Posts in Category: 2022 – May 21

ISSUE 05-21-22 VIV GOLDEN YEARS IN THE VILLAGE

By Sarah Pastore

Executive Director, Village in the Village

Paying it Forward Pays Off With ViV

What one thing does every human on the planet have in common? In today’s polarizing times, it can be difficult to think of anything, but if you answered, “We’re all aging,” you’d be correct!

May is national Older Americans Month —notable in Corrales since 30 percent of our residents are 65 and older. The Administration for Community Living leads this observance, choosing a different theme each year. The 2022 theme is “Aging My Way” and focuses on aging in place —how seniors can stay in their homes, plan for their futures and remain involved in their communities.

The White House Proclamation for Older Americans Month begins with this statement from President Joe Biden: “During Older Americans Month, we honor our nation’s seniors and the tremendous impact they have made in helping build a more perfect Union. Older Americans contribute their time and wisdom to make our communities stronger, more informed, and better connected. They are our loved ones, friends, mentors, essential workers, volunteers and neighbors.

“We celebrate their achievements and recommit to providing our elders with the support and services they need to thrive and age with dignity.”

Since 2014, Village in the Village (ViV) has helped senior Corraleños do this very thing: achieve their goals in aging well. This is something that looks different for everyone; after all, we’re all doing it at different rates, under different circumstances, and with different beliefs and resources. ViV member Vicki Dow shared her unique perspective on aging: “I hope to live my best life in the home I’ve built, with friends around me. My greatest fear is becoming isolated because of hearing loss, vision loss, or an illness.”

When asked how ViV fits into her plans to age at home, she said “ViV gives me hope that I will have help in transitioning more gradually than previously possible. It gives me hope that should I be left alone, there will be a safety net.”

Another member, Barry Abel, said aging his way means taking things at his own pace, making informed decisions about his health and activities, and living independently in his own house as long as he’s physically and mentally up to continuing to do so.

Since ViV’s inception, members Laura Smith and Chuck Elliott were incredibly active in the organization. Most notably, Laura was a Members & Volunteers Committee co-chair, Chuck served as president, and they both contributed a great deal on the board of directors.

They valued their contributions to the community and considered it a way to “pay it forward” to a time when they’d need services themselves. This year, they became full members of ViV and have experienced the benefits of their previous volunteerism. Laura commented, “The transition from supporting members to full members was easy because we’re able to ask for help from current friends and neighbors. It’s no problem to ask for a ride or a bit of help around the house when you know that you’ve been an active volunteer in the past. ViV has become a wonderful support when our lives were upended by a curveball.”

Regardless of your age, I encourage you to think about what it means to you to “age your way.” Whatever successful aging means to you; does the way you live now help you to accomplish the outcomes you desire in the future?

Aging can come with many surprises, but by making plans and building relationships before they’re needed, we can face unexpected challenges with greater confidence and support. For more information about how ViV helps Corrales residents age well, visit our website at http://www.villageinthevillage.org or call (505) 274-6206.

ISSUE 05-21-22 MOVIE REVIEWS

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness  Directed by Sam Raimi. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen. Plugs: Just the usual franchise stuff. Nearest: Cottonwood Mall. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness begins with ex-surgeon-turned-magical superhero Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a guest at a tony cocktail party interrupted by a monster tearing up the city for no apparent reason. He leaps into action, literally, and is soon rescuing a teen named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez).

America, it’s soon revealed, is from another universe and is being hunted by another powerful magical hero, the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), who wants to be reunited with her two sons in another universe. The Witch wants America’s powers and is willing to destroy the world to get them.

Or something like that.

There are different versions of Doctor Strange and the other characters, some personal moments, a dash of humor, and so on. It’s all a little fuzzy but the plot is just an excuse to stage a series of dramatic battles and meet a variety of superheroes setting up spinoffs.

 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the latest in a series of films that take advantage of multiple universes, or multiverses, as plot devices. There was of course 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and more recently Everything Everywhere All At Once.

Incidentally, for those interested, there is a grain of truth to the multiple universes idea in theoretical physics, which uses mathematical models to explain and predict natural phenomena. Some experts —the ones who do this for a living, not the ones who go down the conspiracy rabbit hole on YouTube— believe that if one or more parallel universe exist, they might be detected through minute fluctuations in a gravity field on a quantum scale.

The multiple universes idea is a possibility —not a proven fact— and even if they exist, there’s no reason in the world (or, I guess, universes) to assume they’d be copies of our universe or the people that inhabit it. If these other worlds exist, they’re not just duplicates or variations of our world. But it’s fun fiction.

 Unlike most superheroes, Doctor Strange does a lot of dramatic gesturing. He’s not slinging webs or tossing hammers or shields around, he’s summoning colored light patterns that read onscreen as attacks or defenses. It looks cool, but reveals a cinematic character limitation. If a battle is fought with brute force or weapons, for example, it’s usually pretty clear who has the advantage: the character with the most strength, skill or weaponry. But because magic power is unseen on screen —and without the benefit of videogame-like power bars— it’s hard to really know where the heroes and villains stand. A warrior who loses his sword in battle is at a disadvantage, but a spell-casting magician may always have some different magic up his or her costumed sleeve to save the day.

There’s a little too much leeway for (literal) deus ex machina rescues for my taste; we know that Green Arrow is in trouble when he runs out of arrows and Superman is in dire straits when a chunk of kyptonite is lobbed at him. But with magical characters it’s never quite clear when they’re in peril; just when all seems lost they can just grimace harder, recall an ultra-earnest life lesson, and resolutely shoot more CGI lightning from their hands to save the day.

In a film of magic and multiverses, 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? This isn’t to criticize the characters, but merely to explain why the stakes are hard to judge in the battles, which take up much of its bloated, bladder-busting two-hour-plus runtime.

 As it happened, just before I saw Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness I had come from a talk by local puppeteer Michael McCormick, who described and showed his work on the films The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Virtually all the special effects in those films were practical —that is, not computer generated but real: real elaborate sets, real puppets hiding real actors, real stuntpeople, and so on.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is an amazing special effects achievement. The visuals are cutting edge and awe-inspiring, but in the end the audiences know that much of what we’re seeing, as genuinely impressive as it is, isn’t real. It also puts the actors at a disadvantage —reacting to imagined greenscreen threats instead of other actors— but the cast does a good job.

 Not only is Strange relegated to generic gesturing, but also extensive exposition. In order to help the audience figure out what the hell is going on, why they’re heading into one or another universe, Strange has to explain it to his companions (or, even sometimes to himself). The result is a bit clunky, but necessary to fill the formulaic mandate.

 I often dislike time travel films because they often serve as a deus ex machina plot device, serving to create (or tidily wrap up) any conflicts or problems. For the same reason I’ve never been fond of superheroes who are also gods (such as Thor, Storm, and Wonder Woman) or are otherwise magical (such as Doctor Strange) because their nature seems like a cheat. They’re not aliens (such as Superman), nor are they ordinary folk enhanced by technology (Batman, Iron Man, and Captain America), nor victims of power-providing scientific mishap (Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four). No, these are presumably immortal figures whose powers are vast and whose vulnerabilities are murky, reducing the emotional stakes.

 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is full of spectacle and sound (bring earplugs if you’re sensitive to loud noises), and a reasonably entertaining summer tentpole superhero movie if you don’t expect much.

Benjamin Radford

ISSUE 05-21-22 COMMENTARY

By Andrew Stone

Solar Capitalism

There is a solution to our climate crisis and we've known it for years and it comes up every morning. The sun.

Adam Smith, the founder of the free market ideals, would not recognize what passes as capitalism today: monopoly energy markets, huge government corporate subsidies, tariffs and other “field tilting mechanisms.” Therefore I propose a more evolved form of capitalism based on the sun.

The sun falls upon all of us quietly, peacefully and ubiquitously. 

  • every day trillions of watts of energy fall on the planet from the sun, causing weather, wind and waves —all sources of daily renewable energy 
  • a truly sustainable civilization will live on this daily energy budget
  • a peaceful civilization requires equity and shared ownership & responsibility .

Has our haste to embrace the next cool clickable thing taken away our ability to do long term planning and execution? I find that healing from our societal madness means returning to basic principles:

  • live simply so others can simply live;
  • collect relationships not things; and
  • remember the majesty of existence and expect the miracle

That last one evokes pronoia, that unshakable notion that the universe is out to help you at every turn!

What if humans cannot make the next step in evolution as a species, that of global cooperation and mutual enhancement and beyond war, unless some insane, species-threatening circumstances came to push us forward? Maybe climate change is the Mother Earth’s/God’s way of saying “Grow up, work together or perish!?”

Let’s take that step together and understand that:

  • now is the time to invest in the transition 
  • global forces want our N.M. solar
  • NM sunshine could lift our state but...
  • ... we must come together in our communities and build our solar as a community with the benefits flowing to our people. We can stand up and do this for ourselves. 

The Old Testament is adamant about the unrighteousness of collecting interest. And yet the modern reality of private equity that seeks huge yields, is causing massive societal inequities. The happy medium between these extremes is what I call solar capitalism, where the benefits are shared among all the participants in the creation and use of a solar facility. 

Those who know me know I spent most of my career in software, so I have an affinity for clever people and memorable acronyms. Solar Capitalism requires T.E.C.H. 

T Transparency 

E Equity 

C Community 

H Holism 

Holism is the perspective on the human condition that assumes that mind, body, individuals, society and the environment inter-penetrate, and even define one another. In anthropology,  holism tries to integrate all that is known about human beings and their activities.

