Local Viewpoints

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Perverse Incentives Leave New Mexico Workers High and Dry

Aug 22, 2016

  Commentary: Without question, the profit motive and free markets have transformed human life. It does not follow, however, that profiteering is the answer to every human problem. Without ethical guidance, profit-seeking can lead to perverse incentives. The tragic consequences of one such story are playing out here in New Mexico.

 

Padilla Blasts Martinez Push For New Mexico Death Penalty Legislation

Aug 22, 2016

  Commentary: Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla (D-14-Bernalillo) today sharply criticized Governor Susana Martinez’s recent announcement that she will make it a priority to reinstitute the death penalty in New Mexico during the next legislative session in January. They called it a cynical attempt to distract attention from the real problems of growing unemployment, K-12 classrooms ranked 50th worst, and a pressing state budget shortfall. The death penalty was abolished in 2009 after years of public discussion and debate.

 

Commentary:  We're all shocked by the murder of Jose Chavez, one of Hatch's finest. I share the community's sadness for him and his family and anger at the killers. Let's each donate what we can to the fund to help educate his daughters.

 

A Solid Plan For Our County's Future

Aug 21, 2016
sharon thomas / city of las cruces photo

  Commentary: A Comprehensive Plan is a tool used by communities to plan their future growth and development.  All New Mexico counties that receive state funding are required by law to develop a Comprehensive Plan and to revisit it at regular intervals.  In the process they can make the changes necessary to guide community decision-making in subsequent years.

New Mexico Voices For Children: No Closed Door Meetings By State Legislature

Aug 19, 2016

  Commentary: New Mexico Voices for Children issued the following statement from executive director James Jimenez regarding Governor Martinez’s agreement to call a special legislative session:

“Closed-door deals aren’t in the public’s interest. And quick ‘solutions’ that fail to promote long-term public investment don’t serve New Mexicans.

NEA: New Mexico Education Department Use Of PARCC Tests Is Poor Public Policy

Aug 19, 2016

Commentary: The Public Education Department’s release of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) scores is a positive sign. However, the continued use of these scores for high stakes decisions is still just as misguided as it ever was.  Movement in the right direction is an indication that New Mexico’s educators and students are working hard. 

http://nm.aft.org/

 

  Commentary: American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly released the following statement:

“With the release of the Partnership for Assessment and Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) scores, Secretary Skandera, for a second year championed low scores as a sign of progress for her reforms within the Public Education System.

dpnm.net

  Commentary: Today, the Democratic Party of New Mexico issued the following statement after Governor Susana Martinez released a timeline for a special session.

Office of the Governor

 

  Commentary: The Catholic Bishops of New Mexico applauded the State Legislature for the progress that was made when we ended the morally untenable practice of the death penalty on March 18, 2009. This repeal of the death penalty was a milestone, moving New Mexico from a culture of violence to a culture of peace, justice, and love.

 

Sen. Rodríguez statement on PUCT approval of new El Paso Electric customer rates

Aug 18, 2016

  Commentary: Today, the Public Utility Commission of Texas gave final approval to a settlement agreement between El Paso Electric and several interveners to revise the utility's electric rates, as well as approved El Paso Electric's application to institute a voluntary community solar program within its Texas service territory. 

Sen. José Rodríguez released the following statement in response to approval of the settlement terms:

Transit: A Wise Investment for Everyone

Aug 18, 2016

  Wise communities invest in themselves, providing the public resources necessary to allow residents to live prosperous, healthy lives.  Regional transit is one of those key investments in a successful future.

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva

  Commentary: The Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva and CPC Member Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) released the following statement today after the Justice Department announced they will end contracts with private prisons.

Pearce: Fish And Wildlife Service Fails To Answer Critical Questions

Aug 16, 2016
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  Commentary: Today, Congressman Steve Pearce issued the following statement after U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to provide answers to a letter the Congressman’s office sent regarding the Inspector General’s report on the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program. Despite having a month to address the questions posed, the agency has failed to provide a single answer:

Steve Fischmann

  Commentary: Ignore all the noise you hear about renewable energy being expensive.  The most efficient new natural gas power plant costs 7.5 cents a kWh over its lifetime.  Solar power generators routinely offer long term purchase power agreements at 4 cents per kWh and falling. Wind power contracts are approaching 3 cents per kWh.

Gessing: Spending Cuts Difficult, Essential

Aug 15, 2016
Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

Commentary:  No politician relishes the job facing New Mexico’s leadership in the months ahead. Facing massive budget deficits and the prospect of an election-year special session in an unpredictable and unsettled political season is no elected official’s anyone’s idea of fun.

Hynes: It does not matter who gets the credit

Aug 15, 2016

  Commentary: I’ve heard this and I don’t buy it. People who work hard want credit for the results of their work. Money is not the solution either. Sometimes a thank you works best, so thank you Christine Anderson.

For city skate parks, concrete is the way to go

Aug 15, 2016

Commentary:  Oh, let's take a break from presidential politics. Sometimes you have to get up, shelve Facebook, put Twitter in a birdcage, and take a walk in your community. Political professionals and we, the parasitic columnists and talkers, often lose ourselves in the the corrupt logic of Washington and lose sight of our best aspirations.

