Chris Jinzo is a kind of folk hero in our community. My dad remembers coming home from work one day and seeing the bulldozers and police cars along the side of the highway. Jinzo, the acequia mayordomo, was wedged in between them with a shotgun. His family was one of the first to settle in the area in the 1800s. When Mike Knight, a local developer, tried to buy up the village of San Antonio, New Mexico without the proper permits, Jinzo stood his ground. In doing so he protected the water rights of the spring that his family had drank from for centuries. Knight backed down and the residents of San Antonio partnered with the Bernalillo County Open Space to preserve the area. Jinzo’s actions that day have inspired newcomers, including my father, to protect the unique landscape and culture of the Sandia mountains.
When Walmart enters a new town it is often met with a local resistance. The retail store strong-arms its way in anyway and muffles dissent. Yet, when construction on a new super-center was proposed a mile down the road from San Antonio it was met with such a fiercely coordinated opposition that ground was never broken. Attempts by other big box stores to move into the East Mountains have met similar demises. Years ago, Blockbuster managed to open up a store here, but no one patronized it and it withered away. Strangely, even after streaming video providers like Netflix pushed that business to bankruptcy, East Mountain Video, a mom n’ pop joint run out of the back of a house, continues to rent VHS and DVDs down the road from us. For some reason small businesses flourish along the roadside, as big retail chains struggle to establish themselves. Continue reading