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Today's Opinions

  • Two New Mexico cities put values on display

    How do you want people to think about your community?
    If you live in Carlsbad, the nation currently knows your town through a Facebook post. If you live in Santa Fe, the nation has heard about Santa Fe’s declaration as a sanctuary city.
     In case you were abducted by aliens, Carlsbad City Councilor J. R. Doporto said on Facebook: “Just want to give a heads up to the women! You have rights! A right to cook and a right to clean. Today is Sunday and the NFL playoffs our (sic) on! I suggest you stop your b!tch!ng/protesting during this time. Because you also have a right to get slapped!”
    For that, he lost his job.
    Doporto has said he was just joking and claims his right to freedom of speech has been violated. His wife says he’s a good husband and father.
    I’m not going to rant about the post – plenty of other people have done that. My concern – and I write about this periodically – is how New Mexico is perceived on the outside.
    Doporto’s post made news all over New Mexico and, after Cox Media Group and the Huffington Post picked it up, across the nation. For a community that’s dependent in part on tourists, this isn’t healthy.

  • ABQ income rank down, Mora income up and people still leaving

    Topics this week: How many of us are there? How has our population changed? How much money do we make in each county? Population numbers come from the Census Bureau. Money numbers are from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    A non-federal number gets us started. Albuquerque’s population is projected to be 919,854 as of Jan. 1, 2018, up a slight 5,028, or 0.5 percent, from 914,826 to start 2017. The figures come from American City Business Journals, publisher of “Albuquerque Business First,” a weekly. Love the specificity. Also the immediacy.
    Translated, Albuquerque’s population will be flat for 2017. Presumably this is metro Albuquerque, though American City doesn’t say.
    The federal numbers folks aren’t much into projecting. They wait a while for some early figures to supply the computers. The newest federal numbers are for July 1, 2016.
    New Mexico’s population grew 687 from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2016. That means no growth at all, maybe even a decline because the miniscule 687 is an estimate within a range. The “growth” happened only because busy New Mexicans added more babies to the population – an estimated 25,491 during the 2015-2016 year – than there were subtractions because people died. The gain was 7,692.

  • How poor do we want to be?

    Three little words will generate a lot of heated words during this legislative session: To be determined.
    This is how the Legislative Finance Committee, meeting between April and December, indicates the source of money to help balance the budget in fiscal 2018. “To be determined” is shorthand for more cuts on top of cuts already made or new revenue in the form of tax increases.
    Before you jump to a conclusion about that choice, take a minute to grasp where we are. The choices made in this session will decide how poor New Mexico will be in coming years.
    All the usual clichés about “belt tightening,” “trimming the fat,” “low hanging fruit” and “right-sizing” no longer apply. In previous years, the governor and Legislature have made across-the-board cuts to state agencies, and those cuts continue. This year, they have to decide who gets hurt.
    The proposed victims, according to proposals from the executive and legislative branches, are schools, higher education (big time), courts, fire departments, law enforcement, economic development, water, tribes, local communities, state employees and teachers, and wildlife.
    Let’s see, did they miss anybody? Our unpaid legislators even cut their own feed bill, which funds the current session.

  • Letters to the Editor 1-27-17

    Join NM Wildlife
    Federation for annual rally Feb. 1 in Santa Fe

    On Jan. 21, millions of people from around the globe rallied for women’s rights, civil rights, the environment and a host of other issues. Here in New Mexico, thousands attended rallies across the state. The day was an amazing example of communities coming together and the power of organizing.
    The big question is, what’s next?
    As the legislative session continues and a new administration takes control in Washington, D.C. more and more citizens are looking to get involved. I think the best way to do that is by learning about local issues, elected officials, and races.
    One issue that hits particularly close to home in New Mexico is the continued access to our public lands. We are lucky to have an abundance of public lands in our state, but politicians are pushing to overturn our national monuments, and public land seizure is officially in the GOP platform.
    Our public lands give New Mexicans the opportunity to hunt, fish, hike, camp, and enjoy the outdoors however they want all year long. Transferring control of our national lands to the states is fiscally irresponsible and could deny Americans access forever.

  • Letters to the Editor 1-25-16

    Governments can’t be trusted with existing gun
    regulations

    Unfortunately Terry Goldman and I’m sure many others do not keep informed and therefore do not realize that both the federal government and state governments lie to the people all the time, especially about gun rules and laws. Though the Brady Bill requires that the Federal Bureau of Investigation destroy requests for background checks after 24 hours, the FBI has proved over and over again during the last year that they do not do this.
    Reference for one example that within three hours of the San Bernardino shooting, they knew where the shooter had bought his gun. The only way that is possible is if they never destroyed the background check, as required.
    And while we’re on the Brady Bill let’s not forget that at the moment it does not exist! Federal Judge Reed O’Connor declared the act “on it’s face blatantly unconstitutional,” and the Obama administration never appealed the ruling. Not to mention that the Second and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution clearly say the federal government has no jurisdiction to control firearms period! So the Interstate Commerce clause does not apply!
    Requiring gun owners to carry gun insurance is a form of registering.

  • Confessions of an aggravated mope

    BY BOB HAGAN
    Coffee on a Cold Morning

  • Time is right to consider smart tools for pipelines

    Politics leads the nation in constant fights for and against new pipelines. So why do so few partisans on either side sing out for smart tools on pipelines?
    No matter how you view pipelines, President Donald Trump has timely chances to change the old ways.
    “Smart tools” is a broad term for the steady stream of 21st century devices with computer chips that continuously inspect, analyze and report on the state of health of almost everything. Smart tools are known to business and industry for saving costs and improving the reliability of products and operations. Smart tools are used in fields as diverse as health care, farming, manufacturing, home security systems and maintenance of infrastructure.
    To maintain public safety, smart tools yield rapid, routine knowledge of the health of large civil structures, such as tall buildings, bridges, aircraft and pipelines. Over the years, this field evolved into a speciality with its own name – Structural Health Monitoring (SHM).
    SHM has a rich history. The discipline of SHM has an international society of its own with its own technical journal. The 10th International Workshop on SHM was held in 2015 at Stanford University. Princeton offers a graduate course in SHM. Researchers at the national laboratory in town work on SHM.

  • Letters to the Editor 1-20-17

    Sugar says he would bring unique, personal view to school board

    My name is Dr. Darryl Sugar. I am running for the school board in the Chamisa area, because I feel I can help continue the high quality of education at Los Alamos Public Schools. Nationally, the data indicates a growing number of stresses that affect students as well as teachers. As stresses from social platforms and other demands grow, mental health is increasingly at risk and can interfere with performance. That increases the likelihood of significant anxiety/depression or drugs/alcohol being used.
    I have a unique and personal perspective on this. My wife died unexpectedly on Christmas in 2009 in Denver, while we were visiting my daughter and her husband who are also physicians. Looking back, I became severely depressed and felt like my  life ended. When I returned home to South Carolina, the depression worsened, and I went to the office where my wife and I spent most of our time and decided to join her. I started a fire but found it was impossible to end my life.