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Today's Opinions

  • A path forward to budgeting for results

    In May, I wrote a column called “Follow the Money,” and I suggested taking the county’s budget discussions to a new level; adopting an approach that would allow the public, the county staff, and council members to better focus on the link between costs and service outputs, rather than focusing on costs by county department.
    That approach would enable more public involvement in how tax dollars are spent. It would also provide important decision information to help elected representatives and county staff consider the trade-offs necessary to balance the budget; and it would help us understand how well our actual spending aligns with the goals outlined in our Strategic Plan.
    It sounds obvious. Decide what’s important through Strategic Planning, then frame spending decisions in a way that shows whether spending actually flows to the highest priorities.

  • Letters to the editor 7-28-15

    Beware of fees with Quemazon HOA

    I want to give my former neighbors in the Quemazon communities a heads-up about some exorbitant fees you may be unaware of that you will face when/if you decide to sell your home within the Quemazon Master Association or its Woodlands Homeowner Association (HOA). I suspect the other HOAs within Quemazon have similar fees.
    We recently sold our home on Sinuoso and, much to our surprise, we were hit with an additional $800-plus expense from the management company of the Quemazon Master and Woodlands HOAs that was added to our closing costs.
    Following is the text of a message I sent June 13 to the person listed as president of the Master Association on the Quemazon website. I have not received a response.
    We also communicated our surprise and displeasure to the president of the Woodlands HOA. He said the Board of Directors would be discussing these fees.
    Please beware of what can happen to you if you decide to sell your home.
    “We are unsure whether you are still the president of the Quemazon Master Homeowner’s Association (HOA), but trust that you will direct us to the appropriate person if this online info is out-of-date.

  • Letter to the editor 7-24-15

    Time to compensate Downwinders

    Upon the 70th anniversary of the Trinity blast, we must not forget what has happened and continues to happen to the people of our state.
    Tina Cordova, Co-Founder of The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, along with other members, have recently met with Senator Tom Udall and Senator Martin Heinrich. “We were unknowing, unwilling, uncompensated taxpaying guinea pigs in the world’s largest science experiment” is how Cordova describes what happened to the people who were and continue to be affected by the radiation from The Trinity site test on July 16, 1945.
    The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) set up in 1990 to compensate people living downwind of the Nevada test site is long overdue in including the residents of New Mexico.
    Please contact your Congressmen/Congresswoman and let them know the amendments to RECA should be a priority for them in Washington. The Santa Fe New Mexican did an incredible job in their Five Part Series, “The Legacy of the Bomb, Trinity 70 years Later.”

  • Thank You: A great ScienceFest celebration

    Los Alamos MainStreet, producer of ScienceFest, in collaboration with the Los Alamos Creative District and Los Alamos County, would like to thank everyone involved with the production of ScienceFest: The Secret City Unlocked.
    ScienceFest celebrates Los Alamos’ heritage with history and science-based events for the entire family. It is the signature event of Los Alamos County.
    Our goals were to showcase the remarkable science and technology community of Los Alamos while drawing people to the central business district and supporting a vibrant downtown. Our goals were realized by the programming produced and volume of attendees.
    We would especially like to thank our sponsors: New Mexico True — State Tourism Department, Los Alamos National Bank, Google, Los Alamos Medical Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Security, COMPA Industries, CHRISTUS Health Plan and Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation.
    We would also like to thank our partners: Bradbury Science Museum, Los Alamos Historical Society, Los Alamos Little Theatre, Buffalo Tours, Fuller Lodge Art Center, KRSN 1490 AM, Flowers by Gillian, Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op, Los Alamos Arts Council, Christian Science Society, Los Alamos Women in Science and Holiday Inn Express.

