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Opinion

  • With the rejection by the general membership of the Elks Club of a proposal to purchase their land along Trinity Drive, it looks like the county’s plans to build the Municipal Building there seems to be dead.

    So now what?

    If the Elks hold to their position – and it is their land remember – then it seems that the county will be forced back to the drawing board. But just what does that mean?

    When asked, County Administrator Max Baker said that the county would have to meet with the developer to see where they will go from here.

  • We do not - on the face of it - have any problem with a statue of J. Robert Oppenheimer and Gen. Leslie Groves here in Los Alamos. In fact, it would be a fitting tribute to two of the men who made Los Alamos.

    But we do wonder where the county keeps getting all this money.

    We have money to buy a $25,000 gift for Santa Fe’s 400th anniversary. We have money to put a mountain lion on the round-about. Now we have some $60,000 to buy a statue of Oppenheimer. Groves would - we guess - will be about the same.

  • The county council will meet in closed session Tuesday night to discuss plans for purchasing the Los Alamos Apartments.

    We wish there was some other way to proceed here than once again government taking charge of local land.

    We understand the concern that is felt by councilors about losing control. But at what point do we simply have everything run and owned by the county? We hope this is just a step in the process to turn this land over to private enterprise.

  • The council was faced with a tough decision this week. What to do about the so-called large intestine at the intersection of Jemez and Diamond roads.

    The lawsuit that the county filed had a very unsatisfactory outcome – with the county winning an empty victory.

    Money that was promised by the state never came and the county got the much more expensive end of the road work.

    And the intersection at Diamond has to be completely rebuilt to be of any use to any one.

    And all of this came to a head before the council this week.

  • End to uncertainly is certainly needed.

    We would hope that those who are supposed to be in the know – you know, our leaders – would understand the critical importance of Los Alamos National Laboratory to this nation’s security and future and stop playing political football with it.

    But such rational thought seems far beyond those in national government. At that is tragic.

    So this fantastic institution continues to limp along and we all here – not just in Los Alamos but also in northern New Mexico – suffer.

  • Part of the discussion that is not going on in this nation is the fact that people with retirement plans, with 401k accounts, have lost more than $2 trillion in a few days.

    But that’s OK, Congress has saved corporate executives so they can go on $400,000 weekend retreats.

    All that they are asking us to do is pay the bill for them - and lose our retirements. Good deal.

  • County council

    This is an important election year in Los Alamos. There are many important projects ahead of us and who we elect to the county council will help shape the future of our county for many years to come.

    There are five candidates seeking three seats on the council in open voting: Manual Baca, Vincent Chiravalle, Ken Milder, Sharon Stover and Mike Wismer are all seeking the seats now held by Jim Hall (who chose not to run), Fran Berting (term limited) and the incumbent Milder, seeking a second term.

  • Congress

    This year the Congressional elections are very important as we are electing a new Senator and three new Congressmen – including one from our own Third District.

    In the Third District, two newcomers and one long-time politician are seeking the post.

    Ben Ray Lujan is the Democratic candidate, Dan East won the Republican nod and Carol Miller is running as an independent.

    The Monitor is recommending voters go with Carol Miller.

  • Utility rates keep going up

    It’s not like we didn’t tell you so, but we did tell you so.

    In response to increased costs, PNM is asking for new rates — and this is after they just received a rate hike.

    And it is not just PNM. Los Alamos recently approved a rate hike — in both electric and water rates.

    Meanwhile, New Mexico’s largest utility company announced it has proposed new electric rates to help the state prepare for future demand and the need for cleaner energy sources.

  • Too many people break the speed limit on the highways. The obvious solution? Raise the speed limits!

    Obesity is a growing problem (no pun intended) in our elementary and middle schools. The obvious solution? Lower the price of candy bars!

    The song, “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,” used to be a joke. I mean, seriously, who would drink 99 bottles of beer? Even the best of beers lose their flavor after your 18th bottle.

    And yet, this has become the theme song for many college presidents.

  • Several things struck us this week. Let’s run them down.

    No prosecution

    The decision by the District Attorney’s Office to decline to prosecute a man charged with eight felony sex crimes involving a female child younger than 13 is just stunning.

    We have had complaints about our D.A. for some time and he surely has not been in the forefront of prosecuting crimes in Los Alamos.

  • New Mexico’s two U.S. senators reiterated their desire to have Congress authorize settlements for two decades-long Indian water rights cases here, despite opposition from the Bush administration.

    A Senate committee heard testimony this week on the Aamodt and Taos Pueblo Indian Water Rights Settlement Act of 2008, legislation introduced by Sens. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.

  • While fuel prices are slipping down, $3.60 a gallon for gasoline is still a stiff burden. And it will only go back up.

    Also, if there is a cold winter – and it looks like there will be – heating one’s home will not be cheap this year as natural gas prices are sure to rise.

    And it will get only tougher as the county approved increases in electric and water rates.

    We have to understand that government is like any business, it too has costs and expenses that it has to meet. And it can only lose money for so long before something gives.

  • Thursday was the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States.

    As we awoke that Tuesday morning, we were ushered into a new world, a world where an almost underground war exploded to the surface.

    The Sept. 11 attacks were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by Islamic extremists belonging to the al-Qaeda movement.

    This group had been attacking us – almost unreported really – for years prior to 9-11.

  • There are many pluses and minuses to living here on the Hill. A quiet lifestyle, generally very peaceful days and a quality of life second to none.

    But there is a downside: vandalism.

    We seem to have our fair share of it and it is always distressing.

    The ski hill has been hit, our schools attacked, parked cars damaged and marred. It is sad.

    We don’t know exactly why someone would resort to such activities. Some people are bored here and idle hands and all that can be bad.

  • The Municipal Building issue has been controversial since the day it was announced that there were structural problems with it.

    Today, that building is gone but the matter of the facility remains a bone of contention for many folks.

    Now the council has approved a plan to move completely away from the Ashley Pond site, a location that up until this week, most residents seemed to favor. Is this a good move?

  • The appointment of Jim Noel, a lawyer who currently heads the Judicial Standards Commission, to be the new director of the state’s Bureau of Elections has drawn some fire from Republicans.

    The problem as they see it is that the office is required to be nonpartisan – something that may not even be possible in this world – and Noel’s appointment seems far from nonpartisan.

  • We have to say that we are saddened by the comments made by Councilor Ken Milder as the council voted 6-1 to exclude the public’s input on the divisive skate park issue.

    We did not think that involving the public was anti-democratic. But apparently the councilor thinks so.

    His comment that, “I initially thought maybe they should let it go to ballot, but then we thought it was a cop-out. I’m not inclined to let it go to ballot.”

    This even after commenting that the community is divided 50-50 on the issue.

  • The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus placed the idea of change at the center of his worldview, arguing according to Plato, that “you could not step twice into the same river,” because different waters flow, while the person remains the same.

    The question resurfaces in view of the Special Legislative Session that began at noon today. But is it rather the person who changes?

  • The term “500-year flood” makes the news as often as sandbag brigades work on levees. Offhand, the term seems to tell the last time and the next time for such a bad flood to hit.

    In reality, the term is a beautiful tool for describing and managing risk.

    The workaday term does its work mostly out of sight, busily dividing up flood risk among government, individuals, and the free market. The term measures and coordinates the portions of risk handled by each sector. Dividing up risk is a central reason societies organize.