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Letters

  • Letters to the editor 9-3-14

     

    To hundreds of locals and visitors, the face of PEEC has long been a smiling boy in an orange sweatshirt looking delightedly at a bird perched in his hand.  This picture sums up everything that PEEC wants to be for the community—a source of joy and delight in nature.  

    We at PEEC were heartbroken to hear that the model for that joyful picture has passed away. Ryan Pappas’ smile has meant so very much to us for many years.  

    It’s hard to comprehend that he is no longer out in the world, spreading the delight that his smile reflects.  

    We can’t imagine what his family and friends are going through now, but our thoughts are with them.   

  • Cut foreign aid, not our military

    The Department of Defense sent out separation notices to 1,200 Army captains, including 48 deployed to Afghanistan. They received eight to nine months of notice so they could prepare for civilian life. What good is the notice for the captains deployed to Iraq for the next eight or nine months? How will this affect their performance in a war zone?
    The next group to get the ax will be majors, and I can only assume this will continue up the line to officers who have not served the 20 years needed to retire and receive their retirement benefits.
    The separations are part of the force reductions necessitated by the sequestration defense cuts. The projected savings in defense spending across all branches of the service will be $3.5 billion over five years.
    Our foreign aid is $37 billion annually. If we cut it by 2 percent, or $0.74 billion per year, we will save $3.7 billion over five years, and not have to cut our military forces. Surely, with some rational thinking, we can squeeze 2 percent out of the foreign aid budget without jeopardizing our interests overseas, which will allow us to maintain our current force levels and enhance our national security.

    Donald A. Moskowitz
    Londonderry, N.H. 

  • A sacred solution for immigrants

    The disagreement between political parties and pundits regarding the undocumented children and moms flooding our southern border can be solved by the one national institution which is united in one principle, that of charity.
    All American churches of all denominations have in common a belief in the brotherhood of man, the belief that we should “do unto others…” love thy neighbor and succor the wounded man who is stranded beside the road.
    These children are refugees fleeing horrible, life-threatening situations. Their legal status fades under necessity of immediate aid. Each church, synagogue and prayer meeting house that has a parish hall, a meeting room, or a pot-luck basement with bathroom facilities can take one mom with two kids, or two unaccompanied children to foster, feed and comfort until their screening and permanent status can be determined.
    Bishops, priests, preachers, rabbis, prayer leaders, can set up “go-and-get-them” systems to gather the refugees, reviving the purpose of the 19th century Orphan Trains or the Underground Railroad. No classrooms need be overcrowded if each church has only one family to enroll.
    If our church leaders can unite in this humanitarian effort, they will see even the smallest congregation come forward to welcome one family with clothes, casseroles and a warm bed.

  • Right-to-work laws askew

    Paul Gessing said “Ed Birnbaum has a lot to say about economic policies …” in Friday’s Los Alamos Monitor, but in fact, my response to his earlier letter did not address economic policy. I only disputed his claim that “right-to-work” laws were not “anti-union.”
    Regarding economic policy however, it should be clear that not everyone agrees with Gessing’s claim that passing right-to-work leads to economic growth (see for example, minyanville.com/business-news/editors-pick/articles/michigan-right-to-work-paul-krugman/12/11/2012/id/46587, for a detailed discussion). Readers can decide for themselves whether the statistics used by proponents of right-to-work are valid or not.
    More importantly, what does it say about a company that makes a decision on where to locate based on whether, or not a state has a right-to-work law?
    This says to me that the company owners are assuming they will be able to pay their workers a lower wage and have more control over their employees, because in right-to-work states, unions have less power to bargain on behalf of their members.
    So the goal of such a company is to pay the lowest wages possible, which is why efforts to pass right-to-work legislation go hand-in-hand with resistance to raising the minimum wage.

