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Today's Opinions

  • I encourage everyone to vote in favor of Question 1

    I am voting for county Question No. 1, to eliminate the office of sheriff in Los Alamos. I encourage everyone who believes in good government, strong public safety, and reduction of unnecessary risk, to do the same.
    Typically, a sheriff provides law enforcement in county, or rural, areas. The sheriff position in Los Alamos has no law enforcement duties, and Los Alamos has no county – only, or rural, land. All of the county land in Los Alamos is incorporated into the municipality of Los Alamos. There is not a square inch of just-county land for a sheriff in Los Alamos to stand on.
    Los Alamos became a municipal government in the 1960s. The County of Los Alamos had already been created  as a legal entity in 1949. When the Federal Government decided to no longer run Los Alamos as a Federal scientific base, in the 1960s, all of the county land was wholly incorporated into the municipality of Los Alamos.  Los Alamos remains the only city-county entity in New Mexico.
    While debating their preferred from of government, Los Alamos citizens got to choose who would provide law enforcement - a professional law enforcement agency (a police department), an elected sheriff, or both.

  • Subsidizing the cheese business

    Before you bite into your next green chile cheeseburger, pause for a moment to consider the importance of that chunk of cheese, not just to the taste of your burger but to our local economy.
    With 150 dairies averaging more than 2,000 cows each, New Mexico ranks ninth in the nation for milk production and fifth for cheese. The average New Mexico dairy ships 44 million pounds of milk a year worth nearly $6 million. Much of it goes to Southwest Cheeses in Clovis, which employs 300 people to turn 3.8 billion pounds of milk into 388 million pounds of cheese annually.
    According to NMSU’s Ag Science Center, dairy is the number one agricultural employer in the state, providing 12,524 jobs paying $600 million a year in wages. In 2014, the average dairy farm worker earned $47,811, compared to the state’s average mean wage of $42,230. At $1.5 billion, dairy is about tied with beef cattle for economic impact and together the two rival the oil and gas industry.
    But while it’s a big business, it’s not a particularly lucrative one. A milk cow eats 100 pounds of hay and grain every day. In return she produces six to seven gallons of milk. Dairy farmers live on the difference between the cost of her feed and the price of her milk, usually expressed as the cost vs. price per hundredweight of milk.

  • Letter to the Editor 9-25-16

    There are many reasons to oppose HB 145

    Statements in the local media have represented House Bill 145 as something that only union shills could vote against. However, anyone that has followed the use of adjunct faculty in education should understand that there are actually serious reasons why one might not vote for it, at least in its current form.
    Prior to my retirement from a 15-year stint as a university department chair, I often hired adjunct instructors to meet our teaching needs, so I am quite familiar with “the good, the bad and the ugly” of this process.  Adjunct instructors on limited-term contracts can be hired to fill a short-term vacancy due to a regular teaching faculty member taking a leave, to offer a specialty course to provide students with a broader educational experience, or to replace a tenured faculty member at a lower salary and with fewer paid benefits.

  • New thinking needed for N.M. behavioral health

    BY D. DOWD MUSKA
    Research Director, Rio Grande Foundation

  • Letters to the Editor 9-18-16

    Snow ordinance should include snowplow rules

    According to a recent newspaper article, you are considering an ordinance requiring homeowners to shovel snow from sidewalks in front of their homes within 24 hours of a snowfall.
    I have no problem with such an ordinance, as I always try to shovel my walks as soon as possible after a snowfall.
    However, I am really tired of sometimes having to shovel my sidewalks as many as three or four times because of snowplows repeatedly plowing the snow back onto the sidewalks.
    And, as you may or may not know, shoveling the snow packed by the snowplow is much more difficult than shoveling the original snowfall.
    I would therefore like to request that, if you pass an ordinance requiring snow removal within 24 hours, you include a provision requiring that snowplows must plow far enough away from the curb so as not to plow snow back up onto the sidewalks after they have been shoveled clear of snow.
    Thank you.
    Roger Ferenbaugh
    Los Alamos

    Turkish journalist, ‘brother’ detained for unknown charges

    The letter below was emailed to me from a Turkish journalist who has been a colleague of Sahin Alpay, my “Turkish brother” who lived with my family in California in the ‘60s.  

  • Is there a future for New Mexico ethanol?

    By BOB HAGAN

  • More salaried workers may be eligible for overtime pay

    BY RANDY S. BARTELL & RANDI N. JOHNSON
    Montgomery & Andrews PA, Employment Law Group
    Finance New Mexico

  • State snubs economic development project in rural New Mexico

    Wonder why we’re poor? Here’s the type of thing that happens here.
    In 2014, the biggest thing in tourism and historic preservation was the purchase of the derelict Castañeda Hotel in Las Vegas by veteran developer Allan Affeldt, who successfully restored La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona.
    The Castañeda, like much of Las Vegas, is a rundown remnant of yesteryear that’s been the object of hopes and what ifs. In 1898 it was Fred Harvey’s first hotel; it closed in 1948. This is a project only “an eccentric investor like me” would want, Affeldt says.
    In the hospitality business, you need a certain size to make the investment worthwhile.
    “The Castañeda was kind of an enticing project,” he says, but bathrooms are down the hall. To provide modern amenities, a restoration would reduce 45 rooms to 25. “It was hard to justify the investment given the size.”
    Also in 2014, Affeldt bought a second historic Las Vegas property, the Plaza Hotel, out of foreclosure. He made improvements and turned it around. (I stayed there before and after. His team worked wonders.)
    “I figured maybe by putting the two together, I could make it work,” he says. He needed New Markets Tax Credits and began negotiating with the New Mexico Finance Authority.