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Today's Opinions

  • Campaign questions you don't hear about

    During the political season, while you’re listening to what candidates want to tell you, there’s another form of communication that most of us don’t see. It happens every election season. Maybe it should be more public.
    Organizations of every political stripe send questionnaires to candidates for office, asking for their positions on issues of special interest to those organizations.
    Some questionnaires are designed to educate the candidates about the organization’s issues. That’s a legitimate reason for a questionnaire. Organizations may use the candidates’ responses to make decisions about campaign contributions, endorsements and other forms of support.
    Some questionnaires go further in attempting to pin candidates down to specific positions. The candidate is asked to make a commitment, in writing, to a position that the voters at large never learn about, because the organization has promised it won’t make the answers public. This should concern us.
    Candidates are free to choose which questionnaires they will answer. They can (and do) ignore the questionnaires from organizations they disagree with.
    Over the years I have had a chance to write a few questions and help candidates answer a few questions. Writing the questions is more fun.

  • You can only follow the money if you can see it

    If you’re trying to buy an election or throw an election, you’re in high clover. If you’re a concerned citizen or a reporter trying to find out who is buying elections, you’re in the weeds.
    That was just one thought I had last week, sitting in a roomful of New Mexico journalists at a seminar titled, appropriately, “Follow The Money.”
    Campaign finance is now so murky that it took a day for two smart people from the National Institute on Money in State Politics just to show us the websites we can use to tease out campaign donations. Seminar organizers were the Society of Professional Journalists and New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.
    Even with these tools, the big numbers and their donors still can’t be identified.
    The Citizens United case in 2010 spawned a raft of organizations with lofty names that can accept donations in any amount without revealing the donor, as long as they abide by a few flimsy rules.
    You have the familiar 501(c)3, which is most nonprofits. The 501(c)4 is a social welfare organization that supposedly promotes the common good for a community.
    The 501(c)5 is a labor organization operating for the betterment of working conditions. The 501(c)6 is a business group, like the chamber of commerce.

  • Better to build roads for today than to subsidize Tesla for tomorrow

     Tesla Motors Inc. (teslamotors.com) is brilliant. The electric car manufacturer company says it will build a huge battery factory, a “gigafactory.” (Gotta love that word, “gigafactory.” Wonder where it came from?)
    Tesla has simultaneously and publicly dangled the deal before five states — New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Nevada and California.
    State economic developers have responded like kittens faced with a piece of yarn. The yarn comment, though a tad snarky, merely says that developers, who get paid to chase deals, are doing their jobs.
    I admit to not paying huge attention to the Tesla proposal. This column focuses on the deep structural troubles affecting the entire state economy.
    A report a few days ago, taken with last week’s column, adjusted that perspective. In what follows, for the sake of argument, assume an either/or situation, one choice or the other.
    Tesla has finally said what it wants from the host state, basically10 percent off the top, according to an Aug. 3 Albuquerque Journal story. For a $5 billion project, that’s $500 million delivered via tax abatements, building infrastructure, job training funds, whatever, all for a gamble, a new, heavily subsidized technology.

  • Horses prone to heatstroke

    Our cats and dogs aren’t the only animals that need special attention during the unbearable summer temperatures. Horses and other large animals get hot, too.
    Though they may not express it in the same way as our domestic pets, heatstroke is still common among large animals, and prevention is the best cure.
    “The important things to consider during summer heat for animals are similar as for humans,” said Dr. Leslie Easterwood, assistant clinical professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). “It is best to provide clean, fresh water at a rate higher than they would be losing due to sweat.”
    The progression from dehydration to heat exhaustion and ultimately heat stroke can occur rapidly.
    Providing your large animals with access to plenty of water and shade is the most important way to keep their body temperatures under control. Just as with humans and other animals, the higher the temperature or activity level, the more water is required to cool the body.

  • Be aware of work at Aspen School

    We would like to update the community on the progress of the Aspen Elementary School project.

  • Smith’s helps hungry kids, families

    Recently, The Food Depot had the pleasure of participating in the grand opening of Smith’s Marketplace. During the transition from their former location, Smith’s donated fresh produce and other food to The Food Depot, Northern New Mexico’s food bank.

  • Visting Nurses appreciate the support

    As President of the Board of Directors of Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service, I would like to thank the Los Alamos community for its continued support.

    As noted in our recent advertisement in The Los Alamos Monitor, LAVNS is experiencing great changes!
     Our Executive Director of 43 years, Sarah Rochester, has stepped down and is now devoting her energies to the building of The Sanctuary at Canyon’s Edge, the first stand-alone hospice house in New Mexico located north of Albuquerque.
    Sarah Rochester has shown amazing dedication, leadership, and vision in founding and growing LAVNS as the only non-profit home care and hospice organization in Los Alamos.
    I have had the pleasure of working with Sarah for several years and LAVNS is grateful for her continued work as the Consultant to the Hospice House.
    We look forward to celebrating Sarah’s work and the groundbreaking for The Sanctuary at Canyon’s Edge in the near future.
    Thank you to Los Alamos for your continued support of LAVNS under the guidance of our new Executive Director, Georgina Williams, and our new Clinical Director, Debbie Storms.
    We are fully staffed with a close-knit team of dedicated professionals and offer the same great services you have grown to expect.
    For more information on our team, contact LAVNS at 662-2525.

  • Better shopping through math

    Your new store is very imposing, but there is a problem for many of us who have limited time or energy. This concerns the vast distances that must be covered to complete even a modest shopping list.