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Columns

  • A dollar for your thoughts

    Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven.  Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers, if you want the things you love, you must have showers.
     I do love Billie Holiday!  A time when one could be penny wise and sixteen ounces foolish.  When saving a penny was associated with earning.
     But today, would you equate a penny for your thoughts as a compliment?  When someone puts in their two cents, isn’t it just as easy to out-shout them with a dime?
    Once again, the innocuous cent is the center of intense debate.  In 1982, rising copper prices prompted us to change the penny’s composition to alleviate its production cost.  Pennies are now 97.5% zinc, with a 2.5% copper coating.

  • Higher taxes unnecessary to fund CIP projects

    Last Sunday’s Los Alamos Monitor article (“CIP projects face budgetary roadblock,”) highlights the reality of Los Alamos county government finances.  Even with our already high taxes, there isn’t enough money to do everything.
    This situation results from the county’s misplaced priorities and overspending on much of what it does.  While these shortcomings are most visible in capital projects, they permeate routine service delivery, too.

  • Rethinking treatment of horses

    Some months ago, there seemed to be an increase in news stories about mistreated horses: horses starving on drought-blighted open range or neglected in too-small private fields. Horses are such noble animals, I had always thought. How can anybody mistreat a horse?  
    A rancher told me this was happening because of federal regulatory changes that forced the closure of all U.S. horse slaughterhouses. There was no simple way to dispose of a no-longer-useful horse.

  • Stimulating sustainability discussion

    The lights dim. The bass beat is thumping.  The spotlight flashes to life and the announcer roars “Here is the starting lineup for your Environmental Sustainability Board.
    Serving as Board Chair is White Rock resident Liza Ermeling. Assisting as Vice-Chair is Stephen Tenbrink. Rounding out the Board lineup are Larry Warner, Brooke Davis, Walter Tuzel, Steve Boerigter and Don Machen.”
    OK, so the Environmental Sustainability Board members may not be as famous as the starting five of your favorite sports team but we want to change that, at least within the community.  
    The Environmental Sustainability Board serves as an advisory body to the county council on environmental sustainability issues.

  • Interstates offer exotic sightings

    Few of us live in the vicinity of Interstate 10 west of Las Cruces. Some notes from our drive on I-10 from Arizona back to New Mexico offer an update. Road highlights included land along I-10, a Range Rover driver, and, on I-25, a taxi and Bobby Olguin’s burgers in San Antonio.
    Along the way from Phoenix to Tucson, a flamethrower seemed the landscaping instrument of choice. The terrain transcended mere desert. The final few miles of I-10 in Arizona offered a fitting end to our visit. The road seriously needs replacement. We were pleased to re-enter New Mexico and travel a road tended by the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

  • Straight talk on the budget

    Generally, the Rio Grande Foundation focuses primarily on state and local policy issues. Nonetheless, given New Mexico’s status as one of, if not the, most reliant states on federal spending within its borders, the perilous condition of the federal budget must be of concern to all New Mexicans.
    Particularly in this political season, the tendency is for the media and politicians to ignore what then- chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, called, “The biggest threat we have to our national security is our debt.” After all, no one running for office wants to be seen as taking government benefits away from people.  

  • Water schemes, state themes

    In New Mexico, like that trick of light that makes a highway look wet when it’s not, things are not always as they seem.
    A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the State Engineer’s denial of an application to pump an ocean of water from western Catron County because it was “vague, over broad, lacked specificity, and the effects of granting it cannot reasonably be evaluated.”
    I now learn that two of the contractors, including a hydrologist who won an Ethics in Business award, have recently quit the project, and reportedly there were issues about getting paid. Apparently, the project has two sets of professionals, an arrangement that would support consensus unless the land owner is shopping for opinions.

  • Lab potential conflict should be eliminated


    Concerning your article “Watchdog group assails lab salary spike” I think LANL’s response is disingenuous. The Lab says:
    “The majority of the figure reported [i.e., the LANL Director’s $1 million annual compensation] under DOE stimulus funding guidelines is an increase in pension value. Also included are salary, life insurance, health benefits, and other total compensation,” lab spokesman Fred DeSousa said.
     “The portion of the director’s annual salary reimbursable by the government is about 35 percent of the reported figure and is comparable to previous director salaries, adjusted for inflation.”

  • Honoring a true hero

    On January 17, 1965, 1st Lt. Thurston “Turk” Griffith died in an ambush in Vietnam.  He was the first native New Mexican to be killed in combat. He was also a graduate of Los Alamos High School.  Friends that knew him stated he had a “wry, self-deprecating sense of humor.”  Sounds like a person that I would have called friend.  

  • Martinez riding high

    SANTA FE — Despite a few slips, Gov. Susana Martinez is riding high in New Mexico and national popularity polls.  Both Public Opinion Strategies and Rasmussen recent polling show Martinez with at least 60 percent popularity in recent months.
    The latest big news for our governor is her inclusion in a top-ten list compiled by Washington Post columnist Aaron Blake. His choices are evenly split between parties. Four are from the Mountain West — New Mexico, Colorado, Montana and Nevada.
    Blake says his rankings take into account all factors in determining how successful governors have been — from approval rating to difficulty of what they have attempted to do legislatively to the political bent of their states.