Local Viewpoints

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Hynes: Challenger Center-Another Gateway To Space For Our Community

Sep 22, 2015

  If I was in New Mexico, I'd double down on Virgin Galactic, their vehicle is fundamentally a sound design. This is part of a personal conversation I had last week in preparation for the upcoming International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS).  When I have the chance to get feedback from highly qualified people, like former NASA astronauts, I take it. I can be biased on the New Mexico partners involved in commercial space, partially because I am a New Mexican and because I have a long ongoing relationship with Virgin Galactic's leadership.

  Internal reports suggest that Detention Center Director Chris Barela may be guilty of misuse of public funds, and perhaps of crimes.


I don't pre-judge him. I do ask why it's taken so long for us to reach this point in the investigation, In late 2013, I wrote about these matters and discussed them with law enforcement. At least one Doña Ana County Commissioner also contacted the DA. The State Police began an investigation.


The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), an independent and bipartisan agency that advises the President and Congress on civil rights matters, has released its report on the state of civil rights at immigration detention centers in the United States.  MALDEF testimony is cited throughout the report, which outlines a series of federal and constitutional violations at immigration detention facilities operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. MALDEF and other groups filed a complaint last year with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S.

Pearce Blasts President For Iran Nuclear Deal

Sep 18, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (R.-NM) released this statement in regard to the purported expiration of the 60-day congressional review period set by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

Pearce Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood

Sep 18, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (R.-NM) released this statement today following House passage of the Defund Planned Parenthood Act (H.R. 3134) and Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act  (H.R. 3504). 

D'Ammassa: Let's Retire The Politics Of Resignation

Sep 17, 2015

  What becomes possible if we retire the politics of resignation?

It was expressed most recently by Congressman Steve Pearce, visiting a town hall meeting in Columbus last month. He was asked about Luna County's unemployment rate, which was 15 percent in July and the highest in the state. Pearce's response was consistent with remarks he has made in the past about those struggling in our county.

Nachison: Why Sanders Is Attracting Support

Sep 17, 2015
Senator Bernie Sanders

  There is a real choice for Americans in 2016. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders makes good sense: "Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America."

Heinrich: Repeal Excise Tax on Middle-Class Health Benefits

Sep 17, 2015
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) introduced bipartisan legislation to fully repeal a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as the “Cadillac Tax,” which taxes high-cost health insurance plans. The senators' legislation is a companion to U.S.

  Veronica C. García, Ed.D, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, released the following statement regarding the U.S. Census Bureau’s release of data showing that New Mexico had some of the biggest decreases in the nation in the percentage of the population without health insurance:

  Kim Davis is playing a role scripted by her allies in the Christian Right. 


Certain Christians are portraying Christianity as an embattled minority. Christians were one nearly 2000 years ago, but here and now they're the dominant faith. That isn't enough for some, who want not only to practice their religion, but also to force the rest of us to obey it. Will a few decades bring some reprise of the Spanish Inquisition?


Sportsmen And Others Oppose Pearce's Bill To Remove Wilderness Protections

Sep 12, 2015

  Today, sportsmen and community members in southern New Mexico spoke out against Representative Pearce’s new legislation to remove wilderness protections from some lands within Luna and Hidalgo County.

Pearce Votes Against Iran Nuclear Deal

Sep 11, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce released the following statement today regarding the House’s completion of a series of three votes relating to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear agreement, which Secretary of State John Kerry finalized in Vienna on July 17, 2015. Not only did the vast majority of the House of Representatives (162-269) vote AGAINST approval of this agreement (H.R. 3461), but the House also passed bipartisan legislation preventing the President from removing sanctions on the Iranian regime (H.R. 3460).

David and Goliath: Space Florida And The New Mexico Partnership

Sep 10, 2015

  Last week I participated in Mesilla Valley Economic Development Associations’ (MVEDA) commercial space panel. Our focus was to discuss growing our awareness and partnerships that support the commercial space industry in our region. The panel included Dumitru Propescu, founder and CEO of ARCA Aerospace. Dumitru has been a colleague and spoke at the first International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) in 2005 here in Las Cruces. It was during this initial exposure to our community that Dumitru began to understand the benefits of our wide open skies for his company.

NM Education Secretary Hanna Skandera

   First Judicial District Judge Sarah Singleton today ruled against the Public Education Department when it tried to block the payment of legal fees it made necessary by failing to comply with the New Mexico law known as the Inspection of Public Records Act.   Attorney Todd Wertheim, representing the National Education Association- New Mexico, which is the plaintiff in the case, estimates the total fees awarded at today’s hearing will be $14,071.31.  This is in addition to fines the agency must pay of $485.   


United Worker Center Of New Mexico Featured In New York Times

Sep 7, 2015

Today New Mexico made national news.  The New York Times published an article highlighting the innovative work of the United Worker Center of New Mexico, a project of Somos Un Pueblo Unido. 

The worker center has organized non-union and low-wage workers across the state to recuperate stolen wages, improve workplace conditions, and push for local and state laws that protect all workers.   

