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Today's Opinions

  • Latest talks are latest step in long history with N. Korea

    BY DR. T. DOUGLAS REILLY
    Columnist

    A major event of the past week was the meeting of Kim Jong-un and Donald John Trump in Hanoi.. This note discuses the history of North Korea’s nuclear program, which is much larger than most of us know.

    On Aug. 15, 1945, Japan surrendered, ending World War II and liberating the Korean peninsula. Three years later, the peninsula was divided at the 38th parallel; the South became the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the North the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

    The DPRK began nuclear research in the 1950s, as did other countries. The Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center is its major, but not only, nuclear site. It’s located 90 km north of Pyongyang. The Soviet Union supplied an IRT-2000 pool-type reactor to North Korea in 1963 that has operated since 1965. This type of research reactor was the USSR’s answer to the reactors supplied under Ike’s Atoms for Peace Program to 15 nations. It was placed under IAEA safeguards in 1977; DPRK stated it had separated 300 mg of plutonium (Pu) from spent fuel in 1975. It is only run occasionally now to produce iodine-131 for thyroid cancer therapy.

    Yongbyon’s more controversial 5 MWe reactor, is very similar to Calder Hall, the UK’s initial Pu production reactor.

  • Growth, and lack thereof, brings problems to N.M.

    BY KATHLEENE PARKER
    Guest Columnist

    Harold Morgan’s “Utah works, makes babies, grows,” (Jan. 30) should win an award for misleading discussion of population.

    But that award perhaps already belongs to the Washington Post. The newspaper shoves its self-righteous “Democracy dies in darkness” motto in our faces, but when it comes to population, WaPo itself creates darkness. Little wonder

    Americans are “innumerate” or to numbers — in this case, population — what illiteracy is to letters!

    Morgan asserts New Mexico loses population. Yet, we increase by .64 percent a year, or twice our current numbers early next century! In 2010, New Mexico numbered 2,059,207 and in 2018, 2,095,428. But for universal assumptions growth can only be good, some might ask if that isn’t too much growth in a state with failing education, crumbling infrastructure, overwhelmed medicine and ever-worsening poverty despite decades of boom growth, perhaps an indicator that “growth always brings prosperity” is a myth.

  • HB 55 part of ‘Winner-Take-All’ movement

    BY TOM WRIGHT
    Columnist

    We have elected 45 presidents and five have been second-place winners in the popular vote. I visited with a friend the other day and he voiced the need to circumvent the electoral college saying, “We need to elect our presidents just like we do all other politicians, by popular vote.”

    His reasoning sounds good, if you don’t think about it. The problem with his reason is, all other politicians are elected to represent local or state districts and only our presidents are elected to represent us nationally.

    The national popular vote movement is not new.  It has been around since the early 1800s and is not a part of the U.S. Constitution. And once again, there is a winner-take-all bill before the New Mexico Legislature (HB 55), if passed would move New Mexico into a compact of 11 other states requiring their designated electors to cast their ballots for the national popular vote winner and not who won the local state vote.

  • Rep. Chandler co-sponsors transparency, healthcare and education bills

    BY REP. CHRISTINE CHANDLER
    New Mexico House of Representatives, Dist. 43

    Rep. Christine Chandler has co-sponsored several important bills this legislative session. Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto (SD 15) and Representative Christine Chandler (HD 43)’s bill (SB 11) closing the so-called lobbying “loophole” has successful passed out of committee and onto the Senate. The bill is similar to Senator Ivey-Soto’s bill from the 2018 session that was vetoed by the former governor.

    According to the Secretary of State, Maggie Toulouse Oliver, current law needs clarity with regard to small lobbying expenses. Currently, the law requires individual expenses over $100 to be reported but ignores small cumulative lobbying expenses that in total are more than $100. The bill clarifies that cumulative small donation lobbying of $100 or more should be reported. “I am committed to ensuring New Mexicans have more information about the money that is spent influencing policy at the legislature,” Rep. Chandler said. “I am proud to to work with Senator Ivey-Soto to get this important legislation signed this year by the governor.”

