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Today's Opinions

  • Smart supply chains outdo rules

    Regulatory engineering, as the forms of it evolve, ultimately will prevail in the world. For some five years, these columns have pictured ways of using current technology to do better, faster and cheaper regulating. New “smart” tools are very good at inspecting, reporting and assessing what they find.
    Farther on lies the frontier of engineering that bypasses regulation. There begins the next generation of smart tools that do better things than merely instruct.  
    Over time, such remedies will slow the growth of rules. Competing interests will begin to see that smart tools take care of problems more reliably than politicking does. In due course, it will seem normal to look for a smart tool instead of a regulation.  
    A leading example turns up in an unlikely place – today’s mining industry.
    A persistent problem in mining is the loss that results when drivers of heavy equipment fall asleep at the wheel. The same problem plagues airlines, trucking companies and all who share the road.

  • Subsidizing the cheese business

    Before you bite into your next green chile cheeseburger, pause for a moment to consider the importance of that chunk of cheese, not just to the taste of your burger but to our local economy.
    With 150 dairies averaging more than 2,000 cows each, New Mexico ranks ninth in the nation for milk production and fifth for cheese. The average New Mexico dairy ships 44 million pounds of milk a year worth nearly $6 million. Much of it goes to Southwest Cheeses in Clovis, which employs 300 people to turn 3.8 billion pounds of milk into 388 million pounds of cheese annually.
    According to NMSU’s Ag Science Center, dairy is the number one agricultural employer in the state, providing 12,524 jobs paying $600 million a year in wages. In 2014, the average dairy farm worker earned $47,811, compared to the state’s average mean wage of $42,230. At $1.5 billion, dairy is about tied with beef cattle for economic impact and together the two rival the oil and gas industry.
    But while it’s a big business, it’s not a particularly lucrative one. A milk cow eats 100 pounds of hay and grain every day. In return she produces six to seven gallons of milk. Dairy farmers live on the difference between the cost of her feed and the price of her milk, usually expressed as the cost vs. price per hundredweight of milk.

  • I encourage everyone to vote in favor of Question 1

    I am voting for county Question No. 1, to eliminate the office of sheriff in Los Alamos. I encourage everyone who believes in good government, strong public safety, and reduction of unnecessary risk, to do the same.
    Typically, a sheriff provides law enforcement in county, or rural, areas. The sheriff position in Los Alamos has no law enforcement duties, and Los Alamos has no county – only, or rural, land. All of the county land in Los Alamos is incorporated into the municipality of Los Alamos. There is not a square inch of just-county land for a sheriff in Los Alamos to stand on.
    Los Alamos became a municipal government in the 1960s. The County of Los Alamos had already been created  as a legal entity in 1949. When the Federal Government decided to no longer run Los Alamos as a Federal scientific base, in the 1960s, all of the county land was wholly incorporated into the municipality of Los Alamos.  Los Alamos remains the only city-county entity in New Mexico.
    While debating their preferred from of government, Los Alamos citizens got to choose who would provide law enforcement - a professional law enforcement agency (a police department), an elected sheriff, or both.

  • Espinoza supports transparency; opponent skirts campaign limits

    BY REP. NORA ESPINOZA
    Dist. 59, House of Representatives, Candidate for Secretary of State

  • Espinoza’s false attacks cover up ties to corruption, extremism

    BY MAGGIE TOULOUSE-OLIVER
    Candidate for Secretary of State

  • New thinking needed for N.M. behavioral health

    BY D. DOWD MUSKA
    Research Director, Rio Grande Foundation

  • Is there a future for New Mexico ethanol?

    By BOB HAGAN

  • State snubs economic development project in rural New Mexico

    Wonder why we’re poor? Here’s the type of thing that happens here.
    In 2014, the biggest thing in tourism and historic preservation was the purchase of the derelict Castañeda Hotel in Las Vegas by veteran developer Allan Affeldt, who successfully restored La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona.
    The Castañeda, like much of Las Vegas, is a rundown remnant of yesteryear that’s been the object of hopes and what ifs. In 1898 it was Fred Harvey’s first hotel; it closed in 1948. This is a project only “an eccentric investor like me” would want, Affeldt says.
    In the hospitality business, you need a certain size to make the investment worthwhile.
    “The Castañeda was kind of an enticing project,” he says, but bathrooms are down the hall. To provide modern amenities, a restoration would reduce 45 rooms to 25. “It was hard to justify the investment given the size.”
    Also in 2014, Affeldt bought a second historic Las Vegas property, the Plaza Hotel, out of foreclosure. He made improvements and turned it around. (I stayed there before and after. His team worked wonders.)
    “I figured maybe by putting the two together, I could make it work,” he says. He needed New Markets Tax Credits and began negotiating with the New Mexico Finance Authority.