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Columns

  • Talking retiree health care

    The news from the New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority is that things could be worse, but they are not exactly great.
    If you are one of the 22,000 state and local government and public school retirees covered for health insurance through this program, or a current employee looking to this program for your future, you might want to pay attention.
    RHCA has managed to save itself from several financial and political scrapes and survived to this point. At the moment, the program has projected solvency for the next 15 years.  Sort of.

  • Counting the bottles of beer

     The first week of April brings a welcomed break to students in our school district.  During the nearly two weeks off, they get to spend time thinking those deep thoughts that usually command a young student’s mind.  You know, things like “Uh, what do you want to do today?”
      Thinking about the present can be a daunting task, especially if you make the mistake of thinking about something that actually takes neural energy.  Why not spend that time doing something more comfortable, less complicated, more productive.  For example, how about counting to fifty thousand?

  • Some 401(k) advice

     In the past, many people stayed at one job, or at least one company, for almost their entire working lives. When they retired, they could typically count on a pension, the value of which was based on their years of service and earnings.
    But today, workers can expect to hold several different jobs in their lifetime, and to a great extent, pensions have been replaced by 401(k) plans, which place much of the funding responsibility on employees. So, assuming you will change jobs at some point, and you do have a 401(k), what should you do with it?
    Here are your basic choices:

  • How to change dumb laws

    SANTA FE — What do we do with dumb laws? There are so many on the books. Do we ignore them? Challenge them? Change them?
    The problem with changing dumb laws is that they were created to solve touchy problems So messing with them ventures into sometimes sacred territory.
    The latest example in New Mexico involves voter registration. Some yahoo with a cause registered his dog to vote. Nothing original with that stunt. We read about it in the papers every so often. The media treats it as a humorous prank. Nothing is said about consequences for the prankster or tightening of registration laws.

  • 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.