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Today's Opinions

  • Venture Acceleration Fund helps Native-owned businesses

    Native-owned businesses in northern New Mexico are eligible for grants of up to $25,000 to spend on specialized services that will help them increase revenues and create jobs.
    One business, Than Povi Gallery, was awarded a Native American Venture Acceleration Fund grant in February 2014 to develop a marketing plan and ad campaign for the business, which moved in 2013 from San Ildefonso Pueblo to a site north of Santa Fe on U.S. 84/285. That move was partially enabled by a NAVAF grant in 2013, co-owner Elmer Torres said, and resulted in “a lot more foot traffic.”
    Torres and his wife, Deborah, both members of the pueblo, eventually hope to move their gallery to downtown Santa Fe so the many artists they represent can get greater exposure. In the meantime, though, their current location allows them to sell to a broader market. “We try to make (artworks) affordable for people in the local area,” Torres said.

  • Region should invest in clean energy

    Times have changed since solar and wind power first became available. Across the country, the cost of coal is going up, and the price of clean energy — like wind and solar — is coming down. Employment trends are changing, too.
    Today, more workers are employed in the clean energy industry than in coal mining nationwide. Since 2012, New Mexico’s solar industry has added nearly 1,000 new jobs. Almost 2,000 New Mexicans now work in our state’s growing solar economy.
    As owner of a local solar company, I’ve seen the remarkable transition to clean energy take root in our region. Solar electricity costs less than grid energy, and home and business owners are taking advantage of the opportunity to fix their energy costs for the long run.
    We’ve added 30 employees in the past year to keep up with demand. It is a really exciting time.
    In our region and throughout the United States, communities are moving away from dirty, expensive coal and toward the growing clean energy industry.
    These trends are why I was so shocked to learn that instead of investing in new technologies and growing industries, PNM and Los Alamos County Department of Public Utilities propose to double down on dirty coal and lock ratepayers into a future of expensive, outdated coal-fired power.

  • Remember N.M.'s last Republican speaker?

    New Mexico and Texas were fighting over water. Wildcatters were busy in southeastern New Mexico, while uranium drilling was under way near Grants. And Albuquerque passed a strong new civil rights ordinance.
    This was New Mexico in 1952, when voters liked Ike so much that they tilted Republican in a presidential election for the first time since 1928. They re-elected Republican Gov. Ed Mechem and sent Republicans to the state House of Representatives in record numbers. A Raton rancher became the first Republican Speaker of the House since 1929.
    After a similar sweep this month, a Republican speaker will take the gavel for the first time since 1953, so it’s time to remember Alvin Stockton.
    In 1869, Stockton’s grandparents acquired four square miles around the stage station they operated on the Santa Fe Trail from Lucien Maxwell. Stockton grew up on the family ranch and got an accounting degree from Denver University.
    Elected to the House in 1951, he served four years, becoming an authority on New Mexico’s tax system. It was once said, “If you really need to get something done on behalf of agriculture in the state Legislature, you go to Alvin Stockton.” As speaker, he was so well regarded that members passed a resolution commending him for leadership and impartiality.

  • DPU must accommodate present, future residents

    We are one of the 36 households or businesses in Los Alamos that have purchased solar panels to generate electricity. Recently, the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has put out information suggesting that electricity generated by the County’s solar panel owners provides miniscule benefits to the community while unfairly burdening other customers. One Board of Public Utilities member was quoted in the Los Alamos Monitor as saying that being carbon neutral is not in the best interest of the ratepayers.
    We disagree completely with this statement. Everyone sees the trees dying around us. Partly this has been caused by the drought, and partly by the trees struggling to deal with rising temperatures during the drought. Our local climate scientists believe that most of our trees will be dead by 2050. By 2099, Los Alamos will have the temperatures that Albuquerque has now. We may be living exponentially, but we will be doing it indoors with air conditioning and outdoors with no trees and no ski area.

