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Today's Opinions

  • Solyndra isn't the whole story

    In the utility room of a wealthy homeowner was a Rube Goldberg-like solar system, impossibly complex. It wasn’t working. In the 1970s, it was my first solar story.
    We’ve come a long way, baby. Now they work, and the biggest obstacle – cost – is going away. Good ol’ American know-how would have risen to the challenge, eventually, but the Chinese beat us to the punch.  

  • Analyze your benefits

    Admit it: You probably spend more time comparison shopping online than reviewing your annual benefits enrollment materials.
    That’s a big mistake because the money you could save by choosing the right employee benefits package probably far exceeds any savings you could get on a big-screen TV.
    For example, many people don’t sign up for an extremely valuable benefit – flexible spending accounts (FSAs).
    If your employer offers them, FSAs let you pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care and/or dependent care expenses on a pre-tax basis – that is, before federal, state and Social Security taxes are deducted from your paycheck.

  • Don’t raise property taxes

    Dear Editor,
    As everyone should know by now they will be receiving a mail-in ballot to vote on a General Obligation Bond to support the construction of a new leisure pool at the Aquatic Center.
      I’m all for this new pool but not at the expense of me having to pay higher property taxes which is how these type of bonds are paid for.  The property taxes in this town are ridiculous as it is and I’m sure not going to pay any more!  And don’t tell me the property taxes won’t go up.  I’ve heard that one before.

  • Diamond delays truly costly

    The Los Alamos Monitor’s blazing headline on Sunday, September 30, “Councilor makes costly motion,” was about three County staffers each spending roughly five hours waiting for an agenda item delayed in a Council meeting.
    Actually, most staffers anticipate that possibility and work on something else in an anteroom.  The time can be at least partially productive.
    A more important story would address how much time we have wasted sitting in traffic on Diamond Drive.  Construction took five years, not the planned three.  In most of those years, work extended weeks to months beyond what was scheduled.  Traffic control plans appeared to have been developed in response to jams, not engineered in advance and then tweaked.

  • Time to restructure

    As Jerome Block Jr. joins the roster of bad boys and girls forced to leave the state’s Public Regulation Commission, let’s look back and see how we got here.
    In 1996 voters passed a constitutional amendment to combine the State Corporation Commission, whose three members were elected on a statewide basis, and the Public Utility Commission, whose three members were appointed.
    It would be replaced by the Public Regulation Commission, whose five members would be elected by district.
    This super-agency would regulate utilities, phone companies, water and sewer systems, insurance, pipelines, and tow-truck operators.

  • It gets better

    They say death is the great equalizer. We all feel pretty much the same after we die.
    And when a loved one dies, the living all suffer the same pain of loss. And so it was for my friend when Bill died.  
    My friend was inconsolable and there was little anyone could do to ease the torment in his heart. Bill had died of AIDS and Mark was his friend, his life mate, his lover. But not his husband.
    As Tina Turner sang, what’s love got to do with it?
    Mark and Bill had lived together in a loving relationship for more than 20 years (far longer than most heterosexual marriages I know.)  
    The disease that took Bill’s life had been contracted by an infected blood supply, not by infidelity or promiscuity.  

  • Gerrymandering lives on

    Elbridge Gerry had quite a life. Born on July 17, 1744, in Marblehead, Mass., he died 70 years later in Washington, D.C.
    In the intervening years, Gerry graduated from Harvard University, where he immersed himself in classical studies.
    A decade later, he was serving in the Colonial House of Delegates before going on to become a member of the Continental Congress.
    It would be a dazzling political career that put Elbridge Gerry among that select group of American patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence and later among those who served in the new nation’s First and Second Congresses.
    His final triumph came in 1812, when he was elected vice president of the United States under President James Madison.

  • Stepping back from dam power

    Just over a century ago, when William Howard Taft was president and I was a young woman, an entrepreneur named Thomas Aldwell started building a dam in the Northwest woods of the Olympic peninsula in Washington.
    The 108-foot-high Elwha dam became an early hydroelectric powerhouse, helping to fuel population and industrial growth related to activities as varied as forestry and ship-building.  
    Over the following decades more hydro-dams in the West were built.
    Mega-dams like Grand Coulee and Boulder rose across rivers, and the cost for electricity to users dropped sharply.