Friday, September 02, 2005

'Cultural genocide' by Westland

Maggie says:
So here in town, there's news to get fired up about, too. In this week's Alibi, you can read m-pyre friend James Aranda (left) and Jaime Chavez (right) take on Westland (scroll down for "Land Swap") for the corporation's proposed sale of 57,000 acres of Atrisco Land Grant land. Westland envisions this land as a huge new housing development, one that planners know would alter the region forever. In this great article, James and Jaime (both land grant heirs and shareholders) articulately state the position of lots of folks in town who think Westland's plans are not only shameful, they're illegal.

As James puts it, "The common lands were given to AtrisqueĊˆos for the betterment of the people... nowhere [in the articles of incorporation] does it allow for the sale of common lands. Within the articles, shares cannot be sold or transferred to non-heirs. Their lineage has to be traced back to one of the original 260 incorporators from 1967. How do they reconcile selling to a third party?"

Unless the legal issues prevail, the sale of the land would be approved with a simple majority vote of the heirs. Although many doubt a majority of Westland heirs would agree to sell the land, money could be an enticing offer. James, Jaime, and many others hope the profits that could come with a vote to sell will not be enough temptation to allow what Jaime calls "cultural genocide."

Jaime adds, "On the eve of the Tricentennial, the 300-year anniversary of this city, a cultural and historical atrocity is about to be committed to a town on its border, which has also been around over three centuries."

Stay tuned for more.