Local Viewpoints

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Brown: Attorney-Client Privilege Prevents Release Of Some Information

26 minutes ago

  In his Sept. 20 op-ed contribution, columnist Peter Goodman questioned why County Attorney Nelson Goodin and I are not releasing certain documents from investigators looking into various allegations regarding policies and personnel at the Doña Ana County Detention Center. The reason is quite simple: The documents we’ve identified are attorney-client privileged and should not be divulged.  The attorney-client privilege encourages clients to disclose to their attorneys all pertinent information in legal matters by protecting such disclosures from discovery.

  The Republican strategy against Planned Parenthood is not a secret. Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah stated it plainly in an interview for Fox News in September: "Planned Parenthood is the new ACORN."


The Space Economy And Its People In Southern New Mexico

4 hours ago

  It’s better to create the positive than try to deconstruct the negative. I heard this at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) which concluded last Thursday, October 8th.  Creating a new commercial space industry has been a collaboration across many sectors of the economy which is now producing new launch vehicles, new human spaceflight vehicles, new spaceports, and new satellite systems.

  In November's municipal election, voters will choose between two views of Las Cruces: a place we invest in, to improve quality-of-life for all, and the “shrink government, cut taxes to an absolute minimum” litany of the Tea Party and the local Chamber of Commerce.

At the recent Domenici Conference, named for our long-time Republican U.S. Senator, the experts were unanimous: you want to grow your economy? You gotta invest, particularly in infrastructure and education. 

Pearce Applauds Temporary Halt Of EPA Water Protection Effort

Oct 10, 2015

  U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued this statement following a federal appellate court order in Ohio to grant a preliminary injunction that will temporarily block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) so-called Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS):

Pearce: End The Oil Export Ban

Oct 9, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued the following statement on H.R. 702, a Bill to Adapt to Changing Crude Oil Market Conditions, which passed the House today by a vote of 261-159:

Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez was a member of the opening plenary panel of the Summit on Worker Voice held today, October 7, 2015 at the White House. The Summit, hosted by President Barak Obama, examined how working Americans can more fully share in our country’s growing economic prosperity. Most working men and women know what the latest data shows, the recession might be over but prosperity is not trickling down to the middle class. This is leading to widening income inequality and workers believing they have no voice at their workplace.

Heinrich: Include Key New Mexico Provisions In Defense Bill, Eliminate Sequester Cuts

Oct 7, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, voted to pass the conference report for the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. Senator Heinrich worked to secure key provisions for New Mexico's men and women in uniform, military installations, private industry, national laboratories, and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). The NDAA conference report passed the Senate with a vote of 70 to 27.

  Carmella Salinas, a longtime early childhood educator in Española, New Mexico, is joining President Obama and working people from around the country at the White House today for the Summit on Worker Voice.

Salinas, president of PEOPLE for the Kids and a member of New Mexico Early Educators United, an AFT affiliate, came to Washington to talk about how she has helped to create an innovative partnership between educators, parents and early learning center owners to address New Mexico’s crisis in early childhood education.

  Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released revised “standards governing transport, escort, search and detention”—commonly known as TEDS. These standards create minimum requirements for U.S. Border Patrol and the Office of Field Operations, the two components of CBP, both of which may choose to supplement these standards with their own guidance.

  As the ancient joke says, you know politicians are lying when their lips move.


  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today made the following statement following the successful conclusion of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Blast Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Oct 5, 2015

  WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after the U.S. Trade Representative announced that the United States has reached a deal with 11 other nations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

  A Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) could help improve the Doña Ana County Detention Center.

This proposal is independent of any criticisms I may have of the jail administration. It's based on successful models as diverse as Canada and New Mexico's own San Miguel County.

Udall Votes For Short-Term Funding Bill; Pushes For Long-Term Agreement

Sep 30, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a member of the Appropriations Committee, joined the full Senate in voting for a short-term agreement to keep the federal government running until Dec. 11. The measure, which passed the Senate 78-20 and passed the U.S. House of Representatives 277-151, is now headed to the president to be signed into law. While Udall welcomed the short-term agreement called a "continuing resolution," he urged Congress to agree to a long-term budget that also ends the devastating across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration.

Pearce Votes Against Bill To Fund The Government Through December 11

Sep 30, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued the following statement on his vote against the Senate Amendment to H.R. 719, a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through December 11. 

