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Today's Opinions

  • Letters To The Editor 5-21-17

    'Pay to Play" comes to Los Alamos County

    Recently, Los Alamos County Council chose to publish an email of a citizen of Los Alamos in the Los Alamos Daily Post. Instead of attacking the author we should also be asking, “Why did the Council release this private email for publication?”  What did our County Council have to gain from releasing this email?   

    Does this mean that all citizens should fear that their personal correspondence to the council, may also be published? Apparently so! Many county residents have chosen to remain silent in their opposition to the Rec Bond Vote, for fear of retaliation. It seems as though fear and intimidation are campaign tactics not only approved, but also implemented by members of our own County Council. When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny – Thomas Jefferson.  

    Concerning the Rec Bond...

    Not only am I concerned about the enormous cost of these projects, potential cost overruns, and jeopardizing future Capital projects, I am also concerned when County Councilors serve special interests over the public interest. In this case, elected officials are using public funds to lobby for these interests, then use public debt to finance them.

  • Letters to the Editor 5-14-17

    Now is not the time for
    unnecessary projects

    Dear Editor,
    The county is expecting a $1.3 million dollar shortfall this year and this is on top of the uncertainty of what the GRT from the lab will be so now is NOT the time to be asking property owners to fund unnecessary projects that will only cause a greater deficit in the coming years.
    Property owners are already having to pay higher property taxes thanks to UNM-LA not being able to manage their own finances. Now they want all of us to pay even more so they can fund useless projects that only benefit the few with no financial benefit to the town as a whole.
    The county can’t manage the money they have now! For instance, how many thousands of dollars were wasted on that stupid symbol painted on the street at the intersection of 15th and Central Avenue where you can¹t tell what it is or says. And what happened to the money budgeted to install the HVAC system at the library? The list of wasteful spending in L.A. goes on and on.
    Voters need to also consider all the delays, cutbacks, and redesigns that occurred with the “new” community center/club house at the golf course.

  • Letter to the Editor 5-10-17

    Vote yes ­– don’t let perfect be the enemy of very good

    Dear Editor,
    I am writing in support of the Rec Bond. After a year and a half of public meetings and countless hours of staff and volunteer research and planning, the county has put together a well thought out package of recreation projects. These facilities will help meet the needs of young families, student athletes and adults of all ages. They will also help increase our property values, benefit our schools and make Los Alamos a more attractive place to live for new hires to the Lab.
    I believe passing the recreation bond will help move Los Alamos county forward. It’s very unlikely that my family will use every facility regularly and that¹s OK.  However, they will provide many residents and visitors with new and better recreation options, and that makes Los Alamos a stronger, healthier community.
    Is the plan perfect? Probably not, but that is an impossible standard to meet when trying to meet the needs and wants of all kinds of stakeholders.
    This is, however, a very good plan to upgrade our recreation options. Please don’t let Perfect be the enemy of Very Good. Vote yes for the Rec Bond.
    Ellen Ben-Naim
    Los Alamos

  • Funding, experience improve outlook for fire season

    Driving across the high plains recently, we spotted a fire stretched out across a field and thought somebody was burning weeds until we saw the fire truck speeding down the road from Fort Sumner.
    It’s that time of year when we scan the horizon, a little anxiously. Recent rains have spared us the usual bad news. As I write this, there was a small fire in the Gila National Forest and a larger fire across the line in Arizona.
    So we have the luxury of thinking about readiness, which means spending.
    In the much anticipated appropriations bill, Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich helped snag $4.2 billion for wildland fire management by the U. S. Forest Service and U. S. Interior Department. This includes $2.05 billion the agencies can use to respond to forest fires; with carryover balances, they should have enough money for expected firefighting.
    Udall got $407 million in emergency funding so the agencies don’t have to borrow from non-fire accounts. This is significant. What’s happened in the last few years is that Congress cut the Forest Service and Interior to the nub at the same time severe wildfires increased. Then the agencies had to tap funding they would have used for restoration and forest health, so preventive work didn’t get done. And that in turn leads to charges of mismanagement by the agencies.

