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Columns

  • The Special Session: Thoughts from the House

    The special session of the New Mexico State Legislature started on Sept. 6.  
    The session was prompted by a proclamation from Gov. Susana Martinez calling the legislature into session to address the decennial requirement of redistricting, and nine other items ranging from Driver’s Licenses for non-citizens to budgetary issues.  
    On redistricting, the population of the state has grown and become more urban.  The resulting challenges are to create seventy House districts, each with a population of 29,400 people (+/- 5 percent) and reflecting the growth in urban population.   

  • Investments nurture businesses to create new employment

    As financial markets gyrate, legislators argue about the national debt ceiling, and people lose homes to foreclosure, it’s hard to believe the economy is improving.
    Few words can convince those unlucky enough to remain jobless; but numbers are beginning to tell a slightly better story, at least in New Mexico.
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that New Mexico made strides in improving its July jobless rate over the same month last year – second only to Nevada, a state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

  • Posse Comitatus and the Constitutional Sheriff

    If you attended either of the Charter Review Committee’s hearings on the Sheriff’s Office, you could be forgiven if you were bewildered by the frequent references to the sheriff’s power to protect the constitutional rights of citizens.  
    Curious, I checked it out, and I would like to share with you what I’ve learned.
    The office of sheriff is entirely a creature of state law, and has powers and responsibilities for law enforcement and civil process that are laid out in state law and can be limited or eliminated by a home rule charter municipality/county such as Los Alamos.  

  • Anything is possible

    The master plan for this special legislative session on redistricting seems to be falling into place.
    Although surprises always are possible in the give and take between the governor and lawmakers who aren’t particularly fond of each other.
    Gov. Susana Martinez says the session can easily be over in two weeks. The legislature appropriated enough money for three weeks.
    The maximum length allowed by law is 30 days but no one would benefit by it going that long.
    The likely scenario is for lawmakers to wrap up redistricting in about two weeks and then turn their attention to the governor’s agenda for several days.
    By remaining in session, Martinez will have to act on the redistricting bills within three days.

  • Just A Wag 09-16-11

    Property for sale  

    We’re hearing that a major property owner in town intends to sell off everything. Read all of the details on this developing story in an upcoming edition of the Los Alamos Monitor.

    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.

  • Budgets matter to business

    Business owners striving to survive the tough economy need to know how cash flows in and out of their business.
    A good place to start is with a budget – a basic tool used to forecast when cash will be collected and when expenses must be paid.
    Many business owners don’t take the time to create a budget, or they neglect to update the one they have.
    In this slow economic recovery, it’s more important than ever to know where money is going.
    Financial institutions also want to know; banks often require that borrowers include a budget with their loan requests.
    Understanding how to create a business budget is vital to improving a business’s chance of survival.
    A good budget has six key components.

  • Retool, rethink, reshape

    Consideration of competitiveness began and ended the recent Domenici Public Policy Conference in Las Cruces.
    Norm Augustine, former Lockheed Martin CEO, began the conference. Since Lockheed manages Sandia National Laboratories, it is reasonable to figure that Augustine knows a bit about New Mexico.
    James L. Jones, retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general and former National Security Advisor for President Obama, closed the event.
    Reports from news organizations such as the Washington Post indicated that Jones didn’t fit with established Obama advisors, giving Jones added credibility.
    First, a note on the conference. In four years it has grown into an event bringing the highest-level national policy players to New Mexico.

  • Design within context

    In the Thursday story published in the Los Alamos Monitor, “Trinity Drive Still Hot Topic,” the reporter greatly simplified my blog comments on the relative value of separated bicycle facilities vs. on-street bicycle facilities.
    There are no good “one size fits all” solutions and I would not suggest, without context specific information, what type of bicycle facility I would recommend to the county council in my capacity as a Transportation Board member or for that matter, as a private citizen.
    Readers can refer to the blog for details (www.labikes.blogspot.com.)

  • Driving the rascals out comes back to mind

    In 1992, a little organization sprang up in New Mexico called “Drive the Rascals Out,” calling on voters to vote all incumbents out of the state legislature.
    This organization appeared to have just one member – Marvin something – but it caught on with public sentiment and got plenty of news coverage and TV time.
    This was the period when “RaymondandManny” was pronounced as one word. New Mexico House Speaker Raymond Sanchez and Senate President pro-Tem  Manny Aragon were quite different in style and substance, but the word symbolized the contempt with which many New Mexicans viewed their state legislature – as incompetent, corrupt and uncouth.

  • Lessons on sharing power

    Former Gov. Gary Johnson weighed in on adding more freight to the legislative camel: Gov. Susana Martinez has a right to add whatever she wants to the legislative call, he said, and the legislature has the right to hear it or not.
    Understanding what’s going on in Santa Fe requires a swim in the undercurrents.
    Martinez hasn’t shed her prosecutor persona and treats all encounters with legislators like a courtroom battle.
    In the legislature, we have more lawyers who often forget they’re not in court, plus some hardened political players. Neither side negotiates until everybody’s bloodied.
    The legislature itself is an institution of tradition, convention and formality, not to mention statutory requirements.