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.

Santa Fe


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.

Emily Hartigan

Santa Fe

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

Santa Fe

Sound off

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(6) comments

Joseph Tafoya

Ellen Ried, Unfortunately, the money changers have altered the paradigm of what Santa Fe downtown was to what it is now. It used to be a vibrant place of activity with locals using it as a place to shop, meet and socialize. That has changed into a Disneyland of overpriced art stores and shops that even tourists probably find excessive. Except for specific activities such as the Santa Fe Fiestas, which may be on its way out, there is very little to bring back the plaza to its former self. What we see now is a town that has lost its magic. We now see our foothills peppered with multimillion-dollar homes and our low lands peppered with trailer homes. Even older neighborhoods are not to be spared. Many have been transformed by the money changers and carpetbaggers into neighborhoods of unaffordable housing.

Khal Spencer

I was surprised at the prices for these little Stamm homes. Half a million bucks? Then they are gutted and made into McMansions and their price kicks to 600-700k..

Speaking of overpriced shops. Funny thing happened to me on the way to the Plaza once. I saw a beautiful wool shawl in a store on the Plaza. Walked in to check it out and was dutifully ignored, as I was in bicycle tights and a windbreaker as it was Christmas season so I obviously didn't look like I belonged there. Turned out it was selling for $10,000. Wow. A little rich for most people's checkbook, including mine. I'm sure a few of the Chosen Ones around here could buy a couple of those in a snap.

John Gomez

Reid. You think Santa Fe has culture? We are a nursing home with south west nik nacs. We have a terrible night life snd art scene. Everything about this cities culture is fake from the stucco adobe to the remade downtown. Hanging plastic chilie is not culture punk bands till dawn is. Youth is we have none of that

Richard Reinders

My wife and I lived here in the 1980’s and encounter the same as you, so we moved to Denver to live a full life, in our later years we returned to join the nursing home. My suggestion for you is Denver or Phoenix.

John Gomez

I hear the 80s were better here. The locals had more power and had a culture even if it was a small town culture. My sister says there was always a party to go to. I'm in my 30s so already old anyways but in the before times I could go over seas I could travel there were no snap lock downs no force mandates. I at least got to see a tiny part of the world. I love Denver but I got reasons to be here. I just hate it when people say we are so cultural. The cultures dead. Replaced with a nursing home for boring old Americans. I wish the young Americans would move here but all we get are the old ones. Just tired of hearing about how much art and culture we have cause we don't. Albuquerque is no paris but It has way way way way more energy than Santa Fe. I will find a way to be happy. I still have America if I can't have the world. I can still go to burning man etc. I tired tonight to have fun here but it's all boring 50 year olds. It's my fault and I truly hate myself for not traveling more but I didn't know the elite was going to unleash this virus. I still got plans. I went to hang out with the 50 year olds who go to burning man not who come here. I feel sad every day I'll never get to see Europe again but Fauci took that away. At least I still have Austin. Santa Fe is a fake city.

Khal Spencer

Frank Chambers makes good points. If one is to engage in engineering, such as designing and maintaining water systems, one needs to be an engineer. Still, if we are to have competent future water management, perhaps the state engineer needs an office, i.e., a credible staff of engineers, hydrologists, climate scientists, water law lawyers, and any profession I missed who know the full range of issues and solutions. That doesn't neccesarily mean padding the staff. One could draft folks from UNM for example (say, John Fleck or someone in the Geoscience program). But putting a political appointee without proven engineering credentials in charge of our state water systems would be folly at its finest.

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