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Letters

  • Letters to the editor 5-17-15

    Branding needs
    success measurements

    I found Councilor Kristin Henderson’s recent column on branding very much unconvincing, largely because (a) no objectives were explicitly stated for “branding” and (b) no measures of success were proffered.
    Henderson lists several “successful” branding stories, but frankly I had never heard of any of them. The fact that I never heard of such isn’t terribly important, but what is important is that no measure of just how such efforts were judged successful was offered.
    Without such, there is simply no way to evaluate her statements.
     Let’s assume for the moment that the examples Henderson listed are in fact, somehow, successes. Many communities have attempted to brand themselves. How many such efforts have failed?
    Listing only successes seems to me rather like asking a gambler how he or she is doing. Such folks almost always recall their wins, but somehow forget to mention their losses, which are more often than not larger than their wins.
    Surely many recall the monies spent by the City of Albuquerque under the Martin Chavez regime, where much effort (and funds) was spent to brand the city as “Q.” The “Q” effort failed miserably and has been utterly abandoned.

  • Letters to the editor 5-15-15

    Unclear on column health care view

    Merilee Dannemann makes a number of good points in her column on health care, especially that much risk seems to have been transferred to medical practices, but:
    1. While there are always bad apples, my personal experience convinces me that a significant majority of doctors seek to avoid errors and unnecessary procedures because that is good medical care. They do not need a changed incentive of saving money. To suggest otherwise is an uncalled-for insult.
    2. The column is unclear about costs: Average cost per ‘patient’ is about $6,000, while average premium is about $1,500. However, the latter is per subscriber. As long as there are more than four subscribers for every patient, the scheme pays for itself and even provides a profit for the insurer. Does she mean to say that every subscriber is also a patient? Most people are healthy most of the time.
    Terry Goldman
    Los Alamos

    Controlled by the council?

    Around the world, we are fighting an enemy that kills people who disagree with them — sometimes by beheading. They mutilate young girls under the guise of “female circumcision.”

  • Blatant showing of incompetence

    Dr. Gary Welton has clearly demonstrated that he has indeed set a very low bar for his children to exceed him. His complete failure to understand statistics is displayed by referring to no less than three differences of less than one standard deviation as if they were statistically significant.
    That all three have the same sign may indicate something, but not much.
    Do we need to have such incompetence presented in the local paper of ‘science city?’

    Terry Goldman
    Los Alamos

  • Letters to the editor 4-19-15

    Braving the storm for Crab Fest

  • Letters to the Editor 4-16-15

    Forcing not an effective tactic
    Much as I respect Rebecca Shankland, climate change has not yet come close to making Los Alamos water-front property, so I sincerely doubt there is much danger of our plastic bags invading any ocean.
    As with most things, there are pros and cons to forcing, as opposed to the generally more effective social encouragement, (cf. use of cigarettes) of beneficial behaviors. However, knee-jerk references to irrelevancies have little if any positive effect.
    Terry Goldman
    Los Alamos

    Middle East needs equilibrium
    Due to indecision by the Obama White House to support moderate Sunni rebels in Syria, Islamic terrorists in Syria (ISIS) were able to reposition forces and attack the Iraqi Army, which folded and abandoned its U.S. equipment, including many Humvees and 155mm guns.
    The Iraqi government requested air strikes against ISIS, but President Barack Obama ignored the request, referring to ISIS as the “JV Team.”
    The result was ISIS captured our military equipment, and established territory from which they can launch terrorist attacks.
    We belatedly decided to send advisers to assist the Iraqi army, and we launched air strikes against ISIS.

  • Letter to the editor 4-14-15

    Cloth bags are worth the effort

    I’m a bit puzzled about the sense of outrage expressed by people who’d like to keep the convenience of having “free” (Smith’s does pay for them) single-use (I know, lots of people re-use them, which is great) plastic bags.
    In 2008-2009 a group of kids in grades 4-6 (the Kinnikinnick Club) wanted to do something for the world. They researched small actions that could have a large effect and decided to ask Smith’s to encourage the use of cloth bags instead of paper or plastic.
    They gave a nice presentation to the Smith’s employees and Smith’s put up the signs you see now that say, “Did you forget your cloth bags?”  Smith’s also gave a 5-cent credit (later a green points credit) to those using cloth bags.
    Did those kids (and Smith’s) make a difference?  On March 9, 2009, the manager sent a letter telling the kids that Smith’s stores in Los Alamos and White Rock were under budget by 865,170 bags and added that that equated to “432 cases less in plastic bags making it to our land fill.”  Furthermore, Smith’s then introduced this program “throughout the entire Kroger Company.”

  • letter to the editor 4-5-15

    Solar energy shines for all New Mexicans

    You might wonder who is benefitting from solar PV being installed on homes, businesses, schools and cities in New Mexico? Is it wealthy individuals with lots of spare cash or average New Mexicans?
    Recent studies show that working class New Mexicans benefit in two significant ways — job creation and reduced energy costs.
    Consider that the solar industry added jobs nearly 20 times faster than the national average in 2014.
    Right now, 1,600 New Mexicans make their living in the solar industry. By contrast, the state’s largest utility, PNM, employs 2,100 people. Employment in the solar field has increased 86 percent in the past five years.
    The solar boom in New Mexico is creating good jobs for working class Americans during the worst economic downturn in modern times.
    These are livable wages. Solar installers make an average of $20 to $24 per hour, solar project managers make $50,000-$70,000 and designers $40,000-$70,000.
    Along with these positions, there are also warehouse people, sales people, marketing people, administrative staff and managers — creating a range of opportunities for New Mexicans. Solar jobs are generally more accessible to minorities and to those without advanced degrees.

  • Letters to the editor 3-28-15

    Councilor wants to clarify point

    In the March 25 story about a Los Alamos County Council discussion on the Manhattan Project National Historical Park (MPNHP), a comment made by another person was incorrectly attributed to me, as a review of the meeting recording (audio recording on KRSN at 42:37 mins) in the public record will show.  
    The story quoted me as saying that the county needs to “aggressively” ensure that the park’s national headquarters is located in Los Alamos and the story went on to report about all the people who disagreed with that position.  
    While I wasn’t the person who made that point, I think it’s perfectly appropriate for Los Alamos to argue that we should host the Park Headquarters, vying for the high paying federal jobs and locally-based decision authority that will go with the headquarters operations. I expect Oak Ridge and Hanford to make similar proposals, and I think our chances to land the headquarters on the merits in a fair competition are great.  

  • Letters to the editor 3-27-15

    Support arms negotiations

    As the United States and Iran work toward a historic nuclear draft accord on the status of Iran’s nuclear program, dozens of U.S. senators have interfered in the negotiations.
    Senator Tom Cotton and 46 others sent an ill-informed letter to Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, threatening to end any negotiated agreement regarding nuclear weapons once President Barack Obama leaves office.
    This undermines the president’s ability now, and in the future, to achieve the national security goals of the United States. It should be the long-term goal of our national leaders to rid the world of all nuclear weapons, whether they be in the hands of Iran, North Korea, Russia, or the United States. We in New Mexico should stand up and be the leaders in this area.
    Whether we have parents affected by radiation from the Trinity test, friends who worked in the uranium mines, or distant relatives who created Fat Man, the history of the atomic age is littered with human and environmental casualties.
    As an Action Corps leader for Global Zero, I urge all New Mexicans to support negotiations with Iran, and pressure our local leaders to support the elimination of nuclear weapons.
    Jesse Guillén
    Santa Fe

  • Letter to the editor 3-18-15

    Superintendent Schmidt
    addresses PARCC concerns

    On March 11, a group of Los Alamos High School students met for half an hour after school in the Los Alamos High School lobby to provide information to the public about their concerns for next week’s state test, called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.
    PARCC, as it is known to students and staff, replaces previous years’ Standards Based Assessment.
    This marks the first year of the PARCC test, which is a part of the New Mexico state graduation requirements. While there are alternatives ways to demonstrate proficiency, high school students must first attempt achieving proficiency on the PARCC test before alternative demonstrations of competency are allowed.
    In addition, the newly introduced PARCC test presents an opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding of the New Mexico Common Core State Standards, as well as demonstrate readiness for college and careers. Students at the information forum met with their high school peers, staff, school administration and some community members to share concerns about the upcoming PARCC tests.
    Several themes emerged from my one-on-one and small group conversations with students, including: