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Today's Opinions

  • Letters to the Editor 11-4-18

    Sara Scott will serve interests of community

    Dear Editor:
    I have coached Sara Scott’s children in soccer; I am her neighbor; and I have worked with her in LANL’s Russian programs. Sara is approachable, inclusive and makes decisions based on a carefully considered consensus of all stakeholders. She has lived, worked, built friendships, recreated, and raised a family here over the past 30 years. She loves this community and will serve the interests and well-being of its residents. 
    Join me in supporting Sara Scott for the Los Alamos County Council. Here are others that I know support Sara as well: Laura and Roy Bohn, Laura and Ed Kober, Thomas Bowles, Steve Russell, Margo and Steve Batha, Laura and Andy Wolfsberg, Ann Cernicek, Mary K Cernicek, Morrie Pongratz, Don Cobb, John and Sarah Gustafson, Steve Buelow, Craig Martin and June Fabryka-Martin, Denny Erickson, Judith McKenzie, Laura Loy, Ed Garcia, Doug Reilly, Bill Wadt and Ann McLaughlin, Susie Schillaci, Norm Schroeder, Barb Smith, Pat Walls, Allen Pratt, Dave Schiferl, Joe Granville, Nan and Jeff Sauer, Amy Birnbaum, Karyl Ann Armbruster, Lynn Strauss, Felicia Orth, Susan and Warren Oldham, Sue Newman, Laura Smilowitz, Erika Leibrecht, Benjamin Warner, Ellen McBee, John Berg, and Brian Scott.
    Molly Cernicek
    Los Alamos

  • County’s decision to defend IPRA suit is questionable

    BY HELEN M. MILENSKI
    Guest Editorial

    I love a bargain. These days everyone needs to be selective on where and how we spend our hard-earned dollars. It puzzles me how the local government in our corner of the world doesn’t seem to share this frugal sensibility, especially when it is our money they get to spend.

    There are lots of examples I could point to, but recently there is the notorious case of Brenner vs. Los Alamos County Council regarding Councilor Susan O’Leary’s emails.

    First off, let me say that I believe heartily that Patrick Brenner was firmly in the wrong when he wrote his infamous letter to the council, but I also think that the events that unfolded illustrated flaws in character all around. I got sick of hearing about this whole thing a long time ago and hoped that the end was in sight when I head a judgment was to be issued by the court. I think the judge felt the same way I did. I think we all felt it was going to go away, but alas we aren’t so lucky.

  • 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.