Community is the local part of the human super organism that must be resilient and able to mutually aid ourselves as we weather the effects of the fossil fuel age. Community is the touchstone for our way forward and now is the time to reinvigorate it, in all your circles.

Equity has several overlaid meanings. In law: fair and impartial. In finance: ownership of assets. When you combine meanings to get solar capitalism: Fair ownership of energy assets.

Transparency is our tool to understand “fair.”

Of course a just and fair society requires those with resources to meet their responsibility. And consider this: what good will your piled up wealth be in a climate disrupted world? What will be your legacy if your grandchildren know you knew what was going on but did nothing but support the status quo? 

This is the challenge of our time: to take stock of where we went off the tracks and do our best to get back on that train to glory.

ISSUE 05-21-22 BEN RADFORD’S NEWEST BOOK ‘AMERICA THE FEARFUL’

Corrales author Benjamin Radford, Corrales Comment’s long-time movie reviewer, has a new book out, America The Fearful.

“Combining media literacy, folklore, investigative journalism, psychology, neuroscience and critical thinking approaches, this book reveals the powerful fole that fear plays in clouding perceptions about the United States,” Radford explained.

He said fears about crime, immigrants, police and societal conflicts have been pervasive in this country during this century. “Many of these fears begin as mere phantom fears, but are systematically amplified by social media, news media, bad actors and even well-intentioned activists.”

Radford, managing editor for the national science magazine Skeptical Inquirer, majored in psychology at the University of New Mexico and later earned a master’s degree in education at the University of Buffalo. This summer, he will earn another master’s degree, in public health, from Dartmouth College.

“This book examines the role of fear in national panics and addresses why many Americans believe the country is in horrible shape and will continue to deteriorate, despite contradictory evidence.

“Political polarization, racism, sexism, economic inequality and other social issues are examined in my new book, which also offers evidence-based solutions.”

The 234-page book is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and other retail outlets.

The author attended Corrales Elementary, Taylor Middle School and Cibola High.

Among nearly two dozen other books published by the author are Tracking the Chupacabra: the vampire beast in fact, fiction and folklore, Investigating Ghosts: the scientific search for spirits and Big —If True: adventures in oddity.

ISSUE 05-21-22 LOS CORRALITOS 4-H MEMBER NATASHA KWIATKOWSKI ATTENDS DC CONFERENCE

Corrales 4-H member Natasha Kwiatkowski helped raise the organization’s flag outside the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the nation’s capital in March while on a scholarship to participate in the National 4-H Conference.

The flag flew right below the American flag

The Cibola High senior is a member of Los Corralitos 4-H Club. She was one of five New Mexican club members to attend and the only one from Sandoval County. She was among more than 200 4-Hers from around the country.

On March 21, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke to the visitors.  Shortly thereafter, the department announced that $10 million would be directed to youth organizations including the 4-H.

Part of the program included advice on how young people could start their own businesses and how to work with government programs and regulations.

ISSUE 05-21-22 HYPERSPECTRAL IMAGING RESEARCH GRANT TO NMSU

A team from the New Mexico State University College of Engineering has been tasked with developing machine learning algorithms in support of national defense. Professor David Voelz has been awarded a two-year grant for nearly $300,000 from the Office of Naval Research for the project titled “Machine Learning-Based Turbulence Analysis and Mitigation for Hyperspectral Imaging.” Collaborating are Associate Professor Laura Boucheron and Assistant Professor Steven Sandoval from NMSU’s Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. 

 “My colleagues and I at NMSU had been working for a few years on some related projects for atmospheric modeling and light propagation prediction with machine learning,” Voelz said. “At NMSU, we had expertise in image processing, machine learning and atmospheric optics, so we were a good fit for researching this question.” 

 The project’s objective is to create machine-learning algorithms to support the analysis of atmospheric turbulence effects on hyperspectral imaging and advance the tools for the mitigation of turbulence effects in the images. Voelz said they are interested in a wide spectral sensing range, from 300 nanometers to 10-micron wavelength, and imaging over horizontal or slant paths of a few hundred meters to several kilometers that are relatively near the earth’s surface.

 Defense tasks that can be helped by hyperspectral imaging include target detection, recognition and identification, shape extraction, classification and material characterization. For remote sensing tasks, hyperspectral imaging is often applied in nadir, or down-looking, ground survey applications with an aircraft or satellite. 

“Our intent is to apply machine learning algorithms to exploit the diversity provided by both the spectral and spatial data to aide in image de-blurring and un-mixing.” 

ISSUE 05-21-22 ROD FRECHETTE HONORED FOR HIS COIN COLLECTION

Corrales coin collector Rod Frechette won an unusual distinction last month when he was chosen for two awards by the American Numismatic Association (ANA) at its meeting in Colorado Springs.

“For only the second time in more than 40 years, the ANA is honoring one person with two national awards,” the organization announced.

The first award was “Numismatist of the Year,”  while the second was its Glenn Smedley Memorial Award medal. Frechette will receive the awards at the ANA “World Fair of Money” in August.

He has been a key member of the Albuquerque Coin Club for decades and has managed its coin shows twice a year for 12 years.

He started collecting coins when he was seven years old. “As a  little boy, my parents owned a paint store, and I would stock the shelves and get paid a penny or a nickel for my work,” Frechette recalled. I would hang around the cash register and look at all the strange coins. I also counted the milk money at school every day.” 

(See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIII No. 10 July 5, 2014 “Corrales Collector Delights in Ancient Coins.”)

In 2014, when asked how many coins he owned, Frechette hesitated, seemingly unsure how to answer, before stating “several thousand.”

The ones that stand out are the Croesus coins, the first silver and gold coins from 560 to 546 BCE [Before Current Era]. They are extremely rare, with only a few left in existence.

At a holiday dinner, his grandfather pulled him aside and gave him his first collectable coin, a shield nickel, the first five-cent piece introduced  in 1866 to be made out of copper and nickel.

The gift sparked a lifelong interest; he considers the coin his grandfather gave him to be his most valuable of all. His other grandfather also had a small collection of rare coins, which helped spark his passion even more.

The thing that he loves most about coins is the history associated with them. He likes that coins can teach us about people, cities and events. Coins essentially allow us to hold a piece of history in our hand and connect us in a tangible way to the past.

For information about the Albuquerque Coin Club, visit http://www.abqcc. org.

ISSUE 05-21-22 GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY STUDY GEARS UP IN KENYA THIS JUNE

A meeting critical to advancing a post-2020 global biodiversity framework to safeguard nature will resume in-person in Kenya next month. The Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will resume its work at the United Nations Complex in Nairobi June 20-26, seeking agreement on actions to reach the 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature in line with the milestones of the 2030 agenda, as well as addressing the five drivers of biodiversity loss —land and sea use change, unsustainable exploitation, climate change, pollution, and invasive alien species.

The working group will define how international performance will be tracked and reported, and ultimately how success will be defined and measured

The framework is expected to be adopted at a resumed UN biodiversity summit later this year in Kunming, China, which includes the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

ISSUE 05-21-22 CONCERT FUNDRAISER FOR N.M. FIRE EMERGENCY JUNE 18

A concert at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe June 18 will benefit families devastated by ongoing fires in northeastern New Mexico. The evening of acoustic music will feature performances by Robert Mirabal, Rahim AlHaj, Lara Manzanares, Rob Martinez and  Felix Peralta and SolFire Duo. The event begins at 7 p.m.

All of the proceeds will benefit victims of New Mexico Fires through the All Together NM Fund.

ISSUE 05-21-22 CORRALES ELEMENTARY GRADUATES WALK MAY 25

Corrales Elementary is having a “graduates walk”  and anyone who is graduating, at any level, who attended Corrales Elementary School is encouraged to participate. The event is May 25 at the elementary school, starting at 9 a.m. Graduates should meet with Coach Leah Dolan in front of the school, wearing their cap and gown.

Contact her with any questions at Dolan_L@aps.edu

N.M. AMONG STATES THAT SHOULD BE ABLE TO MEET 100% OF ELECTRICITY NEEDS WITH RENEWABLES

A new analysis led by the Union of Concerned Scientists demonstrates that States can reliably meet 100 percent of their electricity needs with renewable energy. They need comprehensive energy policies to ensure the transition is equitable. The Union of Concerned Scientists joined with COPAL of Minnesota, GreenRoots of Massachusetts and the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, to better understand the feasibility and implications of key states meeting 100 percent of their electricity needs with renewable energy by 2035.

Researchers focused on 24 member states of the United States Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. They analyzed two main scenarios: business as usual versus 100 percent renewable electricity standards.

The analysis reported May 13 shows that:

  • Climate Alliance states can meet 100 percent of their electricity consumption with renewable energy by 2035. This holds true even with strong increases in demand due to the electrification of transportation and heating.
  • A transition to renewables yields strong benefits in terms of health, climate, economies, and energy affordability.
  • To ensure an equitable transition, states should broaden access to clean energy technologies and decision making to include environmental justice and fossil fuel-dependent communities —while directly phasing out coal and gas plants.

Since its founding in 2017, the US Climate Alliance —a coalition of states committed to meeting the goals of the Paris climate accord— has grown to 24 states and one U.S. territory. All told, they represent 56 percent of the US population, generate 62 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, and are responsible for 43 percent of the country’s annual carbon emissions.

Nearly all of the alliance members have a renewable electricity standard (RES), which requires utilities in their jurisdiction to increase their use of renewable energy to a particular percentage by a specific year.

Four alliance states —California, Hawaii, New Mexico and Washington— plan to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045, and another seven states plus the alliance’s one territory, Puerto Rico, have a 2050 target.