  • Letter to the editor 7-21-15

    Our Flag, My Flag

    There is hardly anything more beautiful than to be on a troopship coming into harbor with all those American flags flying. I’m home, I’m home, I’m home.
    From the time I was a 12-year-old Boy Scout, I remember being respectful to the flag that represents so many good things about the United States of America.
    I am a first generation American, as were so many of my classmates. We were Scots, Italian, Yugoslavian, Mexican, Polish, Japanese, Irish and more.  It was a great time and a great place to grow up, and every morning we recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
    Some might call this brainwashing, but it was in gratitude for a country that would allow us to be what we could not have been if our parents had stayed in the old country.
    We could be and were engineers, doctors, chemists, teachers, dentists, lawyers, small businessmen, mayors, senators and more. That is what the flag means.
    I can arm myself with a firearm and no one can take it from me. I’m a free man.
    My kids, grandkids and great-grandkids can go to any school or university they wish, for there are no class distinctions. I can vote for anyone I wish and I can run for office if I don’t like what I see, and I can win.  

  • Letters to the editor 7-15-15

    Foundation responds to letter

    Without our being aware of it, my organization, the Rio Grande Foundation, has been the center of some controversy in Los Alamos County, as relates to the Los Alamos Aquatic Center. Most recently, a letter from Betty Ann Gunther discussed our organization’s supposed involvement in budget cuts at the aquatic center.
    We did publish a report in 2011 called the “Piglet Book” which argued that the $1 million-plus the county was spending annually to operate the center was exorbitant.
    Apparently, four years later, a majority of the Los Alamos County Council agrees at least that other budget items took precedence over the aquatic center.
    I don’t know whether or not a councilor ran across our report in their research on the issue, but the information remains as relevant today as it was then.
    Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t take issue with the inordinate attention Ms. Gunther pays attention to our funding. She can certainly argue that other priorities should have yielded to the aquatic center, but it seems that the funding sources of conservative and free-market groups are a far greater issue for their critics than are the funding sources of liberal organizations.

  • Letter to the editor 7-8-15

    Kurds and Druze are threatened

    The conflicts in Syria have increased the complexity of the Middle East and exacerbated the instability in the region.
    Terrorists have taken advantage of the instability and have made dramatic territorial gains in Syria and Iraq. They now threaten two minorities — Kurds and Druze.
    The Kurds are starting to receive military aid from the U.S. and this should be increased since they are trustworthy and reliable fighters willing to take on ISIS and other terrorist groups. We should send equipment and supplies directly to the Kurds and not through the Iraqi Army.
    The Druze minority, a Muslim offshoot sect, is threatened by ISIS and al-Nusra. There are 800,000 Druze in Syria with most of them living in the southern province of Sweida, which is near the Israeli border.
    Israel, which is home to 125,000 Druze who are deeply assimilated into the Israeli military and Israeli society, cannot allow the Druze of southern Syria to be decimated and possibly suffer genocide.
    Israel should provide a safe Syrian territory for the Druze and equip them so they can defend themselves. If necessary, Israel should provide direct military intervention to protect the Druze of southern Syria.

    Donald A. Moskowitz
    Londonderry, New Hampshire

  • The link between climate and poverty

    The climate alarmists appear practically giddy over Pope Francis’ recently released climate encyclical.
    Even Al Gore, who admits he was “raised in the Southern Baptist tradition,” has declared he “could become a Catholic because of this pope.”
    The Sierra Club’s former executive director, Carl Pope, chimes in. On June 22 in EcoWatch, he bashes “American conservatism” and positions the papal publication as being responsible for a “new dynamism” that he calls “palpable.”
    “It is more a gale than a fresh breeze,” Pope exclaimed, “when the most ground-breaking pope since John XXIII links poverty and climate.” He offers a litany of news stories to support his position.
    There is a link between climate policy and poverty, which is why many European counties are returning to fossil fuels and retreating from renewables — led by German capacity payments to keep coal-fueled power plants open.
    In PV Magazine, Stelios Psomas, policy advisor at the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, laments Greece’s “policy U-turn towards lignite.”