The obvious vote is 'yes'

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By John Pawlak

 I was confused when I read William Sellers’ letter entitled “The not so obvious case against UNM-LA.” He states that a community as small as Los Alamos is not “entitled” to have a university. He points out that we’re an aging population and questions why we old fogies (median age over 50) would give a muridae’s derriere about UNM-LA.
 He goes on to relate the desire to have a university in our town to a Cold War mentality, and says that we citizens who support the university are suffering from a “group think virus,” with the entrepreneurial cure being to shuttle the students out of town.
 William would have us “group think” that we are somehow reasoning impaired (infected with a “dilatory disease”) for wanting higher level education available in our community.
 If that’s true, then I’m as infected as it comes.
 The obvious case against the not so obvious case against UNM-LA is equally prudent in its thinking.
 Education is a good thing, and a town that brands itself as “Where discoveries are made” should not feel that it is overstepping its entitlements to have a university available for things such as ELL/ELS programs, music marathons, technology lectures, and uh ... well, you know ... education?
 Actually, William made some excellent points that, in my mind, justify supporting UNM-LA. He mentions that many of the skill sets and job definitions of the near future haven’t even been invented yet. The future holds wonderful opportunities for our youth.
 What better reason to mandate a well-funded university, a place for students to learn those skills to prepare to make those discoveries?
 OK, enough word flak! Some things are obvious and others are painfully obvious. This one is a no-brainer. Vote “Yes” on the UNM-LA Mil Levy! When I first visited Los Alamos, I was delighted to see that it had a community college, and it is right across from the High School.
 Contrary to common belief, UNM-LA does not receive funding from the UNM main campus. In fact, UNM-LA has to pay main campus for operational costs!
 So UNM-LA is self-sustaining, running on revenue from grants, tuition, and some state funding. And that state funding has decreased over the last five years by 38 percent.
 And yet UNM-LA continues to be recognized for its achievements in education. NMACC Report performance indicators identified UNM-LA as “the best two-year branch institution in the state.” UNM-LA tied for #1 in the state for academic quality and student progress. And it was rated No. 1 for Economic Impact/Job Placement (80.2 percent) and No. 1 at Jobs and Continuing Education (92.7 percent).
 These numbers are indicative of the hard work and dedication of UNM-LA faculty, and moreover they reflect the educational advantage afforded by having the university in our town. UNM branch graduation rates average 16.9 percent, but UNM-LA boasts an impressive 62.3 percent graduation rate.
 UNM-LA provides a spectrum of opportunities and services to our community. It offers Associate degrees in fire science, robotics, cyber-security, applied technology, EMT, computer science, and many other valuable career-oriented disciplines. It also provides a two-year foundation for students seeking more advanced degrees.
 High school students in the northern N.M. area also benefit from its dual-credit program. Since the beginning of the program, 1,399 students have received tuition-free dual credit at UNM-LA. And senior citizens can enroll for only $5 per credit.
 Clearly, it’s a good thing for this branch university to be here, both for the students and for the community.
 “But what about my taxes?” Yeah, the levy will cost you a few bucks. But if a small amount of tax increase is a reasonable argument against supporting a learning community, then let’s take William’s suggestions to the limit. Let’s shuttle all our students to another county. College, high school, middle school, elementary school - shuttle ‘em all out!
 Sydney J. Harris said, “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”
 If we stare into that mirror, we’ll see that supporting UNM-LA can help make this town a window into the future!
 Vote YES on the Mil Levy!

Mil Levy

This tax vote is not about the survival or demise of the college...if the vote fails there still is plenty of base funding to keep almost all of the current services intact. The pushers of this tax are turning a blind eye to the harm it will do to fixed income citizens. Vote No!!!!