Local Viewpoints

KRWG welcomes you to join our community discussion.  E-mail your comments to:  feedback @  Comments included here represent the views of the individual writers and do not necessarily represent the views of KRWG or New Mexico State University.

Friendship is a good model for healthy civic life

Mar 18, 2018

Commentary: My city held municipal elections last week, and this spectacle was felt more patriotic to me than the nauseous catastrophe of federal politics.

The candidates were people you might see at the grocery store. They had little need to raise money. The influence of what the founders called “factions,” the political parties and committees that deploy attack ads and divide people, is less pronounced here in town. A local election gives residents an opportunity to think about our city as an “us” and exert some civic participation.

Goodman: The War Comes Home

Mar 18, 2018
peter goodman

Commentary: This morning, I'll just reflect on pickleball. And people. And PTSD.

Most mornings I play pickleball. Pickleball looks like tennis, mostly doubles, played on a court about one-quarter the size of a tennis court with short-handled rackets and what looks like a wiffleball. If you played basketball daily until 61, then couldn't, then got some new body parts, you might try pickleball.

Chinese dumping of steel is an issue

Mar 16, 2018

Commentary: President Trump announced his plans to impose a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum. Initially, no distinction was made among trading partners, but later it was revealed that Mexico and Canada were to be exempt, and that other countries can apply to also be exempt. Australia has been identified a perhaps a third country that could qualify for exemption and other allies may also qualify.

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva

Commentary:Today, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) issued a statement after thousands of students from across the country participated in a 17-minute school walk out to demand that Congress pass gun reform to improve school and community safety:

Real Concern Over Trump Tariffs

Mar 15, 2018

Commentary: President Donald Trump signed proclamations imposing a 25 percent tariff on foreign steel and 10 percent tariff on foreign aluminum. Canada and Mexico are exempt from the outset, but the details appear dependent on negotiations. After announcing his intention to impose steep tariffs on March 2, Trump tweeted, “When a country is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore. We win big.

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva

Commentary: Today, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), and CPC Peace and Security Taskforce Chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), issued a statement urging Members of the U.S. Senate to reject President Trump’s controversial nominees to the State Department and CIA. President Trump announced his plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He also proposed nominating highly controversial CIA Deputy Director, Gina Haspel, as the new Director of the CIA:

Commentary: All I have seen President Trump do in the wake of Parkland is blame everyone but himself.

Trump has blamed students for not reporting Cruz earlier on, Congress for being ineffective and dishonest, President Obama for being hypocritical and incompetent, the mental health industry for being a failed system, the media for exploitation and fake news, the school resource officers for being cowards, the teachers for being unarmed and poorly trained, the NRA for bullying, and the shooter for being evil. Blame and more blame.

Commentary: Educators overwhelmingly reject proposals to arm teachers and other school personnel, according to a new poll commissioned by the National Education Association. NEA members support a range of commonsense solutions to address the issue of school shootings in the United States, but arming teachers is not one of them. NEA surveyed 1000 members nationwide from March 1 – 5, 2018.


Commentary: LAS CRUCES -- Reports that oil extraction within New Mexico exceeded record numbers are being met with blind optimism by groups like the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association who continue to push for more extraction and less regulation.  State and Federal agencies announced today that in 2017, 172 million barrels of oil were produced in New Mexico, much of which came from the Permian Basin wells in the southeastern part of the state.  

According to NMOGA this is twice the output of the state in 2011.

Gessing: Research Raises Questions About The True Value Of Pre-K Education

Mar 12, 2018

Commentary: The Catholic archbishops of New Mexico have become the leading advocates of increasing the money taken out of the State’s “Permanent Fund” in an effort to create a variety of early childhood programs, including “pre-K.”

This has been a controversial issue in the Roundhouse for years, but things really heated up when Catholic Church lobbyist Allen Sanchez accused opponents of the measure of “racism” in the wake of the proposal’s defeat during the 2018 Legislature.

2017 A Record-Breaking Year For New Mexico Oil Production

Mar 12, 2018

Commentary: It’s official, New Mexico smashed previous annual marks to set a record for oil production in 2017. Driven by the burgeoning Permian Basin, the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that New Mexico oil producers pumped a record 172 million barrels of oil during 2017, topping the previous record of 147 million barrels set in 2015, and doubling New Mexico’s oil output since 2011. (donald trump)

  Commentary: The White House repeated its dangerous proposal to arm teachers in the wake of another mass school shooting. The National Education Association represents 3 million educators who work in America’s public schools and on college campuses.

Why It's Time to Report for America

Mar 11, 2018

Commentary: It’s time to face facts. The existing commercial media model alone will not sustain journalism, especially local news. The business model is broken, and it will likely worsen, as ever more local businesses turn to social media and search.

We do think that this kind of journalism is a public service but it would benefit both the reporter, the news organization and the community.

It’s also time to realize that the other crisis in media – the loss of trust – is not going to get solved just through better fact checking, though that’s essential.

New Mexico Opposes Trump Administration’s Attempt to Sabotage the Affordable Care Act

Mar 11, 2018
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

Commentary: Attorney General Hector Balderas, part of a coalition of 17 Attorneys General, filed comments opposing the Trump Department of Labor’s Proposed Rule, which seeks to expand the criteria for forming association health plans (AHPs) in order to evade the consumer protections enshrined in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and sabotage the ACA. AHPs have a long history of fraud, mismanagement, and abuse, with millions in unpaid claims for policyholders and providers, often leading to consumer bankruptcies. 

 Commentary: This seems like a no-brainer: we live in the southern part of the second sunniest state in the United States; fossil fuels are costly, and grow more so, and have undesirable environmental consequences; why wouldn't the city of Las Cruces, which now uses 6.5% renewable energy, resolve to increase that to at least 25% by 2022?

Albuquerque has resolved to reach at least 25% renewable energy by 2025, and will offer incentive programs for homes and offices to invest in solar panels. 

Governor Vetoes Bill to Support Behavioral Health, Decrease Recidivism

Mar 9, 2018
Representative Sheryl Williams Stapleton - (D) - Majority Floor Leader

Commentary: A bill sponsored by House Majority Floor Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque) to support behavioral health was vetoed by Governor Susana Martinez. House Bill 160 would have provided interventions for nonviolent offenders who have a behavioral health diagnosis in order to reduce the chances of repeat offenses, detention, and ineffective incarceration.

The 2018 Legislative Session and Priorities Moving Forward

Mar 9, 2018

Commentary: Although the 2018 legislative session has ended and campaign season has begun in earnest, the legislature's work is not done yet.  The results of the session allow us to intelligently plan for the future and fully vet priority issues that will improve life for all New Mexicans.  For the first time in several years, New Mexico received some good budget news beginning last fall.

New Mexico In Depth

 Commentary: Governor Martinez line-item vetoed numerous measures to invest in Native communities and infrastructure in tribes and pueblos across New Mexico, from the annual budget. These investments, included in House Bill 2, would have expanded broadband access, helped close the achievement gap, improved emergency communications, diversified local economies, and invested in water projects.

Specifically, the line-item vetoes included:

Senate and House Democrats Condemn Immigration Customs Enforcement Audits

Mar 9, 2018
Representative Javier Martinez (D-Albuquerque)

Commentary: Today, Senate and House Democrats are joining together to condemn Immigration Customs Enforcement audits in New Mexico. Due to recent ICE audits around the state, House and Senate Democrats want to reaffirm their strong stance against any audits or enforcement in or near New Mexico schools.  A response to the commentary from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) follows.

Disruptive technologies can reduce GDP, but improve our lives

Mar 9, 2018
Dr. Chris Erickson

Commentary: GDP is a widely followed measure of social welfare. Yet disruptive technologies that upend older industries can reduce GDP yet improve welfare.

