Local Viewpoints

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The Political Connection To Our Commercial Space Industry

Mar 1, 2016

Commentary:  We have sympathy from our colleagues at Virgin Galactic. Last week I met with Virgin employees who were here from Mojave Air and Space Port. As the press reported, Virgin Galactic had an unveiling ceremony recently and released videos and photographs of Virgin SpaceShip the VSS Unity, which is being built by the Space Ship Company at Mojave Air and Space Port.

State Senator José Rodríguez

  Commentary:  El Paso - Senator José R. Rodríguez (D-El Paso) releases the following response to the El Paso City Council's vote today authorizing legal counsel to settle El Paso Electric's current rate case according to a settlement terms outlined by counsel:

I commend the City of El Paso for diligently advancing settlement terms in El Paso Electric's current rate case that are advantageous to all ratepayers. 

Report: New Mexico has Lowest Rate of Workers with Paid Sick Leave

Feb 29, 2016

  Commentary: Nearly 50 percent of workers in New Mexico do not receive paid sick leave benefits at their jobs. This means that these workers cannot stay home or see a doctor when they or a family member are ill without losing wages. This is just one of the many reasons that poverty is so persistent in New Mexico. That’s among the conclusions of the report “Valuing Families at Work: The Case for Paid Sick Leave” being released today by New Mexico Voices for Children.

Udall, Heinrich Welcome Trade Adjustment Assistance for Grant County Miners

Feb 29, 2016
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary:  U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced that the U.S. Department of Labor has approved Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers laid off from Freeport-McMoRan’s Tyrone copper mine. More than 200 employees lost their jobs when the mine reduced production last year, severely impacting the local economy. Trade Adjustment Assistance will help former employees transition to new jobs by providing career training, employment services and other support.

  Commentary:  New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence thanks Governor Martinez for signing HB336 into law. We also thank Representative Nate Gentry, Senator Ivey Soto and Senator Michael Sanchez for working together to get this important piece of legislation on the governor’s desk.

 

HB336 requires New Mexico Courts to report mental health records into the National Instant Criminal Background check System (NICS) and makes New Mexico eligible for federal grant money to help support NICS.

 

Helicopter To Be Raised At Vietnam War Memorial In Las Cruces

Feb 29, 2016
newmexicovietnamveteranswarmemorialproject.org

The Las Cruces Vietnam Veterans War Memorial is almost complete thanks to our community’s generous support.

The Memorial Committee invites veterans and the public to observe the lifting of the symbolic Vietnam Medivac Helicopter into it’s final resting place on top of the Vietnam War Memorial in the Las Cruces Veterans Park located on Runner Parkway.

The event will be held on Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 at 7 a.m. 

For more details, visit online at: NMVVMF.org. 

Information from: Vietnam War Memorial Committee. 

Commentary:  Help save us all money!

El Paso Electric (EPE) wants a humongous rate increase: initially $8.6 million, dropped to $6.4 million.

Recently, a hearing examiner's proposed decision (PD) recommended giving EPE about one-tenth of that, $640,000.

That was good. Credit intervenors, including U.S. Congressional candidate Merrie Lee Soules, One-Hour Air-Conditioning, and our City, County, and Attorney-General. 

But the PD, apparently a huge victory for customers, would actually be a devastating and expensive loss if allowed to stand! 

US Department of Homeland Security Grants NM Extension of REAL ID Compliance

Feb 26, 2016
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

  Commentary- Today, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has granted New Mexico an immediate extension of REAL ID compliance deadlines to allow the state to implement a law passed last week by the legislature.

Jennings: New Mexico Senators Like Ethics Status Quo

Feb 26, 2016
Trip Jennings-New Mexico In Depth

  Commentary:  New Mexicans, Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, wants you to file ethics complaints.

Suspect a state lawmaker is corrupt? No need for an independent state ethics commission. File a complaint -- a letter is all it takes -- with the Interim Legislative Ethics committee. Lopez thinks the current system works fine.

