Local Viewpoints

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Four Corners Power Plant. Photo courtesy of EcoFlight and San Juan Citizens Alliance

  ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Albuquerque, Farmington and statewide business organizations will hold a major press conference on Thursday to voice support for the PNM Plan for the San Juan Generating Station.  A closure of the plant would bring serious negative economic impact for New Mexico, including rate hikes and lost jobs.

Scheduled to appear at the press conference are ACI, the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry; AED, Albuquerque Economic Development; NAIOP, the commercial real estate development association; the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, and others.

SEN. JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ

  EL PASO – State Sen. José Rodríguez issued the following statement regarding the El Paso Children's Hospital bankruptcy filing announced today: 

Critics: Texas Legislature Approves Flawed Medical Marijuana Bill

May 18, 2015

  AUSTIN — The Texas State House approved a bill 96-34 on Monday intended to allow qualifying patients with intractable seizure conditions to access a marijuana extract containing high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, and only trace levels of THC. SB 339, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), is extremely unlikely to provide patients with relief because it requires doctors to engage in conduct that is prohibited by federal law. SB 339 previously passed the Senate on May 7. It now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott.

Pat Hynes: The Secret To A Boredom-Free Life In Las Cruces

May 18, 2015

  Dorothy Parker, a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, writer and member of the Editorial Board for the New Yorker, once wrote, the cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. This statement pretty much explains my approach to living in Las Cruces. 

There are multiple steps I am learning about why talking to interesting people from across the globe is scary work, yet when successful, rewarding. The steps involve research, persistence, ability to listen and absorb in real-time what is being said, then act.

Mexican Gray Wolf Supporters To Rally In Santa Fe Tuesday

May 18, 2015

  SANTA FE, N.M.— Wildlife supporters, including local activists from the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance,  Animal Protection of New Mexico and WildEarth Guardians, will rally tomorrow, Tuesday, at noon at the state capitol to ask Gov. Susana Martinez to allow Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch in Sierra County to continue housing Mexican gray wolves as part of the reintroduction of these endangered animals.

Thomas: Yes, We Need Progressives In Las Cruces...Here's Why

May 18, 2015

  Not long after I joined the city council, in 2008, one of my fellow councilors (who had been on the council for some time) took me aside and said, “There are certain people who run this community. I always do what they tell me to do.”  I was, of course, shocked, not only that this person would admit to being controlled by a few self appointed “leaders,” but that this person evidently expected me to do the same.

Goodman: Harvesting Our Precious Stormwater

May 17, 2015
imagebase.net

  Stormwater-harvesting expert Van Clothier, who spoke here a week ago, says things so just-plain-sensible that most of us (and most of our local leaders) – don't quite get 'em.

 

We live in a desert. We're in a drought that could last awhile. We need water.

 

Stormwater is water.

 

It falls on our roofs. If we have rain-barrels, or have prepared our land properly, we catch it and use it to grow vegetables, flowers, and trees. Trees help shade us and cool us; veggies feed us; and flowers lift our spirits.

 

  SILVER CITY, N.M.— Forty-six conservation organizations and wolf-breeding facilities, in 13 states as well as the nation’s capital, are imploring New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez to reverse the state’s Game Commission’s decision to deny Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch permission to continue housing endangered Mexican gray wolves.

Udall Calls On Congress To End Mass Telephone Surveillance, Reform Patriot Act

May 14, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  WASHINGTON – Today, during a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Tom Udall urged Congress to oppose a straight reauthorization of several expiring provisions of the Patriot Act and restore Americans' privacy rights by ending the government's dragnet collection of phone records.

What King v. Burwell Could Mean For New Mexicans

May 13, 2015

(Albuquerque, NM) – The health care law known as ObamaCare remains controversial, not just among the population at large, but among legal experts and in the courts. The latest decision relating to the health care law popularly known as “ObamaCare” was heard by the US Supreme Court in March of this year. The decision could impact the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars in Obamacare subsidies as well as taxes and mandates under the law.

Goodman: Two Inspiring Events

May 10, 2015

A week ago we attended two inspiring events at MVS Studios: a reading by Claudette Ortiz Franzoy from her new book and the annual benefit for J. Paul Taylor Academy.

 

Claudette is a fine writer and we love J. Paul.

 

Common Ground, is a collection of Claudette's Sun-News columns about life in the Hatch Valley. Claudette is the best columnist I've seen at the paper. The book reminds me why.

 

It's a very human, personal collection. She makes some perceptive observations, but always in the context of her village, her valley.

 

Heinrich, Udall Introduce Bill To Establish Wilderness Areas

May 7, 2015

Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) have introduced a bill to establish two wilderness areas, the Cerro del Yuta Wilderness and Rio San Antonio Wilderness, within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument northwest of Taos, New Mexico.

Heinrich Continues To Tackle Veterans Claims Backlog

May 6, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 6, 2015) - Today, U.S.

Heinrich: 10 Reasons Why The Republican Budget Is Wrong For N.M.

May 6, 2015

After U.S. Senate Republicans passed the joint budget resolution, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following 10 reasons why the Republican budget would hurt New Mexico's economy and weaken the middle class."This Republican budget is all wrong for New Mexico. It increases tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires while making cuts to programs that benefit average New Mexicans working hard to get ahead," said Sen. Heinrich.

New Mexico Workforce Participation Rate Remains Depressed

May 6, 2015

  New Mexico’s job market is finally showing signs of life in the wake of the “Great Recession."

New Mexico’s job situation remains far worse than it is in any of our neighboring states, but at least there is a pulse. Unfortunately, not much was done during the recent legislative session to set the stage for continued job and economic growth, so perhaps it was inevitable that New Mexico would see some job growth after years of the State economy being flat on its back.

Heinrich Urges Full Funding For Police Body Camera Program

May 5, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  With a Republican budget agreement that could cut funding by $24 million for a critical grant program that helps police departments utilize body cameras and other innovative technology, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined 17 senators in calling for full funding of the U.S. Department of Justice Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program. 

Lyft Bails On New Mexico...Who Is To Blame?

May 5, 2015

  In a story published yesterday, the ride-sharing company Lyft is leaving New Mexico citing “mounting legal pressure from local (New Mexico) regulators.” From the looks of Facebook comments that I found it was a mysterious “DWI lobby” that caused onerous regulations to be passed by the PRC thus forcing Lyft out of New Mexico.

  This week we have a chance to make a difference.

On Tuesday, May 5, we'll decide three contested seats on the Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District Board.

The what? 

Most folks learned about the DASWCD last year, when its board put on the ballot a measure calling for a tax increase to help fund the group. We learned that it spent much of its time passing resolutions against “Agenda 21” and against various measures to help protect wildlife. It opposed the new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Monument.

Albers: Thank You For Making Scrap Arts Music Performances A Success

May 2, 2015

  The Doña Ana Arts Council would like to thank all in our community who helped make the recent Scrap Arts Music performances in the Rio Grande Theatre so memorable.  The audiences loved the energy, humor and incredible creativity of these Canadian musicians who constructed percussion instruments out of recycled industrial materials.  Over 800 enthusiastic local students attended the school performances on April 20th. 

  Here we go again. I don't understand why the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring "New Leaders Grassroots Training" for right-wing political candidates on May 9. It is run by the tea party-connected American Majority, a far right-wing libertarian group. So if you are a moderate, nonpartisan, truly business-minded or liberal candidate you should not attend, right?

wildlife.state.nm.us

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich issued the following statements on the proposal for New Mexico to become an interim storage site for high-level nuclear waste:

A Big Step Forward for Health Care Transparency In New Mexico

Apr 29, 2015

  Courtesy of New Mexico In Depth:

One major reform to come out of the 2015 legislative session was a law that will dramatically increase the transparency of hospital prices and quality data.

Fischmann: Lawmakers Betray New Mexico On High-Cost Loans

Apr 29, 2015

  Storefront consumer lending barely existed when New Mexico eliminated interest rate caps back in the early 80's.  Most people went to banks or credit unions for loans and a relatively few desperate borrowers resorted to underworld lenders that charged annual interest rates around 200 percent.  

New Mexico Democrats Negotiating With Governor On Possible Special Sesssion

Apr 28, 2015
Senator John Arthur Smith (D-Dona Ana, Hidalgo, Sierra-35), Chair, Legislative Finance Committee

  Santa Fe, NM – Senate Democratic leaders, seeking to avoid a destructive showdown on capital outlay funds worth hundreds of millions of dollars for public projects across the state in 2015, are now in talks with officials from Governor Susana Martinez’s office and Senate Republicans.  As of Tuesday afternoon, negotiations among the parties were ongoing and expected to continue.  No compromise had been reached to enable capital funds to be spent next year, nor on whether a special session to resolve the issue would occur.

Natural Resources Defense Council: Act Now To Protect Our Water

Apr 28, 2015

  This week, the full House of Representatives will likely consider a bill attacking a years-long initiative to protect waterways that we use as sources of drinking water, swim in, fish from, and boat on. Sponsors of this bill (H.R. 1732) call it the "Regulatory Integrity Protection Act," but it is more appropriately dubbed the "R.I.P.

Rodríguez Pushes For Increased Funding For English-Language Learners

Apr 28, 2015
SEN. JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ

  AUSTIN – State Sen. José Rodríguez's SB 161, which would increase funding for programs that serve English Language Learner (ELL) students, was heard in the Senate Education Committee this morning.

ELL students in Texas typically have learned a language other than English in their home, and while the predominant language of ELL students is Spanish, multicultural Texas includes students in every corner of the state who grew up with any one of dozens of languages from all over the world.

Gessing: Walmart, We Hate You. Now, Please Come Back!

Apr 27, 2015
Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

  Liberals generally don’t care for Wal Mart. In fact, egged on by the left-wing Green “Chamber of Commerce,” the Las Cruces City Council recently rejected a proposal to rezone some land for a Wal-Mart.

Heinrich Opposes Trade Proposal

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

  Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following statement opposing “fast track” Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation that would expedite approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by revoking Congress’ authority to amend the deal:

Papen Calls On Martinez To Address New Mexico Mental Health Care Issues

Apr 27, 2015
Senator Mary Kay Papen (D)

  Santa Fe, NM –Senator Mary Kay Papen (D-38- Dona Ana), Pro Tem of the New Mexico Senate and the Legislature’s most important advocate for mental health policies, today expressed serious concerns over major problems in the State’s behavioral health system.  In a letter to the Martinez Administration directors who oversee behavioral health programs – the secretaries of the departments of Human Services, Health, and Children, Youth and Families – Sen.

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