Local Viewpoints

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  As I celebrate the one year anniversary of the designation of Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks I think back to my commitment to defend my country and the lands we love. When I enlisted in the U.S. Army, I vividly remembering that on Sundays I would go to mass, for many reasons; one to get away from the drill sergeants and two, to go to mass.  During the mass, we would sing different hymns but the Father would always have us sing America the Beautiful:

                                 O beautiful for spacious skies,

Udall And Heinrich: Monument Anniversary Is A Reason To Celebrate

May 21, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  The local coalition recently is hosting a series of anniversary events this week in Las Cruces; and if you didn't already get the chance, we hope everyone soon will take the opportunity to enjoy and celebrate this very special national monument right here in our own backyard.

  ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Business and economic development leaders gathered in Albuquerque today to show support for PNM’s Plan for the San Juan Generating Station, saying that closing the entire power plant would mean economic hardship for the entire state.

“The PNM Plan is a responsible balance between environmental protection and jobs,” said Jason Espinoza, Vice President for Government Affairs at the Association of Commerce and Industry.  “We urge passage of the PNM Plan because it’s in the best interests of the state to keep electric rates reasonable.”

Sierra Club: PNM Plan Is Bad For Business

May 21, 2015

  ALBUQUERQUE, NM –Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) brings together the few remaining soldiers to endorse its $7.5 billion coal and nuclear replacement plan in a press conference Thursday. 

Rep. Steve Pearce (R) New Mexico

  Today, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued this statement announcing the introduction of H.R. 2467, legislation that will help protect New Mexico’s local communities, secure its southern border and strengthen national security.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D) Texas

  LAS CRUCES, NM—In a press conference today in Washington, DC, Congressman Beto O’Rourke joined the growing number of House Democrats calling on the Department of Homeland Security to put an end to its shameful practice of family detention. The ACLU of New Mexico played a key oversight role to monitor conditions and defend due process for children and women locked up in the Artesia, NM last year. 

The following quote can be attributed to Vicki Gaubeca, Director of the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights.

Message From Plea Deal: Criminal Behavior Is Rampant on Wall Street

May 20, 2015

  Note: Today, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that five major banks have agreed to plead guilty to felony charges and pay criminal fines in connection with the foreign exchange market. Four agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to currency manipulation; a fifth will plead guilty to manipulating benchmark interest rates.

Four Corners Power Plant. Photo courtesy of EcoFlight and San Juan Citizens Alliance

  ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Albuquerque, Farmington and statewide business organizations will hold a major press conference on Thursday to voice support for the PNM Plan for the San Juan Generating Station.  A closure of the plant would bring serious negative economic impact for New Mexico, including rate hikes and lost jobs.

Scheduled to appear at the press conference are ACI, the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry; AED, Albuquerque Economic Development; NAIOP, the commercial real estate development association; the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, and others.


  EL PASO – State Sen. José Rodríguez issued the following statement regarding the El Paso Children's Hospital bankruptcy filing announced today: 

Critics: Texas Legislature Approves Flawed Medical Marijuana Bill

May 18, 2015

  AUSTIN — The Texas State House approved a bill 96-34 on Monday intended to allow qualifying patients with intractable seizure conditions to access a marijuana extract containing high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, and only trace levels of THC. SB 339, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), is extremely unlikely to provide patients with relief because it requires doctors to engage in conduct that is prohibited by federal law. SB 339 previously passed the Senate on May 7. It now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott.

Pat Hynes: The Secret To A Boredom-Free Life In Las Cruces

May 18, 2015

  Dorothy Parker, a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, writer and member of the Editorial Board for the New Yorker, once wrote, the cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. This statement pretty much explains my approach to living in Las Cruces. 

There are multiple steps I am learning about why talking to interesting people from across the globe is scary work, yet when successful, rewarding. The steps involve research, persistence, ability to listen and absorb in real-time what is being said, then act.

Mexican Gray Wolf Supporters To Rally In Santa Fe Tuesday

May 18, 2015

  SANTA FE, N.M.— Wildlife supporters, including local activists from the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance,  Animal Protection of New Mexico and WildEarth Guardians, will rally tomorrow, Tuesday, at noon at the state capitol to ask Gov. Susana Martinez to allow Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch in Sierra County to continue housing Mexican gray wolves as part of the reintroduction of these endangered animals.

Thomas: Yes, We Need Progressives In Las Cruces...Here's Why

May 18, 2015

  Not long after I joined the city council, in 2008, one of my fellow councilors (who had been on the council for some time) took me aside and said, “There are certain people who run this community. I always do what they tell me to do.”  I was, of course, shocked, not only that this person would admit to being controlled by a few self appointed “leaders,” but that this person evidently expected me to do the same.

Goodman: Harvesting Our Precious Stormwater

May 17, 2015

  Stormwater-harvesting expert Van Clothier, who spoke here a week ago, says things so just-plain-sensible that most of us (and most of our local leaders) – don't quite get 'em.


We live in a desert. We're in a drought that could last awhile. We need water.


