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Today's Opinions

  • Comprehensive plan needed for open space ordinances

    The reason that the Parks and Recreation Board is hearing complaints is that voice and sight control of dogs does not work.
    Revise the animal ordinance to delete Sec. 6-4, and many problems will disappear.
    When one class of people is given more freedom than another, the ordinance does not protect everyone.
    This policy has been the problem since it was created.
    I was appointed as the advisor (non-voting) to the animal ordinance revision committee that created the 2006 ordinance.
    These are my observations of that process: The committee meetings were closed to the public. I was not allowed to lead a public discussion of pet owner responsibilities. The previous ordinance, as well as the last revision, were written by the same person.
    There needs to be real representative membership by a committee of users and experts. As a result of the process, the rules were written to give domestic dogs more freedom (voice and sight control), as well as access to county space with a “trust me” policy inferred.
    I was not in favor of the amended ordinance that designated that privilege (Section 6-4) because it conflicts with Sec. 6-3, which requires leashes for animals off the owner’s property.
    Voice and sight control is not considered a valid means of restraint of dogs in either Santa Fe or Albuquerque.

  • The Atomic Cafe

    Next! What will you have today, sir?
    Well, I’d like the implosion special with a 400 kiloton yield, and an extra shot of tactical uranium, please.
    Very good. And would you like to be fried with that?
    So, this Aug. 6 is the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. How time flies when you’re having cold wars and hot proliferation parties!  Seventy years. What to get as a gift? 25 years is silver and 50 years is golden, so would plutonium be appropriate for 70 years?
    The question asked every year is, “Should we have dropped the bomb?”
    When discussing past wars, people literally go to battle with each other.
    The atomic bomb is of particular interest in our community, for reasons that escape me at the moment. The trouble with debating this issue is that for most people, it’s something they’ve only read about in a book.
    Myself, I still think the Diadochi’s treatment of elephants in the Battle of Ipsus, 301 BC., was inexcusable. I’m still waiting for a formal apology from them!
    World War II began in 1939, lasting six years with 113 countries participating or directly involved. Over 50 million people worldwide were killed.

  • Businesses find evolutionary path to profitability

    One obstacle to improvement in a typical American company is the assumption that change requires months of planning, major expense and a work stoppage or slowdown. Then there’s the fear that old habits and practices will slowly return as people forget what they learned amid the pressures and demands of running a business.  
    Even when the need for change is obvious, such companies often resist fixing something until it’s utterly broken.
    An alternative, nonreactive view embraces change as a continual process of incremental improvements and tweaks — not as an exercise in obsessive compulsion but as an adaptive approach to reducing waste-related costs, eliminating inefficiencies and optimizing competitiveness.
    That perspective is the Japanese system of kaizen.
    Change is good
    As the Japanese rebuilt their economy from scratch after World War II, they invested heavily in their manufacturing and banking sectors and in the education and training of a disciplined, sophisticated and technically savvy workforce. Their manufacturing sector became so efficient that it challenged America’s status as the world’s largest economy in the 1980s.

  • Letter to the editor 7-30-15

    More must be done for N.M. children

    Early last week, information was published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranking the 50 states on various factors that indicate child well being.
    New Mexico is a jaw-dropping 49th — even more astounding, our state has hovered in this area, dropping to 50th position in 2013, for several years.
    Child poverty rates around the state are increasing steadily and programs to help these children are few and far between.
    Looking at this information, coupled with the start of the 2015-2016 school year quickly approaching, and everything that goes along with it — the stress of homework, readjusting to the school schedule, and making new friends — and it is easy to imagine this can be a difficult, overwhelming time for a child.
    Los Alamos is widely praised throughout the state and beyond, as being a great community, due to the affluent nature of the community.
    Even in a community like Los Alamos, there are children and families struggling and in need.
    We must do better for all of our children.
    It sounds daunting, impossible even, but there is a way to make a difference: volunteer.
    The Family YMCA is proud to be the only YMCA in New Mexico and one of 38 states that is currently offering the free Reach and Rise Mentoring Program.

