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Columns

  • Trinity Site will last 73 years

    We face a significant decision on the Trinity Site.  It is essential to consider the impact on future generations and closely look at the business details because the agreement will last 73 years.  
    Whether or not one agrees with the project, the citizens and staff who worked tirelessly should be thanked.  
    Hundreds of hours, good faith  and personal commitment mark their efforts.  
    In business terms, we are playing a very weak hand.  
    The worst economic downturn since the Depression serves as the backdrop to our effort to bring new retail to a community struggling to attract business.  
    It is not surprising that the results are uninspiring.  

  • Broadband for everybody

    In the upcoming meeting this Tuesday night, the county council will be considering moving forward in creating a county broadband network called the Community Broadband Network (CBN). The council vote on Tuesday could be one of the most important votes for our future needs. The country is moving forward and the question is will Los Alamos County join in the future of our nation -- or be left behind?
    The CBN is a complete fiber network and would include every home and business, extending fiber into every premises. Currently, some of the Internet services from major providers are not adequate for the coming revolution in digital services.

  • It never had a chance

    It’s disturbing the way key decisions of state import — decisions, which properly should be left to the states’ legislatures and governors — are more and more being made or re-made by federal judges.
    Only a couple of weeks ago, federal District Judge William P. Johnson issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of a 2009 law passed by the legislature and signed by then-Gov. Bill Richardson limiting election year contributions by individuals or certain organizations to political campaign committees.
    This is a state law that emerged by fits and starts after years of legislative struggle and compromises calculated to reign in the obscene sums of money it takes to run for public office today.

  • Different approach to Trinity

    As the negotiations for the Trinity Site between the County and the North American Development Group (NADG) approached the agreement stage, I began to get an uneasy feeling about this arrangement.  In 2005, when the initial concept for this development conjured up images of a unique gathering placed with multiple opportunities for retail and eclectic mix of restaurants, café’s, entertainment venues and a Canyon Rim Trail, I was all for it.  Since then, we have witnessed one of the worst economic periods since the depression and, quite frankly conditions have changed.  We are not living in the same economy as we were in 2005.  

  • GRT has chilling effect

    Gov. Susana Martinez is proposing tax-cuts to help the economy.  
    OK. That kind of depends on what kinds of cuts.
    I have a recommendation: Reform the GRT. Either:
    • Tax moneys earned from services as personal income;
    • Apply the GRT only to the profits reported on Federal Schedule C;
    • Give a $25,000/yr deduction on the GRT to self-employeds/sole proprietors, which would be considered personal income, and reported/taxed accordingly as per any individual income; or
    • Some combination of the above.
    The GRT is a business income tax, not a consumption tax.  

  • Can gov and legislature play nice this session?

    Lawmakers take their usual Friday recess. It gives the staff time to catch up with the flurry of bills introduced during opening days of the session and into binders for committee work.
    It also gives some lawmakers from the far reaches of the state an opportunity to get back home for the last time before the session ends.
    The capitol won’t be completely vacant, however. Finance committees and others will already be meeting.
    Before high speed presses became more accessible, bills were flown by private contractors to places like Portales and Roy for duplication over the long weekend.

  • Tourism ad campaign: Gasp, horror

    For cattle growers, branding has a specific meaning.
    For the rest of us, not so much. For citizen-consumers, branding, like sustainability, is a word bandied about with little attention to meaning.
    As a topic, branding gets attention these days around New Mexico because the Department of Tourism has just selected Vendor Inc. of Austin, Texas, to execute a $2 million advertising campaign “based on the brand essence” the department sees for the state, says Monique Jacobson, Taos native and tourism secretary.
    A brand is made up of a set of characteristics that, together, produce warm feelings from consumers for the thing, person, firm, whatever.

  • Give home businesses a break

    All you people who work from home, listen up. Somebody thinks you’re important.
    The governor has suggested reducing or eliminating the gross receipts tax on small businesses with a gross receipts tax liability of less than $200 a month – about half of the 80,000 businesses in the state.
    One of those businesses is mine. Wow! I was as happy to hear about a tax break as I was  to learn there are 40,000 of us out here.
    Who are we? We’re writers, consultants, bookkeepers, caterers, travel agents, website designers – you name it – and we work from home to minimize overhead.
    Critics have pointed out that if the governor’s goal is to create jobs, this slice of the private sector is least likely to do it.

  • Perturbed about Trinity Site Project

    I was very perturbed several years ago when the county decided to go ahead with the Trinity Site Project; then I had high hopes that it would simply die quietly, and now that it came back to life, I am even more perturbed.
    Let me explain my reasons why I am totally opposed to a resumption of this endeavor.
    Years ago this county created a master plan for the development of downtown Los Alamos. This plan was modified on and off, but fundamentally remained intact. Each time the basic premise remained to center the development of downtown on the intersection between Central Avenue and 15th Street.

  • Expect fireworks during session

    Expect fireworks from the 2012 Legislature even though everyone promises to be nicer.
    The thaw in relations began when Republicans, Democrats and Gov. Susana Martinez reached some agreements late in the redistricting process.
    Short 30-day legislative sessions were created for the purpose of building the following fiscal year’s budget.
    The governor and Republican lawmakers would like to see tax breaks for businesses and Democrats want to reinstate some program cuts.
    Now that the word — compromise — seems to be less onerous, a few tax cuts and a few increases in previously cut programs may be on the horizon.