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Today's Opinions

  • 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 6-22-16

    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

  • Letters to the Editor 6-10-16

    Monitor story on
    Am-241 source moved to  LANL

    An article in the Friday Monitor, LANL partner in radioactive removal, relates LANL assisting NMED in moving a drum containing 8.63 Ci of Am-241 from Santa Fe to LANL for safe storage. The Santa Fe New Mexican carried an article on the same exercise. This article misstates the drum as containing 9.2 Kg of Am-241. I assume the Monitor value of roughly 9 Ci is correct. An Am-241 source containing 9.2 Kg of Am-241 would be about 32,000 Ci, i.e. a very large and dangerous source. A 9 Ci am-241 source would also be dangerous, if not shielded by the source shield and the drum that contained it.
    The principal radiation from Am-241 is alpha-particle, and alphas can not penetrate a sheet of paper or even the first layer of human skin (epidermis). I assume the source was in some type of lead (Pb) shield from which no alphas would escape. Approximately 60% of Am-241 decays are also accompanied by the emission of a 60-kev gamma ray that does penetrate further, but they would be totally absorbed by any Pb shield.
    The bottom line of this note is that the source in question was of minimal health hazard and certainly didn’t require up to $6 million or involve 40 people; it could have been safely transported in a common pickup driven carefully.
    Dr. T. Douglas Reilly, physicist,

  • Letter to the Editor 6-5-16

    Sheriff Rojas would have tears in his eyes

    Remember when you said the sheriff and everyone knew you meant Louie Rojas? I have been here 49 years and I can’t remember another sheriff by name.
    It was an elected office and Louie was a born politician. He worked at Zia and called every male who worked at the Lab “doctor.”
    Louie’s kids were known as the sheriff and Patsy’s kids. Being sheriff wasn’t a job to him, it was a community service, and Patsy was serving right beside him.
    I don’t know what he was paid but he was the best P.R. person the county ever had.
    Louie is no longer with us, but I know wherever he is he has tears in his eyes.
    Camille Morrison
    White Rock

  • Letter to the Editor 6-1-16

    Council’s handling of
    sheriff’s issues disappointing

    I am so ashamed for Los Alamos.  The county council this week managed to make me very sad in the way that the sheriff’s issues were handled. Normally, the council discusses things almost to the point of being ridiculous. But, this decision was done with little discussion and the timing seems very suspicious given that two council members were not present.
    Whether you agree with the argument that the county needs a sheriff department is really not the issue. The fact that four councilors decided to strip the department of its’ duties, save one, with only four days notice, is inexcusable. I definitely will not be voting for any of those involved if they are up for reelection in November.    
    As Pete Sheehey argued, (thank you for your sane voice) Sheriff Marco Lucero and deputies should have been given one more chance to voice their side. I am so mad I could say bad words, but they would not be printed. But, I bet the four councilors could hear them, if they only listened.
    Becky S. Scarborough
    Los Alamos