January 12 Letters to the Editor

Editor:

“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” These words, written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, came to my mind as I surveyed the water leak in Alpine on Christmas day. Water was flooding the parking lot of the U.S. Attorney’s Office next to the Federal Courthouse on Highway 118. It was everywhere, and it was certainly not fit for drinking. Unlike the abundance of water found in the ocean setting for Coleridge’s poem, we don’t have an overabundance of water in our area. Every drop wasted should be a concern for all of us. 

And as of today, Monday, January 9, we are working on repairing another leak. This one affects our family, friends, neighbors and fellow residents in Alpine Country Club Estates as well as Los Ranchos Estates. More water wasted due to a leak and another boil water notice posted. 

I imagine you have heard that like so many communities, Alpine’s infrastructure is aged. The discussion last year was on the wastewater treatment plant with an estimated $4.6 million price tag to repair in the spring of 2022. With inflation over the last year, it isn’t too far-fetched to say it will be more than that this year and each subsequent year. This estimate is just to repair the treatment plant. It does not address the sewer mains. Some of the mains are Orangeburg and could be as young as 50 years old or as old as 75 years. The typical life expectancy is anywhere between 30 and 50 years old, with the pipes typically starting to deteriorate at around 30 years. 

Many of the freshwater lines are also in need of repair. Because of this, we are often faced with water leaks in our desert city where water is a precious commodity. The leak on Christmas Day was due to an approximately 8 to 8 1/2-foot gash down the pipe from rocks shifting because of the bedding under the pipe shifted, allowing rocks to rupture the pipe. This leak, with its resulting loss in pressure, led to the first boil water notice we have had in years. If we don’t start repairing our infrastructure, then we may see more boil water notices sooner rather than later. Alpine, it is time to take action and do what we need to do in order to maintain our quality of life. Enough talking about it, now is the time for action. 

These leaks and problems with water as well as wastewater are going to become more common. The infrastructure should have been addressed decades ago, and now here we are, left holding the bag. It is time to repair our city, our home, and not let it continue to deteriorate. We deserve better. 

In addition, without the infrastructure to support new businesses that may want to come to our city, we are also losing out on economic opportunities when they realize we can’t take care of  their water and wastewater needs. 

We have to abide by the policy of not extending services to anyone outside of city limits because our infrastructure just can’t handle it anymore. We are having trouble taking care of those inside the city limits, and in some cases, it is impossible to do so, let alone take care of those outside of city limits. This also can be stifling and detrimental to the city. 

Logically, once we have water and wastewater taken care of we should address our streets. It would not make sense to spend our money repairing the streets only to come in some months later and tear them up to replace the water and wastewater infrastructure. 

Making all of these repairs is going to require a substantial amount of money and all of us, as residents of Alpine, need to come together and decide how we are going to pay for it. 

Grants are limited and we have been searching for grant options for at least a year now. We will have to go out for some low interest loans or bonds in order to accomplish this task. It is important  that as many residents as possible attend The Strategic Planning Priority Workshops on Thursday, January 12, and Thursday, January 26, at 5:30 in City Council Chambers next to the Civic Center. 

You will also be able to Zoom in or watch the recording posted to the City of Alpine YouTube channel. When we come together as residents with a common goal, we can figure out how to get it done. 

Mayor Catherine Eaves

Alpine

_____

Editor:

Enough of victim-shaming migrants! The world we know is the product of a chain of causative events dating from there to here. What reasons do people list fleeing certain Central and Latin American nations?  

The Monroe Doctrine’s tawdry history of U.S. interventions, creating, propping up military juntas or corporate-bought-and-paid-for despotic regimes. How does that play after 200 years of imperial hubris?  

For immediate personal or children’s safety, migrants undergo an untenable 2,000-mile trek. Another hurdle awaits. Trump and Biden administrations violate “rule of law-due process,” ignoring the legal right guaranteed under U.S. and international law to seek asylum on this side of the border.         

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott isn’t about winning points towards a toaster in heaven. In stark contrast to the Christmas spirit on December 24, without coordinating with authorities, buses dropped-off groups of migrants, abandoning children in below-freezing weather by VP Harris’ D.C. residence.  

Christmas Eve wasn’t the first time Abbott played this fouled, hard-ball political stunt to his base. If the object was to also “own the libs,” perhaps his own soul is at risk when the trumpet sounds.  

What consciousness endorses Abbott’s charade as a remotely good idea? Yet, old habits die hard. There’s an analogy to Jim Crow’s segregationists busing Black people North, having things the racists’ way.  

Was Abbott as militantly anti-migrant on Christmas singing his political-theological out-of-tune rhetoric in church? As a professed Christian, “belonging to the party of Christ” or “a follower of Christ” and 17-years ex-Texas Attorney General, Abbott knows full-well much better than his actions portray.  

Under the misguided notion non-governmental organizations ‘encourage’ them to come North, Abbott accused NGOs of illegal border activities. AG Paxton is to investigate. 

Being there, helping people in need is touted as criminal? That’s akin to red states’ restrictive voting measures intentionally creating long lines in minority/Dem precincts. Where cruelty becomes a blood sport, they’ve prohibited providing food or water, though waiting in longer lines than in white districts.

Bear witness: Gov. Abbott’s further removed — literally and figuratively -—from the three Magi greeting the Christ Child in unseemly manger hay. His charitable spirit isn’t that of a Tyrian shekel compared to those in NGOs helping ameliorate horrible border migrant conditions.

The measure of one’s life is the milk of human kindness, compassion and empathy made manifest. It flows like a river, channeling a course through difficult times, making a meaningful difference in others’ often hurting and desperate lives.

In Socratic dialogues, a good person may not be a good citizen and vice versa. That leaves vulnerable migrants at the mercy of an arguably bad citizen and a bad person. The contrast between Abbott’s disservice to constitutional “rule of law-due process” and the life of Jesus is palpable, his victim-shaming unconscionable.

Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah

Alpine

_____

Editor:

Title 42 is not about drugs. 

It’s about immigrants, and immigrants are not about drugs. We should stop conflating the two issues. Immigrants are basically of two types – those fleeing danger in their homeland and seeking asylum in the U.S. and those coming here for jobs or to reunite with their families. Virtually none of the immigrants are involved in drug dealing, and they tend to be the victims of human trafficking, not the perpetrators. Seeking asylum is a legal process consistent with international and U.S. laws. Those seeking asylum are not “illegal” and should not be treated as such. 

Title 42 allowed the government to force both kinds of immigrants to stay in Mexico or return to their homeland. It was an existing public health law intended to protect U.S. residents in the case of a pandemic but was misused as “immigration law” by the Trump administration. The Biden administration has been forced to keep it in place by legal challenges. Those forced to stay in Mexico or return home face terrible conditions of homelessness – abuse, rape, robbery, and lack of food, healthcare and education. Enforcing Title 42 makes them even more vulnerable to human trafficking. It basically formed a dam behind which people were held, so their numbers grew. It’s no surprise that with talk of ending Title 42 many immigrants try to reach the U.S. any way they can. Again, though, this has nothing to do with drugs.

As much as a third of those detained for entering the U.S. illegally are repeaters hoping this last time to succeed. This is because we have not reformed our immigration laws to provide for orderly immigration and asylum processes. Denigrating immigrants by associating them with drug dealing makes reform difficult to achieve.

Mary Bell Lockhart

Alpine


Related