Biden at fault in transfer to the Taliban

It’s President Joe Biden’s fault that the surrender to the Taliban went so badly. When he addressed the nation on Wednesday, it was nothing new—just louder. The surrender was a success, but it was his predecessor’s fault. He declared that he would leave no one behind—except those hundreds still behind enemy lines. He mentioned nothing about the $85 billion in American weapons and aircraft given to the Taliban. An avowed enemy of the U.S. has more weaponry than some of our allies now. Where’s the normal I was promised? And he should stop pretending to be a Gold Star dad. His lack of shame must give him solace.

Craig Springer, Edgewood

Correcting the record on ownership of locomotive

I was delightfully surprised to read an informative article on the background and current activities of our treasured New Mexico muralist and painter, Gayle Van Horn, in “Artist with Mountainair connection returns with show.” I appreciate very much that The Independent chose to cover this past weekend’s events in Mountainair, including Mr. Van Horn’s exhibition and talk. It was a fine event enjoyed by many.

The article was not quite as thoroughly researched as it might have been, given that it implies that BNSF owns the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (AT&SF) steam locomotive 2926. It was reported accurately that Mr. Van Horn has a passion for the 2926 and that it features prominently in his body of work. But while BNSF is the successor railroad company to the AT&SF, BNSF does not own that locomotive. The 2926 was given to the City of Albuquerque in 1956 by the AT&SF, the engine having contributed to the war effort during World War II, operating a million miles across the Southwest, and having been serviced at the Santa Fe Railroad railyards in downtown Albuquerque.

The engine was rescued from deterioration in 2000 after a group of railroad enthusiasts formed the non-profit New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society (NMSL&RHS) and purchased the World War II relic from the City for $1. That organization spent the last 20 years restoring the engine and its tender. On July 24, 2021, the restoration was complete and the 2926 moved down the track in Albuquerque under her own steam for the first time since 1953. It was a glorious moment of history come back to life that was attended by Mr. Van Horn, among many others.

Mr. Van Horn has been extraordinarily generous to NMSL&RHS for many years, donating works for reprint and sale; creating paintings featuring the engine used for fundraising calendars, Christmas cards, and the like. To my knowledge, he has never worked with BNSF.

Please understand that this reporting error is a slight to the pride of the dedicated members of NMSL&RHS along with the innumerable rail fans who have followed the progress of the restoration of the 2926 and celebrated its completion. I’m certain Mr. Van Horn would want it corrected, along with the rest of us.

Ruth J. Koury, Crew Member, NMSL&RHS

Edgewood may miss out on state funding

The Sept. 8 council meeting was adjourned due to lack of quorum to hold the meeting. Councilor Audrey Jaramillo sent an email at 4:53 p.m. requesting canceling of Town Council meeting due to Councilor Sherry Abraham having a death in the family. Mayor Pro Tem John Abrams did not get the email because he was driving home from work at that time. Councilor Jaramillo should have come to the meeting and requested that they only take action on Fat Pipe and ICIP (Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan) due to Councilor Abraham’s absence. Instead, she decided to not show up to the meeting, with no notice.

One can only assume that the reason Councilor Jaramillo did not show was because Councilor Abraham would not be there and she would lose Abraham’s second vote, which is necessary for her to tie up or vote down any matters not of her liking. Perhaps some of the meeting minutes which have languished on agenda after agenda for months might have been approved.

There is a tragedy that comes from Jaramillo’s decision to be a no show: The town will miss the deadline to submit its annual request for legislative infrastructure funding from the state. This in a year when the state has money, unlike last year, when the town applied for funding, but little was available.

Five items were listed, but three were critical. The Church Street project has been scheduled now for over three years. Church Street is in dire need of paving, the wash boarding on that road feels like it will shake your car apart. Something must be done to improve Church Street. The town currently has $1,254,922 for the project, but still needs $650K, which they were seeking from the legislature.

Also listed on the ICIP were Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades of $750K, Pedestrian Bridge Project $310K (the town has most of the federal funding needed to install this bridge, but needs some additional state contribution), BLM (Echo Ridge) Improvements of $240K. Other projects that could have been added to the ICIP were playground equipment at soccer field, another grass field/park, or more roads paved. This is the year to get state funding.

Another important item on the agenda was to approve Fat Pipe’s Rural Broadband Project; PPA Agreement with funding from LEDA, Local Economic Development Act Ordinance. Fat Pipe was requesting $26,318 from LEDA, but the town must give its approval for the project. They are now left hanging until sometime in October.

This is a disastrous situation for our town! Councilor Jaramillo, what is your solution to this disastrous outcome? You are quick to point fingers at others, but when are you going to take some responsibility for your actions?

Having the 2-2 vote was more important to Audrey Jaramillo than showing up and doing the public’s business. After listening to her castigate other members of the governing body for their supposed failings the only word that properly explains her actions last night is hypocrite!

Cheryl Huppertz, Edgewood

Founding Fathers had it right: It’s not ‘my way or no way’

My voting history has been largely independent. I have voted for Republican as well as Democratic candidates based on who I believed was the better candidate. I registered as a Democrat when Trump became the Republican candidate for president so I could help choose the Democratic nominee, as I would not vote for Trump.

Trump wanted to make America great again. Hitler wanted to make Germany great again. We all know where that led. Trump scared me, still does.

I would still consider Republican candidates; however, I will not vote for Republican candidates who do not publicly renounce the “big lie.” It is not enough for me that a Republican candidate remains silent.

It is sad that some Americans do not trust their government, especially since “we the people” are the government. The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution states “We the people in order to form a more perfect union…”. Our founding fathers were realistic. They did not expect perfection, hence their choice of the wording “more perfect.” I think we have forgotten this. It is not “my way or no way.” We need to strive for compromises that benefit most Americans while minimizing harm to the few.

Ronald A. Siegel, Torrance County

Withdrawal from Afghanistan did not need to end badly

In response to the column by Darrell Allen (“We knew involvement in Afghanistan would end badly,” Aug. 27 – Sept. 2) this withdrawal did not need to end badly. President Trump had a meeting with the Taliban leader (with Mike Pompeo and others present) where he made it very clear that if the Taliban or any of their affiliates made a move against an American, they would be wiped off the face of the earth. As a result, not one American soldier lost their life for 18 months before Biden took office. Pompeo and Trump have said they had specific criteria that had to be met before it was safe to withdrawal. Trump’s policy was to also never abandon Bagram Air Base because of its strategic location, and to destroy the other bases after all armament, assets and of course personnel were removed.

President Biden did the unthinkable by pulling the military before getting everyone out making deals with terrorists to manage the evacuation. Worse than that, he gave them a complete list of every American and Afghan supporter. It is being reported that the Taliban are going from house to house executing these supporters.

Then there is the 60 some odd billion taxpayer dollars of high-tech weaponry and assets that were abandoned, a large portion of which will be sold to China and Russia for reverse engineering.

British Parliament is slandering the U.S. President and country and we are a laughingstock to the whole world.

To sum it up, our leadership has betrayed our people, our soldiers and families, and our standing in the world. I can’t get much worse than that. And we haven’t touched the disastrous domestic policy. This is what happens when people vote on personality instead of policy. Biden and his advisors own the American bloodshed and lives lost. Shame.

Mark Huppertz, Zuzax