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Today's Opinions

  • Weinstein case shows power corrupts for so many people

    Power corrupts. Worse, as 19th-century historian Lord Acton concluded, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a politician, an entertainment mogul, a corporate CEO or a police officer, give any one person – or government agency – too much power and allow him or her or it to believe that they are entitled, untouchable and will not be held accountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be abused.
    We’re seeing this dynamic play out every day in communities across America.
    A cop shoots an unarmed citizen for no credible reason and gets away with it. A president employs executive orders to sidestep the Constitution and gets away with it. A government agency spies on its citizens’ communications and gets away with it. An entertainment mogul sexually harasses aspiring actresses and gets away with it. The U.S. military bombs a civilian hospital and a school and gets away with it.
    Abuse of power — and the ambition-fueled hypocrisy and deliberate disregard for misconduct that make those abuses possible — works the same whether you’re talking about sexual harassment, government corruption, or the rule of law.

  • Recent shooting proves dangers to store employees

    At a Circle K convenience store, the clerk shot a suspected armed robber.
    We expect to read the opposite story. Convenience stores can be dangerous places, especially for the people who work in them.
    This happened a few weeks ago in Albuquerque in mid-afternoon. The suspect was wounded and is expected to recover; the clerk was not charged with any crime.
    What was that clerk doing packing a gun?
    The incident brought to mind a court case from 20 years ago in which Circle K clerk Paul Sedillo followed a shoplifter into the parking lot and was shot and killed.
    The Eldridge case (named for the mother of Sedillo’s daughter) raised the question of whether Circle K might be civilly liable outside of workers’ compensation, whether the company was so greatly “at fault” that it might violate the “no fault” principle basic to the workers’ comp philosophy.
    It was a hot issue in the workers’ comp legal community, but the case was settled out of court so the question was not resolved.
    Conventional wisdom is that employees should never be instructed to pursue armed robbers or shoplifters. Let them take the money and go. I heard that message in dozens of safety seminars and passed it on to small business owners in my own seminars.

  • Globalization helped set the stage for 'Dreamers' laws

    Millions of middle class Americans, mostly in rural areas, are feeling cornered by the overwhelming forces of globalization.
    Their employment was displaced by automation, international competition and corporations’ transfer of jobs to other nations with lesser production costs and more flexible laws. Many of these Americans express a visceral anger towards anything international and desperately reach for national isolation and solutions that would save them from people who don't look and speak like them.
    Some leaders have convinced them that they are victims of sinister foreigners who ridicule American goodwill and naivete in international agreements, which are unfair to the U.S. Those leaders claim that criminals who have crossed the border illegally are responsible not only for loss of jobs but also for rape, murder and unprecedented addiction to drugs among Americans.
    Fear over declining income, increase of joblessness and violence make people susceptible to lash out at anyone with whom they are unfamiliar. The federal program DACA founded in 2012 is perceived to benefit such “others.”

  • Letters to the Editor 10-11-17

    Today’s Republican Party is unfit to govern

    Dear Editor,

    The biased, deceptive science-teaching standards proposed by the Martinez administration are the latest evidence that today’s Republican Party is unfit to govern.

    Science is the systematic investigation of the physical world in which we live. It seeks to accurately describe and quantify physical phenomena and to propose models and theories that will allow us to make future predictions.

    It is a continuing endeavor in which theories and models are tested, modified or abandoned to reflect new observations and experimental results.

    Although no human undertaking is infallible, science is inherently self-correcting.

    When we reject science, we reject reality and we lose the ability to make rational, information-based decisions for ourselves, our families, our nation and the future of humanity.

    Unfortunately, due to religious/regional cultures, our ineffectual educational system, special interest groups, and ignorant/corrupt politicians, the U.S. is one of the most science-illiterate societies in the developed world.

    Whereas many take pride in proclaiming that the U.S. is an “exceptional nation,” a nation that makes decisions based illusion or disinformation, rather than reality, cannot survive.

