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Today's Opinions

  • Don’t let candidates stretch the facts about taxes

    As we get closer to primary elections, you’re going to hear two stories about taxes.
    Story No. 1: New Mexico’s taxes are a dreadful burden on its citizens. Story No. 2: New Mexico’s big corporate tax giveaway in 2013 has eroded the tax base so much that revenues have plummeted and responsible public officials must raise revenues.
    First, we’ve heard scare stories about our tax burden for years, and for just as long various studies have told us that we’re actually middling.
    This year, WalletHub said New Mexico ranked 27th in state tax burden as a percentage of personal income. Our gross receipts tax burden is fifth highest in the nation. But the total tax burden, of 8.67 percent, is far lower than New York (13 percent), Hawaii (12 percent), and Maine and Vermont (11 percent). The lowest was Alaska, at about 5 percent.
    On the other hand, WalletHub placed New Mexico 41st in the return for taxes paid. This is based on 20 categories of education, health, safety, economy, infrastructure and pollution. We took a big hit for our sorry economy. Yes, you can hold elected officials responsible for the ranking and the economy. Colorado’s return on investment was third, Texas was 15th, and Arizona was 19th.

  • Letters to the Editor 5-18-16

    Seriously? Christine Chandler?

    In the current political environment, where our government thinks that they should make all the decisions for us, we are offered Christine Chandler as a candidate for county council.
    I had to think back on the name, as I recall it being associated with some controversy in Los Alamos in the not too distant past. Following a bit of research, it all came back.
    In 2010, Christine and her husband, both attorneys, sued the county to keep a petition, regarding a proposed location of the new municipal building, from being put in front of the voters of Los Alamos County. Roughly, the petition suggested letting the voters decide if the new municipal building might go back where the old one was torn down.
    Prior to the lawsuit, the county council thought voter input was appropriate, given the petition. The whole ballot process had been set up and was ready to go, but it would appear that the Chandlers didn’t want that to happen. From all the articles in the Los Alamos Monitor, it wasn’t like there was some grand movement, public sway or another petition that drove them to champion the cause.
    It looks like it was just them and a pup tent where they wanted the new building to be.

  • Letter to the Editor 5-15-16

    We need to learn to
    ‘unvalue’ our differences

    In a recent Rolling Stone article entitled: “The Line That May Have Won Hilary Clinton the Nomination,” Matt Taibbi makes a valid argument for the role that racism played in the financial crisis of 2008. His argument begins with Clinton’s question at a rally aimed at her opponent, Bernie Sanders: “If we broke up the big banks tomorrow would that end racism?”
    While there is amble evidence that people of color were specifically targeted during the sub-prime fiasco, it appears that Taibbi is suggesting not that greed and racism are tied together but rather that the marginalized are easy targets for those who are greedy. I would suggest, however, that greed and racism are intimately tied at a deep and dark subconscious level.
    To see the answer, we need to get below the materialism of greed and the black and white of racism. We need to get to our deepest fear, the fear of being cast out by society. We need to see it for what it is, a true reality that drives much of our behavior but, at the same time, is no more than a state of mind produced by an electrical potential along the axons of a certain group of neurons.

  • Letters to the Editor 5-13-16

    Thank you to Los
    Alamos community

    The family of Jessica D. (Casados) Fleming wishes to say “Thank you” to the community of Los Alamos.
    We hope these simple words can express how much we appreciate the outpouring of love, sympathy, caring and comfort we have received. To the friends and family who came to share in the celebration of life, thank you for coming, all your kind words and wonderful stories. We felt her smile in each of you. Please continue to smile and think of hers. To the many people who brought food to our homes, we were so blessed to have friends like you. To everyone who sent flowers, the “Flower Girl” was so happy to share her joy of flowers with everyone. Thank you for filling the hall with them.
    We would like to especially acknowledge the Smiths Market Place and all the staff there. Your kindness and help went above and beyond. We thank each and everyone for everything you did to help us.  

  • Letters to the Editor 5-11-16

    May is Motorcycle Awareness Month

    I would just like to remind everyone that May is “Motorcycle Awareness  Month” as declared by Gov. Susana Martinez, State House Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard and the Los Alamos County Council.
    As summer approaches, you will be seeing more and more motorcycles on the road. Too many motorcyclists are injured or killed on New Mexico roadways by inattentive drivers.
    As bikers, we know the inherent dangers when riding, and we accept those.   
    All we ask of drivers is that they look twice for us, share the road with us and remember that we are their friends and their neighbors. Be aware of motorcyclists, you just might save a life!
    Richard Sturgeon, Chair
    LANL’s Motorcycle
    Safety Committee

    Chandler worked to move LA forward

    Chris Chandler, Los Alamos County Council candidate, has worked for many years to move Los Alamos forward. Her analysis of legislative matters at the county and state have been invaluable to the legislature and county. For these reasons and many others please join me in supporting Chris for Council.

  • Letter to the Editor 5-4-16

    Roundabout battles: the root causes?

    Why does Los Alamos find itself, time after time, over a decades-long period, in roundabout battles? I think it’s a result of double-vision that exists at a deep level among both county planners and citizens. My view of this underlying schism has been formed as a result of participating in two expensive roundabout contests, and through second-hand knowledge as an observer of several previous battles. For convenience, I’ll call these two visions the “utopian” and the “utilitarian”. First, I’ll sketch the visions of each group. Then, I’ll broadly characterize how each group “sees” roundabouts.
    Utilitarian-speak can be recognized by words and phrases such as, “artery,” “efficiency,” “productivity,” “congestion,” “safety,” “cost effectiveness,” “redundancy,” “waste of taxpayer money,” “usability,” “smart signal,” “right tool for the job,” “examples,” “statistics,” “analysis” and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

  • Venture to change regulating

    By JOHN BARTLIT
    New Mexico Citizens for Clean Air & Water

    The time has come for regulation to be more businesslike. A healthy dose of market zeal has been missing for too long.
    Regrettably, politicking will not bring needed change.  
    One old campaign banner says regulation is the scourge of free markets. But that reading forgets that large-scale “free” markets owe their steady success to regulations.
    Long-thriving markets are built on the bedrock of rules that standardize weights and measures, rules of contracts, and rules to enforce both.
    After government had established these necessary parts, trade could reach across regions.   
    Another old snapshot says regulation stifles innovation. Whether it was true at one time, it is distinctly untrue today. Regulation today is a storehouse of unmet needs for inventions.
    In the Digital Age, entrepreneurs search far and wide for new markets. The searches skim past regulation, as if it were fine as is. It is not fine.
    Good prospects to innovate are overlooked, which leaves regulation encumbered with hobbly methods that innovations crowd out of other fields.

  • Tweeting DWI court hearings should give useful information

    Gov. Susana Martinez is taking another swing at DWI. Last week, she announced a contract with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to observe DWI court hearings and publicize the results on Twitter. It’s strange but has possibilities.
    With a two-year, $800,000 contract, MADD will place monitors in courtrooms in Bernalillo, Doña Ana, McKinley, Rio Arriba and San Juan counties. They will gather information about DWI case outcomes and post them on social media.
    One thing I’ve heard, from both experts and legislators, is that the criminal justice system isn’t working. We have laws on the books, but prosecutors and judges plead these cases down. We don’t know why.
    The MADD monitors might help answer that question, depending on the information they gather. We need to know the judge’s thinking and what the mitigating factors are, and you can’t deliver that in a tweet. Tweets are good for the quick comment, the wise crack. They generate buzz for a moment and then they’re gone.
    How are we supposed to learn what happens in court and spot problem areas? Call me old fashioned, but I want to see a report.