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Today's Opinions

  • What New Mexico’s tax-hikers don’t want you to know

    BY D. DOWD MUSKA
    New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation

  • ABQ income rank down, Mora income up and people still leaving

    Topics this week: How many of us are there? How has our population changed? How much money do we make in each county? Population numbers come from the Census Bureau. Money numbers are from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    A non-federal number gets us started. Albuquerque’s population is projected to be 919,854 as of Jan. 1, 2018, up a slight 5,028, or 0.5 percent, from 914,826 to start 2017. The figures come from American City Business Journals, publisher of “Albuquerque Business First,” a weekly. Love the specificity. Also the immediacy.
    Translated, Albuquerque’s population will be flat for 2017. Presumably this is metro Albuquerque, though American City doesn’t say.
    The federal numbers folks aren’t much into projecting. They wait a while for some early figures to supply the computers. The newest federal numbers are for July 1, 2016.
    New Mexico’s population grew 687 from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2016. That means no growth at all, maybe even a decline because the miniscule 687 is an estimate within a range. The “growth” happened only because busy New Mexicans added more babies to the population – an estimated 25,491 during the 2015-2016 year – than there were subtractions because people died. The gain was 7,692.

  • Two New Mexico cities put values on display

    How do you want people to think about your community?
    If you live in Carlsbad, the nation currently knows your town through a Facebook post. If you live in Santa Fe, the nation has heard about Santa Fe’s declaration as a sanctuary city.
     In case you were abducted by aliens, Carlsbad City Councilor J. R. Doporto said on Facebook: “Just want to give a heads up to the women! You have rights! A right to cook and a right to clean. Today is Sunday and the NFL playoffs our (sic) on! I suggest you stop your b!tch!ng/protesting during this time. Because you also have a right to get slapped!”
    For that, he lost his job.
    Doporto has said he was just joking and claims his right to freedom of speech has been violated. His wife says he’s a good husband and father.
    I’m not going to rant about the post – plenty of other people have done that. My concern – and I write about this periodically – is how New Mexico is perceived on the outside.
    Doporto’s post made news all over New Mexico and, after Cox Media Group and the Huffington Post picked it up, across the nation. For a community that’s dependent in part on tourists, this isn’t healthy.

  • Letters to the Editor 2-01-17

    Jim Hall has leadership that is needed on school board

    Voters in the Piñon district have a choice that one wishes every voter would always have, namely, two excellent candidates. I have had the pleasure to work with Jim Hall and Ellen Ben-Naim. They are both dedicated public servants who care deeply about our students, teachers, and schools.
    If I were eligible to vote, I’d give my nod to Jim Hall. Jim has a remarkable set of experiences from leading business computing at the lab to serving as the State Chief Information Officer, to serving as a county councilor, our state representative, and president of the school board. Jim is also a successful businessman and property developer, who serves on the board of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation. He understands budgets and information technology from both a private and public sector perspective. His breadth of knowledge is an invaluable asset for governing our schools, especially in times of resource constraints and changing needs for our students and teachers to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

  • Rep. Steve Pearce two-steps to a different beat on healthcare, Trump

    Political pundits are talking lately about a possible run for governor by Congressman Steve Pearce. If that’s true, he has a strange way of endearing himself to New Mexico voters.
    Pearce was one of the Republicans to sign the American Healthcare Act. And while other Rs look for cover as the president’s controversies deepen, Pearce goes out on a limb to defend him.
    The current version of the House healthcare bill isn’t likely to survive the Senate makeover, but it’s instructive to look at what Pearce thinks is appropriate for us.
    The AHCA would repeal Obamacare, phase out increased federal funding for low-income people who got coverage through the 2014 Medicaid expansion. It would instead make Medicaid a cheaper block grant program. Millions of people would lose their coverage in the next ten years.
    In New Mexico that translates to more than 265,000 people of the 900,000 currently on Medicaid, according to an analysis by economist Kelly O’Donnell, of UNM’s Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy. It would also affect the children, seniors and disabled people who traditionally qualified. New Mexico would have to come up with an additional $427 million a year or reduce coverage.

  • Letters To The Editor 5-21-17

    'Pay to Play" comes to Los Alamos County

    Recently, Los Alamos County Council chose to publish an email of a citizen of Los Alamos in the Los Alamos Daily Post. Instead of attacking the author we should also be asking, “Why did the Council release this private email for publication?”  What did our County Council have to gain from releasing this email?   

    Does this mean that all citizens should fear that their personal correspondence to the council, may also be published? Apparently so! Many county residents have chosen to remain silent in their opposition to the Rec Bond Vote, for fear of retaliation. It seems as though fear and intimidation are campaign tactics not only approved, but also implemented by members of our own County Council. When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny – Thomas Jefferson.  

    Concerning the Rec Bond...

    Not only am I concerned about the enormous cost of these projects, potential cost overruns, and jeopardizing future Capital projects, I am also concerned when County Councilors serve special interests over the public interest. In this case, elected officials are using public funds to lobby for these interests, then use public debt to finance them.

  • Letters to the Editor 5-14-17

    Now is not the time for
    unnecessary projects

    Dear Editor,
    The county is expecting a $1.3 million dollar shortfall this year and this is on top of the uncertainty of what the GRT from the lab will be so now is NOT the time to be asking property owners to fund unnecessary projects that will only cause a greater deficit in the coming years.
    Property owners are already having to pay higher property taxes thanks to UNM-LA not being able to manage their own finances. Now they want all of us to pay even more so they can fund useless projects that only benefit the few with no financial benefit to the town as a whole.
    The county can’t manage the money they have now! For instance, how many thousands of dollars were wasted on that stupid symbol painted on the street at the intersection of 15th and Central Avenue where you can¹t tell what it is or says. And what happened to the money budgeted to install the HVAC system at the library? The list of wasteful spending in L.A. goes on and on.
    Voters need to also consider all the delays, cutbacks, and redesigns that occurred with the “new” community center/club house at the golf course.

  • Letter to the Editor 5-10-17

    Vote yes ­– don’t let perfect be the enemy of very good

    Dear Editor,
    I am writing in support of the Rec Bond. After a year and a half of public meetings and countless hours of staff and volunteer research and planning, the county has put together a well thought out package of recreation projects. These facilities will help meet the needs of young families, student athletes and adults of all ages. They will also help increase our property values, benefit our schools and make Los Alamos a more attractive place to live for new hires to the Lab.
    I believe passing the recreation bond will help move Los Alamos county forward. It’s very unlikely that my family will use every facility regularly and that¹s OK.  However, they will provide many residents and visitors with new and better recreation options, and that makes Los Alamos a stronger, healthier community.
    Is the plan perfect? Probably not, but that is an impossible standard to meet when trying to meet the needs and wants of all kinds of stakeholders.
    This is, however, a very good plan to upgrade our recreation options. Please don’t let Perfect be the enemy of Very Good. Vote yes for the Rec Bond.
    Ellen Ben-Naim
    Los Alamos