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Letters

  • Letters to the Editor 10-12-16

    Opposition to sheriff smacks of desire for
    more power

    First, let me compliment the Monitor on an accurate representation of the discussion between Deputy Sheriff John Horne, Jr., and ex-Councilor Robert Gibson. What I read was hardly distinguishable from what I experienced by attending the League of Women Voters event.
    However, I must comment on two points: One was Gibson’s astonishing confusion regarding investigation of violations of the law. An enterprising Monitor reporter can investigate same. It does not require law enforcement credentials simply to investigate. But I would expect that a professional investigation by the sheriff might be rather preferable to the shock and (not awe but) dismay that a reporter would be motivated to generate. Our councilors may be insulted by the prospect of any investigation for corruption, but they clearly demonstrate the propensity for it to manifest itself by their opposition to the sheriff’s office. The widespread opposition of our political leaders to the sheriff smacks of a desire for more narrowly held power, but the ballot box should not be the only way to implement the checks and balances so innate to America.

  • Letters to the Editor 10-7-16

    Teacher’s evaluation not representative of reality

    My name is Heidi Schembri, and I have been teaching for 15 years in Los Alamos Public Schools. I love my profession and have had the honor to work with many wonderful children, parents, school employees, and community members. Over the last several years, there has been much controversy over the new teacher evaluation system. Our current New Mexico teacher evaluation system rates teachers on the following criteria: “Each category is weighted according to the amount of student achievement data available for the teacher. Improved student achievement is worth from 0 to 50 percent; classroom observations are worth 25 to 50 percent; planning, preparation and professionalism is worth 15-40 percent; and parent/student surveys are worth 10 percent” (ped.state.nm.us/ped/NMTeach_EvaluationPlan.html).

  • Letters to the Editor 9-30-16

    Check out our ‘new schools’
    during tours

    Thanks to the voters of Los Alamos and their approval of recent Los Alamos Public Schools bond elections we have three “new” schools for you to visit! The bond approvals made the funds available from property taxes and the schools partnered with the State of New Mexico for matching funds.   
    Combined with excellent construction oversight this resulted in a maximum “bang for the buck” whereas some existing facilities were maintained and some completely new facilities were constructed.
    You are invited to tour the schools, “new” and “work to be done”.   
    The high school and Topper Freshman Academy tour is scheduled for 4 p.m. Oct. 3. The middle school tours are 3:15-4:15 p.m. Friday 9:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday. The Aspen Elementary School tour is 4:30 p.m. Oct. 3. The Barranca Elementary School tour 4 p.m. Oct. 11. The Chamisa Elementary School tour is 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6 and the Mountain Elementary School tour is 3:45-4:30 p.m. Oct. 3.  The Piñon Elementary School tour is 12:30 p.m. Oct 5
    Again, a big “thank you” to the citizens of Los Alamos!
    Morrie Pongratz
    Former school board member

    Candidate Espinoza is lively, impressive

  • Letter to the Editor 9-25-16

    There are many reasons to oppose HB 145

    Statements in the local media have represented House Bill 145 as something that only union shills could vote against. However, anyone that has followed the use of adjunct faculty in education should understand that there are actually serious reasons why one might not vote for it, at least in its current form.
    Prior to my retirement from a 15-year stint as a university department chair, I often hired adjunct instructors to meet our teaching needs, so I am quite familiar with “the good, the bad and the ugly” of this process.  Adjunct instructors on limited-term contracts can be hired to fill a short-term vacancy due to a regular teaching faculty member taking a leave, to offer a specialty course to provide students with a broader educational experience, or to replace a tenured faculty member at a lower salary and with fewer paid benefits.

  • Letters to the Editor 9-18-16

    Snow ordinance should include snowplow rules

    According to a recent newspaper article, you are considering an ordinance requiring homeowners to shovel snow from sidewalks in front of their homes within 24 hours of a snowfall.
    I have no problem with such an ordinance, as I always try to shovel my walks as soon as possible after a snowfall.
    However, I am really tired of sometimes having to shovel my sidewalks as many as three or four times because of snowplows repeatedly plowing the snow back onto the sidewalks.
    And, as you may or may not know, shoveling the snow packed by the snowplow is much more difficult than shoveling the original snowfall.
    I would therefore like to request that, if you pass an ordinance requiring snow removal within 24 hours, you include a provision requiring that snowplows must plow far enough away from the curb so as not to plow snow back up onto the sidewalks after they have been shoveled clear of snow.
    Thank you.
    Roger Ferenbaugh
    Los Alamos

    Turkish journalist, ‘brother’ detained for unknown charges

    The letter below was emailed to me from a Turkish journalist who has been a colleague of Sahin Alpay, my “Turkish brother” who lived with my family in California in the ‘60s.  

