Local Viewpoints

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The Gamblers

May 31, 2016

Commentary:  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Got it! Yet, we live in one town, one house, and are supposed to keep faith with one spouse. I have two bird nests at my house. One belongs to a pair of sparrows. They built their outpost on top of one of my back patio Bose outdoor speakers. The other is a pair of Pyrrhuloxia, or desert Cardinals. They built a nest on my large, expensive front entry light fixture. These birds, and all their relatives, have been continuously occupying these two nests for eight years.

Commentary:  I like and respect Bishop Oscar Cantú, but his recent column on end-of-life laws deserves a strong response.

Any religious group may view this issue as it chooses; but none has the right to dictate to me whether I can end my life if an incurable disease is causing me deep pain or discomfort the doctors cannot relieve.

It's my body. You may believe that yours belongs to God. Fine. Mine belongs to me and my wife. If it imprisons me in a world of pain, incurable by medical science, I should be allowed to leave it if I so desire. 


New Mexico Democratic Chair Debra Haaland

  Commentary:  The Democratic Party of New Mexico (DPNM) commented on new developments in Governor Martinez’s administration’s conduct in food assistance application process. According to the Center on Law and Poverty, in the past three years the Human Services Department made falsifying food assistance applications part of the institution's common practice, and used intimidation to ensure employees followed directives from superiors.

Pearce Fights Federal Endangered Species Act Protections That Limit Water Rights

May 27, 2016
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

  Commentary:  Congressman Steve Pearce, State Representatives Yvette Herrell (R-Otero), James Townsend (R-Chaves, Eddy & Otero), and, Dona Irwin (D-Grant, Hidalgo, and Luna), along with Caren Cowan, Executive Director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, released a joint statement following a press conference the Congressman held discussing the recent actions taken by federal agencies to limit access to water rights:

Hancock Responds To Allegations Regarding Budget Passage

May 27, 2016
Doña Ana County Commissioner Wayne Hancock


 Commentary: My colleague, District 3 Doña Ana County Commissioner Benjamin L. Rawson, has recently taken to Facebook alleging that Doña Ana County Manager Julia T. Brown and I somehow secretly conspired to pass a preliminary budget without public input or institutional transparency. It’s a lie, and he knows it.

Heinrich: Halt French Auction of Sacred Native American Artifacts

May 26, 2016
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  Commentary:  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is urging the U.S. State Department to take all possible action to help repatriate stolen cultural items to Native American tribes. In the United States, it is illegal to sell ceremonial Native American items. However, in France, where an auction of the items is planned for May 30, 2016, it is not. 

Heinrich Raises Concerns Over Expanding Warrantless Government Surveillance

May 26, 2016


   Commentary: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, raised concerns over a provision in the 2017 Intelligence Authorization Act that seeks a massive expansion of government surveillance into Americans' email, and possibly their browser history and social media communications through the use of a National Security Letter. Senator Heinrich issued the following statement:

Nachison: It's Time To Vote

May 26, 2016

Commentary:  It's been invigorating and exhausting to watch this primary season. There have been so many words at all levels, forums locally and us’ watching those supported by the sheriff in action.  Primaries are ending. There is noise and violence at national levels; so far, just noise locally.  Voter turnout key for our June primary - and in November.  Will we have the most apathetic voters in our history - at all levels -or not? 

Gov. Scott Walker / twitter.com-@govwalker

  Commentary: Republican Governors Association Vice Chair Governor Scott Walker released the following statement tonight regarding Governor Susana Martinez’s strong conservative record: 


  Commentary:  After Donald Trump criticized Governor Martinez for the poor job she's doing, during his rally in Albuquerque, the Democratic Party of New Mexico (DPNM) released the following statement.

Governor Martinez did not attend the Trump rally in Albuquerque, mentioning she was too busy. Governor Martinez was not too busy however, to attend events stumping for Marco Rubio in Florida, supporting Republicans in Nebraska and Missouri, or to attend a GOP Gala in New York City in the last few months.

New Mexico Begins Healing After Hateful, Divisive Trump Rally

May 25, 2016
southwest organizing project

  Commentary:  Over the last year we’ve all heard Donald Trump’s hateful, divisive and often violent speech aimed at much more than half of the population as he campaigns to be president. We’ve also seen a rise in racism, xenophobia and misogyny from a small but significant segment of Donald Trump supporters, in what many have called a resurgence of white nationalism.

Last week Donald Trump announced that he would bring his violent hate speech to New Mexico, a state with the largest per capita concentration of Chicano, Latino, Immigrant, and Native people in the country.

Why We Should Discuss Religion and Politics (and How)

May 24, 2016

  Commentary: The presidential candidates have located New Mexico on their campaign maps. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders led the way with Bill Clinton (on behalf of Hillary Clinton) and Republican Donald Trump close behind. We are now in the season where more people are paying attention to the presidential campaigns. This year in particular, that must feel like walking in towards the end of a horror movie.

facebook.com (donald trump)

Commentary:  At a press conference in Albuquerque Civic Plaza today, Democrats addressed Donald Trump’s planned rally in Albuquerque—the message was loud and clear Trump’s racist rhetoric and divisive policies are not welcome in New Mexico. Speakers at the press conference outlined the many reasons why Trump’s rhetoric is out of step with New Mexico values.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, announced last week that he would hold a rally in Albuquerque. 

