Local Viewpoints

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Pat Hynes: Here Comes Santa Claus

Dec 22, 2015

  Commentary:Here comes Santa Claus, Congress finally passed the federal budget. The 2016 Omnibus Funding Bill formally called the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 is a $1.15 trillion spending bill for Congress. A spending bill.  What if each of us got a $1.15 billion check from Santa, what would all of us good boys and girls do with this money? How would we spend one hundred and five million dollars a thousand times? A thousand million is a billion.  Congress has to spend $1.15 billion dollars a thousand times this year. Its hard work spending our money.

Goodman: Questions About Undue Influence

Dec 20, 2015

Commentary:  Differing beliefs are healthy.

Tricking vulnerable people into a situation where your beliefs have undue influence on them isn't.

Recently, a “pro-life” women's health center called The Turning Point (TP) put out, through columnist Jim Harbison, a very inaccurate portrayal of itself to encourage more women to patronize it. More pregnant young women full of angst and uncertainty.

Such women should gather as much information as they can, talk with good friends and family, and maybe meditate on what to do, then do what feels right.

Title Loans: Grand Theft Auto

Dec 20, 2015
Steve Fischmann

  Commentary:  Recently released government data on small loans in New Mexico confirms what consumer advocates have known all along.  Title loan borrowers may as well pay a thief to steal their car.

In Depth: New Mexico Priorities In Spending Bill Lauded By Udall, Heinrich

Dec 18, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  Commentary– Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, andU.S. Senator Martin Heinrich joined the full Senate in voting 65-33 for a so-called “omnibus” appropriations bill to fund the government through September 2016. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill earlier today and it now heads to the president, who is expected to sign it into law. 

  Commentary:  Hundreds of immigrant families across New Mexico are speaking out this week in a series of vigils calling on legislators to pass a non-discriminatory driver's license policy that complies with the REAL ID Act. Tonight vigils will take place in Santa Fe and Clovis, with more tomorrow evening in Hobbs and Española, ending with a vigil in Los Lunas on Monday.

Christian Leaders In New Mexico Support The Reception Of Syrian Refugees

Dec 18, 2015

  Commentary:  Together with many people in our state, we have watched with deep concern the events surrounding the flood of refugees from war-torn Syria. The images of thousands of families fleeing the horror and terror loosed in their homeland, risking and sometimes losing their lives, fills us with deep pain. This pain and concern has now been amplified by the heartache of those who have experienced horrific attacks of terror in places like Beirut, Paris and Mali, and San Bernardino.  We experience the world in these days to be a violent and fearful place.

Pearce Votes For Spending Plan, Which Includes Lifting The Oil Export Ban

Dec 18, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

 Commentary: U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued this statement following his vote for passage of an omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government through Fiscal Year 2016. (H.R. 2029). 

Cooling Abortion Rhetoric is a Shared Responsibility

Dec 18, 2015

  Commentary:   If you reading last week's column in the Sun News print edition, and you thought it ended abruptly, it wasn't just you. The column was truncated due to a minor editing glitch. Although your humble correspondent was not to blame, let me apologize and complete that thought before moving on.

Brunner: Kristy Ortiz Making a Difference in Bayard, New Mexico

Dec 16, 2015
NM USDA Rural Development Director Terry Brunner

  Commentary:  Fairly or unfairly, government employees often get a bad rap.  Complaints about the bureaucracy were likely as common in ancient Rome as they are today.  No matter what you believe, most government employees truly care about, and are invested in the well-being of their community.


Commentary:  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson urging the agency to immediately conduct social media background checks as a part of the screening process for U.S. visa determinations.

Pearce Calls On EPA Chief To Resign

Dec 15, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  Commentary– Yesterday, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Environmental Protection Agency violated federal law in promoting the agency’s so-called “Waters of the United States” rule (WOTUS). The decision found that the EPA engaged in covert propaganda and grassroots lobbying to support the WOTUS regulations. Congressman Pearce issued the following statement in response:

Sen. Mimi Stewart Pre-Files Bill to Extend Solar Tax Credit

Dec 15, 2015
Senator Mimi Stewart (D-17-Bernalillo)

  Commentary:  Santa Fe, NM –Senator Mimi Stewart (D-17-Bernalillo) pre-filed a bill for introduction in the upcoming 2016 Session to extend the residential, commercial, and agricultural tax credit for solar installations. The ten percent tax credit for a solar installation is set to expire at the end of 2016. This bill extends the tax credit through 2024.

  Commentary:  This week, Nuestro Rio of New Mexico both applauded the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) recent move to thoroughly evaluate proposed water-management alternatives for the Gila River and again asked that Governor Martinez finally step in to stop the waste associated with the hefty costs incurred by this largely unfunded project.

The Swan and Strangers

Dec 13, 2015

  Commentary:  Being a stranger is the hardest things that can happen to anyone in all this world. We recently celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday here in the Land of Enchantment. The lucky ones in our community celebrated with friends, family and loved ones including pets. We all know there are people less fortunate than us, and as winter approaches, the cold nights make it clear, some of us are left out literally in the cold. I am proud to be in a community where we are intentional about making sure the less fortunate are looked after, including our veterans.

