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Today's Opinions

  • One-sided story on solar power

    I found Los Alamos Monitor’s story on solar power systems somewhat one-sided. While much emphasis was placed on the issues the Department of Public Utilities has with grid based solar power systems, little attention was paid to the customer’s perspective.
    I first started thinking seriously about a solar power system for our home when a few years ago, the power frequently failed in our neighborhood because of problems associated with the Department of Public Utilities aging infrastructure.
    At the time, I considered a grid-based solar photovoltaic (PV) system, but they weren’t quite cost effective at that time. That has all changed in the last few years and as a result, I recently installed one.
    Current PV systems have guaranteed lifetimes in excess of 20 years and payouts in less than half that time. The growth in installed grid based PV systems has been exponential over the last several years, and for good reason, they reduce the cost of electricity to customers.
    There is also a certain satisfaction in generating one’s own electricity with a PV system. Besides saving money, it is a small step towards a greener planet and it also creates that feeling of independence that we Americans love.

  • Weh gets a present of 30,000 cancelled health care policies

    Allen Weh got 30,000 presents the other day from President Barack Obama. Weh is the Republican candidate for the United States Senate, trying to unseat incumbent Tom Udall. Weh is given no chance by the experts.
    Remember the president’s oft-repeated claim about the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”
    The presents were the 30,000 New Mexicans who got a notice that their plans will end Jan. 1, 2015, because of not meeting health act requirements. Most are now with Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico with the rest covered by Presbyterian Health Plan. I assume the lucky group chose their current plan for a variety of individual reasons as opposed to government mandate.
    While Weh has generally attacked Udall’s support of the health care act, the 30,000 sounds like a present to me because they are real people hurt by the lie of the claim about keeping “your plan.” Effective candidates are supposed to talk about things that touch real people. The 30,000 bring the health care act’s troubles into the real world of individual New Mexicans.
    Finding some of those 30,000 and putting them in ads seems an obvious way bring the Obamacare effect home to New Mexicans. Of course, I’m hardly a campaign strategy rocket scientist.

  • Barking dog ordinance is being ignored

    We extend our support and sympathy to those individuals and families who are frustrated with the difficulty of enforcing the nuisance dog barking ordinance and the lack of sensitivity and cooperation on the part of dog owners who continue to allow their dogs to bark and annoy others.
    We know it can be a lonely battle. It’s one we’ve been fighting for more than four years with considerable, but not total, success. The responses we have received from dog owners have run the gamut from sincere apologies accompanied by homemade muffins and an immediate trip to Albuquerque to get barking collars to complete denial, rude dismissals and accusations of harassment. One owner has even suggested that since we are so bothered, it must be our own fault.
    A 30-minute allowable time limit for barking is ridiculous. If one waits 30 minutes after a dog begins barking before calling Animal Control and it takes them an hour to get there because they are busy doing something else, then they have to personally witness the barking for yet another 30 minutes, that means two hours have gone by while neighbors are subjected to this incredibly annoying noise. We have no complaint against the law enforcement officials except that they do not seem to enforce the citation part of the policy consistently.

  • Lunacy governs late campaign attack ads

    They are routinely dishonest, ugly to the eye and offensive to the ear. If that were not enough, they cynically contrive to insult the intelligence of the voters they are designed to seduce.
    Yet, with few exceptions, political strategists skilled at manipulating voter opinion insist that negative campaign television ads work to the advantage of the candidate or party who commission and/or pay for them.
    Simply put, candidates who are subjected to an endless barrage of negative (aka “attack”) TV ads will almost certainly pay a price on Election Day. They may not automatically lose, but at a minimum they will likely see their share of the vote diminished.
    It shames us all that some voters can be so gullible, and it degrades the democracy we profess to cherish.
    This year in New Mexico something akin to lunacy must surely be a governing principle underlying many of the negative ads being leveled against some candidates.
    One of the most unhinged has to be a disingenuous, off-the-wall negative spot brought to New Mexicans’ TV screens by Aubrey Dunn Jr., the Republican candidate for state land commissioner, attacking Democratic incumbent Commissioner Ray Powell Jr.

  • Utililties Dept. is open and honest

    In the 42 years that I have lived in Los Alamos County, the only department and body that have always been consistently above board, open and honest with the citizens of Los Alamos is the utilities department and the utilities board.
    That’s a lot more than I can say for any of the county councils or their spokesmen.
    Gilbert Miranda
    Los Alamos
     

  • In defense to say no to charter amendment

    I would like to lend my voice to that of Anthony Amsden, John Arrowsmith, Robert Gibson, Wayne Hardie, Kevin Holsapple, Lawry Mann, Ken Milder, Gil Miranda, Chris Ortega, Felicia Orth, Ralph Phelps, Khal Spencer and others who have urged defeat of Charter Amendment No. 2.
    I served on the 2009 Charter Review committee. In that committee former Utility Board member, Harry Ettinger, and I (a six-term member of the County Council) were asked to review the 1968 charter section on utilities and make any recommendations to the full committee.
    Quoting from our July 25, 2010 report to the full committee “This report considered comments from seven former members of the utility board, two former utility managers, three former county administrators, one former county attorney, three county councilors who had never served on the utility board and four county councilors who had previously served on the utilities board.” The report “recommended that the existing independence of the utility board (in the existing charter) should be maintained.”

  • Obligation Bond funding positive for EMS classes

    A colleague of mine at University of New Mexico recently told me that the upcoming election was “the most uninteresting” he could remember in all his years of observing New Mexico politics. It may be, if the polls are to be believed. But UNM and its campus in Los Alamos will have a great deal at stake when voters cast their ballots between now and Nov. 4.
    “Bond Question C,” of the state “2014 Capital Projects General Obligation Bond Act,” asks voters to accept or reject $141 million worth of funding for capital improvements to colleges and universities across the state. UNM-LA’s share of these funds would be $500,000, which we would match with $250,000 of our own for a $750,000 renovation and upgrade of our Emergency Medical Sciences lab and training area.
    No one in Los Alamos needs to be reminded of the importance of emergency services. UNM-Los Alamos stepped forward to fill those needs in 2012, with the implementation of its Emergency Medical Services degree program. Demand for the courses is strong, and we anticipate more growth as we move to further strengthen this key strategic component of our curriculum.

  • Changes to charter will shift control, cause collateral damage

    The proposed changes to restructure the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) have the potential to cause collateral damage that may not be evident as voters consider their positions on this charter change issue.
    I have the perspectives of former county councilor, former chair of the Utility Board and of a senior manager for a public power utility in Nebraska, and also had the opportunity to participate on the first Charter Change Committee when we initially discussed the issue.
    Since most of the obvious pros and cons will be discussed at the public forum, I want to share one perspective relative to my opening comment. As I have previously noted, electricity is considered by most folks to be as essential as air, water and food. Los Alamos has elected to provide not only its own electric power, but also water and gas. The ability to successfully fulfill this mission has been demonstrated for many years. One element of this success, a most vital one, is strategic planning.