Local Viewpoints

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Goodman: A Master Storyteller Speaks In Las Cruces

Apr 12, 2015

  Sherman Alexie spoke here Tuesday evening, a rare chance to witness a master storyteller mixing a stand-up comic's timing, a mime's expressiveness, holding us so spellbound that the packed theater gave him a standing ovation – and the line for getting him to sign books still extended out the door a half-hour after he'd finished.

I'd read some of his novels, and liked them. In person, he was great fun. He delivered his insightful tales and observations informally, with a master's compelling mix of the natural and the practiced.

  Governor Susana Martinez signed the Online Voter Registration Bill, SB 643 sponsored by Senator Lisa Torraco (R-Bernalillo). This has been a long time priority for Common Cause New Mexico as well as our numerous partner organizations we work with in our Election Administration Coalition. We so appreciate the hard work so many folks put into making this a reality, and a special thanks to Governor Martinez for signing it!

Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Santa Fe, NM – Senate Democrats today criticized Governor Susana Martinez’s vetoes of important and strong bipartisan legislation, including funding for the judicial system and courts, research for future industrial hemp production, accountability for the State’s troubled cash-balances, and other measures.  Despite claims that the 2015 legislative session was a highly partisan one, there were in fact areas of strong agreement between the two parties and the two chambers which resulted in useful bills being sent to the Executive.  Unfortunately the Governor rejected bipartisan compromise b

AAUP Investigates MD Anderson Cancer Center

Apr 8, 2015

  I’m writing to let you know that today the AAUP is releasing an investigative report, Academic Freedom and Tenure: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The report finds that the cancer center administration violated commonly accepted academic standards when it terminated the appointments of two professors.


  In New Mexico, lobbyists register, file expenditure and contribution reports – but often these are indecipherable or non-existent, purged after only a few years. Yesterday Governor Susana Martinez signed House Bill 155 sponsored by Representative Jeff Steinborn that will drastically improve our Lobbyist Regulation Act. HB115 requires that:

Getting Pushed Over To The Side Of The Road

Apr 8, 2015

  Have you ever owned a jalopy and had to push it over to the side of the road? Remember what it’s like, drivers side door open, traffic stopped and you huffing and puffing to get it out of everyone’s way. When I was young my parents did not  give me a car when I came to NMSU.  Most students did not have cars at NMSU in the sixties. It was kind of like it must be now in Cuba. Those students who had cars had some real clunkers. They stalled plenty of times, at the worst times naturally. On my way to a meeting this week I saw a student pushing his car off to the side of the road.

Krahling: Online Voter Registration Helps Voters And Administrators

Apr 6, 2015

  In 2014, the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration released a report with best practices to improve voter experience and promote confidence in the administration of elections.

Many of the recommendations have been implemented in Doña Ana County, and we have been engaged with the Legislature to implement others, including online voter registration. This year the Legislature unanimously passed a bill that directs the Secretary of State to implement online voter registration statewide by 2017.

Rodriguez Blasts Texas Bill Denying In-State Tuition To Immigrants

Apr 6, 2015

  AUSTIN – Today, the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security is discussing SB 185 and SB 1819, bills that, respectively, target students and hurt proven police strategies to reduce crimes in our communities. Senator José Rodríguez issued the following statement:

  Local business interests who hired people to collect signatures to recall City Councilor Gill Sorg failed to collect enough signatures to trigger a recall election; but the recall proponents may file suit.


The bar was low. They needed only 10% of the district's registered voters. Their cause was so unpopular they had to lie about what the petition was for. Voters in District 5 seem quite content with Councilor Sorg. (We'll learn next week whether they got enough signatures for a recall vote on Olga Pedroza.)


Udall Leads Fight Against Dark Money In Politics

Apr 2, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

WASHINGTON – Today, on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision that further eroded the nation’s campaign finance laws, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sent a letter asking the Obama administration to implement an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose political spending. The letter was also signed by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Santa Fe, NM – Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29-Bernalillo and Valencia) today said he and Senate Democrats may be willing to support calling a special session of the Legislature following Governor Susana Martinez’s reported comments this week. Sen. Sanchez has sent out the following statement:

Martinez Signs Legislation Aimed At Protecting Families

Mar 31, 2015
Office of the Governor

  Today, Governor Susana Martinez signed a series of bills to help protect New Mexico’s families. Among other things, the legislation cracks down on child prostitution, provides additional funding to help victims of violent crimes, and requires all cell phone and pager companies to issue Amber Alerts via text to their customers.

Las Cruces Green Chamber Launches "No More Walmarts" Campaign

Mar 31, 2015

  LAS CRUCES---The Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce (LCGCC) Board of Directors announced this week they are launching a "No More Walmarts" campaign   in response to the recent approval in February by the Las Cruces Planning and Zoning Commission for the rezoning of 7.31 acres of land at the corner of Tashiro Drive and Valley Road. The Planning and Zoning Commission approved an application for the construction of a grocery store, drive-through pharmacy, and a 12 bay self-serve gas station.   


What Really Happened To Capital Outlay During New Mexico's 2015 Legislative Session?

Mar 30, 2015
Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Santa Fe, NM – Following the Governor’s press conference at the end of the 2015 Legislative Session, residents of New Mexico may be excused for being confused about what actually happened to spending on infrastructure projects across the state.  Governor Susana Martinez did not help matters when she levelled false accusations against Senate Democrats.

