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Today's Opinions

  • Decision making on public lands needs to be close to users

    BY BOB HAGAN
    Special to the Monitor

  • Regulatory insight from Colorado, New Mexico

    CHICAGO—Be careful who you talk to in bars. That’s one lesson from a conversation in the elegant bar at the Palmer House hotel in downtown Chicago.
    We talked to a manager from a large nationwide financial institution. This man is a market supervisor (or something like that) for New Mexico, El Paso and Oklahoma. Our discussion considered the differences between Arizona and New Mexico. It included the usual banking structure differences from 30 years ago, but also got to factors including resorts such as the Arizona Biltmore and Camelback and professional golf, which decades ago put a national focus on Arizona.
    The understanding from the conversation is that this manager and, by extension, his very, very large financial institution employer, is mystified by the New Mexico economy.
    The Chicago chat is just one happening from our recent two-week road trip through the Midwest.
    Driving northeast through Colorado on I-76, we came across the welcome center in Julesburg. The men’s restroom was closed. In its place were seven porta-potties.

  • NM oil producers find themselves in a price war with Saudis

    Last winter, as legislators were starting to shrink the state budget to match declining oil revenues, Dr. Daniel I. Fine was trying to put his finger on what’s normal for the oil industry these days. He came up with so many variations on normal, it seems there is no normal.
    Fine, who is associate director of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Tech, predicted production in New Mexico would drop 100,000 barrels per day.
    “That’s how serious this is,” he told the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee. “OPEC is targeting high-cost producers in New Mexico, Texas and North Dakota… We are the main threat. Every barrel of oil we reduce, they will produce the equivalent.”
    I was trying to get my head around little ol’ New Mexico being a threat, as Fine continued.
    In an oversupplied world market, he said, “Saudi Arabia is in a price war with the United States. The Saudis can continue like this for two years. We’re thinking, how do we return to normal. A colleague in Bahrain said, ‘This is normal: $25 a barrel.’ Our normal is a new normal, and we conflict with what is normal.”

  • Some ‘sustainability’ proposals don’t pass

    “Sustainability” permeates our world. But what is sustainability?
    Consider this comment from new Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent Raquel Reedy: “The fact is that our students move many times. Consequently, there is very little sustainability, very little consistency where children stay at one school the entire time.”
    Likely, whatever Reedy means by “sustainability” and APS sustainability measures is different from the meaning of the people who proposed sustainability resolutions for consideration at the annual meeting of PNM Resources Inc., parent company of Public Service Company and a Texas utility.
    PNM’s board of directors wisely recommended voting against the proposals.
    For those not owning stock, a brief primer is that corporation divides ownership into shares. People can buy those shares. I bought 1.5 shares of Disney for my new grandson, Christopher. Shareowners have a slight say in what a company does, depending in part on the number of shares owned. But shareholders can also ask the company to do things thorough proposals to the annual meeting or by asking questions at the annual meeting.

  • In early days, Bankhead Highway was a first

    “If any town in the United States needs roads worse than us, it has my pity,” a citizen told his county commissioners. “Farmers,” said the local paper, “have been wedged between two sand hills long enough.”
    These were the first rumblings of the Good Roads movement in New Mexico. In 1915, farmers on the East Side threatened to take their produce to markets in Texas, where roads were better, if the Roosevelt County Commission didn’t do something.  
    The next time you get in your car, remind yourself that a century ago the nation’s roads were little more than dirt tracks and trails with no signs or bridges. In New Mexico, land owners fenced across roads, and drifting sand was a bigger hindrance than fences.
    New Mexico joined the national Good Roads movement, which produced a network of highways, such as they were. We know Route 66 best, but a few years earlier and farther south was the Bankhead Highway, one of the first transcontinental highways.
    It began in 1916 with the Bankhead Highway Association, whose namesake, U. S. Sen. John H. Bankhead, of Alabama, was a leader of the Good Roads movement. That year, Congress passed the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 over the objections of citizens like Henry Ford, who didn’t think roads were a good use of taxpayer money.

  • Letter to the Editor 6-26-16

    Honored to attend
    Vietnam War ceremony

    I was honored to attend The Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony held at the Santa Fe Veteran’s Memorial on Saturday, June 18. New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services, New Mexico State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America, Northern Mew Mexico Chapter 996, the American Legion Riders Chapter 25, the Santa Fe National Cemetery and Josetta Rodriguez did a wonderful job in putting this event together.
    Eloquent and passionate speeches were given by State Rep. Bob Wooley, Dist. 66, who co-chairs the Military and Veteran’s Affairs Legislative Committee, and John Garcia, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and former Cabinet Secretary of New Mexico Veterans Services.  
    Both Vietnam Veterans gave personal accounts of their involvement, participation and how it impacted their lives.
    Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales gave thanks and recognition for all who served.
    After the ceremony, Vietnam War veterans were presented with a certificate of appreciation by the Department of Veterans’ Services for their service during the war and were also given a special 50th anniversary commemorative pin.

  • Letter to the Editor 6-22-16

    Dog Jog 2016 a success thanks to supporters

    The weather gods smiled on homeless cats and dogs on April 30. Despite rain and wind on Friday and snow on Sunday, Saturday was sunny and calm for the 19th annual Los Alamos Dog Jog. The fine weather brought out hundreds of humans and their canine companions to enjoy the 5K run or the two mile walk.
    This year’s Dog Jog raised over $13,500 for Friends of the Shelter.  Friends of the Shelter (FOS) is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to abandoned animals and to pets and their owners in northern New Mexico.  Our catastrophic care program pays for veterinary care for sick or injured animals that have no owners or whose owners cannot afford the treatment.  
    Our spay/neuter program provides grants to our partner organizations, including the Española Valley Humane Society and the McKinley County Animal Shelter so that they can provide low- or no-cost spay and neuter services to their clients. FOS also encourages responsible pet ownership and promotes adoption of shelter animals through education and outreach.

  • Letter to the Editor 6-15-16

    County workers are appreciated

    Every year I feel the urge to let these workers know how very much their work is appreciated. We do not just take it for granted. The medians in our streets are always beautiful with colorful flowers, such as the Springtime Iris and later lovely lavender. The hanging baskets are a joy in the central town area. Thank you.
    Dot Smith
    Los Alamos