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Today's Opinions

  • Trinity Drive could use significant rehabilitation

    Forty million dollars is a lot to spend in the name of improving the “safety” of Trinity Drive.  
    When I was in business school, I was taught to use cost/benefit analysis when looking at a proposed expenditure.  
    I would like to know if there is an estimate for the reduction in lives lost or bodily injury crashes so that we can see what we will get for $40 million.  
    It seems that  few towns are able to spend that kind of money, but thousands more are providing appropriate safety for their residents and visitors in a cost effective fashion without roundabouts every half mile.
    It is clear that Trinity Drive could use significant rehabilitation, but I am sure that could be done for a lot less.

  • Gary Johnson’s curious campaign for president

    It has now been almost a month and a-half since former Gov. Gary Johnson announced his candidacy for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, yet it’s still unclear why he’s running.
    A Gallup poll last week attempted to measure the name recognition among rank and file Republicans of the real or rumored potential candidates for the party’s nomination.
    Johnson came in dead last, trailing even a former pizza chain executive, Herman Cain, who recently made it official that he also seeks the GOP nomination.

  • Happy Valentine's Day

    Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy Memorial Day! Have a wonderful Fourth of July and a great Mother’s Day!
    What’s that you say? Memorial Day has passed us by and it’s not July yet?
    Well, why must our lives be so regulated that we can only celebrate something on a single day? There’s no law against giving your sweetheart a box of chocolates in June.
    If you feel patriotic, wave the flag and stoke up that barbeque in December. Send your mother a card every month telling her how much you love her. And seriously, is there any good reason to only celebrate Isaac Newton’s birthday just once a year?
    Okay, so maybe we don’t want kids randomly showing up at our doorstep asking for candy every other weekend.

  • Much may happen behind scenes

    Susana-PAC has been formed to help elect courageous state and local leaders committed to the types of reforms that will move New Mexico forward.
    We were all rather surprised when former Gov. Bill Richardson kept his political action committee going strong even after he won his second term as governor and dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
    But now Gov. Susana Martinez has taken the idea a step further. First she used leftover PAC money from her campaign to buy radio ads and make robocalls to promote her legislative agenda.
    Now she has created a second PAC to help fund state and local candidates who agree with her issues. What are those issues?

  • Germany takes first big step toward renewables

    Everybody remembers where they were the day of JFK’s assassination and the day the towers fell in New York City.
    Some of us also remember where we were in March 1979 when the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant suffered mechanical failures.
    At the first news, a PNM coworker and I dashed down the street to read the reports clacking out of an Associated Press teletype machine. PNM was and still is part owner of a nuclear power plant.
    The furor decimated the nuclear industry with plant cancellations and new regulatory hurdles, and it was particularly painful for New Mexico. Grants, the uranium capital, slipped from boom to bust as mine after mine closed until they were all shuttered.

  • Death by mushrooms

    It’s a classic plot device of murder mysteries: an evil killer slips poisonous mushrooms into the frying pan of an unsuspecting victim who dies an agonizing death.
    But in real life, poisonous fungi typically sicken and occasionally kill people for quite different reasons.
    Recently I learned a lot about what can go wrong in the world of mushrooms from Dr. Denis Benjamin, a medical doctor who is also a fungi and poison expert.
    As the weather improves over so much of the nation, this seems like a good time to review how you can avoid having yourself or members of your family join the ranks of those who eat the wrong mushrooms.

  • What’s government really supposed to do?

    Some things are outside the proper scope of government. That much is clear to me.
    But like what? Specific examples are easy. At the federal level, there are ethanol subsidies, nearly everything that happens in the bedroom and specification of the graphics for street signs in neighborhoods. For the latter, see my post at www.capitolreportnm.com.
    At the state level, I’ve been making suggestions for a couple of years in the largely unsuccessful hope of inspiring what is now the Martinez administration. One is closing, for cost reasons, the El Camino Real International Heritage Center, located four miles off Interstate 25 in the middle of nowhere.

  • Arizona fire haze reminiscent of coal-fired power plants

    The visible news for days now has been the thick smoke from Arizona forest fires filling the Rio Grande Valley. Old-timers recall the 1970s, when haze from the large coal-fired power plants in the Four Corners region often reached the valley.
    A decade of citizen effort cut down the then-legal emissions of ash by 300-400 tons daily.
    Later, the legal emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the plants also were reduced by 300-400 tons a day.
    Albuquerque rules and new engine technology cut NOx emissions from vehicles. Ash, SOx and NOx cause haze.
    More citizen work and political help from both parties produced laws and rules for the Prevention of Significant Deterioration in treasured parks.