• Some bicyclists want bike lanes all over Los Alamos and our county council has accommodated many of their desires. Indeed, the entire stretch of Diamond Drive is slated to be so marked when finished.

  • Not all Midwesterners realize they live in a region where earthquakes can strike, but they got a small reminder of that simple fact earlier this month when a 3.8 Richter scale temblor struck in northern Illinois. Let’s hope we can learn more from the event than just what the passing headlines might lead us to think about — because the center of our country is woefully under-prepared for much larger quakes yet to come.

  • SANTA FE — They just don’t get it. New Mexico is in a Great Recession that won’t be solved by quick fixes or nickel-and-dime fixes. And yet Santa Fe seems to be in denial.

    Even if a budget bill had passed, we are still at the beginning of a long road. We’ll have many more special sessions and regular sessions before we’re out of this hole.

    Sooner or later our governor and lawmakers will have to face the fact that minor surgery is not going to cure our budget problems.

  • This country is currently facing a huge triple threat to its future in the form of deficits: the first is a deficit of trust; the second is a deficit of jobs; and the third is a deficit of dollars.

    The current administration and Congress, apparently unable to break free from the bonds of ideological thinking, continue flailing away but repeatedly come back to the table with the same untenable solution and that’s to spend more money.

    That’s not the answer. It never has been and it never will be. Government cannot spend its way to economic prosperity. While the deficit of dollars that began in the Bush years was the equivalent of a hand grenade going off in the economy, the onset of the Great Recession and subsequent stimulus spending has resulted in something like the detonation of a nuclear bomb with a mushroom cloud that portends to obliterate any chance at financial prosperity for generations to come.

    As long as the specter of a lame economy looms large on the horizon, there’s little likelihood that the deficits of trust or jobs can be reduced either. Government can only gain the trust of the American people when it makes sound policy decisions. Likewise, as long as private sector employers are uncertain of the economy, hiring will be slow to rebound – such as what we’re experiencing right now.

  • 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.