Local Viewpoints

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PNM Tries to Sneak Palo Verde 2 Into Rate-Base

Apr 1, 2016
pnm.com

Commentary:  PNM’s wholesale customers have been leaving PNM in order to take advantage of the lower rates they can obtain elsewhere while at the same time increasing shares of their power that come from clean, renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar.  In the past year alone:  Gallop, Aztec and Navopache Electric Cooperative have all announced departure from PNM.

Senator Howie Morales

  Commentary:  Senator Howie Morales (D-28-Catron, Grant & Socorro) has called on the New Mexico Attorney General to clarify whether parents legally may opt out their children from taking the controversial state-wide PARCC exam.  A growing number of parents have expressed concern about the intensity and amount of standardized testing-taking required of students in New Mexico’s public schools.  Sen. Morales sent a letter to Attorney General Hector Balderas requesting a formal legal opinion on the question before the PARCC exam is administered, starting shortly.

Papen: Another Blow To Health Care In New Mexico

Apr 1, 2016
Senator Mary Kay Papen (D)

  Commentary: I am concerned that the overnight dissolution of the board of directors of the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (HSC) by the University of New Mexico (UNM) board of regents could jeopardize the long-term viability of the HSC as a leading national academic medical center.  The speed of this decision raises red flags and could affect the accreditation of both UNM and the HSC, since accrediting bodies require institutional autonomy to make decisions in the best interest of the institution and assure its integrity.

Group Seeks Injunction Against New Mexico Over Tax Dispute

Mar 31, 2016
Office of the Governor

  Commentary:  This week, MALDEF formally requested an injunction in state district court against the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department and Secretary Demesia Padilla (collectively, "TRD") to prevent them from continuing to unlawfully withhold millions of dollars from immigrant taxpayers who use federal Individual Tax Identification Numbers ("ITINs") to file their tax returns until two pending lawsuits, originally filed in February of 2015, are resolved.

http://nm.aft.org/

  American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly and Las Cruces Transportation Federation #6341 President Marcos Torres  released the following statement: 

 

“We are disappointed the Las Cruces Public Schools Board has chosen to intervene in this matter through the courts after STS-NM chose to discontinue negotiations on March 30. We will comply with the temporary order issued today by a Las Cruces judge preventing a strike from occurring before an April 12 hearing. 

 

Nachison: Planned Parenthood Gets Stronger

Mar 30, 2016

  Commentary: There is lots of anti-Planned Parenthood (PP) propaganda in the air these days.  Reality differs.   Pandering to revised videos from a discredited organization known for severe editing, paste ups and false “news” is not funny, nor accurate.  State-by-state Republican defunding occurs.  Nothing new about that.  Why, as Jeb Bush even said in 2015 during his now failed campaign:“I’m not sure we need to spend $500 million on women’s health issues” (NPR).  Really?  Yes we do - and I am proud of Planned Parenthood.

supremecourt.gov

  NEA Commentary—The U.S. Supreme Court today delivered its decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, affirming that public employers have a compelling interest in having strong and effective collective bargaining. The 4-4 decision leaves intact the sound law of Abood v.

A Politics of Personalities Instead of Ideas

Mar 29, 2016

  Commentary:  Watching the interminable process of the presidential primaries unfold, region by region, week by week, I feel insulted on behalf of my neighbors who are earnest, voting members of the two major parties.

 

A Closed Mind Is A Narrow Road

Mar 29, 2016

Commentary:  In my first business class the professor said we would be learning about companies like General Motors, Boeing, Xerox and other large corporations than made up the U.S. industrial base. We were going to learn about large market trends like the oil and gas markets and we were going to learn how to understand how these markets impacted our country and the rest of the world. I was lost, first day of class. Great. I was studying at New Mexico State University. NMSU had seven thousand students at the time.

  Commentary:  In a decision filed Thursday, the New Mexico Court of Appeals held that committees appointed by public bodies must comply with the Open Meetings Act (OMA), and even when meetings are closed due to the attorney-client privilege, substantial OMA requirements still must be met.

Richard Kadzis

  Commentary: The Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce has a new CEO.

Debbi Moore is a veteran Chamber executive who previously ran the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber, so she is presumably well prepared -- someone with local knowledge and contacts.

She pointed out how, in Las Cruces, the Chamber has a four-star accreditation, along with great people involved in the Chamber and the community.

Those are positive fundamentals that Las Cruces can build on, but even Debbi Moore must know that the Chamber still faces many challenges, just like the community does in general.

Five Ways to Advance New Mexico’s Economy

Mar 23, 2016
USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner

  Commentary:  While the rest of the country is well on its way to recovery from the 2008 recession, New Mexico continues to limp along with less than 1% economic growth and rising unemployment. Moody’s Investors Services predicts New Mexico is on the downward spiral into another recession.

Heinrich Secures $10 Mil For Directed Energy Development In New Mexico

Mar 23, 2016
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich speaks at the Raytheon Ktech facility in Albuquerque, March 23, 2016

Commentary: Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced a $10 million investment in directed energy development in New Mexico. 

  Commentary:  Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe announced that the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge will receive $1 million in additional annual funding to engage urban communities and youth in conservation and outdoor recreation.

 Commentary: When Deming and Luna County learned who would be our local  candidates for June party primaries and the November election, one contest in particular raised eyebrows.

