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Today's Opinions

  • Unions are still necessary to safeguard worker rights

    Labor unions aren’t that important any more, my friend said, because all the issues that unions used to fight for are now established in law, and we have government agencies to enforce them.

    This conversation happened before the 2016 election. Today, even the most basic labor protections are no more guaranteed than, say, the continued protected status of national monuments.

    Laws can be changed. For every human right that was earned through political struggle, somebody has to be the watchdog to prevent that right from being taken away and to alert the public when it’s threatened.

    For fair labor standards and workplace safety, that watchdog is organized labor.

    A U.S. Supreme Court decision in June overturned the “fair share” requirement as applied to public-sector unions.

    Shortly thereafter, the state of New Mexico stopped taking fair share payroll deductions for state workers.

    Fair share is based on the principle that labor unions negotiate wages and working conditions on behalf of all workers in eligible categories, including those who have not joined the union. Unions are required to negotiate on behalf of all eligible employees, not just union members.

  • Regional Coalition of LANL Communities: Who Will Hold Los Alamos County Accountable? 

    By Lisa Shin
    Republican Candidate, New Mexico House of Representatives, District 43

    In an upcoming special County Council meeting on Sept. 6, 2018, we can expect Los Alamos County and its elected officials to shift blame and claim innocence. We’ll just ensure that this doesn’t happen again. Hey, let’s celebrate with another 28 shot of Whistlepig!

    Democrats are calling Andrea Romero to step down from the House Race, but who is calling Los Alamos County employees and County Councilors to step down?

    As fiscal agent, Los Alamos County was ultimately responsible for improper reimbursements with public funds. RCLC Board members had their lavish parties and trips, but Los Alamos County paid for them.   

  • Gary Johnson’s PR doesn’t match his track record

    And he’s back.

    Former Gov. Gary Johnson resurfaced as the Libertarian Party candidate in the Senate race, hoping to slow incumbent Sen. Martin Heinrich’s sprint to the finish line.

    Johnson always jazzes things up, and his willingness to share his thoughts frankly is refreshing. But he also causes amnesia about who he is, what he’s done, and what he believes.

    The commotion straight out of the chute was typical. Johnson supporters tried to pressure Republican candidate Mick Rich to leave the race so Johnson would have a better chance, as if a Libertarian platform is interchangeable with a Republican platform. It’s not. And Rich has a right to run his own race representing Republicans.

    Libertarians may include refugees of the two major parties, but they aren’t just a meld of those parties – they have distinctive beliefs that may or may not resonate with yours.

  • Define need before applying for business loan

    FINANCE NEW MEXICO

    Most New Mexico entrepreneurs can’t start or operate a small business without occasionally borrowing money. And that requires preparation and a methodical approach.

    It begins by identifying why the money is needed and the most appropriate loan to fulfill that need. It continues with finding a lender that offers optimal terms and fees for clients with the borrower’s credit score and financial resources and gathering documents the lender needs to review.

    Define the need: Businesses may need loans for daily operating expenses or to build reserves, renovate a commercial building or buy equipment. The specific need typically drives the decision about what type of loan to shop for. Some lenders underwrite just about any business need, while others specialize: The nonprofit Enchantment Land Certified

    Development Company, for example, specializes in loans for commercial, owner-occupied property and equipment.

  • Ins and outs of immigrants defined the U.S. since 1787

    The legal trails of immigration comprise many parts, to deal with persistent concerns. Since its inception, the nation has dealt with these concerns repeatedly in varying guises and combinations.

    Immigration issues that recur deal with jobs in one way or other and with the nature and quantity of immigrants and new citizens. Laws change as parties change course and populations grow.

    The two parts that are most distinctive are immigration and naturalization. The former refers to living and working here.

    The latter is a path to U.S. citizenship. Only citizens can vote and hold elective office.

    Today, becoming a citizen requires correctly answering six of 10 questions similar to these three:

    • What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?

    • There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.

    • Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.

    These questions are three of the 100 questions on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization test. The full list is online at “civics questions for naturalization test.” Take in the stirring naturalization ceremony nearby at Bandelier held every Fourth of July.

  • Prison reform bill needs to to be rescued, broadened

    The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, published this editorial Aug. 28 on prison reform programs.

    A prison reform bill that passed the House with a strong bipartisan majority is slowly dying in the Senate. It must be rescued and broadened.

    The First Step Act focuses on ways to help federal prisoners prepare for a productive life once they leave prison and to support them in their search for employment.

    It is a thoughtful attempt to break the destructive cycle that results in more than half of federal prisoners returning to prison within a few years after their first release. Pilot programs have shown that recidivism can be sharply reduced by providing such support.

    The lone problem with the First Step Act is that it addresses only the 225,000 inhabitants of federal prisons. That is just 15 percent of the nation’s prison population. The bill doesn’t help the far more numerous inmates transitioning from state prisons and local jails. It should provide states with grants to encourage the establishment of similar prison-to-society assistance programs.

  • Defining the role of the county sheriff

    BY CHRIS LUCINI
    Libertarian Candidate, Los Alamos  County Sheriff

    While campaigning for the position of sheriff of Los Alamos County, I’m often asked “What do you see the role of the sheriff to be?” My answer does not fit on a bumper sticker.

    First to be clear, I nor any other person in the office of sheriff gets to decide what the size, scope and powers of the sheriff’s office are. Neither does the county council get to decide that the sheriff’s office can be stripped of all of it’s powers.

    New Mexico state law dictates many of the powers and responsibilities of the county sheriff position, and the obligations of the counties for staffing and funding of the office of sheriff.

    The lawsuit currently before the New Mexico Appellate Court will, in my opinion, ultimately end up before the New Mexico Supreme Court. Once the New Mexico Supreme Court issues a decision, the extent to which the county charter and county council can restrict the office of sheriff will have been decided.

    The rule of law is critically important in society. It is vital that the county council, and the sheriff, abide by the decision of the court, and during the appeals process.

  • School responsibility goes beyond education

    Welcome to the school year and all the issues our schools have to contend with besides educating New Mexico’s children.

    Such as what is required if a student needs to take a pill.

    Even if you have had children in school in recent years, you may not know how complicated this is.

    I thought I was posing a simple question when I asked about rules for medication in schools.

    But simplicity cannot be assumed when parents are putting their children in other people’s hands every day.

    The minimum advice to parents is that before you send your child to school with even an aspirin, find out the rules of your school district. Each district makes its own rules within a general framework. Some may be different for elementary versus older students.

    The national associations of pediatricians, pharmacists, nurses and others all have sets of guidelines. That’s how important this is.

    The guidelines are reflected in policies of the state Department of Health.

    Most common: Almost all medication should be delivered to the school nurse with written instructions from the family doctor. Most medications should be administered to students only by the nurse, based on those instructions.