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Columns

  • Most Town Hall recommendations say general things in general ways

    Nearly 175 New Mexicans and a couple of Texans gathered in Albuquerque recently for the 100th New Mexico First Town Hall, with the topic “Learning from our Past. Planning our future.”
    People from metro Albuquerque and Santa Fe — what I call the north-central urban area and home to half the state’s two million people — dominated the town hall. Of the 163 people listed in the participant packet, 25, or 15 percent, were from outside the north central area. Of those, six came from northeast counties working on a regional economic development approach.
    Two participants from Houston (that’s the one in Texas) must have registered late because they were not listed. The Texans work for energy companies.

  • Remembering a Civil War hero

    Over the past month, we’ve been recalling New Mexico’s role in the Civil War.
    It’s often a surprise to newcomers and even New Mexicans that we did, in fact, have Civil War battles and skirmishes here. They’re not Gettysburg, but we have battlegrounds: Mesilla, Valverde, Cubero, Albuquerque, Glorieta  and Peralta.
    And we have heroes. In the retelling, our chroniclers usually say we were rescued by Coloradoans, which isn’t entirely true. They forget Manuel Antonio Chaves. Every school child should know this name.

  • ‘Tyranny of the majority?’

    A question:
    After reading the Los Alamos Monitor coverage of Council’s  approval of charter review actions, I was struck by the phrase put forward “the tyranny of the majority.”
    What could this mean?
    I thought that representatives and those desiring to be representatives were there to represent the people of the community.
    Could it mean instead they favor the assumed “wisdom” of their own or colleagues is what really matters?
    Sounds like an election issue.
    Robert A. Nunz
    Los Alamos

  • Some colorful NM govs

    SANTA FE — As part of this column’s centennial coverage, I take pleasure in talking today about my picks for New Mexico’s most colorful governors.
    Most of this information you won’t find in history books. It is gleaned from personal memories or stories my father told as I was growing up.
    Many of my father’s political stories were about Gov. Clyde Tingley who was elected governor in 1934 at the height of the Depression. His campaign theme had been “Order out of Chaos,” But Tingley, who mangled the English language, kept forgetting that chaos doesn’t rhyme with Taos.

  • In the pursuit of excellence

    Of the many characteristics that I have come to know and admire about Los Alamos, the pursuit of excellence is one. It seems since the first student stepped into a “Secret City” classroom, the importance and quality of education has been on the minds of our citizenry.  
    Over the decades, there were many signs that point to the importance that education played. For example, the new high school in the early 1950s was hailed as “a state of the art facility.” Similarly, educators from the 1970s celebrated the high school’s selection as a Bellamy Award winner for excellence in community relations, education, citizenship and civic concern.

  • Economy bumping along

    News, good, bad and of no significance, came in the latest job numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and the state’s Department of Workforce Solutions.
    The insignificance in the changes from January 2011 to January 2012 was both in terms of size—the changes being small—and statistics—the changes also being too small to matter.
    For example, we added all of 300 people to the labor force between December and January, the BLS said, bringing the January labor force total to 920,800 on a seasonally unadjusted basis. The change is both small and statistically insignificant.
    That the labor force grew, however slightly, was a switch, a bit of good news.

  • What's in a word?

     Thomas Jefferson once said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”  Of course, he could have said, “when one suffices.”  Oh well, word up!  What’s in a word?
     Years ago, my wife and I were playing Scrabble with her father and my wife laid down the word “zit” for 32 points (Z on a triple letter score).  Her father promptly objected, complaining that “zit” wasn’t a real word.  It wasn’t in his extremely large dictionary (the Merriam Webster 1953 Edition) and so it couldn’t be a word.

  • Political craziness abounds in state, nation

    SANTA FE – The year 2012 is turning out to be a very weird political year.
    It began with the GOP presidential contest. The race began in typical fashion for a party with no incumbent. A field of about eight potentially viable candidates went to Iowa.
     Rep. Michelle Bachmann won the summer 2011 Iowa straw poll.  Then Rick Santorum won the Iowa primary caucuses in January 2012. Gov. Romney won New Hampshire and Newt Gingrich won South Carolina.
    That set a record for an even race. Usually by Super Tuesday in early March, the field had narrowed to one favorite. But this time four candidates remained. And now in late March, four candidates vow they are in all the way.

  • ACA is bad for the state

    The U.S. Supreme Court will shortly discuss the ACA, the latest abbreviation for the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010, pejoratively named Obamacare. Defenders of the law like State Senator Dede Feldman say the law is good for both New Mexico and the U.S. They argue that a) it brings lots of money into our state; b) creates new jobs; c) increases insurance coverage; and d) eliminates the exclusion for pre-existing condition.
    ACA may bring large buckets of federal dollars into New Mexico, but that money will be spent on bureaucracy, not on patients. ACA is likely to increase jobs – 38,000 to 47, 000 new bureaucrats, regulators, insurance adjusters, IRS investigators, and compliance officers, but not one new nurse or doctor.

  • Surprises at Dem convention

    New Mexico Democratic and Republican activists have lately busied themselves with something called pre-primary nominating conventions.
    These conventions go way back in state history, although there were a couple of decades between 1975 and 1995 when they fell into disuse.  
    By 1996, however, pre-primary conventions had been reinstituted and every election year since, roughly two months before June primary elections, delegates of the two major parties congregate to listen to endless speeches and, more importantly, to designate which of the candidates running for their nominations to sundry state and national offices have top spot on their primary ballots.