I am very concerned about the proposed state land office Whites Peak land exchange. Specifically, the integrity of the appraisal process needs to be looked at very closely and I would strongly recommend that the appraisals be verified by a second disinterested party.
Also, I am told that land office commercial properties in the Sandia Science and Technology park and at Mesa del Sol in Albuquerque are being considered as part of this exchange. This is where the appraisals need to be very sound to protect the best interests of the trust.
Why would you exchange high value commercial properties that return 6-10 percent annually for grazing land that returns .05 percent under the best of conditions?
The process may meet the letter of the law but in my opinion a lack of sunshine and public involvement reduces the probability that sound public policy is ensured.
If this is looked at closely and it is a great deal then bravo! However, if it isn’t then it should not happen.
Powell was land commissioner in 1993-2002 and is candidate for land commissioner in 2010.