Regarding the piece “Santa Fe has lost its sparkle” (My View, July 25), the same is true practically all over the city. Downtown isn’t the only area that needs to be cleaned up. We live in the southwest part of town, and if the tourists found their way to that part of the city, they would see fast-food paper cups on the sides of the roads, along with Styrofoam containers, beer bottles, cans and masks, etc., not to mention dog waste on most of the trails and sidewalks.

This is not new, though. We have lived here 18 years and have seen this the whole time. What I’ve noticed is that it’s mostly where there isn’t a homeowners association. When we first moved to Santa Fe, we tried to organize a little cleanup day in the neighborhood. One senior lady showed up. Over the years, from time to time, we have tried picking some of it up. But I don’t feel it should be the responsibility of any one person. I hate to say it, but it’s almost to the point where we’ve come to accept it. The city of Santa Fe should appoint a permanent team of workers to go to the downtown area, and areas that don’t have HOAs, to clean the sides of at least the main roads and trails on a regular basis. When we travel to other places and notice how clean their cities are, I can’t help but think how proud the people who live there must be.

Linda Michael

Santa Fe

Tips for service

Put New Mexico legislators on the state payroll? Pay them minimum wage, and if they provide good service, tip them.

Ray Lopez

Santa Fe

Speak up for voting

Nothing is more important than protecting and preserving our democracy. Without that, nothing matters. I want to thank President Joe Biden for the American Rescue Plan, the Jobs and Family Plan and the infrastructure bill. Now we really need our president to stand up for democracy.

We need his leadership to end the filibuster so we can protect our democracy. We need him to act decisively and powerfully, beyond his eloquent speech. We must have a way to counter anti-democratic legislation, such as laws that ban honest discussion of racism that are being passed in state houses across the land. We need a clear statement from our president supporting the end of the filibuster as it exists today because it is the barrier to federal voting rights protection. We need our president to use his bully pulpit to educate Americans and to advocate forcefully for voting rights protections. Voting rights are the basis of all other rights. Please make this your priority. Speak out and often.

Sandra L. Dransfield

president, Indivisible SOS

Santa Fe

Pretty expensive

Paul J. Gessing (“Heinrich’s coming for your stove and gas heater,” My View, July 25) seems to think that “natural” gas is clean, affordable and safe, and that without it we can’t properly cook food. And, oh yes! There is no climate crisis that should make us want to replace gas with electricity. Gas, like all fossil fuels, is not clean. Burning it produces carbon dioxide and toxic air pollutants. Nitrogen dioxide, for one, reduces indoor air quality and can contribute to childhood asthma. Faulty gas appliances produce deadly levels of carbon monoxide.

Gas is “affordable” only because the costs of extracting this “clean gas” and its climate and public health impacts are not covered by what we pay for it. Our world will soon have to pay many trillions of dollars to cope with the burgeoning droughts, heat waves, wildfires, catastrophic storms, flooding and forced migrations that global warming is already causing. For comparison, a single intense storm like Hurricane Sandy caused an estimated $70 billion in damages. Can we prepare food without gas? Gessing seems unaware that electric induction hot plates and stove tops are widely used throughout the rest of the world and increasingly in the U.S. They are safer than gas, they heat more quickly, heat levels are equally or better controllable, and there is little wasted heat to overheat home and restaurant kitchens. New Mexicans can be grateful that Sen. Martin Heinrich understands and supports the need to move away from the burning of gas and other fossil fuels and to transition to clean electricity, and quickly.

Joseph Eigner, Ph.D.


‘Sound of weeds’

Sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things,” sung by Julie Andrews in the 1965 film version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The Sound of Music.

Goatheads and ragweed, Cirsium vulgare,

Broadleaf dock, crabgrass with Malva neglecta,

Carpetweed edging itself through the town,

Dandelions hiding from gardeners who frown.

White clover blooming and look morning glory!

But bindweed and witchgrass make up a new story

Of calls to the neighbors and pleas to our friends

Can you eat wild carrot in salads with stems?

