• The real mission of LANL

    I have read the recent Santa Fe New Mexican stories on the Valentine’s Day radiation leak at WIPP, Director Charlie McMillan’s response to Los Alamos National Laboratory employees in the Los Alamos Monitor and Greg Mello’s various comments on WIPP and LANL.
    I think it is time that someone spoke up about the real mission of Los Alamos Scientific (later National*) Laboratory.
    When my family and I came to Los Alamos in October 1969, I began working in group N-6. Which has had many names and divisions over the years; at present it is NEN-1. In late 1989, Norris Bradbury was just beginning his 25th and last year as the second director of LASL. Julius Robert Oppenheimer (Oppie), the lab’s first director appointed Norris as director when he went back to academia in October 1945.

  • LANL campaign contributions a success

    As this year’s institutional champion for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Employee Giving Campaign, I am proud that laboratory employees and Los Alamos National Security (LANS), LLC again have shown their support for northern New Mexico by pledging a record-breaking amount (alpha-g.ds.lanl.gov/discover/publications/connections/2014-12/giving-record-breaking-giving-campaign.php) to regional nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving our communities’ quality of life.
    Over the last seven years our employees and LANS have invested more than $20 million in nonprofit initiatives, and the Employee Giving Campaign this fall adds another almost $3.2 million. As part of a larger network of community partnerships, these contributions are meant to provide building blocks for stronger communities.
    We are committed to partnering with nonprofit projects that address short- and long-term goals. Food pantries, after-school services, eldercare, safe havens from domestic violence, animal shelters and job training, for example, can provide many with cornerstones for a brighter future.

  • More to campaign spending than Morgan states

    Harold Morgan’s Nov. 11 column discounting fears about unlimited and unregulated campaign spending is a little simplistic. The examples about local races seem to make his point, but those races are the tip of the unregulated campaign spending iceberg. Look at the District 43 race where I must have received 30 PAC flyers. That money could’ve been better spent in state coffers, funding education or mental health services.
    The fear addressed by Senator Tom Udall’s amendment is that people in the national congress and to a currently lesser extent state legislatures (except for the convenient ALEC prefab voter suppression legislation) have become beholden to the sources of their funding some of which is anonymous.
    Now, why shouldn’t voters who care be able to find out who is behind what PAC, or which corporate “job creator” is behind this funding. I suppose, on second thought it is true that the job creators are creating jobs in the PAC administrative business.
    As far as the McDonnells, they were directing campaign funds for their personal use, a moral transgression besides being illegal. It would seem that Morgan would get rid of even this regulation and why not, since in the current atmosphere regarding campaign funding the ends justify the means.

    Paul D. Richardson II
    Los Alamos

  • Future with Common Core math

    Luckily John Pawlak will not have to worry about students using calculators in math in the future. When they are indoctrinated with Common Core math they will be given word problems such as this: “Juanita want to give bags of stickers to her friends. She wants to give the same number of stickers to each friend. She’s not sure if she needs 4 bags or 6 bags of stickers. How many stickers could she buy so there are no stickers left over?”
    You don’t even need to use a calculator to find the answer. Just pick a friendly number, as second graders are requested to do in Common Core math.
    Jacqueline Krohn
    Los Alamos

  • Rio Grande Foundation responds to attack

    In a recent letter attacking my organization, the Rio Grande Foundation, Jody Jones fails to make a single statement on the issue of whether Washington or New Mexico would do a better job managing lands in our State that are now controlled by Washington.
    Rather, she spends her entire letter attacking my organization and anyone affiliated with it, even going so far as to advocate for censorship! The political left has become quite hostile to free speech in recent years.
    To be clear, the Rio Grande Foundation is based in New Mexico. I have personally been to Los Alamos many times to speak to Rotary groups and the like. We have hosted speakers from ALEC and a wide variety of organizations of a free market bent, but often with differing viewpoints.
    Our most recent opinion piece merely critiqued New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich for accusing advocates of “devolution” of some federal lands to state control when it is Washington that has taken several large tracts of land throughout the state.
    I respect differences of opinion. I’d love to hear from Jones and others what special knowledge or resources that bureaucrats in Washington have for better managing our lands than people right here in New Mexico. Alas, instead of a factual argument, we got name-calling.
    Paul J. Gessing
    President, Rio Grande Foundation

  • Letters to the editor 11-9-14


    Understanding what peace means

    In the theater, the overture is the moment when everything begins. It gently directs our attention to the stage. It helps us willingly suspend disbelief and enter the world of possibility. The overture says, “Hush, pay attention, something wonderful is about to happen.”