  • Why would I leave Los Alamos?

    BY VERNON KERR
    Guest Editorial

    When some people retire, they move away from Los Alamos and that I do not understand. In my opinion, there cannot be a more idyllic place on earth to retire.

    Despite the fact we do not have all the amenities of metropolitan areas, we can still visit them. One hundred miles to Albuquerque or 35 miles to Santa Fe is no big deal. The Aspen Ridge Lodge is a fantastic place for young at heart but antiquated in body. Their personnel are fantastic, the food is good, and you are still in Los Alamos.

    The people of Los Alamos are kind, thoughtful and curious, quite a combination. You could not ask for better neighbors. The American Legion Post along with the VFW are places where you can meet some great GI’s. The Elks, Knights of Columbus, The Masons, Beta Sigma Phi, and other organizations occupy esteemed places in our town. Officials in our local government are accessible and open to citizens’ questions and concerns.

  • State lottery scholarship under siege again

    By Milan Simonich
    The New Mexican

    New Mexico college students should beware of trickery at the state Capitol.

    A proposal that seems innocuous at first glance would undermine the state scholarship program that serves them well.

    I call your attention to Senate Bill 283. It's the latest attempt to fatten the income of vendors for the state lottery at the expense of New Mexico's students.

    The title of this legislation by Democratic Sens. Jacob Candelaria of Albuquerque and John Arthur Smith of Deming is as deceptive as any I've seen.

    It reads: "Limit lottery operational expenses."

    Restrictions on what the New Mexico Lottery Authority could spend to run its gambling operation are only a small part of this proposed legislation. And they're the least important part.

    The bill by Candelaria and Smith would eliminate a section of law requiring the lottery to provide at least 30 percent of its gross monthly revenues for college scholarships. Instead, the bill contains a stark reference to net revenues going to the scholarship fund.

  • For education reform to work, more money must reach classroom

    BY FRED NATHAN
    Think New Mexico

    As Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the legislature consider a package of bills to transform New Mexico’s public schools, Think New Mexico urges them to include House Bill 77, which will make sure that a greater proportion of New Mexico’s education funding reaches our students and teachers in the classroom.

    The education reform bills being considered by lawmakers were developed in response to last year’s landmark Yazzie/Martinez court decision. In that decision, Judge Singleton directed New Mexico lawmakers to spend more on education for the state’s most vulnerable students. Judge Singleton also made clear that this additional money must be spent on evidence-based “classroom instruction programs such as quality pre-K, K-3 Plus, extended school year, and quality teachers” that have been proven to make a difference for at-risk children.

    In order to accomplish this, New Mexico will need to change the way it spends its education dollars. When Think New Mexico analyzed New Mexico’s education spending, we discovered that in the decade between 2006-2007 and 2016-2017, more than two-thirds of school districts across New Mexico (61 of 89) grew their central office administrative spending faster than their classroom spending.

  • Letters to the Editor 1-23-19

    ‘Jeremy’ had questionable information about coyote contests

    Dear Editor,

    The Monitor article about Land Commissioner (our own) Stephanie Garcia Richard signing an executive order to prohibit coyote-killing contests on State Trust Land contained questionable information from a source identified only as ‘”Jeremy.”

    “Jeremy” (we assume he is a participant in killing contests) claimed that reining in competitive killing would result in “more sheep and livestock attacks” while at the same time stating an arresting contradiction that it was impossible to put a dent coyote populations by killing them.

    Published research (available at the Project Coyote website that includes the full names of the scientists involved) shows that while killing coyotes doesn’t really impact coyote numbers as they biologically have a prodigious ability to compensate for loss, it does upend their social order. It results in a population that is young and inexperienced and likely to lead to more conflict with people.