To help avoid the worst possible consequences of climate change, however, the alliance states need to reach that 100 percent objective much more quickly, the study found. Fortunately, according to the new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), they all have the technical ability to meet 100 percent of their electricity demand by as early as 2035.

“U.S. Climate Alliance members are well-positioned to drive decarbonization efforts,” says Paula García, a senior UCS energy analyst and the report’s lead author. “While that is not a replacement for national and international leadership, we are encouraged by our findings about the impact that state-level action alone can have on reducing carbon pollution.”

ISSUE 05-21-22 ADOBE THEATER STAGES ‘UNNECESSARY FARCE’ JUNE 10

From June 10 to July 3, The Adobe Theater will stage the comedy Unnecessary Farce by Paul Slade Smith. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m., and a  “pay what you will” day on  Thursday June 30 at 7:30 p.m See http://www.adobetheater.org, call 505-898-9222 or contact at  info@adobetheater.org.

In a cheap motel room, an embezzling mayor is supposed to meet with his female accountant, while in the room next-door, two undercover cops wait to catch the meeting on videotape. But there's some confusion as to who’s in which room, who’s being videotaped, who’s taken the money, who’s hired a hit man, and why the accountant keeps taking off her clothes.

Cast includes Madelon Brown, Lewis Hauser, Miles Hughes, Sarah Kesselring, Antonio Trigo III, Lianne Walk and Eric John Werner.

Paul Slade Smith is an actor and playwright living in Brooklyn, New York. Unnecessary Farce is a winner of 15 regional theatre awards and it has garnered over 275 productions worldwide.

 Check the website or call for current COVID-19 guidelines.

ISSUE 05-21-22 UN REPORT ASSESSES LAND’S PRODUCTIVITY

A new report from the United Nations details widespread degradation of soils, water and biodiversity around the world and where that is leading by 2050. The way land resources are currently mismanaged and misused threatens the health and continued survival of many species on Earth, warns a report from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). It also points decision makers to hundreds of practical ways to effect local, national and regional land and ecosystem restoration. 

The agency’s Global Land Outlook 2 (GLO2) report, five years in development with 21 partner organizations, and with over 1,000 references, is the most comprehensive consolidation of information on the topic ever assembled.   It offers an overview of unprecedented breadth and projects the planetary consequences of three scenarios through 2050: business as usual, restoration of 50 million square kilometers of land, and restoration measures augmented by the conservation of natural areas important for specific ecosystem functions.  It also assesses the potential contributions of land restoration investments to climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction, human health and other key sustainable development goals.

 “At no other point in modern history has humanity faced such an array of familiar and unfamiliar risks and hazards, interacting in a hyper-connected and rapidly changing world,” the report authors warn. “We cannot afford to underestimate the scale and impact of these existential threats.”

The report offers hundreds of examples from around the world that demonstrate the potential of land restoration. I 

“Modern agriculture has altered the face of the planet more than any other human activity. We need to urgently rethink our global food systems, which are responsible for 80 percent of deforestation, 70 percent of freshwater use, and the single greatest cause of terrestrial biodiversity loss,” according to Ibrahim Thiaw, executive secretary of the UNCCD.

The report predicts the outcomes by 2050 and risks involved under three scenarios:

  • Baseline: Business as usual, continuing current trends in land and natural resource degradation, while demands for food, feed, fiber and bioenergy continue to rise. Land management practices and climate change continue to cause widespread soil erosion, declining fertility and growth in yields, and the further loss of natural areas due to expanding agriculture.

By 2050:

  • 16 million square kilometers show continued land degradation (almost the size of South America).
  • A persistent, long-term decline in vegetative productivity is observed for 12-14 percent of agricultural, pasture and grazing land and natural areas, with sub-Saharan Africa worst affected.
  • An additional 69 gigatons of carbon is emitted from 2015 to 2050 due to land use change and soil degradation. This represents 17 percent of current annual greenhouse gas emissions: soil organic carbon (32 gigatons), vegetation (27 gigatons), peatland degradation/conversion (10 gigatons).
  • Restoration: Assumes the restoration of around 5 billion hectares (50 million square kilometers or 35 percent of the global land area) using measures such as agro-forestry, grazing management and assisted natural regeneration. Current international pledges would restore 10 million square kilometers.

By 2050:

  • Crop yields increase by 5-10 percent in most developing countries compared to the baseline. Improved soil health leads to higher crop yields, with the largest gains in the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, limiting food price increases.
  • Soil water holding capacity would increase by four percent in rain fed croplands.
  • Carbon stocks rise by a net 17 gigatons between 2015 and 2050 due to gains in soil carbon and reduced emissions.
  • Biodiversity continues to decline, but not as quickly, with 11 percent of biodiversity loss averted.
  • Restoration and Protection: This scenario includes the restoration measures, augmented with protection measures of areas important for biodiversity, water regulation, conservation of soil and carbon stocks and provision of critical ecosystem functions. 

By 2050: 

  • An additional four million square kilometers of natural areas (the size of India and Pakistan); largest gains expected in South and Southeast Asia and Latin America. Protections would prevent land degradation by logging, burning, draining or conversion.
  • About a third of the biodiversity loss projected in the baseline would be prevented.
  • An additional 83 gigatons of carbon are stored compared to the baseline. Avoided emission and increased carbon storage would be equivalent to more than seven years of total current global emissions. 

Other key points in the report include:

  •   Roughly half the world’s annual economic output, $44 trillion, is being put at risk by the loss of finite natural capital and nature’s services, which underpin human and environmental health by regulating climate, water, disease, pests, waste and air pollution, while providing numerous other benefits such as recreation and cultural benefits. 
  • The economic returns of restoring land and reducing degradation, greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss could be as high as $125-140 trillion every year, up to 50 percent more than the $93 trillion global GDP in 2021.
  • Repurposing in the next decade just $1.6 trillion of the annual $700 billion in perverse subsidies given to the fossil fuel and agricultural industries would enable governments to meet current pledges to restore by 2030 some one billion degraded hectares, an area the size of the United States or China, including 250 million hectares of farmland.
  • Restoring land, soils, forests and other ecosystems would contribute more than one-third of the cost-effective climate change mitigation needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C while supporting biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction, human health and other key sustainable development goals.
  • Many traditional and modern regenerative food production practices can enable agriculture to pivot from being the primary cause of degradation to the principal catalyst for land and soil restoration.
  • Poor rural communities, smallholder farmers, women, youth, indigenous peoples, and other at-risk groups are disproportionately affected by desertification, land degradation, and drought. At the same time, traditional and local knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities, proven land stewards, represent a vast store of human and social capital that must be respected and can be used to protect and restore natural capital.
  • Immediate financial support is needed to fund conservation and restoration in those developing countries with a greater share of the global distribution of intact, biodiverse, and carbon-rich ecosystems.
  • Restoration projects and programs tend to have long-term multiplier effects that strengthen rural economies and contribute to wider regional development. They generate jobs that cannot be outsourced, and investments stimulate demand that benefits local economies and communities.
  • Land and resource rights, secured through enforceable laws and trusted institutions, can transform underperforming land assets into sustainable development opportunities, helping maintain equitable and cohesive societies.
  • Inclusive and responsible land governance, including tenure security, is an effective way to balance trade-offs and harness synergies that optimize restoration outcomes.
  • Grasslands and savannas are productive, biodiverse ecosystems that match forests both in their global extent and their need for protection and restoration. Equally important are wetlands, which are in long-term decline averaging losses at three times the rate of global forest loss in recent decades. Sustaining their capacity to absorb and store carbon is key to a climate-resilient future
  • Intensive monocultures and the destruction of forests and other ecosystems for food and commodity production generate the bulk of carbon emissions associated with land use change
  • If current land degradation trends continue, food supply disruptions, forced migration, rapid biodiversity loss and species extinctions will increase, accompanied by a higher risk of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19, declining human health, and land resource conflicts.

ISSUE 05-21-22 TRAINING PROGRAM FOR BUDDING SCREENWRITERS

The ten projects were chosen through a competitive application process from a pool of 200 applicants for a screenwriting training program. The training will run for six months. Run by Stowe Story Labs founder and director David Rocchio and co-founder David Pope, New Voices New Mexico is designed to support emerging screenwriters in developing foundational skills necessary for writing feature film and television scripts. 

“This initiative is a direct result of our partnerships with major studios in New Mexico and our commitment to nurture homegrown talent,” New Mexico Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said.

Participants must be current New Mexican residents or New Mexicans studying out-of-state. Applicants had to demonstrate an ability to write a feature or television script, capacity to learn and incorporate new skills and approaches into their work, a collaborative nature, and willingness to develop a strong story idea.

Participants are responsible for the program’s application fee and travel costs to Taos, however, program design, application process, instruction, mentoring, meals and lodging are provided through funding from the New Mexico Film Office.

Selected were:

Chelese Belmont and Shannan Reeve (Albuquerque);  Thomas Gray (Española); Liana Morales (Albuquerque);  Ruben Muller (Albuquerque); Daniel Peaslee (Santa Fe); Brittany Ramirez and Micaela Legarda (Las Cruces); Kira Sipler and Lorraine Montez (Albuquerque);  Enrique Cruz Torres (Albuquerque); RaquelTroyce(Albuquerque); and Carmen Tsabetsaye (Albuquerque).

ISSUE 05-21-22 CORRALES AUTHOR GERALD CANTRELL LAUNCHES NOVEL

By Phil Burnham

Gerald Cantrell grew up as a Cherokee, though no one ever bothered to tell him. One of only three “white” kids at a rural school in eastern Oklahoma, he didn’t have much to do with tribal ways as a boy. “When you grow up looking like Mayberry’s Opie Taylor, it’s hard to identify yourself as Indian,” he chuckles now. “But back then, it made no difference. My friends didn’t call me ‘white boy,’ I was just a neighbor kid.”

