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Opinion

  • 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.

  • There is no argument that the council can do what it wants – what it thinks is right. But we think that it should at least be forthright in that process.

    We believe that the council failed to be so in its announcement that it would put the issue of the skate park on its agenda on Aug. 19. We – along with almost everyone else – thought that this meant an honest reconsideration of the project.

  • As this year’s United Way of Northern New Mexico campaign begins it seems important to keep in mind that the theme – “People Matter” – is more than a slogan. It truly is what United Way is all about.

    Helping people.

    The campaign kicks off this Wednesday with an event at Los Alamos National Bank, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The kickoff is being held in conjunction with the Chamber’s monthly FAN Club and everyone is invited to attend.

    Los Alamos National Laboratory will kick off its annual drive with a gala Aug. 27 at the lab.

  • While we doubt that oil and gas prices will collapse and fall much below where they are today, they are falling and little and each drop means just a little less for the state.

    And these falling gas and oil prices have caused members of the Legislature to worry that the state’s projected $400 million revenue windfall may be melting away like an ice cube on a hot summer day.

  • How many times have we stated that perception is reality? That is the problem we see with the council’s decision Tuesday night on the skate park.

    If there had been some kind of independent, impartial hearing officer or body that had rendered the exact same decision as the one the council did, we believe this issue would be over.

    But those who question the project – and the process – simply do not feel they got a fair hearing, that, it was not right to have the judgment made by those who made the judgment.

  • Regardless of your view, this is the time to go do your back-to-school shopping.

    Today through Sunday there will be no gross receipts taxes charged on many school items.

    And this is a great time to discover just how much of your school – and other – needs can be met right here at home.

    There are some restrictions on the back-to-school gross receipts tax holiday and you need to be aware of them.

  • High fuel prices are hurting everyone. People are cutting down on their driving, they are driving more carefully and they are taking the bus.

    Ridership on the buses to Santa Fe and Albuquerque are up and if you have been on one of the Atomic City buses you’d see a high ridership.

    In fact, many routes at many times have packed buses as people seek to get relief from the high price of gas.