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Letters

  • Letter to the Editor 5-4-16

    Roundabout battles: the root causes?

    Why does Los Alamos find itself, time after time, over a decades-long period, in roundabout battles? I think it’s a result of double-vision that exists at a deep level among both county planners and citizens. My view of this underlying schism has been formed as a result of participating in two expensive roundabout contests, and through second-hand knowledge as an observer of several previous battles. For convenience, I’ll call these two visions the “utopian” and the “utilitarian”. First, I’ll sketch the visions of each group. Then, I’ll broadly characterize how each group “sees” roundabouts.
    Utilitarian-speak can be recognized by words and phrases such as, “artery,” “efficiency,” “productivity,” “congestion,” “safety,” “cost effectiveness,” “redundancy,” “waste of taxpayer money,” “usability,” “smart signal,” “right tool for the job,” “examples,” “statistics,” “analysis” and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

  • Letters to the Editor 4-27-16

    Dannemann’s cost
    estimates not on track

    While as usual, Merilee Dannemann’s column shed useful light on the issue of having two engineers instead of one operating a train, she seems to have missed one concern and presented what appears to
    be a flawed calculation regarding cost.
    She states, “The cost of one more crewmember is trivial compared to the human and financial cost of
    a rail disaster.” While that is correct for one additional crewmember on one train, unfortunately, it is not the
    correct evaluation of the total cost of avoiding the single disaster. The full cost includes that of doubling the crew cost on all of the train operations that do not produce a
    disaster. The moral question is not calculable, of course, but the economic cost and value depends on the ratio
    of train operations that end disastrously to those that do not. Actual accident statistics are required to determine whether the cost of crew doubling is reasonable or
    excessive.

  • Letters to the Editor 4-17-16

    Democratic Party
    machine trying to
    pre-select president

    The term “Political Machine” evolved largely to describe iron-fisted control of the Democratic Party in New York City and Chicago in previous centuries. Now, a new Democratic Political Machine has appeared, and it encompasses the entire United States.
    Led by Party Chair Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, the Machine is doing everything it can to pre-select the Democratic nominee for president.  Its bias toward Hillary Clinton is blatant. Representative Shultz has even introduced a bill that would seriously hamper Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Senator Warren is an outspoken supporter of much of Bernie Sanders’ platform.
    While seeming to champion the interests of individuals, the party’s acceptance of corporate money through Super-Pacs has made it cautious when venturing into areas where new laws and regulations may be imposed on those very donors.

  • Letter to the Editor 4-13-16

    Explosive ideas for Roundabout art

    First, dear county councilors, thank you for standing your ground on the new roundabout at Central and Trinity. It showed loyalty to our commuters.  It was the right and thoughtful thing to do.
    Second, this is about a plea – a recommendation – for utilizing the space in the center of the new roundabout.
    The question to be asked is, what do we want people to know about Los Alamos as they enter (or leave) the town?
    The recommendation is this: we want them to know that this town was central to building the weapon which ended WWII and put up the nuclear umbrella which has preserved world peace from then until now.
    And how? By placing in the center of that roundabout some artifact central to the mission of our town. Something(s) which unmistakably points to the great things which have happened here, and which are still happening here, and how important they are to the nation and to the world. It should be big, and inspire the imagination of all who enter this town concerning the greatness of our past and of our future.  Several Cruise missiles would be good! Or a missile launching pad with missiles, etc.

