Years ago, I worked with a caterer, and then-Gov. Bill Richardson hired us to entertain Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson several times. Bill pushed the Spaceport as only Bill could. Many of us thought he was crazy. I think now we should all stand and give Bill a hand.

John Vogel

Santa Fe

Listen to Berry

Maine state Rep. Seth Berry’s excellent My View column (“Learn from Maine, avoid disaster,” July 11) reminds us that what’s past is prologue. It stands out among The New Mexican’s many published articles on this issue as a factual and sobering recounting of the actual damage done by granting control of a public franchise for private gain to an investor-owned utility with a complex, foreign-owned corporate structure and powerful profit motive.

Berry’s column documents the “irreversible harm” to the citizens of Maine of the 2008 Avangrid acquisition of Central Maine Power. It is a story of mismanagement, corporate avarice and the worst customer satisfaction ranking in three consecutive national surveys. To dance with this devil, expecting a different outcome, is willful blindness. New Mexico deserves better, and ratepayers should oppose this merger.

Alexa Bradford

Santa Fe

Stop the merger

Re: Avangrid/Iberdrola takeover of PNM. The New Mexican has done an excellent job of printing great articles and columns regarding this pending “merger.” The piece from Ron Flax-Davidson (“PRC must protect distributed energy resources,” My View, June 28) said it all. Avangrid tried to get rid of the credits that Maine citizens received for their rooftop solar by revoking credits to their bills. That’s also known as the meter running backward. This makes a mockery of all the New Mexicans who have invested in rooftop solar.

The Seth Berry My View (“Learn from Maine, avoid disaster,” July 11) also is worth reading. He is Maine’s House chairman of the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology. His piece is damning.

Then there’s the front-page article by Rick Ruggles (“Rarely heard of, officials have major impact on N.M. utilities,” July 12) highlighting the role of the hearing examiners. They are in charge of discovering if Avangrid is as legitimate as their lawyers and their newspaper advertisements claim. The upshot is that the process goes through an overtly excruciating process, with five people making a decision for all of New Mexico. This must be stopped.

Paul Thacher

Santa Fe

Focus on history

I am writing to support the suggestion of Anita Warren to place plaques around the Plaza center (perhaps a fountain) that represent the historical groups (Ancestral Puebloans, Spanish, Mexican, Anglo) that have contributed to the evolution of our city and state. This would move the focus from one contentious statue to an ongoing appreciation of the our unique 400-year-old history.

Maggie Magee

Santa Fe

Monumental

Kudos to Anita Warren’s suggestion for a new Plaza monument. It’s one of the best ideas I’ve heard (“History should be center of Plaza,” Letters to the Editor, July 12).

Allen Gutheim

Santa Fe

Amateurs at work

I remember a once-upon-a-time story.

Several cops were on duty in front of a bank. Along the sidewalk were some out-of-towners armed with chains and ropes, having no apparent purpose there. The cops called their alcalde and jefe. They decided to have the cops quit their posts and sworn duties. In case these rascally knaves robbed the bank, it was best that no police be present and risk injuring the rapscallions.

When it was robbed and the guilty villains were captured, Alcalde de Weeber, Jefe Andres and Abogado de Ciudad Maria agreed it was good policing. The ne’er-do-wells were required to do 20 minutes of community service — at their convenience. The bank did not get its money back and de Weeber decided repairing the broken doors and windows would mar the historic streetscape.

Thus, history in Hickville run by amateurs.

Ken Earle

Santa Fe

(8) comments

Russell Scanlon

If this had been a Republican Governor we’d all be hearing about the triumph of free enterprise, American ingenuity, and Capitalism. Once again, debilitating partisanship succeeds in making chicken poop out of chicken soup.

Khal Spencer

Enjoy your chicken poop, Russell. The state dumped hundreds of millions into that project. Why? So rich people can have a high carbon-emissions joyride in space. No, that's not the kind of state-subsidized "free enterprise" this Democrat supports.

Andrew Lucero

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Russell Scanlon

I don’t completely disagree, considering the rather urgent basic needs in this state. However—there is a prestige and visibility credit with these kinds of projects. It certainly helped Texas immensely in the 60’s. And a lot of these same people that are bitching about it because there is a Democrat in office would be swooning about the virtues of the “free market” and the triumph of “corporate ingenuity”. And besides all of that: Why has our country abandoned space exploration?

Khal Spencer

I'd go with the prestige and visibility if it were to "trickle down" into technological jobs that pay well rather than tourism industry jobs that pay diddly. But still, what is the long term cost-benefit of this program to transportation and sustainability? If it is a toy for the well to do that results in yet more hotel and restaurant jobs for a glorified amusement park ride, then to me it is a net loss on both environmental and economic fronts, as far as the public is concerned. If the long term goal is a more energy-efficient way to travel, that's different but it seems to me putting people above the atmosphere takes a lot of energy. So it depends.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/space-travel-environmentally-friendly-branson-virgin-galactic/

I don't know why we have abandoned space except we seem to be going broke and spending money on other things. Clearly the space program, a government investment, had a lot of great spinoffs for the general economy. But it had grander dreams than putting billionaires on a jet powered craft for a few minutes in space. But even the space program had its critics. Gil Scott-Heron's song comes to mind, "Whitey on the Moon".

Sorry for my skepticism, but I don't see that kind of sixties vision thing here. Maybe I am wrong but its definitely not about whether a D or an R is doing it. JFK had it right, at least with the space program, even if in part it was done for the wrong reasons, i.e., to beat the Russkies to the moon.

Khal Spencer

Seriously? Bill Richardson had a hand in sucking up to big money. The average citizen in New Mexico got a hand up his...

Richard Reinders

Agreed Khal now the facility is run down and will need updating again at the expense of the public. I see Virgin relocating their operation closer to a major airport ,the wealthy won't want to do the milk run flight to get to Abq. or do the long drive to the spaceport with no close hotels.

Khal Spencer

I'd have to look at the safety plan. It might be that the facility needs to be remote in case there is a mishap. Besides, if you can afford a quarter million buck ride to the edge of space, you can probably rent a chopper to get from the Sunport to Bill Richardson's Playground for the Well To Do.

If the price comes down to where mere mortals can afford this deal, I'll retract my criticism to a point, but still think that in a world where we are being told to conserve and not emit CO2, this is marching in the wrong direction.

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