although its meetings are now via Zoom. A long-time member of that group, Hugh Church, representing the local branch of the American Lung Association, died January 4. Another long-time CEWG member, air pollution dispersion modeler Mike Williams, died in December.
At the December CEWG meeting, Chavez said NMED had asked Intel to do computer modeling for pollution dispersion since a lot of equipment has been relocated.
At that meeting, Scuderi questioned Chavez closely about the modeling and asked for a copy of the complete report. He was told he could request that from NMED. He said he was concerned that almost all of the pollution control equipment was to be moved to the northern part of the Intel campus, thereby concentrating a high number of pollution sources in one small area.
Scuderi has reported effects from Intel’s pollution at his home near the top of Tierra Encantada. At the December CEWG meeting, he criticized the modeling for not addressing possible recombination of concentrated emissions from multiple units in a small area with other toxic chemicals.
It was an issue that Corrales residents have raised repeatedly since 2000; although Intel insists it does not use certain toxic chemicals, they have been detected in the air around Intel, possibly having been formed inside air ducts or in the open air.
At the CEWG meeting, Chavez responded to Scuderi that Intel’s waste chemicals are not mixing to form other toxins.
Former Mayor Gary Kanin is seeking another term in that position, although it’s been 12 years since he stepped down. He was mayor from 1991, when then-Mayor John Callan resigned, to 2006, when he decided not to seek another term but ran for a seat on the Village Council instead.
He came in third, behind Jim Fahey and Bonnie Gonzales. He faces Fahey again, this time for mayor, in the March 1 elections.
A third candidate for mayor, Elizabeth Marshall, withdrew.
Three positions on the Village Council are also at stake. Only one of those council seats, to represent District 3, has an incumbent: Mel Knight. She has a challenger, Andy Dilts.
In Council District 1, in the northwest area of the village, Kevin Lucero chose not to seek another term, leaving a vacancy for candidates Cory Frantz and Rick Miera. A third candidate in that district, James Ward, withdrew.
And in District 4, west of Loma Larga in neighborhoods north and south of West Meadowlark Lane, the sitting councillor, Tyson Parker, is not seeking re-election. But a former councillor for that district, John Alsobrook, is seeking the seat again and faces Courtenay Eichhorst, son of former Councillor Bob Eichhorst.
Terms are not expiring for Councillors Bill Woldman, Stu Murray and Zach Burkett, nor for Municipal Judge Michelle Frechette.
Candidate profiles for the competitive races will be published in a later issue; here, only brief biographical sketches are provided, mostly based on information the candidates submitted.
In the mayor’s race, both Fahey and Kanin are retired. Kanin was an advertising account executive for KOAT-TV. Fahey was a surgeon with a practice in
Fahey served for 12 years on the council. He has also been elected to several terms on the board of directors for the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority for which he is now chairman.
Kanin’s long run as mayor initiated many of the community’s most popular programs, such as the Bosque Preserve, buying land for the rec center and bringing the south end of Corrales into Sandoval County. He has lived here since 1965. Kanin has been known as a fighter to retain Corrales’ one dwelling per acre rule, so resurgence of the casitas issue may have motivated his re-engagement. He’s also motivated by a desire to retain Corrales’ rural character.
In District 1, Cory Frantz is a 17-year Corrales resident who has worked in customer service for major multinational corporations. She continues to work full time. Frantz holds a degree in business administration with a focus in marketing from Mercer University, and has completed coursework for a master’s in business administration at Loyola University.
“This skill set developed over several decades will help to achieve responsive, beneficial resolution of issues facing the citizens of Corrales,” Frantz said.
Also seeking the District 1 seat is Rick Miera who ran for N.M. lieutenant governor in 2018. He has worked as a therapist, drug counselor and program administrator for more than 40 years, working primarily with youth and at-risk groups.
In District 3, Mel Knight seeks a new term on the council. She moved to New Mexico more than 40 years ago after earning a master’s degree in speech pathology. “When I was working at Albuquerque Public Schools, I came on a field trip to Corrales and fell in love with the open space and greenery,” the Chicago native recalled.
Knight has served on the Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission, the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Corrales Historical Society and Friends of Corrales Library, among other volunteer groups.
A second candidate for the District 3 seat, Andy Dilts, is a design engineer at Sandia Labs. He holds degrees in electrical engineering. He moved from the Chicago area to Albuquerque in 2001. After marrying here and starting a family which now includes five children, the couple bought a lot in Corrales in 2012 and have lived here since 2015.
“The primary issue that led me to run for Village Council is commercial cannabis in residential areas. While this issue was voted on during the special session, I doubt that it is entirely laid to rest as state regulations are still in flux. Cannabis is not traditional farming!”
In Council District 4, the sitting councillor has chosen not to run for a new term. But a former councillor for that district, John Alsobrook, is.
He had to resign in 2016 for his work as director of a research lab was in Seattle.
The Adaptive Biotechnologies lab at which he works focuses primarily on the human body’s response to cancer cells, particularly leukemia. He now directs the program remotely.
After five years as a bio-medical research scientist at the Yale Medical School, Alsobrook jumped into the burgeoning gene-focused bio-tech industry in 2000.
In 2005, he joined the Albuquerque-based Exagen Diagnostics firm, and moved his family into a home on Corrales’ Coronado Road in spring 2006.
Alsobrook took a seat on the Village Council in 2008, eventually winning two terms.
Another well-known name is a candidate for the District 4 council seat: Courtenay Eichhorst. For more than six years, the Cibola High graduate has been the business manager for the Local 412 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union. He began an apprenticeship in that trade in 2001 after earning a degree at New Mexico State University.
His father, Bob Eichhorst, served on the Village Council in its early days as a municipality, and his mother, Susi Eichhorst, was for decades the best-known person at Corrales Elementary School.
The candidate serves as chairman on the N.M. Workers Compensation Advisory Council, appointed by Governor Susanna Martinez. He was appointed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to the N.M. Apprenticeship Technical advisory Council.
Early voting for the March 1 municipal election starts February 1.