Letters 6/5

Cannon committee needs to play politics
In essence, the Base Realignment and Closure process is a divide-and-conquer scenario.

While eastern New Mexico residents rally around Cannon Air Force Base and make our appeals for its worthiness, we must realize that every other affected community in the country is doing the same.

This process tacitly pits communities against one another in an appeal to save their individual bases.

But the BRAC Commission is an independent body that is immune from politics, and by the time its final recommendation is due, it will be desensitized to heartfelt community appeals. In the end, it will still render a potentially unfavorable base-closing decision.

It’s time for our mayors, the Committee of Fifty and every other eastern New Mexico resident to contact their counterparts in each of the other affected communities to form a fervent voice against this round of the BRAC itself. This combined voice needs to be directed at the weakest link in this BRAC process; namely, the Republican-controlled Congress. Unlike the president, those people have to face us in an election again, if they want to retain their power.

There is strength in numbers. A nationwide anti-BRAC voice needs to send Congress a single, powerful message, reminding members that they work for us. We need to let them know, in no uncertain terms, that if they close any of our bases, we’ll hold them accountable for our losses next election day. We need to give these politicians a very personal stake in this decision and there’s a good chance they’ll blink when the final base-closure list lands in their hands.

When it comes to politics, people tend to hold their noses in disgust, but what is Washington, D.C., if not the quid pro quo center of the universe?

United we can stand, but divided, they’ll likely succeed in closing all our bases.

William Ward
Clovis

Ute pipeline better place to invest money
We’ve heard many reasons why Cannon should not be closed, but there is one glaring fact that cannot be ignored. This should serve as a hard slap in the face of local elected officials and base supporters:

Folks, it’s all about water.

This is just my opinion but no one has mentioned that the Pentagon knows the wells are running dry beneath Cannon and all of eastern New Mexico. Right now, long-term sustainability of water for Cannon cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, why invest more money?

Local officials have been told, and told, and told to plan ahead for two things: What if Cannon closes, and there’s no water?

Stupid human nature prevailed when somebody could have done something, and they decided to wait.

Ute Lake was built in 1963 to serve the needs of this area, not for recreation uses or to benefit wealthy land developers around the lake. Lots of tears will be shed when our water is sold to the highest bidder in 2006 and it will leave the lake headed for Texas or Albuquerque.

Look at the is way. About $200 million will be lost to our local economy every year from now on if Cannon closes. About $60 million would have built that Ute water pipeline back in 1963, and today they say costs will be more than $300 million, not to mention operating costs.

Wouldn’t it be a shame to think 1 1/2 year’s economic loss would have covered the cost of the pipeline and maybe prevented Cannon’s closing?

Local, state and federal entities since 1963 have had an opportunity to do something, and they dragged their feet.

It may be too late for Cannon, but every man, woman and child in eastern New Mexico should contact all of their elected officials and demand immediate action to build the pipeline from Ute Lake.

The alternative is that Clovis will be closing in the next 10 to 20 years.