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Today's Opinions

  • Vote 'yes' on Amendment 2

    On behalf of Northern New Mexico College and the Board of Regents, I urge voters in the upcoming election to support Amendment 2 to grant Northern a voting student regent. Northern is the only four-year college in New Mexico without a voting student regent, a role that I believe is essential in representing the student perspective in administrative decision making.
    This position also provides students with an important leadership opportunity that benefits them later in life.
    I thank you for voting in support of expanding opportunities for New Mexico students and assisting us in our mission of ensuring access to higher education in our state.

    Nancy “Rusty” Barceló,
    President, Northern New Mexico College
     

  • Amendment 5 doesn't help

    Nearly every elected official or candidate tells us that they are going to create jobs and strengthen the economy of New Mexico and the United States.
    In reality, their actions seldom support their rhetoric. The proposed Amendment 5 to the New Mexico constitution in this year’s general election is a prime example.
    Amendment 5 would change the rules that regulate the investments of the New Mexico Land Grant Permanent Fund. Apparently, the amendment supports good intentions: to reduce risk to the fund and to produce a more reliable income stream to educate our children without raising our taxes.
    There is one major inconsistency: the amendment would remove the 15 percent upper limit on the book value of investments in “international funds”, i.e., funds that are based in all countries, except the U.S.
    Does it make sense to educate our children for jobs in the U.S. when the state of New Mexico is investing in and creating jobs in other countries — and not the U.S.?
    Apparently, Governor Martinez, Ray Powell, and the legislature didn’t “think the issue through,” or they don’t really believe the U.S. has a future.
    Vote “no” on Amendment 5.
    Joe D’Anna
    Los Alamos
      

  • Monsters are still in the closet for patients

    CHILE PAC’s half-hour infomercial titled “Breakdown” is an interesting entry into campaign debate.
    Its subject is the human impact of the state Human Services Department’s shutdown of 13 behavioral health providers and their replacement with five Arizona firms.
    Concerned Hispanics Involved in Legislative Empowerment used documentary techniques to take the audience inside the homes of people struggling to care for a mentally ill relative. It also gives a voice to providers who were disgraced and thrown out with no chance to defend themselves.
    Aired recently, “Breakdown” is obviously aimed at Gov. Susana Martinez. Her campaign filed an ethics complaint with the Secretary of State’s Office that CHILE PAC hadn’t registered with the state or filed finance reports. (Imagine an outfit sitting on millions in dark money complaining about a trifling $4,500 spent on the spot.) Still, I credit the organizers for reminding us that this is about sick, troubled people.
    We meet Gib Lovell, whose son Caleb is schizophrenic. After the state’s closure of Caleb’s accustomed provider, the new provider cut back on treatment and services. Lovell built a six-foot wall around his property. “If Caleb has a bad day,” he said, “I can keep my son out of harm’s way.”

  • Charter Chapter V — utilities, a reality check

    Several former members of the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) fear that the rewritten Charter Chapter V will result in council imposing hidden taxes and wildly increased utility rates, transferring utility revenues to the county general fund, overturning BPU membership for political reasons and unilateral control of BPU operations.

  • Charter amendment debate continues

    Since the Oct. 14 letter to the Los Alamos Monitor from Morris Pomgratz mentioned my name I feel it is appropriate to comment.
    First I have already voted “yes,” and encourage others to vote “yes.”
    I believe that the proposed charter amendment is far from perfect. I would have worded some parts differently. But it is an improvement over the existing charter. It places ultimate responsibility and accountability, in the event of a dispute between the council and the utilities board, in the hands of the council, who are the elected representatives of the public. And the public should have ultimate responsibility.
    Various letters to the Monitor, and presentations at the LWV forum, have provided extensive detailed comments, and have hypothesized different extreme actions by the council or the utilities board to support their positions. These hypothesizes are highly unlikely, but are within the “possibility” envelope. Therefore it is appropriate that a revision to the charter that is limited, restricted and establishes an open dispute resolution process be approved.
    The proposed charter changes meet these criteria. Ultimate responsibility and accountability should be reserved for the council, acting as the elected representatives of the public.

  • Constitutional amendments: Yes on 1, No on others

    Five more amendments to the New Mexico Constitution face voters this fall. Amending the Constitution has been a low-key sideline or, perhaps, a sport of state politics since before statehood.
    Find the text of the amendments and pro and con arguments at websites of the Legislative Council Service (LCS).
    Proposed amendments pass the Legislature as joint resolutions and are submitted to the people in general elections, meaning alternate years. The governor has no authority to comment.
    Sometimes elitists argue that amendments are too complex or boring or whatever for “the people” to consider from the perspective of their averageness. This amounts to the same rationale given by radicals such as Sen. Tom Udall with his First Amendment proposal to regulate political speech. Udall and his far left buddies think that regular folks can’t sort through megabucks spending to make a decision.
    I disagree. Voters really do consider constitutional amendments. If that consideration is for one minute, so what? My evidence is that sometimes proposed amendments lose. Individual amendments always get different vote totals. Clearly voters, some anyway, come to different conclusions about a given proposal.

  • Utilities charter change is not in our interest

    As a retired Los Alamos County utilities manager, 10-year member of the Board of Public Utilities (Board) and a utilities customer, I urge voters to vote against Ballot Question No. 2 — utilities. I am concerned about the potential negative effects the proposed re-write of Article V of the Los Alamos County Charter will have on Utilities customers.
    Unless a voter digs deeply into the background he/she may not realize that Article V, which was ratified in 1968 and has effectively guided utilities operations since, will be deleted and replaced with a new version that is substantially changed.
    What occurs in the proposed version is the council gains more control over utilities. Among other things, the council:
    1) will have the ability to remove one or more board members without reason
    2) will have the right to impose a dispute resolution process weighted in the council’s favor, and
    3) could potentially use utilities’ funds for other county operations.

  • No politics with utilities, please

    The advocates of Charter Amendment 2 are now claiming that it is preventive maintenance for the Utilities Department. This type of maintenance is based on the principle: “If it ain’t broke, fix it ‘til it is.”
    Don’t let them politicize our utilities. Vote “No” on Charter Amendment 2.
    Gil Miranda
    Los Alamos