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Today's Opinions

  • Letters to the Editor 6-10-16

    Monitor story on
    Am-241 source moved to  LANL

    An article in the Friday Monitor, LANL partner in radioactive removal, relates LANL assisting NMED in moving a drum containing 8.63 Ci of Am-241 from Santa Fe to LANL for safe storage. The Santa Fe New Mexican carried an article on the same exercise. This article misstates the drum as containing 9.2 Kg of Am-241. I assume the Monitor value of roughly 9 Ci is correct. An Am-241 source containing 9.2 Kg of Am-241 would be about 32,000 Ci, i.e. a very large and dangerous source. A 9 Ci am-241 source would also be dangerous, if not shielded by the source shield and the drum that contained it.
    The principal radiation from Am-241 is alpha-particle, and alphas can not penetrate a sheet of paper or even the first layer of human skin (epidermis). I assume the source was in some type of lead (Pb) shield from which no alphas would escape. Approximately 60% of Am-241 decays are also accompanied by the emission of a 60-kev gamma ray that does penetrate further, but they would be totally absorbed by any Pb shield.
    The bottom line of this note is that the source in question was of minimal health hazard and certainly didn’t require up to $6 million or involve 40 people; it could have been safely transported in a common pickup driven carefully.
    Dr. T. Douglas Reilly, physicist,

  • Letter to the Editor 6-5-16

    Sheriff Rojas would have tears in his eyes

    Remember when you said the sheriff and everyone knew you meant Louie Rojas? I have been here 49 years and I can’t remember another sheriff by name.
    It was an elected office and Louie was a born politician. He worked at Zia and called every male who worked at the Lab “doctor.”
    Louie’s kids were known as the sheriff and Patsy’s kids. Being sheriff wasn’t a job to him, it was a community service, and Patsy was serving right beside him.
    I don’t know what he was paid but he was the best P.R. person the county ever had.
    Louie is no longer with us, but I know wherever he is he has tears in his eyes.
    Camille Morrison
    White Rock

  • Letter to the Editor 6-1-16

    Council’s handling of
    sheriff’s issues disappointing

    I am so ashamed for Los Alamos.  The county council this week managed to make me very sad in the way that the sheriff’s issues were handled. Normally, the council discusses things almost to the point of being ridiculous. But, this decision was done with little discussion and the timing seems very suspicious given that two council members were not present.
    Whether you agree with the argument that the county needs a sheriff department is really not the issue. The fact that four councilors decided to strip the department of its’ duties, save one, with only four days notice, is inexcusable. I definitely will not be voting for any of those involved if they are up for reelection in November.    
    As Pete Sheehey argued, (thank you for your sane voice) Sheriff Marco Lucero and deputies should have been given one more chance to voice their side. I am so mad I could say bad words, but they would not be printed. But, I bet the four councilors could hear them, if they only listened.
    Becky S. Scarborough
    Los Alamos

  • Letters to the Editor 5-25-16

    Thank you to those who supported Living
    Treasures of Los Alamos

    On behalf of the Board of the Living Treasures of Los Alamos, I want to give immense thanks to Los Alamos National Bank for underwriting this year’s Living Treasures ceremony on April 24.
    The 300-plus attendees enthusiastically honored our newest Treasures, Nona Bowman, Chuck Tallman and Selvi Viswanathan, and enjoyed a delicious reception afterward.
    We are most grateful to our biographer, Colleen Ollinger, photographer Jim Gautier and calligrapher Marilyn Stevens for their significant contributions as well as other community members who have so graciously made donations all of which help us to continue our tradition of honoring those who have given richly to our community. Bravo!
    Pauline Powell Schneider
    Los Alamos

