Letter to the Editor: Did Local Government Spending Poison the Well for UNM-LA?

By KHAL SPENCER
Los Alamos
 
The proposed mil levy increase to support the Univ. of New Mexico, Los Alamos Branch went down in flames. Letter after letter has appeared in the Los Alamos Daily Post reacting to high taxes and excessive spending by local government. The final straw might be that in light of the record breaking rains and heavy damage to county facilities last week, millions of dollars out of the public checkbook will have to be spent rebuilding damaged roads and infrastructure.

Sadly, the brunt of the public’s frustration with the seeming endless number of public projects, both the needed and the occasionally and breathtakingly overdone, being pushed forward by the County has been taken out on an innocent bystander, UNM-LA. Although I have my own questions about UNM-LA in the context of how to best structure the future and present university system (both brick and mortar and virtual), pay its bills, and attract highly qualified faculty, we do need to separate an inescapable need for a highly educated and motivated work force from whether the County, a separate entity, is a wise steward of our public finances.

My personal viewpoint is that Los Alamos, which has been a science center since 1943, would be ideally suited for a “New Mexico Tech North” that was second to none in teaching science and technology at both the graduate and undergraduate level, dovetailing its work with the National Laboratory. Perhaps we are not thinking big enough?

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