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.

Preserving The First Amendment In Las Cruces

Jul 22, 2018

Commentary: In a column four months ago, I wrote that the people running the downtown Farmer’s Market had been “very helpful” with a group I was working with to raise funds for homeless students in the Las Cruces school district.

In the more than 16 years that I have been writing this weekly column, I have never penned a sentence that was as wrong. I confused the people running the market with the woman who was in charge of collecting rent for the walkway leading to the Farmer’s Market. She was not only helpful, but took a real interest in what we were doing.

The owners of Dragonfly Restaurant, where we eventually set up shop after being shooed off the Farmer’s Market, were more than helpful, as were those at the Wal-Mart on Rinconada, where we also had a table.

The people running the Farmer’s Market were the opposite of helpful.

And so, I wasn’t really surprised last week when the market’s inflexible rules crashed headlong into the First Amendment.

Goodman: Republicans Must Challenge Trump

Jul 22, 2018
peter goodman

Commentary: Unless Republicans in Congress challenge Donald Trump’s conduct, Democrats winning back the House might now be a matter of national security.

U.S. intelligence services unanimously say Russia interfered in our 2016 elections and plans the same for 2018. Twelve Russian military officers are under indictment; and the 29-page indictment is incredibly specific on what they did.

Monday, Trump stood beside Vladimir Putin and made clear he believed Putin’s denial of any interference. Remarkably, Trump said he couldn’t “see any reason why” Russia would interfere in our election. A huge outcry (even from Republicans) forced a fatuous cleanup effort, but Trump added that it could actually be others. Trump’s handpicked Director of Intelligence, Dan Coats, commented that the intelligence conclusion is “extremely clear” and that the Russian interference is “persistent,” “pervasive,” and “meant to undermine American democracy.”

Rep. Brian Egolf

  Commentary: District Court Judge Sarah Singleton issued a ruling that the Martinez Administration is failing to provide New Mexico students with a sufficient education and violating the students’ constitutional rights.  State Representatives issued the following statements in response:

“When our children can’t access the high-quality education they need, there are ripple effects across New Mexico,” said Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe).  “This can be a turning point for New Mexico’s educational system.  When we invest in our children’s success, we will also find it easier to boost economic development and improve public safety.  I am committed to working with our next Governor to forge a new path, where every child in New Mexico has access to a great education, regardless of zip code.”

Stephanie Ly-AFT NM President / aft photo

Commentary: Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFT New Mexico President Stephanie Ly on the New Mexico court ruling that the state is failing to adequately fund its public schools:

AFT President Randi Weingarten says: “For too long, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and her administration have abandoned their responsibility to kids and public schools. This ruling confirms what parents and educators know—that New Mexico children are deprived of the essential resources, including qualified teachers and support staff, they need. This deprivation is especially severe for those at risk and in need of additional supports—English language learners, Native American students and those in poverty. The ruling also calls out the governor’s obsession with testing over teaching.

  Commentary: A state court ruled today that New Mexico’s education system violates the state constitution because it fails to provide students a sufficient public education.


AG Balderas urges FDA to ban Flavored Tobacco

Jul 20, 2018
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

Commentary:  Albuquerque, NM — Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas joined a bipartisan coalition of nine Attorneys General in urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban flavored tobacco products. In March, the FDA began soliciting information related to the role that flavors play in the use of tobacco products. As part of its rule-making process, the FDA is seeking comments, data, research, and other results regarding flavored tobacco and its impact on certain populations. The Attorneys General are urging a complete ban of flavors in all tobacco products

Conservationists critical of latest plan for Gila River diversion

Jul 20, 2018

Commentary: On behalf of 37 local, state, and national conservation, sportsmen, faith, and outdoor recreation organizations, the Gila Conservation Coalition submitted today scoping comments on the ecologically harmful and costly Gila River diversion project.

Commentary: Summer always turns the mind to liberty. Liberty because summertime is when vacations give us freedom from school and work. Liberty because of the 4th of July. So, it was that watching a fireworks display inspired me to turn my mind to the issue of how economics can help to define the boundaries of government in the organization of society.

My Party...Right Or Wrong

Jul 19, 2018

Commentary: Many people of voting age know a famous quotation: My country, right or wrong. This is an expression of utmost loyalty to the nation state, however one may interpret the manifestation of that quality.

Whether one agrees with this particular sentiment or not, this quotation demonstrates a fervor and uncompromising loyalty that some pledge to the nation state. In this view, the rightness or wrongness of what a nation state does or stands for is always subservient to and of lesser importance than pledging and maintaining one’s allegiance to that nation state.

New Mexicans Speak Out About Radioactive Waste Risks

Jul 19, 2018

Commentary: Prominent New Mexicans raised concerns today at a legislative hearing (PDF) about a controversial plan to bring deadly high-level radioactive waste to their state.

