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Today's Opinions

  • Eggcorns Benedict

    There’s an old saying about one’s literary skills: Some people have a way with words, and some do not have a way.
    I was one with not much way at all, and being a math nerd I took a perverse pride in my inability to properly connect a verb to a noun.
    Back then, it was an unstated expectation that a student who was strong in either math or English had to be feeble in the other (and I more than exceeded expectations).
    I was content to play the part of the linguistically challenged, always running from the grammar police as I squinted my modifiers, split my infinitives, and dangled my participles.
      Strangely enough, no one seemed to really care.
    When all you want to discuss is obscure theorems on spherical geometry, you quickly find yourself talking to an empty room.
    But conversing with myself had its advantages. I would only get interrupted now and then, and I never lost an argument.
    Well, almost never.
    Math is quite rigid in its adherence to rules. If you break a simple rule like dividing by zero, then up becomes down, positive becomes negative and the universe explodes.
    Math is quite unforgiving.
    English, on another hand, seems to take mistakes for granite.
    That’s an eggcorn.

  • Loan helps couple open studio to enrich clients’ physical, spiritual lives

    Empowerment is the core of Mira Rubiano’s mission-driven life.
    After graduating with a degree in economics from Mount Holyoke College, the Minnesota native worked at the State Department and the World Bank, specializing in efforts to reduce poverty and increase social inclusion.
    Now she and her husband, freelance photographer Eduardo Rubiano, are taking charge of their own financial destiny by opening a yoga and fitness studio that helps clients build their energy and well-being. Santa Fe Thrive opened in the Solana Center at the end of May with a commitment “to providing inclusive, community-conscious empowerment in the spirit of holistic health and vitality.”
    “I always felt I had to tackle things at a macro level,” Rubiano said of her aid work, which included time as a Fulbright scholar teaching English in impoverished Brazilian neighborhoods. “But I kept being drawn to the individual — the empowerment of the individual — (and wanting) to let that flourish outward.”
    That self-assurance proved essential when the Rubianos began planning their business in 2014 and discovered the obstacles that fledgling entrepreneurs can face.

  • Money management for ‘Boomerang’ households

    Due to recent economic realities, multi-generational living has been on the rise for many families.
    A 2014 Pew Research Center analysis showed that a record 57 million Americans, equal to a little over 18 percent of the U.S. population, lived in multi-generational family households in 2012 — double the number in 1980.
    The major driver was young adults aged 25-34. According to Pew, nearly 24 percent of these older millennials lived in multi-generational households, increased from nearly 19 percent in 2007 and 11 percent in 1980.
    It’s possible the “boomerang” family trend will remain in place for some time to come.
    For homeowner parents who may also be juggling the “sandwich” responsibilities of caring for older relatives, paying attention to the financial and behavioral details of taking in family is critical. Here are some suggestions to consider:
    Your finances come first. Operating a full house means higher utility and food costs and additional wear and tear on the property. Taking in family also shouldn’t derail a parent’s career goals or retirement planning, nor should it diminish other necessary financial objectives like maximizing savings or eliminating debt.

  • With capital outlay, we borrow from Peter and forget to pay Paul

    Last week our legislators did a good thing.
    During a short, business-like special session, they passed a public works bill and a package of tax incentives and directed funding to the courts and the Health Department.
    At the end of the day, Sen. John Arthur Smith, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, threw a little cold water on the euphoric proceedings. Ninety-nine municipalities supported the capital outlay bill, he said.
    “I want them to be on their guard. We can claw that back. That’s not an empty threat. They will have to act more responsibly. I have a list of how much money is out there not spent.”
    The Legislature giveth and the Legislature taketh away.
    As Smith has said before, he doesn’t play games or make idle threats. Next year, without a solid economic rebound of the state’s economy or oil and gas revenues, we can expect another tight budget. Smith’s committee and its counterpart in the House will be looking for money.
    During the regular session, last winter, State Auditor Tim Keller announced that $4.5 billion was sitting in more than 700 state accounts. Of that, $2 billion, primarily from past allocations, hadn’t been spent for infrastructure projects, including $700 million for water projects.

