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Today's Opinions

  • Experience matters for the next sheriff

    By Greg White

    My name is Greg White. I’m an Independent running for Los Alamos County Sheriff because I love LA and it’s people. A little background is helpful to understanding my views and platform.

    Since the 1950’s a faction has tried to eliminate the Sheriff’s office. The problem stems from the fact that Los Alamos is a very small county and it’s county and municipal boundaries are the same. 

    This came to a head when Los Alamos elected its current sheriff eight years ago, a very experienced fully accredited law enforcement officer. Most sheriffs in Los Alamos history have had no law enforcement experience. One wonders why the County Council would spend the last eight years desperately trying to eliminate the office. And now are deliberately defying a direct court order from Judge Mathews to restaff the sheriff’s office, give him back all his statutory duties, and fund it sufficiently to carry out those duties. The Court decision is available on my web site at greg4sheriff.com, which also has links to my Facebook and Twitter pages (you do not need a Twitter account to get an inspirational message every day).

  • Letter to the Editor 10-21-18

    Recent mailer is ‘last straw’ in legislative race

    Dear Editor,

    Good leaders define problems, formulate solutions and try to unify people behind them. How can that happen – even as our nation’s in crisis – considering the tone of this year’s election?

    I received a “straw that broke the camel’s back” mailing that really ticked me off.  It came from Patriot Majority of New Mexico, attacking Lisa Shin in ways reflecting, from my view, little integrity and condemning her because she “supports Trump on health care.” This ensured one thing. Despite my respect for Chris Chandler, I’ll vote for Shin.
    How telling that the “patriots” condemned her, rather than praise Chandler!

    I come from generations of Democrats, but today’s party – led by reality-challenged extremists like Nancy Pelosi – forgets what it stood for as recently as the early 2000s, when for example, Sen. Chuck Schumer sponsored a bill making it illegal for illegal border crossers to apply for work. Then, Democrats stood for tight border enforcement and low immigration. 

    Democrats cared about workers, the middle class and the environment – all harmed by the immigration tsunami (That Wall Street loves.) of recent decades.

  • Making it Count: Five tips for choosing a health plan

    BY DAVID ALLAZETTA
    CEO, UnitedHealthcare of New Mexico and Arizona

    This fall millions will head to the polls to cast their vote in the mid-term elections, but they have another important choice to make as well: their health care coverage for 2019.

    Many people in New Mexico will have the opportunity to select or switch their health insurance plans for 2019 during “open” or “annual” enrollment.  But unlike Election Day, the dates to keep in mind aren’t the same for everyone and vary depending on your situation:

    • For the more than 175 million Americans with employer-provided coverage, many companies set aside a two-week period between September and December when employees can select health benefits for the following year.

    • For the more than 60 million people enrolled in Medicare, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year.

    • Health insurance marketplace or individual state exchange open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.
    For most people, changes made during this time will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

    Choosing health benefits can feel stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider the following five tips to help make the process easier.

    Take Time to Review Your Options

  • UNM, higher education in desperate need of reform

    BY DOWD MUSKA
    Research Director, Rio Grande Foundation

    Our state’s system of taxpayer-funded higher education is in crisis. A few key facts about postsecondary institutions in the Land of Enchantment, and the University of New Mexico in particular, reveal the depth of the problem:

    • Contrary to popular belief -- the left-wing New Mexico Voices for Children recently made the assertion that Santa Fe has made “inadequate public investment in higher education over the last decade” – New Mexico spends quite a lot on its government colleges and universities. According to the State Higher Education Executive Officers, the “national association of the chief executives of statewide governing, policy, and coordinating boards of postsecondary education,” we spend $9,348 per full-time equivalent enrollment. That sum is far in excess of the national figure of $7,642, despite the state’s low cost of living. On occasion, brave voices have acknowledged the system’s spendthrift ways.

    In 2016, former UNM President Chaouki Abdallah told the Albuquerque Journal: “Our higher ed spending is more than most other states; the trouble is we don’t spend it wisely and [we] spread it across so many entities.”

  • Letters to the Editor 10-17-18

    I support Regional Transit GRT Reauthorization

    Dear Editor, The citizens of four counties, including Los Alamos, voted in 2008 to authorize a 1/8 percent Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) increment to support regional mass transit.

    Although no ending date was voted upon, these counties imposed a January 1, 2024 sunset date. On this November’s ballot, we are asked to reauthorize the tax by removing the sunset date.

    I strongly support a yes vote to continue the high value transit services that it provides. For people here who don’t have a car or the ability to drive, good transit service is a lifeline. All tax expenditures deserve scrutiny. This tax increment clearly provides good value to Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Taos counties.

    Our transit systems are able to use the GRT funds as local matching funds to obtain substantial additional federal transportation tax support. In this way, 25 percent of the regional NCRTD “Blue Bus” system budget comes from federal funds. Our own Atomic City Transit system and the Santa Fe Trails bus system also receive support from this GRT. Los Alamos is proud to be a founding partner of the NCRTD system, which has grown to provide hundreds of thousands of rides per year to people throughout north central New Mexico.

  • Three-mile-long trains may (someday) enhance New Mexico train world

    Here’s a challenge. Visualize three miles of anything as one single thing. It’s hard. Runners, for example, commonly cover more than three miles but are conscious only of the much smaller area that is visible. The question arises because of a recent report that railroads are thinking about running trains three miles long.
    What would a three-mile-long train be, besides really, really long?

    On Interstate 25 there is a rest stop north of Lemitar. North of the rest stop, a sign says, “Rest Stop Three Miles.”

    This is the Walking Sands rest area at mile marker 167, which stands out among the state’s rest areas for its distinctive wood structures. A sand dune area used to be located immediately west of the area, but the dunes seem to have walked away.

    Imagine a single train covering the distance from Walking Sands back to the sign. Such a train might have as many as 200 cars, many carrying two shipping containers. And locomotives at both ends. It might need five minutes to pass a given point.

  • TRIAD has a moral obligation to the American Taxpayers

    BY LISA SHIN
    Republican candidate, New Mexico House of Representatives, District 43

    Councilor Morris Pongratz recently stated that “Under current state law TRIAD may qualify for a 501(c)3 GRT exemption. He went so far to say that Triad has a “moral obligation” to pay GRTs.

    For the record, I am strongly opposed to legislation such as SB 17 that our governor rightly vetoed.  It would have cost our district jobs, put New Mexico at a competitive disadvantage, and further complicated our tax code. It was not fair and equitable, as I wrote in an editorial, “Thanks to our Governor for SB17 Veto.”

    TRIAD has agreed to voluntarily pay GRTs this year. That, of course, would be their prerogative to do so.   The GRT situation remains uncertain, however, and we must elect new leadership that will exercise fiscal responsibility and good stewardship with American tax dollars, both local and federal.

    Consider the following:

    TRIAD has no moral obligation to pay GRTs.  Congress has no moral obligation to keep its operations in Los Alamos.  Our Federal Government can decide to move its operations to a state that has better tax legislation and is more supportive of their scientific and national security missions.

  • 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.