Today's Opinions

  • Pot will get us through times of no money

    I’ve seen dozens of economic development schemes over the years. Some were visionary, others simply delusional. Almost all involved tapping the taxpayers to benefit a handful of politically savvy lobbyists and their clients.
    I can count the number of winners on one hand. New Mexico wine, which scarcely existed 30 years ago, is now a $60 million business expanding at 10 to 15 percent a year. Beer has grown from 25 craft breweries five years ago to 45 today with an estimated $340 million in economic impact.
    Both succeeded without government subsidies and in the teeth of Prohibition-era laws and bureaucratic inertia. Real businesses flourish not by rent-seeking in Santa Fe or Washington to get the government to underwrite their costs and mandate customers to purchase their product, but by producing something consumers actually want to buy.
    If the Drug War has taught us anything over the past 40 years, it’s that people want to buy marijuana.
    Since Colorado’s first pot shop opened two years ago, that state’s legal recreational market has grown from zero to nearly $600 million last year and may top $1 billion this year. The state rakes in more than a quarter of that with a hefty 27.9 percent levy on sales.

  • 10 Tips for Becoming a Knowledgeable Renter  

    On the hunt for a new apartment? A move can be an exciting opportunity to explore a new area or meet new people. However, competitive rental markets can make it difficult to find a desirable place on a budget.
    Keep these ten tips in mind to manage the process like a pro. They’ll help you stand out from the crowd, get a good deal, enjoy the neighborhood and manage your rights and responsibilities as a renter.
    1. Talk to Other Tenants. Speak with current or past renters to get a sense for the building and landlord. Ask about the neighborhood, noise, timeliness with repairs and any other pressing questions. Consider looking for online reviews of the landlord as well, and research the neighborhood.
    2. Upgrade Your Application. Go beyond the basic application requirements and include pictures, references, credit reports and a short bio about yourself and whoever else may be moving in. Try to catch the landlord’s eye and show that you’ll take care of the property. You can order a free credit report from each bureau (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) once every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com.  

  • Stronger state economy requires shared vision and collaboration

    Executive Director, New Mexico Municipal League

  • There are better ways to ‘pull together’ for New Mexico’s impoverished kids

    Executive Director, New Mexico Voices for Children

  • Letters to the Editor 10-21-16

    Solar energy share is less than stated in article

    This letter is in response to a recent article regarding “Does Solar Energy Make Business Sense?”
    A statement in this article says, “In 2010, solar was only 4 percent of U.S. electricity generation capacity. Now it’s 64 percent. That’s incredible...” According to the Energy Institute of America (EIA) it is only 0.6 percent; by far the larger renewable source is Wind Power.
    The table below is from EIA:
    Search eia.gov under “frequently asked questions” and find the following information.
    The website said:”What is U.S. electricity generation by energy source?” In 2015, the United States generated about 4 trillion kilowatthours of electricity.1 About 67 percent of the electricity generated was from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum). Major energy sources and percent share of total U.S. electricity generation in 2015.”
    • Coal  is 33 percent
    • Natural gas is 33 percent
    • Nuclear is 20 percent
    • Hydropower is 6 percent
    • Other renewables is 7 percent
    • Biomass is 1.6 percent
    • Geothermal is 0.4 percent
    • Solar is 0.6 percent
    • Wind is 4.7 percent

  • Letters to the Editor 10-19-16

    Keep Justice Judy on the supreme court

    I have known Judy Nakamura for over 30 years and have followed her career as a member of the judiciary.
    I first met Judy as a member of the Young Republicans where Judy worked hard to encourage young talented people to run for public office. She was enthusiastic and tireless. She impressed me and we became fast friends. I remember she was encouraged to go to law school and she entered the University of New Mexico School of Law. After law school I did not hear much of her, but when she ran for office and won, I was proud of her.
    Judy has a reputation of doing what is right no matter if she receives harsh criticism. She was honored by both state and national groups though the only one that I can recall is the one where she was honored for her work with teens who had alcohol problems.  She was the judge of the year for the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization.
    Judy was elected by her peers as chief justice, both in the metropolitan and the district courts. She was the chief justice for most of her tenure on the metropolitan court. During that time, she was responsible for the court calendar where she put many long lingering cases to trial despite defense lawyer opposition. Judy has a lot of courage.

  • Vote for bail reform to fix system of turnstile thugs

    One item on your ballot this November is bail reform, an issue with so much support and study it’s a no-brainer. But House decisions muddled by campaign donations came close to killing reform in the last legislative session.
    The issue: Everyone has a right to get out of jail by paying a bond, but over time it’s given us a turnstile system in which the most dangerous criminals get out if they have the money, while many who pose no risk remain behind bars because they can’t afford bail – at a cost of $100 a day to the county.
    “We often release high-risk people who commit new crimes and hold people who are no threat to us at all,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels in a talk before New Mexico Press Women. “We’re releasing boomerang thugs and packing jails with people who don’t belong there. They’ve become debtors’ prisons.”
    It explains why some of our worst crimes have been committed by people who had been in jail but bonded out.
    “How did we end up with a system where money decides who gets out?” Daniels asked.
    We inherited it. The system is so old it goes back to the earliest laws in England. The commercial bail-bond industry has grown steadily since 1900, and, judging by the number of bondsmen stationed near courthouses, is a booming business. Judge for yourself whether that growth is benign or malignant.

  • Make sure every dollar you give to charity counts


    Financial Matters


    eciding to make a charitable contribution can arise from a desire to help others, a passionate commitment to a cause or the aim to give back to a group that once helped you or a loved one. Choosing which organizations you want to support can be difficult. There are over a million public charities in the United States according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, and every dollar you give to Charity A is a dollar you might not be able to match for Charity B. 

    Whether it’s a friend’s charity run or supporting an animal rescue, often the decision to give comes down to a mix of internal and external factors. You have to determine which causes are most important to you, and with outside help you can compare how effective various charities are at using their funding.

    Many non-profits do incredible work, but it’s always smart to verify their claims. You can start your due diligence by double checking an organization’s tax-exempt status using the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool.