Inside the Capitol

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fw: 11-29 Some Helpful Suggestions


SANTA FE - Between administrations is a great time to consider changes throughout government. An entirely new set of decision makers is taking over at the state level. And we have new leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives.
We all know that many changes in our government are necessary. With a new crop of leaders, we should see a new willingness to change the way government works. We should expect new leaders with a willingness to accept new ideas.
Here are some of my ideas. I'd be glad to hear yours but even more importantly get them to your elected representatives. That means our new governor too.
First, let's talk about what seems to be on the news full time these days. It's the battle between security and privacy. Or in more familiar language, porno scans and gropings by airport security.
I'm not sure how much good they do. Every time we have a new terrorist scare, we have a new set of security checks at airports. The problem is that the new measures stop the old threats so new threats are invented.
But each set of new measures seems to make the majority of Americans feel safer. So why fight it? I consider them a mild annoyance but quickly forgettable. If you want to fret about something, worry about getting to the airport safely in your car or about equipment failure on your plane. They are infinitely more likely than a terrorist getting on your plane.
Airport security staff seem like a friendly bunch, hoping to make our bad experience as quick as possible. Who I worry about is the security staff I can't see -- the people in the back room rifling through my unlocked luggage.
I have lost a computer. My wife has lost high-powered painkillers. An outside pocket was ripped off a brand new suitcase. A bag of snacks my wife needs for taking with her medicine, ended up in my suitcase.
Why do we get hit so often? Because of my bad eyesight, we try to make our bags stand out so I can see them on the baggage carousel. Maybe they stand out for random checks too.
Or here's another theory. We get to the airport about three hours early, so our luggage sits around longer. We do it in case security takes forever or a traffic tie-up between Santa Fe and Albuquerque stops traffic for hours.
Before retirement, Jeanette and I had jobs with a fair amount of stress. So we vowed to keep ourselves out of stressful situations in retirement as much as possible. It takes more time but it usually enables a leisurely meal.
My recommendation to the Transportation Security Administration is to watch the baggage screeners more carefully.
My recommendation to the New Mexico State Police is to figure out how to keep traffic moving on Interstates. The cops you use to pick off motorists crossing the median to get on a frontage road around a collision would be better used to help detour traffic.
Are there really that many wrecks caused by people crossing the median at a seemingly safe place? I've never seen the statistics on it. Police cars do it all the time. From watching your commercials, it would seem it is first-time DWIs that are the most dangerous thing on the road.
From looking at the makeup of the transition committees on energy and environment, we appear headed for relaxed regulation on many industries. Some of that probably is good, especially if it truly does allow our economy to grow.
We went a long way in the other direction the past eight years to make Gov. Bill Richardson the most environmentally friendly presidential candidate and because of the strong environmental organizations we have in New Mexico.
But we also are watching for political payoffs to the businesses that helped Gov.-Elect Martinez close her huge campaign funding deficits in the blink of an eye.
New Mexicans have become sensitized toward that sort of thing.


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