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Today's Opinions

  • Letters to the Editor 8-10-16

    Public School
    retirees invited to breakfast

    If you live in the Western Area, you’ve heard the high school band back at work, football practice has started, and a school supply list is up at Smith’s. This part of the summer must be getting us ready for Back to School.
    Los Alamos Public School Retired employees are invited to the organization’s only yearly meeting at the NOT-Back-to-School Breakfast Aug. 18.
    Breakfast is at 9 a.m. and will be at Kelly Hall of Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church. At the request of attendees last year, a more full protein-based breakfast will be available. The cost this year is $11 per person.
    RSVPs must be in well before midnight Aug. 15, along with your request for the lighter breakfast or the protein-based meal. Contact Emily Engle (larse@ieee.org) or Eileen Trujillo (662-6533, etrueheo@gmail.com). Contact me with your e-mail if you haven’t already (drummer@rt66.com).
    Judy Crocker
    Los Alamos

    Thank you for support for this year’s Chalk Walk

    The Los Alamos Arts Council hosted the seventh-annual Secretary Sandoval Chalk Walk again this year.

  • Makerspaces nurture business development

    Uncertainty about the commercial viability of an innovation or idea — in addition to the cost of renting or buying the machinery needed to build a working prototype — has stifled many an entrepreneurial impulse. But the makerspace movement that’s gaining a foothold in several New Mexico communities is trying to change that.   
    Makerspaces offer access to expensive equipment and expert mentoring that innovators need to turn a concept into something tangible. Their advocates see them as cauldrons of entrepreneurism and economic development — as early-stage business incubators.
    Nurturing creativity
    New Mexico is home to half a dozen makerspaces, many of them only a few years old.
    Los Alamos Makers calls itself “a scientific playground for all ages,” and its members can use all sorts of industrial, mechanical, laboratory and electronic equipment that the organization has procured in its two years of existence.
    Lots of people have ideas, said founder Prisca Tiasse, a former biologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, but they lack the means to invest in something that might not go anywhere. “That is a major hurdle for entrepreneurism.”

  • Johnson is another choice for president

    The 2016 presidential contest is down to two people. That’s what Deborah Maestas, Republican chair, would have us believe.
    In a July 17 op-ed she called for “Republicans and conservatives” to unite behind Donald Trump. “Trump’s success represents a shift that our country desperately needed,” she said. However laughable Maestas assertion in the op-ed, she was just doing her job.
    But, well, no. While unhappiness is everywhere, more is happening here than an either-or choice. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, as Yogi Berra said.
    A phone call came a couple of weeks ago from my sister-in-law in southwest Wisconsin. A Catholic and a Democrat, she works for a branch campus of the University of Wisconsin in a community of 12,000.  She is distressed at the prospect of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump being president. Her protest vote in the Wisconsin primary was for Bernie Sanders.
    After a few minutes, the topic of Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson entered the conversation, as you might expect. My wife, the Clinton supporter, gave me the phone. I said, “Policies aside, Gary is honest.” The other two are serial, purposive liars, among other things.

  • Focus legislation on one issue at a time

    The U. S. Senate, as you probably know, left Washington for a lengthy summer recess without passing an appropriation for research on the Zika virus. Though most senators agreed on the funding, Democrats disagreed with provisions unrelated to this issue, which had been included in the bill by Republicans.
    Among those provisions were restrictions on funding for birth control services from Planned Parenthood, weakened clean water laws governing pesticides and, as if the nation needs something else to motivate people to shoot each other, a provision that would have allowed the Confederate flag to be displayed at military cemeteries.
    Let us not, for this moment, debate the Planned Parenthood issue, the pesticide issue or even the Confederate flag issue. Let’s talk about process.
    This process, sometimes called logrolling, is what happens when legislation is written so that in order to vote for one thing that a legislator is in favor of, the legislator has to vote for something he or she opposes.
    In this case, according to the news reports, U. S. senators on both sides are now waiting for a few American babies to be born with tragic deformities so they can point fingers at each other. At least New Mexico, with its low humidity, is not a heavy mosquito state.  

  • Letters to the Editor 7-27-16

    Kudos to Los Alamos Fire Department

    Kudos to the Los Alamos Fire Department for the handling of the North Mesa fire. Their quick and skillful response prevented what could have been a disastrous situation with the current dry conditions.  I wish to convey a personal thank you to all of the firefighters who did an outstanding job.
    Carol Bronisz
    Los Alamos

    BPU should consider free market economic forces for setting rates

    Regarding the setting of (gas) rates, the Board of Public Utilities appears to have ignored the importance of free market economic forces.
    With a commodity rate, these forces can act to reduce consumption when prices are high due to supply limits. Their efficacy depends on the elasticity of demand, but turning down thermostats on hot water tanks and furnaces is not difficult compared to, say, buying a more efficient automobile. With a fixed rate, however, consumers have no impetus to conserve in times of shortages.
    It would be very disappointing if the BPU did not consider this aspect of rate-setting at all; the report in the Monitor makes no reference to any such discussion.
    Terry Goldman
    Los Alamos

    Los Alamos deserves better venue for hosting visiting scientists

  • Perspectives on a national conversation

    BY CHIEF DINO SGAMBELLONE
    Los Alamos Police Department

  • The cost of RPS in New Mexico

    BY TIMOTHY J. CONSIDINE
    Professor, University of Wyoming

  • What’s your bedroom worth on Airbnb?

    It’s called the sharing economy, and it’s dismantling our economic models.
    Need a ride? Text Uber to have a driver show up and take you there in his or her own vehicle. Need a vacation rental? Go to Airbnb.com to book everything from a castle to a couch directly from the owner. Need tools, sports gear, photo equipment, garden space? Somebody will rent them to you for a few bucks.
    Last week the city of Santa Fe and the town of Taos reached an agreement with Airbnb to collect lodgers’ taxes from Airbnb hosts, beginning August 1.
    Until now, people renting their homes or mother-in-law quarters or bedrooms have been invisible to the tax man, but traditional hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns pay lodgers’ taxes to promote their areas. This, in fact, was a complaint during legislative Jobs Council hearings last year.
    Santa Fe has an estimated 1,000 short-term rentals operating, even though the local ordinance allowed just 350. The City Different estimated it was losing up to $2.1 million in lodgers’ taxes each year, along with uncollected gross receipts taxes, and hoteliers complained the underground rentals were unfairly competing. Santa Fe now allows 1,000 and requires a permit; violations can mean stiff fines. Santa Fe and Taos city officials look forward to new revenues to help balance the budget.