Center For Western Priorities

  The Land and Water Conservation Fund will expire tonight unless Congress takes action. With Congressional intervention appearing highly unlikely, Jessica Goad, Advocacy Director at the Center for Western Priorities, said:

Pearce Praises Bill Aimed At Defunding Planned Parenthood

Sep 29, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued this statement following House passage of H.R. 3495, the Women’s Public Health and Safety Act:

“This summer, gruesome and despicable acts performed by Planned Parenthood were exposed in undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress. Since then, the House has responded to calls from the American people for a halt to these horrific practices,” stated Pearce. “The House’s actions include today’s passage of the Women’s Public Health and Safety Act.”

Democratic Party of New Mexico: Duran Must Resign Immediately

Sep 29, 2015
NM Sec. of State Dianna Duran / Official photo

  Democratic Party of New Mexico (DPNM) Executive Director Joe Kabourek released the following statement on behalf of DPNM:  Enough is enough; Secretary of State Dianna Duran must resign immediately.  Rather than performing the duties she was elected to do, Secretary of State Dianna Duran has become singularly focused on abusing the powers of her office to carry out a political vendetta.

Office of the Governor


  In a potential setback for Mexican gray wolf recovery, the New Mexico Game Commission voted unanimously today to deny the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permission to release wolves in the Gila National Forest. The highly political decision, which comes nine months after the Service approved wolf releases into the Gila, ignores the advice of top scientists who have long called for more releases of Mexican wolves, including directly into the Gila. 

  The New Mexico Game Commission on Tuesday denied a permit to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to release the endangered Mexican gray wolf into the wild in New Mexico, where there are only 53 of the species.

Fischmann: El Paso Electric-Please Explain...

Sep 28, 2015
Steve Fischmann

  Our local electric utility, El Paso Electric (EPE), just submitted its twenty year operating plan for approval by the Public Regulation Commission. It's a real wallet buster for consumers, and a head scratcher for anyone who follows the utility industry. If you like history, it makes for a revealing excursion into 1960's energy industry thinking. If you enjoy true crime stories, there might even be some larceny in it!

Here are just a few of the many plan features that can use some explaining.

Plant Investment

Heinrich Stands With Local Chile Farmers In Protecting Authenticity Of N.M. Brand

Sep 28, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) raised concerns over reports of an out-of-state company manufacturing and marketing its products under the guise of authentic chile from Hatch, New Mexico. He issued the following statement today calling for better labeling protections for locally-produced products:

  The local non-profit organization, Cancer Aid Resource & Education, Inc. (CARE) is planning to hold a large-scale event honoring the former whole enchilada fiesta. The event is being planned for the last weekend of September in 2016 in the Las Cruces downtown mall.

  This week, let's dip into the mailbag.


This is not a real mailbag, of course, but Desert Sage's dedicated email address: DesertSageMail@gmail.com.  In hopes of making this column a bit more interactive and to invite Luna County's denizens to share their stories, questions, and concerns, please feel free to drop a virtual letter.


Peter Goodman: On The Road To Chope's

Sep 27, 2015

  Forty-five years ago I first motorcycled down Highway 28 to Chope's, in La Mesa. The food and mood in Chope's were welcoming. The drive was delightful too, a gently-curving country road – with a sudden coolness when the motorcycle passed through irrigated fields, and the pungent scent of onions growing.

Nowadays, we don't make that drive often enough – and not on the motorcycle recently. Together, the drive and Chope's are something special we share with close friends and family when they visit.

Somos Un Pueblo Unido: Santa Fe Worker Awarded Lost Wages

Sep 27, 2015

A cook at Horseman's Haven Café, a Santa Fe restaurant, was awarded his lost wages and returned to his regular schedule at work after filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for retaliation he experienced by his employer.

  Albuquerque, New Mexico—A leading consumer group today demanded that Volkswagen be held fully accountable for its “defeat device” scheme to trick EPA pollution tests. The group also called for full rebates to the nearly 500,000 customers deceived into joining the scheme by VW’s false promises of “clean” diesel cars.

McCamley: Water Policy Is An Urgent Matter For New Mexico

Sep 23, 2015
Rep. Bill McCamley (D-New Mexico House District 33)

  “It isn’t enough just to pray for rain.” – former Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire

We’ve had good rain this year, but don’t be fooled. New Mexico had many years of serious drought, and a few months of precipitation won’t fix everything.