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Columns

  • Making war on DWI

    One Friday night in a busy restaurant, my husband watched a man sitting nearby drink a shot of tequila, a martini, a margarita and two beers.
    “I hope I’m not driving near that guy,” he said.
    It made me question, again, how reasonable it is to assign responsibility to servers. The waiter was covering most of the room. The customer wasn’t visibly drunk, but impairment – holding your liquor – varies from person to person. We all know somebody who’s tipsy after one glass of wine and somebody else whose capacity is legendary. The heaviest drinkers may be the hardest to spot.

  • When business, politics mix

    Historian Dave Clary emails from Roswell wondering why, now that Wall Street tycoon Mitt Romney appears to be a presidential nominee, the press doesn’t seem to realize that running government like a business isn’t a good deal for our nation.
    Clary says it is worth noting that the last two corporate executives to run our country, George W. Bush and Herbert Hoover, presided over economic meltdowns. He also points to the Italian counterpart Sylvio Berlusconi as another prime example.
    The press has covered the subject of business and government being two different animals. Therefore the promise to run government like a business isn’t necessarily something voters should embrace.

  • Should you buy wedding insurance?

    Disastrous wedding mishaps have long been a comedy staple, probably because so many of us can relate. What bride- or groom-to-be hasn’t had nightmares about hurricane-force winds blowing over the reception tent or a drunken cousin falling into the wedding cake?
    Besides the potential for embarrassing memories, there’s a lot of money at stake: The average wedding in 2012 will cost nearly $27,000, not including the honeymoon – about what you’d pay for a well-appointed new car.

  • 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.