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Today's Opinions

  • Weinstein case shows power corrupts for so many people

    Power corrupts. Worse, as 19th-century historian Lord Acton concluded, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a politician, an entertainment mogul, a corporate CEO or a police officer, give any one person – or government agency – too much power and allow him or her or it to believe that they are entitled, untouchable and will not be held accountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be abused.
    We’re seeing this dynamic play out every day in communities across America.
    A cop shoots an unarmed citizen for no credible reason and gets away with it. A president employs executive orders to sidestep the Constitution and gets away with it. A government agency spies on its citizens’ communications and gets away with it. An entertainment mogul sexually harasses aspiring actresses and gets away with it. The U.S. military bombs a civilian hospital and a school and gets away with it.
    Abuse of power — and the ambition-fueled hypocrisy and deliberate disregard for misconduct that make those abuses possible — works the same whether you’re talking about sexual harassment, government corruption, or the rule of law.

  • Globalization helped set the stage for 'Dreamers' laws

    Millions of middle class Americans, mostly in rural areas, are feeling cornered by the overwhelming forces of globalization.
    Their employment was displaced by automation, international competition and corporations’ transfer of jobs to other nations with lesser production costs and more flexible laws. Many of these Americans express a visceral anger towards anything international and desperately reach for national isolation and solutions that would save them from people who don't look and speak like them.
    Some leaders have convinced them that they are victims of sinister foreigners who ridicule American goodwill and naivete in international agreements, which are unfair to the U.S. Those leaders claim that criminals who have crossed the border illegally are responsible not only for loss of jobs but also for rape, murder and unprecedented addiction to drugs among Americans.
    Fear over declining income, increase of joblessness and violence make people susceptible to lash out at anyone with whom they are unfamiliar. The federal program DACA founded in 2012 is perceived to benefit such “others.”

  • New Mexico First, conference are in need of a review

    Probably the least known fact about the long career of Sen. Pete Domenici has to be that he did not hire me to be his press aide in 1989.

    Instead of the knowledgeable New Mexican — me — Domenici hired Ari Fleischer, who knew Washington, D. C. A sound choice, I think. Fleischer went on to be press secretary for President George W. Bush.

    Equally obscure is the story I wrote for the Albuquerque News in 1968 about the first city budget he presented as chairman of the Albuquerque City Commission.

    Much later my kids played Little League baseball with a Domenici grandchild. Domenici attended the occasional game.

    Domenici’s leadership of the Senate Budget Committee brought access to the committee’s economics staff, a smart, collegial group that provided insight on the national economy and New Mexico’s fit into the big picture.

    In the 1980s Domenici and Sen. Jeff Bingaman, together with Gov. Bruce King, created the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI). (Get it?) Santa Teresa with its border crossing was one focus.

    As a matter of good management, two of Domenici’s policy legacies deserve a closer look.

    First is New Mexico First. During the mid-1980s several groups were having conversations about the murky future facing New Mexico.

  • Federal communications law should be updated

    The Los Angeles Times published this editorial Jan. 17 on a Congressional bid to preserve net neutrality.

    Congressional Republicans breathed new life last year into the all-but-ignored Congressional Review Act, using it to reverse a wide range of Obama administration regulations on the environment, consumer protection and workplace issues. Now Senate Democrats are trotting out the act to undo a Republican effort to let cable and phone companies meddle with the internet. This particular turnabout is most definitely fair play.

    At issue is the Federal Communications Commission’s move not just to repeal the strict net neutrality rules it adopted in 2015, but also to renounce virtually all of the commission’s regulatory authority over broadband internet providers. Its new “Restoring Internet Freedom” order, adopted last month on a party-line vote, opens the door to the likes of Comcast, AT&T and Verizon giving deep-pocketed websites and services priority access to their customers for a fee. It also lifts the ban on broadband providers blocking or slowing down traffic from legal online sites and services, provided they do so openly. Such steps could cause unprecedented distortion in what has been a free and open internet.