    Imperative to do what is proper and right

  • Letters to the Editor 5-22-16

    Committed to principled decision-making

    A recent letter to the editor discusses a citizen initiative petition of several years ago relating to the construction of a new municipal building, but omits several important facts. 
    In 2010, the original municipal building was demolished after it was deemed unsafe for continued use.   The county council commissioned a citizen committee to identify and recommend an appropriate site for a new building. That committee spent countless hours reviewing several potential locations, including the old location by the pond. However, after much public discussion and input, the committee supported placing the building at the current location on Central Avenue as the best site for a number of reasons. 
    As with every decision, some agreed, some did not. With regard to this issue, a citizen drafted an initiative petition that would have required the building to be built in the exact same spot and with the exact same design. Specifically, the petition read as follows:
    “The municipal building shall be fully rebuilt and restored to its original site and design for the specific purpose and original intent as the location and use of and for the Los Alamos County Council Chambers and offices and the Los Alamos County Administrator and offices.”

  • Letter to the Editor 5-20-16

     Thanks for the support

    Pig + Fig Cafe is overwhelmed and humbled by the support and generosity that the Los Alamos community gave us last week during the Special Olympics Los Alamos Wine Dinner Benefit.
    We would like to give a special thank you to:
    Our guest sous chefs and local restaurateurs Vance Boone of Aramark, Patrick Mockler-Wood, as well as our guest sommeliers Karen Easton, Dane Spearing and Andrea Pistone.
    Our food vendors Altamira Foods, Snake River Farms, Cheesemongers of Santa Fe, Just the Best Produce and Sysco Foods also generously donated all the food served at this event. The stars of the show were the exquisite wines graciously donated by local wine collectors: Tom Hill, Glenn Magelssen, Mark Gray, Steve Costigan and Laura Hamilton.
    The wine dinner tickets were $125 each with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Special Olympics Los Alamos.
    In one night, we were able to raise over $3,000 for Special Olympics Los Alamos. This event could not have been possible without all the food and wine enthusiasts who generously purchased tickets for this special night. From the bottom of our hearts and tummies, we thank you all!
    Claire Roybal
    Pig + Fig Cafe

  • Don’t let candidates stretch the facts about taxes

    As we get closer to primary elections, you’re going to hear two stories about taxes.
    Story No. 1: New Mexico’s taxes are a dreadful burden on its citizens. Story No. 2: New Mexico’s big corporate tax giveaway in 2013 has eroded the tax base so much that revenues have plummeted and responsible public officials must raise revenues.
    First, we’ve heard scare stories about our tax burden for years, and for just as long various studies have told us that we’re actually middling.
    This year, WalletHub said New Mexico ranked 27th in state tax burden as a percentage of personal income. Our gross receipts tax burden is fifth highest in the nation. But the total tax burden, of 8.67 percent, is far lower than New York (13 percent), Hawaii (12 percent), and Maine and Vermont (11 percent). The lowest was Alaska, at about 5 percent.
    On the other hand, WalletHub placed New Mexico 41st in the return for taxes paid. This is based on 20 categories of education, health, safety, economy, infrastructure and pollution. We took a big hit for our sorry economy. Yes, you can hold elected officials responsible for the ranking and the economy. Colorado’s return on investment was third, Texas was 15th, and Arizona was 19th.

  • Letters to the Editor 5-18-16

    Seriously? Christine Chandler?

    In the current political environment, where our government thinks that they should make all the decisions for us, we are offered Christine Chandler as a candidate for county council.
    I had to think back on the name, as I recall it being associated with some controversy in Los Alamos in the not too distant past. Following a bit of research, it all came back.
    In 2010, Christine and her husband, both attorneys, sued the county to keep a petition, regarding a proposed location of the new municipal building, from being put in front of the voters of Los Alamos County. Roughly, the petition suggested letting the voters decide if the new municipal building might go back where the old one was torn down.
    Prior to the lawsuit, the county council thought voter input was appropriate, given the petition. The whole ballot process had been set up and was ready to go, but it would appear that the Chandlers didn’t want that to happen. From all the articles in the Los Alamos Monitor, it wasn’t like there was some grand movement, public sway or another petition that drove them to champion the cause.
    It looks like it was just them and a pup tent where they wanted the new building to be.