Local Viewpoints

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Don't Kid Yourself, Solitary Confinement is Torture

Feb 3, 2016

  Commentary:   "We do not torture," said President George W. Bush. Recently President Obama stated again: "The United States does not torture." Actually, we have and we do. Not just in war, but in our federal and state prisons. In government prisons and prisons run by for-profit corporations, we torture prisoners. Tens of thousands of them. Solitary confinement is torture.


Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

  Commentary:  Tamara Kay and Gorden Lafer re-hashed many of their arguments against the Rio Grande Foundation and its work in support of “right to work” in New Mexico.

Public Domain Photo (U.S. Government)

  Commentary:  On Jan. 18, I helped celebrate Martin Luther King Day by reading a proclamation at First United Methodist Church, with my gratitude to event organizers R.C. Johnson, James Simmons and Nurieh Glasgow. I had decided beforehand not to introduce this proclamation with any personal remarks.

The thinking was that government is the people’s business, not about individuals or personalities. We need look no further than the presidential campaign to see how personalities can detract from substantive issues.

  Commentary:  Open Primaries, a national leader on election reform, today announced the launch of a campaign to build support in the state House Judiciary Committee to approve HJR 12, the Open Primary Elections Constitutional Amendment. This bill will give all voters in New Mexico equal participation and say in their elections, bring competition back to electoral races and offer New Mexico’s citizens the functioning government they so desperately want.

Congressman Pearce Lauds Bill That Claims To Improve Federal Housing Program

Feb 2, 2016
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

Commentary:  Congressman Steve Pearce issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016:


President's Proposal To Dedicate $1.1 Billion To Address Prescription Opioid And Heroin Epidemic

Feb 2, 2016
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

Commentary: U.S. Senator Tom Udall today welcomed President Obama's proposal to dedicate $1.1 billion to fight the heroin use and prescription opioid abuse epidemic in New Mexico and across the country. Udall has long fought to increase support to help communities treat and prevent both problems, particularly prescription opioid drug abuse, which is too often a gateway to heroin use.

In 2014, New Mexico had the second-highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The return of ‘Kindergarten math’ in battle over right-to-work

Feb 1, 2016

 Commentary: Despite being dealt a death blow in the state Senate at the final hour during the last legislative session, proponents of right-to-work laws are at it again. What was most alarming about last year’s debate was how lobbyists manipulated facts to propel their pet bills through the legislature.

Richard Kadzis

  Commentary:  Any journalist who’s covered a crowded presidential primary field knows it’s a wild ride. Just read the book “The Boys on the Bus,” and you’ll get an authentic, inside account.

Take the 1976 election year as an example, then, fast forward to 2016. Four decades separate these elections. Yet they reveal similar, early patterns.

Then, with Gerald Ford as the incumbent who succeeded Richard Nixon in the aftermath of Watergate, only Ronald Reagan challenged for the GOP nomination.

Goodman: County Treasurer Should Resign

Jan 31, 2016
Dona Ana County Treasurer David Gutierrez

  Commentary:  Dear David Gutierrez: 

I respectfully request again that, for the benefit of Doña Ana County, you resign and get treatment.

As County Treasurer you asked a woman working for you to have sex with you for money. You apparently knew, or should have known from prior incidents, that she wasn't interested in sex with you. The County Commission and the County Democratic Party each invited you to explain, then censured you. You also refused to discuss the incident with me. 

  Commentary:  With over 150 immigrant workers and their US Citizen children looking on from the gallery, all Republicans, along with Representatives Dona Irwin and Stephanie Garcia-Richard, in the NM House of Representatives voted to take away the drivers' licenses of over 90,000 New Mexicans, immigrant residents who live, work and pay taxes here, and force them to carry a discriminatory one-year driving privilege card marked with their immigration status. HB 99, was sponsored by Albuquerque Republican Rep. Paul Pacheco and backed by Governor Martinez.

Senate Democrats Call on Governor Martinez to Address Jobs Crisis

Jan 27, 2016

 Commentary: Democratic leaders in the New Mexico Senate today called on Governor Susana Martinez to immediately place their package of jobs legislation on the call of the Legislative Session in order to address the jobs crisis. The package of 14 bills introduced by Senate Democrats would create more than 24,000 new jobs now and stimulate economic growth.  The senators emphasized the urgency of the state’s job crisis, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that New Mexico continues to have the highest rate of employment at 6.7%.

Richard Kadzis

  Commentary:  What kind of experience do you have when you go to work every day?

On the surface, it may seem unimportant, but think of the time you spend keeping your nose to the grindstone for the sake of family, quality of life and your future.

Work can grind on your psyche, especially when you feel as if you’re just another cog in the wheel doing your job without much of a voice in getting results, or in the process of making things happen.

New Mexicans Need a Bipartisan REAL ID Solution

Jan 25, 2016
Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto


  Commentary—The National Education Association today issued its annual Legislative Report Card for the 114th U.S. Congress, 1st session, which tallies votes and other relevant legislative actions from January through December 2015. The Report Card tracks members’ of Congress overall support for public education, students and educators, with each member receiving a letter grade of A through F.

