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Letters

  • Letters to the Editor 4-27-16

    Dannemann’s cost
    estimates not on track

    While as usual, Merilee Dannemann’s column shed useful light on the issue of having two engineers instead of one operating a train, she seems to have missed one concern and presented what appears to
    be a flawed calculation regarding cost.
    She states, “The cost of one more crewmember is trivial compared to the human and financial cost of
    a rail disaster.” While that is correct for one additional crewmember on one train, unfortunately, it is not the
    correct evaluation of the total cost of avoiding the single disaster. The full cost includes that of doubling the crew cost on all of the train operations that do not produce a
    disaster. The moral question is not calculable, of course, but the economic cost and value depends on the ratio
    of train operations that end disastrously to those that do not. Actual accident statistics are required to determine whether the cost of crew doubling is reasonable or
    excessive.

  • Letters to the Editor 4-17-16

    Democratic Party
    machine trying to
    pre-select president

    The term “Political Machine” evolved largely to describe iron-fisted control of the Democratic Party in New York City and Chicago in previous centuries. Now, a new Democratic Political Machine has appeared, and it encompasses the entire United States.
    Led by Party Chair Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, the Machine is doing everything it can to pre-select the Democratic nominee for president.  Its bias toward Hillary Clinton is blatant. Representative Shultz has even introduced a bill that would seriously hamper Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Senator Warren is an outspoken supporter of much of Bernie Sanders’ platform.
    While seeming to champion the interests of individuals, the party’s acceptance of corporate money through Super-Pacs has made it cautious when venturing into areas where new laws and regulations may be imposed on those very donors.

  • Letters to the Editor 3-13-16

    P&Z Commission invites public to Comprehensive Plan review

    During this past week, press releases, news articles, thousands of post cards, radio interview and print, electronic and radio ads have announced public meetings on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday to begin the process of public input in the coming update of the County Comprehensive Plan.
    I would like to take this opportunity to describe the function of the Comprehensive Plan in straightforward terms and invite the community to be an active part in the decision making process. Simply put, the Comprehensive Plan lays out the county’s policy and plans for land use decisions in both the Los Alamos Townsite and White Rock for the next five, 10, even 20 years.
    The current Comprehensive Plan elements are disjointed, significant portions of which were adopted in 1987. The County Charter requires and current needs demand that the Comprehensive Plan be updated to reflect current realities and provide better and more transparent guidance.

  • Letters to the Editor 3-9-16

    Round and round
    we go?

    Would you consent to costly, painful surgery that might or might not improve your health and could result in increased blockage of one of your major arteries?
    The wheels of transportation progress have turned and we’re now faced with the prospect of having our very own two-lane roundabout (RDB) built on Trinity Drive (NM 502) at Central Avenue, beginning in the Spring of 2017.
    Over the past 20 years or so, roundabout proponents have generated three large proposals. The most recent grand plan, in 2011, proposed reducing Trinity to two lanes and installing nine roundabouts. A $300K transportation study was performed by MIG, Inc., a roundabout engineering firm. After review of the study by several concerned county residents, the County Council obtained a second professional opinion that confirmed the citizens’ review: the proposed scheme would not operate as claimed by MIG, but would create a traffic nightmare. (More historical and technical details are available at wcmead.org.)

  • Letters to the Editor 2-19-16

    LA County owes Marquez debt of gratitude

    Richard Marquez recently left the Los Alamos National Laboratory after working there for over 10 years. Most people do not know that before working at LANL, he worked as a Department of Energy official in the Albuquerque office. During his tenure there, he provided significant assistance to Los Alamos County.
    Los Alamos County borrowed over $110 million to finance their hydroelectric facilities and other projects. After the bonds were issued, the market changed and it was to the county’s advantage to refinance those bonds. By doing so, they could save thousands of dollars per year. The transaction was held up in a disagreement on how to split the savings between DOE and the county. The county was in danger of missing the window of opportunity to refinance the bonds because of this disagreement. Richard stepped in and said that this was ridiculous. The DOE and the county are arguing over hundreds of dollars when thousands of dollars could be saved. He took an active part in the further negotiations with the county and hammered out a compromise that was fair.