  • The dam that never got built

    There might have been a dam, a mile and a-half of stored water and a new chance at sustainability — though “sustainability” was not in our vocabulary then — with thriving truck gardens, lush orchards and a much greener valley.
    Or something else entirely. It depends whom you believed.
    Indian Camp Dam is the dam that never was. Seeing the current conflict over a proposed dam in the Gila, I looked back at the stories I wrote in the mid-1970s, when Indian Camp Dam was the dominant controversy in Taos.
    Years earlier, led by U.S. Sen. Dennis Chavez, Congress passed a law creating the San Juan-Chama project.
    The project diverted water from the San Juan River, a tributary of the Colorado, across the Continental Divide into the Chama River, from which it flows into the Rio Grande.
    The Chama joins the Rio Grande near Española. Communities farther north did not have access to that water, so the legislation authorized a dam to be built in Taos County.
    The dam was to be sited in the foothills upstream from Ranchos de Taos, along the Rio Grande del Rancho, the stream that runs near the famous St. Francis Church.

  • 10 ways to become financially independent

    After the 2008 economic crisis, many people assumed they would never be able to reach true financial independence — the ability to live comfortably off one’s savings and investments with no debt whatsoever.
    However, individuals willing to use their time horizon to plan and adjust their spending, savings and investment behaviors might just find financial independence is possible. Here are 10 ideas to get started.
    1. Visualize first, then plan. Start by considering what your vision of financial independence actually looks like — and then get a reality check. Qualified financial experts can examine your current financial circumstances, listen to what financial independence means to you and help you craft a plan. The path to financial independence may be considerably different at age 20 than it is at age 50. The more time you have to save and invest generally produces a better outcome. But at any age, start with a realistic picture of your options.
    2. Budget. Budgeting — the process of tracking income, subtracting expenses and deciding how to divert the difference to your goals each month — is the essential first task of personal finance. If you haven’t learned to budget, you need to do so.

  • The first nuclear fallout was in N.M.

    Part 2 of 2

    For days after the first atomic test on July 16, 1945, a powdery ash floated from the sky, coating everything in the Tularosa Basin, including cattle and crops. Then it rained, washing the stuff into wells and water sources.
    Ranchers noticed that their cattle turned white or partially white. Family pets similarly exposed had partially white coats. A rancher said his beard stopped growing for a few months, when it began growing again, it was white.
    Locals visited Trinity Site, walked around the cavity left behind, picked up the green glass that was sand before the blast, and looked at the twisted remains of the tower that suspended the bomb.
    Immediately after the blast, as a red haze descended, scientists and military personnel scrambled to evacuate.
    North of Trinity Site, men waited with vehicles to evacuate civilians, but radiation readings indicated they were safe, so far as they knew then.
    Photographs taken two months later show Manhattan Project leader J. Robert Oppenheimer and other scientists, unprotected, examining the tower’s remnants.
    Today, knowing what we know, it’s surprising how casual everyone was. It was the world’s first nuclear fallout, and New Mexico was the recipient.

  • Letters to the editor 7-28-15

    Beware of fees with Quemazon HOA

    I want to give my former neighbors in the Quemazon communities a heads-up about some exorbitant fees you may be unaware of that you will face when/if you decide to sell your home within the Quemazon Master Association or its Woodlands Homeowner Association (HOA). I suspect the other HOAs within Quemazon have similar fees.
    We recently sold our home on Sinuoso and, much to our surprise, we were hit with an additional $800-plus expense from the management company of the Quemazon Master and Woodlands HOAs that was added to our closing costs.
    Following is the text of a message I sent June 13 to the person listed as president of the Master Association on the Quemazon website. I have not received a response.
    We also communicated our surprise and displeasure to the president of the Woodlands HOA. He said the Board of Directors would be discussing these fees.
    Please beware of what can happen to you if you decide to sell your home.
    “We are unsure whether you are still the president of the Quemazon Master Homeowner’s Association (HOA), but trust that you will direct us to the appropriate person if this online info is out-of-date.