Then the barber left

  Dear HCN,

I am writing to express my appreciation for your excellent article, "Lack of Enchantment," Feb. 5. I lived in Santa Fe for about five years between 1987 and 1992 and spent a year and a half as Santa Fe county attorney. I saw the decline of the middle class and the forced emigration of the Hispanic population.

The county commission agonized over the plight of their constituents and did all they could, but the real power behind the growth of the tourist industry lay with the city council and Mayor Sam Pick. That organization pursued tourist growth with lodgers' tax money and cared not at all about the consequences.

I remember clearly when I gave up on the city. The sole remaining small business in the old-town area was my barber, who established his business in the mid-1950s. He was forced out by stratospheric rents. After that, there were only art galleries, hotels and restaurants, almost none of whom catered to the local populace.

Norman Osborne

Las Cruces, New Mexico