Goodman: Enjoying The Theater In Las Cruces

Mar 29, 2015

  May I take a break from drought and recall and be playful?

Last Saturday evening we saw “Recreational Living” at the Las Cruces Community Theater.

David Spence's play won a contest among former students of Mark Medoff. The prize was this production at LCCT directed by Mark.

I expected a good evening, because I know and respect Mark; but the performance was more fun that we'd anticipated.

Let's admit first that I'm an old curmudgeon who often leaves the theater growling.

Udall Leads Effort To Keep Dark Money Out Of Elections

Mar 27, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  With the Senate debating amendments to this year’s proposed budget resolution, Republicans voted against an amendment offered by Sens.

Heinrich Pushes Bill To Prevent Public Lands From Being Sold

Mar 27, 2015

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced an amendment to the Senate's budget resolution that would protect America's parks and public lands, including national forests, wildlife refuges, and conservation lands, from being sold off as a deficit reduction tactic. The amendment is cosponsored by U.S.

Today the National Task Force for Combatting Resistant Bacteria released a five-year action plan to tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.  While the plan takes several important steps necessary to control the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it misses the opportunity to call for critical reforms in the agricultural sector that are essential to protect public health.

Stratton: Civil Asset Forfeiture Bill Worth Signing

Mar 26, 2015

For those New Mexicans who believe in bipartisan government, reaching across the aisle and the political spectrum--there is good news. The New Mexico legislature has just unanimously passed HB 560, without a single dissenting vote in either house. HB 560 revises the procedure involved in the forfeiting of citizens’ assets by government agencies, a practice referred to as “asset forfeiture.”  

Recapping The New Mexico Legislative Session

Mar 24, 2015

  During the past two months, New Mexicans from every corner of the state sent 6,258 emails through Think New Mexico's website, and legislators listened. As a result, when the 2015 legislative session wrapped up on Saturday, Think New Mexico had successfully achieved 4 of the 5 goals we worked toward during the session:
Health Care Transparency Passed

As we reported to you on Friday, the bill to create a public website with health care cost and quality information has reached the Governor's desk and we are optimistic that she will sign it. 

  I was both reassured and somewhat disturbed to read Secretary of Education Hannah Skandera’s recent guest column on the PARCC test.  On one hand, she soothingly explained what a boon this multi-million dollar corporately-produced assessment will be for our schools.  On the other hand, so much of what she said was just plain wrong.

Heinrich Blasts Republican Plan To Gut The Affordable Care Act

Mar 23, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) highlighted the need to continue making health care coverage available for families across New Mexico through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and opposes efforts by Republicans to dismantle the law in the budget resolution.

Goodman: What Can We Do About A Tragedy In Mexico?

Mar 22, 2015

  Bianca is a farmer and a mother. Her son Jorge is a carefree young man, full of laughter. He plays his guitar and sings to her – when he's not fixing a neighbor's recalcitrant computer. He loves children, and attends a small teachers' college.

But he has disappeared.

Estanislao grows corn and beans and trades in food. Today, wearing a bright red cap reading, “Union Pacific – Building America,” he could be some NMSU student's visiting uncle.

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

  Santa Fe, NM – Without any warning, the Republican-controlled House Ways and Means Committee today took action – with no historical precedent – to strip $80 million worth of infrastructure projects from the capital outlay bill earlier approved by bipartisan consensus in the New Mexico Senate.  The House Committee’s action on Senate Bill 159 (SB

Rodríguez: Gun Proliferation Bills Pass Texas Senate

Mar 18, 2015

  AUSTIN – Senator José Rodríguez issued the following statement regarding Senate Bill 17, the "open carry" bill that passed the full Senate yesterday, and Senate Bill 11, the "campus carry" bill, which passed today:

McSorley: Hemp Industrialization Equals Jobs for New Mexico

Mar 17, 2015

  Santa Fe, NM – I am pleased that my bill, Senate Bill 94 (SB 94), designed to help New Mexico lay the foundation for hemp industrialization, has passed the Senate and the first committee in the House of Representatives.

Report: Minority Families In New Mexico, U.S. Falling Behind

Mar 17, 2015

  ALBUQUERQUE— A sharp racial/ethnic divide has emerged within the world of low-income working families, posing a critical equity and economic challenge to New Mexico and the nation, a new study concludes.

Hispanics and African-Americans, who will continue to emerge as a larger segment of the workforce, will remain under-prepared and underpaid unless lawmakers in New Mexico are willing to pursue policies that would improve conditions. 

  Santa Fe: Last Thursday, Senate Bill 537, the transparency bill which the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry helped to draft, passed the Senate on a unanimous 39-0 bipartisan vote.  But with less than a week remaining in the 2015 legislative session, this broadly supported bill has yet to be heard in its first House committee. 


Rodriguez: Anti-Immigrant Bill Is Bad For Texas

Mar 16, 2015

  AUSTIN – Senate Bill 185, which was heard in the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security today, would outlaw so-called “sanctuary cities” — a term that has not been defined — by prohibiting Texas governmental entities from passing laws to restrict police from asking about immigration status.

The bill affects cities, counties, special districts, and districts attorneys. It exempts school districts and hospital districts, but includes peace officers employed or commissioned by school districts and hospital districts.

  Recently I visited with eighteen voters who'd signed the recall petition against Olga Pedroza.

   Each voter asked to take his or her name off the petition.  All but one described election fraud, whether or not s/he used that term.

   The lies varied.