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.

Think Outside The Can

Jul 20, 2016

Commentary:  Where do you go when there is no place left to go? NASA has a great idea. Join them in Space. This week NASA asked us, fellow tax payers, to consider what we would you do if NASA made a port available for you to connect to the International Space Station (ISS).  This is a big thought experiment. Have you been dreaming about a second home in Alaska? I’m dreaming about it right now. Heat waves make me a delirious. But this is the real thing. NASA has a place for new tenants on the space station.  Think about what it would be like. It’s a thought experiment for now.

  Commentary:  Federal Magistrate Carmen Garza entered proposed findings Friday that the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) be held in contempt for failure to comply with multiple Court Orders and federal law concerning administration of food and medical assistance to eligible families.  Judge Garza found that “it is apparent that HSD and its officials have not exhibited the leadership, oversight, or coordination necessary to implement the Court Orders." Judge recommended the appointment of a Special Master with expertise in food and medical assistance be appointed to facilitate HSD

  Commentary:  The first stage of the local minimum-wage hike has not created the disaster opponents predicted.

The petition-mandated ordinance called for an initial raise from New Mexico's $7.50 to $8.40, then in two more stages to $10.10. To soften the impact on businesses, the Las Cruces City Council stretched out the process, so that the minimum wage rises again in January 2017, then to $10.10 January 1, 2019. 

School Funding Crisis Looms, PED, Governor & House GOP Ignore Problem

Jul 15, 2016
Senator Mimi Stewart (D-17-Bernalillo)

 Commentary: Our K-12 public school classrooms are facing yet another steep funding crisis that will hit schools hard later this year, when their share of a $110 million annual cut statewide takes effect. Neither Governor Susana Martinez, nor her state Public Education Department chief, Hanna Skandera, seem to be aware of it. Larger class sizes, fewer teachers, fewer counselors, and reduced classes in Phys Ed, music, dance and art can be expected, if the experience of other states is any guide.


Commentary:  American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly and Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein released the following statements:

“Yesterday’s Legislative Education Study Committee report on New Mexico’s lagging educator pay is a reminder of the work that needs to be done to help curb the persistent educator shortage in our state,” said Ly.

  Commentary: the Democratic Party of New Mexico reamed Governor Martinez and Republicans in the state for hurting students attending universities and public schools with failed economic policies.

New Mexico Democratic Chair: Trump Has Chosen A Running Mate Who Is Just as Extreme as He Is

Jul 15, 2016
New Mexico Democratic Chair Debra Haaland

  Commentary: Debra Haaland, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico released the following statement after Donald Trump named Mike Pence as his running mate:

“Donald Trump has run a campaign that is reckless, dangerous, and divisive, and he has chosen a running mate who is just as extreme as he is. Mike Pence has a record of lowering wages, limiting the rights of our LGBT community, and supporting laws that give the upper hand to corporations. 

NEA President: Trump's Choice Of Pence As VP Shows He's Bent On Dividing Nation

Jul 15, 2016


Commentary:  NEA President Lily Eskelsen García today provided the following statement regarding Donald Trump’s selection of Gov. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, as his vice presidential running mate:

Amid Mounting Controversy, BLM Halts New Mexico Fossil Fuel Auction

Jul 13, 2016
Bureau of Land Management

  Commentary: In the wake of public pressure, the Bureau of Land Management today postponed its controversial July 20 lease sale to auction oil and gas leases across 13,000 acres in New Mexico. Earlier this week citizens discovered the sale location had been changed from Santa Fe, N.M. to Roswell, with only oil and gas representatives notified. Public outcry over the abrupt location change was followed by the BLM’s postponement of the sale to Sept. 1 to allow for more public involvement. The sale location, however, will remain in Roswell.

Commentary:  The City Council’s 7/11 minimum wage work session was mostly reasoned on all sides.   Remember, other city level statistics from groups/agencies are also available.  Special thanks to Sarah Silva, Angelica Rubio and Sara Melton for their hard work and with others stating/re-stating the good done - and the still abhorrent local problems.  City Economic Development staff displayed a starting framework of major indicators with a positive outlook for the City - with more to come in later details.

Sanchez: Congress puts politics ahead of public safety

Jul 12, 2016
New Mexico Lt. Governor John Sanchez

  Commentary:  Congress did what Congress does again. They put partisan politics ahead of good public policy.  

Heinrich Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Create Tax Credit For Energy Storage

Jul 12, 2016
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  Commentary:  Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, introduced S.

Gessing: Udall and Heinrich Join Anti-Free Speech “Web of Denial” #webofdenial

Jul 12, 2016
Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation


The Cost Of The Renewable Energy Standard In New Mexico

Jul 12, 2016
Dr. Timothy J. Considine

  Commentary:  In the Land of Enchantment, government mandates require that 15.7 percent of electricity must come from wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy by 2021. The state is already half way to achieving its goal.

Unfortunately, because “renewable” forms of energy are more costly and less efficient, state governments eager to be seen as “green” had to make their use by utility companies mandatory. In other words, utility companies and ratepayers have no choice but to comply with these laws, known as renewable portfolio standards or RPS.

  Commentary:  Yesterday, the Las Cruces City Council heard a presentation from Mayra De La Canal, the city’s economic development coordinator. Ms. De La Canal presented data collected from the city’s GRT, restaurant GRT, and number of business licenses from 2014 and 2015, revealing a growth in the year 2015 from 2014.  The first phase of the minimum wage, implemented on January 1, 2015, increased the city’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour to $8.40 an hour and increased the tipped wage from $2.13 an hour to $3.36 an hour.

Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  Commentary:  Congressman Pearce issued the following statement after the Inspector General (IG) released a detailed report substantiating numerous allegations made by Catron County regarding potentially illegal actions by the Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) management of the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery program. 

The IG report confirms allegations of falsifications by FWS employees and their failure to properly manage the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program. 

For example, the IG Report shows:

(1)    Falsified case of wolf bite (p.15-16);

Goodman: Las Cruces Needs An Honest Dialogue On Guns

Jul 10, 2016

 Commentary:  Tuesday's raucous city council meeting highlighted two problems: we need to decrease gun-deaths in the U.S. and that it's hard to have an honest dialogue.

Both sides seem dug in. One woman said that the opposition was “demonizing us gun owners,” and other speakers promptly demonized the “liberals and progressives who want to take our guns away.” Most on both sides seemed sincere. Not many recognized the sincerity of opposing speakers.

Jeff Steinborn and Bill McCamley Comment on OIG Investigation of HSD

Jul 9, 2016
Rep. Jeff Steinborn

   Commentary:  After the Office of Inspector General (OIG) published the findings of their investigation of Governor Martinez’s Human Services Department (HSD) practice of changing food assistance applications to keep benefits from New Mexico’s most vulnerable residents, New Mexico State Representatives Jeff Steinborn and Bill McCamley released the following statements.

Start small, think big. Then act.

Jul 9, 2016

Commentary:  One of my jobs is to go to Capitol Hill and speak to members of Congress. As the Director of the New Mexico Space Grant, I am one of 52 Directors. We are funded by Congress and NASA runs our program. Every year we go to Capitol Hill to report on our progress. My experiences with the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce helped me prepare. If I knew now what I knew then, would I have done things differently? Nope. I knew I was in over my head then too.

  Commentary:  LAS CRUCES, N.M. – On Monday, June 11th the Las Cruces City Council will “Review and Discuss” the minimum wage ordinance passed on December 1st, 2014. The review comes six months before the next phase of the minimum wage is scheduled to go into effect. 

NM CAFé clergy and community leaders will attend the council Work Session and will be available to give testimony and comment.  


 Commentary:  One of the few bright spots for New Mexico in this year’s recently released national KIDS COUNT Data Book―which ranked New Mexico at 49th in the nation for overall child well-being―was in child health outcomes. Improvements took us from ranking 48th in the nation in the four health indicators to 44th.

Voter ID and Suppression

Jul 7, 2016

  Commentary:  Mr. Devries (Las Cruces Sun News-6/26) is incorrect.  Voting is a constitutional right.  His stated ID examples aren't.  Also, he ignores lack of meaningful evidence of US voting fraud.  Even former NM Secretary of State (SOS) Duran couldn't find such here.  Voter ID is a solution to a non-problem; any cost related to a new "voter ID" for citizens is a poll tax.  Why do it?

Congressional Progressive Caucus Statement on Afghanistan Troop Level

Jul 7, 2016
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 President Obama announced the Department of Defense would keep 8,400 troops in Afghanistan through 2016:

TRAP laws were never about protecting women's health

Jul 7, 2016

  My representative in Congress sent an email letter to his constituents expressing dismay over a recent Supreme Court decision. "Defense of life is the most important moral issue of our time," wrote Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico's second congressional district, "And we can never speak too strongly for those that cannot speak for themselves."


Pearce Initiates Investigation into Illegal Theft and Sale of Tribal Artifacts

Jul 5, 2016

  Commentary:   Congressman Steve Pearce (R-NM), Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and Chairman James Sensenbrenner, initiated a request with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine how the federal government currently investigates the theft and sale of tribal items and what reforms can be made to further prevent this practice in the future.  This letter follows Congressman Pearce’s introduction of H. Con. Res.

 Commentary:  In a spirited and energetic speech, former Secretary Hillary Clinton addressed the more than 7,500 delegates at the National Education Association’s 95th Representative Assembly (RA) at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center this morning. Clinton’s address was among the most rousing speeches she has given thus far in her campaign for the presidency. The presumptive Democratic nominee held no punches in articulating a clear and inspiring vision of opportunity for every student in America, regardless of ZIP code. 

Courtesy: NMFO

  Commentary:  The news coverage of President Obama’s recent trip to Carlsbad Caverns made note of the positive economic impact that protected public lands have on our communities―particularly the recently established Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks Monument near Las Cruces and the Rio Grande del Norte Monument near Taos. The economic benefits of these monuments are very real as they boost tourism.

  Commentary:  Las Cruces City Government has refused to let Heath Haussamen inspect city manager applications. Under the Inspection of Public Records Act, does it have a legal leg to stand on?

Not that I can see.

Numerous New Mexico cases stress that guaranteeing public access to public records is essential in a democracy because the integrity of elections depends on an informed public. Providing such access is “an essential function” of government entities. Courts interpret IPRA broadly, to prioritize openness in government.

Gessing: New Mexico’s Supreme Court ignores law on worker’s compensation

Jul 1, 2016
Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

  Commentary:  New Mexico’s Legislature had previously enacted a law that allowed employers with more than three employees to opt out of coverage for farm and ranch laborers but not other agricultural workers.

Pearce Leads Meeting Between Ranchers and Forest Service to Resolve Water Dispute

Jul 1, 2016

  Commentary:  Congressman Pearce along with State Representative Jim Townsend, representatives from the United States Forest Service, and local ranchers visited the Penasco Pens electrified fencing area Thursday in the Sacramento Ranger District to discuss potential solutions to ranchers’ concerns over grazing allotments and water access points: