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Today's Opinions

  • Lieutenant governor can make a difference

    BY BILLY GARRETT
    Lieutenant governor candidate, guest opinion

    Last October I announced my candidacy for lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket. In the months since then I’ve been asked many times, “What does the lieutenant governor do?”

    The lieutenant governor has a complex workload based on a combination of statutory responsibilities, standing within the executive branch, and personal initiative.

    Statutory responsibilities are clear. The lieutenant governor serves as president of the Senate, sits on eight boards and commissions, and has been designated as the “Ombudsman of the People of New Mexico.” In addition, the lieutenant governor takes over as the state’s chief executive when the governor is out of state or the position becomes vacant.

    Serving as the Senate president is not the same as being an elected legislator. The Senate president does not serve on any legislative committees, introduce legislation, or vote – except to break a tie. Instead, the lieutenant governor ensures that Senate proceedings move smoothly and that all members are treated with respect. While the role can be seen as largely ceremonial, it provides a personal connection between legislators and the governor’s office that could be valuable on critical issues.

  • Letters to the Editor 8-24-18

    Shin: A transparent and honest voice in government

    Dear Editor,

    I am writing to express my support for Republican Lisa Shin in her candidacy for the New Mexico House of Representatives, District 43.

    Among other things, Lisa believes in limited government and lower taxes so that individuals and families have more freedom in their daily lives. She is genuine and honest; how often do we find that in a politician?  

    She prioritizes the needs and concerns of people over a personal agenda or a party platform. If elected, she is determined to focus on issues of critical importance to Los Alamos and the other communities in our district.

    She is a strong advocate for the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Thank goodness for that! Would we even have a town if we didn’t have that lab? She wants to support our lab by growing its scientific base and defending its national security missions.

  • Letters to the Editor 8-17-18

    County fair road closures inconsiderate

    Dear Editor,
    While I support the County Fair and its parade, I have to object to the inconsiderate and unacceptable closure last Saturday of Central west of the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center.
    This prevented access to Canyon from Diamond. Indeed, with Central closed all the way to the east past where it meets Trinity, access to any part of Canyon required traveling to its far east end.
    This was irritating and time  consuming enough for me coming from the western area. Anyone coming from the mesas must have been thoroughly disgusted.
    Parades used to end at the Mesa Library parking lot, allowing access to Canyon and even Rose. As it was, of the three roads normally available for passage through the central part of town, only one was really available. The council should make it clear to county staff and all event promoters that this is not acceptable.
    Terry Goldman
    Los Alamos

  • Letters to the Editor 8-8-18

    Chronic pain sufferers
    victims of federal opioid crackdown

    Dear Editor,

    Columnist Sherry Robinson’s eloquent description (Aug. 1) of chronic-pain sufferers’ plight during the opioid crackdown reflects understanding otherwise lacking in the discussion, or more accurately, the kneejerk reaction to the opioid problem.

    Recent bureaucratic “solutions” cause yet more work and another ordeal – of many in a failed medical system – for those who are sick and weak.

    Chronic pain sufferers such as myself, as Robinson defines, will likely need pain management permanently, not as a matter of addiction but for pain that will always be there.

    The Feds have decided we must go directly to the prescribing practitioner’s office and hand-carry prescriptions to pharmacies, an office visit that would otherwise likely be unneeded, and one that might force many to hire someone to help with something that should be done electronically. Meanwhile, unhindered by doctor visits, the addicts happily get their drugs smuggled from Mexico.

  • Letter to the Editor 6-15-18

    School district dress code fuels culture of rape, sexual harassment

    Dear Editor,

    This week, 75 parents, students and recent graduates of the Los Alamos Public School system sent a letter to the superintendent and school board expressing concern that the dress codes at the individual schools as they are currently written and enforced unfairly target girls with the following negative consequences:

    • It sexualizes girls at a young age.

    • It publicly humiliates them.

    • It sends the message that it is acceptable for adult teachers and staff – including adult men – to judge their clothing choices and, by extension, their bodies. We strenuously impress upon our daughters and sons that it is not appropriate for adults to evaluate them sexually – and yet that is exactly what dress code enforcement allows.

    • It puts the responsibility on girls to dress so as not to “distract” boys, rather than expecting boys to be responsible for their own behavior. This is a dangerous precedent that can fuel a culture of rape and sexual harassment.

    • Furthermore, it unfairly assumes that boys will be unable to control themselves because of girls’ clothing choices.

  • Letters to the Editor 6-1-18

    Sheehey recommended for state representative

    Dear Editor,
    I recommend Pete Sheehey as best qualified to serve Los Alamos County in the state Legislature.
    I support Pete for several reasons. First, he’s service oriented. He gets that serving in government means working for actual people, not simply engaging in policy debate. He knows that the job of our legislator is to achieve results that improve our community. He’s demonstrated that philosophy in the hundreds or thousands of decisions he’s made over the past decade as County Councilor and Planning and Zoning Commission member.
    Second, Pete’s extensive time in these leadership positions give him a full and timely understanding of issues that are important to many of us today. He’s put in thousands of hours serving our community and has participated in economic development, housing and public works decisions. He’s researched utilities and environmental issues. He’s heard from citizens across all demographics on the issues and opportunities that matter to them. He has served when county revenues went up and when they went down. These prior experiences make him well qualified to represent us in the Roundhouse.

  • Rules for predatory lenders must reflect letter, spirit of law

    An elderly woman got a small loan from a storefront lender and couldn’t understand why she could never manage to pay off the loan even though she made payments.

    Leonard Gorman, executive director of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, explained the basics of principal and interest and renewal language in the loan agreement. Once she understood, she cried inconsolably.

    Last year, when the Legislature finally reformed laws governing storefront lenders – also called predatory lenders or payday lenders – there was a sense of accomplishment that they had dispatched a nagging problem after years of complaints.

    A recent hearing in Gallup made it clear there’s still work to do. Gorman blamed the lenders’ deliberately confusing communications for financial burdens on Navajos, but the small lenders trap Indian and non-Indian people alike.

    This is one reason New Mexico is poor. Thousands of people can’t get out from under these debts with their spiraling interest rates, so they don’t participate fully in the economy.

  • Letters to the Editor 5-25-18

    Yucca Mountain was safe, secure idea

    Dear Editor,
    I read with interest Sherry Robinson’s editorial, Interim nuclear waste? Not so fast in the Monitor of May 16. I wish to make the following comments.
    The NRC statement that spent fuel in cooling ponds and casks is safe and secure is correct. Such storage has been used, under construction, or considered in countries like Argentina, Finland, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Sweden and Switzerland. I designed part of an IAEA remote monitoring system for the encapsulation and storage of spent CANDU fuel at the Argentine reactor in Embalse. I’ve spent numerous hours on top of the storage casks there.
    The proposed use of Yucca Mountain was a safe and secure idea. The USA has spent over $15 billion to construct and study the site; I believe this was shown to be a perfectly reasonable solution to spent fuel storage.