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Today's Opinions

  • Optimism about the state but the nation, not so much

    We hear a lot that civility died in the recent election, but it survives here and there.
    Republican Janice Arnold-Jones and Democrat Alan Webber, former candidates for governor, proved that speaking recently to New Mexico Press Women.
    On New Mexico elections:
    “The truth lost,” said Arnold-Jones, a former state representative. “I have never seen such complete willingness to abandon the truth – on both sides.” She said Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, the target of the governor’s political broadsides, “was a thorn in the side but a decent human being.”
    “Michael Sanchez was defeated by a scurrilous campaign,” said Webber. “It was a dark spot on the election.”
    He said the crime bills introduced in the special session “were a carefully laid trap to go after Democrats, in particular, Michael Sanchez.” The reality is that legislators “are too close to voters to be soft on crime,” he said.
    On New Mexico’s economy:
    Despite continuing bad news, the two describe themselves as optimistic. The way forward, both say, is to focus on infrastructure.

  • NM ranks 47th in ratio of employment to population

    New Mexicans don’t especially like work, or at least work captured in official statistics.
    This work aversion is a continuing theme here. It’s something cultural, one of those rents in the social fabric that is central to our systemic troubles.
    The state Department of Workforce Solutions recently provided valuable additional insight by reviewing the propensity for work in our 33 counties. The measure is the ratio of employment to population (E/P). The ratio reports the percentage of the population age 16 and over that is not in an institution such as a jail and not in the military.
    The states stacking on top of Oklahoma lead in diligence. With 68 percent of its population employed in 2015, Nebraska has the highest employment-to-population ratio. Minnesota follows with 67.6 percent and Iowa has 67.3 percent. The other end of line finds West Virginia at 49.4 percent; Mississippi, 52.2 percent; and – ta da – New Mexico, 53.5 percent.
    “For the five-year period 2010 to 2014, Los Alamos County posted the highest E/P ratio, at 62.3 percent,” DWS said. For the 2010–2014 period, the national rate was 57.7 percent, with New Mexico at 53.9 percent.

  • Business altruism pays off even when payoff isn’t the point

    For many businesses, philanthropic giving has an element of self-interest: It’s giving with the expectation of getting something back in the form of tax breaks and image building.

    But more and more businesses are discovering that unselfish giving has a value that’s immeasurable and that reverberates throughout the community, the workforce and the economy. 

    Community quality of life 

    Businesses that create and nurture an organizational culture based on gratitude can drive significant change that benefits everyone, not just their customers, especially if they can involve likeminded entrepreneurs.

    When a business spearheads a project that solves a local problem or provides a public service, such as building a bike path or setting aside company land for habitat restoration, it demonstrates an investment in the city or town in which it’s based and a commitment to making the host community a better place for everyone to live and work. 

  • Election 2016: Slime attacks, upsets and close calls

    Gov. Susana Martinez will face a legislature firmly in the hands of Democrats after this election. On the other hand, she got rid of the chief thorn in her side, Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez.
    At this writing, the results are still new and not entirely final. Political pundits will be sorting out this election for a long time, but there are some takeaways.
    The big news here is that Democrats took back the House. After two bitter years of Republican control, we might expect to see some payback, but I hope they focus on the state’s business. Similarly, the Senate is a little more blue than red.
    The leadership shuffle in the House will probably make Rep. Brian Egolf, of Santa Fe, the new speaker. Keep an eye on the powerful House Appropriations and Finance Committee, where Gallup’s Rep.
    Patty Lundstrom has not only the seniority but the knowledge to be chair. And, fellas, women have been a little scarce in leadership positions.
    Incumbents often had the advantage, but not always.
    Newcomer Greg Baca overwhelmed Michael Sanchez after an expensive, ugly campaign. Advance New Mexico Now, a super PAC operated by the governor’s political adviser Jay McCleskey, dropped more than $370,000 on TV advertising alone, according to New Mexico In Depth.

  • Air Force veteran’s business growth enabled by Accion

    BY FINANCE NEW MEXICO
    Gary Peterson’s Albuquerque auto shop is a profit-generator with philanthropy at its heart.
    Peterson, a 22-year Air Force veteran, started One Community Auto in Albuquerque to refurbish rundown vehicles and donate the sales proceeds to a variety of charities, from Assistance Dogs of the West to veteran suicide-prevention and domestic violence prevention programs. He calls this aspect of his business “social entrepreneurship.”
    The company’s newest endeavor involves providing abandoned or wrecked cars to organizations that demolish them in training exercises.
    Cars for causes
    Peterson is under contract with the Air Force Training Academy at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, to supply 250 vehicles to train firefighters how to safely extricate people from cars after accidents and other emergencies. His company also made a deal to provide cast-off cars that can be used for target practice.
    This novel business model is just what Peterson had in mind when he retired from the military three years ago: He wanted to start a business using the skills he acquired in the Air Force, but he wanted a large part of his earnings to support his philanthropic causes.

  • Changes to FAFSA make it easier to apply for student aid

    BY NATHAN SILLIN
    Practical Money Skills

  • Letters to the Editor 11-11-16

    PEEC thanks community, volunteers for successful Pajarito Trail Fest race

    The Pajarito Environmental Education Center would like to thank the organizers, volunteers and runners of the Pajarito Trail Fest race for once again donating a portion of the proceeds to PEEC to help get kids outside.
    The Trail Fest is an amazing event for our community. Not only is it well-run, providing excellent support and fun for the participants, it gives back to many community groups.
    This year they gave out a total of $5,500. In the spirit of the Trail Fest, PEEC will use the funds given to get kids outside on the trails, both as part of school and for fun. We’re so grateful that the Pajarito Trail Fest has supported our work for many years. A special thank you to race director Petra Pirc for helping us to raise the next generation of trail lovers.
    Katherine Watson
    Executive Director, PEEC

    LAAC thanks community for Pumpkin Glow success

    On behalf of the Los Alamos Arts Council, I would like to thank the community for coming out and supporting the Pumpkin Glow.

  • Vaping industry meets resistance in Congress

    BY PAUL J. GESSING
    Rio Grande Foundation