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Columns

  • House Majority Whip defends sluggish redistricting pace

    From recent articles it appears that there is a concern about how legislation is moving through the House of Representatives and the Senate.  
    The comments I have heard criticize the pace at which the legislators are hearing bills and the priority on redistricting versus non-redistricting issues.  
    Let me clarify the intent of this special session and how this process unfolds.  
    First, redistricting is complicated. Not only are we considering over 20 redistricting plans with considerable discussion, legislators from areas throughout the state are meeting in smaller groups to further discuss districts within their regions.   

  • A walk through history

    The first week of this decade’s special legislative session on redistricting has been anything but exciting.
    The only action has been complaints from Democratic leaders that Gov. Susana Martinez has loaded other items onto the agenda, something no other governor has done.
    And now we have complaints from Republican lawmakers that nothing is happening so they should be considering items the governor added to the agenda.
    Interest about that argument has its limits so let’s move on to looking at some truly momentous events that occurred on this date in past years.
    On Sept. 16, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo delivered his Grito to the people of Delores, Mexico, calling on them to unite in overthrowing the Spanish government.

  • 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.)