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Today's Opinions

  • Letters to the editor 1-8-16

    Voting yes on mill levy is a ‘no brainer’

    Please make a special effort to vote in favor for HB33 Mill Levy in the January 2016 Special Election. Approval will not increase your property taxes. Voting is easy – your ballot will be mailed directly to you. Please remember to sign the outer envelope!
    Why vote? HB33 will provide over $13 million over the next six years to the Los Alamos public schools. Funding schools is a “no brainer” in a community as fortunate as we are and with citizens who put a priority on education. I believe in this community. I believe that the voters in this town will absolutely vote in support of HB33. I will vote yes and await for the results of an overwhelming positive voter response. Thank you in advance.
    Kelly Myers
    Los Alamos

    LA County resolution in support of the
    Endangered Species Act

  • Reflections: On snow balls and drivers’licenses

    As best my research has been able to determine, testing American drivers’ skills as a prerequisite to operating motor vehicles on public arteries began in 1899, and it started in two U.S. cities, Chicago and New York City.
    The purpose of that testing was to validate motorists’ ability safely to use and operate all those automobiles and other motorized locomotives that had suddenly started lumbering along the local roadways and streets which previously had served mainly as thoroughfares for horses and buggies, oxen and wagons.
    The new tests also measured a would-be motorist’s “knowledge of the road,” including speed limits, stop-and-go regulations, rules governing left turns and right turns and all the other protocols involving the art of operating motor vehicles.
    When a person passed one of those tests, he or she would be licensed to drive and would be given an actual artifact known as a “driver’s license” which validated his or her ability safely to drive.
    It wasn’t nuclear science or brain surgery, of course. It was simply a very sensible thing to do. If you are going to have all these vehicles running around on public roadways, make sure you set down some rules to ensure that persons operating motorized vehicles have passed the required tests.
    So what have we done with this common sense arrangement?
    Well, here in New Mexico lately, we have pretty much screwed it up.

  • Unemployment trends don’t seem to apply in New Mexico

    When people leave an area, unemployment should drop. That’s because, so the theory goes, the people leaving (migration is the technical term) have some tendency to be unemployed. That doesn’t seem to apply here. Migration declined ever so slightly in 2015 from 2014, but unemployment stayed essentially the same.
    The applicable theory appears to be the old Lew Wallace maxim, “Every calculation based on experience elsewhere fails in New Mexico.” Wallace was governor of New Mexico from 1878 to 1881.
    During the year ended July 1, 2015, there were 13,352 people pulling up their New Mexico stakes and leaving, according to the annual population estimates released by the Census Bureau Dec. 22. The population dropped 458 during the year.
    For the year ending July 1, 2014, it was 14,154 departures and an overall population decline of 1,323. The decline in out migration was 802 people, or 5.7 percent,
    The departure total since the April 2010 census is 43,041 with 27,506 going during the last two years.

  • Letters to the Editor 1-6-16

    Los Alamos needs to put money where mouth is and vote yes on mill levy

    In January, Los Alamos voters will have an important opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to education when mail ballots are sent out to approve continuance of the HB33 Mill Levy in support of the Los Alamos Public Schools.
    Approval will not increase property tax rates, but will provide over $13 million across six years for student technology and network infrastructure as well as funds for musical instruments, athletic supplies and equipment, heating and cooling projects and restroom upgrades for older buildings across the district, and general maintenance projects from roof repairs and handicapped ramps to improved PA systems and new fire panels.

  • Has the GOP changed energy policy since taking Congress?

    BY MARITA NOON
    Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great

  • Sometimes the world opens to inspection

    On rare occasions, the world opens itself to being inspected in new and unusual ways. Such a time came in 1883 on a scale that was unthinkable.
         Some story lines of the past grow larger in hindsight. In 1883, Karl Marx died; Bernard Kroger opened his first grocery store; and Charles Fritts used selenium and gold to make the first working, solid-state solar cell. Their aftereffects are with us today.
         The larger news was in August that year: A volcanic island exploded in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra. The blast went round the world and turned the island with the oddly harsh name – “Krakatoa” – into a treasure trove for science.
         Effects of the rarity advanced the ways in which we know the world. The stories fill a global canvas.
         Evidence says the blast was the loudest sound on Earth in recorded history. The British ship Norman Castle was 40 miles from Krakatoa at the time of the explosion. The ship’s captain wrote in his log, “So violent are the explosions that the ear-drums of over half my crew have been shattered.”

  • Gov.’s DWI proposals ignore deeper problems, solutions

    On Dec. 14, the governor announced her DWI proposals for the Legislature, and within days she was apologizing for an employee bash and her own behavior after she committed GWI – governing while intoxicated.
    If you are one of the three people who didn’t hear the recording, you missed a tipsy Susana Martinez haranguing a desk clerk and two police dispatchers. Somebody complained about noise coming from a staffer’s hotel room, where the governor insisted six people were “eating peetzahhhh.”
    After the internet joking subsided, local and national pundits began pronouncing her star fallen.
    Maybe, but we still need to talk about DWI.
    The governor wants legislators to toughen up DWI penalties – adding jail time for certain repeat DWI offenders, expanding habitual-offender laws to include felony DWI offenses, and cracking down on people who lend vehicles to a DWI offender with a suspended or revoked license. She also wants to have volunteers monitor DWI cases in some counties.

  • Homework Diner a solution for low-income schools

    Let’s humiliate the schools a little more, says the state Public Education Department. That’s a great way to motivate and encourage students.
    While this is going on, there’s a bright spot.
    The humiliation: PED has released the “grades” of schools throughout the state, and the grades are a little lower than last year. This, says the department, is because of the standardized PARCC tests that were forced on school districts. Students didn’t do well on the unfamiliar tests, so the test results depressed the evaluations of the schools. All very logical, unless your motive is to give some encouragement to a state that is constantly being beaten up by low rankings.
    Here’s the bright spot.
    A school in Albuquerque came up with a program that empowers kids, brings parents into the education process, makes good use of school facilities, involves teachers and community volunteers in a friendly way, and supports learning, all at the same time. And it provides a free meal.
    The program is called Homework Diner. It started at Manzano Mesa Elementary School, located in a low-income neighborhood in Albuquerque. It has spread to several other schools.