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Opinion

  • I spent the first years of my life in northern England living below the flight path of Luftwaffe planes as they flew back and forth from Germany in an effort to “take out” the docks, canals, mills and mines of industrial Lancashire and to use fear to demoralize the population.  Air-raids, sirens, nights spent in shelters and in darkness, explosions and making my way to school passing bombed and burned-out buildings were the norm.

  • Our society needs to eliminate any unnecessary bureaucracy that keeps officers from doing their jobs. Unfortunately, a policy at the San Miguel County jail may be keeping cops off the streets.

    Both state and city police officials have criticized a jail policy that requires medical clearances for all DWI offenders. The jail’s warden insists the policy has been in place for years, while the police agencies contend it has been in effect for just a few weeks. Maybe the jail enacted the policy long ago, but it appears that jailers hadn’t been enforcing it until lately.

  • It’s been a pet peeve of mine for several years. On and off the air. Every time I drive into town to check the mail, go to the bank or run other errands, I hop on Interstate 25, exit 347 and off the middle exit. And every time I admire the choice decorations of wrecked cars, old trucks, gutted school buses, single wides with their roofs flapping in the breeze, 18-wheelers and mountains of wooden pallets along that stretch of I-25.

  • Last week President-elect Barack Obama laid the hammer down. On Thursday he called upon Congress to “act boldly and act now” to address an economy in peril, by enacting tax cuts and government spending measures totaling as much as $1 trillion. Using his strongest words so far, Obama outlined a nightmare scenario that included a recession that lasts for years and unemployment in the double digits.

  • The New Year has ushered in some nice or not-so-nice weather — wind, snow, even sunshine. It reminds one of the old exaggeration, “When I was your age, we had to walk X miles to school in all kinds of weather, uphill both ways.”

    Incidentally, in my hometown, Gallup, walking uphill both ways was a truism; no matter where you started out, there was a hill to climb — no kidding! We call our residential Green Street “Elephant Hill.”

  • On behalf of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 1131 in Mora, we bid farewell to Ricky, with much respect and honor for his service to our auxiliary, as a faithful friend and talented correspondent in promoting our needs in the Las Vegas Optic.  

    We thank his wife, Kosuzu, for always being his side helper. We hope his family will always treasure their memories with Ricky.  

    We are grateful for his military service and his unending patriotism to our country.

    Vaya con dios, Ricky, on your journey home.

    Odilia Cantrell

    Secretary

  • DOWN thumb ... BUILDING UP STEAM. By mid-week, the photos told the story. A scowling Gov. Bill Richardson, at a press conference intended to show off landscaping at an Albuquerque interstate intersection, sat in his vehicle as reporters bombarded him with questions about his withdrawal as nominee for U.S. commerce secretary. But that’s old news; now it’s all about his relationship with CDR Financial Products, the California firm that appears to be central to a grand jury investigation.

  • SANTA FE — Happy 2009. Let’s see what we can do about attempting some predictions for a new year.

    2008 was as unpredictable as years ever get. 2009 will be just as capricious because we’ll be living with the results of last year’s craziness.

    President Barack Obama will be neither a savior nor the end of the world. He will disappoint those whose expectations were too high and produce some begrudging acceptances from those who harbored great suspicion.

  • Thank you, councilmen Morris Madrid and Cruz Roybal, for making a very important point in noting that there are three elementary schools on New Mexico Avenue. This street is an old residential neighborhood and a portion of it is on the National Historic Register.

    There are also several boarding homes in this area, and because of this and other economic factors there are many pedestrians. Increased traffic on this street may endanger the lives of the people who frequently have to cross this street as well as the elementary students who walk to and from school.

  • As hard as it must have been for him, Gov. Bill Richardson did the right thing by withdrawing his name from nomination as secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department. It’s best for both the nation and, hopefully, our state.

  • For three hours last week, the Highlands University Board of Regents met behind closed doors to discuss the possible acquisition of the College of Santa Fe, a private school that is suffering financial difficulties.

    The state Open Meetings Act creates an exception for governing bodies to meet in closed session to discuss acquisitions of real property. The College of Santa Fe issue certainly would fall under this exception.

  • Here’s an idea: Since the city is pondering weight restrictions along Seventh Street, let’s just restrict all heavy trucks to Interstate 25. And to slow traffic through our residential neighborhoods, let’s just reduce the speed limit everywhere to 10 mph — with speed bumps placed on every block to ensure travelers will abide by the reduced speed limit.

  • Qwest has a monopoly over phone service in much of New Mexico; it is granted that right through the state Public Regulation Commission.

    We hope that Qwest, a private company, would look out for its customers’ interests, but last week, the telecommunications giant failed in that regard.

  • Is there any cure for language purists of my ilk? Will I/we ever be able to relax, irrespective of the knowledge that somewhere in the world public signs with misspellings abound?

    Being a newly dubbed strait-laced language cop, I get it back twice as hard as I give. I parade around commenting on other people’s typos, but when something I write, and by extension, something that appears in the Optic, has a glaring error, we catch it (the scorn, not the error).

    How does it feel, Art?

    A couple of examples:

  • A few hours ago, hundreds of millions watched the ball drop on Times Square, signaling the start of a new year, one of hope and promise, if not of prosperity.

    As they sang an ancient lay — something about an elderly man named Lang who owns an old sign — many people celebrated by uncorking bottles of champagne and later waking up to a man-sized headache today.         

    As for me, the real ache is a couple of feet lower.

    Let me explain:

  • The Dec. 26 paper had an article titled “PRC expands solar Incentives.” Solar, wind, alternative energy — we need to move in this direction sooner rather than later, right?

    The state Public Regulation Commission now requires PNM to pay (or better credit) businesses 15 cents per kilowatt hour they produce via solar, whereas the incentive for homes remains at 13 cents per kilowatt hour. Now, why is that? Is the solar power generated by businesses on their roofs somehow more valuable than the solar power generated on my residential roof?

  • Have you been passed up for a job opportunity at a local government agency for someone less qualified? You have the right degrees, years of experience, a record of accomplishments, a great list of references.

    But you forgot to do one thing — you didn’t talk with the morning coffee klatch at Hillcrest Restaurant.

    Oops. Apparently such a mistake can be a career killer.

  • SANTA FE — There is much we don’t know about Gov. Bill Richardson’s withdrawal of his nomination to be secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department.

    One thing we do know is that I’ve already missed on one of my 2009 predictions. I said 2009 would be as unpredictable as 2008. That was easy, considering all the stuff coming down these days.

  • The Israeli journalist Gideon Levy a few years ago referred to Israel as a “a loud-mouthed bully who shouldn’t be provoked into anger ... Not that the bully’s not right — someone did harm him.” Following the attack on Gaza this past week, Levy added, “Once again, Israel’s violent responses, even if there is justification for them, exceed all proportion and cross every red line of humaneness, morality, international law and wisdom…. Hamas brought this on itself and on its people, but this does not excuse Israel’s overreaction.”

  • Recently a group of residents from the Bernal area showed up at the San Miguel County Commission meeting to ask the county to enact stricter rules for wind farms.

    The county deserves great credit for enacting a wind turbine ordinance in 2003, long before most other counties, but it now appears that updating that ordinance is in order.