A Corrales resident since 2019, Cantrell has just published his first novel, The Blue Pathway, set in the Ozark Hill country where he grew up. It’s a tribal mystery chock full of shape-shifting and Cherokee medicine rites…and a reluctant law man charged with uncovering the secret behind a series of mysterious heart attacks.

Not until he graduated college did Cantrell even learn he was Cherokee. By then he was already set to leave his old haunts in Adair County and explore the world for himself. It was only years later that he moved back to Cherokee country to see if the old cliché “You can’t go home again” held any water, even if the journey to get there proved to be a challenging one.

“The novel is mostly about Cherokee folklore,” Cantrell explains. “I read up on the subject and realized that some of the stuff that happened to me when I went back wasn’t just a part of my imagination. That stuff is real. Part of the fun of reading this book is trying to determine what’s real and what isn’t.

“I really did walk a different path when I went back to Oklahoma than I walked as a child. And I wanted to chronicle the events that happened to me along that path.”

His early home life wasn’t easy. His parents divorced when he was young, he lived for a time with his grandparents, eventually dropped out of high school. One day he took his mother by the hand and led her down to a courthouse in Muscogee where she signed Air Force enlistment papers for a boy who had just turned 17. “So, the service became my home.”

Three-plus years in an airman’s uniform got him an early out for college. At Oklahoma State University he had no financial help, worked long hours for bed and board, couldn’t keep his grades up. So he went back to his grandparents and enrolled at Northeastern State in Tahlequah, the Cherokee capital.

The winter of 1968, he recalls, he graduated on a Wednesday and was married that very Saturday to Janell Webb of nearby Hulbert. Life was happening very fast.

Except he missed the stability of military life, the only secure home he’d ever known. So he decided to enlist again, this time with the U.S. Army. He applied to Officer Candidate School, where Uncle Sam made an intelligence man out of him. He was stationed in Germany, then Atlanta, and did counterintelligence work in the Caribbean, leading an intel team after the Grenada invasion of 1983. But after 16 years, most of it out of uniform, something was nagging at him: he wanted to go home again.

He took early retirement. So, what was his Cherokee heritage like, he wondered? Why had his family told him so little? Gone from Oklahoma for 20 years, his absence didn’t keep him from landing a job as CEO of Cherokee Nation Enterprises, a modest bingo operation in Tahlequah.

But his old haunts had changed. “Instead of one of them,” he says, “I became a stranger who went back and tried to fit in.”

His friends had scattered, his grandparents had passed away. Even his cousins didn’t seem to know him. He was a changed man, the first in his family to become a military officer. No matter what he did, though, the locals still saw him as white, either because of his light skin or  his long furlough from Cherokee country. But a lifelong interest in reading, not to mention writing a ton of military reports, had primed him for a new vocation.

On Cantrell’s watch the tribe formed a corporation, bought commercial properties, encouraged outside investment. But some tribal members didn’t like what they saw; they wanted things to stay the way they were. The white Cherokee CEO tried to be a “neutral broker,” as he puts it, but the politics were rugged. Things got so messy the tribe finally cut him loose. And then tragedy: the death of their eldest son, about the same time, devastated Gerald and Janell.

It wasn’t long after when Cantrell started The Blue Pathway, a catharsis of sorts, a way to vent his feelings after so much frustration and pain. But one day 100 pages of the draft that he’d transferred to his computer mysteriously disappeared, every single word wiped clean.

Heartbroken, he threw up his hands and let go of it.

Years later, after a move to Rio Rancho, Janell came upon what remained of the manuscript in an unpacked box of his old writings. She set it on a chair in his office without saying a word. “I picked it up and dusted it off and started writing it again,” Cantrell remembers. But there would be no more computers. The rest of the story he would write out longhand.

“I wanted to compare what it was like growing up to what it was like as an adult in that environment,” he says. “When I was a boy, there wasn’t prejudice because everyone was mixed. If I’d known I was part Cherokee, it wouldn’t have made any difference. We were just a melting pot.

“But I went back to a different world than the one I grew up in. There were traditionalists and mixed bloods, and political factions like anywhere else. But when you mix all those together you  walk a delicate tightrope between two different cultures. It wasn’t like working for a big corporation in the traditional sense.”

The protagonist of The Blue Pathway, Conor Campbell, a retired military intelligence officer, is only loosely patterned on the author. Some of the story is culled from memory, some of it not, a mix of fact and fiction for a novel that sat for years on the shelf before it was ever finished.

Is Cantrell a one-book guy? He’s already started on a prequel, he says from his home in Pueblo los Cerros, a tale also set in Cherokee country. “I’ve told my story in The Blue Pathway. Now I’m writing for pleasure. There are no issues I have to work out. I’m writing because I just simply like to write.” And still in longhand.

They say you can’t go home again. And Cantrell agrees.

But maybe, if you’re determined, you can find a good story along the way.

ISSUE 05-21-22 N.M. HUMANITIES COUNCIL PANEL ON VOTING POLITICS

The New Mexico Humanities Council and New Mexico Listens will host thought leaders and policymakers from around the state in a virtual panel discussion that will address questions on voting politics in New Mexico. Most people believe that our elections are safe and secure, yet voters and election workers are being threatened and intimidated. Flimsy claims of voter fraud are leading some states to pass laws that will result in voter suppression. What are the statistics? How secure are our elections? How secret are our ballots?

How do we sort through campaign promises to choose the best candidates to represent us? With so much money influencing elections and politics, can we trust elected officials? How can non-voters participate in our democracy? Is the media increasing political and social polarization? Where are the stories about our changing society? Where do we want our country to be in five or ten years? Where do we have common ground?

In appreciation of efforts to strengthen democracy, we’re offering students, 16 years of age and older, and rising leaders an opportunity to join the League of Women Voters of New Mexico at no cost. lwvnm.org/membership.html

Community members from around the state and students from UNM, NMSU, NMHU, and area high schools are invited to attend and participate in the conversation.

Attendees are asked to register on Eventbrite in order to receive a Zoom link to be able to participate. A registration link can also be found on the New Mexico Humanities Council’s website at: NMHumanities.org/NMListens

Panelists are:

  • Cindy Nava, executive director of Transform Education New Mexico. Cindy is a public policy advocate and educator dedicated to empowering youth through leadership development. She brings an immigrant lens to her lifelong commitment to advance equity and opportunity. After residing in NM for 26 years, she became a U.S. citizen in 2021 and voted for the first time.
  • Regis Pecos, trustee emeritus of Princeton University, and the first Native American to serve on the board of trustees of Princeton, his alma mater. Until 2021, he directed the state’s Majority Office as chief of staff and director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Regis continues to serve on several boards and advocacy committees. He co-directs the Leadership Institute at Santa Fe Indian School, which he co-founded.
  • Elaine Rodriquez, chair of the History and Political Science Department at Highlands University where she teaches American government and Southwest history and politics. Her research and experience ranges from the impact of the National Voter Registration Act to Latino/a politics and culture. She brings new perspectives on sustainable economic growth, youth leadership development, and civic engagement through her service on the City Council of Las Vegas.
  • Finnie D. Coleman teaches American and African American literature, history and culture at the University of New mexico and serves as president of the Faculty Senate. For more than 20 years, he has worked as a higher education consultant specializing in diversity, equity and inclusion on college campuses.

The panel will be moderated by Christa Slaton, a professor of government emeritas of New Mexico State University and Auburn University, where she served as Dean of Arts and Sciences and Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, respectively.

From 2002-2010, she served as the Director of the Elections Administration at Auburn University and collaborated with the non-profit, Houston-based Election Center to offer a national certification program for elections and voter registration officials.

ISSUE 05-21-22 COVID-19 CASES IN CORRALES

The peril for Corrales’ elderly from the deadly coronavirus continues. As elsewhere in New Mexico and across the United States, COVID-19 infections climbed this month. On May 16, a grim milestone was marked as deaths in the United States reached one million. Statewide, at least 7,600 New Mexicans have died since the pandemic began.

On May 13, the N.M. Department of Health’s statistics showed that 1,096 residents in the Corrales zipcode area had been reported with the illness since the virus was detected here. On that date, new COVID-19 cases climbed to 503, even though the state’s vaccination rate for adults was 80 percent.

On May 13, tracking by the Department of Health indicated 68 people with COVID were in hospitals, and six of those were on ventilators.

ISSUE 05-21-22 CORRALES ANTIQUE TRACTOR SHOW ALSO COLLECTS BLOOD

The Corrales Antique Tractor Show  May 7 at the Corrales Recreation Center delighted young and old, but also drew blood. Blood donations at the event amounted to 24 pints, and $500 was raised in cash, according to one of the organizers, John Alsobrook. On display were antique tractors and cars in a revival of the event after suspension due to the pandemic.

ISSUE 05-21-22 BIKE FAIR PREPS RIDES, HANDS OUT 376 HELMETS

At least 150 people participated in a bike fair and rodeo at the Corrales Recreation Center April 30 organized by  the Corrales Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission. Twenty-eight people volunteered by cleaning and maintaining bikes, helping the bike rodeo and distributing helmets and other items. For the event, $1,000 was donated by Helmets from Javi for adult cyclists and  376 helmets were donated  by the governor’s Brain Injury Clinic Advisory Council. Those will be distributed at Corrales Elementary School.