Complaint Filed To Stop Transfer Of Las Cruces-Area State Park

Jul 18, 2018

Commentary: Yesterday the New Mexico Legislative Council filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief with the First Judicial District Court in an effort to halt the transfer of ownership of the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park from the Energy, Minerals, & Natural Resources Department (State Parks Division) to the Department of Game and Fish. The claim states that the Defendants acted in excess of their authority and violated the separation of powers doctrine established by Article III, Section 1 of the New Mexico Constitution.

Congress Continues to Shield National Monuments from Attacks

Jul 17, 2018

Commentary: New Mexican business owners, Native American Tribes, Latino organizations, sportsmen, veterans, elected officials, and other community members today welcomed the House introduction of the ANTIQUITIES ACT of 2018, sponsored by Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham and Congressman Ben Ray Luján along with 55 co-sponsors. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich introduced a Senate version of the bill in January 2018.

The legislation came in response to President Trump’s significant reductions to Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. The ANTIQUITIES ACT of 2018 enhances the protections to national monuments that were designated by the Antiquities Act between 1996 and 2017 – the timeframe of the Trump administration’s “review.” In New Mexico, this includes Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, Río Grande del Norte, and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monuments. 

Lujan Grisham Bill Would Permanently Protect & Enhance America’s National Monuments

Jul 17, 2018
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Commentary:  Business leaders from across New Mexico are applauding Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) today for introducing the America’s Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspires, and the Together Improve the Economies of States Act (ANTIQUITIES Act) of 2018 into the House of Representatives.  This bill mirrors legislation introduced in January by Senator Tom Udall and co-sponsored by Senator Martin Heinrich.

Congresswoman Grisham’s bill is a response to the aggressive removal this past January by President Trump of more than 2 million acres of public lands from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah, despite strong opposition from Tribal entities, local governments, business leaders, sportsmen and women, veterans, conservationists, and others.

Immigrant Rights Are Human Rights

Jul 17, 2018

Commentary: Thirty-eight years ago I applied for permanent residency at the Canadian border.  At that time I was told that I could either become a nurse or get married.  I laughed it off replying I already have a job (not in the medical field) and plans were in place for marriage.  I did get my green card.  Prior to that when I traveled through the United States by air my passport would be held until I boarded the plane to take me out of the country. 

Commentary: The U.S.-Mexico border seems to constantly be in the press. Nearly every day, I get a call from a reporter or outside party asking my opinion on trade and the U.S. tariffs being imposed on other countries, and how this is affecting our economic development progress. I am also constantly asked about border security, President Trump’s proposed border wall, and how each topic affects our daily lives and businesses.

Vote "No" In The Las Cruces City Bond Election

Jul 17, 2018

Commentary: The last budget meeting I attended at City Hall the discussion was that there were 3/12th’s in reserve balance.  The state requires each city to hold 1/12th and back in my days on Council we decided to hold 2/12th’s.  There is absolutely no reason for our city government to hold 3/12th’s which is a total of $21 million and then ask the public to approve a GO Bond in August for an additional $35 million. 

Republicans' Behavior At Hearing With FBI Agent Was A Comic Tragedy

Jul 17, 2018

Commentary: I was warned years ago that anything I send or receive over my work email could eventually be made public if I or the newspaper were ever sued.

It’s a warning I have tried to heed. But, I have no doubt that if every message I have sent or received from my work phone and email address were to be made public, there would be some that would make me cringe. Undoubtedly, some would show bias. Undeniably, there would be snark and profanity.

Which brings me to Thursday’s U.S. House hearing on the emails of FBI agent Peter Strzok. For those who didn’t get a chance to see it, it was like watching a pack of small terriers fighting over which one gets to make love to a football.

Commentary: Long ago, the phrase “motherhood and apple pie” meant pure stuff every politician would embrace; and conservatives stood for “national security” and “family values.”


Thursday I watched the House Judiciary Committee soap opera, starring FBI agent Peter Strzok.  Strzok has a great reputation as an investigator, but imprudently texted his girlfriend about candidate Donald Trump. 

Lifelong Republican Bob Mueller is the special prosecutor investigating the Russian effort to tip the scales for Trump in the 2016 election. He's mostly kept his mouth shut. He's already obtained convictions and guilty pleas. Trump's former campaign manager is sitting in jail and his long-time lawyer and “fixer” seems headed there. Before Trump started running seriously for president, it was common knowledge that Russian and Ukrainian folks, some unsavory, were helping him stay afloat financially. 

Xochitl Torres Small Campaign Raises $615,000 In Second Quarter

Jul 13, 2018

Commentary:  This morning, Xochitl Torres Small, Democratic candidate for the open seat in New Mexico’s 2ndcongressional district, water attorney, and former Field Representative for Sen. