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Today's Opinions

  • Aspen students happy with new digs

    Editor’s note: The following letters were written by sixth graders from Aspen Elementary School regarding recent renovations and rededication of the school. These are the last of the letters sent to the Los Alamos Monitor.

    I am loving our new building for several reasons.
    First of all, I love the two stories. It really helps because we’re not all squished together.
    Next, the elevator is very helpful. It’s helpful because if there was a student in a wheelchair, they wouldn’t have to have a challenge going up the stairs. It’s also helpful because if we needed to bring a heavy item upstairs, we could just put it in the elevator instead of trying to carry it up the stairs. Finally, this school is helping us learn because it’s good to know that we’re gong to a school that’s safe and looks nice.
    Thank you for investing in me and my classmates’ education.
    Rafael

    I am loving our new school for several reasons.

  • Understanding conflicts of interest in freelancing

    Journalists are quick to go after elected officials who cross the line, so a skeptical public should know that we’re just as quick to go after one of our own. Sometimes too quick.
    In writing about the Interstate Stream Commission’s decision on the Gila River, I ran across a scuffle in which one newshound accuses another of conflict of interest.
    This is not just a family squabble. Because a lot of work gets farmed out to contractors, consultants and freelancers, it’s worth a look.
    Mary Alice Murphy was a reporter for the Silver City Daily Press. She retired in late 2007, but continued with the paper as a freelancer.
    In September 2008, an Arizona Water Settlement Act committee asked her to create a website, take minutes and post agendas. The newspaper reported this on its front page. She was paid alternately by the county, the ISC, or the Gila Conservation Coalition and at times did the work gratis.
    In September 2010, Murphy stopped freelancing for the Daily Press. By then, her independent website, The Grant County Beat (grantcountybeat.com) was operating. It’s a great community resource, but she works on the side to support it.

  • More praise from Aspen students

    Editor’s note: The following letters were written by sixth graders from Aspen Elementary School regarding recent renovations and rededication of the school. Keep reading the Los Alamos Monitor for more letters.

    I am loving our new building for several reasons.
    First of all, the dining hall is beautiful. I especially like the quietness of the room.
    Second, I like the light sails on the ceiling. They also add to the scenery down on the first floor.
    Third I like the glass window next to the elevator because it is cool to see the gears of it. It will be also very helpful for disabled people.
    Thank you so much for building the new school and supporting the idea.
    Takuma

    I am loving our new building for three reasons. I am grateful for the money you spent for us and I am happy for our new classrooms and I am grateful for the technology. Thank you so much for our new school.
    Xzavier

    I am loving our new building for several reasons.
    First of all, the thing I’m most excited about is the new technology. In the portable, we could not use the internet all at the same time because it would cut us off.
    A second reason is the new desks and chairs. They are so helpful for our binders because now we can hang them and not trip over them.

  • Colorado comparison part 1: Things can change

    If Colorado’s leaders are smarter than those in New Mexico, something I don’t believe, they can’t be that much smarter.
    After all, to determine our performance in a host of categories, we can freeload off Colorado and save work and money.
    The reference here is to the just-released 10th edition of “Toward a More Competitive Colorado,” a comprehensive look at nine general categories, each with up to a dozen components. To find the report, go to metrodenver.org and look in the research and reports section.
    New Mexico’s various national rankings are what this column and the next are about. But the other important point, maybe the important point, is that things can change and change for the better. In 2013, Colorado was third for job growth. It was 49th in 2002 after what the report calls “the ‘dot.bomb’ recession.”
    Many of the comparisons are ugly. But facing these things offers a place to begin a vision. Colorado seems to be in the top handful on just about everything. New Mexico, well, not so much.
    Necessarily the report deals with the past. Most tables use data through 2013. In the present, New Mexico tied Idaho for 34th place among the states in job production performance between October 2013 and 2014. Alaska was the only state losing jobs during the year.

