Today's Opinions

  • Ordinance does not permit sheriff to compete with police department

    Sheriff, Los Alamos County

  • State’s new energy policy: We’re all in this together

    For years, New Mexicans have said we’ve got it all when it comes to energy – oil, gas, coal, geothermal, solar, wind – and now we have a new energy policy that reflects this.
    Maybe now we can end the pointless jousting between supporters of renewable and traditional sources.
    Last week, the governor announced a plan developed over the past year by the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department after listening to sessions held around the state. The first energy plan since 1991 embraces all sectors and emphasizes jobs, economic diversity and energy independence.
    The big shift is “promoting greater production of ALL sources of energy, especially low-carbon sources,” which the governor’s news release describes as an “‘all of the above’ approach to energy development.”
    What I especially like about the plan is its solid statements of policy backed up by proposals rather than puffery. Here are the key points:
    Building or improving pipelines, electric transmission and rail from the Four Corners to I-40, and adding a third oil refinery.

  • Education suggestions include residential science high school

    The Domenici Public Policy Conference is about the learning needed for “doing better at what we ought to do as citizens,” said former Sen. Pete Domenici to begin the eight-annual gathering in Las Cruces. The conference started with learning about education policy to build the economy.
    Former North Carolina Gov. James Hunt brought an unvarnished and lengthy recitation of why his state moved from, in the 1950s “tied with Mississippi as just about the poorest state” to, in the 1980s, around the time of Hunt’s 16 years as governor, being the hottest thing in economic development.
    When the work started, North Carolina’s income was 62 percent of the national average. Now it is 86 percent. New Mexico’s is 81 percent. Hunt kindly didn’t mention New Mexico’s link these days with Mississippi at the bottom of state-performance lists.
    North Carolina’s various initiatives worked.
    Born in Wilson, N.C., east of Raleigh, the 78-year-old Hunt was governor from 1977 to 1985 and from 1993 to 2001. He likes policy institutes, having founded two, both of which he still chairs.

  • Joys and challenges of following your dream

    Chomping down on the fine steak before me, I wondered if it was a local product — one of the happy animals standing knee deep in green grass that we’d passed on our way.
    No, said our host. He’d love to be serving local beef, but regulations require them to buy from licensed food processors.
    The same regulations allow them to combine ingredients to make a cake or stew but not to make their own butter to demonstrate self-sufficiency.
    That was one of many lessons of two days at the recently opened Concho Hills Guest Ranch, perched in the foothills of the San Mateo Mountains west of Magdalena in western New Mexico.
    The dude ranch is a passion for Tim and Marilyn Norris, nuclear engineers who worked all over the world (including a stint at Urenco, near Hobbs) before falling in love with New Mexico and deciding to pursue their dream here. They opened Concho Hills (ConchoHillsRanch.com) in April.
    Being around newcomers is an antidote to the New Mexico Blues, in which we dwell on our troubles and forget to count our blessings.
    The Norrises’ interest and enthusiasm is contagious.
    They’re also an example of what happens with every new business, a subject of keen interest to business groups and the legislative Jobs Council.

  • The role of sheriff in Los Alamos County

    Los Alamos County Councilor

  • New Mexico to join national celebration of manufacturing

    Projects Coordinator, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership
    Fiance New Mexico

  • Bail regulation is ripe for reform

    There are more people in New Mexico’s county jails than in our state prisons, and some of them stay there for a long time.
    In some cases, it’s a relief that they are locked up. In others, it’s a tragic waste of their lives and a pointless expense for taxpayers.    
    A report from the Association of Counties puts the total adult jail population at 7,030 males and 1,405 females, as of June 30, 2013, while the state prison population was 6,043 males and 652 females.
    The report says the median length of stay for unsentenced inmates in 2010 was 147 days.
    Conditions are not so good, we hear. Only six are accredited detention facilities.
    It’s hard to imagine small cash-strapped jails offering high-quality mental health services, which many inmates need badly. The most notorious case — but not the only one — was Stephen Slevins, who was arrested in Doña Ana County for DWI and inexplicably locked in solitary for 22 months.
    He eventually received a settlement of $15.5 million but still reportedly suffers mental disability as a result of his ordeal.
    The regulation of bail is ripe for reform. Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, announced that he will introduce a constitutional amendment regarding the bail process. The proposal has been endorsed by the State Supreme Court.

  • Please, no excuses — get your flu vaccine this fall

    It’s that time of year when people come up with all sorts of excuses for not getting a flu shot.
    Often, though, the excuses catch up with them. So, for the benefit of the naysayers, let’s do a reality check and clear up some mistaken notions.
    “Why worry? It’s just the flu.”
    Every year, almost 300,000 Americans land in the hospital as a result of the flu and its complications, and more than 20,000 die from flu-related illnesses. Older adults should be especially wary. They will account for 60 percent of the hospital stays and 90 percent of the deaths.
    During the last flu season, more than 500 New Mexico residents were hospitalized because of flu-related illnesses and 31 died.
    “I got a shot last year. I don’t need another.”
    Even if you were vaccinated last year, you still need another shot this year, since your immunity to flu viruses wanes after a year. Also, the types of viruses usually change from season to season, so a new vaccine is made each year to fight that season’s most likely strains.
    “Last year’s vaccine was ineffective, so why should I think this year’s will work?”