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Today's Opinions

  • Working together to enhance our community

    BY DAVID IZRAELEVITZ
    Los Alamos County Council Chair

    This is part three of a three-part series.

    In part one of my editorial on code enforcement, I covered the “why” behind the program, and in part two, I addressed the “how” of the process that is involved. Today in part three, I would like to talk more philosophically about code enforcement and what the county and the community can do to assist with resources. 

    Let me address the “government-encroachment” argument first which I have heard a few times. I can understand that some, and probably most individuals feel an initial gut feeling of government overreach when an ordinance is passed that imposes additional personal responsibilities for property maintenance. However, *any* new law, by definition, imposes new constraints on our freedoms.

    After that initial reaction, we need to then look at the fundamental issue that this new ordinance is addressing, and whether it is the right approach or not. If no one drove dangerously, we would not need speeding limits. If everyone was attentive to their property, we wouldn’t need property maintenance standards either. We do have a property maintenance problem in town, and I don’t see a practical alternative to some kind of code and its enforcement.

  • Letters to the Editor 10-11-17

    Today’s Republican Party is unfit to govern

    Dear Editor,

    The biased, deceptive science-teaching standards proposed by the Martinez administration are the latest evidence that today’s Republican Party is unfit to govern.

    Science is the systematic investigation of the physical world in which we live. It seeks to accurately describe and quantify physical phenomena and to propose models and theories that will allow us to make future predictions.

    It is a continuing endeavor in which theories and models are tested, modified or abandoned to reflect new observations and experimental results.

    Although no human undertaking is infallible, science is inherently self-correcting.

    When we reject science, we reject reality and we lose the ability to make rational, information-based decisions for ourselves, our families, our nation and the future of humanity.

    Unfortunately, due to religious/regional cultures, our ineffectual educational system, special interest groups, and ignorant/corrupt politicians, the U.S. is one of the most science-illiterate societies in the developed world.

    Whereas many take pride in proclaiming that the U.S. is an “exceptional nation,” a nation that makes decisions based illusion or disinformation, rather than reality, cannot survive.

  • Letters to the Editor 9-29-17

    Domenici, Bingaman served as model for
    bipartisanship

    Dear Editor,
    Pete Domenici had a daughter who had mental health problems, so he fought for the mentally ill. He helped pass the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity Act of 2008.

    His mother was an undocumented immigrant so he tried to help pass an immigrant bill.

    Trump’s meeting with Democrats Pelosi and Schumer about DACA was petty. Pelosi and Schumer were being partisan.

    Both sides interpreted the meeting to suit themselves. Until Congress has hearings and discussions with both parties, nothing will be done on immigration.

    Domenici worked in the 1990s toward a balanced budget. In 1997, the Senate approved the Balanced Budget Act. In 1998, we had the first balanced federal budget in 30 years.

    During the last budget crisis, Domenici suggested that Congress should stop giving sound bites on TV and start working on a budget in a back room.

    Domenici and Bingaman served together for 26 years.

    They voted along with their parties when it was right to do so.

    If it was something that would benefit New Mexico, they always voted together. It’s called being bipartisan.

  • LEtters to the Editor 9-22-17

    Wildlife are not pets

    Dear Editor,
    I was pretty surprised that LA County is actually contemplating fining folks  for not “securing” their trash bins in a “secure” building? Many residents don’t have a garage or secure building to place their trash bin in? I spoke to one resident who stated, “I guess I’ll have to bring my trash bin into my home.” Ahhh the smell of rotting garbage.

    Then there are those folks who actually put out food and water for the bears/wildlife. They are concerned the wildlife is not adequately hydrated or healthy, seriously? These residents are teaching/conditioning wildlife to be dependent, they are not pets. I believe fines should be imposed on these folks before contemplating such a ridiculous proposition.