Pearce Approves Sportsmen's Bill

Feb 26, 2016
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

Commentary:  Congressman Steve Pearce issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE) Act:

Outdoor sporting contributed over $90 billion to the U.S. economy in 2011.  In addition to supporting New Mexican jobs, sporting also supports New Mexican hobbies.  Just recently, my granddaughter told me she would like to get her hunting license.  She spent almost six hours taking the tests and is now licensed. 

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan Endorses Hillary Clinton

Feb 26, 2016
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan

  Commentary:   As President of the United States, Hillary Clinton’s first priority will be the hardworking people in New Mexico and across the country, as she fights to keep us safe, expand opportunities for every child, and ensure that when the American people get ahead, they can stay ahead. Secretary Clinton is the best choice for President by far, and I am honored to endorse her.

Lawsuit Fights Special Interest Loopholes in Greater Sage-Grouse Plans

Feb 25, 2016
fws.gov

  Commentary:   Conservation groups today filed a lawsuit over more than a dozen greater sage- grouse plans produced by federal agencies that fail to protect this iconic western bird from a series of threats, including fossil fuel development, grazing and mining. The plans cover about 70 million acres of public lands in 10 states, administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

Commentary:  Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) today released the following statement on the Executive Order Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors:

An Economic Strategy For New Mexico

Feb 24, 2016
Alan Webber

  Commentary:  In his recent testimony in front of the Senate Finance Committee, Jim Peach, regents professor of economics at New Mexico State University, said, “New Mexico has a failed economic development strategy.”

He was being kind.

  Commentary:   "It's like you have a cancer and you don't do nothing about it, and then by the time you do something about it it's too late."

 

The words of Chief Albert Naquin are an apt metaphor for the west's response to climate change. They are not, however, a fair description of what is happening to his people, the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, who are leaving their homeland on the Isle de Jean Charles of Louisiana. What's happening to them is an extension of the Trail of Tears, of one long process of indigenous removal from the American continent.

Pearce Blasts Obama Administration’s Plan to Close Guantanamo

Feb 23, 2016
Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  Commentary:   Congressman Steve Pearce issued the following statement after the Administration announced their plan to close Guantanamo Bay prison:

Joanne Ferrary Makes Third Run For State Representative

Feb 21, 2016

Commentary:  Joanne Ferrary has announced her candidacy for the New Mexico House of Representatives, District 37.  District 37 covers the northeast side of the City of Las Cruces.

Ferrary, a Democrat, cited her commitment to the people of her district as a key factor in her decision to run.

“For too long we’ve settled for less in southern New Mexico,” Ferrary said.  “This is a great place to live and work, with wonderful opportunities to build a healthy and prosperous community.  We just need to invest in ourselves and our future.”

Goodman: Maybe The Angels Are Already On The Job

Feb 21, 2016

  Walking on Mesquite Street toward Klein Park, I meet City Councilor Greg Smith. He’s wearing a black suit and black bow tie – and flip-flops. No socks. I compliment him on the discordance. He says later that Miguel always wanted him to go to a City Council meeting in flip-flops. Greg doubted they communicated the right gravitas for the occasion; but today he’d wear them.

In Klein Park, I see many familiar faces. Several of Miguel’s relatives introduce themselves. There’s coffee and plenty of cookies – and a large bow-tie in a big tree, waiting to be unveiled.

It's a Tighter and More Marketized World Up In the Skies

Feb 19, 2016

 Commentary: The conference was in Memphis, and there simply was not time to drive or, better still, take a train. That meant navigating a world I try to avoid: the grey and tasteless bardo of airport security and passenger jets.

 

The strange world of airports and passenger flight resemble a sadistic social experiment. While passenger rail is neglected, we continue to squeeze ourselves into winged sardine cans shot across the tarmac  and lifted into the air while crew members hand out cups of soda pop.

 

Conservation Group Disappointed In Failure To Renew New Mexico Solar Tax Credit

Feb 18, 2016

Commentary:  New Mexicans know that our economy and health of our air, land, water and communities are inextricably linked. Nothing can happen to one without impacting the other, which we saw as legislators convened for the 2016 30-day budget-focused legislative session. The budget shortfall served as a double-edged sword, eradicating existing tax credits that make rooftop solar affordable for more New Mexican families and stopping further tax breaks for oil and gas production.

