Local Viewpoints

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U.S. Sen. Heinrich Says Two-Year Budget Deal 'Stops Devasting Sequestration Cuts'

Oct 30, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following statement after voting in favor of the bipartisan budget agreement:

"While it's not perfect, this two-year bipartisan budget agreement provides a reasonable blueprint for investing in America's future. The agreement reaffirms the fact that America always pays its bills. It also stops devastating sequestration cuts and gives families and businesses the certainty they need to spend and invest in ways that will help boost the economy.

Commentary:  I am disgusted by the Chamber of Commerce's selected candidates. Eli  Guzman, City Council candidate, appears to  want to eliminate impact fees. This will shift the burden of  infrastructure costs for new developments to Las Cruces residents. The developers will pay nothing. The negative campaign of city council candidate Philip VanVeen attacks all aspects of our local community except the Chamber. He says that he finds it  "difficult to live here." I am proud of Las Cruces and its quality of life.

Pearce Says He Hopes Ryan Election As Speaker Will Be A "Turning Point"

Oct 29, 2015

  Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued this statement following the election of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) to be the next Speaker of the House:

 

“As I’ve said often, every American deserves a government that is effective, efficient and accountable. Today’s election marks a transition. My hope is that it will be a turning point toward transparency and away from brinkmanship.

U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce Votes Against Budget Bill Passed In House

Oct 28, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

“To quote a recent commentary in the Las Cruces Sun-News, Washington is ‘so divided and paralyzed that it lurches from one crisis to another.’ I agree; this brinkmanship must end.  Passage of this budget, does nothing to change this precedent, it simply encourages closed-door negotiations and last minute deals,” stated Pearce.   “Not only does this bill fail to make the hard choices, it raises the debt ceiling and changes spending priorities without so much as a single amendment.

More New Mexico Children Have Health Insurance

Oct 28, 2015

Commentary:  The number of New Mexico’s children without health insurance declined by about 16% in the year following the Affordable Care Act taking effect but the state still has a large number of uninsured children, according to a new report by Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families and the New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty.

  Commentary:  The co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) issued the following statement in response to the proposed bipartisan budget agreement released this week:

Senator John Arthur Smith (D-Dona Ana, Hidalgo, Sierra-35), Chair, Legislative Finance Committee

  “Senator Ingle and I successfully passed, with a strong bipartisan majority (35-5), a bill that complied with the federal requirements of the REAL ID Act during the 2015 legislative session. The House had ample time to hear the legislation but did not give it a hearing. This bill had a two tier license system similar to the one that was successfully instituted in Utah. Senator Ingle and I worked collectively because we wanted to put this issue behind us and focus on moving our state forward.

Heinrich Votes For Cybersecurity Bill

Oct 27, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today after voting to approve S.754, Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 74 to 21. The House of Representatives passed similar legislation earlier this year that must be reconciled with the Senate bill before final legislation goes to the President.

  Commentary:  The White House and congressional lawmakers unveiled a budget deal late last night, a plan that would relieve harsh spending caps for discretionary spending under the Budget Control Act of 2011 and avert economic disaster by suspending the debt ceiling.

 

Fitzgerald: Juvenile Detention Center Must Reopen

Oct 27, 2015

  Commentary:  The recent NM CAFÉ Faith and Family Summit highlighted a situation affecting juvenile detainees in Dona Ana County. Last May our county Juvenile Detention Center was closed due to a staff shortage at the Adult Detention Center. Since then juveniles have been housed in the same facility as adults. The staffs were consolidated and a special unit was created for the juveniles.  

D'Ammassa: Dianna Duran Did Well in Stepping Down

Oct 27, 2015

  Commentary: We turn this week to the sad story of New Mexico's Secretary of State, Dianna Duran.

The case of Secretary Duran is not just a lurid story of the downfall of a public official, one who vowed to confront corruption in her state's politics only to be accused of corruption charges herself. Duran's story is also a good case to examine the question of when a public official should resign her position in the presence of criminal allegations.

Breaking The Rules: The New Norm In New Mexico?

Oct 27, 2015

  "I want it to be completely clear to all New Mexicans that at no time did I ever do anything in my official capacity as Secretary of State that would jeopardize the integrity of the office."

Commentary:  So said Dianna Duran on Friday at a post-court hearing news conference.

Hynes: Martians For Las Cruces

Oct 27, 2015

  Of course I saw the movie Martian. It was a way to for my students and staff to celebrate our accomplishments after a long year of preparation and execution of the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Space (ISPCS).  I will get back to the movie, which we all recommend. It has a lot more technical accuracy than the movie Gravity. It got 3.5 stars from our group.

Deason: Greg Smith Should Be Re-Elected

Oct 26, 2015
Las Cruces City Councilor Greg Smith

  Commentary:   I would like to take this opportunity to throw my weight behind the re-election bid of Greg Smith for Las Cruces City Council, District Two, “The Gateway of Las Cruces”.

