Yet another attempt to resurrect the midtown campus to try to prop up that dilapidating “archipelago” of crumbling buildings, roads and walkways? Forget about it. Too little, too late. Let’s face it, the city doesn’t know how to do urban development. Officials tout the Railyard as a success story, yet it has floundered for more than 25 years, losing money — our taxpayer money.

The only thing to show for it, besides the Santa Fe Farmers Market and the Violet Crown Cinema, are four brewpubs facing.

The Railyard’s arrested development (not including those great, surrounding galleries) stems from an endemic trouble, with a capital T, that rhymes with P and stands for parking. At any rate, it’s not an example for the midtown campus — which should be sold as soon as possible.

Juan Geyer

Santa Fe

Losing Santa Fe

Thanks to Sallie Bingham (“Who will save Santa Fe?” My View, March 28) for drawing attention to the current “hideous apartment buildings” that have been constructed without any community oversight.

One example is the four-story monstrosity plopped down on Cordova Road off St. Francis Drive behind the Natural Grocers. No one can miss it. Not only does it block views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, but it’s an ugly multicolor building better suited to Myrtle Beach, S.C., than to Santa Fe. Named Capitol Flats, the structure hasn’t one redeeming feature in my view. And unfortunately, because of its location near many shopping destinations, I see it all too often. Who’s responsible?

Or as Bingham says, “Who cares? Who will speak or write?” Caring citizens need some say over the architecture of our city — not just the historic downtown and east side — but all of the city, before we lose this place we have valued for so long.

Jake Barrow

Santa Fe

Absent a sense of place

Esteemed, longtime Santa Fe resident Sallie Bingham’s incisive commentary on overdevelopment and questionable architecture offers fair warning as we rapidly subvert what previous generations were able to protect. Outsize, cookie-cutter, “Southwestern” residential design, gaining false entry through the Trojan horse of “affordable housing,” poisons the aesthetic well that nourishes Santa Fe’s uniqueness.

In only a few years, hiking the magnificent Dale Ball Trails has become as much an unintended parade of new homes tour as an escape into nature. Mindless development is birthing a Dollar General store across from an entrance to Eldorado, one of the nation’s first planned “solar communities.” Can a Dairy Queen and a McDonald’s be far behind? As Anywhere, USA, metastasizes along Rodeo Road and around town and the county, how long before we lose forever the sense of place that drew us here in the first place?

Peter Glankoff

Santa Fe

Pepsi, please?

So the GOP-controlled Legislature in Georgia made a racist move by passing a law to suppress voters and decreed no food or water could be handed out to people waiting to vote.

My guess is the GOP — the loophole champions — might have left one in the law. Remember, Republicans would circumvent the law if it were created by Democrats. I would suggest not handing out water or food. Just provide it. Wheel it around for people to take — don’t hand it out. And maybe, instead of water, give them a Pepsi.

Phillip Trujillo

Santa Fe

Reset priorities

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called a special session of the Legislature to consider legalizing recreational marijuana. It seems this was the top priority in New Mexico, not gun safety. And yet firearms are the second-leading cause of death among children and teens in New Mexico, with an average of 32 firearm deaths every year, 47 percent of those deaths being suicides.

When commonsense seat belt bills were introduced in the early 1980s, only 14 percent of Americans regularly wore them.

New Mexico’s first seat belt law was effective Jan. 1, 1986, and as of 2017, it is estimated that we have a 91.5 percent use rate. In 2021, it’s common sense to put on a seat belt when getting into a car and to make sure that passengers, especially kids, buckle up for safety. Common sense tells me we need to reset our priorities.

Martha Burns

Santa Fe

(13) comments

Patricio R. Downs

For what it's worth, I agree with Khal on the "get an education and avoid the bad influences" idea. There's nothing wrong with improving yourself and your lot in life. (The trouble is, most of our best and brightest do that and end up moving elsewhere because jobs paying an actual living wage here are as scarce as hen's teeth; that, or they notice that SF is slowly becoming a retirement community. Shuffleboard, anyone?)

Patricio R. Downs

Gotta say, to all the people kvetching about "development" and "Oh, the Santa Fe I grew up in/moved to/fell in love with is changing and not for the better," my question to you is this: at what point does "preservation" become "stagnation"? The state as a whole is growing in population. You can't expect that SF will stay the same forever. People have to live somewhere, and with something like 40% (my estimate, based on a project I'm working on for my employer) of the jobs here being in the service industry, wages aren't where they need to be to afford a $500,000 home (yes, that's the median price for a house in SF). By all means, let your voice be heard, but know that there are a LOT of things that are going to have to change as a necessity to keep Santa Fe a place that's desirable to visit or live in.

Khal Spencer

[thumbup] Same problem in Hawai'i. Poor wages and astronomical prices of housing and everything else meant the best left the state. My wife taught and was a program manager in a big community college there and was in what we called "the educational equivalent of the Russian Front" dealing with the educational issues.

Khal Spencer

As I said the other day, the median individual and household incomes in Santa Fe in 2019 were 32k/58k per year. As you say, the median home price in Santa Fe is 500k. I did a little math on one of those mortgage calculator sites. Assuming a couple wants to buy a median home, has no car loan or college loan, 250 bucks in credit card payments a year, and is willing to go to the mat with a debt-to-income ratio of 40% (43% is the highest ratio one can have and qualify for a qualified mortgage), and today's interest rate of about 3% for a 30 year mortgage, the calculator said the applicants would need an annual income in the range of $75,000.