Child Advocates Gravely Disappointed in Final Budget

Feb 18, 2016

  Commentary:  Veronica C. García, Ed.D., executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, issued the following statement regarding the FY 2017 budget that was passed:

  Commentary:  Jeffery Isbell’s slanted op-ed in Sunday’s Las Cruces Sun-News was an interesting read. The article begins with a cleverly worded assault on those of us working in Las Cruces toward social change by implying that, like Mr. Isbell, we have helicoptered in to change the dynamic of our beloved city.

  Commentary: The number of endangered Mexican gray wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico dropped to 97 last year from 110 in 2014, according to a just-released census by federal and state biologists. The troubling decline, which follows five years of annual population increases, was likely driven by the illegal killings of many of the 13 wolves found dead and the 11 wolves missing, as well as a low survival rate among the dozens of pups born last spring.

Sanchez Reflects On 2016 New Mexico Legislative Session

Feb 18, 2016
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Commentary: During the 2016 Legislative Session, Senate Democrats worked – frequently in a bipartisan way – to do what is best for the people, while being fiscally responsible with the taxpayers’ dollars.

Republican Senate Minority Leader: “Most Important Things Got Done”

Feb 18, 2016
Senator Stuart Ingle - (R)

  Commentary:  The 2016 Legislative Session ended with many priorities completed, including balancing a $6.22 billion budget to run state government next year despite drastically lower-than- expected state revenues; and the legislature came together on a compromise  fix to the New Mexico driver’s license problem.

Nachison: A Vote For Bernie Is A Vote For America

Feb 18, 2016

Commentary:  The US has entered a period where opposite forms of systemic change are mainstreamed; know-nothingism also expands.  The social democracy of the last 80+ years is on one side; a possible theocracy and fascism is on the other.  We have lost so much; the two, today, have little in common.  Many modern democrats, even understanding a push towards a "free” economy, could support items in the 1952 and 1956 Republican platforms.  Today’s republicans today reject them completely and utterly - true red flags. 

New Mexico Passes Bill To Increase Local Control Over School Breakfasts

Feb 18, 2016

Commentary:  Elementary schools that feed students breakfast will have more local control over where and when the breakfast will be served to hungry students if Senator Gay Kernan’s  bill becomes law.  The bill passed both the Senate and House and is on its way to the Governor’s Office for action.

Currently, schools that participate in the “Breakfast After the Bell Program” are required to supply breakfast to students after the start of the instructional day in the classroom.

New Mexico Passes Bill Designed To Boost Geothermal Energy

Feb 18, 2016

Commentary:  Senator Ron Grigg’s SB 223 passed both Senate and House is on its way to the Governor for action.  SB 223 is a  bill that reorganizes and cleans up the state’s current laws concerning geothermal. It creates the Geothermal Resources Development Act (Act) and repeals the Geothermal Resources Conservation Act.

“New Mexico is rich in geothermal resources, my bill will help to simplify the development of this “green” resource and encourage its use,” Senator Griggs said. “It is a good bill for New Mexico and opens the door for more economic development.”

New Mexico Passes Bill Allowing ATVs On Paved Public Roads

Feb 18, 2016

Commentary: SB 270a allows all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and  off-highway vehicles (OHVs) to drive on paved roads up to 55 mph unless prohibited by local authorities.  This has a local option where local entities could opt in.  Many Mountain States have similar laws. It passed the Senate this morning and the House passed it with the “opt in” amendment. The amended bill will return to the Senate for concurrence.

Currently,  ATVs are allowed to only cross a public paved road, not to travel on one, otherwise they could be cited by authorities.

Thompson: Allow Volunteers To Help Migrant Children

Feb 18, 2016

  Commentary:   The housing of unaccompanied youth from Central America at the Holloman Air Force Base is of great interest to me and the members of CIVIC (Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement) and the Social Action Committee of my church.  We wanted to collect Spanish-language books, clothing, and supplies for art and writing activities to donate to the young people.  We also wanted to visit the children to provide both educational and fun activities to make them feel more welcome and unafraid while they wait to be processed to safe homes.

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