Today's Opinions

  • Relationship helps in journey to start business

    Relationship figures big in six-year journey to start pet-care business
    By Finance New Mexico
    By the time they had adopted seven dogs from friends and neighbors, David and Juliana Garcia concluded that Las Cruces sorely needed a business that served animals and the people who love them.
    The couple bought a van with their savings to start a mobile grooming business for large pets. By the time they were ready to buy a second van to accommodate their growing client base, the Garcias were thinking about opening a hotel and day camp, with spa services on the side, for dogs and cats.
    In the challenging years between conception and creation of Pet Planet (http://www.petplanetcomplex.com) in 2014 — years that coincided with the deepest recession in nearly a century — the young entrepreneurs drew on their passion for animals and their financial partnership with The Loan Fund to sustain them.
    Timing is everything
    In 2008, the Garcias purchased the land on which they planned to build Pet Planet and lined up a construction loan through a traditional lender. Then the real-estate market crashed, and the bank withdrew its loan offer

  • Politicking enlists hocus-pocus

    “Hocus-pocus,” that stylish tool that pretends to do magic, also fits what the party we spurn tries to sell in election speeches. The comparison is not by chance. Politicking and sleight of hand have much in common.
    These words can be read as a cheap insult, yet their meaning is very real. Serious books these days explore the neuroscience behind magic tricks and find close ties to the ways in which illusions persuade people.
    The techniques work the same way in our brains whether the goal is to amuse with magic or to sell, persuade or gain votes. Brains work how they work.  
    In broad terms, magic methods work by distracting the viewers’ attention from the crucial spots at key times. The magic term is “sleight of hand.” When selling or politicking, the more refined term is “sleight of mind,” with the same meaning.
    The fun of magic is that we know what we see is impossible, whether we can spot the trick in it or not. The harm of politicking is we half-believe the impossible, because our minds do not work to spot the tricks.

  • Storm clouds are on the horizon

    Visions and Values

  • Animal hoarders inflict misery on pets they claim to love

    We may think of animal hoarders as wacky people like the Cat Lady with six felines. But in New Mexico, police have entered dwellings with upwards of 50 cats and dogs. An Otero County man had 208 dogs.
    The scene is uncomfortably familiar: Dozens of sick or starving animals with no food or water, a “home” with floors covered in filth, stacked cages of animals, and scattered carcasses.
    Local authorities pick up the animals and haul them to the local shelter, where many must be euthanized; others may be rehabilitated and adopted.
    Invariably, the owner of the horror show claims to be an animal lover who rescues unwanted pets. The man with 208 dogs started out as Mission Desert Hills Sanctuary for Dogs, and descended into animal hoarding.
    It’s a nationwide problem – so much so that it even has its own organizations and websites. One is the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC) at Tufts University, which spent 10 years studying the problem. They learned that anybody can be a hoarder.
    Veterinarian Debra Clopton, of Edgewood, insisted she loved her 49 dogs; last week, a jury convicted her of 22 counts of animal cruelty in Santa Fe District Court. Clopton testified that her doublewide trailer was a place for dogs with nowhere else to go. She said she was treating them successfully.

  • Thank you for your support in the past

    Los Alamos County Councilor, Guest Columnist

  • Entrepreneurs work together to get help from Lab-affiliated program


  • Rooftop solar power challenges rate making

    The story went like this: You could install solar panels that would generate electricity on your roof. When the sun was shining, you’d generate enough to power your house and then your meter would run backwards, and the power company would send you a check instead of a bill. How cool was that!
    That works, and it’s called “distributed generation,” but the real world has complications. One complication is that the power generated while the sun shines is not stored. The utility still has to provide another source of power to turn the lights on at night.
    Beyond that – no surprise – utilities don’t like having to buy back power. That’s not unreasonable. Utilities have a mandate to provide reliable power all the time and must build and maintain costly infrastructure to meet that requirement.
    The more solar capacity you have on your house, the fewer hours you will buy. Therefore, the cost to deliver power to your house is more expensive per hour than for the typical household. To compensate, the utility does not pay you nearly as much for the power you sell as you pay for the hours you buy.
    The price of power today to New Mexico homeowners is about 12 to 13 cents per kilowatt hour, varying with each utility. What the utilities pay back also varies.

  • Movie industry draws rave reviews from some

    Bundles of cables ring the Las Vegas plaza like a wreath. Movie set crews, all New Mexicans, maneuver vehicles, lights and props while locally hired security people and cops steer people and traffic around the shoot for “Granite Mountain,” based on the Arizona firefighters who battled an epic blaze to save a town.
    The cast and crew seem to have the run of the Plaza Hotel, where we’re staying. For everybody, it’s good business.
    A gallery owner tells us the movie makers are paying every store on the plaza for the inconvenience and lost business. “Obviously, it didn’t keep you from coming in, and it’s a nice gesture,” she says.
    “Granite Mountain” employs 190 New Mexico crew members, 40 New Mexico actors, and about 1,300 New Mexico background talent, according to the state Film Office.
    This is a snapshot of a New Mexico success story. Against a backdrop of dreary economic numbers, the movie and television industry dazzles. Direct spending into the state economy for the fiscal year ending June 30 was $387 million, up from $288 million the year before – a new record.