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Today's Opinions

  • Letters to the Editor 10-27-16

     Chris Chandler is dedicated to community

     

    I strongly encourage Los Alamos citizens to vote for Chris Chandler for county council. I have known and worked with Chris for years and have great respect for her abilities and judgment. Her dedication to the community is shown by her previous service on the county council, the planning and zoning commission, and charter review committees. She is a hard worker who makes sure she fully understands an issue before recommending what action she thinks appropriate. She expresses her positions and the reasons for them clearly and understandably, and is able to work with others to find the best solutions for problems being considered.  She listens carefully to citizen concerns, and will strive to make council actions reflect the needs and wishes of the community.

    Mark Jones

    Los Alamos

     

    Anne Nobile will faithfully serve as probate judge

     

  • Assets In Action: Red Ribbon Week celebrates drug-free living

    If you didn’t know, this is Red Ribbon week. I hope you might take a moment to ask the children or grandchildren in your life, if school did anything for Red Ribbon week. Nationally the campaign slogan is YOLO for You Only Live Once, so do it drug free.

    While most schools try to send the message about not drinking or being drug free, almost anything healthy fits into the making healthy choices category, which should make the conversation easy to approach.

    While I love that schools attempt to send message, which I believe adds to creating a safe school climate, we need to carry the message from our homes, community organizations, churches, synagogues and more. Diet wise if I only had to make healthy choices while I was at work for 8 hours a day and then did all the bad things the other 16 hours a day, things wouldn’t work out.

    So we need to have the conversations with our kids and send the message that we as adults make healthy choices every day too. 

    Here’s what some of the data has to say about our youth. Did you know that 26 percent of our ninth through twelfth graders admit to being current drinkers? 15% of those drinkers admit to being binge drinkers and sadly there’s even a category that asks if they have had 10 drinks in one sitting.

  • Overcoming isolation of the elderly

     A woman I know lives alone and, at age 60-plus, has a chronic health condition. Often she doesn’t feel well. She thinks she would not be good company, so she doesn’t reliably return the calls of people who are trying to be her friends. 

    She’s isolated and depressed and has difficulty asking for help when she needs it. Eventually those friends may stop calling. Does that sound like anyone you know?

    Social isolation of the elderly and those with disabilities is an epidemic of our time. It’s receiving increasing recognition in public policy and public health circles. Isolation makes many frail elderly individuals miserable. And they develop health problems that add costs to our health systems. 

    Most people who have homes want to stay in them as they age; the studies confirm what common sense would tell you. But they (make that “we”) are all at risk for the frailties of old age, including losing the ability to drive and other skills basic to living independently.

  • Letters to the Editor 10-23-16

    Garcia Richard’s vote inconsistent with promise

     

    I heard about the recent vote Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard made to take away $25 million from New Mexico public schools. This vote seemed inconsistent with her promise to protect education funding during the special session, so I decided to watch a video of the committee hearing and see what actually happened.

    I am very troubled by what I saw. It seems that Garcia Richard initially voted to table the bill in question, Senate Bill 10, but when she saw that all of her Democrat colleagues voted to support the bill, she changed her vote.

    This bill would have taken over $265,000 from Los Alamos Public Schools. What is more important to Garcia Richard, representing her district or protecting the party line?

    We need representatives that can think for themselves, independent of party instructions. We don’t need representatives who make empty promises or tell us one thing and then vote the opposite way when it matters.

    It’s time to hold our representatives accountable for their actions in the legislature. I’m voting for Sharon Stover because I know she’ll always put the interests of district ahead of party politics.