  • Letters to the Editor 1-12-18

    Contrast between Sunday columns are amusing,
    disturbing

    Dear Editor,
    The contrast between the two columns and one letter on the Los Alamos Monitor Sunday Editorial page was both amusing and disturbing.
    As usual, John Bartlit presented an even-handed/minded analysis of the football-and-the-flag controversy, recognizing that the breadth of responses is a testament to the vitality of our democracy. My own thinking had been limited to: “Standing shows respect while kneeling shows obeisance or committed fealty – the latter choice of action doesn’t seem to match with the stated purpose for it.”
    Meanwhile, Paul Gessing continued to display what appears as barely-thinking partisanship against anything Democratic despite acknowledging that it was a Democratic governor who lowered income taxes – too much for stable state funding, as subsequent events have demonstrated.
    I still consider it a miracle that the State Permanent Fund maintains a legacy for indefinite generations of New Mexicans rather than being siphoned off to immediate political needs. (And by the way, doubling the gas tax would not be a tax increase – it would only restore the purchasing power of the tax to about the level of almost 30 years ago.)

  • Letters to the Editor 1-7-18

    County in deep fiscal trouble

    Dear Editor,
    Unfortunately Mr. Pete Sheehey seems to have a gross misunderstanding of the shape of LA County fiscally. We are in deep trouble running a debt twice the legal limit and on top of that at least $71 million in the red!

    This is all available for anyone to read on the county website in the last audit done after the fiscal year 2016 ended. As it’s rather hard to find and it’s a rather long report mostly taken from figures the county supplied and broken down into small sections it can be tedious reading and hard to put together.

    You find it by going to Los Alamos County Administrative Services, Finance and Budgets, Reports and Budgets button, Fiscal Year Reports and Budgets,

    Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, Incorporated County of Los Alamos FY2016 CAFR button.

    On page 196 you see the summation of debts and on pages 179 and 180 the summations of all available moneys including reserves and all moneys spent.

    The bottom line is Los Alamos County is broke and bankrupt  to the tune of over $100 million!

    Greg White
    Los Alamos

  • Letters to the Editor 12-22-17

    A bit of nit picking

    Dear Editor,
    I think that the term “windfall” is not appropriate to describe the gross receipts taxes paid by LANL contractors. Merriam-Webster defines “windfall” as:

    • Something (such as a tree or fruit) blown down by the wind;

    • An unexpected, unearned, or sudden gain or advantage.

    The term is not correct for two reasons. First, the term refers to a “one-time” event. Once all the apples are off the tree you can expect no more apples to fall. The citizens of Los Alamos should expect that LANL contractors will continue paying gross receipts taxes. Second, the term “unearned” does not apply to the taxes paid by LANL contractors. In the ‘70s, the legislature “reformed” the tax structure in New Mexico. In general, funding for basic governmental services (roads, police, fire, recreation, etc.) went from property taxes to gross receipts taxes (mostly from retail sales). In general, property taxes were to fund capital improvements.

  • Letter to the Editor 12-13-17

    Have charter school
    organizers, parents tried to improve LAMS?

    Dear Editor,
    I was surprised to read about the effort to organize a Polaris Public Charter School for sixth- to eighth-graders in Los Alamos. I am asking and, this is something I do not know, if the organizers and parents have tried working to improve Los Alamos Middle School, LAMS.  
    I worked for many years at the high school when Mike Johnson, the current principal at LAMS, was there. I do not think one could find a more competent, caring, hard-working administrator.  I believe that he would always be interested in ideas (even radically different ones) to improve the education for our children at the middle school.  
    As a teacher at the high school, I was always aware that the success of Los Alamos schools was in many ways a direct result of the parental interest in education.
    The parents convey this message to their children in innumerable ways and the children then come to school ready to learn because they understand it is important, even during the years when children seem not to be listening to their parents.   I would love to see this considerable effort and parental interest work toward improving the middle school that all ready exists.  
    Julie Wangler
    Los Alamos