.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Today's Opinions

  • Local transit is an integral part of our community

    BY DAVID IZRAELEVITZ
    Chair, Los Alamos County Council

    There are many things that a local government provides to its citizens. Parks, roads, and public schools all come to mind, but in my opinion, public transit is one of the most appreciated services that our local government in Los Alamos provides to our community.

    Specifically, the Los Alamos Atomic City Transit (ATC) system has really brought parts of the community here together like no other system has done before. Los Alamos County consists of two geographically separated communities: the town site and White Rock. Having public transportation between these two areas has allowed children and adults who prefer not to drive or who are unable to drive to take advantage of the amenities in each community.

    The circulator bus also helps invigorate the downtown, and those commuting to the laboratory from outlying parts of the region can rely on an alternate form of transportation.

    Additionally, public transportation benefits all segments of society. Elderly individuals who no longer drive have a way to get out of the house safely and comfortably, and remain integrated in our community while living independently.

    Children have a safe and reliable way to visit friends, the library or participate in other afterschool activities.

  • Thoughts on the challenges of running a small business in LA

    BY STEPHANIE AND MARCEL REMILLIEUX

    Owners of Fleur de Lys

    As we are diving into this new election season, many local candidates have stopped by our small businesses to discuss the issues we are facing as business owners and listen to our suggestions on ways to overcome them. This has been a great opportunity for us to socialize and gather some thoughts.

    Some of us have been established for years, some for months, some have closed their businesses recently, and some are about to open one, waiting to see what the future holds for them. We, at Fleur de Lys, have been established for only eight months but an interview of Cyndi Wells, owner of Pet Pangaea, published on Dec. 19, 2012, resonates strongly with our experience, not only because she has also started a small business in our town while being a LANL scientist but also because what she described in 2012 all seems so true today, at least for us.

  • Conference reviews immigration mess, ignores Santa Teresa

    The United States has had an immigration policy of some sort since the 1880s, Alan Kraut told the Domenici Policy Conference audience in Las Cruces Sept. 12.
    But we have never had immigrant policies that would help immigrants “make the enormous adjustment” of living in a new country. Sweden and Germany have such policies. The United States relies on charities and local government.
    Kraut suggests a commission with labor, business and other representatives that would produce a workable figure for annual immigration from a rolling five-year projection of labor needs, plus family members, and an estimate of people fleeing oppression.
    Lacking such an institution we get today’s situation that plays on fears and anxieties.
    It’s not that present institutions are great, said Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D. C., think tank. (After Pete Domenici left the Senate, he was a senior fellow at the Center.)
    The United States’ border control systems were created when 99 percent of people crossing the border were single Mexican men. Now the traffic is Central American families and their children. The systems are unable to deal quickly with them.

  • Exiting a business presents owner with critical decisions

    When the owner of a small business wants to move on, whether to retire or to pursue other ventures, he or she has three potential paths: close the business, sell it to investors or to a competitor or let the employees purchase it.
    Each option has consequences for a community that relies on local businesses for jobs and revenue generation.
    Stephen Wiman, former owner of Good Water Company in Santa Fe, never considered closing the independent water company he purchased in 2005 when he exited the company 11 years later.
    “I wanted the business to continue,” he said, “because it did a lot of good work in the community. I spent probably half my time doing volunteer work in water conservation and supporting causes in which I believed. I got close to a lot of customers who had really complex water and could afford what was actually very expensive treatment.”
    He also cared about the well-being of his employees. “I wanted to keep my employees working, as they were loyal to me and helped us establish a good reputation in the community.”

  • The problem with Rep. Ben Ray Lujan’s House financial disclosures

    BY CHRIS MANNING
    Libertarian Candidate, New Mexico Congressional District 3

    For many of you reading this article it will be the first time you’ve ever heard of me. Let me introduce myself, I’m Chris Manning and I’m running for the United States Congress in New Mexico’s CD 3, and I’m a Libertarian, hence why you’ve never heard of me. It’s okay, as the state’s newest major party it will take time before we have grown large enough to warrant the same attention as the Republican and Democrat candidates.

    Before we get into the meat of my article let me first tell you about my day job. I’m a staff auditor for my family’s accounting firm. The majority of our business is auditing governmental organizations and non-profits. I’m not a CPA or a CFE, I have a degree in Secondary Education.

    I spend most days checking compliance and the internal controls of school districts, non-profits, water companies, and acequias throughout the state. So naturally after I decided to run and secured my name on the ballot I began to examine Congressman Ben Ray Lujan’s House financial disclosures and FEC reports to get a better understanding of how and where his campaign’s money came from, and more importantly how he spent it.

  • ‘Let’s Chat’ during these times planned in the next few weeks

    BY SARA SCOTT
    Candidate, Los Alamos County Council

    One of the best parts of running for public office is the opportunity to speak with so many folks in the community – through knocking on doors, participating in meetings of community organizations, meeting with county staff, and attending local events. I really enjoy getting to chat with both new and familiar faces.

    I’ve heard about a wide variety of issues important to many in the community including:

    • Identifying how to increase the amount and types of housing options.

    • Supporting our school system and the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos.

    • Growing a few more businesses (restaurants and shops to tech startups) and amenities.

    • Enhancing county support and opportunities for our local businesses.

    • Protecting and maintaining our open spaces.

    • Addressing long-term building vacancies in key areas of the community.

    • Assuring fiscal responsibility in balancing care for our current infrastructure while investing in the future.

  • Three words for lawmakers on spending new money: Roads, roads, roads

    Thanks mostly to oil and gas, legislators will have $1.2 billion or more in new money to divvy up in the next session.
    After the bruising budget cutting of just a couple of years ago, it’s enough to make legislative finance people giddy. But they’re not giddy. They and we have gotten a lot more realistic about the cycles of state revenues.

    There’s much talk about salting money away in reserves and a newly created rainy day fund, and that’s prudent.

    Beyond that, lawmakers will be awash in suggestions. Of course, that never stopped a red-blooded opinion columnist.
    With the ups and down of our revenues, budgeters will have to be very careful of committing money to recurring programs – even such favorites as early childhood education – because the funding might not be there in the future.

    However, this is a fine opportunity to make some one-time expenditures, and they should begin with roads.

    In January, TRIP, a transportation research group, released its yearly report. Of our major roads, 27 percent are in poor condition, 20 percent mediocre, 12 percent fair, and 41 percent good. Of rural roads, 28 percent are poor, 25 percent mediocre, 13 percent fair, and 34 percent good.

  • Reduce health care costs with an all-payer claims database

    BY KRISTINA G. FISHER
    Associate Director, Think New Mexico

    As deductibles and out-of-pocket costs for health care continually increase, New Mexico families face a conundrum: they are expected to shop around for the most affordable non-emergency care, yet they have no way to find out in advance the cost of a medical procedure at different providers.

    Fortunately, earlier this year New Mexico took a first step toward making health care prices more transparent with the launch of a website, nmhealthcarecompare.com, where anyone can find the average prices paid by Medicaid for nine common, non-emergency procedures at each of the state’s 44 hospitals. The website, which was created as a result of legislation that Think New Mexico drafted and advocated for, also includes quality metrics for the hospitals, such as 30-day readmission rates and patient ratings.

    Now it is time to take the next step: increasing the number of procedures listed on nmhealthcarecompare.com and adding the average prices paid by New Mexicans who are covered by individual or employer-provided insurance policies.