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Today's Opinions

  • Save As You Throw: A public relations disaster

    By LISA SHIN
    Guest Opinion

    This past week, the Save As You Throw (SAYT) Research Subcommittee decided to postpone the public poll, perhaps indefinitely, due to “need for finalized rate estimates” and “questions from the public suggest that there is still much confusion about the basics of SAYT.”

    LAC Public Relations Administrator Julie Habiger suggested that the Open Forum Poll “may not be the best way to query public on complex topics...People don’t take the time to evaluate the information presented and give thoughtful responses.” Wrong on both counts.  

    The public is not confused, but fully understands that SAYT aims to reduce waste, pay for increasing costs, and allow citizens to “control” the rate increases through different carts or bags. But SAYT places a significant burden on those with a fixed income, penalizes large families, and creates a new revenue stream without the appearance of raising taxes. 

  • Millenial Voices: Changing the way we think of beauty

    ROSWELL — If standards of beauty were to be followed, our everyday realities would look something like a poetic cliché. Our cheeks would match the tinted roses that line a garden in springtime, our skin would be as clear of imperfections and as uniform as porcelain and our appearance would never be allowed to differ from the ideal.

    Below its shimmering surface, however, this version of perfection is painfully unrealistic and has many obscured examples of what it truly means to have a body. Regardless of what social media would have you think, no human being goes through life looking like a runway model at every given moment. Our hair has its off days, our skin gets sunburned and our makeup sometimes seems better suited for a children’s coloring book. And yet, in spite of this, we are still worthy of love and we should still be able to consider ourselves beautiful. Even the Greek gods and goddesses we sometimes compare each other to are not what our harsh standards would consider perfect; there is a beautiful statue of Aphrodite with belly rolls.

  • CTE works in New Mexico; it deserves support

    BY REP. TIM LEWIS
    R-Rio Rancho

    With the beginning of the school year upon us, it’s a good time to remind ourselves of the big picture. The ultimate goal of K-12 education is to give students the skills they need to become contributing members of society. 

    For years, academic success meant graduating from high school and enrolling in a four-year university or college. It’s time to rethink that definition of success in New Mexico.

    Disparaging New Mexico’s public education system has become the norm in our state. Although much of the criticism is justified, what if I told you that New Mexico is excelling in one area of education? 

    The numbers don’t lie: New Mexico’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are doing an outstanding job in keeping students engaged and graduating them from high school. Students who choose to enroll in CTE courses are more likely to make it to graduation. 

    According to a 2016 study by Fordham University, students who focus on a CTE career pathway increase their chances of graduating by 21 percentage points. The average high school graduation rate for CTE-focused students is 9%.

  • Vaping becoming public health crisis in schools

    BY DR. KEVIN SABET
    President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana

    With the new school year upon us, it’s crucial parents and teachers talk to students about school safety. This year, the different threats to safety can seem overwhelming for parents. One new trend unfortunately picking up steam in New Mexico’s schools is vaping and marijuana.

    Over the past 30 years, school health programs have put a premium on warning students about the harmful effects of cigarettes and alcohol.

    Now, vaping is rapidly becoming the latest public health crisis – delivering harmful, addictive substances to kids, some as young as middle school, undetected. It’s a two-fold problem.

    According to the National Institutes of Health, seven in 10 teens report being exposed to e-cigarette advertising. And it’s working. A recent study found “a dramatic increase” in youth vaping, with more than 37 percent of 12th-graders reporting vaping in the past year. According to data from the New Mexico Department of Health, almost one in four students between ninth and 12th grades reported using e-cigarettes in 2017.

  • Work to be done on both sides of the aisle

    The Boston Herald published this editorial Aug. 6 on what can be done to combat mass shootings after massacres in Texas and Ohio.

    Bullet-resistant backpacks are now being sold in major retail stores. The idea is that when the next school shooter opens fire in the hallway, fleeing children who are shot in the back will have a better chance of surviving.

    It is a new consideration that children and parents have to make in 2019: Is my child dressed for style? Is she dressed for weather? Is she dressed for war?

    The present condition is unacceptable. High-profile mass-shootings have become a normal occurrence and this weekend brought the scourge front and center when 31 were shot dead and more than 50 injured in Texas and Ohio.

    These were innocent victims out shopping or enjoying a vibrant entertainment district.

    It happens too often — laughter and joy turn to screams and horror.

    Something must be done and something can be done.

    Reacting to the shootings, Rep. Stephen Lynch got it right, saying, “I don’t know if there’s a single, one-hundred-percent solution, but there might be a hundred one-percent solutions.”

  • Thoughts and prayers are a start to healing

    There are some opinions I prefer to stay away from as a reader and these include anything that furthers hateful agendas.

    Whenever someone starts something off with “thoughts and prayers are not enough,” for instance, that is disrespectful.

    Even before the 2016 elections, many Democratic Party candidates and supporters declared their dislike for the term, “thoughts and prayers.”

    Former President Barack Obama referred to Americans who did not support him as “bitter clingers” in 2008.

    “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,” he said.

    But using this term, “thoughts and prayers are not enough,” has become a rallying cry, repeated over and over on social media and elsewhere by leaders or thousands of everyday keyboard activists.

    In my opinion, it is just another way to disrespect your neighbors and entire swaths of the population. It is passive-aggressive trash talk. For me, I think it is also a way for the person writing the phrase to put down Christians as a lower class of people.

  • Good to be reminded that what I have is plenty

    BY BETTY WILLIAMSON
    Quay County Sun

    TUCUMCARI — I was visiting with a new acquaintance recently in her lovely home in Portales.

    During the afternoon, as we sipped ice water and munched on cookies she’d baked earlier in the day, she twice used a word that rarely makes it into conversations anymore.

    In fact, I can’t think of the last time I’ve heard anyone use it.

    It’s not a challenging or unusual word. It’s not even hard to spell.

    It was this: Content.

    I’m talking about the one with the accent on the second syllable; the one that my American Heritage Dictionary defines as, “Desiring no more than what one has; satisfied.”

    When this gracious woman welcomed me into her home, we walked past what turned out to be a 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle that was mostly completed.

    Picture puzzles came up in our visit.

    She gestured to that one and mentioned that she loves to get a cup of coffee first thing in the morning when her house is quiet and the day is just waking up. She settles next to that puzzle and sips her coffee and fits in a few pieces.

    “I just feel so content,” she said.

  • On the cusp of changes in public education

    BY TOM MCDONALD
    Gazette Media Services

    SANTA ROSA — Up until recently, it’s been pretty much a seamless takeover.

    Worn out by Susana Martinez’s can’t-do/won’t do policies as governor toward issues like clean energy, full marijuana legalization and public education, voters made their voices heard in New Mexico with the resounding election of Michelle Lujan Grisham last year. Since then she’s been pushing the state in a far more progressive direction — touting education reform as her top priority.

    Last month, however, Lujan Grisham took an unexpected turn when she fired her Public Education Department (PED) secretary, Karen Trujillo, after just six months on the job. The reasons given for her dismissal were general and vague: in a statement, Lujan Grisham said her expectations “were not met in a number of areas” and that she needs a “vibrant and ambitious new leader” for PED. In the interim, until she names a permanent secretary to the position, Deputy Secretary Kara Bobroff will head up the department as the state moves into the 2019-20 school year.