Local Viewpoints

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  Commentary:  Gun violence has taken a heartbreaking toll on too many communities across the country.  Over the past decade in America, more than 100,000 people have been killed as a result of gun violence—and millions more have been the victim of assaults, robberies, and other crimes involving a gun.  Many of these crimes were committed by people who never should have been able to purchase a gun in the first place.  Over the same period, hundreds of thousands of other people in our communities committed suicide with a gun and nearly half a million people suffered other gu

http://www.westernwatersheds.org/about/

  Commentary:  Western Watersheds Project is disappointed that the government’s acquiescence to ongoing law-breaking on public lands across the West has led to the armed occupation of one of America’s premier bird sanctuaries. This weekend’s militia takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is another battle in the “War on the West” that extractive industries have been waging for 150 years.
 

Senator Mary Kay Papen (D)

Commentary:   Today, Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen (D-38-Doña Ana), Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29-Bernalillo & Valencia) and House Minority Leader Brian Egolf (D-47-Santa Fe) sent a letter to Governor Susana  Martinez and Speaker Don L. Tripp urging them to join Democratic legislative leaders in requesting an extension of the deadline for REAL ID enforcement from the Department of Homeland Security.

O’ Connell: Capitalism Not Working for Majority

Jan 4, 2016
imagebase.net

 Commentary: Every first year student in Economics learns that Market Economics (Capitalism) has certain conditions that should be met if this system of exchanging goods and services will fairly distribute economic benefits to a  majority of people and businesses functioning in a given society. These conditions were 1starticulated by Adam Smith (considered the Father of Capitalism) back in the 18th Century.

Senator Jacob Candelaria (D-26-Bernalillo)

  Commentary: Senator Jacob Candelaria (D-26-Bernalillo) pre-filed a bill to create the Brittany AlertSimilar to the Amber Alert, the Brittany Alert creates a notification system for law enforcement when an individual with severe physical, mental or developmental disabilities goes missing.

Goodman: New Year's Resolutions

Jan 3, 2016
peter goodman

  Commentary:   It sounds foolish and old-fashioned to make “New Year's Resolutions,” so here goes:

One is to keep writing columns. (Three columnists quit writing columns this year. I'll miss their voices.) Yesterday I heard an old phone-message from a lifelong Cruces resident I've never met, just thanking me. There are people who told me confidentially of being treated badly by powerful people. After investigating I gave voice to their pain and sometimes even improve their situations. So I'll keep doing this awhile. 

   Commentary:  Rainwater harvesting, green infrastructure, and low-impact development were the focus of a two-day workshop put on recently by the City of Las Cruces, Stream Dynamics (SD), Watershed Management Group (WMG), and the New Mexico Environment Department.

Attendees came from as far away as Santa Fe and Tucson.  Many of those attending work for the City.  Also represented were Doña Ana County, NMSU, UTEP, and NMDOT. Tucked in among the dozens of engineers, planners, architects, designers, and developers were also a few regular folks like me.

  Commentary:  The second session of New Mexico's 52nd legislature will begin on January 19, and our elected rascals have quite a bit of work to do. 

Commentary: Santa Fe cops went to break up a loud party in a hotel room, then chickened out upon learning that one reveler was Governor Susana Martinez.

Doesn't bother me that the Governor got caught drinking. Does bother me that she threw her weight around, wasted the 911 operator's time, and showed her vindictive side – then gave us a damage-control “apology” containing bald-faced lies.

New Mexico Senate Democrats Press For Solution On REAL ID

Dec 24, 2015
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

 Commentary: Responding to a letter sent by most members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation to Governor Susana Martinez, the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Michael S.

Discuss Guns Without Rancor

Dec 24, 2015

  Commentary:  Man’s inhumanity to his fellow man grows.  Is a father screaming at his son just a beginning?  What level of inhumanity is defined by massacring 20 little angels at Sandy Hook - pure evil?   Does all such outrage stem from the loss of understanding of the value and dignity of life?  Who can truthfully and scientifically report on the reasons for this loss of life?  Some say that it’s mental illness in part due to the occurrence of film violence and video games played by our young men.

Santa Couldn't Manage Without The Post Office

Dec 23, 2015

 Commentary: A curious letter arrived in Desert Sage's mailbox this week. It was in a red and green envelope addressed in tiny calligraphic script. The postmark read, "North Pole."

"Dear Sage," the letter reads, "This is written in great haste during a very busy time of year. You wrote to ask whether the elves have a labor union. I don't delve into politics much but will put it this way: Santa's workshop is not an enterprise, I am not a boss, and the elves are not employees.

Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

Commentary – Statement of Senator Michael S.

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

  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.) 

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