• One frequently hears the complaint that Los Alamos has too little retail choice – too few stores, too limited an inventory in the few stores we have and too high prices. The unspoken assumption behind these complaints is that this is the fault of the retailers themselves, or perhaps of the county government.  In fact, it is no one’s fault but our own.

  • It was a dark and stormy night.  The midnight air hung like a wet dishrag scented with the musty reality of stale promises, neither pride nor prejudice able to taint the flaking veneer of lost hope.

    The young college student gazed out his apartment’s broken window and wondered if it had been a mistake to major in paleontological reproductive systems.  Perhaps his parents were right and he should have considered meercat podiatry.

  • The county’s presentation, “New Municipal Building Space Program Update” at the Feb. 2 county council meeting did not generate the kinds of questions from the council that showed it was concerned about cost issues. There were questions on the size of the council chambers and conference rooms. However, there were no questions about why the space requirements were based upon the GSA figure of 300 square feet per person rather than 200 or 250. The cost of the building is a function of the size of the building, currently estimated at 50,425 square feet.

  • Thomas and Rebecca Shankland’s letter “Roundabouts are the way to go,” underscores a continuing problem in the Los Alamos community, including White Rock revitalization.

    The Shanklands consider roundabouts the safe and effective way to deal with traffic (presumably on NM 4) and they consider traffic lights ugly. (Who determined traffic lights are ugly?)

    Their opinion is put forward as fact.

    My wife and I think traffic lights are really safer and roundabouts a way to annoy our neighbors, at least those we’ve talked to.

  • Decisions, decisions, decisions. As a cancer survivor I hate making them. As a survivor of cancer as a chronic disease, I hate them even more. Think about it. If you have one of those horrible cancers that are likely to recur, and very difficult to treat, odds are you know the statistics. For example, I know that the average life expectancy for ovarian cancer patients is around eight years. For other cancers it’s worse. Of course, statistics are just that, data that physicians use to make clinical decisions.

  • SANTA FE — As we predicted, last week’s train wreck looks less imminent as the session’s end approaches. Last weekend state senators crafted themselves a budget bill and declared themselves ready to talk to the House.

    The talks aren’t going smoothly. Public posturing is still the name of the game and likely still will be by the time you read this. But there’s still time.

    Lawmakers don’t want to spend any more time up here than necessary. They aren’t getting paid. They want to get home and back to earning a living.

  • Last month, the Los Alamos Governmental Review Initiative (LAGRI), a nonprofit organization committed to public participation in local government (www.lagri.org), submitted over 2,000 signatures on two charter amendment petitions, exceeding the numbers required for an election. On Jan. 5, the Los Alamos County Council certified the signatures but, without explanation, delayed scheduling the proposed Apr. 7 mail-in election until a special meeting Jan. 23.

  • Revitalized White Rock!  That’s the goal of all of us who have watched our town lose its charming village atmosphere where we could satisfy most of our needs locally.  

  • Late Friday night, Think New Mexico’s legislation to prohibit political contributions from lobbyists and government contractors (House Bill 118) was approved by the House Judiciary Committee, after having passed the House Voters and Elections Committee the previous week. With public support, the bill will continue through the legislative process.

  • As you all know, the Valles Caldera National Preserve (VCNP) is a treasure located right in our back yard. Its wealth of cultural, historic, recreational and educational opportunities are framed everywhere by beautiful scenery. Currently, the Valles Caldera Trust is charged with protecting and preserving the preserve. Additionally, the Valles Caldera Preservation Act of 2000 mandates that the Trust achieve financial self-sustainability by the year 2015.

  •   Since the last science update of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said recent warming is due mostly to human emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), the critics have mounted an awesome pushback with some success.

        As a long time student of the amazing research into climate change, this writer must lament. It has been truly observed that “When ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”

  •    There oughta be a law…

        For all their convenience, there’s something about cell phones that brings out the stupidity in some people. Like the guy talking on his cell phone who rode his bike directly into the path of my car and came close to becoming a hood ornament.

    Or the texting teenager who swerved into my lane on a busy street.

  • SANTA FE — To the surprise of many, state senators voted overwhelmingly last Saturday to ax $130 million of pork projects that were approved in previous years but weren’t going anywhere.

    It is a sign of how seriously senators are taking the budget balancing process. This column has opined on several occasions that lawmakers must share the budget-deficit pain with taxpayers, public employees, schools and state agencies.

  • “Where The Wild Things Are ... a poignant, heartfelt journey into the psycho-spiritual mind of a child, transmuting the fears and conflicts that parallel one’s personality into a thematic inner life of magical realizations. A blend of complex metaphors depicting the ethnographic diversity of life’s bittersweet corporeal lessons.”

    Yeah, yeah, give me a break. It was a rotten movie. “Where the Wild Things Are” received acclamations by movie critics who apparently own very large Thesauruses and love to speak in iambic pentameter.

  • This winter opened with bitter cold for much of the nation, including parts of the country not used to snow and ice. Here in the northern tier states we are at least equipped to respond to winter storms, but they always pose a challenge.

    At a very human level, cold temperatures often show up first as the experience of cold hands and cold feet. Even with good socks and sturdy boots, when I’m outside there are temperatures below which I cannot keep my toes warm (this is more common the older I get, a trend I don’t appreciate).

  • SANTA FE – Congratulations to the state Senate on its glorious basketball victory last week.  It isn’t often the Senate beats the House in basketball, what with its inferior numbers and advanced age.  There was a time, however, when the Senate was supreme, or so it was proclaimed by Sen. C.B. Trujillo of Taos. Trujillo was a big guy, who served back in the 1970s. He was a dominating basketball player and tried to do the same in the Senate.  In those days, the Senate used to win its share of basketball games.

  • Our local economy is 97 percent LANL-related. While an amazing statistic, it’s certainly not surprising, and it makes achieving a more economically self-sufficient community a very tall order. Increasing retail opportunities and improving our economic diversity requires new investment, both private and public.

  • I support only options that contain four lanes of traffic and would prefer full turn lanes. In reality, the project should provide four lanes from Grand Canyon to Rover. The traffic flow along this section (Grand Canyon to Rover) should be designed to facilitate the laboratory traffic off the hill. I do not support a roundabout of any kind and believe they cause poor traffic flow given the American driver’s constant “me first” attitude. These attributes are exacerbated during bad weather and snow. Again, get the traffic off the hill.

  • We’re probably too late to solve this, but the problem is ice buildup and dangerous walking on the shady side of downtown buildings, along Central Avenue especially. When snow falls, the county does a good job of clearing, but when cars are already in the lots, the snow gets packed down and turns to ice.

    The snow on the north-facing curbs turns to ice and remains there till spring.

  • We in the United States operated under the delusion that the constitutional democracy begun more than 200 years ago can never fail. I’m sure the Romans thought the same in the days before the empire.

    Members of Congress waste about 75 percent of their time on bickering, political posturing and getting reelected. Presidents issue executive orders and institute secret programs than violate our constitution and our laws.

    Most Americans don’t bother voting or don’t bother informing themselves about candidates and issues before they do so.