  • We’re not alone in tax policy woes

    If you want to get a laugh out of some of the wonkiest policy wonks in the state, try this: The top question asked these days by tax policy people all over the country is what’s happening with taxing marijuana.
    Everybody wants to jump on that bandwagon.
    Hold off, said Scott Pattison, director of the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), speaking recently at a conference of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute. The news is not that exciting. Legalizing and taxing marijuana will not solve New Mexico’s revenue problems. Darn!
    And some New Mexico policy makers thought it was such a clever idea.
    The benefit of a speaker with national perspective is that he reminds us we’re not alone, we’re not that different from other states and the laws of nature and economics apply, even in the Land of Enchantment.
    According to Pattison, most states face the same critical needs and no state has enough revenue to meet them all.
    The big issues include infrastructure, education, tax cuts, revenue shortfalls, arguments about other funding mechanisms (read: marijuana tax), Medicaid and more Medicaid.
    Several states rely on oil and gas for a major part of their funding. They’re all having a hard time. Some states rely on federal spending, as New Mexico does.

  • Council should have simply said ‘thank you’ to the bag-ban petitioners

    I did not comment in the county’s forum before and see no need to do so now.
    The opinion of the vast majority of those who did comment was clear to me. Will the plaintiffs stuff the ballot box now that it has been reopened?
    Our system is supposed to be a democracy. This means that the will of the majority is to be legislated and not the will of a minority who would dictate/mandate that “their morality” and their view of the “right thing to do” be imposed on everyone.
    I have decided to “review” recent activities and make some observations.
    Shortly after the Environmental Sustainability Board (ESB) met on May 13 and the floor was opened for debate as to whether Los Alamos County should “ban or otherwise reduce the distribution of single use bags,” supporters asked the board to withdraw the option of an outright ban. Rather than banning the bag now, they would rather have Los Alamos County mandate pay-per-bag for both paper and single-use plastic, indicating that this would give everyone, environmentalists and free choice consumers alike, pretty much what we want.

  • Schools get 45 percent of state spending growth

    Spending by state government during the coming budget year (fiscal 2016) on the largest categories will be about the same as during the year ending June 30.
    That’s because little additional money is expected during the new year and also because no consensus — not even a fleeting conversation — exists about any big shuffle of state priorities.
    The “2015 Post-Session Review” from the Legislative Finance Committee reports that for FY 16, appropriations from the general fund (the state’s main pot of operating money) are $2,752 million for public schools, $908 million for Medicaid, $848 million for higher education and $419 million for public safety. Everything else from the acequia and community ditch education program to the Spaceport Authority shares the rest—$1.319 billion. The figures here come from the LFC report.
    The Department of Transportation appropriation is $865 million, mostly for highways but siphoned away for many things. This money does not flow through the general fund.

  • Letters to the editor 6-14-15

    Branding LA is wasted effort

    Branding Los Alamos? Really?
    Are we nothing more than a herd of cattle? For our illustrious county council to even consider spending a quarter of a million dollars for a brand is ridiculous!
    What’s wrong with what we have? For many years, we had a big “LA” whitewashed on the side of burnt mountain courtesy of the high school. Looked like a pretty good “brand” to me.
    Maybe, instead of spending all that money to some out of Los Alamos business, why don’t you follow your own advance and “shop Los Alamos?” Surely we have some firms capable of providing your requested services! As another possibility, the councilors could perhaps initiate a program with the high school wherein the kids could get paid for or reimbursed for the whitewash needed to replenish the LA each year and throw in some hot dogs, burgers and soft drinks to make it worth their while to do the work.
    If that is impractical, perhaps the county could hire some summer students and add that to their job description or duties. They could even hire a few homeless people who might be looking for temporary jobs.
    Too easy? Probably! Too inexpensive? Definitely!
    Regardless, it is one heck of a lot cheaper than $250,000 of taxpayers’ hard earned money.