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Today's Opinions

  • Letters to the Editor 2-01-17

    Jim Hall has leadership that is needed on school board

    Voters in the Piñon district have a choice that one wishes every voter would always have, namely, two excellent candidates. I have had the pleasure to work with Jim Hall and Ellen Ben-Naim. They are both dedicated public servants who care deeply about our students, teachers, and schools.
    If I were eligible to vote, I’d give my nod to Jim Hall. Jim has a remarkable set of experiences from leading business computing at the lab to serving as the State Chief Information Officer, to serving as a county councilor, our state representative, and president of the school board. Jim is also a successful businessman and property developer, who serves on the board of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation. He understands budgets and information technology from both a private and public sector perspective. His breadth of knowledge is an invaluable asset for governing our schools, especially in times of resource constraints and changing needs for our students and teachers to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

  • ‘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

  • What New Mexico’s tax-hikers don’t want you to know

    BY D. DOWD MUSKA
    New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation

  • How do you get middle school girls hooked on STEM?

    Although women comprise a small fraction of tech professionals—just one in four, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology —several nonprofits and startups are working to jumpstart women’s participation in computer science.

    In a previous column, I considered Grace Hopper Academy, a New York City coding bootcamp designed explicitly for women. GHA’s sister school, Fullstack Academy, takes that program online with a Remote Immersive program. Most recently, I examined how the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) has expanded female educational access in sub-Saharan Africa using big data. But what about middle school girls here in the United States?

    Middle school is perhaps the most prudent place to promote female participation in STEM, according to several studies. Given that many girls rule out tech careers by high school, educators and administrators would be wise to pique student interest before it’s too late. A Philadelphia-based non-profit called TechGirlz takes that challenge seriously.

  • Credit union merger to create largest NM owned financial institution

    Two Albuquerque credit unions are merging. The combination of Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union and Kirtland Federal Credit Union will have total assets of just over $3 billion, which makes for the largest New Mexico based financial institution and more than double the $1.4 billion In assets recorded by Los Alamos National Bank in September.
    Los Alamos National has had the “largest-local” title since its bigger brethren were sold to companies such as Well Fargo and Bank of America more than 20 years ago.
    Robert Chavez, Sandia president and CEO, will lead the combined company. Chavez is an alumnus of Sunwest Bank.
    The two credit unions have an enviable customer base (credit union customers are called “members”) that combines the people from Albuquerque’s research establishment (Sandia National Laboratories) and the military, which is most everything else on Kirtland Air Force Base.
    These people are steadily employed, decently paid and loyal. Bankers should be so lucky.
    After jumping the regulatory hoops, the deal is expected to be done by the end of 2017.

  • Letter to the Editor 2-8-17

    That gut-wrenching pain

    Have you felt that painful, tightening, gut-wrenching feeling when you hear someone state something that infringes upon your rights or beliefs?
    Good, that means you’re human. The feeling comes from an emotional system that helps us survive.
    Have you allowed that feeling to develop into anger towards the one expressing the statement?
    That’s not good. It’s true that anger is part of our humanity, but it comes from the lowest and most ancient parts of our brain, one we share with lizards.
    Have you taken an oppositional stance of the idea or policy that was stated?
    That’s good. You’re using the higher levels of your brain to do something constructive with that painful feeling you felt initially.
    Is your opposition causing you to see the one who made the statement as someone from another group that’s evil?
    That’s not good. You’re letting the lower levels of your brain control the higher levels. You’re developing what we call hatred.
    Is your opposition directed at the idea or policy that was stated with the understanding that the one who made the statement is your brother or sister?

  • Letter to the Editor 2-5-17

    Ellen Ben-Naim is my choice for school board

    Los Alamos has an opportunity for fresh, community-minded leadership on the school board. Ellen Ben-Naim will provide new insights and vigorous advocacy for teachers and students. As a professional educator with a master’s degree and enormous community experience, Ellen will provide oppressive teacher evaluation, mental health, increase teacher salaries and reduce oppressive teacher evaluation. Ellen is an excellent people-connector and communicator. She will serve our community well.
    Ellen supports mental health issues and is committed to enacting recommendations from the Mental Health Design Team Plan. These mental health issues, including stress and depression, affect our students and faculty. Ellen recognizes the need for more community awareness around these issues.
    Ellen has a child attending Los Alamos High School. She understands the issues of today’s families and she is committed to voicing these perspectives.
    As a community-oriented person, Ellen spent four years as a the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board program coordinator. She has enthusiastically served on many LAPS committees, including the School Budget Committee, School Bond Committee, District Parent Council and GATE Advisory Committee.