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Today's News

  • Pete Sheehey running for 43rd District representative seat in 2018

    Los Alamos County Councilor Pete Sheehey, a Democrat, is seeking to replace Rep. Stephanie Garcia in District 43, he announced Tuesday.

    A former Los Alamos National Laboratory applied scientist, Sheehey said he could add another perspective to the state Legislature.

    “I think I can offer some skills that I think are complementary to a lot of what exists in the Legislature today,” Sheehey said. “Attorneys, teachers, some business people… but not too many applied scientists. Facts and sound science have to be the basis of good policy. I can bring that perspective.”

    Sheehey is the first candidate to enter the race to replace Garcia, who announced last month her campaign to run for New Mexico State Land Commissioner.

    Sheehey’s campaign platform includes getting more support for public education, nurturing economic development within the county, universal healthcare, preserving the environment, campaign finance reform and supporting efforts for renewable energy.

    Sheehey said he will be just as careful in the state House of Representatives with the people’s money as he was on council.

    “I never voted in the council to raise taxes,” Sheehey said.

  • University of California submits bid for LANL contract

    The University of California was the only organization to confirm Monday it had submitted a bid to manage and operate Los Alamos National Laboratory for the next five years.

    Bids were due to the National Nuclear Security Administration Monday. The NNSA would not release information about the contractors that submitted bids and would not say when bids would be opened.

    The UC system confirmed its submission in an email to the Los Alamos Monitor.

    “I can confirm that UC submitted a proposal today for the Los Alamos National Laboratory management contract. We aren’t confirming or discussing any of our bid partners at this time,” UC Spokeswoman Stephanie Beechem said.

    UC is a managing partner in Los Alamos National Security LLC, the consortium operating the lab.

    Retired lab employee and current Los Alamos County Council Chairman David Izraelevitz wrote a letter to the UC Board of Regents in late November, urging the board to consider including in its bid language that promotes the idea that not-for-profits like the UC system should be taxed for their gross receipts, just like the for-profit companies are that do business in New Mexico.

  • Sheriff’s office decision at standstill

    The cases filed by Los Alamos County Sheriff Marco Lucero and Los Alamos County regarding the reinstatement of the county sheriff’s office duties will likely not be resolved this year.
    The latest court filings show the cases were postponed until after Dec. 22.
    A year and a half ago, in May 2016, Los Alamos County Council voted to take away the budget and most of the duties of the Los Alamos County Sheriff’s Office. In November 2016, people voted to keep and restore the Los Alamos County Sheriff’s Office in a referendum. The county and the council then did nothing with the issue for many months.

    Lucero filed a lawsuit against the county in August, saying to the courts that the county was not following state statutes “to adequately fund the sheriff’s office to provide law enforcement pursuant to state statute.”

    The county filed a countersuit in October citing it’s status and recognition by the state as an incorporated county as the reason it could abolish the sheriff’s office entirely.

    “By creating a home rule form of government, the county has provided itself with the power to exercise maximum local self-government to which the courts give liberal construction to the powers of the municipality,” the county said in its lawsuit against Lucero.

  • N.M. gets tax forecasting tool

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico lawmakers began using information from a fiscal planning tool that predicts future tax revenues as they contemplate changes to the state’s complex taxes on sales and business services.

    The Legislature commissioned the fiscal calculator for $400,000 from a consulting group to anticipate the consequences of tax reform on state government income, family finances and business interests.

    Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and allied Republican lawmakers pushed unsuccessfully this year for an overhaul of the state’s gross-receipts tax that would lower rates while eliminating hundreds in tax credits, deductions and exemptions.

    New Mexico relies on the gross receipts tax for about one-third of its annual general fund budget — collecting about $2.1 billion to meet spending obligations of $6.1 billion.

    Various lawmakers have balked at potential changes that would collect more taxes from nonprofit health care providers or reinstating sales taxes on food, while industry groups have warned of possible costly and unpredictable consequences for state government.

  • Reward offered for shoplifters

    Knowledge about a pair of shoplifters at Smith’s Marketplace on Dec. 3 could bring in some extra cash for the person who reports them.

