I was born in 1945, and I have lived through all the rebellion and protest of the 1960's and '70's. So, I know what being an activist is all about. Now, in 2011, I have to become an activist one more time...in this case...to not let the federal government poison all the residents of the community where I live.
I moved to where I live now in 2009, and if I had known the problems in this section of town, I would have never moved here. Albuquerque, New Mexico is a city of about 500,000 population, and I think the most densly populated of the four quandrants of the city is the southeast heights, and that's the area of town where I moved to in 2009.
About a year after I moved (June, 2010), I read an article in the newspaper about a fuel leak at the local air force base, which is located only about one mile from where I live. About the middle of July, 2010, there was another article in the newspaper about the fuel leak at the air force base. And, then in August...another article...and in September...still another article in the newspaper...and how the fuel dump might contaminate the drinking water in the area!
Since the beginning of time, I've read the newspaper almost every day, and I had never heard of such a thing...and all these articles about the possible contamination of the ground water made me quite nervous, etc. As I learned about all this, I find out all this fight between the state of New Mexico Environment Department and the federal government (Air Force) has been going on for the last TEN years! In short, the New Mexico state Enviromental Department wants the Air Force to clean up the mess it made underground, before the fuel contaminates the drinking water. I can see the VA hospital from where I live, and just a few yards from the hospital is where the dump is located, just at the end of the runway of the Air Force Base.
This is a frightening thought to think that your own government can poison the water everyone drinks...but that's where I am right now. I plan to move, as soon as I can, to the north side of town about 20 miles away. In the meantime, I would not feel good about myself, unless I did something to bring more awareness to the problem, and not let the federal government get away with poisoning the neighbors, etc. You know how all levels of government work...they start pointing the finger at somebody else...once a disaster happens! So, much so, that I wrote an article about the situation and the reader can learn more by going to the following link;
CHEMICAL DUMP: Time To Close Kirtland AFB;
I summarize the article, by saying...'If Kirtland Air Force Base cannot be a good neighbor...it's time to close the base! I am pleased to say, that this piece debuted at #1 in the Technology categore, and has been on the 'featured' page for over two months now. (written December 2, 2010)
During the summer of 2010, I gathered and kept all the articles that appeared in the newspaper, so I can use them in my fight with the government. Surprisingly, the article in September, 2010 was the headlines on the front page of the Albuquerque Journal, and that was quite shocking to me! What are these people at the local Air Force base doing that it would cost the taxpayer's over 200 million to clean up!
Because this was a fight between the state government and the federal government, I knew that I would have to send lots of letters out to reach some of the people in the highest levels of government and agencies. etc. I made a list of over 40 people and agencies in New Mexico...everyone from the seven federal judges in the city; the governor; the Mayor of Albuquerque; the U.S. Senators; the District 1 Representative; the Health Department; the Environment Department (state and city) city council members; county commissioners; county Manager; City Safety Director; State engineers office; City/County Water Authority...and you name it.
Over several months, this little activism jouney I was on, and am still on has cost me over $200 in postage and copies, but it's worth it. I've recieved two letters from two of the federal judges; two of the state's U.S. Senators; the U.S. Representative (Districe 1); the the letter I sent to the governor of the state, the Albuquerque Journal called me one day, and wanted to publish it as a 'letter to the editor.' I was happy to see this, as it would inform more people in the city and the state about the dangers that we all face at the Air Force base! I used that 'letter to the editor' in my future mailings.
"Write to your Congressman." Is that how the saying goes? I had never written to a Senator or a U.S. Repersentative until the year 2005, when I got in a fight with the VA over loss of my disability pension. After four years of fighting with the VA, I was disapointed at what the delegation of New Mexico did for me at that time. They are nothing but professional letter-writers with not much authority or power, and during that long period of time, I had to find out the hard way. I found the U.S Senator's and the District 1 U.S. Representative pretty much worthless in my fight with the government! Knowing this, how was I going to fight the government in the possible water contamination of the neighbors?
I was going to have to bring to the attention of the seven federal judges that sit on the bench here in Albuquerque, N.M. When a person is approaching people in high places, the writing has to be good and brief! Don't wast any words and get to the point. When I wrote to the governor of the state, I knew that the letter could not be more than one page. And sure enough, the editor's at the Albuquerque published it as a 'letter to the editor.'
This gave me more confidence and courage to approach the federal judges in this matter. If the fight between the state of New Mexico and the federal government (U.S. Air Force) had been going on for over ten years...it sounded like it was like a ship without a captain...no leadership to get the job done. And, who are the one's at risk during all this time...the neighbors in and around the Air Force base! I had to somehow get the attention of one or more of the federal judges, who I think have the most power in the United States...even more power than the President of the United States. A federal judge can make things happen very quickly with just one signature; a phone call; a fax; and he or she has the services of the FBI and the U.S. Marshalls at a moments notices, etc.
