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Today's Opinions

  • Decision making on public lands needs to be close to users

    BY BOB HAGAN
    Special to the Monitor

  • Regulatory insight from Colorado, New Mexico

    CHICAGO—Be careful who you talk to in bars. That’s one lesson from a conversation in the elegant bar at the Palmer House hotel in downtown Chicago.
    We talked to a manager from a large nationwide financial institution. This man is a market supervisor (or something like that) for New Mexico, El Paso and Oklahoma. Our discussion considered the differences between Arizona and New Mexico. It included the usual banking structure differences from 30 years ago, but also got to factors including resorts such as the Arizona Biltmore and Camelback and professional golf, which decades ago put a national focus on Arizona.
    The understanding from the conversation is that this manager and, by extension, his very, very large financial institution employer, is mystified by the New Mexico economy.
    The Chicago chat is just one happening from our recent two-week road trip through the Midwest.
    Driving northeast through Colorado on I-76, we came across the welcome center in Julesburg. The men’s restroom was closed. In its place were seven porta-potties.

  • NM oil producers find themselves in a price war with Saudis

    Last winter, as legislators were starting to shrink the state budget to match declining oil revenues, Dr. Daniel I. Fine was trying to put his finger on what’s normal for the oil industry these days. He came up with so many variations on normal, it seems there is no normal.
    Fine, who is associate director of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Tech, predicted production in New Mexico would drop 100,000 barrels per day.
    “That’s how serious this is,” he told the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee. “OPEC is targeting high-cost producers in New Mexico, Texas and North Dakota… We are the main threat. Every barrel of oil we reduce, they will produce the equivalent.”
    I was trying to get my head around little ol’ New Mexico being a threat, as Fine continued.
    In an oversupplied world market, he said, “Saudi Arabia is in a price war with the United States. The Saudis can continue like this for two years. We’re thinking, how do we return to normal. A colleague in Bahrain said, ‘This is normal: $25 a barrel.’ Our normal is a new normal, and we conflict with what is normal.”

  • Some ‘sustainability’ proposals don’t pass

    “Sustainability” permeates our world. But what is sustainability?
    Consider this comment from new Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent Raquel Reedy: “The fact is that our students move many times. Consequently, there is very little sustainability, very little consistency where children stay at one school the entire time.”
    Likely, whatever Reedy means by “sustainability” and APS sustainability measures is different from the meaning of the people who proposed sustainability resolutions for consideration at the annual meeting of PNM Resources Inc., parent company of Public Service Company and a Texas utility.
    PNM’s board of directors wisely recommended voting against the proposals.
    For those not owning stock, a brief primer is that corporation divides ownership into shares. People can buy those shares. I bought 1.5 shares of Disney for my new grandson, Christopher. Shareowners have a slight say in what a company does, depending in part on the number of shares owned. But shareholders can also ask the company to do things thorough proposals to the annual meeting or by asking questions at the annual meeting.

  • In early days, Bankhead Highway was a first

    “If any town in the United States needs roads worse than us, it has my pity,” a citizen told his county commissioners. “Farmers,” said the local paper, “have been wedged between two sand hills long enough.”
    These were the first rumblings of the Good Roads movement in New Mexico. In 1915, farmers on the East Side threatened to take their produce to markets in Texas, where roads were better, if the Roosevelt County Commission didn’t do something.  
    The next time you get in your car, remind yourself that a century ago the nation’s roads were little more than dirt tracks and trails with no signs or bridges. In New Mexico, land owners fenced across roads, and drifting sand was a bigger hindrance than fences.
    New Mexico joined the national Good Roads movement, which produced a network of highways, such as they were. We know Route 66 best, but a few years earlier and farther south was the Bankhead Highway, one of the first transcontinental highways.
    It began in 1916 with the Bankhead Highway Association, whose namesake, U. S. Sen. John H. Bankhead, of Alabama, was a leader of the Good Roads movement. That year, Congress passed the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 over the objections of citizens like Henry Ford, who didn’t think roads were a good use of taxpayer money.

  • Letters to the Editor 5-25-16

    Thank you to those who supported Living
    Treasures of Los Alamos

    On behalf of the Board of the Living Treasures of Los Alamos, I want to give immense thanks to Los Alamos National Bank for underwriting this year’s Living Treasures ceremony on April 24.
    The 300-plus attendees enthusiastically honored our newest Treasures, Nona Bowman, Chuck Tallman and Selvi Viswanathan, and enjoyed a delicious reception afterward.
    We are most grateful to our biographer, Colleen Ollinger, photographer Jim Gautier and calligrapher Marilyn Stevens for their significant contributions as well as other community members who have so graciously made donations all of which help us to continue our tradition of honoring those who have given richly to our community. Bravo!
    Pauline Powell Schneider
    Los Alamos

    Imperative to do what is proper and right

  • Letters to the Editor 5-22-16

    Committed to principled decision-making

    A recent letter to the editor discusses a citizen initiative petition of several years ago relating to the construction of a new municipal building, but omits several important facts. 
    In 2010, the original municipal building was demolished after it was deemed unsafe for continued use.   The county council commissioned a citizen committee to identify and recommend an appropriate site for a new building. That committee spent countless hours reviewing several potential locations, including the old location by the pond. However, after much public discussion and input, the committee supported placing the building at the current location on Central Avenue as the best site for a number of reasons. 
    As with every decision, some agreed, some did not. With regard to this issue, a citizen drafted an initiative petition that would have required the building to be built in the exact same spot and with the exact same design. Specifically, the petition read as follows:
    “The municipal building shall be fully rebuilt and restored to its original site and design for the specific purpose and original intent as the location and use of and for the Los Alamos County Council Chambers and offices and the Los Alamos County Administrator and offices.”

  • Letter to the Editor 5-20-16

     Thanks for the support

    Pig + Fig Cafe is overwhelmed and humbled by the support and generosity that the Los Alamos community gave us last week during the Special Olympics Los Alamos Wine Dinner Benefit.
    We would like to give a special thank you to:
    Our guest sous chefs and local restaurateurs Vance Boone of Aramark, Patrick Mockler-Wood, as well as our guest sommeliers Karen Easton, Dane Spearing and Andrea Pistone.
    Our food vendors Altamira Foods, Snake River Farms, Cheesemongers of Santa Fe, Just the Best Produce and Sysco Foods also generously donated all the food served at this event. The stars of the show were the exquisite wines graciously donated by local wine collectors: Tom Hill, Glenn Magelssen, Mark Gray, Steve Costigan and Laura Hamilton.
    The wine dinner tickets were $125 each with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Special Olympics Los Alamos.
    In one night, we were able to raise over $3,000 for Special Olympics Los Alamos. This event could not have been possible without all the food and wine enthusiasts who generously purchased tickets for this special night. From the bottom of our hearts and tummies, we thank you all!
    Claire Roybal
    Pig + Fig Cafe