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Opinion

  • Please allow our schools to pay for maintenance and equipment by voting “yes” on the referendum ballot that has been maailed to county residents

    New Mexico law specifies how school funding works:

    • State funding is used to cover salaries (operational expenses).

    • Bond funding, through local taxes, is for buildings/property (capital projects).

    • Referendum funding, through local taxes, is for building repair, maintenance, equipment replacement and some athletic items (projects under $200,000).

  • Editor’s note: The Monitor has received a number of letters in support of the proposed UNM-LA mil levy and the LAPS referendum, more than we can publish. This supporting statement  from Mike Wismer, chair of the Los Alamos County Council and former member of the UNM-LA Advisory Boar, is representative of many the letters in support of UNM-LA. We will continue to publish perspectives on both issues as space and balance permit.

  • According to a survey prepared for Los Alamos County during the first two weeks of December, the UNM-LA bond issue is likely to fail, while the LA Public Schools referendum is likely to pass.

    The two questions are now in the hands of voters.

    The survey by Southwest Planning and Marketing of Santa Fe is based on 408 telephone interviews with registered Los Alamos voters and was designed to test their awareness of the UNM-LA and Los Alamos Public Schools bond issues and, more generally, their attitudes about bond issues and education in Los Alamos.

  • A Frenchman once said the art of tax collection is plucking the goose just below the threshold of greatest hissing.

    Legislators and the governor will explore that threshold during this 30-day session as they attempt to dam the flow of red ink. Nobody’s pretending this will be easy, but it’s encouraging that the governor and lawmakers begin the process pretty close together with a slate of proposed spending cuts and tax increases.

  • SANTA FE — This column has often declared that the Grand Old Party is not dead in New Mexico or nationally. Although Republicans had some major defeats in 2006 and 2008, reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated.

    Victories back East in off-year elections last November gave the national party reason for hope. And in New Mexico, a surprise October mayoral win in Albuquerque has given the state party a dose of adrenalin.

  • Ring around the collar! Ring around the collar! Remember how that used to be the pinnacle of social embarrassment, a reason to hide in the shadows, the determining factor to your future and your happiness? Or what about the heartbreak of eczema, seborrhea, psoriasis? Scratch your head in public and everyone would know that you have dry itchy scalp. Dandruff flakes on your suit? Well, you can kiss that promotion goodbye!

  • Los Alamos is going over a property tax cliff that will result in a disastrous tax burden on all county homeowners and businesses. However, there are actions we can take to prevent this from happening.

  • Well, the new jailhouse may rock (Los Alamos Monitor, front page headline, Jan. 13), but the old schoolhouse certainly doesn’t. I’m sure the irony in this contrast strikes many of us, especially those involved with children in the county. It’s one of the many reasons why I’m going to vote in favor of the current referendum on behalf of our school system. I want to be part of a community that sends a positive message of support to our students, as well as to our teachers and other school staff.

  • The following was not supposed to be an editorial, but recent news events and new understandings would not allow me to remain silent any longer. Recent Monitor articles including “Getting to the Bottom of Global Warming” (Dec. 13, 2009) inspired a response.

  • There’s been some discussion both internally at the Monitor and externally amongst those in the community regarding why the newspaper has declined to print some letters to the editor. The letters in question have come from proponents of the election now underway concerning two education propositions.

  • Many of us living in the far Western states know what it is to feel the power of seismic waves passing through the Earth. The sharp jolts are unmistakable, and the sense of chaos is terrifying even to those of us who like a thrill.

    A minor earthquake I felt in Berkeley, Calif., still stands out in my mind some 30 years later, and not because it’s one of my favorite memories. My thoughts turned to it as soon as I heard the news from the Eureka, Calif., area, which experienced an offshore earthquake of 6.5 on the Richter scale recently.

  • I could have spoken up about how odd it was to be putting so many people at risk, but I didn’t. I’ll take some blame for that. I’m sorry. Why didn’t I speak up when I noticed that we wanted our youth who ride buses to cross in front of the school bus, but we wanted them to cross behind Atomic City Transit buses? Why didn’t I speak up when I noticed that vehicle drivers must stop for school buses but can whiz past Atomic City Transit (ACT) buses?

  • I am delighted to read (in “Our kids are on fire,” Monitor, Jan. 15.) that “As a math teacher, (John Pawlak) can safely say that turning a blind eye to the dangers [of smoking] just doesn’t add up.” I wish you could also tell the FDA that refusing to reduce those dangers – by allowing use of e-cigarettes which provide nicotine and flavors without tars and other carcinogens (including radioactivity!) — doesn’t add up either.

  • To solve our environmental problems, climate change being by far the largest, we need to think about both smaller bites of the problem and the long term. The small bites won’t be baby steps but bold and far-reaching initiatives that each tackle an aspect of the larger problem. And many of our boldest but necessary steps may not bear fruit within our lifetimes.

  • Economists call them economic engines, and the rest of us call them our golden geese. Whatever they’re called, we need to trim spending carefully and, in some cases, feed the goose.

    Two cases in point: Ruidoso Downs Racetrack and the film industry.

  • SANTA FE — Perhaps  there was good reason for Attorney General Gary King to want his advice kept secret concerning the veto of a double dipper bill last March.

    This column and many other commentaries on King’s action had suggested his motivation was suspicious, maybe even nefarious. But it may be the secrecy was necessary to the performance of his job.

  • The attempted Christmas Day attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 in Detroit demonstrates the need for constant vigilance in confronting the evolving nature of the threats to air travel security. As we work to address the vulnerabilities this plot has exposed, we must institute systems and technologies that would prevent the specific security breaches we saw on Flight 253, while having the vision and flexibility to deter future threats.

  • The bad news about state finances comes so often, it’s hard to pay attention sometimes. The latest bad news comes from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, which is warning local governments to expect cuts in money for local road projects because of declines in the state road and local government road funds.

    In a letter sent to local government road fund program participants, the department asks the participants to review projects to determine which can be downsized or postponed. School bus routes, city streets and equipment are all on the chopping block.

  • Tenth Night came and on the Eleventh Day, the picture emerged for the 2010 session of the Legislature that begins Jan. 19.

    The Legislative Finance Committee got there first with a 14-page outline released Jan. 4. A day later, Gov. Bill Richardson proposed, as his news release put it, “a responsible, balanced budget” with 5 percent reserves.

  • SANTA FE — Hooray. We still have a year to redeem the first decade of the 21st century from being a complete bust.

    Reader Earl Nielsen, of Alamogordo, recalled that 10 years ago, I participated in the effort to remind the world that the decade, century and millennium didn’t end on Dec. 31, 1999. It ended a year later.