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Today's Opinions

  • Tailored content is core of economic development course

    The economic development field is rapidly changing and increasing in complexity. The New Mexico Basic Economic Development Course is designed to help community leaders understand legacy economic development approaches and become current with new program initiatives and best practices.

    Held on the campus of Western New Mexico University in Silver City from July 21 to 25, the course is one of several offered by the New Mexico-based International Academy for Economic Development that prepares participants for professional certification by the International Economic Development Council.

    The five-day course covers the core components of economic development, including business retention and expansion, recruitment, workforce development, real estate, finance, marketing, and ethics.

    Karen Baehr attended the course in 2018 with a curiosity for how economic development intersects with education.

    “After a career in education and systems design, I knew that economic development and education were inextricably linked,” Baehr said. “The challenge I faced was trying to figure out how these two important community elements work together.”

  • Lujan emails: What about New Mexico and Gold King?

    “I’m so humbled,” Ben Ray said in the first of two emails June 24.  

    Oh, puhleeze, Ben Ray. Or should I say, Congressman Lujan. Or Rep. Lujan. Keep it respectful.

    Borrowing from Winston Churchill, Ben Ray has much to be humble about.

    He’s running for the U. S. Senate. He seeks to replace Sen. Tom Udall, who is retiring. There is an opponent – a real one – Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

    I get emails from candidates, masses of them. Some I save. A compulsion, I suspect. Sometimes it’s worth taking a deep breath and looking at the saved group, just to see what is said. That’s today’s agenda. Full disclosure: I’m no Ben Ray fan.

    Campaign emails, besides being a pain for recipients, provide insight into the candidate and the campaign, which tells about the candidate. I saved 14 emails sent between June 4 and 14. One day had two emails. June 24 generated three.

    The first two emails, sent June 4 and 5, were preposterous at best and probably, it seems to me, not true. These two emails were duplicates, which seems sloppy. The absurd part was the claim, “My race was just named the most competitive Senate race in the entire country.”

  • Letters to the Editor 6-30-19

    Concerned about changes to Trinity Drive

    Dear Editor,

    I was dismayed recently to hear that the county is proposing a narrowing or “redesign” of Trinity Drive. The proposed changes, as I understand it, would reduce Trinity to one lane in each direction with a center turning lane /median with concrete cutouts similar to Central. 

    I am gravely concerned about the safety and practicality of this plan, especially as we already face a growing LANL population causing ever-longer traffic backups going off the hill during commuting hours. Since Pajarito Road was closed to the public many years ago, an increasing pressure on traffic leading off the front hill road and down the truck route has routinely made my commute to White Rock from the hospital take 40+ minutes during peak traffic hours.

    Narrowing Trinity would further add to the commute backup and congestion. This makes no sense from the standpoint of a growing workforce at LANL. From a safety perspective, how will emergency vehicles have right of way with this new design?

  • Industrial pit production at LANL: Mistaken mission, wrong place

    Should Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) provide industrial plutonium warhead core (“pit”) production, as opposed to its historic missions of R&D, test pit production, and surveillance? Make no mistake: “industrial” is the right word, as Los Alamos could sadly learn.

    If so, at what scale, and for how long? Is there a limit to what LANL can or should do? Should LANL be the only site making pits?

    What would the environmental and community impacts be at different scales of production? What construction would be needed, both of nuclear facilities and of support facilities such as offices, shops, and parking lots? Where would excavation spoils be dumped? How would traffic be affected?

    How much transuranic waste would be produced, and how would this compete with risk reduction efforts across LANL, especially at Area G, given the limited number of WIPP shipments available? NNSA has recently warned that pit production will take precedence over waste inventory reductions.

    It is essential that local government, citizens, and tribes understand the magnitude of what is being planned and implied. Momentous decisions are being rushed through pell-mell, entirely out of public view, not only about national policy but also about the future of Los Alamos and surrounding communities.

  • Voter registration promises to get easier in 2021

    New Mexico is making it easier for voters to register to vote or update their registration, starting after the 2020 presidential election.