  • More to campaign spending than Morgan states

    Harold Morgan’s Nov. 11 column discounting fears about unlimited and unregulated campaign spending is a little simplistic. The examples about local races seem to make his point, but those races are the tip of the unregulated campaign spending iceberg. Look at the District 43 race where I must have received 30 PAC flyers. That money could’ve been better spent in state coffers, funding education or mental health services.
    The fear addressed by Senator Tom Udall’s amendment is that people in the national congress and to a currently lesser extent state legislatures (except for the convenient ALEC prefab voter suppression legislation) have become beholden to the sources of their funding some of which is anonymous.
    Now, why shouldn’t voters who care be able to find out who is behind what PAC, or which corporate “job creator” is behind this funding. I suppose, on second thought it is true that the job creators are creating jobs in the PAC administrative business.
    As far as the McDonnells, they were directing campaign funds for their personal use, a moral transgression besides being illegal. It would seem that Morgan would get rid of even this regulation and why not, since in the current atmosphere regarding campaign funding the ends justify the means.

    Paul D. Richardson II
    Los Alamos

  • Chattering about Susana

    So Susana Martinez came out of her recent reelection campaign pretty much as just about everyone had expected.
    Way back when they were still making glitzy movie musicals, the wondrous Marilyn Monroe won hearts and superstardom with the proposition that “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
    Well over a half-century later, New Mexico’s governor for-four-more-years will tell you that if you’re going to strut your stuff today — at least in electoral politics — there’s no better friend than a big, fat campaign treasury, the bigger and the fatter the better.
    From start to finish Martinez had so much cash on hand that her campaign came off as unnecessarily squandering its resources.
    Certainly that was the case in the final weeks of her campaign, long after it was abundantly clear that she had locked it up, but nonetheless continued to sling the high-priced attack TV ad mud with an abandon that appeared almost gleeful.
    Gary King never had a chance.
    The first negative ad Martinez leveled against the erstwhile Democratic nominee prominently featured remarks once made by the state Democratic Party chairman to the effect that King was one of the worst attorneys general in state history.

  • The people survive campaign spending

    An hour passed from our 3:05 p.m. polling place entrance until we left. The line of voters ahead of us had about 55 people. It was quiet. People chatted. One set of parents, new to the neighborhood and slightly nonplussed by the length of the line, tended their toddler.
    All of us were at the end of the process of campaigns spending a great of money to get our attention on behalf of a particular candidate. I read that a couple of legislative races crossed the $100,000 mark in spending by each candidate. Yet no one seemed addled or discombobulated by the spending. No one walked around the polling line mumbling, “Thank God, it’s over.”
    No doubt, calls for further regulation of campaign spending will continue from the do-gooders on the left (and a few on the right) who think that good behavior can be regulated into being. These people hate money and believe that people such as the firefighter in line behind me are too stupid to sort through messages and make a decision.
    Our Sen. Tom Udall is one of the leaders in this approach with his scary proposed amendment to the Constitution.

  • Rio Grande Foundation responds to attack

    In a recent letter attacking my organization, the Rio Grande Foundation, Jody Jones fails to make a single statement on the issue of whether Washington or New Mexico would do a better job managing lands in our State that are now controlled by Washington.
    Rather, she spends her entire letter attacking my organization and anyone affiliated with it, even going so far as to advocate for censorship! The political left has become quite hostile to free speech in recent years.
    To be clear, the Rio Grande Foundation is based in New Mexico. I have personally been to Los Alamos many times to speak to Rotary groups and the like. We have hosted speakers from ALEC and a wide variety of organizations of a free market bent, but often with differing viewpoints.
    Our most recent opinion piece merely critiqued New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich for accusing advocates of “devolution” of some federal lands to state control when it is Washington that has taken several large tracts of land throughout the state.
    I respect differences of opinion. I’d love to hear from Jones and others what special knowledge or resources that bureaucrats in Washington have for better managing our lands than people right here in New Mexico. Alas, instead of a factual argument, we got name-calling.
    Paul J. Gessing
    President, Rio Grande Foundation