An open letter to the Belen City Council


In line with the vision of the city of Belen, I urge you to reject the recent decision of the Belen Planning and Zoning Commission to annex about 13 acres of productive agricultural land as C-2.

A truly innovative idea that would preserve Belen’s history and traditions would, instead, be to encourage sustainable growth on the many acres of unproductive land already within the city limits.

For your consideration, I offer the following points:

  1. On the one day the planning and zoning commission heard public comments, only three of the five commissioners were present.
  2. Public comments on that day were, without exception, against the annexation.
  3. Productive farmland is both irreplaceable and an essential component of the quality of life that motivates people to move here and to make this place home for many generations.
  4. Across the road from the proposed annexation, there is much undeveloped acreage that has been vacant for decades.

To counter arguments made by the commissioners and the economic development manager:

  1. The success of the Walmart and the Tractor Supply stores in Belen is not due to their location near I-25 exit 195. Indeed, if these stores had been built on Reinken Avenue near the Ace Hardware store, the resulting traffic past locally-owned and operated businesses would have been a bigger economic boon to the entire city.
  2. High density development near I-25 exit 195 is not inevitable, otherwise there would already be businesses on the land already zoned commercial that has been offered for sale there for decades.

Given that the city of Belen seems poised to undergo a major review of its city plan, this particular annexation is both ill advised and untimely.

Jane Fedor



Let there be solar


The little guy stays little, broke and angry when politicians conspire and loopholes are used. Take the case of solar panels that Mr. Michael Candelaria was kvetching about a couple of weeks ago.

According to him, the governor of New Mexico is to blame for his inability to contract with PNM and make his solar panels work for him. I personally know several people who use solar panels on their homes, who enjoy a tiny electric bill, can run all their electronics seamlessly, and can even charge their car if needed.

It’s possible Mr. Candelaria’s parts are scarce and his contract with PNM on hold because of a teeny California-based solar company that is responsible for scarcity of parts and no foreseeable progress. This company has somehow triggered a commerce department investigation into four countries.

Who, like me, smells political machinations? A small  company against four countries with the U.S. government backing. Can you say “legal stalling” with a Florida twist?

Check out Dayan Hochman-Vigil’s opinion piece in the Albuquerque Journal on May 15. She writes:  “According to the American Clean Power Association, over 30,000 MW of American solar projects are being delayed and canceled. The California company that started this mess only has the capacity to produce 150 MW per year. Furthermore, the commerce department isn’t even set to make a preliminary decision until the end of August, with a final decision on this matter in January 2023. If the commerce department goes through with this process, it will stop solar construction and development in New Mexico and perhaps the rest of the country for at least the next three years.”

How frustrating! The pandemic was a good cover for lots of shiesty moves by big business, big pharma, and billionaires who have been allowed to run the country through Trumpian channels for several years now.

Meanwhile, the little guy gets angrier and continues to blame the wrong entities for issues out of his control.  We may function like Russia soon enough if people don’t wake up to the cause and effect of Trumpian policies, most of which are rooted in elitism, misogyny, greed and avarice. We are better than that and must weed that out of our politics before it overwhelms us.

Michelle Tafoya

Los Lunas

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