Today's Opinions

  • Drug issues still dominate workers' compensation

    The New Mexico Court of Appeals has supported the use of medical marijuana after a work-related injury.
    The timing was inconvenient. The ruling was announced on May 19. The state’s annual workers’ compensation convention was the previous week. I wish the ruling had been announced a week earlier, so that it could have been part of the conversation at the convention.
    If you had heard what I heard at that convention, you might be cheering about this ruling. Though it is fraught with complications that cannot be minimized, the marijuana ruling is potentially good news. That is, if you believe marijuana is less of a problem than opioids.
    The convention, sponsored by the Workers’ Compensation Association of New Mexico, was all about the opioid epidemic. A few years ago, I wrote that the overuse of opioid prescription medication was becoming a crisis in the workers’ compensation system. This year, the opioid epidemic is established fact and the Number One topic of concern. New Mexico is among the worst states for opioid addiction.

  • Korkos says goodbye to Chamber

    This is an open letter to the community, to thank you all for all the opportunities that have come my way during my six years at the Chamber of Commerce.
    I’ve had the opportunity to play a role on the White Rock Master Plan Implementation committee and have volunteered with the Los Alamos Historical Society, the United Way of Northern New Mexico and with the groups advocating on behalf of the Manhattan Project National Historic Park. I’ve been part of two planning groups which are establishing new foundations that will benefit the local community.
    I’ve worked with senators and congressmen and their field representatives, the governor, the secretary for economic development, Los Alamos National Laboratory officials, county councilors and county government, on issues such as the Valles Caldera, free and open access to the west from Los Alamos, procurement policies at the lab, visitor services, Atomic City Transit planning and many other issues as they arise.
    I’ve had the pleasure of working with a great team here at the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation — so many great people that I hesitate to name any, for fear I’ll leave some out.

  • Ignorance in high places holds economy back

    How is it that our economy languishes while every state around us prospers?
    One answer is, we elected a career government employee with no understanding of job creation, and some of our legislative leaders are equally clueless. They spent most of the last four years groping in the dark every time the subject came up and didn’t have a flashlight among them until last year.
    When this governor took office, the recession had gripped the state’s economy for two years. In 2011, everybody focused on budget cutting, but look at what else happened.
    The governor made it clear she would veto any tax increases, which cheered business people — you know, those folks who make hiring decisions — but they had more on their wish list.
    One was sensible regulation. A bipartisan Red Tape Reduction Act, blessed by the governor, industry and environmentalists, failed after a Republican added language to eliminate the state cap-and-trade program. Lawmakers also killed an extension of the successful Angel Investment Tax Credit for individuals who invest in startups.
    Business also wanted to increase unemployment premiums to stabilize the fund. The governor, who didn’t know that unemployment is insurance and a premium is not a tax, argued against “higher taxes” and vetoed higher premiums. Dems sued and won.

  • Key on better, faster, cheaper

    Innovation,” how sweet thy name!
    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So said Shakespeare with the lilt of Juliet.
    Yet today’s political parties take no chances. To play safe, the name of “rose” goes ‘round in the news and comes out “thistle” or “skunk cabbage.” In the process, ideas die aborning.
    Ideas about regulatory engineering have evolved here since my column of April 2011. This spring I first heard about a different perspective — “next gen compliance,” which is short for Next Generation Compliance, a new effort of the EPA.
    The first look finds countless similarities between regulatory engineering and next gen compliance. Their differences, aside from names, will appear as things progress.
    Yet names are pivotal. Names guide sentiments, because names display their ethnicity, just as tribes do.
    The word “compliance” is a term of regulation, which brings on bad thoughts of government rules. “Engineering” names the discipline of creating better, faster and cheaper technologies.

  • How mountain top renewal is a good idea

    Recently I received the following email: “Please explain how energy from mountain top removal, fracking and tar sands makes America great.”
    The email sent by someone named Greg used terms that represent three different energy sources: coal, natural gas and oil — and each have been big contributors to America’s progress and prosperity.
    Mountain top removal is a coal-mining method. It is safer than underground mining because it virtually removes the risk of mine accidents. In fact, in the mountainous regions of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, this surface mining process allows for hospitals, housing developments, schools and shopping centers to be built — which brings much needed economic development and jobs. The area is filled with hills and valleys — but no place to create a community.
    The coal provides, and has provided, America with low-cost, base-load electricity — which has given us a competitive edge in the global marketplace and unmatched personal progress. And, therefore, energy from mountain top removal makes America great.

  • PAC attack ads help no one

    In these final days of the primary election campaign, Republican households have received mailed flyers attacking one of the GOP candidates for state representative in our district. These mailings originated from a political action committee (PAC) outside Los Alamos with no connection to the opposing candidate and obviously no appreciation for our tradition of civil and respectful political discourse.
    The same sort of PAC advertising on both sides marred the general election campaign for the same office two years ago.
    Professional political operatives claim such negative advertising is effective. It probably is with some, but most Los Alamos voters are irritated rather than enlightened. It undermines and angers candidates trying to maintain a “high road.”
    Strident advertising by outsiders promotes their agendas, not necessarily ours. I urge voters to instead pay attention to candidates’ character, experience, abilities, record, philosophy and issue positions — in both the current primary and November general election.
    Robert Gibson, chair
    Republican Party of Los Alamos 

  • Preparing pets for possible disaster

    Disaster can strike anywhere at any time, and the best way to survive is to be prepared early.
    “Hurricane season begins June 1 and is a great time to review your personal preparedness plan,” said Dr. Wesley Bissett, director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team. “While you make sure all of your family members are covered in the event of a disaster, make sure the four-legged members of your family are included in the planning process.”
    It’s important to remember that if you have to evacuate your home, you will often have to do so very quickly. Know ahead of time the route you will take, and identify potential shelter locations along the route. Make sure you know which shelters will accommodate pets, or if there are designated shelters for evacuated animals nearby.

  • Children of the NRA

    Do you remember the last time you bit your tongue?  When you do bite your tongue, you can’t seem to stop biting it. You start focusing on the pain and consciously trying to avoid chewing on it, and in doing so, you find that you almost can’t help biting it again. It’s like the bitten area has swollen to the size of a grape and it’s impossible for you to close your mouth without clamping down on it.
    It’s human nature to zero in on that which most offends us, and in doing so we give its existence a strange sort of credence.
    Enter one of the strangest and most annoying grapes, Wayne LaPierre, spokesperson for those who can’t muster enough hatred and stupidity on their own, and so they hire someone to do it for them.
    LaPierre calls the NRA “the world’s largest civil rights organization in the world.” This is like calling the Al Qaeda the world’s most successful social awareness program. But criticism never seems to hurt LaPierre’s feelings. He doesn’t have enough of a brain stem to support a headache.
    When some gun-toting moron shot up the Newtown Elementary School, the NRA and its supporters immediately blamed gun laws for the murders and gun sales went through the roof.
    Ah, but guns don’t kill people! Only bad guys with guns kill people, right?