 

army.mil

  Commentary: I would say I honor our Constitution.

But there's something pro forma about that when your family has been here since 1648, and you had relatives at Lexington and Concord Bridges. Oh, yeah. Nice constitution. Yawn.

I came to feel more deeply about the Constitution as a southern civil rights worker. We had no real protection, but the federal government's authority over interstate commerce gave the Feds some power over the state. (We didn't know that Hoover's FBI was busy trying to blackmail Martin Luther King.)

hillaryclinton.com

 

  Commentary: Hillary Clinton discussed her plan to fight for working families, putting Donald Trump’s “plan” to shame. In her plan, Hillary Clinton outlined five-points that will build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. 

 

The five-point plan includes:

 

facebook.com (donald trump)

Commentary:  Trump's recent economic speech is a continuation of the failed trickle-down economics policy that has been promoted by Republicans for 36 years. During this time period, wealth and income inequality has increased tremendously. Payroll taxes have gone up, top marginal tax rates have declined and effective tax revenue from Corporations have declined from 15% of Federal revenue to about 5%.

Greens and Libertarians Must Be Ready for Media Glare

Aug 11, 2016

  Commentary: While there is little optimism to be found in the presidential campaign there are at least glimmers of novelty. This year our dominant parties have each nominated controversial candidates, either one of whom, depending on who you talk to, is the harbinger of the end times. Public interest in our leading alternative parties, the Libertarians and the Greens, has spiked this year.

 

http://nm.aft.org/

Commentary: American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly released the following statement:

“The Governor’s call for five percent cuts across state department budgets is an irresponsible action from a Governor who has failed to fulfill her promise to improve New Mexico’s economy when she took office over six years ago.

Goodman: A Deeper Connection Between Head And Heart

Aug 7, 2016
Bill Porter

  Bill Porter lived across the rice paddy from me on a mountaintop in Taiwan. 

After stints in the U.S. Army then college, Bill had gotten interested in Buddhism. In 1970 he moved to a monastery in Taiwan where he spent three years. I met him in 1986, after wandering around the Chinese mainland for a year. He was married to a local woman and working at the English-language radio station. Although not a poet, he had started translating ancient Chinese poets. His books were the sort few people knew; but those who knew them loved them.

State Mandated Third Grade Retention or Proactive Help for Students?

Aug 6, 2016
Betty Patterson-President, NEA New Mexico

Commentary:  New Mexico educators work for student reading success every day, usually without sufficient support.  Even in these conditions, many positive programs are being moved with support from administrators and local school boards.  Too often news coverage regarding education matters fails to appreciate the positive approach toward student success promoted by the National Education Association-New Mexico and practiced by educators on a daily basis.

 

Pearce Demands Answers on Disability Appeals Process

Aug 5, 2016
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

 Commentary: This week, Congressman Pearce issued a letter to Carolyn Colvin, Acting Commissioner for the Social Security Administration, expressing deep concerns regarding the current disability claims process within the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR):

Sen. Linda Lopez: Gov. Martinez’s Different World

Aug 5, 2016
nmlegis.gov

Commentary:  A recent opinion piece penned by Governor Susana Martinez for the financial news network CNBC demonstrated how extremely out of touch some elected leaders can be.  In fact, Martinez showed that she is living in another world.

Sorry, Berners. The Democrats Are Still the Clintons' Party

Aug 4, 2016

  Commentary: In 2015, Desert Sage paid a visit to a meeting of the "Silver City, NM for Bernie" group and spoke with several of its members. At the time, feeling dubious about the likelihood of a takeover of the Democratic Party by the independent Senator from Vermont, I asked the members about the possibility that the promised "political revolution" would fail. What might they do next?  The optimism in the room brooked little concern for failure. When pressed, the sentiment expressed by one member was, "Keep working."

 

http://nm.aft.org/

 

  Commentary:   American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie released the following statement:

“The report from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers confirms many of the criticisms education professionals have had regarding New Mexico’s charter school authorization process – a process which is not fully developed and once which lacks clearly defined academic standards and requirements.

Nachison: Religion and partisan politics is a no-go

Aug 3, 2016

Commentary:  It’s so easy to ‘forget' the Constitution.  Is ‘ignore’ better usage?  South Carolina pastor Rev. Mark Burns addressed the RNC convention 7/20 and left the ‘box.'   My concern is the mainstreaming of craziness/religious superiority in the USA.  It’s noticeably worse this election cycle.

What’s really behind New Mexico’s budget woes

Aug 3, 2016
Bill Jordan, MA

 Commentary:  Most complex systems—like airplanes, for example—have built-in redundancies. So in order for a catastrophic failure to occur—such as falling from the sky—there generally have to be several things going wrong. Usually all at once. The state budget is a complex system, too. Sadly, it’s plunging toward disaster. In order to fix it we need to look at all the things that are going wrong.

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