• 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:

  • Letter to the editor 3-8-15

    Value of PARCC test questioned

    I am retired now, therefore my grandsons might be subjected to the PARCC testing or its equivalent.
    I still wonder though, if I had been “assessed,” I might never have gone to New Mexico State University, to spend six and a half years earning a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree seven years later and becoming a registered professional engineer in New Mexico and Washington state.
    I was scholastically outclassed much of the time.
    Years later, after earning my credentials, I decided that tenacity was more important than brilliance.

    Jon Hicks
    White Rock

  • Letter to the editor 3-5-15

    Numerous uses for plastic bags

    When I go to Smith’s, I take my reusable bags. My favorites are the two that I received free from Smith’s. They have box bottoms and wooden handles.
    They can’t be machine washed so I separate my groceries and request plastic grocery bags for the things that might leak.
    I have five wastebaskets and a garbage bin under the sink. I use plastic bags to line all of them. The only ones that get thrown away are the ones that line the garbage bin.
    When I was a volunteer at the library book store and the Jemez House Thrift Store, we used the plastic bags that people brought their books and things to be recycled in to pack things that other people were buying.
    On the rare occasions when it rains in Los Alamos, both libraries have plastic bags on-hand to place books in so they won’t get wet.
    The important thing about plastic bags is that they have handles. I usually walk to Smith’s. I use my backpack and plastic bags to carry my things home in. If I have more plastic bags than I need at home, I take a used plastic bag with me.
    Our Los Alamos Monitor comes in a plastic bag five days a week. I recycle them or use them for dog waste if our grand puppy is visiting.

  • Letters to the editor 3-3-15

    Guaje signage hard to see

    The directional sign to Guaje Pines Cemetery is so low that it is hard for first visitors to see. In the summer, it is shaded, too.
    Could the sign be lifted for better view?
    Also, a little green and white sign on the other side of Diamond Drive would be helpful.

    Sue Y. Conner
    Los Alamos

    Casino not a place for teens

    Showering after a night at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino helps wash away some of the smell of the smoking.
    Gambling is illegal for our high school students. Drinking alcohol is also illegal for them.
    Drinking alcohol helps them make bad decisions.
    Memories from the prom night.

    Anne Brinkley
    Los Alamos

  • Letters to the editor 2-25-15

    R-T-W attacks middle class

    Right-to-Work is an attack on the middle class. It is unfair, unnecessary and hides the bill’s true goals.
    Our legislators need to be focused on issues that strengthen the communities of their constituents by closing tax loopholes that only benefit the wealthy, raising salaries for public school teachers that help raise our youth and cutting taxes for small-business owners.
    Our focus should be on strengthening New Mexico’s economy from the core and making sure all of our children get the education they need and deserve to lead us into the future.
    Facts show that Right-to-Work laws such as House Bill 75 law will not stimulate growth and increase jobs in New Mexico. In fact, such laws lower wages and negatively effects workers’ safety and security in northern New Mexico at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    As a member of The International Guards Union of America local 69, I, along with our membership, do not support the passing of HB 75. It is clear to see the long-term agenda and effects will be negative for all workers.
    Supporters of HB 75 have promised that the law would create jobs, yet not a single company has come forward to make a statement that is a factor in selecting New Mexico for a site. Why didn’t we hear any of this during the election?