Take for example, the introduction of cell phones. A cell phone substitute for traditional land lines, audio players, cameras, computers, navigation systems, and watches. Cell phones even come with free apps that let you do other things.

Office of the Governor

Commentary: Governor Martinez vetoed budget language (page 185, lines 11 to 13) which repeated union negotiation rights already provided for in New Mexico law.  Leadership of the National Education Association- New Mexico issued this statement in response to that “line item” veto:

A house divided burns with a glorious light

Mar 8, 2018

Commentary: The townhouse was on fire, so I went looking for the fire extinguisher. Strangely, it had been removed from its spot, and I asked my neighbor if he had seen it.

“Let’s not be hasty,” said my neighbor. “Fire is a natural and sacred force. Mastery of fire is essential to cooking and industry. Fire is about freedom. Not to put too fine a point on it, it is also an essential aspect of manliness.”

“Okay, but this fire is out of control.”

Dreams of Jobs Flying Away With Governor’s Veto of Regional Air Center Bill

Mar 8, 2018
State Senator Cliff Pirtle (R- Roswell)

Commentary: State Senator Cliff Pirtle (R- Roswell)  said the governor’s veto today of an economic development bill for Roswell and Southern New Mexico is a missed opportunity to create jobs at one of the brightest  gems in Southeastern New Mexico, at the Roswell Industrial Air Center.  Senator Pirtle said the legislature fully supported the prospect of creating good paying jobs in Southeastern New Mexico and the governor crushed that chance with her veto pen.

Tax break for F-16 Pilot Training Facility Construction in Alamogordo signed into law

Mar 8, 2018

Commentary: One small tax deduction could result in one large, permanent expansion of a United States Air Force pilot training mission in New Mexico. The expanded mission could create 638 permanent civilian jobs in the Alamogordo area and bring in 350 to 400 more military families. State Senators Bill Burt and Ron Griggs sponsored the bill that is now law.

Passing The Torch To China?

Mar 7, 2018

Commentary: Unfolding events in Washington and Beijing raise the disturbing specter of a global passing of the torch from the United States to China, one with frightening implications for freedom and democracy. 

First, President Donald Trump seemed to applaud from afar as China's leader consolidates his power over a more authoritarian government at home, while the regime promotes its model of governance in increasingly aggressive terms abroad. Second, Trump announced that he will slap steep tariffs on steel and aluminum and welcome a trade war that most of the world, and most of his own Republican Party, dreads. 

ASNMSU President Kevin Prieto and Vice President Emerson Morrow

Commentary: The Associated Students of New Mexico State University President Kevin Prieto and Vice President Emerson Morrow issued the following statement regarding the NMSU Athletics Proposal:


New Mexico Catholic Bishops’ Open Letter: Children Come First

Mar 6, 2018
Archbishop John Wester

  Commentary: Yesterday, I received an open letter from some of our state legislators related to the support the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops continues to give to the NM HJR1 2018 (Land Grant Fund Distributions). Since the letter is directed to the Conference, we three undersigned Catholic bishops of New Mexico are responding today.

Lily Eskelsen García-President, NEA / NEA photo

Commentary:  National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement, in reaction to today’s agreement that will allow West Virginia to attract and retain the best educators for West Virginia students. 

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva

Commentary: Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) issued a statement after reports that President Trump’s political appointees with Koch brother connections are actively working to undermine U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and profit off of the privatization of the VA:

Commentary: Today, thirty-three New Mexico legislators sent a letter to Archbishop John C. Wester demanding his response to recent comments made by Allen Sanchez, Executive Director of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In his remarks, Sanchez claimed that a proposal to increase expenditures from New Mexico’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for early childhood programs failed to pass because of “an element of racism” among its opponents. Sanchez further asserted that “opposition came from people with power and wealth.”