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Letters

  • Cuts jeopardize national security

    Our national security could be in jeopardy if the $500 billion in sequestration defense cuts are implemented. Our military had to absorb $80 billion in prior cuts and is now cutting $487 billion over 10 years to comply with the Budget Control Act.
    The $487 billion in cuts translates into the Army reducing its forces by 80,000 soldiers over the next five years.
    The Marines will cut 20,000 troops.
    Other cuts include early retirement of ships with the possibility of having 11 carrier battle groups instead of the 12 needed; the retirement of the Air Force A-10 Warthog aircraft; and the possible closure of our only tank production facility in Lima, Ohio.
    These cuts are occurring while leaving the Pentagon’s civilian workforce of 750,000 unscathed. DOD added 62,000 civilians during the past four years.
    If the additional $500 billion in sequestration cuts are implemented, over 1 million civilian full-time jobs with contractors, sub-contractors and ancillary businesses will be lost.
    The Obama Administration and Congress have to find other ways to reduce the deficit without adversely impacting our national defense.

    Donald A. Moskowitz
    Londonderry, NH
     

  • For-profit schools not the answer

     In his column on for-profit/charter/online education in Wednesday’s Los Alamos Monitor, Paul Gessing states: “ Non-profits, by contrast, have little incentive to become ‘early adopters’ of cost-saving tools and techniques, such as online instruction.” This is arrant nonsense.
     I dare him to present a single non-profit that prefers to waste contributions rather than maximize the effective use of their funding for their specific goals. It is true that they rarely can put aside funds for investment in what may ultimately enhance productivity -- but Gessing should distinguish between lack of incentive and limited capability.
    Why can’t he celebrate New Mexico being “in the Middle of the pack” in embracing digital education? For a change, we are not 49th or 50th in the Nation! Perhaps we could do even better if the Rio Grande Foundation were to provide grants rather than knocks and assist local non-profits supporting the same goals.
    Terry Goldman
    Los Alamos 

  • Questioning op-ed

    It is impossible to address all the points raised in Paul Gessing’s op-ed on “Digital Education” in a space-limited letter, but a couple of his statements are so egregious that they shouldn’t be allowed to stand unopposed.
    First, is his statement “For-profits have a relentless, selfish imperative to seek out and adopt cost efficiencies.” This is probably true, but their fundamental goal is to make profits for their shareholders, not necessarily to improve student experience. Cost efficiencies, which increase profits, may have nothing to do with better education or student success, and in fact, may make things worse for students, depending on what is counted as a “cost efficiency”.
    Second, is the statement “Nonprofits, by contrast, have little incentive to become early adopters of cost-saving tools and techniques …”. What evidence does Gessing have to support this statement? Non-profit businesses feel the same stresses as for-profits in terms of meeting government mandates and their payroll. Failure means they will likely fold their doors, so striving for cost efficiencies in a non-profit is just as important as it is for a for-profit.

  • Stop all killing competitions

    There is probably no more ruthless predator than man; yet as far as we know man is the only being with a spiritual conscience. Then why does man do unconscionable acts such as the mass killing of wildlife?
    I guess the answer is that man has had the ability to turn killing into a competitive sport so that conscience may be set to one side. Man has shown time and time again that personal pleasure, no matter how twisted, justifies certain behavior.
    Much of man’s actions, such as animal killing contests are without regard for our ecosystem and the natural order of things.
    The calls and emails I’ve received from concerned citizens about Gunhawk Firearms’ upcoming prairie dog killing contest reminds me of the historical mass killings of other wildlife, which drove them to the brink of extinction.
    I urge Gunhawk to reconsider feeding man’s greed and brutality because of their selfish desire for profits over a good sense of humanity.
    I have reviewed important data concerning the Gunnison’s prairie dog’s severely diminished numbers, their status being reviewed for listing under the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, their keystone role in New Mexico’s ecosystem, and the concerns of hundreds of citizens dedicated to their preservation and am troubled by the answer.