  • Letters to the Editor 9-29-17

    Domenici, Bingaman served as model for
    bipartisanship

    Dear Editor,
    Pete Domenici had a daughter who had mental health problems, so he fought for the mentally ill. He helped pass the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity Act of 2008.

    His mother was an undocumented immigrant so he tried to help pass an immigrant bill.

    Trump’s meeting with Democrats Pelosi and Schumer about DACA was petty. Pelosi and Schumer were being partisan.

    Both sides interpreted the meeting to suit themselves. Until Congress has hearings and discussions with both parties, nothing will be done on immigration.

    Domenici worked in the 1990s toward a balanced budget. In 1997, the Senate approved the Balanced Budget Act. In 1998, we had the first balanced federal budget in 30 years.

    During the last budget crisis, Domenici suggested that Congress should stop giving sound bites on TV and start working on a budget in a back room.

    Domenici and Bingaman served together for 26 years.

    They voted along with their parties when it was right to do so.

    If it was something that would benefit New Mexico, they always voted together. It’s called being bipartisan.

  • Working together to enhance our community

    BY DAVID IZRAELEVITZ
    Los Alamos County Council Chair

    This is part three of a three-part series.

    In part one of my editorial on code enforcement, I covered the “why” behind the program, and in part two, I addressed the “how” of the process that is involved. Today in part three, I would like to talk more philosophically about code enforcement and what the county and the community can do to assist with resources. 

    Let me address the “government-encroachment” argument first which I have heard a few times. I can understand that some, and probably most individuals feel an initial gut feeling of government overreach when an ordinance is passed that imposes additional personal responsibilities for property maintenance. However, *any* new law, by definition, imposes new constraints on our freedoms.

    After that initial reaction, we need to then look at the fundamental issue that this new ordinance is addressing, and whether it is the right approach or not. If no one drove dangerously, we would not need speeding limits. If everyone was attentive to their property, we wouldn’t need property maintenance standards either. We do have a property maintenance problem in town, and I don’t see a practical alternative to some kind of code and its enforcement.

  • Gov. candidate Cervantes brings experience, results

    Joe Cervantes’ office is an old house a half block from the New Mexico State University campus in Las Cruces. His car (truck, really), a black GMC Yukon, tucks into an alcove under a tree next to the door. He doesn’t know the age of the house, though he notes that the thick walls certify that the house is old.

    Cervantes, a state senator and a Democrat, is running for governor (joe4nm.com). The day we talk, a hot mid-September Wednesday, his attire is business casual, sleeves rolled up.

    For those seriously undertaking a task as complex, difficult and expensive as running for governor – and Cervantes is very serious about this – all sorts of reasons appear. He is clear about what is not a motivation. “I am not running for governor to ascend” to a higher political position, he says.

    Cervantes doesn’t name names, but the reference certainly is both to Bill Richardson, who became governor as a platform for running for president, and Susana Martinez, formerly touted for higher posts.

    Results are Cervantes’ focus. “There’s a lot to be said” about having a governor knowing the process. Bruce King was the most recent to come from the Legislature. His final term ended in 1994.

  • LEtters to the Editor 9-22-17

    Wildlife are not pets

    Dear Editor,
    I was pretty surprised that LA County is actually contemplating fining folks  for not “securing” their trash bins in a “secure” building? Many residents don’t have a garage or secure building to place their trash bin in? I spoke to one resident who stated, “I guess I’ll have to bring my trash bin into my home.” Ahhh the smell of rotting garbage.

    Then there are those folks who actually put out food and water for the bears/wildlife. They are concerned the wildlife is not adequately hydrated or healthy, seriously? These residents are teaching/conditioning wildlife to be dependent, they are not pets. I believe fines should be imposed on these folks before contemplating such a ridiculous proposition.

    Dave McClard
    Los Alamos
    Boy Scouts are a Los
    Alamos tradition, active presence

    Dear Editor,
    The Los Alamos Ranch School began 100 years ago as the dream of Ashley Pond Jr. who envisioned a school where boys who were growing up sickly in polluted eastern cities could come out west, ride horses and recover their health.

    He hired A.J. Connell, a forest ranger and Boy Scout leader, to direct the school.