The planned power line construction for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s increased pit production (“Powering up LANL: The project needs explaining,” Our View, Jan. 2) is just one more example of a lack of vision and long-term planning capabilities. DOE stands for the Department of Energy; why can’t it generate secure energy near LANL facilities with sun and wind? This is not the only example of myopic vision I have read about recently. Leadership at LANL recently proposed a new road to Santa Fe. It would have cut across wilderness and canyons in order to ease the traffic nightmare LANL has created on N.M. 4 out of Los Alamos. While that plan was wisely nixed by the state, the dangerous situation remains. LANL growth keeps loading more individual vehicles onto a tiny road through pueblo land with no end in sight.
Finally, the plan to transport radioactive material from retired weapons pits at Pantex in Texas to LANL in New Mexico, then to Savannah River in South Carolina, and then to WIPP in New Mexico is an obviously inefficient mess. I grew up in White Rock and have been close to LANL and its troubles since 1968. I am lately dismayed with changes in management there. Short-term solutions and growth at all costs currently overshadow the noble mission of national security. The overt waste and needless destruction of our lands is destroying public faith in that mission.
Remember our heroes
A new year is a good time for reflection and remembrance of people who served their state and country with distinction. I am not referring to the many incompetent politicians who only serve their self interests and are focused on titles but not responsibilities. I speak of heroes who actually made a difference, like my father, Samuel, a survivor of the infamous Bataan Death March. Also, his brother, Ramon, who participated in the Normandy invasion and was later killed in the Battle of the Bulge. He was 23 years old. There are so many heroes, like Eloy Romero of Velarde and Jose Margarito Montoya of La Puebla, who fought in World War II. Another hero that comes to mind is Isaac Martinez from Chimayó, who was killed in the line of duty in 1994 while executing a search warrant. There are thousands of others, too many to name them all, but they live on in our hearts and minds. My respect to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the armed forces, law enforcement and as firefighters. I include the front-line health care workers who are tirelessly fighting the coronavirus in the lineup of heroes.
Michael S. Vigil
Require vaccinations now
Having served as the director of the Office of Border Health in New Mexico for seven years, I was very active in the response to the last pandemic, in 2009 — H1N1 (also called the “swine flu”). We used to call school students “the spreaders” because in that pandemic, the virus affected children more than older residents. And now we have the original virus strain of H1N1 2009 in our annual flu vaccination, along with one of its variants. So why is this pandemic different? Why are we not responding with even more seriousness and to the science of what is going on? Why are we not requiring the vaccination of our students for this disease, even as it is more virulent than many of the diseases that are included in the list of required vaccines for students to attend in-person classes in our schools? Why is the New Mexico Department of Health not requiring vaccinations of those who are most vulnerable or the people who surround them and to our children? I do not understand.
If ever we are to put this pandemic behind, to reduce its continual mutation and transmission, and turn it into just another seasonal virus that can be controlled with annual vaccinations (like the seasonal flu), we must act immediately. I beseech the New Mexico Department of Health and our governor to require vaccinations to all who frequent our schools, both students and staff alike. I also ask we require vaccinations of all those employed by the state, by the hospitals, by the long-term care facilities and by major employers. It is time to save lives.
Does Albuquerque’s violence make Santa Fe more dangerous?