    This year’s Senate Bill 672 provides that, beginning in 2021, voters may register or update their registration any time up to and including Election Day.

    The bill also provides for so-called “automatic” registration when an individual applies in person for a motor vehicle license or any state issued benefits.

    It isn’t completely automatic. An eligible voter is to be offered a choice whether to register or not. The process is designed to prevent anyone who is not an eligible voter, such as a noncitizen, from being registered by accident.  

    As you might expect, the bill is full of procedural details about how this is to be done to avoid errors or duplications.

    Every voter must choose political party affiliation. If you don’t want to affiliate with any party, you register as DTS or

    “Decline to State.” Our recognized major parties are Democrat, Republican and Libertarian.

    The Green Party is a minor party, having lost its major party status some years ago. New Mexico also recognizes the

    Better for America Party and the Constitution Party. These parties have no primary.

  • Letters to the Editor 6-30-19

    Smith’s near Monopoly in Los Alamos

    Dear Editor,

    I have lived in Los Alamos since 1980. I have appreciated having a well-stocked supermarket in town. Before Smith’s bought out Safeway, we did have Ed’s Supermarket and some C-stores for some alternative.

    When Smith’s arrived, especially after moving into Smith’s Marketplace and opening their gas station, things changed.

    Ed’s went out of business. The gas station had low prices and drove most other stations out of business. We do have the Co-op but they tend to be pricier and without the selection that Smith’s has. I did notice that when they moved into the Marketplace that their selection of groceries was reduced.

    Lately, I have noticed changes.

    The gas station has raised its prices to the extent that it pays to buy gas off the hill when possible.

    They have announced that they will no longer accept Visa cards so they can keep prices low. Prices seem to have gone up. I suspect it was to they could continue to pay their corporate managers salaries of 10’s of millions. It takes longer to checkout using a bank card.

    They are having increased problems keeping their shelves stocked recently.

  • The Democrat Divide: Moderate Democrats need to wake up

    By TOM WRIGHT
    Columnist

    The Republican majority in the U.S. Senate is the only deterrence against a progressive Democrat takeover of our government. Democrats feel the 2020 election is in the bag for them and they are moving ahead with their progressive agenda, which is to restructure our democratic system and permanently alter the balance of power in their favor.

    A good bit of the progressive initiative is contained in HR1 (For the People Act of 2019), which John Sarbanes (D-MD) introduced on Jan. 3. HR1 proposes federalizing all state voting systems by maintaining a federal eligibility list, proposes Internet registration of voters, wipes out voter registration deadlines which limits voter-fraud safeguards, organizes voter registration for secondary school graduates (some states already pre-register16 year-olds), moves to make the District of Colombia the 51st state, which assures two other Democrat senators and congressmen, regulates free speech as to what you can say about elected federal politicians and requires taxpayers to fund federal elections through matching, low dollar contributions.

    Not a part of HR1 is the progressives’ proposal to add as many as six more justices to the Supreme Court, an idea which was soundly defeated in FDR’s administration and an attempt to abolish the Electoral College.

  • New HSD travesty gives voice to victims

    There are many moments in “The Shake-Up” that will make you wince and a few that might cause you to clutch your heart.

    It has heroes, victims and villains, and they’re all real people.

    The documentary, by Ben Altenberg, takes us into the lives of people thrown under the bus by a state Human Services Department decision. On June 21, 2013, HSD halted funding to 15 providers of mental health services over allegations of fraud. They were replaced with Arizona providers.

    In one stroke, HSD destroyed the already fragile service network and left much of rural New Mexico with no services at all.

    We’ve learned since that HSD began meeting with Arizona providers before the audit began. HSD tampered with a consultant’s report and also refused to release the audit. The promised smooth transition was anything but. Disability Rights New Mexico cited long waits for appointments, too few providers, and a lapse in care for mentally delicate patients.

    By the end of 2016, four of the five Arizona providers had left New Mexico, and Attorney General Hector Balderas had cleared the New Mexico providers. There was no pattern of fraud but rather simple billing errors. For that they were forced out of business with hundreds of jobs lost. Ten of the providers sued.