Organizers gave special thanks to the school’s coach, Leah Dolan, and Corrales Fire Chief Anthony Martinez. “They were both essential to the success of the event,” said the commission’s Suzanne Harper. “They arrived early and never stopped working. I know we would not have been able to do it without their assistance.”

ISSUE 05-21-22 CONGRESS EXTENDS RADIATION EXPOSURE COMPENSATION ACT

Congress has passed a two-year extension of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). The extension cleared both the House and the Senate with unanimous support. Without reauthorization, the RECA program would end in July.  Over the past decade, Senator Ben Ray Luján has championed strengthening RECA to cover New Mexico downwinders. As a member of the House, Luján introduced the legislation in previous sessions and convened meetings between House Leadership and radiation exposure survivors. Luján also secured a Congressional apology in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Acts of Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021.

 Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez praised the extension as well. “In 1945, the United States exploded the first atomic bomb at the Trinity Site in New Mexico. Over the next 48 years, the U.S. conducted more than 200 above-ground nuclear tests. As a result, many communities around the test sites currently suffer from lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, and other serious diseases. Unfortunately, decades later, many New Mexicans continue to fall ill due to radiation exposure.

“This two-year extension of RECA is a step in the right direction to secure a long-term extension and expansion of benefits and eligibility, but we have more work to do; we can't turn our backs on our communities,” said Leger Fernández. 

ISSUE 05-21-22 CORRALES GARDEN TOUR AT 6 HOMES SUNDAY, JUNE 5

The Corrales Garden Tour has recovered from the coronavirus pandemic. Gardens at six Corrales homes will be shown as a fundriser for Corrales MainStreet Sunday, June 5. First established in 2010, the event was  cancelled in 2020 and 2021. Sites are at West Meadowlark, Perfecto Lopez, Corrales Road, Turner Court, Targhetta Road and Calle Contenta. Tickets are on sale now and on tour day.

 The six gardens were chosen for their relative uniqueness, and, according to the Garden Tour website, “…different soil types, water access, tree coverage and temperature ranges…. The goal each year is to provide a variety so everyone who visits will find a garden that appeals to them.”

All funds raised will continue to go to the landscaping part of the pathway project for Corrales’ business district. See the tour website at :http://corrales-gardentour.com/

ISSUE 05-21-22 MIKE GARCIA DIES

Corrales’ Mike Garcia, a long-time employee of the Santa Fe Railroad, died May 7 at his home here. He was 94. For the first nine years of his life, he was raised by his grandparents, Román and Lucinda Garcia in San Ysidro and Cañon, followed by high school in El Rito. After graduation, he enlisted in the Navy and served in Asia and the Pacific. Returning to civilian life, Garcia went to work at the rail yard in Albuquerque until retirement in 1989.

For most of his adulthood, he ranched family land around San Ysidro and Cabezon. Following a rosary and mass at the Catholic church in Corrales, he was buried in the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Albuquerque.

ISSUE 05-21-22 BOOK SALE JUNE 4-5

The Friends of Corrales Library Spring Book Sale returns June 4 and 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in La Entrada Park, next to the library. Thousands of adults’ and kids’ books, CDs, DVDs and other items will be available for $1 to $2 each. And on Sunday, the $5 “bag sale” will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Bring your own shopping bag or purchase one from the volunteers, and fill the bag for just $5.

All proceeds from the two-day sale go to support the library’s programs, subscriptions, DVD purchases and other needs. Cash (small bills appreciated) or credit cards accepted.

ISSUE 05-21-22 PERFORMING ARTS CENTER COMMITTEE EXPLORES OPTIONS

The concept for a municipal performing arts center seems to be morphing into a mixed use facility that could even include a community kitchen for farmers and growers to use to process foodstuffs for sale. That was Mayor Jim Fahey’s guidance during brief remarks ahead of the Village Council’s adoption establishing  an ad hoc committee “to explore the possibilities of the Corrales Performing Arts Center.”

Appointments to the seven-member committee are expected at the May 24 council meeting. They are likely to be drawn from Music in Corrales, Corrales Society of Artists, the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Corrales Arts Center, Corrales MainStreet, Inc. and villagers engaged in agriculture. One at-large member also will be named.

Fahey said the committee’s mission is “to identify and help to implement a plan to create a performing arts center that could be used for a variety of events and classes in the village of Corrales.”

Before councillors voted to establish the committee, the mayor suggested perhaps the new group’s name might be changed because it is no longer being thought of as exclusively for performances. “It would really be more of a mixed use facility.”

In that context, Fahey suggested the proposed structure might accommodate a “commercial kitchen,” the need for which has been recognized for more than a decade. Such a kitchen would be used to process food from Corrales farms and gardens that is certified by the N.M. Department of Health for sale to the public.

Discussion at the May 10 council meeting also included possible use of a performance space by the Adobe Theater. “We want them coming in from the very beginning,” he told councillors, explaining that he would like an ongoing revenue stream from use of the facility such as the theater might provide.

Although it started in Corrales more than 50 years ago, the Adobe Theater now stages productions in the North Valley, north of  the Alameda Boulevard-Fourth Street intersection. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXX VIII No.15 October 19, 2019 “CAC Seeks Performance Space, Possibly at Old Jones Residence.”)

In 2019, officers with the Corrales Arts Center held preliminary talks with the Adobe Theater. “They’re interested and we’re interested,” the CAC’s Jim Wright reported in a Corrales Comment interview October  11, 2019.

But then-Mayor Jo Anne Roake and the Village Council had not made a decision about future use of the former home of Harvey and Annette Jones and their children, Sandy and Sherry Jones, west of the post office.

The search for a performance space —for music, dance and other arts as well as theater— has been underway for  more than seven years. An earlier possibility explored was using the old “Valley Fire Station” and Community Center northeast of the Municipal Court and Council Chamber building.

Ideally, CAC would like to operate from a new structure designed and built for its needs, the center’s Bill Vega explained. But that’s unlikely to happen in the near future.

“I think there need to be some decisions made on the part of the Village as it relates to how they want to use the Jones property,” Kruger said. “And once that decision gets made then we’ll know whether that includes us or it doesn’t. And if doesn’t, we’ll have to start down another path.”

The big advantages of using space on the Jones property for a CAC facility are its central location, attractive setting  and ample parking areas, Wright, Vega and Kruger said.

Providing a better arts-related facility here would be a crucial component of the Village’s proposed designation of an arts and cultural district (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXII No.19 November 23, 2013 “Arts & Cultural District Must Wait.”)

The three agreed that a better venue would attract a better quality and diversity of performances which could, in turn, attract more audiences. As Kruger explained, “With a better venue and a better class of performances, that begins   to draw more people to Corrales from outside of Corrales, as well as taking care of the people who live here. And that can become the economic driver for more gross receipts tax.”

Since early 2017, CAC has worked from leased space in the commercial space at 4940 Corrales Road, just north of the fire station. Arts related meetings, exhibits, talks and small performances have been held in that space.

The Village bought the 2.65-acre Jones property in June 2016. A barn and shed farther west on the parcel are now used for Corrales’ Public Works Department.

As the CAC board explores prospects for a performance space, they are engaged in a two step process. “The first thing we have to be sure of is that it is financially viable… it’s something that makes sense,” Kruger  explained. “So although we would like to have, and expect to have over time, a ground-up appropriate community theater. But we have to have a program that will sustain the facility we’re in. So the first step is to find a modest space that we can use, and perhaps even have an in-house theater group, such as The Adobe Theater.”

He said the CAC board does not intend to have the space exclusively for stage performances, or even arts activities. “It is  not intended that it be a single-purpose facility where it is just a big stage with theater seats to be used just once a month, and that’s all that goes on there.”

ISSUE 05-21-22 $40,000 GRANT FOR ARTS & CULTURAL DISTRICT HERE

Corrales should be a shoo-in for state recognition as an “Arts and Cultural District,” and a $40,000 state grant to produce a Cultural Economic Development Plan has launched the process. But artists here, as elsewhere, are notoriously difficult to organize and some are inclined to quarrels and even back-biting. If that’s what happens as planning gets underway, maybe the “cultural” part of the project will smooth things out.

The Corrales Historical Society has been laying the groundwork for such a district for more than a decade as evidenced by its blue plaques designating historic structures along Corrales Road’s commercial area. At the May 10 Village Council meeting, Corrales accepted the grant terms and allocated $8,000 from its own coffers as the local match for the project which will be driven by Corrales MainStreet, Inc.

The upcoming Arts and Cultural District plan is described by the N.M. Department of Economic Development as on which not only “addresses the needs of, and opportunities for artists, cultural institutions and  community citizens, it easily integrates into relevant aspects of city planning, historic preservation, cultural tourism development, urban design and downtown revitalization.”

The planning process is supposed to be “developed through a broad-based community engagement planning process designed to identify and build on the community’s outstanding arts, cultural, natural and heritage assets.”

Funding apparently will hire a planning consultant who will collaborate with a Corrales arts and cultural district committee “to develop a community engagement plan for cultivating cultural plan elements.”

A key component will be “cultural asset mapping” which “inventories arts and cultural assets including artists and craftspeople, funding institutions, educational centers, media, cultural entrepreneurs and other creative businesses that are related to community values, strengths, assets and history.”

Specified as a component of the plan is a “overview of the history and settlement of the community [which can] identify key historical or cultural events or populations that can serve as contributing to a  place-based identity for the district.”

The Corrales Historical Society has that well-covered, along with the component for “preservation and conservation of existing historic buildings and cultural properties.”

More  problematic is the component calling for evaluation of “transportation, or transit, traffic and pedestrian issues related to creating a walkable pedestrian-friendly environment through pedestrian enhancements and traffic-calming measures.”

