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Today's Opinions

  • Conscience and Republican Convention delegate voting rules

    BY DR. L. JOHN VAN TIL
    Visions and Values

  • Nonlinear model helps businesses prep for rapid growth

    New Mexico entrepreneurs who want to start a business or take an existing venture to the next level need a model that allows the business to “scale up” – to improve profitability as demand increases for its product or service.
    A scalable model attracts more investors because it equips the business to adapt to a larger market without significantly increasing its costs. And that has a positive impact on economic development in New Mexico, where a home-grown business that’s prepared for exponential growth brings more out-of-state money home.
    Different paths
    Many entrepreneurs are content to grow in a linear, conservative fashion: When sales increase, the business hires more people or buys more capital to accommodate bigger demand. The business has a stable bottom line, but its profitability doesn’t increase over time or it crawls slowly and inefficiently upward.
    A business with a scalable model, by contrast, aims for faster, cheaper growth by breaking up the sales growth/cost growth relationship. It grows exponentially by keeping costs stagnant when sales ramp up.

  • The cultural challenge of gender identity

    The kid was obviously talented. He was athletic and graceful. He could sing, dance, memorize lines, and occasionally did a cartwheel across the room for fun.
    We were in an amateur show produced by a local community organization. Most cast members were adults. The kid held his own, did fine, brimmed with confidence.  
    This kid is going to be a big success in life, I thought.
    A few weeks into rehearsals, his grandmother pulled me aside. He is biologically female, she told me. It was a lot to absorb, to say the least. The grandmother was not confiding in me because of any special relationship. She told me, I thought, because others already knew. It was not a secret.
    This child knew who he was from age three, the grandma explained. He had a girl’s name and was treated like a girl. For his third birthday his family bought him a tutu. He refused to wear it and told them he was a boy, and that was that.  
    This was the most accepting family a child could have hoped for. “We told him, ‘We didn’t know, we didn’t understand,’” the grandma told me. They changed what had to be changed, including his name, and never tried to change his mind.   

  • Letter to the Editor 6-26-16

    Honored to attend
    Vietnam War ceremony

    I was honored to attend The Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony held at the Santa Fe Veteran’s Memorial on Saturday, June 18. New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services, New Mexico State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America, Northern Mew Mexico Chapter 996, the American Legion Riders Chapter 25, the Santa Fe National Cemetery and Josetta Rodriguez did a wonderful job in putting this event together.
    Eloquent and passionate speeches were given by State Rep. Bob Wooley, Dist. 66, who co-chairs the Military and Veteran’s Affairs Legislative Committee, and John Garcia, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and former Cabinet Secretary of New Mexico Veterans Services.  
    Both Vietnam Veterans gave personal accounts of their involvement, participation and how it impacted their lives.
    Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales gave thanks and recognition for all who served.
    After the ceremony, Vietnam War veterans were presented with a certificate of appreciation by the Department of Veterans’ Services for their service during the war and were also given a special 50th anniversary commemorative pin.

  • Save New Mexico’s historic sites!

    New Mexico is about to fire Billy the Kid.
    Coronado, Victorio, the conquistadores, and the U. S. Cavalry are getting the sack, too.
    Visitors come here to see these icons at the state’s seven historic sites. Just in time for peak tourist season, the state Cultural Affairs Department announced a draconian plan to kick out the very people who know the most about these sites – their managers.
    The department announced a plan in late May to save money by reorganizing the Historic Sites Division, combing six sites into three regions with new managers. This would affect Jemez, Coronado, Fort Selden, Camino Real, Lincoln and Fort Stanton historic sites. Bosque Redondo and Los Luceros aren’t affected (yet). Another six positions department-wide are also on the block. But the department wants to hire 13 “critical employees,” including three PR people.
    Terminations are effective Aug. 3, if the State Personnel Board approves the plan at its July 21 meeting.
    Let’s recall that during the legislative session, declining revenues forced lawmakers to shrink the budget and give the administration permission to do more cutting, if necessary.
    It’s always a grim process, but in reducing costs, two principles ought to be at work. First, spread the pain evenly.

  • Making a well requires luck and science

    As a rule, New Mexico oil and gas production is out of sight and, therefore, out of mind. Even in the production areas of the southeast and northwest, I suspect a goodly proportion of people not directly involved have only a general sense of what happens.
    Even the financial impacts manifest only in a general way. In good times, state government gets oil and gas money and expands. In less good times, such as today, less money appears and government, though crunched, expands anyway. Local effects, though, are immediate for good or bad.
    At the recent Legislative Finance Committee meeting in Artesia, staff at Elite Well Services and Nick Agopian of Devon Energy walked through the steps in making an oil well. Overall, the Delaware Basin in New Mexico and Texas within the Permian Basin is a “world class oil and gas play,” Agopian said. The term “play” means (thank you Wikipeda) an area with the same geology (to over simplify).
    Each well costs from $1 million to $8 million. In most communities, an $8 million business investment merits a headline.
    The tasks are complicated, difficult, technical and not obvious to the passerby. The work requires much science and a fair amount of luck.

  • Letter to the Editor 6-22-16

    Dog Jog 2016 a success thanks to supporters

    The weather gods smiled on homeless cats and dogs on April 30. Despite rain and wind on Friday and snow on Sunday, Saturday was sunny and calm for the 19th annual Los Alamos Dog Jog. The fine weather brought out hundreds of humans and their canine companions to enjoy the 5K run or the two mile walk.
    This year’s Dog Jog raised over $13,500 for Friends of the Shelter.  Friends of the Shelter (FOS) is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to abandoned animals and to pets and their owners in northern New Mexico.  Our catastrophic care program pays for veterinary care for sick or injured animals that have no owners or whose owners cannot afford the treatment.  
    Our spay/neuter program provides grants to our partner organizations, including the Española Valley Humane Society and the McKinley County Animal Shelter so that they can provide low- or no-cost spay and neuter services to their clients. FOS also encourages responsible pet ownership and promotes adoption of shelter animals through education and outreach.

  • Hot, dirty work of fire suppression needs support

    The Dog Head Fire in Torrance and Bernalillo counties roared to life just as a couple of important bills were under debate in Congress.
    A few upbeat notes: We’ve seen a fast response by helpers to raise money, pitch in at evacuation sites, and bring animals to the State Fair Grounds for safekeeping. Southwest Incident Management posts timely information on its website and has a Facebook page, so if you’re sitting in an evacuation center you know what’s going on.
    Fire fighters are, again, our heroes. Locals have been lavish in posting their praise and thanks, except for one guy: “Who will reimburse me for all the days spent in a hotel, and all the food lost in my refrigerator/freezers since the power was cut????”
    That provoked a response: “Give these people a break, for crying out loud! It’s a natural flippin’ disaster and people are working their butts off trying to keep others and property safe.”