Thank you, Miguel

Jan 24, 2016
Miguel Silva-courtesy photo

 Commentary: Forever, he is bicycling past me, wearing a huge, goofy hat and that huge, infectious grin, as if it is always a beautiful Saturday morning in Las Cruces. He is waving. I can't quite hear what he's saying, but his joy needs no words.


 Commentary: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released a report highlighting ways Rural Development’s investments in communities, businesses and residents created jobs, provided economic opportunities and improved rural infrastructure in 2015.

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

  Commentary:   Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29-Valencia, Bernalillo) will introduce a rule change to ensure that the general public is allowed to attend future state of the state addresses by the governor.  Sanchez will introduce the rule change in response to the decision by the House of Representatives to reserve virtually all of the nearly 300 seats in the public gallery for guests of the governor and members of the House on opening day of the 2016 legislative session.

It's Time To Go To Work In New Mexico

Jan 22, 2016

  Commentary:  The legislative session is here. While there are many issues that deserve some attention, there is only one crisis that demands everyone’s focus: The dismal condition of the New Mexico economy.

We all know the same facts: high unemployment rate, low job creation rate, high poverty rate, shrinking population.

We all also know that New Mexico has enormous untapped potential. Our future is hiding in plain sight. We have everything we need to create our own strategy, to build our own future, to make New Mexico work for all of us.

  Commentary: Somos Un Pueblo Unido, New Mexico's statewide immigrant's rights organization, released the following statement in response to the House Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee voting on party line (4-3) to move forward Republican Rep. Pacheco's discriminatory HB 99:

Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

  Commentary:  As the 2016 New Mexico Legislature's 30-day session gets rolling, the Rio Grande Foundation is re-launching its “Freedom Index” legislative tracking tool. The goal of this tool is to review legislation impacting freedom in our state.

Nachison: We Need Rubio In District 35

Jan 21, 2016
Angelica Rubio

  Commentary:  The primaries for State legislators arrive in some four months.  District 35 is an open seat.  One candidate is outstanding.

U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

  Commentary – Ahead of tomorrow’s sixth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) announced that he is introducing two bills to help restore voters’ voices in our democracy and follow through on the president’s call to fix our politics during last week’s State of the Union address.

Remembering MLK's Call to Love One Another

Jan 20, 2016
Public Domain Photo (U.S. Government)

  Commentary:  This week we observed the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Baptist minister and civil rights activist whose life was cut short by a bullet in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968.


Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto

  Commentary:  Albuquerque, N.M.—Just two months after filing a lawsuit to challenge Albuquerque’s civil forfeiture program, today, state Senators Lisa Torraco and Daniel Ivey-Soto are asking the court to enter final judgment in their favor.

The senators, represented by the Institute for Justice (IJ), filed a motion this morning seeking an expedited resolution of the case and a quick end to Albuquerque’s civil forfeiture program.

U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary:   Today, on the first day of the state legislative session, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich sent a letter to the leaders of the New Mexico House and Senate, formally calling on them to work together to improve the well-being of New Mexico's children. Specifically, Udall and Heinrich urged legislators to bring up and pass a measure that would allow voters to amend the constitution and invest a portion of the state's Land Grant Permanent Fund in the most effective early childhood programs. 

 Commentary: A draft version of Congressman Rob Bishop’s long-awaited Public Lands Initiative (PLI) bill—which will be publicly released tomorrow—has been circulating for days.Early reporting already shows Congressman Bishop trying to spin his bill as a balanced and collaborative success story, even before the public has an opportunity to review the legislation.

 Commentary: On Monday, Latino Decisions, a leading national research and polling firm, released results from a new scientific poll revealing a majority of registered voters in New Mexico supports issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants and favors a bipartisan compromise proposal that was passed in the state Senate during the 2015 legislative session.  That proposal would give eligible New Mexicans a choice in obtaining a REAL ID compliant license, while allowing undocumented immigrant drivers to apply for a non-discriminatory license that is not REAL ID compli

Legislators: Bill gives mental health help to veterans

Jan 19, 2016

 Commentary: In addition to the nearly 150,000 active duty service members based at our state's 15 military installations, Texas is home to more than 1.7 million veterans.

In our region, El Paso is home to about 50,000 veterans as well as Fort Bliss, the second-largest U.S. Army installation, with more than 70,000 active duty service personnel and family members.

One of the highest priorities that any member of the Texas Legislature has is our obligation to these military service members, veterans and their families.

Public Domain Photo (U.S. Government)

 Commentary: NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia today issued the following statement to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: 


“As we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we recognize the tremendous progress our nation has made since thousands of people heard his young, booming voice echo across the National Mall in Washington and in millions of homes around the country calling on us to ‘open the doors of opportunity for all of God’s children.’   


Goodman: Dueling Lawsuits Is No Way To Run A County

Jan 17, 2016

 Commetnary: County officials should get out of our adversarial legal system and talk honestly. 

Neither side has everything right. There have been honest misunderstandings/disagreements, but each side accuses the other of grandstanding – and using litigation to divert attention from real issues.

The Sheriff should dismiss his lawsuit against two commissioners. I sympathize with some of his frustrations, but this lawsuit isn't the best course of action. He has little chance of winning. (See my blog for details.)