  • Students praise new Aspen Elementary

    Editor’s note: The following letters were written by sixth graders from Aspen Elementary School regarding recent renovations and rededication of the school. There are more letters to come, so keep reading the Los Alamos Monitor.

    I love our new building for several reasons.
    First of all the look is amazing. It really gives the building a modern feel. Also the playground looks amazing, and an amazing coincidence, the blow dryers in the bathrooms are the same as ones I’ve used before that I encountered in this new building!
    Esai

    I am enjoying our new school building for several reasons.
    First of all, we have larger classrooms. The larger rooms hold more equipment for more in-class projects. Second, we have more books in the library. More books means more sources to study with. Last, this new building is safer than the other. The older building was falling apart, literally!
    Thank you all for our beautiful new building!
    Maia

    Why should we thank you? Because you, yes you, said yes to us. You gave us a brand new school.

  • Picking up post-election pieces

    Amid Republican glee, Democrats find themselves picking up the pieces following the drubbing they took at the November elections.
    Back on Capitol Hill, one of those pieces, Nancy Pelosi, the former Democratic Speaker who spent the past four years as Democratic House minority leader, seemingly emerged unscathed by the defeat her party suffered in Congress.
    By all accounts she’ll keep her post as minority leader for another two years, although you’ll find any number of Democrats — rank-and-file on up — who suspect someone other than Pelosi at the head of their decimated party in the House might be the better part of wisdom.
    At the Roundhouse here in New Mexico, on the other hand, leadership changes run rampant.
    For the first time in most New Mexicans’ memories, a certified, honest-to-goodness Republican will wield the gavel as Speaker at the state House of Representatives when the Legislature convenes next month.
    Back in the 1980s Republicans basically controlled the state House for a period of time in a coalition engineered with a few turncoat Dems, one of whom, a gentleman named Gene Samberson, they picked to be Speaker.
    But with the upcoming 60-day legislative session, Rep. Donald Tripp of Socorro is slated to become New Mexico’s first Republican House Speaker in over 60 years.

  • Students speak out about Aspen renovations

    Editor’s note: The following letters were written by sixth graders from Aspen Elementary School regarding recent renovations and rededication of the school. Keep reading for more letters through the week.

    This new building that Los Alamos has built is beautiful!
    One thing that surprised me about the new building was the architecture. The architecture around the whole school is just amazing and beautiful. Another thing that surprised me was the media center. The media center has a fireplace and couches so you can read quietly.
    One thing that was eye-catching in the building was the Aspen trees all over the school. The trees in the windows of the media center are incredible! Another thing that was eye-catching was the dining hall. It is very neat and beautiful.
    Something that will take some time getting used to is the hallways that take you everywhere. I think the hallways are amazing; you don’t pay attention where you’re going because everything is amazing! Other things that will take some getting used to are the different types of stairs to go down because all lead to different parts of the building. I am most excited about the sinks in the hallway, because you can wash your hands before you eat.

  • Onward to 21st century regulation

    Since the genesis of the human race, the advance of civilization has been defined by the quality of its regulating. Yet, the word evokes emotions as varied as the looks people fashion on their faces.  
    Regulation is older than written history. The first “regulation” of cavemen by cavemen was throwing rocks to fortify a point of disagreement. As the Stone Age drew on, a new means of enforcement appeared on the scene, namely, the stone axe.
    Slowly, regulatory systems improved. Peer pressure had promising effects among small groups. As groups grew larger, tribal customs grew with them and evolved to be tendrils of religions.
    Time passed. Regulation took more standardized forms, as in the Ten Commandments. Recall those brief decrees against killing, adultery, stealing, bearing false witness and coveting.  
    Businesses sprouted and spread. Entrepreneurs began to see they could build larger markets if they could reach customers farther from their shop.
    But selling things at a distance first requires standardized and enforceable weights and measures and then a trusted means of money exchange — the dawn of banking. In other words, doing business at a distance requires more regulation and inspection.