Letters to the editor

Dear editor,

In the April 25th issue of local and area newspapers, there is a letter penned by my good friend Peter A. Smyke. I have known Pete for quite some time. He is a good organizer. We have worked together on quite a few projects, for example, the monstrosity called the La Entrada al Pacifico from becoming a reality.

I am a little disappointed though with this latest ‘production’ of his, replete with serious material weaknesses. He a good story teller, but unfortunately, he has a problem with his thought process. He has lost control of the story line he wishes to write.

He used a word ‘dissembled’ in relation to Mayor Rangra and Council members Bermudez, and Julian. A very strong word, indeed. Let’s use this word as a lens to peek through the various majestic transparencies he is promoting:

He refers to certain ‘revelations forced the City Council to hire a forensic auditor…..’

I don’t recall any Alpine City Council, during my tenure as a Council Member (2003-2009), or as a Mayor (2012-2016) having ever voted to hire a person, he is referring to with this designation.

Yes, the City Council consisting of five (5) Council Members, and a non-voting Mayor did approach the FBI to sift through the City records for any financial shenanigan(s) on the part of any staff member or elected city officials. Mr. Smyke has called the investigations ‘a sham.’ He does not trust the FBI, huh.

He refers to Mr. Skinner, a CPA who has audited the City books for quite a number of years. After Mr. Skinner presented the Financial Audit Report to the City Council (in March 2013), Mayor Rangra allowed the City Manager Chuy Garcia to ask his question. He asked Mr. Skinner if he (Chuy) was involved in any financial shenanigans, Mr. Skinner responded: no.

Mr. Skinner had rated the City Audit as ‘UNQUALIFIED.’ Councilmember Bermudez of Ward 1 wanted to know what does it mean? Mr. Skinner replied, ‘you cannot get any better than that.’ I might add that the City has always received this designation, at least during my political tenure (not that I have anything to do with this). The credit goes to the City Managers and the staff.

One of the ad-nauseum allegations from Mr. Smyke is that ‘these Council members voted in 2009 and 2011 to borrow to cover the budgetary shortfalls…….’

Come on, Pete. You know or should know that you are wrong on this, too.

Rangra was termed out as a Councilman in May 2009.

The borrowing, you are referring to, was primarily for the animal shelter.

Why, you may ask did the city need to borrow money?

The City used to house stray animals inside a 50×50 metal structure near the Waste Water Treatment Plant, affectionately known as the sewer plant. I visited this place once after I got elected (in 2003) to represent my ward, Ward 1, that is. The conditions inside the structure were ‘horrible.’ It was too hot. It was miserable. It was standing room only. Poop all over. There was a look on their faces with a question: Get me out of here, please.

I never went back.

We worked long hours with the Alpine Humane Society (AHS). The Councils I had the honor to serve with, appointed a Committee of Concerned Citizens to work with AHS to submit plans for a decent home for the stray animals, and consequently now, we have a state-of-the-art Animal Shelter that I am sure all of us are proud of.

Mr. Smyke, I challenge you and any other ranter to produce irrefutable evidence or document(s) to support all this gibberish flowing out of fertile imaginations for the FBI, the Texas Rangers, the Attorney General, the District Attorney, CIA or any other organization you have faith in, for another look. Otherwise please shut up.

Avinash K. Rangra


Dear editor,

Invectives and half-truths

A letter appeared last week heavy on name calling and misinformation. An example of the latter is “clean nuclear energy”. For edification, here’s a list of the Top 10 nuclear disasters, http://www.smashinglists.com/worst-nuclear-accidents-disasters-in-history/.The nuclear waste from Fukushima has likely encircled the globe after 8 years and is still pouring radioactive poison into the ocean. Maybe “clean” while generated, but what of the 250,000 year half-life and what is the definition of “clean”? Is it the same as “methane is clean” from his pro-TransPecos Pipeline stance, seemingly unaware of its harmful effect on the ozone layer?

What if climate change is just the natural cycle of the planet? What about that prevents exacerbating it with tons of harmful CO2 released into the atmosphere? Care to gamble on “natural cycle” instead of acting to prevent further damage?

Major environment legislation may have been from Republican presidents, but is it the Party of Lincoln anymore? The only thing the Party of Trump has in common with Nixon is a malignant narcissistic personality disorder with none of Nixon’s Quaker upbringing or social conscience.

He criticizes those able to see through Trump’s numerous shortcomings. For example, his president praises autocratic despots and paid a $2,000,000 hospital bill to gain the release of a tortured to death Otto Warmbier due to his North Korean love interest. There’s Vladimir (Russia didn’t do it) Putin and the evil Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to whom a tortured critic is a dead critic.

I said: “99% of 29 year old AOC’s critics couldn’t hold a candle to her achievements! She graduated cum laude from Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2011, majoring in international relations and economics.” Trump couldn’t light her candle. Likely his cancer causing windmill blew it out!

He tees-off on the Democratic Party and those suggesting there’s a better way of conducting the public’s business than that of “45” the past 2 years or GOP the past 29 years and that makes me/us “ideologues”? There’s more diversity of opinions and spectrum of potential presidential candidates among the Dems than in all the GOP and we’re the ideologues?

When will his ideology, as espoused, display a scintilla of concern for real world political and environmental problems without invectives and half-truths?

Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah


Dear editor,

Re: new information source for stuttering community

I’d like to ask your readers: Do you stutter? Do you know someone who does? Most people do. More than three million Americans and 70 million people across the globe stutter, but sadly it is still quite misunderstood. Help us change that.

May 13th-19th is National Stuttering Awareness Week. To support the stuttering community, the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation launched a new website with easy-to-find information like articles, brochures, magazines, videos, research reports and counselor referrals, with a new laptop- and mobile-friendly interface.

The Stuttering Foundation has accurate, trusted information about stuttering and free help on its new website: StutteringHelp.org.

Please take a look and tell a friend.


Jane Fraser, President

The Stuttering Foundation


Dear editor,

A funny thing happened Saturday at the Blackwell Block Party. Well, first a wonderful thing happened: lots of people from Marfa and beyond came together to share good food, excellent music, and a special and fun camaraderie under our giant festive tents. New friends visiting for Marfa Myths shared conversations with Blackwell alum. Guests bought commemorative mugs and t-shirts. And many, many guests made generous donations—filling our donation jar. We thank everyone for your generosity and support.

But then the funny thing happened—and I mean the strange thing. Around 3:00 p.m. in the midst of a sunny light-breeze day, I was standing away from the tents chatting with someone, as we watched a powerful dust devil whip down the side of the big tent where the merchandise table and food tables stood. Napkins and paper plates went flying. Folding chairs blew over. Servers and volunteer scrambled to contain the chaos. I watched a swirl of vibrant paper flowers head up into infinity in a column of brown dirt. No one was hurt, just sandblasted.

A few minutes later, under the tent, a volunteer pointed out that the donation bucket had gone flying. Here it was, but some of the bills had been sucked out. In fact, it looked like maybe half were gone. We went hunting for money and found some in a neighbor’s yard. But I knew from the sight of those airborne paper flowers that the money could be strewn a long way off. And I am sorry to our donors that we let that happen. If only…

And yet, here’s the thing. The dust cloud was heading south and west, kind of in the direction of Marfa Burrito. I want to believe that people will find the money—truly a windfall—people who may need it more than we do. If you find money on the ground in this area, we certainly welcome its return. But if you treat yourself to a burrito, that is OK too. We have the joy of feeling supported by our guests and the honor of your belief in our mission. We are so happy and grateful today for our community.

Gretel Enck, President

The Blackwell School Alliance