 

Luna County Commissioner Javier Diaz will relinquish his seat after his current term and both major parties are holding primaries to select candidates to replace him. The Republicans have a crowded field of five candidates, and one of them caught everybody's attention right away: Deming Mayor Benny Jasso.

 

  Commentary:  After a bumpy start by his open government division, Attorney General Hector Balderas and his staff have issued almost three dozen opinion letters in the last three months in response to complaints about violations of the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA).

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Commentary:  Congressman Pearce issued the following statement after he introduced legislation that would prohibit using Federal funds to accept commercial flight plans to travel between the United States and Cuba:

Sanchez: Governor’s Vetoes Show Who She Doesn’t Stand For

Mar 20, 2016
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

Commentary:  Vetoes handed out by Governor Susana Martinez at the end of the 2016 Session of the Legislature were fewer than in years past, but they singled out the most vulnerable in our state for harsher treatment than ever before.  In previous years there might have been dozens of bills that fell under the Governor’s veto ax.  But this year we are talking about Native Americans in the poorest communities, small farmers in rural communities, the developmentally disabled, non-English speakers, and students from low and middle income families who were the target.

Bill Introduced To Prevent Suspension Of Medicaid Services Without Thorough Investigation

Mar 18, 2016
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  Commentary:  U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Reps.

http://www.nmlegis.gov

  Commentary:  Senate Majority Whip, Senator Michael Padilla (D-14 – Bernalillo) today criticized the veto of critical funding for repairs and improvements to 25 acequias across the state by Governor Susana Martinez.  Using her line-item veto authority, Martinez stripped almost $1,000,000 in total from acequia projects that had been approved and passed by the Legislature during its recent 2016 meeting.  The funds for the acequia projects were a portion of the Legislature’s annual capital outlay infrastructure spending package that was sent to the Governor.

U.S. Senate Paying for Programs with Magical Thinking

Mar 16, 2016

 Commentary: The United States Senate has accomplished something!  Sort of. 

The Republican-controlled Senate would like credit for passing a bill addressing heroin and opioid addiction in the United States. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) passed on an impressive 94-1 vote. Among its co-sponsors was our own Senator Martin Heinrich.

Twitter.com/NEAMedia

  Commentary: President Barack Obama fulfilled his constitutional duty to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court today, nominating Merrick Garland. Garland is the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a court whose importance is only surpassed by the Supreme Court itself. The National Education Association is urging the U.S. Senate to do its job by considering the president’s nominee, and hold a hearing and a vote on Chief Judge Garland.

 

Let’s appreciate what farmers, ranchers put on our plates – and into our communities

Mar 13, 2016
Jeff M. Witte-New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture

Commentary:  Milk, beef, chile, pecans…Cheese, lettuce, spinach, grapes…Alfalfa, cotton, corn, onions and more -- what's not to get excited about as spring approaches?  Agriculture is alive and well in New Mexico, and the food and crops mentioned here are just a sample of the diverse culture of production that makes New Mexico special.

 

  Commentary:  Responding to reports that on Monday morning the University of New Mexico Board of Regents intends to dissolve and take over the authority of the board that oversees numerous New Mexico medical facilities that serve the public, Senate Democratic leaders today called for the Regents to stand down. 

 Commentary: What sense does any of this make?

Why should state legislators who oppose abortion because they contend that a fetus is already a full-human person, and will feel pain if a woman aborts a pregnancy, object to that woman being educated about and able to obtain contraceptives that would obviate the need for either an abortion or an unwanted pregnancy? Why do folks complaining that we spend too much to feed and clothe poor women's proliferating offspring oppose making sure those poor women understand and can afford contraceptives?

  Commentary:   After the New Mexico Political Report published a story today detailing a proposal by Gov. Martinez's appointees on the UNM Board of Regents to dissolve the UNM Health Sciences Center board, ProgressNow NM Managing Director Alex Curtas released this statement:

Pearce Demands Transparency and Accountability on Carlsbad Caverns Elevators

Mar 11, 2016
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Commentary:  Congressman Pearce issued the following statement after the National Park Service (NPS) announced plans to hold a town hall regarding Carlsbad Caverns broken elevators:

State Senator Bill Soules

   Commentary:  Following Governor Martinez’s veto of modest legislation to require the State to publish a simple report at the end of each year identifying how many New Mexicans with disabilities are waiting for services, advocates for the disabled today expressed disappointment and sharply criticized the decision.  Senate Bill 36 (SB 36), “Developmental Disabilities Annual Reporting”, was passed in both by the Senate and the House of Representatives without a single dissenting vote.  Despite the measure’s obvious and broad support for a vulnerable group of residents, and even though it in

Heinrich Says More Resources, Personnel Needed To Strengthen Border Security

Mar 11, 2016
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  Commentary:  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is calling for more resources to ramp up security along the border in the Bootheel region in southwest New Mexico.

Governor Martinez Again Vetoes Bill to Improve Court Interpreter Services

Mar 11, 2016
Senator Mimi Stewart (D-17-Bernalillo)

  Commentary:  For the second time in as many years, Governor Susana Martinez on Wednesday vetoed an uncontroversial measure to improve court interpreter services in New Mexico, putting into focus her past efforts as a District Attorney to keep Spanish-speakers from serving on juries.

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