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Today's Opinions

  • Recap of 2015 Legislature session

    As Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “You may delay, but time will not,” and as we learned this legislative session, delaying critical votes has left New Mexico in a state of confusion and panic.
    For three years, I have served on House Appropriations and am proud of the bipartisan work we have accomplished to deliver New Mexicans a balanced and fair budget and comprehensive capital improvement legislation.
    In those three years, I have never once seen a move as destructive as the 11th hour coup by House Republicans on the capital improvement legislation. Without warning, Republicans decided to play politics with some of our most vulnerable populations and strip critical funding for our senior centers and schools throughout the state and divert that money to the Spaceport and one highway in southern New Mexico.
    This move cost New Mexico millions in economic development and capital improvement projects, as well as much-needed jobs.
    While this session ended on a costly note for New Mexicans, there were some great bipartisan actions and bills to protect our environment and fund crucial programs like CYFD and our public schools. I am proud to report that five important bills I helped carry are awaiting the governor’s signature.

  • Moving people from point A to point B

    Although Harold Morgan’s “Fixing Roads Is Better Than Building Bicycling Underpass” in last week’s Los Alamos Monitor seems more political agit-prop than analysis (referring to cyclists as a cult, and to the funding of bike facilities as the spending orgies of liberal Democrats), it’s worth, in its wake, reviewing a few things about bicycle infrastructure.
    Morgan overlooks that transportation is about moving people to where they need to go. To create an efficient system, the tool should fit the need.
    For short distances, bicycles work well as people movers. By contrast, short distance driving is not particular good for the car, the human, or the built environment. Such driving is often referred to as “severe use” as it doesn’t give the vehicle’s lubricating fluids time to heat up and drive out volatiles. For the human, sedentary lifestyles lead to a host of health problems.

  • The games governors play

    By all accounts, Governor Susana Martinez blew a gasket when the recent 60-day legislative session adjourned.
    It’s a Roundhouse tradition at the end of any session for three or four deputized lawmakers to call upon the sitting governor for the purpose of informing him/her that the clock has run out and the Legislature adjourned.
    As custom has it, civilities and handshakes routinely prevail on such occasions, although after a particularly grueling session a bit of chiding and good natured finger-wagging have been known to cap things off.
    This year, however, when the legislative delegation reached the gubernatorial offices atop the 4th Floor of the Roundhouse to pay their respects, they reportedly found Martinez in a fit of rage, hurling accusations of obstructionism and a failure to compromise at Democratic lawmakers hither and yon.
    According to one senator in the delegation, Albuquerque Democrat Gerald Ortiz y Pino, “It really had the feeling of a dictator who had been thwarted.”
    Viewed from afar, it has the feeling of a bad comedy featuring the proverbial pot looking for a kettle to call black.
    To get some perspective on this bizarre contretemps, we should remember that this was Martinez’s fifth go-round with the New Mexico Legislature.

  • Becoming a foster pet parent

    As an animal lover, you know just how hard it is to pass up that sweet puppy dogface while walking through your local shelter or rescue group. If adoption isn’t possible for you at the moment, fostering can be an amazing opportunity to provide a homeless pet with a nurturing, temporary home until they are able to find a permanent family.
    “It’s not as hard to find pets to foster as some might think,” said Susan Lobit, a veterinary technician at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and experienced fosterer. “Checking with rescue organizations is a always good place to start.”
    Before deciding to foster a pet, there are important aspects of the job you should be aware of that many people overlook.
    “You need to understand that you are in the middle,” Lobit said. “You help the pet get healthy, rehabilitated with any social or physical problems, and teach them about life in a loving home, but then have to be ready to send them on to a forever home.”
    Lobit explains that while letting go can be difficult to do, knowing that you’ve helped make such a huge difference in an animal’s life makes the separation worthwhile.

  • Letters to the editor 3-28-15

    Councilor wants to clarify point

    In the March 25 story about a Los Alamos County Council discussion on the Manhattan Project National Historical Park (MPNHP), a comment made by another person was incorrectly attributed to me, as a review of the meeting recording (audio recording on KRSN at 42:37 mins) in the public record will show.  
    The story quoted me as saying that the county needs to “aggressively” ensure that the park’s national headquarters is located in Los Alamos and the story went on to report about all the people who disagreed with that position.  
    While I wasn’t the person who made that point, I think it’s perfectly appropriate for Los Alamos to argue that we should host the Park Headquarters, vying for the high paying federal jobs and locally-based decision authority that will go with the headquarters operations. I expect Oak Ridge and Hanford to make similar proposals, and I think our chances to land the headquarters on the merits in a fair competition are great.  

  • Running for my life

    I hope by now most of you have seen fliers, received registration forms, or heard about the 5th Annual “Run for Her Life” at East Park on April 19.
    There is nothing more therapeutic than going out on a run. Running clears my mind and frees my soul, but it wasn’t always like that for me.
    Not too long ago, even the thought of jogging shorts and running shoes gave me panic attacks with flashbacks of a particular yelling gym teacher, a cramp in my side and frantically searching for my inhaler. I was one of those people who said “If I am running, you better run too because the only reason I would run is if it were away from something.”
    All of that changed four years ago when I moved to Los Alamos with my husband and our three small children. Due to a combination of health issues and poor lifestyle choices, I found myself weighing 240 pounds at 5 feet, 7 inches tall.  I could feel my body dying and I had to do something.
    With a family history of diabetes and cancer, I knew it was only a matter of time for that to be my fate as well.
    But luckily for me we were in Los Alamos and everywhere I looked there were happy, active people living and loving their healthy lifestyle.

  • Why can’t private sectors handle mail delivery

    In a country where people extol the virtues of free enterprise, why is the U.S. government involved in the delivery of mail? After all, it would be difficult to find a better example of a violation of the principles of free enterprise than the U.S. Postal Service.
    The Postal Service is a monopoly. That means that the law expressly prohibits anyone in the private sector from competing against the government in the delivery of first-class mail. If some private firm attempts to do so, the Justice Department immediately secures an injunction from a federal judge enjoining the firm from continuing to compete. If the firm persists, the judge jails the head of the firm until he agrees to cease and desist with his competition.
    Why should a country that prides itself on the virtues of free enterprise have a massive monopoly on mail delivery? Why not free enterprise in mail delivery?
     One option would be to simply repeal the postal monopoly. That would put the Postal Service in the same position as everyone else — as a competitor among many private firms that would be seeking people’s business.

  • Letters to the editor 3-27-15

    Support arms negotiations

    As the United States and Iran work toward a historic nuclear draft accord on the status of Iran’s nuclear program, dozens of U.S. senators have interfered in the negotiations.
    Senator Tom Cotton and 46 others sent an ill-informed letter to Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, threatening to end any negotiated agreement regarding nuclear weapons once President Barack Obama leaves office.
    This undermines the president’s ability now, and in the future, to achieve the national security goals of the United States. It should be the long-term goal of our national leaders to rid the world of all nuclear weapons, whether they be in the hands of Iran, North Korea, Russia, or the United States. We in New Mexico should stand up and be the leaders in this area.
    Whether we have parents affected by radiation from the Trinity test, friends who worked in the uranium mines, or distant relatives who created Fat Man, the history of the atomic age is littered with human and environmental casualties.
    As an Action Corps leader for Global Zero, I urge all New Mexicans to support negotiations with Iran, and pressure our local leaders to support the elimination of nuclear weapons.
    Jesse Guillén
    Santa Fe