So, I knew when I started, that the delegation of New Mexico was pretty much worthless, as I got pretty much nothing in the four years I dealt with them. I got the idea to approach the federal judges from the Watergate scandal many years ago. One of the burglars in the Watergate hotel, which housed the Democratic Party, wrote to Judge Sirica of the Washington D.C. district...and told the judge that there were many lies in the first trial of the burglars...and the truth could lead right into the White House. The rest is history, as Watergate was the biggest government scandal ever!
I got the following email from Senator Jeff Bingaman, who is the senior U.S. Senator from New Mexico. Because I mailed so much material out, starting in August, 2010, I am getting this reply from the Senator in late January of 2011. I have no way of knowing, but I think he wrote to me at this time, because he probably got a knock on the door or a phone call from one of the federal judges, inquiring about the matter of the possible poisioning of the residents surrounding Kirtland Air Force Base. In other words, he wrote to me, to cover himself, because I had not heard from him in almost five months. None of us know what federal judges do in the back-ground...but I think this is very possible. The email I received from Senator Bingaman is as follows;
"Dear Mr. Aragon;
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Kirtland Air Force base. I appreciate your taking the time to write and share your concerns. I understand the importance of this issue and I have met with officials at Kirtland AFB to express my concerns, regarding the clean-up of soil and contamination of the groundwater.
Please be assured, that I will keep your comments in mind as I continue wo work to address this important situation. Again, thank you for writing and do not hesitate to contact me on any other matter of importance to you and the community.
United State Senator
END OF EMAIL;
I think this email from the Senator is a bunch of crap, and I returned a letter to the Senator which follows;
January 29, 2011
"Dear Senator Bingaman:
With respect to the letter you sent me on the chemical dump at Kirtland Air Force base, you wrote, 'I understand the importance of this issue, and I have met with Air Force officials to express my concerns regarding the cleanup of soil and groundwater contamination."
I don't believe you! To trust anyone in the U.S. Congress, is to be a fool. I believe there has been a cover-up in this matter over the last ten years by the federal government (U.S. Air Force) and only a federal judges can find the truth, etc. Federal judges should look after the safety of the residents, without all that blah...blah...and red tape in the government.
Nobody listened! That was the cry, at what happened to the citizens of Niagra Falls, N. Y., as their complaints to the city and the state fell on deaf ears, and that's why President Jimmy Carter had to get involved and pull over 1,000 families out of the Love Canal. You're old enough to remember the Love Canal disaster in 1978, and that's what I see could happen here at Kirtland AFB. Since I think all the delegation of New Mexico are puppets of the government and pirates of the taxpayer's, I don't see any of you doing anything about it...that until disaster happens...just like in New York. That's when all the finger-pointing begins! Could there be another Love Canal at Kirtland Air Force base?
Everyone knows the U.S. Congress is laughable, uncivilized and self-serving, etc. If you act like a first-grader...then you will be treated like a first-grader. Case in point. During the recent State of the Union address (2011) by the President, it was a shameful night, as the first-graders (Republicans) and the second-graders (Democrats) were assigned seats to sit together so they could learn to get along...just like little children! (a romper room for sure) A disgrace for all Americans to see this display!
Supposedly, mature, grown-up people in the Congress, doing the work of the American people acting like thay have over the last 20 years or so. The U.S. Congress, which you are a part of, has lost its credibility and trust of the American people! I, for one, along with the American people are fed up with the U.S. Congress! I say...throw the BUMS out!
I sent you the first of the information I gathered on the Kirtland chemical dump, back in August, 2010, and you're just now replying in late January, 2011? You probably wrote to me, because someone like a federal judge knocked on your door or called you wanting answers in this chemical dump issue. (I live just one mile from the chemical dump)
The cynicism and miss-trust by the American people against the U.S. Congress is of their own making. Same old corrupt Congress...full of miss-trust, with no reform in sight! Since you have limited power and authority, and since I consider you a 'puppet of the government,' so why should I trust you or believe you? Why?"
END OF LETTER TO SENATOR BINGAMAN;
This letter to the Senator was exactly a page long, and I had to keep it brief and to the point.
Unfortunetely, in the United States, there are thousands of chemical dumps, and they are caused in every sector in society. Factories; Army posts; Air Force bases; farms and ranches; mining; government at all levels and so forth. We're having a big stink here in New Mexico over the dairy industry, and the cow's poop that can contaminate the groundwater.
So, if you're having a problem in your community...be an activist and do the right thing...a feel, good, feeling for sure!
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