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Today's Opinions

  • Letter to the editor 2-6-15

    Loving local businesses

    I don’t shop on the Internet.
    I wanted a pair of New Balance shoes. I found what I wanted on the Internet. I chose the color and size and printed it.
    I took it to CB Fox and ordered them. I picked them up today. The price was the same as the Internet but there was no shipping.
    If they didn’t fit I would not have had to pay for them — they would have been put in stock and sold at the store. Is there a place on the Internet that does free gift wrapping?
    Our son Shaun worked at Clement & Benner (that’s what CB stands for) all through high school and college. He was employee of the year in 1986.  
    When Shaun went to college, Mary Pierce from the office would send him cookies.
    Shaun has a degree in petroleum engineering, but has been in sales all his working life. I used to tell Tom Hall he taught him everything he knows about selling.
    We moved here in 1967 and the only stores that were here then that are still here are CB Fox and Metzger’s, which are both family owned businesses.
    I would like to see them here at least until my maker calls me home.
    Camille Morrison
    Los Alamos

  • Letters to the editor 1-22-15

    Donate for Valentines for Vets

    The Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8874 in Los Alamos is a nonprofit organization of volunteers who donate their time and talents for the benefit of our veterans at home and abroad.  
    We send care packages to our military overseas, as well as phone cards (via Operation Uplink) to our deployed military personnel.  
    On the home front, we financially support the VFW National Home for Children, Unmet Needs and Cancer Aid and Research programs, we continually work to obtain legislation that will benefit our veterans and their families, we sponsor the Young American Creative Patriotic Art, Outstanding Young Volunteer and Americanism youth programs in our schools, we assist local families of disabled and needy veterans, and we visit the VA Hospital in Albuquerque every February for the Valentines for Vets event.
    The Valentines for Vets event consists of visiting our veterans and distributing amenities along with Valentine’s Day cards made locally and collected by our Girl Scouts.  
    This year’s event will be at 1 p.m. Feb. 8. Since the Albuquerque Veterans Hospital services the entire northern area of our state, we are soliciting donations from everyone in our connected communities.  

  • Home remodel for the new year

    Our 2014 huge positives were the first grandchild, a new kitchen and hanging out by the ocean in Monterrey, California. The negatives were many, many trips to doctors.
    The kitchen came courtesy of an inheritance from my mother. In developing the project, we considered many things. Our research led us to million dollar homes with sloppy work. Most of our ideas worked; some didn’t, demanding compromise and rethinking. Our experience may lend some insight as you contemplate such a project.
    While we managed without a $10,000 stove, the project was extravagant. Fortunately we could not enlarge the kitchen because our house encircles it.
    We had the cash. Obvious advice, item one, be able to pay. Call me an outlier in our consumption ethos, but I’ve never been a borrower. Only for houses, but not for cars (once, only) and definitely not now with a fixed income.
    We didn’t worry about recapturing remodeling cost on sale of the house. We plan to be in the house long enough to render such an analysis moot. We did the project for us, not for the next guy.

  • Running a business through a franchise has its advantages

    Multinational franchises like McDonald’s and KFC started small and worked their way up the food chain over decades.
    That methodical approach to growth seems too slow for the owners of two Albuquerque businesses.
    Before Olo Yogurt Studio opened its first store in 2010 and WisePies served its first pizza in 2014, the owners of both ventures planned to become franchises — and to waste no time doing it.
    Olo Yogurt opened a second store — a carbon copy of its colorful original — within three years and was strengthening its brand for further expansion.
    WisePies was less than a year old when it announced its intentions to open 20 new stores within a year and to offer franchise licenses for $35,000.
    In December, the company signed a $5 million deal for naming rights to the University of New Mexico basketball arena, commonly known as The Pit, now the WisePies Arena.
    The franchise or chain store model isn’t the only way for a business to grow, but its appeal is obvious.
    A franchisor can recruit talented go-getters who want to run a business with a built-in market, name recognition and institutional support. And they can do it without draining their capital budgets, as franchisees typically pay much of their own startup costs.

  • Letters to the editor 1-20-15

    Food tax proposal
    good for communities
    The food tax exemption enacted by the state Legislature in 2004 stretched the food budgets of middle- and upper-income New Mexicans, but did nothing to help low-income residents who qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) vouchers, which are tax exempt.
    Subsequent actions by the Legislature to compensate for this lost revenue only made matters worse, especially for the least advantaged New Mexicans — the supposed beneficiaries of the food tax exemption.
    The 2004 law raised the state gross receipts tax (GRT) rate by .5 percent, and in 2010, the state GRT on non-food products and services jumped again from 5 percent to 5.125 percent.
    In 2013, local governments were allowed to raise local tax rates three-eighths of a percent for non-food items, which could increase GRT by three-quarters of a percent if a city and county both imposed the increase.
    For example, the GRT in Red River is 8.4375 percent. If both the town and Taos County enact the local increase, purchases made in Red River would be subject to GRT of 9.1875 percent. A GRT rate over 9 percent is hard on low-income families, bad for businesses and harmful to the town when tourists choose less-expensive destinations.

  • When city halls duck-and-cover

    Starting with the earliest years of the Republic, a constant theme has laced its way through American political rhetoric to the effect that local and state governments, being “closer to the People” than a far-away national government, are best able to deal with the “People’s” needs and problems.
    It has always been a slightly silly proposition, if only because some of the “People’s” needs and problems transcend the boundaries and jurisdictions of state and local government, such as interstate commerce, national defense and terrorism.
    Lately, however, even a governmental function, which has historically been deemed inherently “local” in nature has found local governments in every part of the land clearly floundering, if not downright incompetent to handle.
    Consider local law enforcement.
    As most New Mexicans know, the state’s largest city has basically lost control of its police department and has entered into a written agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to fashion far-reaching police reforms, which Albuquerque officials — mayor and city council — will be obligated to implement.

  • Assessing ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’

    French economist Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” was the most talked about treatise on political economy in 2014, if not the 21st century.
    To those of us who understand and respect the superior productivity and fairness of free markets, the errors throughout Piketty’s Capital were so numerous and obvious that the book was easy to dismiss as warmed-over leftism, hardly worthy of being addressed and refuted. The history of economics teaches us, however, that it can be a costly mistake to ignore a popular book however flawed and wrong-headed.
    When John Maynard Keynes published “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money,” in the winter of 1935-36, its fundamental errors were so glaring to the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek that Hayek figured the book would quickly slip into oblivion. Wrong! By the time Henry Hazlitt wrote the first systematic dissection and demolition of The General Theory in 1959 (The Failure of “the New Economics”) Keynes’ macroeconomic errors had become the orthodoxy.

  • Obama was AWOL in Paris

    On Jan. 11, 40 leaders from various countries and 1.3 million people participated in anti-terrorism events in Paris.
    President Obama was AWOL, and he was only represented by our ambassador to France.
    It is difficult to believe our president overlooked the need to be in Paris for the anti-terrorism rally.
    Based on his previous comments, it is quite possible he decided he did not want to offend Islam by appearing at the anti-terrorism unity march.
    In the past he has refused to label the multitude of attacks conducted by Muslims as Islamic terrorist attacks. He said “we are not at war with Islam,” but it sure appears Islam is at war with us.
    After all, what is the religion of almost every terrorist who has attacked Western civilization in the past 50 years?
    President Obama, you just offended every freedom loving person in the world.
    Donald A. Moskowitz
    Londonderry, New Hampshire