We were troubled to read Sean Thomas’ report that Santa Fe could lose metropolitan status to a new “micropolitan.”

That’s an under-100,000 population designation and thus forfeits important federal funding — despite the fact the prior designation is 71 years old and almost all metro populations have ballooned enormously and at great pain for a great many people (“New federal standard may knock Santa Fe from metro- to micropolitan,” March 20).

In fact, given that this adjustment helps 80 percent of the nation and only hurts 6 percent — we face an extreme political challenge.

So we were further troubled by the city’s leadership strategy and response in the form of a letter to a budget deputy administrator at the Office of Management and Budget. This effort appears small and unlikely to persuade.

Instead, I would fight this change at higher levels than bean counters at OMB, and then also distribute a communication to the governors and entire congressional delegations of Vermont, South Dakota, Maine, Montana, Kentucky, Alaska, Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, Washington, Nevada, South Carolina, Wyoming, North Dakota, New Jersey and New York — all states with capital cities populated by fewer than 100,000 people.

The goal: to form a substantial lobby with more than one-third the states — a mix of red, blue and purple from all over the republic — who would advocate for a capital-city exception based upon the major footprint of federal law enforcement, federal legal jurisdiction, and national and international economic, transportation and cultural activities that occur in state capitals and thus require healthier infrastructure and population support.

This would be a giant leap over the “clarification” sought by our congressional representative, albeit with a larger group of representatives, and the singular “woe would be us” to a lower-level bureaucrat by the mayor. Such a simple initial effort would stake out a crucial compromise position in the middle to save the money for Santa Fe and undoubtedly win us many new and influential friends, too.

Getting to yes in politics requires strength and diversity in numbers as well as proposing sensible if not inarguable win-win solutions as opposed to submitting mere complaints and clarification.

You can get anything done — in politics as well as in business and life — but you have to play chess, not checkers.

John Feins is a Santa Fe-based communications and political consultant.

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