  • Letter to the editor 2-12-16

    Bartlit unaware of LANL’s various contributions

    As usual, John Bartlit’s Sunday column on Structural Health Monitoring is wise, insightful and informative.
    But it is somewhat startling that he was unaware of SHM, as Los Alamos National Laboratory has been a significant contributor both in applying techniques, such as frequency response (sound spectra) measurements for both validating parts (such as castings) and in situ monitoring (such as metal beam bridges) for corrosion or stress accumulation leading to cracking.
    LANL has also contributed to designs for such monitors that can be powered and report without grid connections (reducing costs and enhancing remote sensing capabilities).
    While Lab publications can be painfully self-congratulatory, they are worth at least skimming for the many technological developments carried out here that they report regularly.
    Terry Goldman
    Los Alamos

  • Letter to the Editor 1-24-16

    Vote yes on schools bond

    Because we don't have our own children, we were supporters and observers of our schools system as community members and property owners, until a young nephew came to live with us and attend Los Alamos High School.  What he found was a system that had the resources not just to teach reading, writing, science, math and computer skills, but to offer music, sports, debate, and many other extracurricular programs.  All of these things helped him learn and grow in many ways, and he was well prepared for college.
    The HB33 schools bond, on which Los Alamos citizens can vote by mail no later than Jan. 26, provides money to maintain our schools and buy needed equipment and facilities.  As a County Councilor, I have consistently voted against raising the county's portion of property taxes, in part because I believe this community prefers that property taxes should go first to support our schools. Good schools benefit everyone, not just in the young lives changed for the better, but by building a prosperous community with good property values.  Please join us in voting yes for the HB33 schools bond.
    Pete Sheehey
    Los Alamos County Councilor
    Naishing Key

  • Letters to the Editor 1-22-16

    Congrats to Larry Baca for his years as coach

    As LAHS boys track and field exits the Larry Baca-era of 30 years as coach consider: Larry has been inducted into NM Coaches Hall of Fame; his teams have won two state championships and were in contention several other years. He produced 43 individual, 13 relay state champions and five state records – four of which are current. And, his charges have set 13 of 19 event records at LAHS. Most telling of his coaching depth and consistency is that of the top 10 performances by LAHS boys in each of the 19 events, 167 of the 190 listings are his guys! (Larry is on two of these lists, javelin and shot, from his days as a Topper!)
    Larry’s teams were particularly strong on relays where they accounted for 37 of 40 listings and 13 state championships.
    Congratulations to Larry Baca and all his athletes for making the ‘Toppers a force to contend with in high school track.
    Wayne Morris
    Los Alamos

    Support HB33 for schools, community and children

    As a resident and homeowner, my property value is dependent on the quality of the schools. I support the HB33 Referendum and open enrollment.

  • Letters to the Editor 1-15-16

    Thank you for
    continued support

    It is always a pleasure to return to Los Alamos and visit my folks because it is such a unique and generous community.  This year when I returned home for the holidays I performed a recital at Fuller Lodge on New Year’s Eve and was pleasantly surprised to have over 90 people come to the performance!
    I took up a free will offering for the Santa Fe Youth Symphony, one of the many ensembles in the area that was vital to my success as a professional musician, and I just sent them $250.
    For those of you who attended: thank you for your presence and generosity, and to the community of Los Alamos: thank you for your continuous support of the arts.
    Given the size of the community, the arts opportunities in Los Alamos are amazingly diverse which is completely driven by the people who participate and support the arts. Keep it up!
    Daniel Nebel
    USAF Band of the Golden West

    Musical supplies made possible by mill levy

  • Letters to the Editor 1-13-16

    Thank you for the
    opportunity to serve
    as council chair

    I am writing this letter to say thank you to my fellow community members, and my fellow county councilors, for the opportunity to serve Los Alamos as the chair of the Los Alamos County Council for 2015.
    As most, but not all, of our community knows, Los Alamos is both a city and a county, effectively, under the New Mexico Constitution; the only such entity in the state. Accordingly, rather than have both a county commission and a city council for the same geography – and more importantly, the same citizens – our “forefathers” in the 1960s opted for one elected body, in the form of the hybrid county council. Each January, the council selects a chair.
    Many of the responsibilities of the chair are obvious – chairing the council meetings, officiating at certain community events – and some less obvious, such as setting the Agenda for the council meetings (with a rotating subset of councilors and senior county staff), and representing the community in the region and in D.C.