    The Los Alamos Police Department is offering a $200 reward for information leading to the arrest of the man and woman who left the store without paying for several items. Cameras also caught their vehicle, a white sedan, police said.

    Anyone with information about the pair should call Los Alamos Crimestoppers at (505) 662-8282. Persons may remain anonymous.

    Unlike many other communities in New Mexico, Los Alamos’ commercial centers don’t see an escalation of shoplifting or other types of theft related to busy or distracted shoppers, said LAPD Commander Oliver Morris.

    The population in Los Alamos, while the public schools and Los Alamos National Laboratory close during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, usually drops substantially.

    With fewer people around, some types of crime, such as shoplifting, are more difficult to pull off.

    This year, the highest number of larcenies in Los Alamos occurred in August, with 12 reported. Without numbers yet reported for November and December not over, Morris said it is likely that the number of larcenies reported to police may be less than 100.

  • Red-y for Santa
  • Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and conservatives wanted.

    In a flurry of last-minute changes that could profoundly affect the pocketbooks of millions of Americans, House and Senate negotiators agreed to expand a deduction for state and local taxes to allow individuals to deduct income taxes as well as property taxes. The deduction is valuable to residents in high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California.

    Negotiators also agreed to set the corporate income tax rate at 21 percent, said two congressional aides who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations. Both the House bill and the Senate bill would have lowered the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.

    Business and conservative groups lobbied hard for the 20 percent corporate rate. Negotiators agreed to bump it up to 21 percent to help offset revenue losses from other tax breaks, the aides said.

  • US congresswoman's office faces discrimination claims

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A recent New Mexico college graduate says she was fired from an internship in U.S. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham's office because she is transgender.

    Riley Del Rey tells the Santa Fe New Mexican she's coming forward nearly three years after the internship because of the wave of U.S. news reports about harassment and discrimination. She said the views of transgender people have been missing from the national debate.

    Lujan Grisham, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in New Mexico, said through a spokesman that neither she nor her office would discriminate against anyone.

    Lujan Grisham's office referred questions to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, where Del Rey worked briefly.

    The nonprofit organization, which Lujan Grisham previously led as chairwoman, provides students with housing and stipends to do internships on Capitol Hill.

    The institute denied the discrimination claims. It declined to elaborate on the allegations but confirmed Del Ray was an intern in 2015 and did not finish the program.

  • Federal officials probe national lab after worker incident

    SANTA FE (AP) — Federal officials are investigating the Los Alamos National Laboratory after an employee was involved in an incident described as a "near-miss to a fatality."

    A worker entered a lab room that had insufficient oxygen despite an alarm sounding. The September incident was characterized as potentially deadly and a violation of building requirements and emergency response protocol, according to a letter sent last week to the outgoing lab director by the Department of Energy's Office of Enforcement.

    No workers were injured during the incident, lab spokesman Matt Nerzig said in a statement.

    "We are cooperating fully with the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Enforcement," Nerzig said.

    Additional information about the incident was not provided by the lab or the National Nuclear Security Administration, the agency that oversees nuclear weapons labs.

    Agency officials said the administration works closely with the Office of Enforcement to ensure that safety and health policies are properly implemented in all labs.

    "The National Nuclear Security Administration is committed to ensuring the safety of our workforce," the agency said in a statement.

  • Lobbyist reports harassment to attorneys for Legislature

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A registered lobbyist in New Mexico has submitted a detailed account of being sexually harassed by a former state lawmaker in writing to the Legislature's legal oversight agency.

    Lobbyist Vanessa Alarid on Monday submitted a letter to the Legislative Council Service that accuses former Rep. Thomas Garcia of offering to vote for a bill in 2009 if Alarid would have sex with him. Garcia has vigorously denied the allegations.

    The Democrat-led Legislature is preparing to rewrite its anti-harassment policy in response to a groundswell of reports from women of sexual misconduct in the Statehouse.

    Alarid says current policies leave lobbyists with little recourse against sexual harassment by lawmakers.

    Since her story went public Friday, Alarid says she received over 70 messages and calls recounting sexual misconduct at the state Capitol.