.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Today's Opinions

  • PED’s teacher evaluations stumble on transparency

    Late last year, we saw some light in the education wars with proposals to revamp the state’s teacher evaluation system. Various legislation would have altered the weight of testing in the evaluation or allowed teachers more sick days. At least two aimed for a complete rewrite.

    The Public Education Department in 2012 handed down the evaluation system by administrative order, and it’s been controversial ever since. Teachers and their unions have complained that it relies too heavily on standardized test scores and that it’s unfair, punitive and demoralizing.

    Teachers explain again and again that not all students are the product of a stable home life and that kids come to school with issues beyond what a teacher can fix during the school day. That’s why they preferred evaluations based on classroom observations.

    During the regular legislative session, several of the evaluation bills rocked along with bipartisan support. The “teachers are human too bill,” with two Republican sponsors, would have let teachers use all ten of their allowed sick days without penalty. After passing both houses nearly unanimously, it was felled by a veto; the Senate voted to override but not the House.

  • Do you want tax reform? Muzzle the governor and make it bipartisan

    Republicans are discouraged that instead of getting a gross receipts tax overhaul, we’re getting a $400,000 study. But realistically, their 430-page baby was way too much for a two-day special legislative session. The good news is that tax reform is on everybody’s radar, and I see the political will to get it done. What I don’t see, yet, is the necessary bipartisan cooperation.
    Sitting through the long hearing for the bill, I heard strengths as well as unfinished business.
    Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, deserves our thanks for taking on this monster. Harper told the House Labor and Economic Development Committee that he tried hard to be nonpartisan. “It’s not a far right solution or a far left solution,” he said. “We met in the middle of the road.”
    The bill would have removed most GRT exemptions, deductions and credits and applied the savings to reduce the rate from 7 percent to 6 percent. It also remedied a host of other problems with the tax, including its name, which is scary to outside companies thinking about moving here.
    “Names really mean something,” Harper said.
    The bill would also have taxed internet sales, healthcare providers and nonprofits and increased the motor vehicle sales tax and the healthcare premium tax.

  • Letters to the Editor 5-31-17

    Time to come together and work for good of community

    Dear Editor,
    Wow! What a couple days Los Alamos has experienced.
    I want to first begin by thanking my fellow officers on the Republican Party of Los Alamos Executive Board. As stated in my resignation e-mail, their hard work and diligence was uncanny and lead to great success.
    James Chrobocinski was always willing to provide us with whatever we needed. Kelly Benner not only planned our events by herself, but also kept us all in line.
    Lisa Shin brought a new energy into the party from national campaign. Jane Gordon could always make us laugh, and make sure we were spending our money wisely. Mary Wilhoit, who graciously filled in whenever we needed her. Finally, Bill McKerely, who could always make us smile and give the best advice.
    You all have been amazing, and I truly wish that none of this excitement had happened to our wonderful group. For that, I truly apologize.
    I next want to thank Los Alamos for all their support! It has simply amazed me how many of you have reached out to check on me, or provide me encouragement. The outpour has simply made me proud to be a resident of Los Alamos.

  • Food waste is money down the drain

    BY NATHANIEL SILLIN
    Practical Money Matters

  • Southwest Conservation Corps branches out in New Mexico

    On a fine April weekday we stopped outside Grants at El Malpais National Monument visitor center, one of our standard travel breaks. A group was lunching at the concrete tables under the ramada. Several wore bright jumpsuits. Their hardhats had a dark, rectangular insignia resembling, from a distance, the Caterpillar Inc. logo.
    Curious, I ambled over to visit.
    The logo was “SWCC” for Southwest Conservation Corps (sccorps.org), which turns out to have five offices around the region. The New Mexico locations are Acomita Lake, serving the Pueblo of Acoma, the Pueblo of Zuni and Gallup. The Colorado offices are the headquarters in Durango and in Salida.
    SWCC’s website lists 10 programs. In general the programs involve crews going to areas and doing all sorts of conservation work. The programs serve rural areas with one exception, the Barrio Corps in Albuquerque, a partnership with La Plazita Institute (laplazitainstitute.org).
    The Ancestral Lands program, based at the Pueblo of Acoma, has proven popular. Using the Acoma template, a Gallup office opened three years ago with a Zuni Pueblo office last year. A Hopi office is planned for this year.

  • Rep. Steve Pearce two-steps to a different beat on healthcare, Trump

    Political pundits are talking lately about a possible run for governor by Congressman Steve Pearce. If that’s true, he has a strange way of endearing himself to New Mexico voters.
    Pearce was one of the Republicans to sign the American Healthcare Act. And while other Rs look for cover as the president’s controversies deepen, Pearce goes out on a limb to defend him.
    The current version of the House healthcare bill isn’t likely to survive the Senate makeover, but it’s instructive to look at what Pearce thinks is appropriate for us.
    The AHCA would repeal Obamacare, phase out increased federal funding for low-income people who got coverage through the 2014 Medicaid expansion. It would instead make Medicaid a cheaper block grant program. Millions of people would lose their coverage in the next ten years.
    In New Mexico that translates to more than 265,000 people of the 900,000 currently on Medicaid, according to an analysis by economist Kelly O’Donnell, of UNM’s Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy. It would also affect the children, seniors and disabled people who traditionally qualified. New Mexico would have to come up with an additional $427 million a year or reduce coverage.

  • Let’s settle the debate about the role of the sheriff in LA

    There has been a long-standing debate about the role of the sheriff in Los Alamos. The present sheriff, Marco Lucero, was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, stressing the importance of the sheriff’s role in Los Alamos.  
    County Councils, not including myself, have worked to minimize that role, drastically cutting his budget and ultimately calling an election last November to eliminate the office. After a contentious campaign, our citizens voted to keep an elected sheriff. It’s time to settle this debate.  I will present at the June 6 council meeting a resolution that clearly defines the roles of the sheriff and police department, and returns a reasonable but limited set of duties to the sheriff’s office. Council and the sheriff need to come to an agreement at that meeting, so that we can all move on to the many other challenges our county faces.

  • Letters To The Editor 5-21-17

    'Pay to Play" comes to Los Alamos County

    Recently, Los Alamos County Council chose to publish an email of a citizen of Los Alamos in the Los Alamos Daily Post. Instead of attacking the author we should also be asking, “Why did the Council release this private email for publication?”  What did our County Council have to gain from releasing this email?   

    Does this mean that all citizens should fear that their personal correspondence to the council, may also be published? Apparently so! Many county residents have chosen to remain silent in their opposition to the Rec Bond Vote, for fear of retaliation. It seems as though fear and intimidation are campaign tactics not only approved, but also implemented by members of our own County Council. When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny – Thomas Jefferson.  

    Concerning the Rec Bond...

    Not only am I concerned about the enormous cost of these projects, potential cost overruns, and jeopardizing future Capital projects, I am also concerned when County Councilors serve special interests over the public interest. In this case, elected officials are using public funds to lobby for these interests, then use public debt to finance them.