Thank you for making public a thing that has been ongoing for years: the military or quasi-military overflights of Santa Fe (“Circling plane leaves many in Santa Fe abuzz,” June 3). My intuition tells me the purpose of the flights is twofold — one, to test new surveillance technologies for electronic data gathering and photo-reconnaissance, and second, to train pilots to execute and perfect flight patterns to implement the technologies.
Santa Fe is a near-perfect arena for these flights. Blue-sky flying, albeit with challenging terrain below. Few commercial flights in the area and an unsuspecting populace. These flights have been happening for years. There is one going right now, 10 a.m. Thursday, June 3. Today’s flight features a smaller aircraft than the gargantuan C-130 with its signature four-engine turboprop droning sound that irritates everyone in hearing range. Today’s flight is more likely a militarized civilian aircraft, like the Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12, a single-engine turboprop used by the Air Force for a variety of missions.
It’s loud and annoying, but nothing like a C-130. To me, all the flights are annoying, partly because they endure for hours and I can’t not notice them. The bigger issue is that no one will claim knowledge of the flights. I’ve tried to trace the origin of these flights. It’s a total dead end. I’d love to see one of your ace journalists take this on.
A longtime annoyance
Regarding the rather annoying noisy flyovers of Santa Fe by a military-type C-130, It is important to recognize that this has been going on periodically for several years now. As it must be fairly expensive to fly a plane like this for several hours at a time in circles over the city, it is reasonable to conclude that if they come from Cannon Air Force Base but are not acknowledged by that facility, then they must be under the control of a government agency with a level of secrecy involved. Similar flyovers have been reported from other cities around the country, with suggestions that these places are outfitted with extremely high-tech monitoring equipment. Several residents have reportedly tried to contact our U.S. senators about the situation, but I have not heard about any replies.
This morning, after enjoying a muffin at a local bakery that is requiring face masks, I walked to my car and an older man in the parking lot yelled at me, “Why are you still wearing a mask, are you really that scared?” I responded, “I’m waiting till I get to the car and can take it off because my hands are full, sir.” It may surprise the man to know that I pray daily to be delivered from all evil, including any virus, fears of mine and others of disease, and from judging and condemning others whose personal beliefs don’t align with mine. And I’ve been free of fear throughout this experience but have both worn a mask and gotten vaccinated in order to alleviate the fears of others. Rather than presuming to know why someone is wearing a mask, those upset by seeing masks would “catch more flies with honey than vinegar” as my Grandma Thelma used to say. No one’s fear is going to be alleviated by a stranger yelling at them. Share something that might alleviate fears — a smile, courtesy, kindness.
Race is on
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, the weekend of the Indy 500 and the start of a different kind of race season: public roads. The city of Santa Fe, already overloaded with procrastinated issues, is also home to after-hours racers, school-zone speeders and weekend race legends on Cerrillos Road, St. Michael’s Drive, etc. Don’t get me wrong here: I love the smell of gasoline, the sound of well-tuned race engines, the perfection to speed.
There is a place and time. If the city of Santa Fe were a business, its leaders would see there is a demand and pinned-up energy to get the yayas off! Frankly, there are not enough resources to police the issue. So let’s give racing a safe and controlled environment. I like to be able to walk my dog in the morning without dodging family vans when crossing the roads in our neighborhood, and like to enjoy the sunset without being reminded of the Indy 500.
There will be light (LEDs?) at the end of this tunnel.
As a responsible steward of Earth, I am in favor of reintroducing jaguars into their traditional environment where they roamed before humans arrived and invaded the land. They were here first, and we should be respectful when we are guests in someone else’s house.
This upsets the cattle growers, of course, who claim the jaguars (and wolves) returning to their habitat will be “a taking of private property” and that “people are trying to make a living out here.” The cattle folks say they produce food and that those who want jaguars and wolves “make it harder to be sustainable” and “they need to get their checkbooks out.” Well, I’d gladly pay more for a burger or a steak to stop the slaughter of wild animals so the growers could still slaughter their cattle in peace.
Kudos to The New Mexican for including stories (“Many new, unfamiliar names on latest list of America’s top methane emitters” and “Permian study finds methane leaks caused primarily by overproduction,” June 3) highlighting issues of methane emissions. One highlighted that nearly 30 percent of the methane leaks in the Permian Basin come from “routinely persistent” and identified sources. The second reported that larger oil and gas companies are faring better on stopping methane leaks than smaller, lesser-known companies, including Hilcorp Energy, which the story reported had “almost 50 percent more methane emissions” than did Exxon Mobil. The story did not mention that Hilcorp has a sizeable footprint here in New Mexico in the San Juan Basin. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Energy Department Secretary James Kenney have been boldly leading us to address the serious issue of methane leaks in the state. There is no time to lose. The Center for Western Priorities recently released 2020 methane leak data for New Mexico and found that leaks last year were the highest on record since they started tracking in 2013.
William “Bill” Smith