• Support stand-alone vision plans

    Ninety percent of vision care is administered through stand-alone vision plans, which benefit 100 million people
    nationwide.  Vision Service Plan benefits all employees of Los Alamos National Laboratory.   The American Optometric Association (AOA) lobbied against stand-alone vision plans in the Exchanges, saying that only those vision plans bundled with medical plans should be allowed as this represents “integrated care.”
     The California Health Insurance Exchange, which is reconsidering its stance against stand-alone vision plans,  acknowledged that only allowing bundled vision plans would significantly limit consumer choice and competition.  The American Dental Association lobbied to include both stand-alone dental plans and dental plans bundled with medical plans, consistent with their support of “robust competition and consumer choice” among dental plans.  Governor O’Malley of Maryland signed legislation to allow stand alone vision plans in their Exchange, supporting the “consumer’s right to choose either a stand-alone vision plan or a vision plan as an endorsement to medical.”
    Points to consider:

  • More on the amendments

    My eyes glaze over as I study the Election Resolution in the Los Alamos  Monitor of 9/18. There are 5 Whereas’s, then 4 Questions, which I am to vote on, then 4 Exhibits.  The first Whereas covers 598 to 604, VII, 700, 703, 704, IX, and 907, presumably relating to the Initiative Process, and then it sends me to Exhibit A.  
    I am put off, but soldier on to Exhibit A, where I find that Legislation by Initiative shall not extend to Budget, Bonds, Appropriations, Taxes, Capital Projects, Solid Waste, Compensation, Zoning, or Otherwise by Law. Otherwise?  What does it cover?  Is anything allowed?  Are we being disenfranchised?  Is it logrolling?  I will need a lawyer to discover what Otherwise refers to, and a judge to decide on the rest.

  • Charter Amendment chatter

    The Los Alamos Monitor has published a number of excellent articles and letters explaining the long and careful process resulting in the proposed charter amendments we will be voting on, and on their value to the community.  There are two points I would like to stress.
    First, our form of county government is a representative democracy.  Every two years either three or four of the seven county council positions are up for election.  If the council is truly taking egregious actions opposed by much of the community, the council composition can be changed dramatically in a relatively short time.
    Second, the shortened time to collect petition signatures need not have significant impact.  If the wording and purpose of the petition are well advertised to the community through letters and articles before the clock starts, those who wish to support it should have little difficulty in getting signatures during the allowed period.
    Mark Jones
    Los Alamos


  • Hostages on Canyon Road

    Next summer will shift the misery of east Canyon Road and Myrtle Street to the next set of hostages west of Ninth Street. This summer the closure of east Canyon Road has been an annoying inconvenience for those of us who live on Pine, Quartz, Rim, Nugget, 11th Street, Opal, and Sage Loop.
    It is unconscionable the ordeal the county has imposed on the people who live directly on Canyon Road and Myrtle, where the construction is taking place, as well as the feeder streets of Manhattan Loop, First, Second, Third and Fourth Streets. Residents in the entire neighborhood have suffered not just vehicular access but pedestrian access as well.
    How can such an important street be left torn up for four months and only in the fifth month begin to get put back together? Residents along east Canyon Road and Myrtle have endured driveway blockages, dust, noise, and mud for the entire summer. Canyon Road between Ninth and 15th streets is next, and we’re not looking forward to it.
    It would be nice if someone in authority could explain to Los Alamos residents the contracting process that starts a project and then essentially abandons it until the contractual deadline looms.
    Residents have seen this happen all too often, such as when west Canyon Road was closed for more than a year, and the five-year reconstruction nightmare of Diamond Drive.

  • State needs jobs, not taxes

    In a recent letter to the editor, Oct.10, Sen. Peter Wirth said that he has a hard time envisioning a better option to help New Mexico Business than raising taxes on competition with out-of -state headquarters.  Such an attitude, of course, demonstrates a lack of imagination or vision.
     This is the attitude of some that believe all the state’s problems are solved with increased taxes and spending, even if the state has a budget surplus.  He implies that big box companies do not pay any taxes.  Of course they do, but many have headquarters in business friendly states.  According to a CNBC report, New Mexico currently ranks 38 and our neighbor Texas ranks No. 1.  Where do you think that a business would locate in this climate? Which state would one guess has  the higher per capita income?  The solution to many of New Mexico’s problems  is to reduce taxes and regulation, thus inviting companies to come here.  New Mexico needs jobs - not more taxes.
    R.T. Perry
    Los Alamos


