Local Viewpoints

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Commentary:  The “investigation” of Sheriff Enrique Vigil was a sad joke, rivaled for silliness only by Vigil's lawsuit against two county commissioners.

Sparked by some now-departed county employee, the investigation accused Vigil of saying bad things about the County's HR Department and “contributing to a toxic environment for county employees.”

Viki Harrison, Common Cause New Mexico

 Commentary: In the wake of the guilty plea of former Secretary of State Dianna Duran to embezzling campaign contributions and intensive media coverage of discrepancies in legislators’ and lobbyists’ campaign finance reports, Common Cause New Mexico is calling upon the legislature to fix the campaign reporting system and create an independent ethics commission to prevent further scandals.

FACT SHEET: Congress Acts to Fix No Child Left Behind

Dec 3, 2015

 Commentary: Today, the Obama Administration is praising action by the House of Representatives to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan bill to fix No Child Left Behind, and is calling on the Senate to take swift action on the legislation so that it can be signed into law before the end of the year.

TPP and the Imperial Art of Diplomacy

Dec 3, 2015

  Commentary:  A reader named Bev in Las Cruces sent Desert Sage a lovely email asking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the highly controversial international treaty that was negotiated in complete secrecy and which President Obama is working hard to railroad through Congress. Bev suggested the TPP might be "a treaty that should lead to more opportunity for diplomacy rather than blasting away."


 Commentary: The “Islamic State” (IS) is very close to beating my country into submission, and I'm ashamed. 

We're a country of immigrants. We take pride in our “melting pot” where traditionally a poor, young immigrant could use diligence, imagination, and a bit of luck to succeed brilliantly. Even our oldest families came here within the past four or five centuries. Our movies often feature some statue in New York of a lady with a lantern, saying “Give me your tired, your poor.” 

 Commentary:  Republican anti-refugee propaganda?  Abominable.  God forbid, more Arabs and Islam here?

  Commentary:  Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist.           

Socialism has a mixed reputation in America, leading many to the conclusion Bernie would ruin us.  That's not true.  He's not proposing something new: we already have housing subsidies, food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, to name a few.  Bernie talks about a “democratic social revolution” through the ballot box, exactly the kind of change our Constitution provides for.

Nachison: Las Cruces Voters Rejected Outside Money

Nov 25, 2015

 Commentary: After Nov. 3’s Las Cruces election results, we can move on and not see outside money for a few months. No more nasty, degrading attempts by low-grade right-wing version of “gotcha” from GOALWestPAC, among others. We have seen what happens when proud folks forget reality and walk upright under kneeling snakes with false points. People are resting or sleeping, and at least one dog will get the loving attention that was overshadowed for something called an election.

Jennings: New Mexico Public Officials Prefer Secrecy

Nov 25, 2015
Trip Jennings-New Mexico In Depth

  Commentary: New Mexico In Depth has run into a wall of silence.

Secrecy, it seems, is an unfortunate byproduct of the way New Mexico pays for hundreds of local projects around the state each year.

Every legislative session, each of the 112 state lawmakers is allowed to allocate money for brick-and-mortar projects of their choosing.

But the public can’t view those lawmaker allocations unless the lawmakers give permission to a legislative agency to share that information.

See the problem here.

Report: Food Tax Could be Detrimental to Health of Low-income New Mexicans

Nov 24, 2015

  Commentary:  Reinstating a tax on the sale of food for consumption at home could harm the health of New Mexicans who are already food insecure—meaning they don’t always have enough to eat. And while the revenue generated from a tax on food could be used to mitigate some of the damage the tax would do, the report finds that it is unlikely governments would spend the new revenue toward that end.

Response To Terrorism Should Be Bravery, Not Oppression

Nov 24, 2015
Rep. Bill McCamley (D-New Mexico House District 33)

  COMMENTARY: Last week, a Virginia mayor used WWII Japanese-American concentration camps as an argument against taking Syrian refugees. Then Donald Trump said as president he would implement a database of all U.S. Muslims, regardless of their involvement in any crime.

  Commentary:   This week most of us will celebrate Thanksgiving, perhaps with the traditional turkey and mashed potatoes, and since we live in New Mexico there might also be tamales, capirotada, perhaps cranberries laced with local pecans.


The Coin of Discovery

Nov 24, 2015

 Commentary:  The year 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Einstein's field equations on the General Theory of Relativity. There are celebrations across the globe to mark this centennial event. Science is cooler these days than it has been for a while. Like Einstein, many bright and curious people don’t have complicated laboratories to work in. And, I believe there are many people who are like Einstein in another crucial way. Their questions don’t get answered by existing knowledge.

Heinrich: Damming Or Diverting The Gila River Is Not A Water Resources Solution

Nov 23, 2015
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, made the following statement today after the U.S. Department of the Interior signed an agreement with the New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity (CAP Entity) that initiates a process to thoroughly evaluate the full range of proposed water management alternatives for the upper region of the Gila River and examine their impacts and costs. 

Pearce Applauds Next Step In Gila Diversion Review

Nov 23, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Commentary– U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued this statement following the Department of the Interior’s approval of the New Mexico Central Arizona Project (CAP) Unit.

