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Columns

  • Former tourism chief dies

    Former state Tourism Department Secretary Michael Cerletti was known to the public for his 10 years heading the department and two years at Expo New Mexico.
    But that wasn’t what made the recently deceased Cerletti the legend he was.
    Cerletti had a talent for taking aging hotels that had lost some of their charm and returning them to their former grandeur.
    In New Mexico, he began with La Posada de Santa Fe.
    Then he moved on to the old downtown Albuquerque Hilton and made it La Posada de Albuquerque.
    Then he took on the De Vargas Hotel near the state capitol and made it the stately St. Francis Hotel.
    Then it was the Sprawling Rancho Encantado guest ranch north of Santa Fe.

  • Let your voice be heard

    In the past week, reading both a cover story in the Los Alamos Monitor, and the Trinity INsite pamphlet I received in the mail, I am compelled to let my voice be heard and hope you will do the same.
    I want to acknowledge the work of the Trinity Site Revitalization Committee, some of whose citizen members have been active in the project for six years, and also the associated county staff.  They have volunteered with the objective of improving our community and I salute their efforts.

  • Time to stop debating and start building

    I have been reading letters to the editor and guest editorials about the wisdom of entering into an agreement with North American Development Group to develop the Trinity Site with Smith’s as the anchor tenant.  
    I served on the committee that extended an RFP for this project to more than 80 developers.  
    We chose the best five proposals on which to conduct due diligence and interview.  
    The committee was a diverse group of citizens who represented Los Alamos and White Rock with varied ages, family structures and backgrounds.  
    Our main objective was to maximize income for the Los Alamos Public Schools and select the best project presented to achieve this goal.  

  • Gary goes Libertarian

    Gary Johnson is moving. A few days ago, I told you where several of New Mexico’s former politicos are hanging out.
    I said former Gov. Gary Johnson usually could be found in the mountains of New Hampshire doing something adventurous plus a little politicking.
    Johnson felt like the victim in the famous movie “Catch 22.”
    He couldn’t get on the stage with other candidates for debates because his poll numbers were so low.
    And his poll numbers were low because the national GOP and its state affiliates omitted him from the ballots they prepared for news organizations to use in determining the candidates invited to speak.

  • Another special favor for the Spaceport

     It’s all go for Spaceport America. According to Christine Armstrong, executive director of the Spaceport Authority, 500 people already are signed up to fly into space with Virgin Galactic, at a ticket price of $200,000 apiece. A grand visitor center is scheduled to open in 2013.  
    Since the spaceport is several miles from I-25, two welcome centers will be constructed convenient to the highway, and shuttle buses will take visitors from those centers to the spaceport itself. After the current bond issues expire, the facility has a plan to be self-supporting.

  • The more things change ... the more they stay the same

    On the state’s 75th anniversary of statehood, historian Richard Melzer asked how New Mexico’s economy – in 1987 and the previous 75 years – could be described in the same terms: alternately sunny and gloomy.
    We’re still asking that question this year on the statehood centennial.
    Melzer observed that the state’s successes resulted from a happy combination of resources and demand.
    Coal was discovered near Gallup and Raton just as railroads and smelters needed a source in the Southwest.
    World War II and the Cold War gave us the labs, which, in turn, launched or helped attract high-tech industry.
    After World War II, when the nation needed oil and natural gas, New Mexico had both in abundance.

  • Good luck grappling with legacy issues

    It is good to read in the Los Alamos Monitor (Nov.  22-23) that environmental remediation at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is starting to shift its emphasis.  
    A bias for action is starting to replace the New Mexico Environment Department’s (NMED) need to study things to death.
    In the first six years of the compliance order on consent, studies NMED required LANL to perform cost about $900 million and consumed more than 90 percent of the total budget for those years.   
    LANL already had 35 years of study and research before the order. NMED Secretary F. David Martin and the Martinez administration have a real challenge to reverse the NMED “bring me another rock” syndrome.

  • And so it begins...

    The sun rises in the morning. Breakfasts are scarfed down and drivers crowd the roads battling their way to work.  
    Shoppers hunt for bargains as food prices rise and paychecks are cut. Tired and frustrated workers on their way home curse as they sit in traffic jams.  
    Overcooked dinners are eaten while watching  reruns of “Housewives of Bayonne.”  
    Kids play video games as their homework collects dust. The sun shrugs and sinks out of sight, and the day comes to a close.
    A new year greets us with pretty much the same old same old, routines we’ve learned to master without having to exert any thought.  
    A new year, a new beginning, and the same old garbage we’re fed each day.

  • Reverse engineering

    Two recent columns assured there is no worry about Iranian scientists reverse engineering the U.S. drone that mysteriously landed in Iran.
    But Santa Fe reader Mike Patel reminds that although Iranian scientists couldn’t reverse engineer a baby buggy, they can provide access to interested countries.
    Pitel notes that our friends in Pakistan gave China a look at our crashed stealth helicopter used in the killing of Osama bin Laden. They later gave us back the helicopter’s remains.
    Iran was asked to give the drone back but that’s not going to happen.
    And you can bet that China already has paid a visit to the drone and may eventually have it in its possession.

  • The irresistible resolve to control

    I feel one coming on, oh heck I feel a lot coming on. Oh no, I don’t want to do it but I can’t control the temptation.
    Yikes, here they come ... my New Year’s Resolutions.
    Ok, here goes. I resolve to grow my hair back in a month, my eyebrows in a week. I resolve to banish cancer from my body forever, and stop my husband nagging me.
    Oh hang on, but I have no control over any of those things, especially the last one!  Umm. What on earth am I going to do?
    Seems silly doesn’t it to try and control that which we have no power over, like our own health, but it’s often a reflex reaction when you’re diagnosed with cancer.