Now the pokeweed,

Then the mustard,

It all makes me mad,

But then I remember Oxalis stricta,

And so I won’t be so sad.

Notes: Cirsium vulgare is the common thistle. Malva neglecta is common mallow. Oxalis stricta is sheep sorrel.

Ben Larzelere

Santa Fe

(9) comments

verne lucero

What are the pros and cons of natural gas?

Natural Gas: Pros and Cons

Widely used, contributes 21% of the world's energy production today.

Delivery infrastructure already exists.

End use appliances already widespread.

Used extensively for power generation as well as heat.

Cleanest of all the fossil fuels.

Burns quite efficiently.

Emits 45% less CO2 than coal.

Emits 30% less CO2 than oil.

Khal Spencer

Here is a long read for anyone who wants to do a deep dive into indoor air quality with respect to nitrogen dioxide. Joseph, I'm a little surprised that a physical chemist with a Ph.D. would offer a letter without citing any references or for that matter, what field your Ph.D. was in.

Like any other open combustion, burning gas produces combustion products. The really important questions are how much, whether a stove is properly ventilated such as with a fume hood, and whether there are people in the home who are sensitive to low levels, such as asthmatics. If a gas or oil burner is not functioning properly it can contribute to other toxins as well, which is why homes with gas stoves or furnaces should have a carbon monoxide alarm.

If we are really worried about air quality and carbon emissions, I'd suggest we start with traffic congestion, a related contributor to urban air pollution and a far greater contributor to the nation's CO2 budget than the one third (estimate) of homes with gas stoves. Transportation contributes about 36% of our carbon emissions while household carbon emissions from all sources account for 20% of which natural gas is a fraction. Of course then there is diet and one's whole lifestyle. Big house? Eat a lot of beef? Etc.

As an asthmatic, my worst years were on Long Island, which has legendary ground level ozone and enormous traffic congestion problems. Been cooking with gas all my life without hassles.

This whole finger pointing between Gessing and his detractors, focusing on the use of fossil fuels alone, loses track of the bigger picture. Americans are energy gluttons, whether we emit carbon ourselves or outsource our emissions to industrial processes in the Third World and China. Unless we change the big picture, I don't think we can engineer our way out of a climate crisis.

Stefanie Beninato

Dr Eigner In my experience, electric stoves are difficult to control the amount of heat and make cooking into guess work. Until very recently, the electricity generated by PNM came from COAL fired plants in the 4 Corners region. Ask the people who live in that area and suffer high rates of asthma how clean that electric generation was/is.

Red Eagle

Exactly, Joseph Eigner, Ph.D., where do you think electricity comes from? Electricity is not a source of power it is simply a delivery system and that’s it! Think of it as a very inefficient pipeline.

Khal Spencer

nice piece about gas cooking here.

Maybe what we really need to do is define a total carbon footprint to each household, kinda like carbon offsets and carbon pricing. You can buy and sell or swap and trade carbon offsets. Got a gas stove or heater? Ok, use an electric car. Or use less carbon by having a small, well insulated home (the furnace eats a lot more power than the stove). Or live close to work and shopping and keep your vehicle mileage minuscule.

There are ways around this without having the self-righteous Climate Change Police kicking our doors down.

Richard Reinders

Sandra, Biden would have to kick the Texas State Democrats out of DC and send them back to Texas to stop the filibuster because isn't that what they are doing. Republicans aren't the only ones using it.

Stefanie Beninato

Leaving the state is not a filibuster, Richard. Look up the definition--an action such as a prolonged speech that obstructs progress in a legislative assembly while not technically contravening the required procedures. Leaving the state contravenes the required procedures. You seem to constantly make non factual anti-Dem comments. At least base them on fact--oh, I forgot GOP do not like facts...Just like the woman who called COVID a "fake flu" and does not want her child to wear a mask at school.

Richard Reinders

I am a Democrat look it up or don't you like dealing with facts

Khal Spencer

Well, Richard, a lot of people in the Santa Fe Machine refer to folks like you, me, and Michael Johnson as DINOS--Democrats in Name Only. One is not allowed to question the Left.

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