    Dave McClard
    Los Alamos
    Boy Scouts are a Los
    Alamos tradition, active presence

    Dear Editor,
    The Los Alamos Ranch School began 100 years ago as the dream of Ashley Pond Jr. who envisioned a school where boys who were growing up sickly in polluted eastern cities could come out west, ride horses and recover their health.

    He hired A.J. Connell, a forest ranger and Boy Scout leader, to direct the school.

  • Questioning own mortality in Mexico earthquake

    I guess it’s always interesting when you stare the possibility of the end in the face.
    I am not sure if I did or didn’t.

    When that earthquake rumbled through Cuernavaca at 1:14 p.m. Tuesday, I honestly questioned my mortality.

    I sat in the bedroom of the guest house of our awesome land lady in Los Tabachines community in south Cuernavaca.
    Cuernavaca is about 50 miles south of the Mexico City.

    Anyway, it was a typical Tuesday, I was trying to get through writer’s block and fulfill my freelance obligations to various clients.

    But then, the earth shook.

    It didn’t just shake, the ground was moving.

    Jill, who was in the kitchen, yelled, ‘’EARTHQUAKE.’’

    I knew what it was but I was just in shock.

    I talked to my dad today and he said we had been through a couple of tremors growing up in Tokyo.

    I had felt nothing like this.

    I could not even up stand up.

    Nori, our faithful Belgian Sheepdog who had been watching me from the bed, jumped up and we somehow got to the kitchen and then to the back yard. Jill was there on her knees. She told me she could not walk because of the quake.

    She told me that she could not believe I was still standing. When I thought about it, I was surprised too.

  • The ‘how’ of code enforcement

    BY DAVID IZRAELEVITZ
    Los Alamos County Council Chair

    In part one of my editorial on code enforcement, I covered the “why” behind the program. Today, I would like to address in some detail the “how” of code enforcement, a process which is managed within the Community Development Department (CDD) by two full-time Code Enforcement Officers.

    My hope is that by explaining a little more about the process, I can help clear up confusion and concern in our community.

    Let’s begin with clarifying two terms that seem to be interchangeable when the public discusses this sensitive topic, but are very different: Notice Of Violation (NOV) and citation. In fact, these are two very different terms that occur in different steps of the process. While county code sets the standards, our process that implements enforcement of these standards is modeled after best practices used in thousands of communities across America. I do not believe that it is overly restrictive for a town our size and population.

  • Time to ask, ‘What makes us awesome’

    If you are struggling in your relationship with a teenager or have a senior that will graduate this year, you must read any books by Patricia Hoolihan.
    Recently I came across one of her quotes that might re-define how we see things today. “A pat on the back, though only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants, is miles ahead in results.” – Bennett Cerf
    There was a time when we praised kids so much, we were worried about damaging them, but now I wonder if we have let the pendulum swing too far the other way.
    In 2013, two high school students Faith Glasco and Elizabeth Hjelvik started, “The Wall of Awesome,” in Los Alamos. I am proud that their efforts still continue on a smaller scale today, but I am asking you to take it one step further.
    Take a minute this week to ask your kids one of two questions…or both would be great. What makes you awesome? What makes life awesome?
    The answers might just surprise you and they may struggle, just make sure you pause long enough to make them think about it. I also suggest you have an answer for them when they have nothing.

  • Celebrate the sunshine and N.M.’s low disaster risk

    In my garage is an old suitcase packed with old clothes. It’s to grab in an emergency. 

    There’s a sturdy canvas bag tucked away in a suitable place, where a couple of checkbooks are kept and a backup computer hard drive is stored.

    Because I live in central New Mexico, I probably will never need those things. New Mexico is a pretty good place to avoid natural disasters.  

    The state is ranked 40th out of 50 states for the number of disaster declarations and 33rd of 50 for relative riskiness by the company Core Logic, based on an analysis of storm damage.

    But, this week as we appreciate the sunshine and our dry feet, let’s be relaxed but not complacent. The recent hurricanes remind us that disasters can happen anytime and anywhere. What could happen here? What can we prepare for, individually or collectively?