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Today's Opinions

  • Sanchez promises we won’t end up like Washington

    Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez recently held forth in what some might consider enemy territory.
    The Belen Democrat addressed Economic Forum, an Albuquerque organization of CEOs and power brokers.
    They had two things on their minds: wages and Right to Work. And, of course, the question that follows Sanchez everywhere he goes: with a new Republican majority in the House, will there be gridlock in Santa Fe?
    The discussion was civil, respectful and productive, an example of what happens when people listen to each other.
    Sanchez let them know up front that he’s not anti-business. “I come from a family that’s business-oriented,” he said. He and brother Raymond, a former House Speaker, grew up in their parents’ bakery and restaurant in Belen, and his law practice is a business.
    He’s felt the lingering recession. “In my practice it’s been difficult. It’s hard for people to pay. There just isn’t money going around.”
    In a conversational tone of voice, Sanchez touched on the hot-button issues: tax cuts (he’s not convinced they bring new business to the state), drought (we need a comprehensive water plan), and education (we need to listen to teachers about what works and doesn’t work).

  • Learning about proposed electric rate ordinance

    The Power Rate Adjustment provision currently in the proposed electric rate ordinance should be removed. There are sound policy reasons for opposing the provisions. But more importantly the provision violates Charter Art. 504. I apologize for the length, but I am attempting to provide useful background and analysis to help council make a considered decision.
    Background: The Charter (Art. 504) defines the role of council and Board of Public Utilities in the rate process. Perhaps because there was concern about abuse of the rate process, all actions on rates must be done after public hearings by both the BPU and the council. The language in the charter is mandatory. In addition, there is no latitude for either body to deviate from charter process or to create alternate processes than may be more facile.

  • Winning, losing more complex than vote count

    Most people looking at election results believe that the person with the most votes “won” and the person with the fewest votes “lost.”
    The real win-lose story is more complicated. Admittedly vague, this concept considers actions candidates take (or do not take) that determine the results.
    A presumably stronger candidate may run a straightforward campaign and even win the vote total without “winning” the race. The determinant would be that the other candidate “lost,” as did the legislative candidate who came close, but ended the campaign with money in the bank.
    The example is Land Commissioner Ray Powell, whose modest campaign was not a winner, but who might slip a higher vote total from the current recount than challenger Aubrey Dunn.
    Carroll Cagle has been around the policy-punditing-journalism-political scene even longer than I have, which is saying something.
    He graduated from Roswell High School and edited The Daily Lobo, the University of New Mexico student newspaper. These days he does a policy and political blog for the New Mexico Prosperity Project (newmexicoprosperity.org), a voter education outfit, where he was executive director.
    Our exchange of emails a few days ago is the basis for what follows.

  • Letter to the editor 12-14-14

    No fly zone
    My son David and I recently went on a trip so we booked a round trip flight with Fly New Mexico from Los Alamos to Albuquerque. The flight down Monday was fine, but when we returned on Friday, the flight had been cancelled. We were unaware of this, so we waited at the gate where the board read, “Flight 91, 5:45” and not “Flight 91, cancelled.”
    It is very unprofessional for an airline not to update their board. Just before takeoff time, another man came hoping to get a last minute ticket. Since there was no one there, he found a direct connect phone at the gate and found out the flight was cancelled. I would have panicked if I were traveling alone, since I have never rented a car, nor do I drive off the Hill.
     Seniors and inexperienced travelers, beware of this airline. The man turned out to be a friend of a friend. He rented a car and offered us a ride to Los Alamos. So we would like to thank Paul Leslie for his kindness to us.
    When we got home, there was a message on David’s answering machine about the cancellation, but the airline knew we were in the middle of a round trip so why call the home phone? An email or call to a cell phone would have been better.
    Sally Baggett
    Los Alamos

    Thanks for
    food bank support

  • Welcome to the O-zone

    Late on Thanksgiving eve the Obama administration released a roadmap of regulations being finalized in 2015. Within the bundle of more than 3,000 regulations lies a rule on ozone that President Barack Obama himself, in 2011, “put on ice” in effort to reduce “regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.”
    So why is the rule back?
    First, Obama isn’t facing an election. Most believe the 2012 election was the reason for the about-face. More importantly, following the 2011 decision that struck down the proposed ozone rule, environmental groups sued the Obama administration. The resulting court order required the Environmental Protection Agency to release the proposed rule by Dec. 1.
    Once again, environmental groups are in charge of America’s energy, and, therefore, economic policy. They have systematically chipped away America’s sources of economic strength: cost-effective energy. And we’ve let them.

  • Aspen students happy with new digs

    Editor’s note: The following letters were written by sixth graders from Aspen Elementary School regarding recent renovations and rededication of the school. These are the last of the letters sent to the Los Alamos Monitor.

    I am loving our new building for several reasons.
    First of all, I love the two stories. It really helps because we’re not all squished together.
    Next, the elevator is very helpful. It’s helpful because if there was a student in a wheelchair, they wouldn’t have to have a challenge going up the stairs. It’s also helpful because if we needed to bring a heavy item upstairs, we could just put it in the elevator instead of trying to carry it up the stairs. Finally, this school is helping us learn because it’s good to know that we’re gong to a school that’s safe and looks nice.
    Thank you for investing in me and my classmates’ education.
    Rafael

    I am loving our new school for several reasons.

  • The constant variation of change

    Back in high school, I was in a college-bowl style competition (team, buzzers, timers, etc.) that covered the span of general knowledge taught in science, math, English and history classes.
    One of the questions asked was, “What is Avogadro’s Constant?” The competing team hit the buzzer first and answered, “6.2 times 10 to the 23rd power.”
    When the moderator said, “That’s correct for 40 points”, I jumped out of my seat and yelled, “No! The correct value is 6.02 times 10 to the 23rd power.”
    I then added, “In fact, it’s 6.02252 times 10 to the 23rd power!” The chemistry teacher agreed, the moderator canceled the question, and the points were taken back.
    My team ended up winning the competition by a mere 10 points.  Thank you, Amedeo!
    When I got to college, that “constant” had changed to 6.022045 10^23.  Over the decades, it changed again and again, and just recently I read that it is now a constant of 6.0221413 10^23.
    Avogadro’s Constant is a fact. It’s consistent. Stable. Steady. Unvarying. Steadfast. Unchanging!

  • Top talent being discussed at MLB's Winter Meetings

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Clayton Kershaw is considered the top pitcher in baseball, with three Cy Young Awards in four years for the Los Angeles Dodgers, an NL Most Valuable Player award and a $215 million, seven-year contract.
    Max Scherzer may be seeking an even bigger deal as his talks on the free-agent market move forward.
    “I’m not sure Kershaw is relevant,” agent Scott Boras said Wednesday at the winter meetings, “because he’s not a free agent.”
    Jon Lester became the first top-level, free-agent starting pitcher to reach an agreement this offseason, a $155 million, six-year deal with the Chicago Cubs that came together late Tuesday night and still must be finalized.
    Scherzer turned down an offer from Detroit last March that would have paid $144 million from 2015-20.
    Kershaw, meanwhile, has the largest contract for a pitcher in total dollars and has the sport’s highest average salary at $30.7 million.
    “The prominent pitchers that have signed, (Justin) Verlander or (Felix) Hernandez or Kershaw, were not free-agent players,” Boras said. “And certainly if you put a performance like Kershaw into a free-agent market, you’re going to get a much, much different calibration of value.”