  • CRC debate keeps on moving

    When I was selected to join the Charter Review Committee, I approached the task very cautiously and conservatively because any changes that might be recommended required a very thorough vetting process to ensure the right decisions were made to our community’s fundamental law.
    My fellow committee members were equally dedicated, and we had many open and transparent discussions at public meetings that explored the issues from all aspects, bringing out researched facts and practical examples of what needed to be changed. In the end, our report to council recommended they consider bringing changes to several sections of the Charter to the community for ballot action, and in my opinion, the changes proposed added needed clarifications to strengthen the Charter without altering the intent of any existing provision. The ballot questions for Nov. 6, address Charter sections on Initiative, Referendum and Recall.
    There is no need to repeat here the details of each change. My point is that these processes are a valued provision in the law for the citizens of Los Alamos County, and it is to everyone’s advantage to make implementation of the processes clear on legal subject areas and simple as possible, while ensuring our elected councilors can continue to do the jobs they were elected to do.

  • In support of bond issue

    As Executive Director of University of New Mexico – Los Alamos, I want to outline the benefits to the UNM-Los Alamos campus of General Obligation Bond “C” in the Nov. 6 General Election, and why it makes sense to the citizens of Los Alamos.
    If Bond C passes in the Nov. 6 General Election, the University of New Mexico Los Alamos will receive $500,000 for renovations and upgrades to its science labs (biology, physics and chemistry).
    Bond projects have a positive impact on local economies as the money spent recycles several times, and the construction projects create jobs.   
    Construction workers eat shop and stay in the community, and construction companies buy materials from local vendors. This influx of business puts gross receipt and lodgers’ tax dollars into local coffers.  Those who do  not have a direct stake in higher education in Los Alamos still benefit from the shot in the arm to the local economy.

  • In support of amendments

    Questions on ballots like whether or not to vote on amending charters/constitutions are often confusing and many folks simply don’t vote  if they don’t feel informed.  Please take a few moments to go to losalamosnm.us/projects/council/Pages/CRC.aspx to study these  amendments yourselves.  However, if you don’t have the time or inclination  to research this issue, it may be helpful for you to read what other people  think about it, and if you trust that person, then perhaps you would feel  comfortable voting based on the information that they pass along.  Therefore,  I will summarize why I will most definitely VOTE FOR all four Charter Ballot  Amendments:
    1.  The charter has only had minor amendments since 1968-our community has changed a lot since then.
    2. The Charter Review Committee is made up of a diverse group of active  citizens who have participated in community affairs for many years.  This  committee has worked hundreds of hours and held dozens of public meetings for the past three years investigating and recommended these amendments to the  council and to you.  So they’ve done our homework for us!
    3. These particular charter changes address Initiative, Referendum, Charter  

  • Vote Yes on Ammendments

    Amongst the various elective office contests and ballot questions on the slate for November’s election are four local Charter ballot questions deserving of your attention and affirmation.  They deal with making improvements to the County Charter provisions dealing with citizen initiatives, referendums, recalls, and future Charter revisions.  A group formed by the County Council called the Charter Review Committee (CRC) performed a comprehensive review of the County Charter over the past few years, held a whole bunch of public meetings to collect ideas and inputs, and formulated several well considered and well informed recommendations to the County Council for improving the Charter.  Several of these recommendations are the basis for the ballot questions that are now being considered.
    I am voting “yes” on each of the questions for a several reasons.  First, the process that produced these recommended improvements was a good one.  It engaged a great set of citizens with no collective axe to grind ... it utilized an exhaustive (maybe exhausting?) approach to seeking and making use of public input from all comers ... and it produced a solid set of recommendations and rationale for improving the charter.  I compliment the energy and devotion of the CRC to providing a fair assessment and balanced recommendations.

  • Public weighs in on charter amendments

    The charter amendments on the ballot group the various processes for initiative, referendum, recall, and future charter amendments into more sensible groupings within the charter, so if you want to start a petition to recall an elected official or start some other petition, and these amendments pass, the process for how you do it will be spelled out more clearly within the charter.
    The amendments clarify and unify the process. Even Rob Pelak agreed at a recent League of Women Voters Forum that the way the Charter Review Committee grouped the items makes sense. His objection to the amendments was that the CRC shortened the time frame for collecting signature from 180 days (HALF A YEAR!) to 90 days, in line with what Santa Fe and Albuquerque do. Also, the number of signatures was increased.
    My view is that if you have a good reason to circulate a petition, you shouldn’t have much trouble getting the required number of signatures in 90 days. If you allow 180 days (HALF A YEAR!) and fewer signatures, people can use these “tools” as a way to obstruct progress in a community.