Are Winton-Flair, Accent homes good construction neighbors?

August 8, 2014

There is a lot of new construction going on in Edgemont this summer.

And that means current residents have to deal with the construction habits of the builders here. Most of the time, they are pretty good and considerate.

But not always.

I have two houses being built beside my home as well as five or six more behind me. Both Winton-Flair and Accent are involved and lately all this work has created some problems.

Accent put in a large dumpster behind my home which is overfilled on a pretty regular basis. The construction crews put everything in the dumpster, from construction pieces (including large foam panels) and even their lunch containers, drink cans, newspapers and more.

With New Mexico’s expected winds, much of the overfill has ended up in my back yard.

What I have discovered, is that Winton-Flair/Accent has changed their website and seemingly no one at the company reads 9or at least responds to) comments sent to them through the site’s Contact Us form.

I complained more than three weeks ago and again a couple of times with no response. I had asked that the company come and pick up the large pieces of trash that have collected in my back yard, especially since I am still recovering from emergency surgery.

I’ve even seen some of our streets covered in trash. I can’t believe that the clutter helps the companies sell homes here. It certainly makes the neighbor look trashy.

Here’s a look  at some of the trash I’ve found in my back yard.


Will El Paso Electric Be Held Accountable?

February 4, 2011
There has been no school in most districts in the El Paso/Las Cruces area the past three days.

The first might be called a snow day. After all, it did snow - maybe an inch in Santa Teresa .. a bit more in Las Cruces.

So maybe the school systems would have shut down. And maybe so would have the major educational institutions - UTEP, NMSU, EPCC and DACC.

But days two and three, frankly, were just due to El Paso Electric Company officials being ill-prepared at best or just plain stupid in the worse case.

The region has been held hostage to this utility company which said it couldn't meet demand. It was a time of the coldest temperatures in decades, you know, and well, we were all caught by surprise.

I guess the folks at EPE don't read the newspaper or pay attention to the television newscasts which predicted the mega-storm and cold temperature for more than a week ahead of its arrival.

But then the real story began to come out. El Paso Electric wasn't generating any electricity locally. The eight generators (four in Sunland Park, N.M.) were idle. EPE was using power from its partially-owned plant in Arizona and then had to purchase electricity on the spot market to try to keep up with all the folks who wanted to stay warm in this single digit temperatures.

So the electric company asked government offices and schools and universities to close down on Thursday and then Friday because they couldn't meet demand. They did twice a day rolling blackouts in two states to save power (and I suppose money).

And then the truth came out. El Paso Electric's local generators weren't working because they were frozen. A spokeswoman said on TV that when one was unfrozen, it refroze before a second generator could be unfrozen. But, no, TV couldn't come in a take pictures of the effort because they were "too busy" working on the problem.

What wasn't said is that EPE's generators are outdoors and it appears the utility doesn't always keep the generators working or on standby and warm just in case. I guess that saves money since they don't need to fire up the boilers and have a crew on hand. Good for the stockholders, I suppose, but in this case bad for the hundreds of thousands who depend upon the company to supply power for heat and light.

The latest from the spokesperson was that the company needs to spend millions of dollars to improve and expand its generating capability (not that they would keep it on standby even if they had it) because the area is growing so fast. If we were growing so fast, one would think the company would have to use the local capacity it already has to keep up with the demand. But remember all local generators were not in use and this storm "surprised" them.

In other words if the plants were operating, we probably wouldn't have had rolling blackouts and El Paso Electric would have met its customers' needs and stockholders might have even been happy since selling more electricity should mean profits for them.

Now the utility wants its customers to pay in advance for their need to expand. In most businesses, stockholders or owners have to invest their own money to grow their business. Not the utilities, however.

We'll all have to pay for the more expensive spot market purchases besides suffering otherwise.

The company won't be reimbursing customers for their lack of ability to supply service.Think what was lost - schools will have to make up days later in the year. Even when not in session, schools have expenses, especially when classes are called off at the last minute.

And will government workers who were told not to show up be paid? Nothing got done but government workers will probably be paid while companies that closed down might not pay their workers. Will the electric company reimburse them?

We expected BP to reimburse business losses for its Gulf oil spill. Why not El Paso Electric.

The local universities had to cancel some athletic contests. What is a basketball game at the college level worth? Will the games be rescheduled? Will the electric company pay for the visiting teams to come back to the area? Will EPE make up for the concession sales lost by the universities at the games? Will they pay for the lost revenue from the local businesses near the universities that depend upon game day sales to help them be profitable?

