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Today's Opinions

  • A big LALT thank you

    The Los Alamos Little Theatre is very pleased to announce that one day and one very generous patron was all it took to raise the final money for the purchase and installation of an assisted listening system for the Performing Arts Center at 1670 Nectar St.
    All contributions received will go toward improving the listening experience for LALT productions and special performances.
    We want to give a special thanks to the Los Alamos National Bank for jump-starting our fundraising effort through its community reinvestment program.
    We have to have the system installed and operating in time for the opening performance of “Murdered to Death” on Jan. 16.

    John Gustafson
    Vice president
    Los Alamos Little Theatre
    Board of directors

  • Unsustainable subsidies and an unstable system

    On Dec. 3, while 190 governments were meeting for two weeks of climate change talks in Lima, Peru (which, after 30 hours of overtime, produced a compromise deal that environmental groups said “went from weak to weaker to weakest”), Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet agreed to a package that continues Germany’s optimistic ‘ though unrealistic — goal and increases subsidies for measures designed to cut emissions.
    Regarding Germany’s “climate protection package,” Barbara Hendricks, Environment Minister, admitted: “if no additional steps were taken, Germany … would miss its targets by between five to eight percentage points.”
    The results of the German agreement will require operators of coal-fueled power plants to reduce emissions by at least 22 million tons — the equivalent of closing eight of them. The Financial Times (FT) believes the plan will “lead to brownouts in German homes.”
    With the goal of generating 80 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, Germany has aggressively pursued a green dream with unsustainable subsidies that have produced an unstable system described by FT, on Nov. 25, as: “a lesson in doing too much too quickly on energy policy.”

  • Money management could ease personal spending woes

    A recent story from the Washington Post described Black Friday, and all the news coverage of that shopping extravaganza, as a spectacle of the poor performing for the entertainment of the rest of us.
    The writer likened Black Friday to “The Hunger Games,” the science fiction movie series. In that story line, the provinces that lost a war are forced to send their best young people to a competition where they are televised as they hunt and kill each other, for the amusement of the pampered dilettantes of the winning country.
    The story suggested people of higher income don’t have to bother with the frantic bargain hunting of Black Friday. Only poor people will fight each other for cheap television sets and video games.
    None of the news coverage I saw reported how much of that Black Friday shopping was done to purchase necessities, how much was spent for things not really needed, or how much was spent with borrowed money that the borrowers couldn’t afford to pay back.
    A few days earlier, the financial website Wallethub reported that New Mexico ranks third highest nationally in the amount of money individuals spend compared to their earnings.

  • Open spaces gives Los Alamos an advantage

    I’m one of those kids who came back. I had many choices, but my family and I chose Los Alamos. Why? What makes Los Alamos special?
    My friends who live elsewhere are not impressed by my lab job. Nor are they impressed by the slower small-town pace of life, the great schools, the friendly people, or the opportunity to really make a difference in public service. These types of things are big pluses, but they are available in lots of places.
    However, they are impressed by the fact that I can walk out my back gate into a forested canyon system on public land. If that’s iced over, I count at least half a dozen official and unofficial trailheads within a couple of blocks. And this from a house in the middle of town!
    What makes Los Alamos special is our extraordinary natural setting. Los Alamos County itself has 10,000-foot peaks, large and small tuff canyons, large and small basalt canyons, caves, ponderosa forests, spruce-fir forests, piñon-juniper forests, meadows, mountain and canyon streams, springs, mesas, the Rio Grande, hundreds of cultural sites, 1,000 species of plants, a national monument, tremendous views and more.
    Within a day’s drive, we can reach world-class mountains, rivers and canyon country. I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world that really has what we have.

  • Thank you, public servants

    A big thank you to the Secretary of State’s staff and the Los Alamos County Clerk and her staff for all the many hours and hard work that went on behind the scenes in accomplishing the first ever in New Mexico statewide recount. I’m sure much the same thing went on in clerks offices across the State. Those of us who did the recount in Los Alamos saw how hard Sharon, Adrianna , Gloria, Ona and Jocelyn had worked in preparing for the recount to go smoothly. Thank you for making a tedious and time-consuming job as painless as possible. It was a pleasure to work with the entire recount team.
    Mary Wilhoit
    Los Alamos

  • What is PNM thinking?

    New Mexicans breathed a sigh of relief last year in hearing that PNM would be closing down two of the dirtiest coal-fired plants in the nation.
    Those two generators at the San Juan Generating Station in northwestern New Mexico are responsible for six million tons of carbon pollution in our skies every year, not to mention other pollutants like mercury, sulfur dioxides, etc.
    Unfortunately, our relief was short-lived. PNM has a backward plan to make up for its loss of generating capacity from closing half of the San Juan coal plant. Rather than making an investment in clean, abundant solar and wind power, PNM has stuck with what it knows best — dirty, expensive and dangerous coal and nuclear generators.
    PNM proposes to derive more than 40 percent of its total generating capacity from coal through 2053! In addition, it will increase its use of nuclear power (created at the Palo Verde site in Arizona) to 30 percent, while getting less than 4 percent from solar and no new wind.
    At a time when the rest of the world is in a race to develop the most efficient technologies to lead the world into a cleaner and prosperous energy future, the powers at PNM are stuck trying to extract every bit of profit from coal and nuclear.

  • Sanchez promises we won’t end up like Washington

    Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez recently held forth in what some might consider enemy territory.
    The Belen Democrat addressed Economic Forum, an Albuquerque organization of CEOs and power brokers.
    They had two things on their minds: wages and Right to Work. And, of course, the question that follows Sanchez everywhere he goes: with a new Republican majority in the House, will there be gridlock in Santa Fe?
    The discussion was civil, respectful and productive, an example of what happens when people listen to each other.
    Sanchez let them know up front that he’s not anti-business. “I come from a family that’s business-oriented,” he said. He and brother Raymond, a former House Speaker, grew up in their parents’ bakery and restaurant in Belen, and his law practice is a business.
    He’s felt the lingering recession. “In my practice it’s been difficult. It’s hard for people to pay. There just isn’t money going around.”
    In a conversational tone of voice, Sanchez touched on the hot-button issues: tax cuts (he’s not convinced they bring new business to the state), drought (we need a comprehensive water plan), and education (we need to listen to teachers about what works and doesn’t work).

  • RTW won’t solve economic problems

    The letter in the Dec. 4 Los Alamos Monitor from Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation promoting the misnamed “Right-to-Work” cries out for a rational response.
    Gessing continues to push the idea that “right-to-work” legislation will cure all our economic problems, supporting this idea with a long list of beneficial outcomes that he claims are associated with RTW states, in spite of the patent illogic that reducing union representation will somehow induce companies to offer higher wages, better pensions and safer working conditions to their employees. Why would they?
    The statements and quotes contained in his letter are standard conservative rhetoric spread by organizations such as the Heritage Foundation, in spite of his claim that the Rio Grande Foundation is “non-partisan.” This rhetoric frames the issue as protecting the rights of workers, when the legislation is actually designed to destroy the protections workers struggled for two centuries to achieve from exploitation by unscrupulous employers.