  • Bringing prosperity to New Mexico

     Ed Birnbaum has a lot to say about the economic policies I discussed in my recent column. Specifically, Birnbaum claims that “Right to Work” laws are “anti-union.” Indeed, unions worked very hard to obtain “collective bargaining” meaning that unions have special privilege to represent all workers in a given workplace, even if some workers don’t wish to be a part of the union.
    In that sense, “Right to Work” certainly favors the right of free association of the individual worker at the expense of the unions.
    And, while Birnbaum is by no means the first person to attack the Rio Grande Foundation’s economic policy ideas, the fact is that New Mexico is desperately in need of private sector economic growth. “Right to Work” is one proven method of jump-starting the private sector economy.
    Over the past year, for example, eight of the top 10 states in terms of GDP growth are “Right to Work;” this, despite the fact that only 24 states have such laws on the books.
    Rio Grande Foundation does have a perspective. We believe in the free market. Nonetheless, we are happy to debate and discuss other plans for bringing prosperity to New Mexico. To date, we’ve seen more critics than ideas.
    Paul J. Gessing
    president, Rio Grande Foundation  

  • Community bonded to find lost dog

    As many of you know, our boxer, LouLee, was lost on a hike in Los Alamos on the Cabra Loop Trail while we were away on our summer vacation. We were so thankful for our family and friends who searched tirelessly for her.
    We were also touched by the flood of immediate support from the entire community! We were amazed at how many of you, including so many that don’t even know us, were so willing to help out.
    LouLee miraculously showed up at my mother and father’s backdoor two weeks after disappearing. We wish all who helped could have been at our home to see the happiest 4 and 11 year old boys in the world when we got the call early that morning!
    Los Alamosans are the best! It’s not just anywhere that people would have pulled together that strongly for one little dog. We have always loved our hometown so much and now we love you even more. Thank you!
    Audra Epperson Morrison
    and Jim Morrison
    Los Alamos

  • Even better shopping through math

    John Dienes’ suggestions using the TSP (Traveling Salesman Problem) and the Held-Karp algorithm are interesting, but they are only unproven theories which ignore the fact that Smith’s Marketplace is operated by Master Marketers using us as experimental animals in a giant maze.
    They are using the 2(MM+ DC=GS) X CM with the proven polynomial factor showing that, with Master Marketing, the Distance Covered increases the number of products seen, thus producing Greater Sales, times the number of customers traveling the Maze, of course.
    You will notice that the partitions, shelves, interior wine store with its guardian knight, plus the fruit and deli delights are positioned at odd angles to increase the traveling time through the Maze. Eye candy, (look at the clothing and china displays), incites sales.
    The solution to the shopping problem is therefore 2(PMP+KB)= EE2 where PMP signifies Practice Makes Perfect plus Knowledge of Bargains equals double Enjoyment and Exercise! One must use repeat visits to learn the Maze locations, resist the eye candy, knowing we are being manipulated, but enjoying the bargains such as the 50 cent ice cream cone, (which is half the price of one at the Golden Arches), and the beautiful view as you eat it at an umbrella table on the canyon-side patio.

  • Right-To-Work laws

    Mixed in with Paul Gessing’s op-ed in Wednesday’s Los Alamos Monitor regarding whether it is good policy to offer $500 million to Tesla, a policy which people of all political persuasions may question, were statements about how “right-to-work” was not “anti-union” and that lowering “corporate taxes” to zero would be a great idea.
    Let’s be clear about right-to-work laws. They sound reasonable, but they are definitely “ANTI-union,” because as federal labor law currently reads, all employees at a business receive the same benefits obtained under a union contract, whether they belong to the union or not. The result is that under right-to-work laws some employees will receive the benefits of a union contract without joining the union or paying dues.
    With fewer workers in the union and fewer resources from dues, the union has less bargaining power, reducing the ability of the union to obtain the best contract, ultimately lowering employee wages and other benefits, and increasing the owners’ profits.

  • Be aware of work at Aspen School

    We would like to update the community on the progress of the Aspen Elementary School project.

  • Smith’s helps hungry kids, families

    Recently, The Food Depot had the pleasure of participating in the grand opening of Smith’s Marketplace. During the transition from their former location, Smith’s donated fresh produce and other food to The Food Depot, Northern New Mexico’s food bank.