Stormwater is water.


It falls on our roofs. If we have rain-barrels, or have prepared our land properly, we catch it and use it to grow vegetables, flowers, and trees. Trees help shade us and cool us; veggies feed us; and flowers lift our spirits.


  SILVER CITY, N.M.— Forty-six conservation organizations and wolf-breeding facilities, in 13 states as well as the nation’s capital, are imploring New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez to reverse the state’s Game Commission’s decision to deny Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch permission to continue housing endangered Mexican gray wolves.

Udall Calls On Congress To End Mass Telephone Surveillance, Reform Patriot Act

May 14, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  WASHINGTON – Today, during a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Tom Udall urged Congress to oppose a straight reauthorization of several expiring provisions of the Patriot Act and restore Americans' privacy rights by ending the government's dragnet collection of phone records.

What King v. Burwell Could Mean For New Mexicans

May 13, 2015

(Albuquerque, NM) – The health care law known as ObamaCare remains controversial, not just among the population at large, but among legal experts and in the courts. The latest decision relating to the health care law popularly known as “ObamaCare” was heard by the US Supreme Court in March of this year. The decision could impact the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars in Obamacare subsidies as well as taxes and mandates under the law.

Goodman: Two Inspiring Events

May 10, 2015

A week ago we attended two inspiring events at MVS Studios: a reading by Claudette Ortiz Franzoy from her new book and the annual benefit for J. Paul Taylor Academy.


Claudette is a fine writer and we love J. Paul.


Common Ground, is a collection of Claudette's Sun-News columns about life in the Hatch Valley. Claudette is the best columnist I've seen at the paper. The book reminds me why.


It's a very human, personal collection. She makes some perceptive observations, but always in the context of her village, her valley.


Heinrich, Udall Introduce Bill To Establish Wilderness Areas

May 7, 2015

Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) have introduced a bill to establish two wilderness areas, the Cerro del Yuta Wilderness and Rio San Antonio Wilderness, within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument northwest of Taos, New Mexico.

Heinrich Continues To Tackle Veterans Claims Backlog

May 6, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 6, 2015) - Today, U.S.

Heinrich: 10 Reasons Why The Republican Budget Is Wrong For N.M.

May 6, 2015

After U.S. Senate Republicans passed the joint budget resolution, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following 10 reasons why the Republican budget would hurt New Mexico's economy and weaken the middle class."This Republican budget is all wrong for New Mexico. It increases tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires while making cuts to programs that benefit average New Mexicans working hard to get ahead," said Sen. Heinrich.

New Mexico Workforce Participation Rate Remains Depressed

May 6, 2015

  New Mexico’s job market is finally showing signs of life in the wake of the “Great Recession."

New Mexico’s job situation remains far worse than it is in any of our neighboring states, but at least there is a pulse. Unfortunately, not much was done during the recent legislative session to set the stage for continued job and economic growth, so perhaps it was inevitable that New Mexico would see some job growth after years of the State economy being flat on its back.

Heinrich Urges Full Funding For Police Body Camera Program

May 5, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  With a Republican budget agreement that could cut funding by $24 million for a critical grant program that helps police departments utilize body cameras and other innovative technology, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined 17 senators in calling for full funding of the U.S. Department of Justice Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program. 

Lyft Bails On New Mexico...Who Is To Blame?

May 5, 2015

  In a story published yesterday, the ride-sharing company Lyft is leaving New Mexico citing “mounting legal pressure from local (New Mexico) regulators.” From the looks of Facebook comments that I found it was a mysterious “DWI lobby” that caused onerous regulations to be passed by the PRC thus forcing Lyft out of New Mexico.

  This week we have a chance to make a difference.

On Tuesday, May 5, we'll decide three contested seats on the Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District Board.

The what? 

Most folks learned about the DASWCD last year, when its board put on the ballot a measure calling for a tax increase to help fund the group. We learned that it spent much of its time passing resolutions against “Agenda 21” and against various measures to help protect wildlife. It opposed the new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Monument.

Albers: Thank You For Making Scrap Arts Music Performances A Success

May 2, 2015

  The Doña Ana Arts Council would like to thank all in our community who helped make the recent Scrap Arts Music performances in the Rio Grande Theatre so memorable.  The audiences loved the energy, humor and incredible creativity of these Canadian musicians who constructed percussion instruments out of recycled industrial materials.  Over 800 enthusiastic local students attended the school performances on April 20th. 

  Here we go again. I don't understand why the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring "New Leaders Grassroots Training" for right-wing political candidates on May 9. It is run by the tea party-connected American Majority, a far right-wing libertarian group. So if you are a moderate, nonpartisan, truly business-minded or liberal candidate you should not attend, right?


Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

  U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich issued the following statements on the proposal for New Mexico to become an interim storage site for high-level nuclear waste:

A Big Step Forward for Health Care Transparency In New Mexico

Apr 29, 2015

  Courtesy of New Mexico In Depth:

One major reform to come out of the 2015 legislative session was a law that will dramatically increase the transparency of hospital prices and quality data.