Local Viewpoints

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New Mexico Court: Students Can't Be Barred Because Of Faith

Oct 28, 2014

   Students can’t be barred from receiving generally-available educational benefits just because their schools are religiously affiliated, according to a ruling issued Tuesday by the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

  The nonpartisan Tax Foundation today released its 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index, and the annual report ranked New Mexico just 35th best in the nation. But the state director for New Mexico’s largest small-business association said neighboring states are pointing the way up.

The Definition Of Insanity-New Mexico Edition

Oct 28, 2014
Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

  They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This link is to a spreadsheet illustrating political control of New Mexico's Legislature over the past 80+ years (since 1931). In summary, Democrats have controlled the House and Senate for a combined total of 160 years between the two bodies with Republicans having controlled one body or the other for a total of 6 years.

Groups File Lawsuit Over New Mexico Food Stamp Requirements

Oct 27, 2014

  In issuing strict new requirements of low-income New Mexicans who are seeking food assistance, Sidonie Squire, the Secretary of the Human Services Department, failed to follow legal requirements herself. Her failure impeded the public from learning about the new restrictions and from having the opportunity to participate in the rule making as afforded by law.

  LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Today the Las Cruces City Council will hold a work session to discuss “amendments” to the new law to improve wages to $10.10 by 2017 for 18,000 hardworking breadwinners in Las Cruces.  The new minimum wage ordinance, Ordinance #2726, is the only item on the agenda.  Public participation will not be allowed.  This discussion between the City Council, Mayor Miyagishima, and the Administration will lead to their last act in this historic citizen’s ballot initiative signed by over 6,000 Las Cruces voters.  


GO Bond C: Our Region's Future

Oct 26, 2014

  This fall, voters in our region will go to the polls to cast their ballots for everything from who will be our governor to who will represent our community in the state Legislature.  One of the most important questions facing our community this year will be the statewide higher education bond referendum -- General Obligation Bond C.

League Of Women Voters: Support GRT Increase For Transportation

Oct 26, 2014

  It is difficult to convince people who own cars, often one for each driver in the family, to tax themselves to provide public transportation for their friends and neighbors who cannot afford the convenience of private cars. But that is what the County Regional Transit Gross Receipts Tax Question is asking us to do.


            Ever watch a young child?   

   Other than getting fed, their defining characteristic is curiosity.  They're driven to learn as much as possible about everything around them.  That's how you survive, if you're a lion cub or a quail chick. 

   Curiosity is a natural passion.   It cools as we start feeling somewhat comfortable on Earth, but it persists.  If pressure from parents and schools doesn't kill it, it can last a lifetime. 

   Unfortunately, schools often kill curiosity. 


  Painstakingly, following the City Charter's requirements, CAFE and volunteers gathered thousands of valid signatures on a petition to increase the minimum wage.  The Charter gave the council only two choices: enact the ordinance as it stands or reject it and let the citizenry vote. 

In September, acknowledging that a popular vote would favor the ordinance, a 4-3 City Council majority enacted the ordinance immediately.

Heinrich Pushes For National Minimum Wage Increase In Las Cruces

Oct 16, 2014

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) visited the Mountain View Market in Las Cruces Thursday to talk about the importance of raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 for all workers.

  Thousands of educators, school staff, parents, and community members are expected to vote throughout the state on October 22 as part of The National Education Association – New Mexico’s Educators Vote Early campaign.

NEA-New Mexico represents educators and school staff in 30 counties and 69 local school districts. NEA-New Mexico has called on local Associations to create public awareness events that gather voters together before traveling as a group to early voting locations.

Report: New Mexico Per-Pupil K-12 Spending Still Lower Than Before Recession

Oct 16, 2014

  ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico is still spending 8 percent less per pupil on K-12 education than before the recession. That translates to $633 less being spent per student than funding levels in 2008, when adjusted for inflation. That’s according to a report released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a non-partisan policy research organization based in Washington, D.C.

  LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Billboards located off Alameda and Amador, Highway 70 East, and on Missouri near Telshor are increasing awareness about the new law raising minimum wage in Las Cruces to $10.10 by 2017.  The billboards ask members of the Las Cruces community to call the Mayor and City Council at (575) 541-2067 to thank them for the raise and also to ask them to keep the raise to $10.10.   



  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) toured OptiSource, a photonics manufacturing facility in Albuquerque, to discuss its latest projects and how research and development can help spur innovation and job creation.

Optisource, a local photonics business, manufacturers wave plates, mirrors, prisms, and laser beamsplitters for purchase by industry and research and development groups at universities and laboratories. 

State Senator Bill Soules

  Senator William Soules (D-37-Dona Ana) has been selected to receive the 2014 New Mexico Library Association’s Legislator of the Year Award for demonstrating “leadership in the advancement of libraries throughout the state…especially for his efforts on behalf of the public schools and libraries in his area.”

Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  LAS CRUCES, N.M. – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) will visit the Mountainview Market in Las Cruces on Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. to talk about the growing income inequality in America and the importance of raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 for all workers.


“Tackling income inequality will strengthen New Mexico families,” said Sen. Heinrich. “I’m glad to see Las Cruces taking the initiative on raising the minimum wage. It’s time to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for all workers across the country.”


I want to revisit the issue of adequate legal counsel for indigent defendants.  Folks accused of crimes who can't pay for a competent defense.  (See “NM Must Provide Indigents a Fair Defense” from 4 May 2014.)

   As I mentioned in the earlier column, defense lawyer Gary Mitchell filed in several cases a motion asking the judge either to order New Mexico either to fund a competent defense, as mandated by U.S. and State Constitutions, or to dismiss the case.  Put up or shut up.

Rodríguez: Voter ID Decision Restores Texans' Rights

Oct 10, 2014

  Senator José Rodríguez released the following statement on Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos' ruling that found the Texas Voter ID law “creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose”:

Keller Urges Support For Constitutional Amendment

Oct 9, 2014
New Mexico State Auditor Timothy Keller (D)

  Senate Majority Whip Tim Keller (D-17-Bernalillo) is encouraging the public to pay close attention to the constitutional amendments on the voting ballot. In the most recent legislative session he co-sponsored, with Representative Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-16-Bernalillo), Constitutional Amendment 5. If the amendment is approved, it is estimated to potentially add $100 million in new annual revenues to the state permanent fund. The state permanent funds distribute dollars for the state budget, largely appropriated to the education system each year.

King Campaign: Our Economic Plan For New Mexico

Oct 9, 2014

  New Mexico Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Gary King Thursday unveiled his plan to bring the state out of the economic black hole that his opponent helped to create.

“Stimulating economic growth and creating environmentally clean,

well paying jobs for our families and the next generation is something

An Open Letter To Governor Martinez And Attorney General King

Oct 8, 2014

  To Gov. Susana Martinez and Attorney General Gary King:

I’ll be blunt: the 2014 campaign for governor feels like canned reality TV.

Attorney general, what does the state of Governor Martinez’s heart, Latino or otherwise, have to do with your vision for New Mexico?

Martinez Announces 300 New Jobs In Albuquerque Over The Next Few Years

Oct 7, 2014
Office of the Governor

  Today Governor Susana Martinez welcomed California-based food producer Flagship Food Group to Albuquerque as they expand to New Mexico. New Mexico Economic Development Department (EDD) Cabinet Secretary Jon Barela, Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry, Bernalillo County, Albuquerque Economic Development, and company representatives joined Governor Martinez for the announcement.


  Anyone tired of sound-bite politics and candidates who avoid the issues can always find alternatives?  Reading the newspaper and searching for information on the web- candidate profiles, issues, stories and other election news- are always ways to educate yourself before voting.  For people who want to see and judge the candidates in person, there are also the all-important candidate forums.

  My new heroes – heroines, rather – are two high school girls who were sitting in a pizza place on Lohman, saw the folks protesting the not-yet-opened women's health clinic, and quickly made pro-choice signs and stood outside for hours countering the protest.

   The women's health clinic should be welcomed.  I'd defend to the death the rights of those who protest it; but I disagree. 

  Rocky Lara’s campaign released the following statement in response to Congressman Pearce’s latest misleading attack ad.

Pearce Reacts To Jobs Report

Oct 4, 2014
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement regarding the monthly Jobs Report released by the Department of Labor.

On September 8th of this year, Las Cruces joined 13 states, the District of Columbia, and became the 6th  municipality to vote for a raise that over time will improve the lives of millions nationwide.  We celebrate Mayor Ken Miyagishima and the City Council’s vote giving hardworking individuals and families in Las Cruces a raise to $10.10 by 2017, including increased tipped wages.  We applaud their commitment to an economic strategy that works for our local economy.  Council’s action will help lift 18,000 workers and their families in Las Cruces out of poverty, giving them a fighting chance

The National Education Association – New Mexico has filed a lawsuit charging that Governor Martinez, State Education Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera, and the Public Education Department have overstepped their authority in implementing a statewide teacher evaluation process in violation of existing state law.

The suit asks the state courts to declare the state-imposed evaluation system unlawful and to enjoin the New Mexico Public Education Department from implementing their system.

Weh: I Am Committed To Serve New Mexico

Sep 29, 2014
Allen Weh (R) U.S. Senate candidate


  I made a personally impactful decision earlier this year when I announced my candidacy for New Mexico’s U.S. Senate seat up for election this year.

I decided to run for several reasons. But first and foremost, I want to take my life’s experiences as a businessman, Marine, husband and father to Washington to help break the gridlock and get this wonderful country back on track again.