.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Today's Opinions

  • The 'Walmart effect' on Main Street

    Smith’s Marketplace offers a beautiful place for “one-stop” shopping. Enjoy any meal and a delicious selection of chocolate, ice cream and cake for dessert. Afterwards, shop from an impressive selection of organic foods, clothes, toys, pet supplies, electronics and household goods. Keep people from driving to Santa Fe? How about keep people from driving down to our local restaurants, CB Fox, Metzgers, Pet Pangaea, Radio Shack and the Los Alamos Co-op Market? This will be the “Walmart effect” on Main Street.
    Studies show that when Walmart moves in, small businesses close their doors, unable to compete with big retail’s buying power. Within two years of Walmart’s opening its doors, 82 local stores went out of business. Mom and Pop stores experience a 10 to 40 percent decline in sales after a Walmart opens and businesses within one mile of a Walmart Supercenter have a 25 percent chance of shutting down in the first year, a 40 percent chance by the second year.

  • The 'Walmart effect' on Main Street

    Smith’s Marketplace offers a beautiful place for “one-stop” shopping. Enjoy any meal and a delicious selection of chocolate, ice cream and cake for dessert. Afterwards, shop from an impressive selection of organic foods, clothes, toys, pet supplies, electronics and household goods. Keep people from driving to Santa Fe? How about keep people from driving down to our local restaurants, CB Fox, Metzgers, Pet Pangaea, Radio Shack and the Los Alamos Co-op Market? This will be the “Walmart effect” on Main Street.
    Studies show that when Walmart moves in, small businesses close their doors, unable to compete with big retail’s buying power. Within two years of Walmart’s opening its doors, 82 local stores went out of business. Mom and Pop stores experience a 10 to 40 percent decline in sales after a Walmart opens and businesses within one mile of a Walmart Supercenter have a 25 percent chance of shutting down in the first year, a 40 percent chance by the second year.

  • Open N.M. primaries to get better government

    In a primary election in the not-too-distant future, a handful of voters will come tottering into the polls on walkers and canes and decide which candidates everyone will vote on in the general election.
    OK, I’m exaggerating a little.
    Only one in five voters — those declaring themselves either a Democrat or Republican — marked a ballot in the June primary, and yet more New Mexicans consider themselves independents. “Declined to state,” or DTS, in bureaucratese. Nationally, independents now make up 45 percent of the electorate.
    Studies show that young Americans increasingly describe themselves as political independents, and recently an Albuquerque Journal poll showed the same trends in New Mexico. For 18 to 24-year-olds, 38 percent are independents, compared with 36 percent Democrats and 25 percent Republicans. The older the voter, the more likely they are to occupy a party camp.
    Our younger generation is disgusted by the deadlocks in Congress (aren’t we all) and they don’t want to be hemmed in by the narrow ideologies of either major party.
    Who can blame them?

  • Few jobs from sunsets, many from oil and gas

    Oil and gas industry discussions by public officials and industry tend toward the many worthy numbers.
    For example, nearly all (96.6 percent) the interest from the Land Grant Permanent Fund goes into the state’s general fund, providing for continuing operations of government. The permanent fund predates statehood. Oil royalties appeared in 1924. Every county gets oil and gas production revenue.
    Find the report, “Fiscal Impacts of the Oil and Gas Industry,” at the New Mexico Tax Research Institute (nmtri.org). Check the right side of the page.
    Other numbers from David Martin, secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, at the Legislative Finance Committee’s July 9 meeting in Farmington: Jobs, direct, indirect and induced: 68,838. Average salary: $70,666. State gross domestic product portion: 9 percent.
    The numbers obscure oil and gas as a way of life with a long history here.
    Flush with “enchantment,” sunsets, and mystically seeking God, aesthetes miss this. They fail to track production numbers from the well to the permanent fund to investment income to the general fund to paying for the government they wish to expand.

  • Udall scores a win in tough battle

    Forget for the moment, if you will, all variant partisan predispositions — at least long enough to grant that New Mexico’s U.S. Sen. Tom Udall is one of those rare politicians who will persevere in the service of a conviction.
    Let me explain my point, and for starters we should recall that the United States Constitution has been amended only 27 times since it was adopted in 1787.
    We need also remind ourselves that that fully 10 of those amendments were adopted all at one time, right after the present republic was instituted when what we call the Bill of Rights was appended to the original Constitution.
    In short, amending the Constitution isn’t the least bit easy.
    It requires time, tenacity and resolve, which is precisely what the constitutional framers intended when they hammered it out in Philadelphia back in 1787. They even made it hard to so much as propose an amendment to the Constitution.
    One constitutionally permissible method for proposing an amendment would have at least two-thirds of the states call conventions for that purpose. It is an approach so cumbersome that it has never been used, mainly because getting two thirds of the states to act in concert is next to impossible.

  • Letters to the editor 7-20-14

     

    School Board takes no action on merit pay 

    Parents and students in this school district deserve good teachers who are well paid.  Consequently, it is disappointing that our school district is not participating in the New Mexico Public Education Department’s (NMPED) Incentive Pay Pilot (ped.state.nm.us/ped/RFPDocs/).

    A statement in a Los Alamos Monitor story (July 10) about the Incentive Pay Pilot Program incorrectly implies that NMPED will control and administer this pilot. 

    However, the Incentive Pay Pilot Application itself states that it is up to each participating school district to design an incentive pay model. If the application is accepted, funding is provided by NMPED.

  • Again, the isolationist smear

     

    It doesn’t take much to be smeared as an isolationist by leading Republicans. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who appears to be running for president again, and former vice president Dick Cheney — not to mention Sen. John McCain, Gov. Chris Christie and other members of the GOP establishment — can always be counted on to drag out that insult whenever they sense a threat from anyone not as hawkish as they are. 

    If they thought that 30,000 U.S. troops should be sent somewhere, and someone recommended sending only 10,000, we could count on Perry, Cheney, et al., to condemn the other person as an appeasing isolationist.

    Let’s be clear: Someone who simply doesn’t want Americans draw into foreign conflicts is not an isolationist. The proper word is “noninterventionist.” “Isolationism” suggests withdrawal from the world. But noninterventionists don’t seek that. 

  • Interest rate limits needed to protect borrowers

    Getting a small loan license in New Mexico is a cinch. Just pay a $1,500 fee to the Department of Regulation and Licensing, show you have $30,000 in capital and a reasonably clean criminal record and you are in. There were 656 small loan operators in the state at the close of 2013.
    The powers that come with a license are astonishing. Outside of a very narrow product area technically defined as Payday Loans, licensees can charge any interest rate over any period of time with almost any loan terms they choose on amounts of $2,500 or less. Small lenders routinely burden unsophisticated borrowers with interest rates of anywhere between 200-600 percent and sometimes more than 1,000 percent. In the process, they often point to the license on their wall claiming their products are “state approved.” That license is, in fact, their license to steal.