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Today's Opinions

  • Which of New Mexico’s tribes will be first to test the marijuana industry?

    When will a New Mexico tribe go to pot?
    It’s likely only a question of time until a New Mexico tribe jumps into the marijuana trade, straining the always delicate relationship between our state and local governments and the “domestic dependent nations” within our borders.
    The federal government set the stage for that conflict last year, when the Department of Justice issued its “guidance” on the cultivation, sale and consumption of marijuana on tribal lands: As long as the business is properly regulated, the feds will keep hands off.
    That opened the door to a lucrative new business opportunity for the tribes at the same time gaming is becoming less profitable.
    Here in New Mexico, the tribal “net win” (the amount wagered in the casinos less the payout to lucky bettors) has declined nearly 4 percent over the past three years.
    Those numbers reflect a long-term nationwide trend. The industry has reached maturity, with little room for additional growth.
    The pot business, in contrast, is just beginning to take off. Reliable national figures are hard to come by, but by one estimate the legal marijuana industry grew by 64 percent last year, to more than $2 billion in revenues.

  • Ways to save money on a last-minute summer trip

    If you, your partner or your family want — or need — to get out of town right now, how do you improvise a great last-minute trip without breaking the bank?
    Planning is essential. Embrace travel as a hobby — look for tricks, techniques and current online resources to keep abreast of the best last-minute deals.
    Compromises will be necessary. You’ll likely need to travel at off-peak hours (either the first flight out in the morning or the last one at night, usually on weekdays) and stay at hotels or venues off the beaten path.
    Here are some quick tips to save money on last-minute travel:
    Travel light, move fast. Traveling last-minute isn’t for the indecisive. Dedicated travelers are minimalists — they know what to pack, organize their paperwork and payment options and have the mental preparation to deal with problems and challenges along the way.
    Also, realize that last-minute travel can increase risk and other costs. If you’re planning a trip that requires travel insurance, you may not get coverage approval in time.

  • Five counties gain from movers over four years

    New Mexico’s population picture has improved.
    In the year from July 1, 2013 to July 1, 2014 six counties had more people move in than moved out. The improvement: just five counties gained from movers during the four years to 2014 from the census in 2010.
    A further cloud on any smiling about our population is that Taos and McKinley, two of the counties with a one-year move-in gain, added between them 16 people.
    The Census Bureau released the numbers in March.
    That this change in movement of New Mexicans into and out of the state could be called “improvement” is a backhanded way of saying that “dismal” is the real description.
    “Migration” is the census geek term for people moving. “International migration” means moving into or out of New Mexico to (or from) another nation. “Domestic migration” refers to another state.
    Over the four-year period, 2010-2014, just four counties had positive domestic migration — more people moving in than left for other states.
    Sandoval County attracted 3,073 people. In terms of really growing the state, I suggest Sandoval doesn’t count because the history has been that Rio Rancho, by far the largest Sandoval community, attracts hordes of people from Albuquerque, which is in the same metro area.

  • By doing nothing, Congress sides with taxpayers, basic market principles

    After more than three-quarters of a century, the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) could close its doors on June 30.
    Ex-Im was created by Executive Order in 1934 by Franklin D. Roosevelt. With the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, Congress made Ex-Im an independent agency and required that Ex-Im be reauthorized every 4-5 years. Ex-Im’s current authorization expires at month’s end.
    Ex-Im has historically enjoyed bipartisan support. However, the need to cut spending — coupled with watchdog reporting — brings reauthorization into question.
    Under the Obama Administration, Ex-Im lending has increased 248 percent. Taxpayers now hold nearly $140 billion in Ex-Im exposure.
    The Ex-Im website states, “EXIM Bank is more critical than ever to small businesses.” However, a recent report from American Transparency (AT), the Federal Transfer Report — Export-Import Bank found that while 90 percent of Ex-Im loans do go to small businesses, 85 percent of the money goes to big business — 10 percent of the transactions get 85 percent of the money.
    The AT report, released on May 30, analyzed the $172 billion in Ex-Im loans, guarantees, and activity since 2007.
    Boeing is Ex-Im’s number one customer.

  • Letter to the Editor 7-3-15

    No ‘God’ in Constitution

    To Vernon Kerr: Surely you know that neither the words ‘Christian,’ nor ‘God’ appear in the U.S. Constitution.
    We who are not Christian are aware of that fact.  Perhaps you should remember that also.

    Alan Hack
    Los Alamos

  • Letter to the Editor 6-30-15

    Rotary club to host many July events

    On Wednesday, the Rotary Club of Los Alamos begins its new year, 2015-16, and will kick off the month with two events over the Fourth of July weekend.
    On Independence Day, we cordially invite the community to attend the naturalization ceremony at Bandelier National Monument. The program, which bestows American citizenship on qualified applicants, begins at 11 a.m. behind the main building. As one of its sustaining principles, Rotary promotes international peace and good will and is pleased to provide refreshments for this meaningful event.
    On Sunday, we look forward to serving you a Cowboy Pancake Breakfast at the Posse Lodge, 650 North Mesa Road. This all-you-can-eat breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, coffee, and juice is only $7 for adults and $4 for children under 10. We are grateful to the members of the Sheriff’s Posse Lodge who make it possible for our club to raise money to benefit our many service projects. Sunday’s funds will support New Generations, our varied and vibrant youth programs, including inbound and outbound student exchanges, weeklong leadership camps for high school students, essay competitions for eighth graders and support for GED students at University of New Mexico-Los Alamos.

  • Letter to the editor 6-28-15

    Who in the world is Bernie Sanders?

    Some think of Bernie Sanders as an old curmudgeon with young ideas. He is actually a presidential candidate who promotes ideas like diverting money from war to repairing infrastructure, fair trade rather than free trade, tough action on drug prices, a real minimum wage, help with the cost of education, Medicare for all, paid sick leave and other labor benefits that could help American workers catch up with what their Western European counterparts already enjoy.
    This all sounds like an interesting platform, but whether Bernie can hold his message together during a tough presidential campaign remains to be seen.

    Richard Foster
    Los Alamos

  • Letters to the Editor 6-24-15

    Poor implication made in story

    The story “Aquatic center to reduce its hours” in the Los Alamos Monitor on June 19, 2015 strongly implies that the Rio Grande Foundation, a Libertarian think tank in Albuquerque, influenced the Los Alamos Aquatic Center budget cuts when it says, “According to the county, the decision was made to attempt to save money for the county. In the past, the Aquatic Center has been pointed to as one of the big revenue drains of Los Alamos County, that according to the Albuquerque-based Rio Grande Foundation.”
    I was surprised to read that the county was following the recommendations of the Rio Grande Foundation in Albuquerque, rather than input from locals.
    I contacted Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan, director of Community Services for Los Alamos County and she said that nothing had been said about the Rio Grande Foundation in the budget hearings. After checking with her staff Kalogeros-Chattan assured me that this information did not come from the county. Another person who was present at the hearings said she heard nothing about the Rio Grande Foundation there.