“Today is a great day for Grant, Luna, and Hildago counties.  I want to congratulate the New Mexico Entity and the Interstate Stream Commission for all their fine efforts that preceded today’s approval.   Without their collaboration and negotiation this Agreement would not be possible.”


  Commentary:  Audubon New Mexico released the following statement in response to the news that Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water & Science Jennifer Gimbel today signed an agreement with the New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity that initiates a process to thoroughly evaluate the full range of proposed water management alternatives for the upper region of the Gila River and examine their impacts and costs. 

Catholic Bishops Of New Mexico Issue Statement On Refugees

Nov 23, 2015

  Commentary:The Catholic Bishops of New Mexico call all residents of New Mexico to pray for refugees fleeing their war torn homes and communities. Our Lord, in a special way, holds the most vulnerable close to his heart and, in this time of tragic loss of innocent life, we too should hold the people of Syria and Iraq close to our hearts.


  Commentary:  Tuesday the Doña Ana County Commission will discuss its sole employee, County Manager Julia Brown. Following a closed-door discussion, the Commission will vote on whether or not to extend her contract, by how long, and under what conditions.

Like the Commissioners, but with less firsthand knowledge, I thought Ms. Brown was a very promising hire. Like the Commissioners, but with less firsthand knowledge, I've been somewhat disappointed. 

Tis the Season, a New Mexico Money-in-Politics Reform Wish List

Nov 21, 2015

  Commentary:  New Mexico’s campaign finance system is broken, and KOB is just the latest in a seriesof media 

New Mexicans Need Accurate Information about REAL ID

Nov 20, 2015
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

Commentary:  Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29-Valencia, Bernalillo) has expressed deep concerns to several federal officials about misinformation given to the public about the impact of REAL ID.  In an attempt to clarify the misrepresentations that have been “reported” regarding driver’s licenses, a top official from Department of Homeland Security sent a letter to the Albuquerque Journal.

New Mexico Lawsuit Challenges Texas Physician Immunity

Nov 20, 2015

Commentary:  Is a Texas physician subject to out-of-state medical liability laws if his patient files a negligence lawsuit in the patient’s home state? Which state’s medical liability law should apply — the state where the care took place, or the state where the patient lives?

State Senator José Rodríguez

 Commentary:   State Sen. José Rodríguez announced his opposition to a proposal by El Paso Electric (EPE) that would create a new fee for customers who have solar panels installed on their homes as well as increase their rates by 24 percent. He urged the El Paso City Council to reject the proposal. 

Restoring Power To The People

Nov 20, 2015
Steve Fischmann

  Commentary: What do New Mexicans want?  

A fair minimum wage, gun sale regulations that keep weapons out of dangerous hands, interest caps that end rampant 400% loan rip offs, campaign finance reform, and term limits. The poll numbers are overwhelming.

What are New Mexico's house leaders pushing for 2016?

Curfews and longer prison sentences.  So much for the land of the free.

Some legislators will do just about anything to brush aside the public's wishes.

A Return To Capitalism That Works For All

Nov 20, 2015

"A growing body of research suggests that the vast amounts spent on repurchasing their own stock is a chief cause of the stagnation of American wages and investment and could be a potential source of long-term national decline."  Senator Tammy Baldwin

Betty Patterson-President, NEA New Mexico

  Commentary:  The New Mexico State Game Commission approved an easement agreement between the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the New Mexico State Land Office for hunting access on State Trust Lands. The easement is for next year’s hunting season, and the Game Department will pay $1 million for access. The previous easement was only $200,000, which equates to just two cents per acre. The additional $800,000 will benefit New Mexico’s public education – which is the primary beneficiary, receiving approximately 95% of the money collected by the Land Office.

  Commentary:   Federal officials warn that if New Mexico does not take steps to implement a system to create a REAL ID-compliant ID option for New Mexicans, state licenses may not be accepted to board airplanes or to enter some high-security federal facilities starting in 2016.


Governor Martinez insists that she’ll only support one fix to our license problem: repeal our current laws and replace them with a REAL ID license for everyone.


Seeding Economic Development In The Grassroots

Nov 20, 2015
NM USDA Rural Development Director Terry Brunner

 Commentary:  During the last seven years, we’ve heard from a veritable plethora of experts as to how best help New Mexico recover from the recession.  Economic experts and economic development professionals have their place but don’t necessarily have a monopoly on ideas.  New Mexicans like you and your neighbors deserve an opportunity to have your say as well.


Commentary—New Mexicans ended civil forfeiture this summer, or so they thought. Despite passing landmark legislation outlawing the use of civil forfeiture statewide, cities across the state are ignoring the law and continue to seize and keep individual's property without convicting them of a crime. Now, a lawsuit filed today by a bipartisan pair of New Mexico State Senators seeks to shut down the city’s illegal civil forfeiture program once and for all.


Syrian Refugees Need America To Live Up To Its Promise

Nov 17, 2015
Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales

Commentary:  Here in Santa Fe, a city of immigrants, in New Mexico, a state of immigrants, and in America, a nation of immigrants, all of whom came here originally seeking refuge and liberty, it has been heartbreaking to watch governor after governor refuse to come to the aid of a world in cris

Udall: Let's Take A Balanced Approach On Syrian Refugees

Nov 17, 2015
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

  Commentary:  U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement on the U.S. policy toward refugees fleeing violence in Syria: