The New Mexican published a piece (“State’s top water official shouldn’t have to be an engineer,” My View, Nov. 21) by Denise Fort and Sally Rodgers. They presented a case for allowing the position of state engineer to be open to people with qualification other than those of licensed professional engineers.
They provided a good outline of the many aspects of the problems facing New Mexico’s waters as climate change proceeds, the many stakeholders and the legal issues.
The solutions to these problems do involve government and legislation, but a good understanding of engineering is fundamental to implementing the solutions.
By statute, the Engineering and Surveying Practice Act states in Section 61-23-26: Engineering-Public Work, that, “It is unlawful for the state or any of its political subdivisions or any person to engage in the construction of any public work involving engineering unless the engineering is under the responsible charge of a licensed professional engineer.”
It states in Section 61-23-27: Engineering-Public Officer-Licensure Required, “No person except a licensed professional engineer shall be eligible to hold any responsible office or position for the state or any political subdivision of the state that includes the performance or responsible charge of engineering work.”
Such statutes ensure engineers who meet standards of competence direct engineering work performed at all levels of the governments of New Mexico. The two writers suggest opening the state engineer’s position to “all other professions, such as scientists, hydrologists, water planners and attorneys.”
Their suggestion would open the position to political appointees with no guaranteed competence to oversee engineering projects. I am a licensed professional engineer in New Mexico, Georgia and Oklahoma and believe that this is a very bad idea.
Frank Chambers, Ph.D., P.E.
A “mass psychologically induced disease” killed three of my dear friends (“The best defense,” Letters to the Editor, Nov. 29). The only redeeming aspect of this letter was the deluded author’s advice to stay home to treat yourself if you get COVID-19 from following his Typhoid Mary advice.
Did the editors presume the letter would self-destruct from absurdity? Naive. That letter is gas on the fire of the pandemic, and its publication unjustifiable.
Keep it special
What makes Santa Fe so special, so truly the City Different? It is a combination of many things.
Santa Fe’s long history, mountain views and the many varieties of adobe architecture — all are part of the city’s heritage. Too many tall buildings that answer some problems would pose a danger to the tourism economy of the city. After many years in the tourist business as the director of an educational nonprofit that organized tours for the Smithsonian and other august institutions, I have confirmed that Santa Fe has something that other cities wish they had: an authentic and vibrant culture and architecture.
Thanks to The New Mexican for its thoughtful editorial Sunday (“For some parts of town, height is in the eye of the beholder,” Our View, Nov. 28), trying to find a way forward without throwing away what we have. One quibble, as a member of the Railyard Board; please note that there are no tall buildings in the Railyard where they are prohibited. Just outside, yes, there they are. There is an argument that compactness is better than urban sprawl, but compactness can be achieved without excessive height. The beloved east-side historic district is quite dense but no more than two stories. Protect what we have — our architecture, our small river with water in it, hiking trails, unobstructed mountain views and beloved traditions.
Ellen Bradbury Reid
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