Nachison: Grave Concerns About The Iran Nuclear Deal

Dec 13, 2015

Commentary:  The US's many issues, mixed with hype and hypocrisy, roil us.  But the world is still out there.  Remember -  Keep Iran nuclear weapons-free ? ..... 

We now can “officially" understand the deal.  Julie Frifield, the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs in a  11/19/15 letter to Rep. Michael Pompeo (R-Kan) said "it’s an unsigned agreement."  Talk about dreaming, geopolitics and appeasement. 

Udall Welcomes Historic Agreement To Address Climate Change

Dec 13, 2015
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

 Commentary: U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations committees, released the following statement on the agreement reached by the United States and almost 200 other countries to fight climbing temperatures and rising sea levels by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Udall was among a group of 10 senators who attended the United Nations climate talks in Paris last weekend. He has also been a strong defender of U.S.

  Commentary:*Should Doña Ana County jailer Chris Barela have been arrested?

Yes. I don't say Barela should be convicted. I haven't seen all the evidence; and conviction requires proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” I have seen enough to believe he should be charged. I'd seen enough years ago. (So had county officials and the state police. Someone's inaction let the statute of limitations pass on some of Barela's alleged crimes.) 

Pearce Vows To Fight Funding For Paris Climate Agreement Projects

Dec 12, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  Commentary:  U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued this statement following the release of the so-called global climate agreement in Paris:

“The President has decided to put green energy projects overseas ahead of American families and our own economy,” stated Pearce.  “I will do everything I can to ensure that this funding is blocked to protect the people of New Mexico.”

HSC leaders pitch funding priorities to New Mexico lawmakers

Dec 10, 2015

Commentary:  Increasing faculty salaries, addressing the state’s physician shortage and expanding health care education opportunities on the University of New Mexico’s West Campus were among the funding priorities that UNM Health Sciences Center (HSC) leaders presented to state lawmakers in Santa Fe this week.

Lessons in Responsibility During a Bad News Week

Dec 10, 2015

  Commentary:  Last week several stories led Desert Sage to ponder the difference between responsibility and guilt.

Congress Has A Plan To Achieve 100 Percent Renewable Energy By 2050

Dec 10, 2015
Via city of Las Cruces

 Commentary: World leaders from over 190 countries are meeting right now in Paris to develop global plans to reduce carbon emissions and overcome the threat of climate change. With 2015 shaping up to be the hottest year ever recorded, these talks are more urgent than ever. Extreme conditions are no longer a forecast—they are happening now. The scientific consensus is overwhelming. A more diverse international coalition is calling for action.


WHITE HOUSE REPORT: The Every Student Succeeds Act

Dec 10, 2015

  Commentary:  Last week, the White House released a fact sheet praising House passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) with strong bipartisan support and calling on the Senate to do the same. Today, as President Obama signs that bill into law, the White House is releasing an analysis of progress made in elementary and secondary education since the President took office and how ESSA will cement that progress.

Patterson: New Federal Education Law Means New Mexico Can End "Seriously Flawed" Programs

Dec 9, 2015

 Commentary: New Mexico ushers in this holiday season with one of the best gifts students and educators have received in a long time—passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Passed last week in the U.S. House of Representatives, and this week in the U.S. Senate, ESSA is a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as No Child Left Behind.

US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

Commentary:  Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) voted to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) a bipartisan, bicameral bill to overturn No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The bill passed the senate by a vote of 85 to 12.

  Commentary:  A new report released today from the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) finds that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, is highly effective at reducing food insecurity—the government’s measure for whether households lack the resources for consistent and dependable access to food.

State Senator José Rodríguez

  Commentary- Senator Rodríguez issued the following statement regarding El Paso City Council's unanimous vote to oppose El Paso Electric Company's proposed rate increases:

Seven NM lawmakers provide capital outlay allocations

Dec 8, 2015
State Senator Bill Soules

  Commentary: Only seven of New Mexico’s 112 state lawmakers so far have agreed to publicly share their allocations for brick-and-mortar projects.

They are: Republican House members Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo, Zach Cook of Ruidoso, Larry Scott of Hobbs; Republican Sen. Sander Rue of Albuquerque (Republican House members Jim Dines and Dennis Roch were the first to agree to share the information); and Sen. Bill Soules, Democrat of Las Cruces.

  A new education campaign encourages people to save water for wildlife by identifying the nation’s top “water hog” counties and most wasteful household water-use activities. The “Don’t Be a Drip” website was created by the Center for Biological Diversity, with support from Levi Strauss & Co., to raise awareness about how water consumption affects endangered species.

Leaders Must Prioritize Health and Well-Being of our Families

Dec 7, 2015
Senator Howie Morales

  Commentary:  We have seen tough times in New Mexico. If you are a working parent, chances are that you earn barely enough to make ends meet. The list of daily expenses is becoming more costly – mortgage or rent, food, clothes, childcare, and transportation – not to mention health insurance.

Gun Violence Prevention Vigil Saturday In Santa Fe; Free Gunlocks To Be Distributed

Dec 6, 2015

  Commentary:  On December 2, 2015, 14 people were shot and killed and 14 injured in another mass shooting. It was the second mass shooting that week. On Friday, December 27 a man shot and killed several people at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado. Every day 92 people are shot and killed in the United States.