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Today's Opinions

  • Confessions of an aggravated mope

    BY BOB HAGAN
    Coffee on a Cold Morning

  • Time is right to consider smart tools for pipelines

    Politics leads the nation in constant fights for and against new pipelines. So why do so few partisans on either side sing out for smart tools on pipelines?
    No matter how you view pipelines, President Donald Trump has timely chances to change the old ways.
    “Smart tools” is a broad term for the steady stream of 21st century devices with computer chips that continuously inspect, analyze and report on the state of health of almost everything. Smart tools are known to business and industry for saving costs and improving the reliability of products and operations. Smart tools are used in fields as diverse as health care, farming, manufacturing, home security systems and maintenance of infrastructure.
    To maintain public safety, smart tools yield rapid, routine knowledge of the health of large civil structures, such as tall buildings, bridges, aircraft and pipelines. Over the years, this field evolved into a speciality with its own name – Structural Health Monitoring (SHM).
    SHM has a rich history. The discipline of SHM has an international society of its own with its own technical journal. The 10th International Workshop on SHM was held in 2015 at Stanford University. Princeton offers a graduate course in SHM. Researchers at the national laboratory in town work on SHM.

  • Letters to the Editor 1-20-17

    Sugar says he would bring unique, personal view to school board

    My name is Dr. Darryl Sugar. I am running for the school board in the Chamisa area, because I feel I can help continue the high quality of education at Los Alamos Public Schools. Nationally, the data indicates a growing number of stresses that affect students as well as teachers. As stresses from social platforms and other demands grow, mental health is increasingly at risk and can interfere with performance. That increases the likelihood of significant anxiety/depression or drugs/alcohol being used.
    I have a unique and personal perspective on this. My wife died unexpectedly on Christmas in 2009 in Denver, while we were visiting my daughter and her husband who are also physicians. Looking back, I became severely depressed and felt like my  life ended. When I returned home to South Carolina, the depression worsened, and I went to the office where my wife and I spent most of our time and decided to join her. I started a fire but found it was impossible to end my life.

  • Dogpaddling in the economic toilet bowl

    Grants Mayor Martin Hicks told a legislative interim committee last summer that the only remaining coal mine had laid off 150 people, the population has dropped to 8,500 from 18,500 when he was growing up in the town, and there are 22 empty buildings on the main drag.
    But Cibola County has some possibilities in tourism and logging.
    On the East Side, tiny Anton Chico has an old school building with a functional gym and kitchen that could be used to house small businesses. And the economic development group would like to take over a meat processing company, but the processor’s building is held by the bank. The organization needs help to enter e-commerce and find markets for area farm products.
    All either town needs from the state is a little help – money and knowhow.
    And so it goes.
    We may continue to dogpaddle in the economic toilet bowl, but in pretty much any community in the state, there are possibilities. And, surprisingly, hope.
    So what do we hear from our leaders?
    The state’s chief executive offers a package of get-tough DWI bills. And in testy language, she defended her budget and picked a fight with the Legislative Finance Committee over their budget.

  • Working together to prevent future accidents at a dangerous intersection

    By Harry Burgess
    Los Alamos County Manager

    I would like to take this opportunity to address safety concerns we have heard recently from the public regarding the intersection of State Road 4 (SR4) and the Truck Route. Over the last few months four serious motor vehicle accidents involving residents have occurred. These accidents typically involved a westbound turn by a motorist from SR4 onto the Truck Route at this signalized intersection. I think we all agree that the situation is dangerous and accidents can happen for a variety of reasons.

    Clearly this intersection backs up in all directions during peak commute times, and this factor played a part in recent accidents. There is personal responsibility on the part of all drivers to be attentive and aware of traffic entering any busy intersection. But there is a role for government with respect to road design as well. 

  • Administration’s 36 or 37 tax ‘cuts’ include 2 increases

    A Martinez administration mantra is, “We’ve cut taxes 37 times.” This repetition came Dec. 20 at the Tax Research Institute’s Legislative Outlook Conference. The speaker was the governor’s chief of staff Keith Gardner.
    But what exactly are those tax cuts? After a couple of requests spokesman Chris Sanchez provided a list of bill numbers by session date. The list is posted at capitolreportnm.blogspot.com. He did not provide estimated revenue impact, which I requested. I was unable to get the impact from the Legislature’s website, nmlegis.gov.
    Finding the bills is a little tedious, but easy enough.
    Taken as one, the list offers rather less than meets the eye. Repeating “We’ve cut taxes 37 times” is supposed to impress. I’m reminded of governors running for president—Bill Richardson comes to mind—claiming virtue from having balanced the state government budget. Such claims mean nothing; state constitutions require balanced budgets.
    The list showed 36 tax cut bills. The exception was Senate Bill 369 from 2012, which defined a number of terms relating to veterans.

  • Letters to the Editor 1-18-17

    Thank you to community for support

    In today’s world when there is so much focus on disturbing news, we want to focus on the positive and send a huge thank you to this wonderful community, for supporting our fundraising efforts for our young friend and co-worker Valerie.
    To the Los Alamos Monitor and the LA Daily Post for providing such supportive vehicles for the community to get our stories out, Thank You! To the Sheriff’s Posse Lodge and its volunteers who work many hours to offer a perfect venue for groups and organizations to do their thing, Thank you!
    And finally to a community with a huge heart and generous spirit that is always there when the chips are down and help is needed. Thank you! Your donations of casseroles, knitted hats for Valerie, kind, encouraging words and thoughts, precious time and hard-earned cash made our Frito Pie Night a huge success. We appreciate you all so much. Full of wonderful!
    Valerie, Xaedyn, and all of the friends, family and co-workers of Valerie

    PEEC thanks Rotary for new play area

  • Letters to the Editor 1-13-17

    We must properly fund New Mexico’s court system
     
    New Mexico’s courts face a funding crisis that threatens to undermine the judiciary’s ability to protect our rights by delivering timely justice. We must act now to prevent further damage.
    As Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels recently told a legislative committee, “We are now basically on life support through the end of this fiscal year.”
    In courthouses across the state, New Mexicans can see the corrosive effects of budget cuts and underfunding of the judiciary.
    Most magistrate courts are closed to the public for at least half a day each week because the courts are unable to fill vacant staff positions.  
    These courts are the busiest in the state, resolving more than 170,000 criminal, civil and traffic cases last year.
    There will be no more criminal or civil jury trials starting in March unless the courts receive additional funding. Criminal defendants, whether innocent or guilty, are entitled to a speedy trial under the constitution.
    The prosecution of criminal cases is being impaired. Some courts confront the possibility of dismissing cases because the state’s public defender office lacks the staff and budget it needs to handle more cases.