  • Letters to the Editor 4-1-16

    We all need to talk about nuclear weapons

    The current presidential race is chaotic, and the public doesn’t realize how close nine different world leaders are to their nuclear launch triggers.
    We all worry about Kim Jong Un’s plans, but we are not aware of what U.S. presidential candidates, if elected, could do with our nuclear arsenal.
    We, the people, have an opportunity to make our voices heard if we speak up.
    We can’t remain quiet in this volatile world. Why spend $1 trillion, as Obama has suggested, to modernize our nuclear arsenal, when that money could be used for education, renewable energy development, or diplomatic aid to other countries.
    We should push all political candidates to take a stand in favor of the elimination of all nuclear weapons. The thought that 15,000 massively destructive weapons can whisk around the world in minutes is much more terrifying than any candidate’s antics.
    Every American president going back several decades has tried to reduce our arsenal, and substantial progress has been made.
    But what worries me is that one doesn’t hear much from the current Republican and Democratic candidates.
    Make yourself heard around the world, and pressure the candidates to address the elimination of nuclear weapons.
    Chris Warren

  • Letter to the Editor 3-30-16

    No straight answers with roundabout project

  • Letter to the editor 3-23-16

    Looking for New Mexico information

    Dear people of the great state of New Mexico:
    Hello! I am a fourth grade student in North Carolina. In fourth grade, we do state reports and I have chosen your state! I am very excited to learn about the great state of New Mexico as I work on my report.
    Most of the information that we get for our reports will be from books and web sites. We also like to get information from people who live in the state, too. This is why I am writing to you. I was hoping that you would be willing to send me some items to help me learn more about the best things in your state. It could be things like postcards, maps, pictures, souvenirs, general information, this newspaper article, or any other items that would be useful. You can mail items to the address below. I really appreciate your help!
    Jimmy Maple
    Mrs. Hughey’s Class
    Charlotte Latin School
    9502 Providence Road
    Charlotte, NC  28277

  • Letters to the Editor 3-16-16

    Reopening of roundabout discussion would cause delays, cost money

    I was very disappointed to see at the recent Transportation Board meeting the re-opening of the NM 502 Roundabout discussion. This issue has been going on for a few years and has had a full and complete public input during that time and was considered in public meetings of the full Transportation Board and approved by the full County Council.
    The design approved was done by a major traffic-engineering firm (Ourston Engineering) and has been approved by New Mexico State Highway engineers. This design (in my humble opinion as a citizen and taxpayer) is a big improvement for NM 502 and is now funded with state and county funds. This decision has been already made and with full public input. The reopening of this discussion now is entirely unwarranted and way too much time was allowed in the recent Transportation Board meeting to roundabout opponents in promoting their views.  
    I think I would trust the professional opinions from New Mexico State Traffic professional engineers and the consulting firm, Ourston Engineering, so I have no comments on the design, which is being finalized now by the state highway department.

  • Letters to the Editor 3-13-16

    P&Z Commission invites public to Comprehensive Plan review

    During this past week, press releases, news articles, thousands of post cards, radio interview and print, electronic and radio ads have announced public meetings on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday to begin the process of public input in the coming update of the County Comprehensive Plan.
    I would like to take this opportunity to describe the function of the Comprehensive Plan in straightforward terms and invite the community to be an active part in the decision making process. Simply put, the Comprehensive Plan lays out the county’s policy and plans for land use decisions in both the Los Alamos Townsite and White Rock for the next five, 10, even 20 years.
    The current Comprehensive Plan elements are disjointed, significant portions of which were adopted in 1987. The County Charter requires and current needs demand that the Comprehensive Plan be updated to reflect current realities and provide better and more transparent guidance.

  • Letters to the Editor 3-9-16

    Round and round
    we go?

    Would you consent to costly, painful surgery that might or might not improve your health and could result in increased blockage of one of your major arteries?
    The wheels of transportation progress have turned and we’re now faced with the prospect of having our very own two-lane roundabout (RDB) built on Trinity Drive (NM 502) at Central Avenue, beginning in the Spring of 2017.
    Over the past 20 years or so, roundabout proponents have generated three large proposals. The most recent grand plan, in 2011, proposed reducing Trinity to two lanes and installing nine roundabouts. A $300K transportation study was performed by MIG, Inc., a roundabout engineering firm. After review of the study by several concerned county residents, the County Council obtained a second professional opinion that confirmed the citizens’ review: the proposed scheme would not operate as claimed by MIG, but would create a traffic nightmare. (More historical and technical details are available at wcmead.org.)