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Today's Opinions

  • 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.

  • A shot of competition for EpiPen

    The Wall Street Journal published this editorial Aug. 19 on the Food and Drug Administration approving the first generic competitor to Mylan’s EpiPen.

    A couple of years ago Washington fell into anaphylactic shock over the high cost of EpiPens, devices that shoot adrenaline into someone having an allergic reaction. But the Trump Administration this week injected some overdue competition into the market that could lower prices for millions of Americans.

    On Thursday the Food and Drug Administration approved the first generic competitor to Mylan ‘s EpiPen. The competing drug is manufactured by the Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva. One might wonder why a simple spring device filled with a cheap medicine didn’t have competitors, even decades after invention.

    That was one question in 2016, when Congress hauled in Mylan CEO Heather Bresch to register outrage about the more than $600 list price of a two-pack of pens, which millions of kids and adults have to keep on hand. Not everyone pays full price after rebates and discounts, and some of the shock came from insurance designs that increased out-of-pocket costs. But the sticker price had increased more than 500 percent over 10 years.

  • Hollywood’s long con on New Mexico’s taxpayers

    BY DOWD MUSKA
    Research director, Rio Grande Foundation

    Enjoying the new season of “Better Call Saul”? If not, you should be -- you’re paying for it.
    Annually, New Mexico’s taxpayers spend $50 million to “incentivize” film and television production in their state.

    Unfortunately, after shoveling more than half a billion dollars Hollywood’s way over the years, the Land of Enchantment has little to show for its generosity.

    The payoff from “investment” in the entertainment industry is dismal. Dozens of studies have been undertaken to determine the ratio of subsidization to tax-revenue generation. The Rio Grande Foundation has distilled the best research down to 14 analyses, conducted in states as varied as Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. All were performed by either legislative auditors or tax departments, and not one was issued by Hollywood consultants, economic-development/film bureaucracies, or ideological think tanks of any perspective. When taken as a whole, the 14 studies found the average “return” for a taxpayer dollar to be an appalling 23.6 cents.

  • To improve our schools, spend more in the classroom

    BY FRED NATHAN
    Executive director, Think New Mexico

    While the recent Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico decision has understandably received intense interest for its landmark ruling that New Mexico’s public schools are not adequately funded, there has been less attention on another, equally important aspect of the ruling: the finding that more money will only make a difference for students if it is spent in the classroom. 

    As Judge Singleton explained in her ruling, there are two aspects to the state’s failure to provide an adequate education. First, she concluded that not enough money is spent to fund the programs children need.

    Second, Judge Singleton stated (on page 53 of her decision) that the Public Education Department and school districts are not doing enough to make sure that the money is actually being spent in ways that will improve outcomes for at-risk students.

    Last year, Think New Mexico studied some of the most successful school districts in the state, such as Gadsden, Texico, and Farmington. We found that these districts tend to spend a high proportion of their budgets on classroom expenses, such as teachers, coaches, counselors, nurses, educational assistants, and school supplies, rather than on administrative expenses in the central district office.

  • Would JFK be a Democrat today?

    BY GOV. JERRY APODOCA
    Former Governor of New Mexico

    Last week I had to ask my 10-year-old grandson what a meme was. He explained it’s a humorous video or image on social media. The reason I asked was I saw an image on social media that said, “Would JFK be a Democrat today?”

    It got me thinking, would he? I have always looked at myself as a JFK Democrat: pro-business with openness towards social issues and fairness for all New Mexicans. JFK once said, “if by a Democrat they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, who cares about the welfare of the people - their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties - someone who believes that we can break through the stalemate...then I’m proud to say that I’m a “Democrat.”

    I would have to agree – that’s the kind of Democrat I am.  

    As a father, teacher, businessman, legislator and later as Governor of New Mexico, I lived my life this way. I ran an open government and made sure my office and party represented ALL New Mexicans. I am most proud to have opened doors for the first time to minorities that had never had a voice in state government.

  • Letters to the Editor 11-7-18

    White Rock needs Jemez House Thrift Store

    Dear Editor,
    The closing of Jemez House Thrift Shop was a blow to the entire community. The shop performs good deeds at every turn using only volunteer workers.
    The main goal is to provide college scholarships to New Mexico students who had at one time resided in a group home. But it does untold good along the way: keeping tons of used clothing, furniture, housewares, books and electronics out of the landfill, at the same time providing a low cost source for these items.
    Now Jemez House needs our help. It will continue to exist until all of its scholarship money has been distributed so there is still time to resurrect the thrift store. They need a space at reasonable rent and adequate parking in order to resume business.
    The community needs to step up and help this worthy organization to continue their good work.
    Kathy Taylor
    Los Alamos

  • Letters to the Editor 12-16-18

    Arts Council thanks all who helped make council a roaring success

    Dear Editor,
    Los Alamos Arts Council would like to take this time to thank all of the people who have helped to make the events at LAAC a roaring success. Over the past six months, we have had several events that have required the help of other organizations in town, as well as the assistance of many volunteers.
    Our No. 1 “Thank You” goes to our board members and their families, who spend many hours in preparation, as well as time staffing each event. Without their time and dedication, we could not present our events to the level we hope to present to the community.
    The Arts Council is fortunate to have a wonderful group of volunteers who assist us with our events. Among them are Marlane Hamilton, Patrice Goodkind, Lisa Lloyd, Lori Dauelsberg, Don Monteith and Luckey, as well as several students from the LAHS and LAMS. We could not manage these events without their help. Specifically, we would like to thank Aidan, Isaac, Xavier, Jeffrey, Nolan, Haley, Troy and Peyton. We also send our heartiest thanks to Monica Jean and “The House of Boo” for their fantastic Pumpkin Glow Display.

  • Letters to the Editor 12-12-18

    The Los Alamos Monitor got it wrong in their article

    Dear Editor,

    It appears that the Monitor is looking for a reason that local Democratic Party Candidates swept all the Los Alamos races. This article seems to point to a political strategist as the reason.

    Tarin Nix has run Stephanie Garcia Richard’s campaigns since late October 2012. And she has been successful, including Stephanie¹s latest win in her race for State Land Commissioner. I applaud Tarin (and Stephanie) for their successful races, but Ms. Nix is not the reason that Los Alamos Dems swept the local races in 2018. Our success came down to two things:

    1. Excellent, well-qualified candidates who worked hard to get their message out.

    2. A large grass-roots effort that included over 100 volunteers.

    Volunteers who knocked on thousands of doors and called thousands of phones in Los Alamos during this election cycle.

    Christine Chandler did have a professional campaign manager, Katharine Clark, who ran a great campaign and helped Christine with her overwhelming win.

    But Christine was also the most-qualified candidate and she worked incredibly hard for months to win her seat.