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Columns

  • Who is conservative enough?

    Three years ago, four of our five-member congressional delegation gave up their seats to retirement or a run for higher office.
    An 80 percent turnover in any state’s congressional delegation is most unusual. It is almost a total loss of seniority.  
    Sen. Jeff Bingaman, with his 26 years of experience was the only seniority the delegation had.
    Four years later, New Mexico will lose Bingaman’s seniority and that of House member Martin Heinrich who is running for Bingaman’s open Senate seat.
    That will put New Mexico even farther down the seniority ladder. But it will give us two very exciting congressional races in both the primary and general elections.

  • Sheriffs Office may be eliminated

    In recent weeks, it has come to light that some members of the Los Alamos County Council would like to pursue modifications to the city-county charter to do away with the position of Los Alamos County Sheriff.   
    The motives behind such a move are unclear.  
    The County Sheriffs Office has received written notification of this action.  Thus far, we have not seen a publicized announcement of the council’s intentions in this matter.  
    The county sheriff is an elected position. If the council decides to move forward, one would hope that it is done through a referendum and voted upon by the general public.  
    This editorial is to alert voters and help educate the public.

  • Just a Wag 06-24-11

    Business leaders get toughened up

    A group of eight local business owners, managers and members of the Los alamos Chamber of Commerce spent all week at a “Business Bootcamp” in Denver.
    The bootcamp is designed to provide participants with  intensive workshops led by successful entrepreneurs and experts.

    Send us your wags

    “Just a wag” features initial snippets of news heard around town.  
    The wags may grow to larger stories or simply remain snippets, either way this is meant to spark interest and provide food for thought.
    E-mail wags to lanews@lamonitor.com.

  • State employee roles decreasing

    Last fall, both gubernatorial candidates promised state employees “no furloughs and no layoffs.”
    We could be pretty sure there would be no furloughs. The furloughs in 2010 were wildly unpopular and, more importantly, they were a budget-cutting tool of Gov. Bill Richardson. Both candidates were running away from him.
    At the conclusion of the 2011 legislature, Gov. Susana Martinez and legislative leaders proclaimed the budget that was adopted would require no furloughs and no layoffs.
    But layoffs already have begun. They sometimes are called reductions in force, or RIFs, but the results are the same.
    On June 10, 44 state employees were told to clean out their desks. They will be paid through the end of the month.

  • Economic Development 101

    It’s another beautiful day in the Land of Enchantment.
    This is the way Bob Hoffman, the Dean of Economic Development in New Mexico, opened all his meetings.
    If your skies aren’t blue, and your view of the horizon is hazy with wild-fire smoke, you might not agree, but Bob would convince you that beneath the smaze (yes, that’s a word), it’s still beautiful.
    Bob Hoffman, who created jobs across the state at times when it seemed impossible, has passed on, but his words are still gold.
    Bob had a passion for New Mexico almost from the moment he arrived at Holloman Air Force Base in 1950. His early career in radio broadcast and marketing gave him sales skills; that and his enthusiasm made him a force of nature.

  • Helping a billion bovines

    You and I have our challenges and some real worries, too. There are bills to pay and doctors to visit, to say nothing of mulling over those strange sounds coming from the rear of the car.
    But I confess, I thought the life of a cow was rather placid. Eating and sleeping, I would have guessed, pretty much summed up the existence of the more than one billion bovines that share the planet with us.
    But as I’ve recently learned, both beef cattle and dairy cows often have trouble just catching their breath.

  • Real estate markets still lag

    Aztec has New Mexico’s most affordable four-bedroom, two-bath homes. In real estate lingo, “most affordable” means “cheapest.”
    Four-bedroom, two-bath homes cost an average of $178,850 in Aztec. Nationally there are 527 real estate markets with cheaper, er, more affordable homes.
    The nation’s lowest priced four-bedroom, two-bath homes are in Niagara Falls, N.Y., where the price is $60,820. All these homes are single-family detached homes, as opposed to condominiums or townhouses. As shorthand, I’ll call them FB/2B homes.

  • Government service in tough times

    In a certain office of New Mexico government, a friend tells me, three clerical assistants work with a group of professionals. One clerk is competent and hardworking.  
    The other two are incompetent and unreliable. All the professionals try to snag the good employee for their projects.
    She works much harder than her peers but is paid the same.  
    Eventually she will get tired of this and will either stop working so hard or find another job.
    Another professional in state government describes her frustrations with management. She has to travel around the state to do her job, but because of budget constraints she’s not allowed to stay overnight.

  • Video games aren’t so bad after all

    Next time you’re tempted to lecture your kids about wasting too much time on video games, first check out which games they’re playing – it turns out they may actually be learning important life lessons.
    Much research has been done on whether online games and other interactive educational tools can teach people how to make better decisions regarding personal finances, including an exciting new study called “Improving American’s Financial Literacy: Educational Tools at Work,” by Lisa A. Donnini, PhD, KayAnn Miller and Kitch Walker.

  • Why make a criminal case out of it

    How is the state Department of Public Safety going to find the time and money to investigate the 64,000 possible cases of voter fraud referred to it by New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran?
    With state budgets being slashed by the last several legislative sessions, doesn’t it seem logical that the state police Special Investigations Division has more important cases to handle?
    For years, Republicans have worried that Democrats win elections by cheating.
    The cheating involves disappearing ballots, ballot boxes that suddenly appear when they are needed or long lines of voters at the polls, with a dollar bill or half-pint of whiskey in their pockets.