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Today's Opinions

  • A sacred solution for immigrants

    The disagreement between political parties and pundits regarding the undocumented children and moms flooding our southern border can be solved by the one national institution which is united in one principle, that of charity.
    All American churches of all denominations have in common a belief in the brotherhood of man, the belief that we should “do unto others…” love thy neighbor and succor the wounded man who is stranded beside the road.
    These children are refugees fleeing horrible, life-threatening situations. Their legal status fades under necessity of immediate aid. Each church, synagogue and prayer meeting house that has a parish hall, a meeting room, or a pot-luck basement with bathroom facilities can take one mom with two kids, or two unaccompanied children to foster, feed and comfort until their screening and permanent status can be determined.
    Bishops, priests, preachers, rabbis, prayer leaders, can set up “go-and-get-them” systems to gather the refugees, reviving the purpose of the 19th century Orphan Trains or the Underground Railroad. No classrooms need be overcrowded if each church has only one family to enroll.
    If our church leaders can unite in this humanitarian effort, they will see even the smallest congregation come forward to welcome one family with clothes, casseroles and a warm bed.

  • Right-to-work laws askew

    Paul Gessing said “Ed Birnbaum has a lot to say about economic policies …” in Friday’s Los Alamos Monitor, but in fact, my response to his earlier letter did not address economic policy. I only disputed his claim that “right-to-work” laws were not “anti-union.”
    Regarding economic policy however, it should be clear that not everyone agrees with Gessing’s claim that passing right-to-work leads to economic growth (see for example, minyanville.com/business-news/editors-pick/articles/michigan-right-to-work-paul-krugman/12/11/2012/id/46587, for a detailed discussion). Readers can decide for themselves whether the statistics used by proponents of right-to-work are valid or not.
    More importantly, what does it say about a company that makes a decision on where to locate based on whether, or not a state has a right-to-work law?
    This says to me that the company owners are assuming they will be able to pay their workers a lower wage and have more control over their employees, because in right-to-work states, unions have less power to bargain on behalf of their members.
    So the goal of such a company is to pay the lowest wages possible, which is why efforts to pass right-to-work legislation go hand-in-hand with resistance to raising the minimum wage.

  • Identity thieves target kids as well as adults

    I’m sorry to report that child identity fraud is alive and well in 2014. If anything, the problem may be worsening as identity thieves devise new methods to steal — and use — children’s personal information. Most commonly, they’ll harvest kids’ dormant Social Security numbers and use them to illegally obtain jobs or open fraudulent bank and credit accounts, mortgages, or car loans.
    Many victims don’t realize there’s a problem until they later apply for a student loan, bank account, job or apartment and are turned down because of the poor credit history someone else racked up. Some families are even hounded by collection agencies or arrested because the debts or criminal activities were so extreme.
    There are no completely foolproof methods to protect your children’s identities, but here are some precautions you can take:
    While it’s tempting to simply not register your kids for SSNs until they turn 18, that’s not practical in today’s world. For one thing, they’ll need one to be claimed as dependents on your taxes. You may also need SSNs for your kids to obtain medical coverage or government services or to open bank accounts in their names.

  • Time to open eyes to elder suicide

    Elder suicide looks us in the eye, thanks to columns written by Leslie Linthicum in the Albuquerque Journal.
    The facts: In the northeastern community of Roy, Geraldine Ray, 89, was found lying face down on her bed with cotton balls up her nose, plastic filling her mouth, and packing tape across her lips. The state Office of the Medical Investigator called it a homicide, despite two suicide notes in Ray’s own hand. The woman’s daughter was arrested for murder. Her family never believed that for a moment, neither did Linthicum, and science backed them up. Charges were dropped.
    OMI didn’t think a person could kill herself that way. They must never have met a willful woman. I come from a family of willful women, and you’d be surprised what they can do.
    I had just returned from eye-opening visits with elderly relatives out of state, so Linthicum’s column hit me in the heart.
    Cousin Betty (name changed), my role model, was gorgeous, successful in her job, known by everybody in her Roswell-sized town, married with two boys and managed the perfect home. She now has macular degeneration and can no longer drive, she’s diabetic, and she’s had one hip and both knees replaced, not entirely successfully, so she walks with a cane. Four months ago, her husband died.

  • N.M. businesses join national Manufacturing Day initiative

    Manufacturing Day is catching on in New Mexico, with more and more manufacturers lining up to represent the state in a national day of recognition for businesses that make products in America.
    Events are planned at more than a dozen facilities in nine New Mexico communities. Last year, the first time New Mexico participated, seven producers hosted events in three cities.
    New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership — the primary sponsor of statewide events — is scheduling tours in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, Hobbs, Silver City, Deming, Farmington, Las Cruces and from Santa Fe to Taos. Each region has a designated day to participate between Oct. 1 and Oct. 3, with kickoffs set for Oct. 1 in Hobbs and the Albuquerque metro area.
    Who’s on board?
    Nineteen businesses have committed to public or private tours, but many more are considering participation in this important event.

  • Nation’s greatest number of artists, writers, performers found in Santa Fe

     

    Someone inside the administration gets the notion that life and economics are complicated and understanding might come from a thorough, if expensive, look at what is and is not happening. The result is a new report from the Department of Cultural Affairs, “Building on the Past, Facing the Future: Renewing the Creative Economy of New Mexico.” 

    Summarizing the Cultural Affairs report will take at least one more column. Before starting, a much smaller scale summary deserves applause. The summer issue of “New Mexico Earth Matters,” the newsletter of the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, reviews the role of geology in the state’s future. Topics include water, energy, mining, geologic hazards and induced seismicity.

  • Fix issues before legalizing pot

     

    Good thing the Legislature didn’t pass that marijuana proposal.

    The proposal, introduced in the 2014 session, was a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana, which would have been submitted to the voters in the upcoming election. 

    The reasons to legalize marijuana are compelling: removing power from criminal cartels, sparing young people the stigma of criminal records and simply facing the reality that pot is here to stay.

    But New Mexico is not ready.

  • Cost of keeping LA a green community

    Fourth of a series
    One of the major issues in this town is water: do we have enough to keep this a green community, at an affordable cost? Since I was elected to County Council two years ago, I have been gathering facts about water in Los Alamos. Much of this information is in the “2006 Long Range Water Supply Plan for Los Alamos County”, on the county website at losalamosnm.us/utilities/Documents/Reports/Long-RangePln_8-06_for%20Web%20posting.pdf.
    If we can agree on the facts and the uncertainties, I think the citizens of Los Alamos are likely to agree on good plans and policy regarding water. Here, I will discuss our water supply and demand, threats to our water supply, possible future water needs, and some ideas on responsible water policy for Los Alamos. I welcome any additional facts and thoughts on the subject.
    Responsible Water Plans and Policy