  • More pros and cons of Fair Tax

    errell tells us to visit the fair tax website (fairtax.org), which discusses the pros (but not the cons) of replacing our current income tax with a 23 percent Federal sales tax.
    Sales taxes are well recognized as being among the most regressive ways to raise money, since both rich and poor pay the same rate, although the “prebate” proposed to make purchases up to the “poverty level” tax-free, would help.
    However, two other issues suggest that the proponents of the fair tax are either very naïve or purposely deceptive. One problem is that a sales tax covering all purchases is not likely to make it through Congress.
    Companies that sell, for example, yachts, are going to complain that their businesses will fail if they have to add a 23 percent tax to the cost of their yachts. What about home sales? Will the home construction industries be content with such a tax, or will they fight to exclude home sales from the tax? What about purchases outside the U.S.?
    Given our experience with the current income tax system, does anyone believe that a flat tax has any chance of getting through Congress without special interest groups slipping in exemptions?
    Second, and even more importantly, the fair tax proposal only taxes “the purchase of new goods and services for personal consumption.”

  • Educate yourself on Fair Tax

    I am writing in response to the letter from Glen Terrell of Arlington, Texas who wrote in favor of a “Fair Tax” on Aug. 4. Mr. Terrell encouraged readers to educate themselves about the Fair Tax, and so I have done.
    According to what I learned, the “Fair Tax” plan would eliminate the current federal income tax system and replace it with a flat national sales tax of at least 23 percent. Everyone would pay the same percentage of tax on purchases (thus the “fair”) and there would be no obvious loopholes.
    There are several problems with this, the primary being the old adage that equal is not the same as fair. When the CEO of a company earns more than 300 times the pay of the company’s workers, this is considered (by some) to be fair, but it is by no stretch of the imagination equal. How then can it also be fair that this CEO pays the same percentage of taxes as his workers on purchases — a much lower percentage of his take-home pay?

  • Vote yes for mil levy

    I write in support of the passage of the University of New Mexico Los Alamos operational mil increase that will be put to the voters by mail-in ballot this September. As the voters of Los Alamos are aware, this mil levy is needed to support and sustain current and future program operations and services encompassed in its the mission-preparation for transfer, pathways for careers and passion for lifelong learning, the goals and objectives of UNM-Los Alamos Strategic Plan and the education and training needs of local employers in our community.
    The opportunities at UNM-LA include programs in applied technologies, robotics, fire science, high school dual-credit, emergency medical services, pre-engineering, and continuing education. As a community, Los Alamos is committed to making its K-20 education continuum a showcase of excellence. The dedicated effort of the UNM-LA faculty and staff reflected in a graduation rate over 62 percent; a retention rate over 82 percent and over 92 percent of graduates placed in jobs or continuing their education demonstrates that UNM-LA has established a level of excellence and a capacity to achieve higher levels in the future.

  • Letters to the editor 8-4-13

     

    Three cheers for
    children’s theater

    On behalf of the Los Alamos Arts Council, I would like to thank the cast members of Missoula Children’s Theater’s production of “The Tortoise Versus the Hare” for their wonderful performance. I would also like to thank all the parents and friends of the cast who attended the play on Saturday, as well as Kirk Christensen and the staff of Crossroads Bible Church. They were wonderful to work with and made the week a complete success. 

    Additionally, many thanks go to the Los Alamos Arts Council members who volunteered their time to help make this year’s production a wonderful experience for the participants. 

    The Arts Council would like to thank the County of Los Alamos for co-sponsoring this event and the community for supporting Arts Council programs.

  • Not-Back-to-School Breakfast coming soon

    If you live in the Western Area, you’ve heard the High School Band back at work, and should you try to drive through the Middle School parking lot to see the new building, oops, you can’t – new portables are being moved in. This part of the summer must be getting us ready for Back to School.
    Los Alamos Public School Retired Employees are invited to the organization’s only yearly meeting at the Not-Back-to-School Breakfast on Wednesday, Aug.14.
    Breakfast is at 9:30 a.m. and will be held at Kelly Hall of Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church. At the request of attendees last year, a more full protein-based breakfast will be available. The cost this year is $11 per person.
    RSVPs must be in well before midnight Friday, Aug. 9, along with your request for the lighter breakfast or the protein-based meal. Contact Emily Engle (larse@ieee.org) or myself (drummer@rt66.com or 662-9117).
    Cordially,
    Judy Crocker
    Los Alamos
     

  • No respect for flag?

    How could you? No respect for the American flag? Thrown in the garbage like trash. Where is your love and compassion for your country, the United States of America?
    And for that matter, the men and women of our military who fought for their country looking always to find the American flag after the dust settles.
    To the caregivers of Los Alamos County, shame on you — a heartbreaking sight to see the American Flag torn – tattered — dirty — wet and thrown in a dirty dumpster.
    It is inexcusable.
    Nancy Kossar
    Los Alamos