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Today's Opinions

  • Utililties Dept. is open and honest

    In the 42 years that I have lived in Los Alamos County, the only department and body that have always been consistently above board, open and honest with the citizens of Los Alamos is the utilities department and the utilities board.
    That’s a lot more than I can say for any of the county councils or their spokesmen.
    Gilbert Miranda
    Los Alamos
     

  • Lunacy governs late campaign attack ads

    They are routinely dishonest, ugly to the eye and offensive to the ear. If that were not enough, they cynically contrive to insult the intelligence of the voters they are designed to seduce.
    Yet, with few exceptions, political strategists skilled at manipulating voter opinion insist that negative campaign television ads work to the advantage of the candidate or party who commission and/or pay for them.
    Simply put, candidates who are subjected to an endless barrage of negative (aka “attack”) TV ads will almost certainly pay a price on Election Day. They may not automatically lose, but at a minimum they will likely see their share of the vote diminished.
    It shames us all that some voters can be so gullible, and it degrades the democracy we profess to cherish.
    This year in New Mexico something akin to lunacy must surely be a governing principle underlying many of the negative ads being leveled against some candidates.
    One of the most unhinged has to be a disingenuous, off-the-wall negative spot brought to New Mexicans’ TV screens by Aubrey Dunn Jr., the Republican candidate for state land commissioner, attacking Democratic incumbent Commissioner Ray Powell Jr.

  • Obligation Bond funding positive for EMS classes

    A colleague of mine at University of New Mexico recently told me that the upcoming election was “the most uninteresting” he could remember in all his years of observing New Mexico politics. It may be, if the polls are to be believed. But UNM and its campus in Los Alamos will have a great deal at stake when voters cast their ballots between now and Nov. 4.
    “Bond Question C,” of the state “2014 Capital Projects General Obligation Bond Act,” asks voters to accept or reject $141 million worth of funding for capital improvements to colleges and universities across the state. UNM-LA’s share of these funds would be $500,000, which we would match with $250,000 of our own for a $750,000 renovation and upgrade of our Emergency Medical Sciences lab and training area.
    No one in Los Alamos needs to be reminded of the importance of emergency services. UNM-Los Alamos stepped forward to fill those needs in 2012, with the implementation of its Emergency Medical Services degree program. Demand for the courses is strong, and we anticipate more growth as we move to further strengthen this key strategic component of our curriculum.

  • Changes to charter will shift control, cause collateral damage

    The proposed changes to restructure the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) have the potential to cause collateral damage that may not be evident as voters consider their positions on this charter change issue.
    I have the perspectives of former county councilor, former chair of the Utility Board and of a senior manager for a public power utility in Nebraska, and also had the opportunity to participate on the first Charter Change Committee when we initially discussed the issue.
    Since most of the obvious pros and cons will be discussed at the public forum, I want to share one perspective relative to my opening comment. As I have previously noted, electricity is considered by most folks to be as essential as air, water and food. Los Alamos has elected to provide not only its own electric power, but also water and gas. The ability to successfully fulfill this mission has been demonstrated for many years. One element of this success, a most vital one, is strategic planning.

  • Tourney raised thousands for students

    Los Alamos Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council 3137 held our annual scholarship fundraising golf tournament on Sept. 26 at the Los Alamos golf course with more than 80 golfers participating, followed by a wonderful steak dinner at the hall.
    The tournament raised nearly $10,000 all of which will be used to award scholarships to worthy Los Alamos High School students. As the Knights look to support students with potential but from disadvantaged backgrounds, these scholarships have a real impact.
    We are grateful to the community of Los Alamos for your most generous support of our tournament. The outpouring of donations was overwhelming. We were honored to have on hand both our current and former pastors, Father Glenn Jones, and Father John Carney.
    Special thanks to go to the Knights Ladies Auxiliary and Bill Inkret and his band for making the dinner a success, Mhairi MacKay for helping us out again with the special fundraising hole in support of the Jaime Lee Ireland Scholarship Fund, and Donnie Torres for outstanding help with the tournament. We look forward to seeing everyone out again next year on Sept. 19, 2015!

    Jeff Brown
    2014 tournament chair 

  • Support GO Bond

    About seven bazillion ads and letters later, I’m hoping this is short enough (and absolutely important enough) to encourage Los Alamos County residents to support Library GO Bond Issue B on Nov. 4.
    In this year’s annual library report, dependence on our library system was confirmed:
    • 16,718 registered users
    • 26,170 reference questions
    • 314,612 library visits (87 percent of county residents are users)
    • 21,191 program attendees
    • 26,898 public Internet computers users
    Any long-time resident knows our circulation is roughly three times the national average. Both information and literacy are important to us and have been critical here since the 1940s.
    In addition to a public library system, Los Alamos County is gifted with both public school and university-level (UNM-LA) libraries reflected by excellent test results, literacy levels, and research availability through multiple sources. These libraries need our help, too.
    The critical need for passing Library GO Bond Issue B remains. Please vote yes. Expanding on the details of the three library systems benefitting from a passed GO Bond Issue B makes for a great reference question — at the library!
    Judy Crocker
    Los Alamos
     

  • Reconsider methods?

    The Pajarito Trail Fest was run on Oct. 4. The course, on public land, was marked with small pink flags. Fifteen minutes after the last runner passed, the race organizers had removed every trace of their trail markings.
    The continuing Los Alamos Pace Races stand in contrast. The courses, also on public land, are copiously marked with a white powder, perhaps chalk or flour.
    The race organizers make no attempt to clean up after themselves, and race markings, particularly the ones on rock, can be seen on Los Alamos trails for literally years after the race is over.
    The Trail Fest and others have shown that a race can be run without being a litterbug.
    For the public benefit, could the Pace Race organizers and participants reconsider their methods?
    Stuart Trigman
    Los Alamos
     

  • County Charter and BPU are a long way from resolution

    The issues raised by the proposed changes to the County Charter regarding the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) have been the subject of multiple letters to the editor. Those against this amendment seem to strike an overriding theme: some county council will abuse a strengthened oversight function over the BPU to the ultimate harm of the electorate; specifically, it could increase transfers from utilities to the general fund, resulting in higher taxes disguised as increased utility rates.
    As a current member of the county council, I know all too well that trust may be earned but cannot be legislated, much as competence or objectivity cannot be legislated either. The fact of the matter is that the county charter, either current or future, cannot ensure that there will never be untrustworthy, incompetent and/or biased councilors who may in turn choose untrustworthy, incompetent and/or biased members of the BPU, a board that controls a $90 million budget, nearly half the total county budget, and who cannot be removed except essentially if convicted of a felony. However, what the charter can do is to make any abuse by a public official as transparent, difficult and ultimately punishable by the electorate as possible.