Gessing: Forbes Dings New Mexico Business Climate

Oct 26, 2015
Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

  New Mexico’s business climate received negative reviews from Forbes Magazine in the publication’s latest ranking of business climate. According to the magazine, New Mexico came in a disappointing 47th. According to the report, “New Mexico ranks in the bottom six overall for a third straight year largely due to a weak labor supply and lousy current economic climate. New Mexico has the worst employment growth in the U.S. over the past five years.

Goodman: An Absorbing Medoff Debut In Las Cruces

Oct 25, 2015
Mark Medoff

  The stage is dominated by a big white bed and by a huge, selection of bright-colored clothing hanging high up all the way along the back of the stage. Those clothes and a long shelf of books fairly loom above you, at least from the fifth row, suggesting not only their owner's glamour and wealth but also her ability (need!) to shift rapidly among roles and moods. The big bed – just a white sheet on it, no blankets, ready for action – also tells you a little about its owner.

State Senator José Rodríguez

  Commentary:  The following is a statement issued by State Sen. José Rodríguez, Chairman of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus, following the OIG’s raid at several Planned Parenthood health centers today:

Planned Parenthood has been repeatedly targeted by the state's leadership, and today's raid by the Texas Office of Inspector General on Planned Parenthood health centers in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, with reporters in tow, represents another attack on women's health providers.

facebook.com (bnsf)

  Commentary

Are We Teaching Our Kids To Be As Crazy As We Are?

Oct 21, 2015

  Commentary

Several weeks into this academic year, we have already had a number of stories leap from classrooms into news headlines. It doesn't take an advanced degree to see why these stories arouse so much interest. They involve our children and our friends' children. They also show us how the classroom becomes a forum where society engages in ideological battles and displays its fears and repulsions.

Revie: A Response To The Defense Of Planned Parenthood

Oct 19, 2015

  Commentary

I respond to Algernon D’Ammassa’s diatribe of 12 October.  Only someone delusional would defend Planned Parenthood’s inhumane practices after it was exposed for trafficking aborted human baby body parts.  In a partisan shot, D’Ammassa slanders Congressman Pearce who opposes taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. Unmasked by its top officials like Dr. Deborah Nucatola, who graphically detailed how she crushes certain organs to harvest more marketable parts, Planned Parenthood does not deserve taxpayer dollars.

  Commentary

Making Las Cruces “business friendly” and eliminating “red-tape” are catchy slogans, but could mean things most voters wouldn't agree with.

If business-friendly means encouraging businesses, particularly small and local ones, that's great; but if it means surrendering decision-making to business or eliminating health and safety requirements, it'd be unwise.

Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce 2015 Candidate Endorsements

Oct 15, 2015

  As we work to fulfill our mission to “enhance and sustain the economy, promote the community and serve as the leading voice and public policy advocate for business in the Greater Las Cruces region” we are actively supporting pro-business candidates in all upcoming elections.

Report: Gila River Diversion is Expensive, Unnecessary Boondoggle

Oct 15, 2015
NMFO

  The state’s current plan to spend up to $1 billion to divert water from the Gila River through a pipeline is ill conceived, particularly since the state has significant problems that would be more effectively addressed with such a significant level of funding. That’s the main conclusion of a report released on October 15 by New Mexico Voices for Children.

Gessing: Another Reason to Yell “Cut” on New Mexico’s Film Subsidies

Oct 15, 2015
Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

  The results of yet another report on New Mexico’s film subsidy program were recently released. This study was commissioned by the New Mexico Film Office and conducted by the Canadian accounting firm MNP. It included payroll data, industry interviews, and financial reports filed with the Film Office.

The report further casts doubt on the idea that New Mexico’s generous film subsidy program will ever lead to a permanent, sustainable film industry presence in the Land of Enchantment.

  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released stats on use-of-force incidents for fiscal year 2015, claiming a reduction in incidents, yet falling short of providing stats on all officer-civilian interactions involving force.  Most conspicuously, CBP defines force narrowly to exclude incidents that are captured by the Department of Justice’s standards. Beyond CBP’s three, chosen categories—a physical restraint, the use of an alternative device or the application of lethal force—the stats fail to provide all incidents of use of force.

Nachison: Don't Dismantle Las Cruces City Government

Oct 13, 2015

  Thanks NAACP, for hosting a 2015 election forum, 10/6/15.   Where will we be 11/3/15?

One unusual matter of which I took note emerged among other verbiage.  Mr. Van Veen and Ms. Ortega raised the idea of a "more responsive city government.”  We all agree that this is always a reasonable goal in and of itself.  But, eliminating the City Manager form of government?  Amend the City Charter to something pre-1985?

Brown: Attorney-Client Privilege Prevents Release Of Some Information

Oct 13, 2015

  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.

D'Ammassa: The "Acorning" of Planned Parenthood is a Disgrace

Oct 13, 2015

  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

Oct 13, 2015

  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. 

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