Sanchez: A Victory for Working Families--NM Supreme Court Orders State to Enforce Wage Laws

Sep 7, 2015
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Unions have made huge contributions throughout America’s history – Social Security, child labor laws, the forty-hour work week, and so on. Working men and women make enormous contributions to our country daily.

Here in New Mexico, the building trades unions successfully fought a recent legal battle to ensure that workers are treated fairly through enforcement of the prevailing wage law.   This will improve the economic conditions of workers’ families. Prevailing wage laws open a door to career paths for young people. They deliver increased productivity and economic growth.

Steve Fischmann

  El Paso Electric (EPE) is asking regulators to raise electric rates to cover $1.3 billion in investments in new plant and equipment made over the past few years.

The company waxed apologetic when announcing its proposed price hikes. “The rate case process is transparent, and in order to make sure we do not collect a single penny that is not justified, all parties are represented in the process,” said CEO Tom Shockley on the company website. 

  I've heard complaints that the County Commission has somehow betrayed its constituents by approving funds for mass transit; but whoever's complaining may not understand the county's action or the concept of representative democracy – or doesn't want to understand.


Although many of us have cars, many do not. Poverty, age, illness, or disability prevents them from driving into town, to shop or even for medical appointments. That can be a major problem for folks in rural areas.


Lipson: Silva Not Honest About Minimum Wage Votes

Sep 4, 2015
Miguel Silva

  In the Aug. 6 Las Cruces Sun-News, Las Cruces city councilor and mayoral candidate Miguel Silva was quoted as saying he voted for the three-tier minimum wage hike adopted by the council. In a KRWG interview, he claimed to have voted for the minimum wage hike "eight of 10 times." This obscures Silva's actual position and actions.

Senator Howie Morales

  A contract between public school boards and the superintendents is typically a term of three years nationwide. These contracts usually include a buyout provision should the district find it necessary to terminate the contract for reasons ranging from unsatisfactory performance to violations of the negotiated contract.

  STATEMENT from Jessica Goad, Advocacy Director at the Center for Western Priorities, on the American Legislative Exchange Council’s new report advocating for the state seizure of America's public lands:

Gessing: School Employees Should Not Be Paid For Time Serving In The Legislature

Aug 31, 2015
Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

  Most of the media’s attention has been focused on the ongoing scandal at the top of Albuquerque Public Schools. Unfortunately, an issue with much larger long-term ramifications was recently voted on by the APS board (minus Peggy Muller Aragon who opposed the move).

The issue is, of course, the new policy to give district employees “political pay” for serving in the Legislature.

  The truest measure of our community's quality of life must be a shared vision that touches us all. A retired Las Cruces Public Schools teacher, I have seen how the problem of limited transportation affects the academic success of our students, their families, and their futures.

Common Cause Director "Shocked" By Allegations Against Duran; Presses For "Quick And Fair" Outcome

Aug 30, 2015
Viki Harrison, Common Cause New Mexico

  Common Cause New Mexico’s Executive Director, Viki Harrison, released the following statement today regarding the Secretary of State situation “Like the rest of the state, Common Cause New Mexico was shocked to hear of the criminal complaints filed against our Secretary of State, Dianna Duran, by the Attorney General,” said Harrison.

Toulouse Oliver: "Shocked, Saddened" Over Allegations Facing Duran

Aug 30, 2015

  After the announcement of criminal charges filed against New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran, Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver released the following statement:

“Like many of my fellow New Mexicans, I was shocked and saddened to learn of the allegations facing Secretary of State Dianna Duran.

  Some readers will remember Rick Seeberger. Sheriff Todd Garrison was so charmed by Seeberger that he placed him high in DASO, though Seeberger had never been a cop and had neither experience nor a degree in law enforcement. DASO Deputies reported disastrous results. Morale seemed to go through the floor. The basement floor. Eventually Seeberger departed, after a public controversy.

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Las Cruces, N.M. – U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued this statement following the federal court decision in North Dakota to grant a preliminary injunction that will temporarily block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) so-called Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS):


  On Thursday, the New Mexico Game Commission voted to approve trapping for cougars on state trust land and private land throughout New Mexico. The commission also voted to increase bear-hunting quotas. Both decisions came without sufficient scientific evidence and in the face of overwhelming public opposition. 

New Mexico Activists to Rally in Support of Releasing More Mexican Gray Wolves

Aug 25, 2015

  SANTA FE, N.M.— Wildlife supporters will rally Thursday morning to call on the New Mexico Game Commission to support the federal government's release of endangered Mexican gray wolves in the Gila National Forest in southern New Mexico. Activists are also urging the commission to vote down two separate proposals: one that would allow cougar trapping and another allowing a 25 percent increase in hunting permits for black bears.

McCamley: You Can Do Something About Standardized Tests

Aug 25, 2015
Rep. Bill McCamley (D-New Mexico House District 33)

 “The problem with standardized tests is that it's based on the mistake that we can simply scale up the education of children like you would scale up making carburetors. And we can't, because human beings are very different from motorcars, and they have feelings about what they do and motivations in doing it, or not.”


Sir Ken Robinson