El Paso Electric will probably point out that other Texas and New Mexico utilities had problems. It seems many of them are now being blamed on problems in Texas with electricity-related problems. And should El Paso Electric get a pass because other companies were also stupid in preparing for a storm that knew, or should have known, was coming?

I think not.

Electricity rates in this area are already among the highest I have ever paid in the areas where I have lived.

Certainly one has a right to expect the electric company to perform professionally before its stockholders are rewarded.

Will someone at the state or local level hold El Paso Electric accountable for its inaction? I doubt it. Government are tied to utilities - they get franchise fees for allowing them to have monopolies. When rates go up, the government's take also goes up and governments need money these days.

And that means hidden tax increases( the fees) and subsidies for businesses (helping EPE expand) will probably continue.

Will the company be ill-prepared for the next emergency? Only time will tell. But the lack of accountability that I expect, leads me to believe the company just might continue its lackluster management style and be unprepared.

Driving in Santa Teresa could be dangerous

October 22, 2010
One of the things I've noticed in my few years of living in Santa Teresa is that the drivers here have their own way of doing things.

Stop signs, for example, seem to be just a recommendation by someone and really doesn't often apply to the drivers who live here.

Just think how often we see drivers fail to stop ... sometimes even fail to slow down ... at an intersection with one of these bright red signs that indicates you are supposed to come to a complete lack of motion before going on about your way.

It is especially a problem for drivers leaving the country club area and those turning onto Country Club road. After all, there isn't going to be any traffic coming from the uncompleted roads in the area. Why, they must think, do we even have stop signs here.

I can't count the number of times when leaving Santa Teresa that speeding cars and trucks coming onto the main roads have nearly hit me because they are not used to actually having to stop for oncoming traffic.

And if you want to talk about dangerous driving habits, just watch the way people avoid the speed bumps near the country club. Many actually move into the oncoming traffic lane to go around them, drive past the divider in the road (and the stop sign next to it) and pull back into the outbound lanes at the entrance to the County Club.

I'm sure they fancy themselves good drivers who are merely avoiding a bump in the road and that might inconvenience them or, heavens forbid, slow them down. But isn't that what speed bumps are supposed to do? Slow drivers down?

Slowing down would be interesting in Santa Teresa. The speed limit on Country Club is posed at 30 miles per hour but that really means 40 or 50 to most people ... if not more.

And on the side streets the speed limit (and it is almost always posed) is 25 miles per hour.

Few I see driving here seems to believe those signs.

It is easy to ignore them here. We are an unincorporated area. The security staff at the guard station and who patrol the area don't enforce speed limits. We have no local police force to stop offenders and collect fines (of course I am sure the Sunland Park Police -- which is pretty good at setting up speed traps along McNutt Road -- drool over the lost opportunities to collect fines in Santa Teresa.

The sheriff's office is seldom here and it is just before an election, so why would anyone bother to enforce driving laws.

Besides being a good thing to follow, the driving regulations probably were designed to protect the many joggers and children in the area.

I guess it will take someone getting hurt or killed for whoever set up the traffic regulations here to actually enforce them.

Don't get me wrong. I think some of the speed limits are too low in some areas and maybe some of the stop signs really don't need to be there. But they are.

Ignoring them is the wrong thing to do. Finding out how to get them changed makes more sense. It would be nice if it happened before someone is killed by someone who speeds or "forgets" to stop.

Welcome to my thoughts

October 15, 2010
After a 40-plus career as a working journalist, including pioneering work in new media (what we used to call anything other than print and broadcast), I find that perhaps it is time to step forward and share my thoughts about a lot of things on this site.

I'll talk about my life, my past and, of course, the future of the media as it transforms into something new in this evolving world of media ownership, management and public discourse.

I'll also comment from time to time about life in New Mexico and comparisons to other places I have lived.

The times are changing, to be sure, in lots of ways - media, politics, social settings and the general change in social discourse.

It should be some ride. I'm sure some will agree and some will disagree. But it is time to have discussions about where we as a community have been and where we are heading.

David Reed
Santa Teresa, New Mexico
"Learn The Rules So You Will Know How To Break Them"

About Me

David Reed A veteran of more than 40 years as a working journalist and new media pioneer, I have lots of interests - media, social change, politics, travel and more. I'll discuss whatever is on my mind here and hope you'll join me. It doesn't matter if you agree or disagree. What's important is the discussion we can have.

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