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Today's Opinions

  • The whole truth requires assembly

    A witness hired by New Mexico oil and gas interests steps before the hearing officials with his written testimony. The court reporter greets him with these antique words: “Raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” He solemnly swears he will indeed. 
    Forms of this terse ceremony have been in use since Roman times and today’s forms are still recited countless times each day in venues looking for the truth. The phrases race by so fast that their mandates are fuzzy. 
    Think a moment on that middle phrase – to tell “the whole truth.”
    What do the words intend? The whole truth extends very far and is hard to know. No one can know everything.
    Since they cannot know everything, people tend to fill in what they do not really know with guesses, hopes and rumblings. What most people bring to the table are some pieces that mostly help one side.
    The court system knows the ways of people. So courts assemble the “whole” truth out of parts gathered by questioning a range of relevant people about what each of them knows. Firm questioning works to separate what is truly known from guesses, feelings and rumblings.  

  • How to turn monetary gifts into teachable moments

    BY NATHANIEL SILLIN
    Practical Money Skills

  • Lessons to learn from Johnson administration

    In the early days of Gary Johnson’s governorship, I had occasion to be at the State Capitol talking with some of his new appointees.
    “Oh,” one of them said to me, “so you work for the Department of Labor.” He looked pleased with himself.
    “No,” I said. “I work for the Workers’ Compensation Administration.”
    “Right,” he said, “Department of Labor.”
    “No,” I said, but he didn’t believe me.
    Several similar conversations happened with other appointees of the new administration.
    A few weeks later, I saw taped to a wall in the Capitol an organization chart of state government, showing a dotted line between the Department of Labor and my agency. We had at one time been “administratively attached” to that department. But we had never been part of it.
    The chart was several years out of date. This new gang of managers were relying on it as reference information to learn what they were now in charge of.

  • Assets In Action: Many local youth recognized in 2016

    As we round out 2016, we see the final nomination for the year with our Community Youth award. The award was started after the annual community award event did not garner the name of a single youth.
    After it was announced, many people they would have nominated someone if they had only known.
    The truth is, I could have fixed the error myself, nominated a youth anonymously and then the “problem,” would have never existed. It was more important that we let the community know that as adults we slipped a little bit, we weren’t paying attention or didn’t take a minute to let someone know.
    So after the annual Community Asset Award event, the Champions of Youth Ambitions (C’YA) board understood the importance of highlighting the great things youth were and are doing all year long.
    It isn’t always about grades or sports, it is about the character, the connection and the good deed that often fail to go, perhaps unnoticed each day. So we started an opportunity for folks to notice for youth to get heralded in some small way, and avail the opportunity throughout the entire year.
    Which leads us to one Josh Fuller. Fuller is a local freshman that participated in the youth leadership program called WEB Crew as an eighth-grader and continues to blossom into his high school years and Joy Freymiller Rhodes made sure you knew.

  • Letters to the Editor

    Support higher education with mill levy

     

    Higher education is essential to the productivity and innovation of our workforce in New Mexico. College-educated workers earn higher wages and experience lower levels of unemployment than do workers with less education. Research done by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) forecasts that by 2020, two out of every three jobs will require some postsecondary education. For many women, that education comes through attending community colleges like UNM-Los Alamos.

    The Coordinating Council of the Los Alamos branch of AAUW strongly supports the mil-levy increase sought by UNM-LA. While its enrollment is growing, the college’s state funding continues to shrink, threatening its ability to provide the innovative programs that benefit our community. For example, it offers Los Alamos High School students free dual-credit courses, which not only enrich their curriculum but give them valuable college-level credits. Through its Early College and Career Academy, LAHS students can work toward a certificate in emergency medical services, electromechanical technology, or marketing by the time they graduate from high school. 

  • ‘Don’t-cut-me’ emails don’t help as state revenues plunge

    “Not very good,” said David Abbey, describing the state’s economy. He switched to “bad” for further descriptions of matters such as job (non)growth. 

    Abbey, executive director of the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC), was in his traditional program start slot at the annual legislative outlook conference of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute. It was five days before Christmas. 

    Not that the state’s situation was good last summer, but things deteriorated between the August consensus forecast and December. The August forecast was 1.7 percent job growth during the current budget year, FY 17, that ends June 30, 2017. Zero was the December job growth forecast. The December forecast for wage and salary growth was 0.7 percent, a quarter of the August estimate. Gross state product growth now figures at 40 percent of the August forecast.

  • Prepare for Medicare price changes in 2017

    BY NATHAN SILLIN
    Practical Money Skills

  • Letters to the Editor 12-25-16

    Mill levy is important for UNM-LA, County

    Many individuals considering the upcoming special school election are asking UNMLA what happened after the failed mil election in 2013. What financial impacts did the campus sustain and how did it respond? Providing that information may help frame the challenge UNMLA is facing moving forward as it continues to serve the Los Alamos community.
    After the 2013 election, UNMLA was faced with difficult decisions to determine which programs and services were essential to UNMLA and which ones could continue to be supported by the anticipated revenue sources. Based on that careful review, the campus underwent a 15% budget reduction and reallocation of all resources to those identified programs and services deemed essential in meeting our mission of preparing students to transfer, creating pathways to careers, and serving those with a passion for lifelong learning. It is important to note that the 15% reduction came after years of belt tightening that included eliminating campus functions and outsourcing other services to create cost savings.