Letter To The Editor: Response To North Mesa Stables Complaint

Los Alamos

I have to completely agree with Joann Johnson (letter) about the objections made by Olga Chertkov (letter) regarding the North Mesa Stable area. I cannot help but think this is the ranting of someone who bought a house near the stables and now regrets it because they don’t like the smell.

The fact that Chertkov has demanded the stables be moved or closed down shows this person has one interest, and that is themselves. If Chertkov truly believed it was detrimental to the environment, why suggest it be moved as one of the options? In theory, the same impact to the environment would occur elsewhere. If it isn’t good, why would this be okay? And additionally, closing the stables would have a huge impact to the Los Alamos community at large. Chertkov may have done research on the negative environmental impact, but did this person consider or research the positive impact to our community? Or how about the economic impact?  Clearly not.

Whilst I am definitely no scientist and have not read the paper produced by Chertkov, I would argue that it does not appear that there is any significant negative impact to the environment from the stables. As Ms. Johnson pointed out, the stables have been there for over 50 years. Surely if they were playing a role in environmental degradation, we would be seeing the effects of it by now. The land surrounding the stables would by now be showing signs of abuse, but I just don’t see it what with all the trees, beautiful scenery and green soccer fields surrounding it. Chertkov claims it’s dead land surrounding the stables, but I just don’t see it and I spend a LOT of time at the stables and on the surrounding trails. I agree that some of the chemicals/substances found in horse waste can be detrimental IF they are managed poorly or in extremely high numbers. But I genuinely don’t believe this is the case.

The County do an excellent job of managing waste removal. There is never an overflow of manure piles (and I walk past a number to get to the arenas). The County work very closely with tenants to keep the area maintained well. Could it improve? Of course!  Could we reduce the amount of chemicals in the environment? I bet we could – but the solution is to IMPROVE not just move or shut down.

And wouldn’t improving be MUCH more cost effective then shutting down or moving? Considering how much our little town has invested over the 50 years in our stables? Considering the high quality facilities we have built and maintained over the years? I couldn’t imagine how much it would cost to move and it’s obvious the economic impact would be significant.

Additionally, I can’t understand the claim about health impacts to surrounding residents. There are a number of horse owners and stable residents who are at the stables every day – right in the midst of all the “pollution” and have not suffered any ill effects. And they’ve been doing this for years!  If this was truly a health risk, we would be seeing a number of health issues cropping up everywhere. One person claiming it is not reason enough to demand closure or removal.

But that’s not even the most important consideration – I would argue the most important impact the stables have on this town is on our kids. In a small town where there isn’t a lot to do and the teen drugs and suicide rate is high, the stables and equestrian activities gives our kids who take part something priceless. The opportunity to be a part of something, to learn responsibility, to have fun, to learn about animals and the environment, to fall in love with something, to be a part of community and to achieve. They develop life-long characteristics and friends through this. If we close the stables down, all of the kids present and future will lose this. We have sports teams in towns, but they are seasonal and a lot of kids just don’t enjoy them. Owning a horse is year round. And for those who love it, it is a way of life. There is no way anything in Chertkov’s paper can outweigh this benefit to our town and our community. The kids at the stables are part of our town and our future.  We owe it to them to keep the stables and fight to improve them, not just get rid of them.

I’m sorry, but you cannot buy a house in an area and then demand the County change the area because you don’t like it.  It’s not fair to anyone. Respectfully, do what anyone else would do, sell your house.  Don’t demand to upset the lives of a huge number of people in the community.  It’s a seller’s market, you’ll get an excellent deal.