The Economic Development Department’s grant agreement with the Village outlines specific elements of public participation, including “a widely advertised community kick-off meeting to introduce the community to the project and provide methods for the community to participate throughout the  process.” An early step is to identify key people to be interviewed and included in focus groups.

A first and second round of such interviews would be followed by a public meeting to present a draft plan and then review by New Mexico Arts, N.M. MainStreet, the N.M. Historic  Preservation Division and the N.M. Department of Transportation.

“The final Arts and Cultural District Cultural Economic Development Plan needs to be adopted by resolution by the City Council/Commission.… The [plan] should also be adopted as an amendment to the City’s local Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) ordinance.”

That last step is also where the long process began.  Before Corrales MainStreet could start the process to establish an arts and cultural district here, it had to get the Village Council to adopt an economic development strategic plan. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIV No.14 September 5, 2015 “Economic Development Strategic Plan Airs Sept.9.”)

Of the four goals set out in the 36-page  Economic Development Strategic Plan as formulated by Corrales MainStreet, Inc. back then, the most far-reaching was expected to be creation of an arts and cultural district here.

Under Goal 4 of that plan, “Create an arts and cultural district in Corrales,” the strategies  were:

“• Identify present arts and culture organizations within Corrales.”

“• Develop programs to attract more arts and culture shoppers.”

“• Identify and inventory individuals / businesses currently involved in art and culture activities, i.e. painters, potters, sculptors, musicians, musical groups, dance, drama, etc.”

“• Identify current projects that support and expand arts and culture activities, i.e. CAST (Corrales Art Studio Tour), Art in the Park, Casa San Ysidro Museum and plein air, etc.”

“• Perform an ongoing analysis to document the economic impact of arts and culture activities in the village.’

“• Corrales’ rich ‘history’ should be incorporated in the ongoing development of arts and culture in the village.”

(See Corrales Comment’s two-part series on adoption of the Local Economic Development Strategic Plan in Vol.XXXVI No.4 & 5, April 22, 2017 and May 6, 2017.)

ISSUE 05-21-22 RAVEN CHACON OF CORRALES WINS 2022 PULITZER PRIZE

A man who grew up in Corrales, Raven Chacón, has won this year’s Pulitzer Prize in music for his composition “Voiceless Mass.” The piece uses a church organ, computer-generated sounds, percussion and wind and string instruments. Chacon is thought to be the first Native American to win a Pulitzer Prize. He is Navajo on  his mother’s side, while his father’s family is from Mora. His father, attorney Lorenzo Chacón,  died last year; his mother, Gayle Dineyazhe Chacón, a physician, still lives in Corrales.

In his remarks in establishing a memorial fund with the UNM Foundation to honor his father, Raven Chacón traced the family’s connection to Corrales as follows: “Our dad was born in Mora Valley, New Mexico, and found himself years later at age 20 being arrested at the Chicano moratorium in East Los Angeles.” The judge was persuaded to release the youngster on condition that he “never set foot in California again. All this did was force my dad to confront the injustices he found in New Mexico, further aligning with other Chicanos and Native fighters and defenders of the land, while building a home from mud in Corrales.

“He then met our mother and moved us all to the Navajo Reservation so that my sisters and I could be born. The family then moved back to the Albuquerque area so he could go to law school.”

Raven Chacón’s Pulitzer-winning music was commissioned by the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ, specifically for the organ in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee. “Voiceless Mass” was supposed to debut at the cathedral’s annual Thanksgiving Day concert.

“As an indigenous artist, I make a point not to present my work on this holiday, but in this case, I made an exception,” he explained. “This work considers the spaces in which we gather, the history of access of these spaces and the land upon which these buildings sit.

“Although ‘mass’ is referenced in the title, the piece contains no audible singing voices, instead using the openness of the large space to intone the constricted intervals of the wind and string instruments.

“In exploiting the architecture of the cathedral, “Voiceless Mass” considers the futility of giving voice to the voiceless, when ceding space is never an option for those in power.”

ISSUE 05-21-22 AGREEMENT PREPARED FOR REUSE OF CORRALES INTERIOR DRAIN

With a $150,000  appropriation from the state legislature and an anticipated joint powers agreement between the Village of Corrales and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD), a plan to transform the Corrales Interior Drain will be developed over the next two years. The 1.9-mile drainage ditch and ditch bank roads along it east of Corrales Road are owned by the Conservancy District which has long conceded that it no longer functions as intended when it was excavated in the 1930s. The property covers about 26 acres with an average width of 120 feet. It runs from Valverde Road on the north to the Corrales Riverside Drain on the  south, just beyond East Meadowlark Lane.

Village government will soon contract with a landscape architect to plan future uses of the long strip of land that forms a green belt between Corrales Road and the Corrales Bosque Preserve. Signing of a joint powers agreement with MRGCD is a necessary first step. The proposal was added to the Village’s infrastructure capital improvement project (ICIP) list last year. As requested, the 2022 N.M. Legislature appropriated $150,000 “to plan, design and construct a multi-use area along the Corrales Interior Drain.”

Going back decades, the Conservancy District has expressed willingness to close in the ditch, which no longer functions as intended, and transfer ownership to the Village of Corrales. A committee was established by former Mayor Jo Anne Roake  in 2020 to explore that possibility and make recommendations.

Members of the Interior Drain Committee have discussed keeping some stretches of the ditch open, while other parts might best serve the public filled in. Among possible uses of the green belt space are a trail from the east end of Corrales Elementary School property to the Corrales Recreation Center by way of Priestly Road, a butterfly garden and a water line for the Fire Department to use in fighting fires east of Corrales Road.

At its May 10 session, the Village Council approved a two-year extension for Interior Drain Committee to make recommendations. The resolution adopted reaffirms the committee’s mission “to identify and help to implement ways in which the Interior Drain and its right-of-way may be improved for safe, enjoyable and essential public use while maintaining tranquility for adjacent residents.”

At that meeting, the council also re-appointed the following committee members: Doug Findley, who serves as chairman,  Lou Murphy, Jeff Radford and Sayre Gerhart. A new member, Elena Kayak, was also appointed.

Following the May 10 Village Council meeting, Village officials met with an MRGCD representative who said it would send a draft joint powers agreement for the Interior Drain by the end of the month. Village Clerk Melanie Romero said that JPA “will grant the Village the authority to move forward with plans for improvements to the Interior Drain area.”

A former Corrales Planning and Zoning Administrator, Taudy Miller, has had a major role in moving the project along, such as working with state legislators to secure the $150,000 funding. In a January 2022 letter to State Senator Brenda McKenna and State Representative Daymon Ely, Miller pointed out that “the funding will pay for survey, planning and design to complete a master plan for the full  length of the drain with phase one design funding. Once design is completed, we are confident that the shovel-ready project will successfully secure additional federal funds for construction phases as the plans fit nicely with trails, safe routes to schools and re-purposed transportation fund initiatives.”

A power point presentation for the legislators and others explained that “Corraleños currently use the ditch banks as trails for running, biking,  horse riding, fishing, walking to school and more. The ditchbanks will support these activities, and could provide seating areas, safe trains and connections to nature.

“The green corridor provides ecological benefits for many birds and animal species by providing habitat and food sources.”

For more than a year, the committee solicited public comment about the idea, including tabling at Sunday Corrales Growers’ Market events. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXX No.7 May 22, 2021 “Corrales Interior Drain Presents Diverse Opportunities” with a centerfold photospread showing all sections of the ditch.) Public outreach included distribution of a survey to learn what villagers desired for the property.

The committee chairman, Doug Findley, is a son of the founder of the Corrales Bosque Preserve, the late Jim Findley.

The survey  sent to residents near the drain asked what changes, if any, should be considered.  The cover letter accompanying the questionnaire explained its purpose.

“The Corrales Interior Drain was constructed in the 1930s to lower the water table and reclaim flooded farmland. The Interior Drain runs from East Valverde Road south to the Corrales Clear Ditch and Bosque Preserve, culminating just south of East Meadowlark Lane. The 26 acre, 120-foot-wide drain is owned and maintained by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy.

“Today, the Interior Drain serves many uses, providing access to homes, farms and the elementary school, recreation for biking, horseback riding, hiking, fishing and bird watching. It is a vital nature sanctuary with entry to the Bosque Preserve.

“In recent years, use of the ditch banks along the Corrales Interior Drain have given rise to concerns about increased traffic and associated dust and potential contamination of water in the drainage ditch.

“Concerns have been raised about children’s safety especially as they walk or ride bicycles along the ditch going to and from Corrales Elementary School. Villagers have long thought about how the ditch right-of-way might serve community uses while maintaining MRGCD property ownership and drainage mandate.

“In 2020, Mayor Jo Anne Roake appointed The Corrales Interior Drain Committee tasked to make recommendations on the drain’s uses, preservation and potential.

“Since the Village of Corrales has no  ownership in the land involved, the committee acknowledges that its eventual recommendations would need concurrence from the MRGCD to be implemented. The district’s chief concern is expected to be retaining full use of the ditch and ditchbanks to perform routine maintenance.

 “One of the first things the committee did was to document what is physically in the ditch and on the ditchbanks, how the land is now used and what adjacent features should be taken into consideration, such as homes, trails and Corrales Elementary School and the playground there.

“Suggested opportunities for future use of the ditch that runs from Valverde Road on the north to East Meadowlark on the south, include a Fire Department fire suppression water line to fight fires east of the drain; horse riding; hiking; children’s access to school grounds; a pond;  a green corridor for appreciation of nature and wildlife habitat; a butterfly garden; and improvements in air quality for neighbors as a result of reductions in dust.”