Santa Fe is getting to be a land of well of retirees and those like in Honolulu, are in the upper end of the income bracket. The service workers, public servants (police, fire, teachers, etc) are today's serfs who can live somewhere else.

In today's Letters, Walter Howerton reminds us of Edward Abbey's quote: “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of a cancer cell.”. Still unless we ban procreation by the lower classes of society, everybody needs a place to live. Let the folks who wander around Canyon Avenue staff the restaurants and police cars themselves.

Stefanie Beninato

You know, Jake and Peter, you as well as Sallie Bingham could have had input into the Capitol Flats apts if you had submitted written comments or shown up at the ENN meeting, the Planning Commission meeting or at city Council when final approval was given. And really Khal if you make $30,000 gross income and pay $1100 for a 450 sq ft apt what really is affordable about that--certainly families are not living in a studio apt and 2400 plus a month means you need close to $50K per year salary. Not everyone works at LANL like you do.

If you all (John, Peter and Sallie) want to make a difference, start putting in written public comments to city council at every council meeting or attend via phone or zoom and speak out at the public comment section re: midtown which I agree should be rezoned and sold off asap.

If you want to make a difference, send in written comments or go to the special city council meeting on 6 and 7 April about the Zia Rd apartments that will be 4 stories tall all in the name of affordable housing which if the Capitol Flats is any any indicator, they will not be. IMHO any project that needs FIVE changes to zoning codes or exceptions means it is not properly designed. The project did not explore underground parking that could lower heights by allowing more on the ground units for example. Otherwise people like Alexandra Ladd (head of city Affordable Housing) and affordable housing proponents will continue to hold up Affordable Housing as a god to which all else should bow, making those who think traffic will be a problem or that corridor protections should be upheld out to be the demons. And perhaps if one of the Planning commissioner had recused herself because she wants her son who is on a long wait list to get affordable housing, the vote would have been more balanced. All ordinances should work together and there was no answer about whether a person under Section 8 will get enough in rent to afford an 1100-1200/month studio apt. It was always "it depends. So please stop bellyaching and start participating.

Khal Spencer

"...those "hideous" Capital Flats rentals rent for about 1100-2400 per month. Not sure about the places going up like mushrooms on Siler, over by Home Depot, or on South Meadow. That rent is in a city where the median individual/household income is about 32/58k per year. Do the math..."

That was my point, if you missed it.

As far as my employment? I highly advise any young person in Northern New Mexico to take as much advantage of their educational opportunities as possible, work hard, get advanced degrees or go to a good trade school, shun the drug lifestyle, and I suspect you will find a good job. It wasn't rocket science. Just a little luck and a lot of hard work.

Khal Spencer

Midtown campus should be sold with proper zoning rules to encourage affordable housing. As far as that "hideous" Capital Flats? That area is already heavily developed and besides, not everyone in Santa Fe is an entitled letter-writer who already has theirs. People need affordable places to live.

And yes, by all means, wear your seat belt!

Khal Spencer

By the way, those "hideous" Capital Flats rentals rent for about 1100-2400 per month. Not sure about the places going up like mushrooms on Siler, over by Home Depot, or on South Meadow. That rent is in a city where the median individual/household income is about 32/58k per year. Do the math.

People need a place to live that is affordable. If the pseudo-Progressive well-off folks in this town really want to tell the less wealthy to go eat cake, by all means be honest about it. Maybe if things get bad enough, we can replace the obelisk in the Plaza with a structure designed by Robespierre.

arthur lynn

Phillip Trujillo...What you posted is Not true, water can be given to those waiting on line. That is part of the rules. What you're referring to is that nothing can be given out to influence voters , that includes political parties handing out things such as water bottles with candidates names..

Jim Klukkert

WRONG AGAIN arthur lynn, quoting from the law, page 73:

“… nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector, … on any day in which ballots are being cast”

Democrats win when people vote, Republicans win by suppressing the vote.

Jim Klukkert

arthur lynn- From the 'failing' New York Times, news of sanctions imposed on Georgia in response to its New Jim Crow Racist Voter Suppression Law:

Major League Baseball pulled its summer All-Star Game out of suburban Atlanta on Friday, the first major rebuke to the new Republican-backed elections law in Georgia that particularly curtails voting access in the state’s urban areas.

Richard Reinders

Poll workers only can hand out food or water within 150ft of the polling place and anyone can outside of the 150ft. From the Athens Banner Herald

Another new rule that affects both in-person early voting and election day voting would prohibit anyone except poll workers from handing out water to voters in line, and outlaw passing out food and water to voters within 150 feet of the building that serves as a poll, inside a polling place or within 25 feet of any voter standing in line. Depending on the location, it is still possible for third-party groups to have food and water available — and it is possible for the lines to extend beyond 150 feet.

Jim Klukkert

Right you are Richard Reinders, it is possible for the lines to extend beyond 150 feet. Though mostly in communities of color and working class areas.

Not at all funny how that works out.

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