  • Letters to the Editor 9-9-16

    Fight for economic equality far from over

    Labor Day is the time when we recognize the social and economic achievements of American workers, but the fight for economic equality is far from over. Only 13 percent of American workers have access to paid leave through their employer. Two-thirds of minimum wage workers in the U.S. are women, and their income remains below the federal poverty line. Couple this with the fact a woman working full time on average still only makes 79 cents to a white, non-Hispanic man’s dollar. It’s easy to see that we still have work to do.
    As Election Day approaches, it’s important for all voters to educate themselves on where candidates, both state and federal, stand on worker issues. I encourage everyone to utilize the American Association of University Women Action Fund’s (AAUW) 2016 voter guides, which provide a breakdown of where candidates in congressional, gubernatorial and presidential races stand on issues impacting women and families, such as minimum wage, equal pay, paid leave, and many others (aauwaction.org/voter-education/voter-guides/).

  • Letters to the Editor 9-7-16

    Iran nuclear agreement is excellent

    An article or letter appeared in the Aug. 22 Monitor entitled ‘For critics of the Iran nuclear deal...’ I wish to comment.
    I worked at IAEA headquarters in Vienna 1998-2003. I also worked with the Safeguards Department of the IAEA for over 33 years from LANL. My field was nuclear safeguards and nonproliferation. In addition to helping develop nuclear material measurement systems, I helped set up a measurement-training program for their safeguards inspectors. This has been part of every inspector’s initial training since 1979. I retired in 2007, but the program continues and has grown substantially. It was even featured in a six- to seven-minute Morning Edition article on NPR-KUNM several months ago. Ambassadors, senators, and representatives now come to LANL to learn about IAEA safeguards and the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This includes all the inspectors who go to Iran. I know many of these folk and have participated in their training at LANL and the IAEA.
    I’ve read the NPT many times and helped facility and governmental personnel in many countries to develop and write the various required documents after signing the NPT. LANL also ran a course in cooperation with the IAEA and U.S. State Department in IAEA-NPT safeguards from 1990 to 2006.

  • Letters to the Editor 8-24-16

    Why don’t people go to church anymore?

    One answer:
    I don’t need to go to church and I need that time to get ready for the coming  week. I am a very busy person  and I need that time to relax and take care around the house..
    Another answer:
    Church people are hypocritical and don’t live up to their standards. I can teach my own children about morals and right and wrong. As I find time.
    And another answer;
    What’s the see if GOD is all knowing, all seeing and all powerful why does he allow mayhem, sickness, poverty and war, what good is a church?
    In White Rock Presbyterian Church we don’t pretend to be perfect and we are constantly questioning ourselves, hopefully learning from the words of Jesus Christ. We believe in resurrection and no one can enter into heaven except through Jesus, who took the blame for our transgressions. Without Christ, we are committed to carry a full measure of all our wrongdoing forever. Forgiveness allows us to be free of guilt.

  • Letters to the Editor 8-17-16

    New WIPP Accident Theory Implausible

    A new theory advanced by Charles Bowman that a hydrogen deflagration caused the 2014 Waste Isolation Pilot Plant accident is implausible. It contains errors and omissions that should be corrected.
    I spent most of my 30-plus years of corporate experience dealing with TRU waste. As the manager of the Los Alamos National Laboratory plutonium analysis section, I had hands-on generation of portions of LANL’s TRU waste. Under contract to Sandia National Lab, I led a LANL team to conduct many lab experiments on alpha radiolytic gas generation of TRU waste under conditions expected at WIPP. Al Zerwekh, mentioned by Bowman, was a member of this team.  This was followed by my working in LANL’s TRU waste management operations developing strategies to work off LANL’s TRU waste inventory based on its characteristics. I am a LANL retiree – “Class of 2005.”

  • Letters to the Editor 8-10-16

    Public School
    retirees invited to breakfast

    If you live in the Western Area, you’ve heard the high school band back at work, football practice has started, and a school supply list is up at Smith’s. 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 Aug. 18.
    Breakfast is at 9 a.m. and will be 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 Aug. 15, along with your request for the lighter breakfast or the protein-based meal. Contact Emily Engle (larse@ieee.org) or Eileen Trujillo (662-6533, etrueheo@gmail.com). Contact me with your e-mail if you haven’t already (drummer@rt66.com).
    Judy Crocker
    Los Alamos

    Thank you for support for this year’s Chalk Walk

    The Los Alamos Arts Council hosted the seventh-annual Secretary Sandoval Chalk Walk again this year.