  • Letters to the Editor 10-23-16

    Solar energy share is less than stated in article

    This letter is in response to a recent article regarding “Does Solar Energy Make Business Sense?”
    A statement in this article says, “In 2010, solar was only 4 percent of U.S. electricity generation capacity. Now it’s 64 percent. That’s incredible...” According to the Energy Institute of America (EIA) it is only 0.6 percent; by far the larger renewable source is Wind Power.
    The table below is from EIA:
    Search eia.gov under “frequently asked questions” and find the following information.
    The website said:”What is U.S. electricity generation by energy source?” In 2015, the United States generated about 4 trillion kilowatthours of electricity.1 About 67 percent of the electricity generated was from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum). Major energy sources and percent share of total U.S. electricity generation in 2015.”
    • Coal  is 33 percent
    • Natural gas is 33 percent
    • Nuclear is 20 percent
    • Hydropower is 6 percent
    • Other renewables is 7 percent
    • Biomass is 1.6 percent
    • Geothermal is 0.4 percent
    • Solar is 0.6 percent
    • Wind is 4.7 percent

  • Shrinking budget will force change on state’s higher ed

    New Mexico’s small population stretches over a big state, so we have taken higher education to the students, with 32 colleges and universities. Nearly every sizable community has a branch or an independent institution.
    For our students, who tend to be older and need to hold a job while they take classes, this is a good thing.
    But one of the bigger arguments in the recent legislative special session was how much to cut higher education. The institutions skated with relatively small cuts, but probably not for long. We’re not out of the hole, and come January, lawmakers will put everything back on the table.
    Recently, Higher Education Secretary Barbara Damron announced that the state’s system is unsustainable. Each institution has its own board, and they’re more dependent on state funding than experts say is healthy. New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs is lowest, at 20 percent, while Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari is highest, at 61 percent. The three biggest institutions get 35 to 40 percent of their funding from the state.
    As state revenues have tanked, so have enrollments, which had risen during the early part of the recession. Also, our population is shrinking as people leave the state. Graduation rates are poor (35 percent, compared with 40 percent nationally).

  • Chiles in New York, new chile book in New Mexico

    The two chile plants were big enough that the restaurant staffer carried one in each hand. He hung the plants upside down, each on a hook on the restaurant wall. Dirt clung to the roots. The chiles, each about six inches long and a pure red, were slightly shriveled. A very New Mexican image, except that the restaurant, Rafele, is in Greenwich Village in New York City. An owner of the restaurant grew the chiles on a farm upstate, I was told.
    Roasting and processing chile is another fall image, but one not seen so much outside the state.
    Since 1997 University of New Mexico alumni chapter members have gathered for group chile processing by the ton.
    I can’t imagine a ton of green chile. My images stop at a bag or two or the bushel we’ve done the past few years. My daughter’s 2016 chile image was the ten pounds that arrived in New Hampshire as a birthday present the night before she, husband and baby were set to fly to Albuquerque. But there were the chiles and process they did.
    UNM’s Washington, D.C., alumni group processed two tons of chile last year, says the alumni office. Maybe they were the bureaucrats who have fled Santa Fe for Washington the past 15 or 20 years as state government competence has eroded.
    Six other chapters gathered processing crews. Total production was six tons.

  • Letters to the Editor 10-19-16

    Keep Justice Judy on the supreme court

    I have known Judy Nakamura for over 30 years and have followed her career as a member of the judiciary.
    I first met Judy as a member of the Young Republicans where Judy worked hard to encourage young talented people to run for public office. She was enthusiastic and tireless. She impressed me and we became fast friends. I remember she was encouraged to go to law school and she entered the University of New Mexico School of Law. After law school I did not hear much of her, but when she ran for office and won, I was proud of her.
    Judy has a reputation of doing what is right no matter if she receives harsh criticism. She was honored by both state and national groups though the only one that I can recall is the one where she was honored for her work with teens who had alcohol problems.  She was the judge of the year for the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization.
    Judy was elected by her peers as chief justice, both in the metropolitan and the district courts. She was the chief justice for most of her tenure on the metropolitan court. During that time, she was responsible for the court calendar where she put many long lingering cases to trial despite defense lawyer opposition. Judy has a lot of courage.