In a presentation to the mayor and Village Council last year the committee   identified three distinct kinds of terrain in and along the ditch: dry, or xeric, water zones and areas where ponds could be developed.

In the presentation, the pond zone was described as “a calm and relaxing gathering space [that] might include bridges and viewpoints for the community,” while the water zone  would be the wet part of the existing ditch that “could be used for community activities and support the central Corrales Road section of Corrales.”

The presentation to the council included a proposal to establish a public butterfly garden that would show a connection to Native American heritage related to the Corrales area. The people of Santa Ana Pueblo referred to this area as “the place of butterflies.”

According to the committee, “We envision the butterfly plants along the length of the ditch, a thematic constant in the master plan design.”

ISSUE 05-21-22 ELECTION DAY JUNE 7 FOR PARTY PRIMARIES

Rancor rules. Infighting dominates… at the top of the tickets offered in the party primaries for which Election Day is Tuesday, June 7. But down-ballot it’s mostly pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake. Playing nice is likely to cease once  victors emerge and Democrat-Republican battle cries resound over the air,   through the internet and into mailboxes. Early and absentee voting is under way; absentee ballots must be returned no later than 7 p.m. June 7. If you plan to vote in person on Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Libertarians will have it easy if they follow through and vote in their party’s primary: aside from the contest for governor, no Libertarian candidates will be competing in this summer’s primary on the ballot facing Corrales voters. But if they choose to do so, Libertarians can opt to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary under new rules that allow a temporary, same-day switch in party affiliation. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXXI No.6 May 7, 2022 “Independents Can Vote in June 7 Primary Elections.”)

Three Libertarians are running for governor, one from Albuquerque (Tim Walsh), one from Navajo (Karen Bedonie) and a write-in from Portales (Ginger Grider).

But that’s not where the action is. The most hard-fought contests are among Republicans wanting to campaign against Democratic incumbent Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has no challenger in her party’s primary.

Of the five Republicans vying for their party’s nomination to take on Governor Lujan Grisham this fall, the most fierce campaigns pit TV weatherman Mark Ronchetti and Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences.

Other Republicans running for governor are Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, Greg Zanetti and Ethel Maharg.

Another six Republicans are on the ballot seeking to become lieutenant governor:  Travis Sanchez, Ant Thornton, Peggy Muller Aragon, Isabella Solis, Anastacia Golden Marper and Patrick Lyon.

But all’s not quiet on the Democratic front. If the Ronchetti-Dow dust-up seems bizarrely confrontational, it is matched by the duel between current Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez and current N.M. Auditor Brian Colón, each of whom wants to be the Democrat who replaces the current Attorney General, Hector Balderas, who assumed that position from his previous post as N.M. Auditor.

Just two Corrales residents are on the June 7 ballot; both are Republicans but one is running for another term in the N.M. House of Representatives, Jane Powdrell-Culbert, and the other wants to be Sandoval County Assessor. The Corrales candidate for Assessor is Richard Shanks, and he faces another Republican candidate with strong Corrales ties in that race,  Lawrence Griego.

Candidate profiles published in this issue are for those contested races for  N.M. House District 44, Sandoval County Sheriff and Sandoval County Assessor. They are presented here in the order in which they were available for Comment interviews. When a candidate has no opponent in the primary, interviews were not conducted.  That is the case for Sandoval County Commission District 1 Republican candidate Jeanette Nower of Rio Rancho and Democratic candidate Katherine Bruch of Placitas, as well as the Democratic race for N.M. House District 44, Democratic incumbent Sheriff Jesse James Casaus and Democratic incumbent Assessor Linda Gallegos.

State Representative District 44

On the Republican ballot, the incumbent, Jane Powdrell-Culbert of Corrales faces Susana Vasquez of Rio Rancho. On the Democratic Party ballot, Kathleen Cates of Rio Rancho has no opponent.

Republican

Jane Powdrell-Culbert

The candidate has served in the N.M. Legislature for the past 19 years representing Corrales, part of Rio Rancho, and part of the Town of Bernalillo as well. Only once before has she had a challenger in  the primary.

Powdrell-Culbert works as a consultant for training and business development, although she has paused that during the pandemic. In the Roundhouse, she considers herself a pro-business legislator. In mid-May, her candidacy was endorsed by the Albuquerque Journal which praised her as “one of the most pro-business lawmakers in the legislature for two decades.”

She has served on the same two House committees the whole time: Economic Development and Transportation and Infrastructure. “Being on those two committees all these years has afforded me the opportunity to see projects finished.”

She pointed to her work funding the Interstate 25-Highway 550 interchange and the widening of 550 to accommodate growth in Rio Rancho and Bernalillo.

“I’m still serving because I think I do it well,” she said. “And I enjoy having an impact on peoples’ lives.”

Albuquerque-born, she was one of the nation’s first black women to be hired as a stewardess for a major airline. But that career was short-lived when she encountered racial tension in Chicago where she had gone for training.

By the mid-1970s she was the wife of a Washington Redskins defensive end, living in Reston, Virginia. By 1978 she was divorced and back in Albuquerque working for Lee Galles in public relations and advertising. Shortly thereafter, she worked in public relations for the Albuquerque Police Department.

It was in that role that she became a public figure. When Garrey Carruthers won the governorship, he appointed her as executive director for the N.M. Commission on the Status of Women. She resigned from that position in late 1989 when her husband, Army Reserve officer Clarence Culbert, Jr., was assigned to duty in the Washington DC area. She was hired by the National Rifle Association, traveling nationwide advocating gun safety 1993-96.

By 1998, the couple was back in New Mexico where Colonel Culbert went to work for Intel; they moved into a  home on Corrales’ Richard Road. In 2000, she ran for the House District 44 seat and won.

From her first session to the most recent one, Powdrell-Culbert’s focus has been on appropriations for infrastructure.

Over the years, Powdrell-Culbert has brought in state funding for a variety of projects for communities in her district. Among them are construction of Don Julio Road in Corrales’ Far Northwest Sector connecting it to Highway 528 at Northern Boulevard; arroyo flood control; the Bernalillo water treatment plant; a water de-salinization plant; police cars; computers for schools; new roofing for area schools; completion of Corrales’ Loma Larga, the Corrales fire sub-station and broadband access area-wide.

“I’ve had something to do with improvements to every road in Corrales. I’m an infrastructure person.”

She opposed legalization of recreational marijuana and anticipates working on ammendments to state laws governing cannabis sales. “I have a lot of concerns about it, including the water that cannabis growing will take,” Powdrell-Colbert said. “We already don’t have a handle on drunk driving.”

Susana Vasquez

“Outside of doing my part in grassroots efforts to help get the right people elected to office, I have no political experience,” first-time candidate Susan Vasquez said. “Some people might be afraid to say that, but I think it’s a good thing. I’m not a politician, I’m a business owner.”

The Rio Rancho resident owns Pet Foods Gone Wild, which she described as all-natural food that produces more healthy pets. The store is also in Rio Rancho.

Vasquez thinks her business experience is what state government needs. “I know what hiring and managing employees, investing and contracts look like. It’s clear that we need that type of experience in Santa Fe right now.”

The Republican candidate was born and raised in Chicago, and attended Wright College which offers two-year associate degrees. She studied biological sciences and criminal justice.

She went into corporate sales before moving to New Mexico in 2010 for better weather. A year later, she started her pet food store after discovering it was difficult to find food for her own dog that had dietary problems.

Vasquez said she is running for a seat in the N.M. Legislature  because she is concerned about how state government has functioned in recent years. “Change is definitely needed in our state. That is true for just about every change you could possibly think of.”

She feels her business sense “could help make a difference. Our economy is really down, our education is really down, the morale of our first responders  is down.”

While she loves being in New Mexico and the warm welcome she and her business have received, “It don’t like the politics here. I don’t like where the politics is taking us.”

In the coming primary she faces an incumbent in her own party. She said she’s unhappy with politics in general, not the incumbent. “I am not a  politician by any means. I know that my opponent is a Republican, but I do believe that changes are needed.”

She is less concerned about her opponent’s voting record —although she feels it may be a bit too moderate— and more that 20 years is too long representing District 44. She considers herself more conservative than her opponent in the primary.

If she wins the primary and then the general election in November, Vasquez would focus on economic development and crime-fighting issues. She thinks more and better incentives should be established to attract new businesses to open in the state.

One of those, she suggested, might be a corporate tax break for such a business’ first six months.

The candidate concluded by stating “I believe in change. In order to move forward, change needs to happen. It doesn’t seem like things are moving in the right direction so far.”

House District 44

Democrat

Kathleen Cates, a Rio Rancho resident, has no opponent in the June 7 primary.

Sandoval County Commission

District 1

Democrat

Katherine Bruch, of Placitas, has no opponent in the primary, since Paul Madrid, of Bernalillo, has withdrawn from the race.

Republican

Jeanette Nowers, of Placitas, has no opponent in the primary.

Sandoval County Sheriff

The current Sheriff, Placitas Democrat Jesse James Casaus, has no challenger in the primary. On the Republican side, two candidates with ample experience want the job. They are Pat Mooney of Placitas and Keith Elder of Rio Rancho.

Republican

Pat Mooney

A former Deputy Secretary of the N.M. Department of Public Safety, Pat Mooney, of Placitas, is running for sheriff. He has also worked for the U.S. Customs Services and the  N.M. State Police, in addition to a 28-year career with the N.M. Air National Guard.

He tallies more than 34 years in law enforcement, starting just out of high school when he joined the Washington, DC,  police as a cadet. At the time, his father worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

The candidate earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from American University in 1978, and a master’s in public administration in 1984.