  • Letters to the Editor 5-7-17

    Thankful for completed crosswalk project

    Dear Editor,
    As I was walking the loop in White Rock this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the site preparation for the crosswalk I requested at Rover and Bryce has started.
    On June 6, I wrote a letter to Public Works listing all the reasons a crosswalk is needed. A short time later, a Public Works employee stopped by my house and said they agreed with me but site prep would have to be done first.
    It never happened and I knew the reason was no money. I wrote to the County Council on April 10 and asked if they could help. I was called by someone in Public Works and told that they were able to allot $30,000 to the project but it could take up to four months to do it. I told him that was fine but if it wasn’t done in four months I would be presenting the County Council with a petition.
    I want to thank both the County Council and Public Works for the timely response to something which has been needed for years. Public Works should not have to rob Peter to pay Paul for a crosswalk. If the county doesn’t have the money to fund necessary work to our streets and roads, we are in big trouble. It is a lot cheaper to maintain what we have then to build something new.
    Camille Morrison
    Los Alamos

    Cost of Rec Bond is

  • County issues should stir healthy discussion

    My name is Greg White and this series of articles will cover three issues that the County Council hopefully will be discussing and acting on in a positive manner over the next several months. The first I’m sure they will, the next two can head off litigation. The first is a rewrite of the proposed immigrant resolution proposed by Councilor Pete Sheehey. The second is what will the council decide about the sheriff’s office. And the last is the legal status of appointing a county employee to an elected position, namely appointing the county manager as the county treasurer.
    I hope my articles will spur healthy and respectful discussion and encourage people to come to council meetings to make their voices heard, again in a civil and respectful way. Which may be best accomplished by the council changing it’s rules on public comment to allow five minutes per person as it’s hard no matter how concise you try to be to actually convey feelings in three minutes. Three minutes works for boxers, ever try boxing it’s a whole lot more tiring than it looks, but I always find myself running out of comment time about 30 seconds from finishing no matter how much I rehearse.

  • Does more politicking work for the people?

    Governance is like a Shakespeare play in which the two governing parties act out human parts. Shakespeare famously heightens the drama with leading roles that carry the main action, spiced with an occasional ghost who reveals mindsets that drive the action. But today the action seems less important than the interplay of ghosts.
    The main action is the substance of politics – the policies to be evolved, discussed and enacted ... the necessary business of the people, by the people, for the people. A timely example would be rebuilding the middle class.  
    The ghost in the play is the “politicking” – phantom voices that name who let down the middle class. The action is the governance; the mindsets are drivers. Together, a play.
    Yet, almost every scene in today’s play is dominated by politicking – raising and reprising story lines to mythic proportions – to the detriment of real action on the people’s business. More skewing gets done than business. 
    And it gets worse. Although each party clearly seeks different policies, the politicking on each side mirrors the other. It is eerie.       

  • Letter to the Editor 5-5-17

    Life-size sculpture of Russ Gordon proposed

    Dear Editor,
    I just learned that 2017 will be Russ Gordon’s last summer concert series. Like thousands of residents, I have greatly enjoyed Gordon’s Summer Concerts over the past 30 years and for more than a decade, my wife and I have contributed a few hundred dollars each year to Russ’ program. I hope, somehow, that the Summer Concert tradition will be continued indefinitely, but for now, I wish to initiate lasting recognition of the effort Russ has made towards our community’s wellbeing. Russ’ initiative has been truly a ‘Labor of Love’ that will be greatly missed and potentially very difficult to replace.
    I am willing to take the lead on obtaining a life-size sculpture of Russ, somewhat suggested by the photo of Russ shows in the Los Alamos Daily Post’s April 27 issue. Ideally, the sculpture would be ready for dedication at Gordon’s last Ashley Pond concert on Sept. 8.