Today's Opinions

  • Knowing the difference between goals, objectives critical in business planning


    In the world of business, it can be hard to distinguish between a goal and an objective, but the distinction is more than a matter of semantics. When discussing corporate strategy, the difference is critical.

    While both are tools that business owners can use to compare where they are with where they want to be, goals represent that distant accomplishment and objectives are mile markers along the way. Goals can be as hazy as an image on the desert horizon, but an objective is fixed and measureable; it follows a series of steps or a timeline.

    Goals are broad in scope and vision. Objectives are precise tasks that need to be completed for the goal to be achieved.

    Concrete and abstract

  • Biting the bullet


    I’ve been accused of being rude and insulting to the NRA, unwilling to accept their arguments as to why it makes good sense to carry defensive firearms in public.

    Well, this will shock my target audience dead center, but I now admit that the NRA was right and I was wrong! I had thought their arguments were all hollow points, but I’ve come around to understanding the wisdom of these straight shooters.

    So first things first, let me apologize for jumping the gun and having written horrible things about the NRA and its members. Had I realized how intelligent they actually are, I would have wholeheartedly supported their patriotic cause.

  • Doing their homework; LAVA guided by comprehensive feasibility study


    The Los Alamos Venture Accelerator (LAVA) promises to transform the way we create new businesses in Los Alamos. But how do we know that the plan will work?

    As a community we’ve tried several things to encourage entrepreneurs and increase the success rate of local startups without producing the desired economic results. 

    For example, The HIVE co-work space in White Rock provided local entrepreneurs with physical space with hopes that it would germinate. The groups who funded The HIVE learned that just providing “workspace” without the inclusion of mentoring, coaching and technical assistance was not a sustainable way to encourage entrepreneurs.

    But if a physical workspace won’t make enough of a difference, what will? 

  • What to do when inheriting a 401(k)


    Talk about good news wrapped in bad: In the midst of grieving the loss of a loved one, you learn that you were named beneficiary of their 401(k) plan. Chances are you’ve got too much on your mind to make any sudden decisions about what to do with the money.

    However, don’t procrastinate too long. The IRS has ironclad rules, deadlines and penalties concerning inherited retirement accounts, which vary depending on what type of account it is. This column discusses inherited 401(k) and similar employer-provided plans.

    Under federal law, surviving spouses automatically inherit their spouse’s 401(k) plan unless someone else was named beneficiary and the surviving spouse signed a written waiver. If someone is single at death, their plan’s assets go to their designated beneficiary.

  • FOS thanks community for Dog Jog success

    Breezy and cool conditions greeted all of the runners and walkers and their eager dogs for the 17th Annual Dog Jog in April.
    This year’s Dog Jog raised more than $12,000 for Friends of the Shelter. FOS is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to abandoned animals and to pets and their owners in northern New Mexico.
    Our catastrophic care program pays for veterinary care for sick or injured animals that have no owners or whose owners cannot afford the treatment. Our spay/neuter program provides grants to our partner organizations, including the Española Valley Humane Society and the McKinley County Animal Shelter so that they can provide low- or no-cost spay/neuter services to their clients.
    FOS also encourages responsible pet ownership and promotes adoption of shelter animals through education and outreach.

  • From the battlefield to the VA hospital

    In 1974, a group of disabled Vietnam War veterans in wheelchairs staged a 17-day hunger strike in Los Angeles to protest poor treatment in veterans’ hospitals. They demanded better treatment for returning veterans and an investigation.
    And just seven years ago patient neglect at Walter Reed Army Medical Center burst into the news. These and other cases took the same course: finger pointing, congressional indignation, investigations, resignations and reforms.
    Just like today.
    For a little more perspective on VA and military hospitals, I called my friend Jerry, a Vietnam veteran who’s been a recent patient at VA hospitals in Albuquerque and Tucson, Ariz.
    “I just went to the VA, and there were people there from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, and Iraq and Afghanistan. If we hadn’t gone into Iraq, the VA wouldn’t be overwhelmed.

  • Capital spending priorities backward

    For the state’s capital spending to hit the headlines in mid-year is unusual. But then headlines sometimes result from the work of the Legislative Finance Committee, which does oversight and builds a budget providing the Legislature an alternative to the Governor’s budget.
    Much of the LFC’s oversight work is nuts-and-bolts stuff, both needed and boring to most.
    However the report released June 12 at the LFC’s meeting in Las Cruces got attention. The title: Review of Selected Capital Outlay Projects’ Planning, Spending and Outcomes: Public Prisons. The short version is that $277 million is the estimated cost of repairing the state’s prison system. The number drew the media, as well it should.
    Capital spending authorized by the 2014 legislature will come to $714.2 million, assuming all the authorized projects get done, which never happens. House Bill 55, one of two major capital spending bills, authorizes $228.7 million for 852 projects including $2.4 million for four projects at corrections facilities.
    In her executive message to the Legislature, an eight-page letter to House Speaker Ken Martinez, Gov. Susana Martinez listed 73 separate line-item vetoes. The vetoes hit groups of lines, single lines, parts of lines and punctuation. It was not a good year for semicolons.

  • Duck and cover: It's the police

    What? Albuquerque ranks 360th among some 369 U.S. metropolitan areas surveyed as potential places to set up businesses?
    That tidbit of news appeared in local papers a couple of weeks after I had written a column suggesting that our state’s politicos should get their acts together and basically declare war on the dead-last, bottom-of-the barrel status New Mexico routinely garners in all those rating systems that measure the economic well-being of America’s states and cities.
    On the other hand, when a state’s largest city gets the reputation as a place to duck and cover when someone calls the police, you have to wonder about the local social and business atmospherics.
    It made headlines coast to coast when, after an almost year and a-half investigation, the U.S. Justice Department issued a report bluntly stating, among other things, that Albuquerque police officers have routinely “used deadly force against people who posed a minimal threat, including individuals who posed a threat only to themselves or who were unarmed…”
    Worse, the report went on to say, “Officers also used deadly force in situations where the conduct of the officers heightened the danger and contributed to the need to use force.”