He joined the Air Force in 1979. After a tour of duty in Germany, he was assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base as an instructor pilot. He left active duty in 1987 and was hired by U.S. Customs in Albuquerque after which he was recruited to the N.M. Department of Public Safety Special Investigations Division in 2003.

He took early retirement from that in 2014, and was asked  to head up air operations for the N.M. State Police. The candidate was also named Deputy Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Public Safety. That put him in charge of law enforcement academies, the crime lab, information technology and records.

He said he remains a fully certified N.M. police officer, and is currently commissioned in Jemez Springs.

Mooney has lived in the Albuquerque area since 1984, the last four in Placitas.

While serving in the N.M. Air National Guard as inspector general, he was posted to Iraq in 2005 where he investigated conditions at the now-infamous Abu Ghraib Prison. “Because I was an inspector general and also in law enforcement, I was asked to do that as part of the Joint Interrogation  Debriefing Center. Basically I was there to maintain standards for how we were doing interrogations.”

He retired from the N.M. Air National Guard as a lieutenant colonel in 2008.

Mooney said he’s running for sheriff now “to make a difference. I have a lot to offer still.  And I think I can bring that department up to the next level.”Among the top issues for voters is spill-over of crime in the metro area to parts of Sandoval County, especially from gangs, drugs and violence.

He said law enforcement needs to change the narrative. “We’re not bad guys, we’re good guys. We need to have people believe in the police.”

Mooney said neither the other Republican running to become sheriff nor the Democratic incumbent has a professional background that could compare to his.

He said the Republican Party “needs to have someone who can go toe-to-toe with the incumbent this fall.”

Keith Elder

After he ran for Sandoval County Sheriff in 2018 and lost to Democrat Jesse James Casaus, Keith Elder resigned from the Sheriff’s Department in 2019 and joined the N.M. Department of Public Safety to lead the Bureau of Advanced Training.

He retired from government work in 2020 and since then conducts courses on concealed carry of firearms, primarily for  firearms instructors.

Elder is also called in to investigate police “use of force” cases. “I’m assisting with those investigations on a contract basis,” he said. “We respond to a scene where force was used,  to make sure that the force used was proportionate and timely. We make sure there is a complete and thorough investigation.

“When people are taken into custody and force is used, or an allegation is made that force was used, we will go out and assist the relevant department’s investigators.”

He said the frequency of such consultations averages about one week a month.

When he ran for sheriff last time, Elder was a lieutenant under Republican Sheriff Doug Wood, a promotion he earned nine years earlier. After serving as patrol deputy, he was named a detective heading up investigations, and then    the department’s recruiting and training programs as well as community relations, school resource officers, animal control, professional standards and its public information efforts.

Even back in those days, he was an instructor for the “constitutional use of force,” and served as an adjunct instructor for the N.M. Law Enforcement Academy.

Elder was born in Tennessee into an Air Force family that relocated often. His father retired in Huntsville, Alabama in 1971; the candidate graduated from high school there in 1975 and went on to earn an associate’s degree in math and chemistry at John Calhoun Community College in 1978.

Offered an oil field welding job in Texas in 1981,  he took it but jobs dried up, so he joined the N.M. State Police in 1984. He was a patrol officer working mainly in northeastern New Mexico. In 1991, he was assigned to security for then Governor Bruce King.  Elder was based out of Socorro 1998-2004, and then was assigned to the internal affairs office in Albuquerque in 2004 where he served until retirement in December 2005, with 22 years in State Police.

He has lived in Rio Rancho since 2004.

Elder joined the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Department in January 2007.  Among his duties was directing a re-write of the department’s “use of force” policies and procedures; he said the Sheriff’s Department’s guidelines on use of force were hampered by “a lot of inconsistencies.”

In comparing his candidacy to that of his opponent in the primary, Elder pointed out, “I have well over 35 years of experience, including command level experience. That has given me unique insights into the Sheriff’s Office here.” Mooney has no experience in the Sheriff’s Department, he emphasized.

Elder feels his commitments outside law enforcement add to his ability to serve the county’s residents. He has served on the Sandoval County Fair board of directors as well as with the National Alliance for Mental Illness and Special Olympics. While in the Sheriff’s Office, he was in charge of its animal control services as well. “Since I left, Sandoval County has created a small, short-term animal shelter. I’d like to see that expanded.”

Elder is concerned about adequate enforcement of driving while intoxicated  from using marijuana. “In the near-term we will need to rely on science to make a determination of what would be a presumptive level of intoxication for cannabis.”

He summed up by saying “If voters want a candidate with leadership experience and experience in the Sheriff’s Department, then I’m their candidate.”

Democrat

The incumbent Sandoval County Sheriff, Jesse James Casaus, has no challenger in the June 7 primary.

Sandoval County Assessor

Republican

Richard Shanks

Although born in Brooklyn, New York, Richard Shanks has lived in Corrales since the late 1970s. “My parents wanted to get the kids out of New York,” he explained. “I was raised in Corrales.”

The family moved first to Rio Rancho where he attended elementary school and went on to Taylor Middle School and Cibola High where he graduated in 1984.

He worked with his father and uncle in construction for many years, and then got a bachelor’s degree in education at the University of New Mexico in 2002 while in his mid-thirties. For the following 17 years, Shanks taught elementary and middle school kids for Rio Rancho Public Schools.

Since then, he has worked in the Sandoval County Assessor’s Office, hired by his cousin, Linda Gallegos,who was elected Assessor in 2018 as a Democrat. If he wins the Republican primary, he will face his cousin in this fall’s general election. (She also was born in Brooklyn and moved to Rio Rancho in 1975.)

“I left the education field when I was offered the Chief Deputy Assessor position. I was interested in a new challenge. With my background in construction and my interest in math, a lot of the components fit so I figured it was worth a shot.”

He said the fact that he had a different party affiliation had no bearing. “What it came down to was a need for the position to be filled. And with us being in different parties, that demonstrates that it is not a party-driven position.

Elsewhere, he said, “It seems like that’s all that matters now.”

Shanks does not anticipate a contentious campaign if he runs against the incumbent this fall. “There’s really no bad blood there. It’s really just slightly different philosophies. It’s more just inter-office workings that might require subtle changes.”

As Deputy Chief Assessor, Shanks oversees daily operations, working with the Chief Appraiser, and reviews appraisals. “A big part of the job is that I orchestrate any protests from property taxpayers who feel their values are too  high. Nobody ever protests that they’re too low,” he said, laughing.

Shanks said if he wins, he would like to be  “more assertive” in trying to convince the commission to hire more staff, “because in order for us to be current and correct on values for everyone in the county, we have to have staff that can support it. We’re the fastest growing county.”

On the other hand, he said, one of the challenges is to make sure that land valued as agriculture is really being used for that purpose, Shanks said. “Another challenge that we think will come up in Corrales —and honestly we don’t have the answers yet— is cannabis growing. Right now, it’s a very grey area as to whether it would really be agricultural land use.

“It will be an interesting next couple of years, that’s for sure.”

Lawrence Griego

With 15 years employed in the Sandoval County Assessor’s Office, Lawrence Griego has more experience there than the man he’s running against in the Republican primary, and more than the Democrat he’ll face in the general election this fall if he wins June 7.

“I’m running against both of my bosses,” he said, referring to his primary opponent, Richard Shanks, and the Democrat who is now Assessor, Linda Gallegos.

Griego is now an Appraisal Supervisor in that office.

Although he lives in Rio Rancho, his family has strong ties to Corrales. “I was born in Alameda, but my dad is from Corrales, so I have really deep roots here,” he explained. “We still own property here and our family goes back to the original founding family, Juan Gonzales Bas.”

His mother’s family from the Cuba and La Jara areas.

His father worked in the Sandoval County Assessor’s Office for 21 years before transferring to the N.M. Property Tax Division.

After graduating from Menaul High School in 1993, much later Griego earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from National American University while working in the Assessor’s Office where he started as a part-time temp.

He earned State  certification as an appraiser through the International Association of Assessing Officers, and later national certification through the same organization. “That’s a distinction I’m very proud of, because  there is just a handful in the state that has  that.”

After a close but unsuccessful run for election as Sandoval County Clerk in 2020, he was chosen as chairman of the Sandoval County Republican Party, a position he resigned about two months ago.

Griego explained his bid for election as the County Clerk by saying “I was very concerned about the integrity of our elections. I wanted to serve our community to address those issues. 

“There has been progress in bringing awareness to election integrity issues at recent Sandoval County Commission meetings and the commission had provided an avenue to further address concerns over mail-in voting, ballot drop boxes, voter ID, and the electronic voting machines. 

“Ideally, to protect the vote I believe we should use paper ballots, same-day in-person voting and voter ID.”

The candidate said he’s running now to head the Assessor’s Office “to serve my community. I enjoy what I do and I want to help property owners understand the process in regards to state statues and appraisal practices for tax purposes.”

He considers the office already under-staffed and fires in the Jemez area this spring will substantially add to the workload. Updated valuations are needed for burned properties.

Griego said he would try to persuade state legislators to enact protections for property value protections for people who own vacant non-residential land. “There is no cap on that, like there is for residential property, and that means there can be big fluctuations in that value. I would like to change that.”

Sandoval County Probate Judge

Three Democrats are running in the June primary to become Probate Judge. They are Charles Aguilar, Ed Lovato and Ronnie Sisneros.

Sandoval County Magistrate Judge

In Division 1, Ann Marie Maxwell-Chavez has no opponent. In Division 2, Democratic candidates are Kenneth Eichwald and Benito Aragon. In Division 3, Delilah Montaño Baca has no opponent.

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