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Columns

  • Building a more sustainable town

  • Forget taxes, deficits, debt - it’s time for a family movie or two

    Nothing like Christmas to test our fragile American psyches.
    While times remain hard for millions of us, stores have amped up the gift-giving hype because, well, they’ve been hit by hard times, too. What better way to make up for a hard year than by sending us the message that if we really, really care for someone...kaching! Guilt makes the sales soar, si?

  • Spirits of budgets past

    All this talk about budget cutting conjures up images of Aubrey Dunn Sr. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee back in the 1970s, he kept a hatchet on the table to remind his committee members – and everyone else – what they were there for.
    I’m imagining two ghosts of budgets past hovering over Roundhouse deliberations – Dunn and the equally no-nonsense John Mershon, once chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee and the House Appropriations Committee. Both hailed from Otero County, both were fiscally conservative Democrats.

  • Hard-fought rules add oil field jobs

      People dearly want a lasting supply of clean air  and water. The answer is pollution control.    
    As more people make and use more stuff, pollution  sources grow to need more controls. The controls add jobs in the pollution  controls industry. The bonus is more of the clean air and water people  want.
    In mid-October, a black headline glared from  the Albuquerque Journal. It read: “Jackpot in the Oil  Patch - State Rules Helped Politically Connected Players.”  

  • Stressing toward retirement is a dicey proposition

    The Los Angeles Times reported recently on a new study that almost certainly caused a lot of readers to chuckle and say, “Duh.”
    It seems investigators have discovered that among the health benefits people experience following retirement is a marked reduction in mental and physical stress, according to the study published last week in the British Medical Journal.
    Hello? How could it be otherwise? Name a job from which one might retire that doesn’t induce some measure of physical or mental stress, if not a bit of both.  

  • Domenici's plan takes guts

    After years of delivering truckloads of federal dollars to New Mexico, Pete Domenici has returned to an old love – deficit reduction. Lately he and former White House budget director Alice Rivlin stepped up to champion the Bipartisan Policy Center’s plan to reduce the deficit.
    Domenici, Rivlin and their fellow travelers have the luxury of proposing measures their former bases might find disturbing. The plan, 60 percent spending cuts and 40 percent tax increases, would reduce the budget deficit by $5.9 trillion over the next nine years.

  • A poll for modern times

    Months before the 2008 Presidential race began, I read a poll that predicted who would win the election.  At that time, no one had even formally announced their candidacy, and yet the polls raged on.  I think some guy named Paul Reubens was the leading contender. Polling once again besieged us over the months before the 2010 elections and I found myself unplugging the phone in an effort to ward them off.
    Americans are constantly inundated with polls; polls on who will win, polls on who should win, polls on who would leave the country if who wins.  

  • The definition of civil office is open to interpretation

    What a coincidence. On Nov. 2, New Mexico voters overwhelmingly rejected a constitutional amendment that would allow a governor to appoint a legislator to civil office.
    On Nov, 24, Gov.-Elect Susana Martinez appointed Rep. Keith Gardner, the House Republican whip, as her chief of staff.
    I wasn’t being sardonic when I called it a coincidence. New Mexico court decisions for years have given a very narrow interpretation to what constitutes a civil office.

  • Government isn’t all bad

    Sometimes my friends on the right get a little tiresome with the continuing litany that government is bad. That isn’t entirely true. Government does do some good stuff beyond the basic missions of education, health care, public safety and infrastructure.
    Nor is it true that when government does something good, such as cut taxes, all is sweetness and light. Here I’m referring to the current argument from Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation that the Richardson tax cuts explain New Mexico’s climb in state per capita income ranks the past few years.

  • What happens with muni case could impact local charter

    Is the muni petition “illegal?”  There are those opposed to the petition who certainly would like it to be. George Chandler certainly thinks it is. I disagree.