• Invisible voters

     Independent voters are coming together in New Mexico to play a role in the mid-term elections, but it’s not the role we are usually cast in by the media as “swing voters.” Instead, on primary day June 3 we’ll be working to be visible at a time when we are most invisible.
    Primary elections are a critical juncture in the democratic process. They are often the most competitive. But in New Mexico, independents are not allowed to participate. It is one of 18 states in the country to do so. Other states have put in place restrictions forcing independents to join a party in order to receive a ballot.
    As taxpayers, independents help pay for the primaries, which only benefits those members of the two major political parties and in which voter turnout is usually low. (An issue to consider is that if the two political parties ran and paid for their own elections and conducted them by mail, the turnout might be higher.)
    A recent Gallup poll shows 42 percent of Americans identify as independent (19 percent in New Mexico and more than 25 percent in Bernalillo County), making the issue all the more urgent as a large and growing segment of the electorate is marginalized in its voting powers by partisan primary systems.

  • Golf apologies

    With reference to the letter I wrote that was published on April 29 about the golf course renovations, I received a lot of positive feedback and comments in support of encouraging the Los Alamos County Council to cancel, or change, the proposed modifications to our current golf course.
    However, there are a couple of items that I need to address. One is the statement that the number of players are “highly inflated” by golf course staff. That was the wrong thing to say and I apologize to the golf course staff for that accusation.
    What I was trying to convey is that the numbers of actual golfers using our current facility don’t substantiate building and redesigning a new golf course. Our current course is more than adequate and can be brought back to its former pristine condition at a far less expense than that proposed.
    Secondly, when I said that the county could use the extra money to hire “a new more qualified and better superintendent,” that statement was poorly written and just plain wrong and for that I sincerely apologize.
    Richard Matteson was a great superintendent and had a lot of great ideas to improve the golf course, but lack of staff and this horrible drought we are suffering really impeded much of the progress he could have made and he will be dearly missed.

  • Threat to the school?

    I have been saddened by the two front-page stories about a high school boy the paper claims is a threat to the school.
    He may be 18, but that does not mean you have to publish his name to everyone in town.
    He obviously was very depressed when he sent the text to his friend about hurting himself and others. I am glad there was an intervention by police to make sure he was OK. There were no plans or weapons ready according to the article.
    Haven’t we all said we are so mad we want to punch someone?
    That doesn’t mean we are going to do it. I wish the paper would cut this kid some slack and let him get the help he needs, without making things worse.
    Lynne Higdon
    Los Alamos

  • Letters to the Editor 05-11-14

     Spring arts and crafts fair a success

    The hard work of many dedicated volunteers resulted in a successful Northern New Mexico Spring Arts and Crafts Fair. It was a fantastic day with perfect weather, giving people the opportunity to visit with friends and mingle among the booths. In addition to the Los Alamos Arts Council, the fair benefited from the efforts of RSVP members who posted flyers around Los Alamos before the fair. 

    We also wish to thank LA County Parks Dept. for mowing and trimming the grounds around Fuller Lodge, as well as cleaning up trash during the fair. Many people commented about how nice the area looked for the fair. It truly was beautiful. 

  • A playful community

    Is Los Alamos a playful community? In my 28 years here, I’ve seen we are. Not just in the participation in outdoor and indoor recreation of all kinds by people of all ages, nor in the huge volunteer support of programs from PEEC to robotics competitions to youth and teen activities, but in the very science and engineering that is practiced at the lab.
    Most of those R&D 100 awards for significant scientific inventions that Lab researchers earn every year come from workers taking extra time to apply the methods and ideas used for the Lab’s national security work, to new applications: creative and productive play. That playful spirit is one of the things that I’ve found makes this town such an attractive place to live.
    The branding study that County Council just accepted was an attempt to identify how Los Alamos is perceived by ourselves and those around us: what do we think we are and would like to be; how well do we communicate that, and how can we communicate it better?

  • Boy Scouts to take food donations

    The Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Venture Scouts of Los Alamos County are geared up to help the Letter Carriers (NALC-4112) and LA Cares to collect, sort and store your donations of food and supplies during the Community Food Drive Saturday.
    Surprisingly, even in our well-off community there are tens of families, many with young children and elderly, who need help to combat the relentless scourge of hunger. So what can you do to help?
    Go to your pantry and fill a bag or box with non-perishable food stuffs and supplies. Leave by your front door and then on Saturday morning place it by your mailbox. Soon your letter carrier, Boy Scout, or adult leader will pick it up and take it to be sorted, stored and distributed by LA Cares.
    Is your cupboard as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s? Then visit your local Smith’s Food and Drug Center in Los Alamos or White Rock and a Cub Scout will be waiting to accept your donations on Saturday only. If you will be out of town for the Food Drive, then you can leave donations year-round at the Aquatic Center and Los Alamos County Social Services at 1505 15th Street during regular business hours.

  • Thanks to PEEC for hosting geocaching event

    I want to thank Katie Watson and PEEC for allowing me to hold a geocaching event on their grounds April 26. April 26-27 was the 12th annual international Cache In Trash Out (CITO) weekend.
    Our event’s group picked up 8 bags of trash (and a tire!) from the Olive Street Trail. Globally, more than 750 events removed an estimated 75 tons of trash.
    An additional Thank You goes to the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce for Welcome Bags filled with information about Los Alamos and to Craig Martin for trail maps to hand out. The event brought people to town from Stanley, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Española.
    For a few, it was their first time in Los Alamos.
    The kids that came enjoyed PEEC’s exhibits. Everyone is looking forward to seeing the new Nature Center in the future.
    Thank you.

    Coleen Meyer
    Los Alamos

  • Council should admit it was exponentially wrong

    "Live Exponentially?"

  • Being a host family has rewards

    For the past two years, Susan and I have been host parents for two amazing young adults from overseas.
    It is an understatement to say our lives have been greatly enriched by this opportunity. In addition to the privilege of sharing their lives for almost year, we became members of their families through Skype.
    The benefits to us are hard to enumerate, but include learning the customs and some of the language of those from another country, discussing our differences (some) and similarities (many), seeing the world from a different perspective, and enjoying the presence of a teenager who has not the handicap of being your own offspring.
    Both students were sponsored and highly vetted by a State Department program. The program is extremely competitive, as exemplified by the quality of the students who make it to the United States.
    The local representative of the program has informed me that they are in need of host families for three students for the 2014-2015 academic year (the students arrive mid-August).
    Each student was one of 20 finalists out of a pool of 300-plus applicants. Their selections were based on grades, performance in school, community service work and leadership skills. 

  • Federal gorilla destroys small business

    How the 900-pound federal gorilla becomes the King Kong that clobbers small businesses?
    There’s an argument to make that businesses in Los Alamos would not be here without the government, the “900 pound Federal Gorilla.” Indeed, my 17-year-old small business and optometry practice would not have existed or grown without it. However, many times the government becomes a sort of King Kong that pounds on small businesses with over-regulation, excessive taxation and wage control.
    Over-regulation. One example is the CMS required International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10) codes for medical insurance billing. Currently, there are 14,000 diagnosis codes and 4,000 procedure codes. ICD-10 will replace these, with 70,000 diagnosis codes and 87,000 procedure codes. For every medical practice, this means outrageously expensive software and computer upgrades, more IT support and staff training, and more work for the doctors, with no improvement on patient care. No wonder policy experts predict a decline in the number of medical private practices over the next decade.
    Excessive taxation. There should be reasonable taxation to pay for the infrastructure necessary for success. However, excessive taxation blocks small businesses from renovation and improvement. It also creates a disincentive to expand and create new jobs.