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Today's Opinions

  • Thank you, public servants

    A big thank you to the Secretary of State’s staff and the Los Alamos County Clerk and her staff for all the many hours and hard work that went on behind the scenes in accomplishing the first ever in New Mexico statewide recount. I’m sure much the same thing went on in clerks offices across the State. Those of us who did the recount in Los Alamos saw how hard Sharon, Adrianna , Gloria, Ona and Jocelyn had worked in preparing for the recount to go smoothly. Thank you for making a tedious and time-consuming job as painless as possible. It was a pleasure to work with the entire recount team.
    Mary Wilhoit
    Los Alamos

  • Open spaces gives Los Alamos an advantage

    I’m one of those kids who came back. I had many choices, but my family and I chose Los Alamos. Why? What makes Los Alamos special?
    My friends who live elsewhere are not impressed by my lab job. Nor are they impressed by the slower small-town pace of life, the great schools, the friendly people, or the opportunity to really make a difference in public service. These types of things are big pluses, but they are available in lots of places.
    However, they are impressed by the fact that I can walk out my back gate into a forested canyon system on public land. If that’s iced over, I count at least half a dozen official and unofficial trailheads within a couple of blocks. And this from a house in the middle of town!
    What makes Los Alamos special is our extraordinary natural setting. Los Alamos County itself has 10,000-foot peaks, large and small tuff canyons, large and small basalt canyons, caves, ponderosa forests, spruce-fir forests, piñon-juniper forests, meadows, mountain and canyon streams, springs, mesas, the Rio Grande, hundreds of cultural sites, 1,000 species of plants, a national monument, tremendous views and more.
    Within a day’s drive, we can reach world-class mountains, rivers and canyon country. I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world that really has what we have.

  • Money management could ease personal spending woes

    A recent story from the Washington Post described Black Friday, and all the news coverage of that shopping extravaganza, as a spectacle of the poor performing for the entertainment of the rest of us.
    The writer likened Black Friday to “The Hunger Games,” the science fiction movie series. In that story line, the provinces that lost a war are forced to send their best young people to a competition where they are televised as they hunt and kill each other, for the amusement of the pampered dilettantes of the winning country.
    The story suggested people of higher income don’t have to bother with the frantic bargain hunting of Black Friday. Only poor people will fight each other for cheap television sets and video games.
    None of the news coverage I saw reported how much of that Black Friday shopping was done to purchase necessities, how much was spent for things not really needed, or how much was spent with borrowed money that the borrowers couldn’t afford to pay back.
    A few days earlier, the financial website Wallethub reported that New Mexico ranks third highest nationally in the amount of money individuals spend compared to their earnings.

  • Letter to the editor 12-17-14

    Many elves make
    event a success
    It takes many “elves” to make our community event a huge success! Thank you to everyone who played an “elf” role this year for the Children’s Christmas Bazaar at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church. We had 77 elves that setup, cleaned up, wrapped gifts, greeted and helped children shop, baked treats and served coffee.
    In attendance were 160 children and we hope that the joy they receive in giving their gifts will continue with them throughout the year. Allowing children the opportunity to make decisions on their purchases in this environment is the gift of empowerment.
    Thank you to our community for the donations that make this event possible. It is truly the ultimate in recycling and re-gifting!
    The proceeds from this year’s event will be used to support health clinics in third world countries through Episcopal Relief and Development and for scholarships for TOTH’s youth choir to attend a summer choir program in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.
    Merry Christmas!
    Co-chairs Beth Pattillo and Cathy Walters
    Los Alamos
     
    Christmas spirit
    is alive & well

  • RTW won’t solve economic problems

    The letter in the Dec. 4 Los Alamos Monitor from Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation promoting the misnamed “Right-to-Work” cries out for a rational response.
    Gessing continues to push the idea that “right-to-work” legislation will cure all our economic problems, supporting this idea with a long list of beneficial outcomes that he claims are associated with RTW states, in spite of the patent illogic that reducing union representation will somehow induce companies to offer higher wages, better pensions and safer working conditions to their employees. Why would they?
    The statements and quotes contained in his letter are standard conservative rhetoric spread by organizations such as the Heritage Foundation, in spite of his claim that the Rio Grande Foundation is “non-partisan.” This rhetoric frames the issue as protecting the rights of workers, when the legislation is actually designed to destroy the protections workers struggled for two centuries to achieve from exploitation by unscrupulous employers.

  • 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.