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Today's News

  • A path to good governance

    John C. Hopkins, Charter Review Committee Chair

    Chris Chandler, I&R Subcommittee Chair

     

    The Charter Review Committee (CRC) spent over two years studying the Los Alamos County Charter.  After numerous public meetings and considerable debate, the CRC’s and Council’s proposals relating to initiative, referendum and recall are now being presented to the voters on the fall ballot.  

     

    The CRC approached its study of initiative and referendum (I&R) beginning with the tenet that representative democracy is the basis of our American system of government. It is within this context that we considered the role of initiative and referendum.  When and under what conditions is direct citizen legislation appropriate?  We concluded that the voters are entitled to well-defined processes that provide citizens with a means to “check” on extraordinarily poor or misguided Council action, not as a routine method for objecting to Council decisions. 

     

  • All about checks and balances

    Editor, Los Alamos Monitor:

    “Checks and balances” is the phrase that describes the web of interactions among the branches of a government that provides for limiting governmental excess by the separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial sectors.  For example in the first instance, the federal government, the legislature passes laws but those laws can only be enforced by the executive and interpreted by the judicial, the legislature can remove judges or presidents and controls their budgets but is itself greatly constrained by being bifurcated.  And so on.  In the extreme these checks and balances can and do produce gridlock so moderation is necessary.

    Recently it has been alleged that the municipal government of Los Alamos operates without adequate checks and balances because there is no separation of powers similar to the federal system.  This naïve allegation has been used to justify the assertion that the referendum and initiative powers enshrined in our charter are essential to prevent municipal excess, and must be as easy as possible to exercise.  In this letter I want to describe the separation of powers in Los Alamos and some of the intricate, three-dimensional web of checks and balances within which the county government operates.

  • Frenchman, American win Nobel for quantum physics

    STOCKHOLM (AP) — A French-American duo shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for inventing methods to observe the bizarre properties of the quantum world, research that has led to the construction of extremely precise clocks and helped scientists take the first steps toward building superfast computers.

    Serge Haroche of France and American David Wineland opened the door to new experiments in quantum physics by showing how to observe individual quantum particles without destroying them.

    A quantum particle is one that is isolated from everything else. In this situation, an atom or electron or photon takes on strange properties. It can be in two places at once, for example. It behaves in some ways like a wave. But these properties are instantly changed when it interacts with something else, such as when somebody observes it.

    Working separately, the two scientists, both 68, developed "ingenious laboratory methods" that allowed them to manage and measure and control fragile quantum states, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.

  • Man Dies After Live Roach-eating Contest in Fla.
  • Ex-NFL Cheerleader Pleads Guilty to Student Sex
  • Today in History for October 9th
  • Skydiver's supersonic jump prep underway

    ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A weather hold that threatened to cancel extreme athlete and skydiver Felix Baumgartner's death-defying, 23-mile free fall into the southeastern New Mexico desert was lifted Tuesday morning and crews began laying out his balloon.

    The planned early morning launch had been delayed by high winds. But just before 9 a.m., the winds calmed and the team decided to proceed with plans to make the flight, a process that would take about two hours.

    The 43-year-old former military parachutist from Austria plans to take off in a 55-story, ultra-thin and easy-to-tear helium balloon that will take him into the stratosphere for the jump. He hopes it will make him the first skydiver to break the sound barrier and shatter three other world records.

  • Einstein 'God Letter' Up for Auction
  • Power, phones down at Monitor offices

    Shortly after 1 p.m. Monday, Department of Public Utilities crews working to repair a water leak on DP Road inadvertently took down an electrical transformer knocking out power and phones to the Los Alamos Monitor offices.

    Crews at the scene could not give a firm time when power would be restored.

    Email is being monitored remotely in the interim, so if you have an urgent news or advertising situation please send that to info@lamonitor.com and it will be channeled to the appropriate party.

    Power was restored about 4 p.m. and business operations are scheduled to return to normal Tuesday morning.

  • Wedding Brawl Breaks Out at Philly Hotel