    On Oct. 27, the White House released a letter (full text posted at thecommunity.com) that created in me almost exactly that feeling of wonder and anticipation. Perhaps this feeling is even better because this possibility is very real. What if now is the time when we can end, peacefully and permanently, the awful practices of “extraordinary rendition” and “enhanced interrogation techniques?”

  • Criteria unsuitable for publication?

    This is in regard to your posted criteria for the letters the Los Alamos Monitor welcomes for publication versus the piece published on Oct. 30 from Paul Gessing. The criteria published in your paper says, “Letters that might be deemed unsuitable for publication include those that are . . . part of an organized letter-writing campaign, or are part of a mass mailing.”
    Gessing is the president of the Rio Grande Foundation. His letters are part of organized letter-writing campaigns backed by nationwide conservative think tanks. A web search on his foundation will show that it hosts writers chosen by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, whose funding is 100 percent anonymous and which screens its writers to ensure a free market bias before hiring them.
    According to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) website, The Rio Grande Foundation also has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a corporate bill mill.

  • Partisan attack misdirected

    The letter by a prominent local Democrat, exemplifies several facets of today’s political climate that turns so many people off.
    The letter asserts that “Republicans” were campaigning illegally near the high school late last week and had done so previously. It also asserts citations were issued. The letter then blasts Republicans several times.
    At least, the letter writer recognized it likely “the Republican Party knew nothing about this illegal act.” Of course, the Republican Party was unaware of these unfortunate incidents. In fact, no citations were issued and the organizer was a registered Democrat.
    The event itself, a few signs placed where they should not have been, is trivial. The use of that excuse to launch misguided blanket partisan attacks distracts from the issues and candidates that we should be focusing upon. Los Alamos has a proud tradition of civil public discourse. Let’s stick to it.

    Robert Gibson
    Chair, Republican Party of Los Alamos

  • Behavior unbecoming

    On Oct. 28, a political savvy teacher passed the high school at 4:30 p.m. and saw some Republicans waving candidate signs on the sidewalk by the high school property. But, in addition, there were numerous large and small candidate signs stuck into the ground, which blocked visual access to Diamond Drive from Canyon Road. She was concerned and called me.
    This was the third time she had seen this action on high school property with the Republicans. Los Alamos County has strict ordinances that candidates must follow with signage. In fact, they sign an agreement before they are allowed to have any signs displayed. Although it is permissible to stand on the public sidewalk and wave signs, political signs are never allowed in the ground on school property, and that includes UNM-LA. As a teacher, she felt very strongly about this continual flagrant violation of the rules.
    I drove over with a friend to see what was actually occurring. Indeed it was just as she described. We parked our car across the street and took a picture to document the violation. I tried to nicely inform the demonstrators that it was against the county code to put signs on the school’s property.

  • Voters shouldn't fear experimenting

    I’m a theorist, so I have much more respect for experimental results than for theoretical arguments.
    Our county charter has worked reasonably well but includes inconsistencies with state law and limits citizen control of the utilities department by isolating it from the county council.
    I have been to charter amendment committee meetings and know and respect
    those who served. They have made careful and sensible efforts to improve the charter.
    We should do the experiment and see whether or not improvements result. It’s not as if these changes are irreversible in our strong local democracy.
    If conservative Kansas can try significant changes, surely Los Alamos County can try relatively small ones.
    Many people whom I respect and admire argue that the charter amendments will drastically alter the positive features of the current charter. I find this fearfulness and the associated scandalous characterization of our current and potential leaders to be unbecoming and see no reason for the associated predictions to be accurate.
    True, we are a suburb of Washington, D.C., but we don’t have to behave like people there do.
    I’m voting for the charter amendments and I hope you do, too.

    Terry Goldman
    Los Alamos