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Columns

  • On apples and activism

    Sorting out complex issues is something I like to do in these columns, but the space in a typical opinion column doesn’t always permit that. Today, we return to a couple of subjects of past columns – apples and activism.    

  • In quest of some tax relief

    I’ll wager that when most brides and grooms utter the phrase, “For better or for worse,” the “worse” they’re imagining probably involves situations like getting laid off or a prolonged family illness – not being the victim of tax fraud perpetrated by a current or former spouse.
    Married couples typically file joint tax returns because it lets them take advantage of certain tax credits and other benefits not available if they file separately. However, one potential drawback is that you’re each responsible, jointly and individually, for any taxes, interest and penalties due on returns filed while you’re married, even if you later divorce.

  • Will Ft. Sill’s Apaches move to state?

    SANTA FE — New Mexico is home to the nation’s newest Indian reservation. Ever since Gary Johnson first became governor in 1995, the Fort Sill Apaches have been trying to establish a presence in New Mexico.
    In the first month of Gov. Johnson’s administration, he signed gaming agreements with those tribes and pueblos seeking them. That same year, he also welcomed Fort Sill’s repatriation back to New Mexico.

  • Primary winners, bummers

     “I congratulate Hector Balderas on a clean, well-run campaign. I know Hector has a bright future in politics and I look forward to working with him.”
    Martin Heinrich handily won the Democratic nomination to fill the U.S. Senate seat from which New Mexico’s longtime Sen. Jeff Bingaman will retire in January. But in accepting victory, the first thing Heinrich did was to commend his primary campaign rival, State Auditor Hector Balderas, for a hard-fought but classy campaign.
    Campaign mud-slinging is as old as, well…the beginning of political campaigns.

  • Teach your kids to manage finances

    As parents, we hope we’re doing a good job raising our children – teaching them right from wrong, instilling the desire to learn and demonstrating how to manage money responsibly.
    But what if they see us preaching one behavior while practicing another? What’s to stop them from following in our sometimes misguided footsteps?
    As Father’s Day approaches, let me share a few things dads can do to teach their kids sound financial habits that will last them a lifetime – and point out a few bad behaviors you may not even be aware of. Ask yourself:
    • Do you avoid conversations about money with your kids because that’s how you were raised? Or because you don’t feel qualified to give advice?

  • Our idols had clay feet

    I remember back in school learning about all sorts of famous people - presidents, kings, explorers, inventors, military heroes - an endless list of amazing people who did amazing things.
     But history books only contain what history book authors write.  These larger-than-life idols were people, flesh and blood and subject to the same weaknesses and faults that befall even the most insignificant of us.
    Speaking as a rather insignificant entity, I find this fact strangely comforting.
    Now, what better American hero than the inventor of the light bulb, the motion picture, the phonograph.  Thomas Alva Edison, American scientist!

  • Spending rules invite gaming

    The primary election has passed. Political advertising won’t disappear until the end of Election Day, Nov. 6.
    Political campaigns are a small business with a heavy marketing orientation. The business has two products—the candidate as an individual and the candidate’s ideas. The business must sell the products to customers—the voters—and distinguish itself from the competition. Discussing the competition’s record and beliefs is called “negative campaigning.”
    To make the sale, campaigns must create a movement, a process requiring theater and spectacle. This sales process takes money.

  • The calm before the storm

    SANTA FE — It used to be that the summer months were King’s X in New Mexico political campaigns. From primary election day to Labor Day, candidates recovered from intra-party battles and readied for the general election.
    But then the national pundits noticed that New Mexico’s presidential election results were amazingly similar to the way the nation went. So our state became targeted for political ads beginning the day after the primaries.

  • Logic behind smear campaigns

    We’ve all wanted to tell candidates what we think of their mud fights, and I got a small opportunity during primary season. When a candidate came to the door, I said, “I’ve only gotten one mailer from you, and it was negative. Why did you go negative?”
    The candidate, who had a long record of civic involvement and impressive endorsements, said he thought it was important to point out certain facts about his opponents. It’s true that we need to see all sides of the candidates, but their competitors are hardly credible sources. He talked a while and was quite likable, but I still didn’t vote for him.

  • Diving into the recycling stream

    As the Environmental Services Specialist I spend a fair deal of my time working on recycling program planning and education and outreach.  What I do not get the opportunity to do very often is get my hands dirty and see the recycling stream up close and personal.  That opportunity presented itself recently when we were down two collection vehicles and needed additional staffing to get the recyclables collected.  So I threw on my steel-toe boots, gloves and safety vest and headed out to the Western Area.