.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Today's Opinions

  • More response to Milder's letter

    Ken Milder’s letter encouraging voters to vote down Question 2 on the November ballot has some incorrect and/or misleading statements regarding the revisions proposed to Article V of the Los Alamos County Charter that address the operation and oversight of the Department of Public Utilities (DPU).
    Although it is true that the language in Question 2 appears to be completely new, the text of roughly half of Article V is actually not new, but rather just rearranged for clarity and to separate fundamental issues so that they are not co-mingled, as they are in the current Article V document.
    More importantly, Mr. Milder suggests that under the new charter, council will be able to use the DPU to generate “hidden” revenue for the county, by forcing the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to raise utility rates and then transfer these funds into the county budget. However, the dispute resolution process in the proposed Article V requires two public meetings and a 5 out of 7 vote by council before council can require the Board to increase utility rates, or force DPU to transfer utility funds to the county. That hardly qualifies as a “hidden” rate increase.

  • Sky's the limit on small-loan interest rates in New Mexico

    Payday loans, title loans, signature loans. New Mexico has more than 656 small lenders operating in nearly every town. On a nearby street, they’re so thick they perch next to one another, like turkey vultures on a snag.
    There’s a small argument to be made for their services, but they’re basically a drain on the economy.
    Lawmakers have tried to get a handle on small lenders since at least 1999, but we haven’t seen much impact. In 2007, the Legislature cracked down by limiting payday loans to 35 days, prohibiting indefinite loan rollovers, and capping interest rates at 400 percent. The small lenders just found ways around it.
    Cash Loans Now and American Cash Loans (with offices in Albuquerque, Farmington and Hobbs) avoided the net by shifting from payday lending to signature loans, which require no collateral.
    In 2009, the attorney general sued the two companies for predatory lending and for an interest rate in excess of 1,400 percent a year. On June 26, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of borrowers. The interest rate, said both courts, was “unconscionable.” One borrower earned $9 an hour at a grocery store; the $100 loan had a finance charge of $1,000. Another, earning $10.71 at a hospital, got a $200 loan with a finance charge of $2,160.

  • Letter to the editor 9-7-14

     

    A response to Milder’s letter

    I am responding to Ken Milder’s letter on Sept. 5. The county charter was passed nearly a half-century ago.

    The provisions governing the utilities department are flawed because they (1) do not allow effective oversight of the utilities operations by the council, which is accountable to the voters and the law for these operations, (2) there is no way for the council to hold the utilities board or the utilities director accountable for mismanagement or poor performance and (3) most important, there is no way to resolve disagreements over policy between the council and the utilities board. It is high time these flaws be corrected; the proposed changes do so in a way that has the smallest possible impact on the operations of the utility department.

  • Eyes on gold, oil ... rare earths

     

     A prized few of the Earth’s marvels have had astonishing effects on world history, geography, discovery, economics and politics. Great reaches of the globe’s long, winding road from the past were built to gain access to gold and silver, spices, silk and oil. 

    In like manner, the years ahead will be marked by the pursuit of rare earths. 

    Rare earths are a group of 17 natural elements whose properties meet growing needs in the 21st century. Rare earths have strange old names and strange new uses. They are vital for building high-tech military and green technologies.

    Dysprosium, erbium, europium, gadolinium, neodymium, praseodymium and yttrium are used in cruise missiles, smart bombs, guidance systems and night vision technology. 

  • Excited about United Way events

    My name is Jenna Erickson and I am the 2014 chair of the United Way Youth Team. It is such an honor for me to be in this position to work on the events that the team has to present to the community this year. I am so excited for everyone to see what we have to offer.
    The members of the team this year are so motivated, creative, passionate and just cannot wait to present all the hard work that they have been doing to everyone. We hope the community is as excited as we are.
    The United Way Youth Team just kicked off its campaign at the beginning of this month. Proceeds from the youth team events benefit the Community Action Fund. Last year, the funds raised at youth team events helped start Link Crew, which is a peer to peer mentoring program at the high school. At the start of the school year, the Link Crew leaders welcomed freshmen into the high school community. Many of the youth team members are also a part of the Link Crew program.

  • Works of art to lead homecoming parade

    The Los Alamos High School graduating class of 1964 will have its 50th reunion in Los Alamos instead of Albuquerque. Opting to hold it on the weekend of LAHS’ homecoming game (Sept. 19), the organizing committee chose to bring to their alma mater and Los Alamos much of the business many reunions give to Albuquerque.
    The administration of LAHS graciously invited the Class of 1964 to ride and walk in the lead of the homecoming parade Friday starting at 2:30 p.m., with a special seating section that evening at the game against Kirtland Central High Bronco’s at 7 p.m.
    Everyone thought it might be really “cool” if the ’64 Homecoming Court could ride in ’64 vintage vehicles … however, locating such transportation proved to be a bit more of a challenge than first thought.
    After putting the word out through various contacts and media, having several volunteers and then drop out due to engine difficulties, it is exciting to finally announce that the ’64 court will be in convertibles and classmates will ride in a beautifully restored pick-up truck — all vintage works of art folks!

  • Vote 'no' to county charter changes

    The most important, long-term decision facing Los Alamos voters is not only choosing candidates, but the proposed major changes to our County Charter, our county’s constitution.
    Ballot Question 2 proposes to gut Article V, Utilities, by repealing that section in its entirety and replacing it with new language. That is, charter language that has served Los Alamos citizens quite well for over 45 years must be “fixed.” Go figure: Something that ain’t broke needs “fixing!”
    Be wary. The so-called “fix” will actually break something that works well.
    How? Foremost among the proposal’s many flaws is that it inserts several loopholes into governance of our utilities system. Those loopholes give future county councils the ability to impose hidden taxes that ultimately increase utility rates.
    The change also shifts governance from a business-focused board to a politically motivated council, a shift that violates the industry-standard model for management and oversight of a publicly owned utilities system.
    The changes are substantial and arcane. They are so massive and confusing that Article V must be totally repealed in order for the new language to make any sense.

  • Defending our right to be wrong

    I love this country and everything it stands for, especially our Constitutional rights to pursue happiness and to taunt the relatives of gay soldiers at funerals.
    It’s no coincidence that the Founding Fathers chose “2,” the first prime number, as the Amendment to highlight our right to bear heavy armaments. It’s a prime example of the wisdom that allows our nation to boast some of the highest firearm injury and death rates in the world.
    Uruguay and El Salvador still beat us in the suicide-by-firearms statistics, but with a little help from gun rights advocates, we’ll get there! Nothing says, “I’m proud to be American” better than shooting your mouth off with low caliber thinking.
    Recently, law abiding citizens were once again under attack by pinko fascist socialist hippie Nazi zombies who want to take away all our guns and sharp knives, and force us to eat soggy free-range veggie burgers on recycled paper plates.
    I happen to know that the Founding Fathers did not eat veggie burgers.
    OK, so a 9-year old girl accidentally shot and killed a shooting range instructor with a fully automatic 9mm Uzi.
    Six years ago, a similar incident occurred when an 8-year old boy died after shooting himself in the head with an Uzi at a gun show in Massachusetts while shooting at a pumpkin.