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Today's Opinions

  • Single-payer is not the answer

    BY LISA SHIN
    Candidate for NM House of Representatives, Dist. 43

    Obamacare had thousands of pages of job-killing mandates, regulations, and taxes. Why should we be surprised at rising costs and skyrocketing premiums?  We should have learned that more government regulation over health care is disastrous. Instead, we have Councilors Sheehey and Chandler falling all over themselves to be the louder voice for single-payer: the most control government can have over health care.

    Be wary of old politicians who tout the merits of socialized medicine.  They love to talk about access to preventative, primary, and specialty care, but avoid the crucial questions:  “How are we going to pay for it?” and “Who will be the providers for it?” Briefly, these are the reasons why a single-payer system would not work for New Mexico. 

  • Business needs, transparency rules find balance at spaceport

    The spaceport finally caught a break after years of flak. Three breaks, in fact.

    Even so, Spaceport America was in the crosshairs of a sustained transparency debate in the recent legislative session.

    As media and watchdog organizations like to remind you, transparency and open records in government are vital to a healthy democracy. But as an old business reporter, I also understand how cautious and downright paranoid high tech companies are about their internal information. They’re secretive for a reason.

    So when headline writers at the New Mexican exclaim, “Transparency takes hit,” after the passage of a bill protecting customer information at the spaceport, I’m afraid I can’t agree.

    The bipartisan Senate Bill 98, called the Commercial Aerospace Protection Act, started out exempting Spaceport client information from the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act  unless the company waives confidentiality. IPRA is the sacred cow of New Mexico journalists.

  • Lujan Grisham wins Dem preprimary vote, land commissioner proxy battle set

    Joseph Cervantes (joe4nm.com ) offered substantive ideas to the Democratic Party preprimary convention March 10 in Albuquerque and got 10 percent of the votes.

    Jeff Apodaca (apo18.com), with his promise of 225,000 new jobs, attracted 21 percent of the votes.

    Peter DeBenedittis (peterd4gov.com) had the truth, drew 1.9 percent of the votes and endorsed Apodaca.

    Michelle Lujan Grisham (newmexicansformichelle.com) won the audience sign waving battle and 67 percent of the votes.

    The four candidates for governor and candidates for other offices spoke to a full house in a hall on the top floor of Albuquerque’s convention center. The show-biz part might have swayed one or two delegates. As the candidates pitched, delegates completed ballots in small voting booths in an adjacent room.

    The convention was about candidates getting enough delegate votes—20 percent—to be on the primary ballot.

    Candidates not making the delegate vote cut can get more petition signatures to get on the ballot. The six contested races attracted 21 candidates.

    It was show biz with a ritual of a video and supporters packing the stage and waving signs. DeBenedittis did it differently. His fiancé, Tracy Juechter, introduced him and was the only person on stage as he spoke.

  • Workshop points small businesses toward government contracts

    FINANCE NEW MEXICO

    The federal government is the world’s biggest customer and a major driver in New Mexico’s economy.

    While only a fraction of the $8.2 billion that Uncle Sam spent in New Mexico in fiscal year 2017 benefitted local companies, advisers at the state’s four Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) work to increase the flow of federal dollars to small businesses that offer products or services the government wants.

    To that end, the Clovis PTAC is hosting a workshop March 20 at Clovis Community College for entrepreneurs who want to learn more about becoming a government contractor.

    “The workshop is to educate business owners on how to do business with Cannon Air Force Base and other government agencies,” said Jonnie Loadwick, procurement technical adviser at the Clovis PTAC and a certified VA verification counselor. “Cannon has been growing the last few years, and there is a lot of opportunity for government contracting in this area.”

    Obtaining government contracts can be just as onerous as securing contracts in the private sector: Businesses must aggressively market themselves, because competition is fierce.

  • Sheehey: Advocating for the GRT

    BY PETE SHEEHEY
    Los Alamos County Councilor, candidate for District 43

    As a member of the County Council’s Regional and State Subcommittee, I helped develop our state legislative agenda, which was approved by the whole Council last December.  One priority was to address the concern that if a non-profit organization won the new LANL contract, state and local government could lose a total of  $50 million per year in gross receipts tax (GRT).

    Working with our State Senators Cisneros and Martinez and Representative Garcia Richard, we developed a bill, SB17, to close the loophole that lets non-profit organizations avoid GRT payment as prime contractors for national laboratories (SB17 preserves the GRT exemption for all other non-profit businesses and contracts). The bill passed both Houses: 31-4 in the Senate and 48-19 in the House.  It still needs the signature of Governor Martinez to become law.

    Why SB17?

  • Political talk dies in style

    Political talk has had its substance wither away for the sake of style. In this country, business is conducted the most clearly and quickly using the American standard style of talk, which is also known as the “straight” style.

    In stark contrast, political exchanges today rely on ... are reduced to ... styles of metaphor, mimicry, sarcasm, sound bites and slogans. These popular styles would fail in business and they fail our country.

    Worse yet, the styles shift weirdly. In a political exchange, one style intrudes on the next style where they mix up for a spell before styles flip again. Shifts come too fast for the ear to know what style is in play. How much is metaphor? How much is sarcasm? What is told as a slogan? Or a joke?

    Parts of the talking from enemy sides are done in straight style. Yet, even the straight parts are lost in the crowd of talking styles.

    Examples tell more.

    Black lives matter” and “All lives matter”are two simple facts that are equally true when they are meant in the straight style. Now start every word with a capital letter and refashion the style as metaphor, mimicry, sarcasm or slogans. What happens?

  • Recent scrutiny of RCLC is sign of times

    BY ANDREA ROMERO
    Guest Editorial

    Founded in 2011, the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (RCLC) comprises nine cities, counties, and Pueblos surrounding the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Since I was hired as executive director in 2015, we have worked together to ensure that LANL is responsive to the issues and concerns of our northern New Mexico communities.

    RCLC has been the sole organization to go to the U.S. Congress and request increases for cleanup of nuclear waste at LANL. These requests have continued to increase from $184 million in 2016, up to $191 million in 2017, and a $217 million request for 2018. These funds bring critical jobs to northern New Mexico to remediate polluted land and water, making our communities safer and more environmentally sound.

  • Legislators: We don’t want to be Congress

     

    Last year was about digging holes. This year’s recently completed legislative session was about filling holes – literally, figuratively and financially.

    It was also about working together. “We don’t want to be Congress,” they said again and again.

    During the 2017 session, budgeters frantically emptied the state’s reserves, school balances and other funds to fill a deficit caused by plunging oil and gas tax revenues. It was an unforgiving process.

    In recent weeks, they’ve talked about “backfilling,” replenishing reserves and fund balances and restoring agency budgets.

    Two of the big issues were crime and the unstable, man-made cavity beneath Carlsbad. Lawmakers finally stopped talking and approved funding to remediate the Carlsbad Brine Well. Even then I heard griping: Why should it be the state’s responsibility? Well, we’ve harvested boatloads of taxes from the industry for decades. We can’t suddenly wash our hands of its impacts. (Footnote: Debates about over-regulation suddenly fall flat when we have a spectacular failure of regulation, and in this case it was a failure of state regulation.)