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Columns

  • 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.

  • I'm too pretty to do math

     I stocked up on supplies from Smith’s today and took advantage of Smith’s Savings Card sales.
     The total at the cash register was $101.04, but with my savings card I saved $103.54.
    So as I figure it, I actually made $2.50 ­— now that’s a real deal!
    Sadly, this type of arithmetical absurdity would be just one example of how our nation is rapidly sinking into a black hole of math.  
    Computers and calculators have replaced neural connections and many people are now chained to them in a prison of innumeracy.  
    Cash registers in fast food restaurants have pictures to help the workers figure manage (click here for burger, click here for cheese, click here for lobotomy.)

  • And a little child shall lead them

    Little kids are amenable to learning new habits – generally much more so than those of us who are set in our ways because this isn’t our first rodeo. That’s why it’s sometimes more effective to teach children health science information rather than to do outreach aimed directly at their parents.
     That’s part of the background to the Global Soap Project. It’s a project that rests on some simple science long ago worked out by biologists and medical researchers.
    The basic fact is that many types of infections are spread through contaminated water and dirty hands. Microbes can flourish in such spots, particularly sometimes in places like crowded refugee camps or in poor nations.

  • Farmers are threatened

    New legal developments related to the workers’ compensation system are affecting two important New Mexico industries – in precisely opposite ways, for precisely opposite reasons.
    Before this discussion continues, let me jump ahead to a conclusion, lest the reader assume I am a heartless, anti-worker lackey of management.
    In America, people who get hurt at work should be well and compassionately taken care of, without anybody needing to sue anybody.
    The question is whether workers’ compensation is the right delivery system.
    Some farm workers want coverage.

  • Strip mall unsustainable

    It’s human nature for judicious restraint to sometimes be supplanted by the desire to “take action.”
    Pursuit of unrealistic desires sometimes leads us to a precipice where we are finally forced to decide whether to make a potentially fatal leap or turn back.
    Our community finds itself at just such a precipice with the impending decision about the Trinity Place strip mall development.
    When we began our quest back in 2005, we were searching for a formula that would significantly diversify our retail sector, provide a suite of new and exciting shopping opportunities, greatly enhance gross receipts tax revenue, provide a community gathering place, and ensure a large, constant revenue stream for our schools.

  • Legislative Session 2012

    The 2012 legislature may be very different than the 2011 version now that Gov. Susana Martinez has a year of chief executive experience under her belt.
    Martinez appears to have learned that the adversarial approach necessarily taken by district attorneys doesn’t work when dealing with another branch of government.
    She says a number one  priority this year will be to cooperatively work with the legislature.
    The 2011 legislature had embarrassingly little to show for its efforts.
    The special session on redistricting was even worse. A surprising improvement in relations was evident when Martinez and a handful of Democratic legislators presented a bipartisan congressional redistricting proposal to the court last fall.

  • Let's highlight energy

     The energy industry can take heart from the last item of the last meeting of a legislative interim committee.
    Sen. Bernadette Sanchez, chair of the Economic and Rural Development Committee, proposes making the energy industry a central component of the state’s economic development strategy.
    This would be quite a change in attitude. Instead of being the rich uncle who’s always on tap, energy would become an asset to be encouraged and protected, like high tech, manufacturing and tourism.
    The proposal comes at a time when energy people (and entire regions of the state) are feeling picked on and under-appreciated.

  • Weekend lessons

     I attended my son’s first basketball game recently. As I watched these little guys in their oversized shirts stuffed into long baggy shorts, I was hopeful.
     They had fun. They played hard. They were good sports. They tried their best. They learned some lessons, too.
    They learned that you don’t always get the ball. They learned that sometimes you can make mistakes, but you are expected to keep playing and not quit.  They learned that if you fall down, people care, but they want you to get up and keep going.  

  • GOP treated Johnson shabbily

    To the surprise of almost no one, Gary Johnson bid a less than fond farewell to the Republican Party a couple of weeks ago.
    Whereupon, he signed on as a member of the Libertarian Party and announced that he will seek that party’s presidential nomination this year.
    That Johnson opted to make the Libertarian Party his political home is understandable.   
    Philosophically, the former-Republican former governor has always evidenced libertarian propensities with an ill-disguised disdain for government and what he deems its intrusive role in human affairs.
    Nor is his quest of the Libertarians’ presidential nomination in the least unexpected.