Legal Protest Challenges Fossil Fuels Auction on 13,800 Acres in New Mexico

May 23, 2016

 Commentary: Conservation groups filed a formal administrative protest late Friday against a Bureau of Land Management plan to auction off more than 13,800 acres (21 square miles) of publicly owned fossil fuels near Carlsbad in southeast New Mexico.

James Dickens via lc-poa.com

 Commentary: In 2012, Democrat Mark D'Antonio beat District Attorney Amy Orlando, Susana Martinez's protegé. 

Martinez/Orlando mandated a scorched-earth policy: get rid of paperwork that might help D'Antonio and his people get oriented. D'Antonio invited everyone to reapply and hired all but one of those who did so; but Martinez people viewed staying as “disloyal.” Most top staff left. 

Sanders Campaign: Bernie Is Best To Take On Trump

May 21, 2016

  Commentary:  SANTA FE, N.M. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday told a community college rally that he is much more likely than Hillary Clinton to defeat Republican White House hopeful Donald Trump.

“Hillary Clinton is not the Democratic candidate most likely to defeat Donald Trump. Our campaign is the campaign …,” Sanders said as cheers drowned him out.

Martinez And Republican Governors Slam Plan To Expand Overtime Eligibility

May 20, 2016
Office of the Governor

  Commentary:  In response to this week’s announcement that the Department of Labor published its final rule regarding overtime exemption regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Republican governors slammed the Obama administration for pushing this job-killing rule that circumvents the states, raises costs, decreases jobs, and hurts small businesses:

facebook.com (donald trump)

  Commentary:  Today, the Democratic Party of New Mexico released the following statement after presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump announced a rally in Albuquerque.

  Commentary:  Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) met with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

DC Can't Stop Honoring Legacy of a War Criminal

May 19, 2016

  Commentary:  Last week, this column posed a question: have we lost our conscience over war crimes? As that column went to press, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter answered on behalf of the Obama Administration by presenting the Department of Defense's Distinguished Public Service Award to Henry Kissinger, the 92-year old former Secretary of State.

Graduates Should Consider New Mexico in their Future Plans

May 19, 2016
USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner

  Commentary:  It is the season for New Mexico college graduations.  Graduates across our state will hear commencement speeches inspiring them to pursue their dreams, find a great job and put their new degrees to good use.  Too often graduates will imagine that achieving their dreams is only possible if they move to Austin, Phoenix or Denver.  To secure a better future for our state, we must change that perception. 

Accidental Criminals: Why New Mexico Needs Mens Rea (criminal intent) Reform

May 19, 2016
Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

Commentary:  New Mexico could make significant improvements to its criminal justice system by embracing a common-law principle called mens rea.

For The First Time, Doña Ana County Voters May Cast Ballots On Memorial Day

May 19, 2016

 Commentary: For the first time, this year the Bureau of Elections will open our doors and offer you a chance to vote on Memorial Day.

Exercising our right to vote demonstrates our gratitude for those who fought for our freedom, some making the ultimate sacrifice with their life. The act of voting may seem like a small act, but it carries incredible weight and power.  

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva

Commentary:  Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement after Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Thomas Perez and President Obama announced the publication of the final rule to raise the overtime threshold to $47,476. The previous threshold was $23,660. According to DOL, the new rule makes 4.2 million more American workers eligible for overtime pay.


  Commentary:  Nine civics, history, and social studies teachers went to Washington today. They demanded that Senators do their job and provide a hearing and vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to the Supreme Court, Chief Judge Merrick Garland. They joined a White House roundtable discussion with senior Obama administration officials to discuss the confirmation process and how educators teach their students about the Supreme Court and its role in our national government.

Commentary:  CEO pay for major companies in New Mexico continues to soar as income inequality and outsourcing of good-paying American jobs increases. Outsourcing has become a hot presidential election topic with candidates calling out corporations who say they need to save money by sending jobs overseas.

Ortiz y Pino Calls for New Mexico HSD Secretary’s Resignation

May 18, 2016
Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino

  Commentary:  The chair of the legislative interim Health and Human Services Committee (LHHSC), New Mexico State Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-12th – Bernalillo) today called on Secretary of Human Services Department (HSD) Brent Earnest to resign from his appointed position.  This is in response to his agency’s failure to come clean on the scandal in which Martinez administration officials refused to answer questions under oath in federal court about whether they were directed to falsify food stamp applications in order to deny help to children, families and seniors.

Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins

  Commentary:  Thanks to funding by the Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office and the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office, voter information statewide is now exponentially more secure than ever before.

   Employees of county clerks’ offices in each of New Mexico’s 33 counties now require formal access permissions to view sensitive voter information – including dates of birth and Social Security numbers – from the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website.

A Real Dilemma For The GOP

May 17, 2016

 Commentary: The dilemma the Republicans find themselves in reminds me of  a children's story by Hans Christian Anderson, The Emperor's New Clothes.  In the story, the Emperor is so obsessed with buying himself the finest garments that the kingdom begins to suffer.  He ignores the laments of his people and falls prey to two hucksters who profess to offer him the most magnificent clothing ever created.     

Heinrich, Gardner Celebrate U.S. Reaching One Million Solar Installations

May 16, 2016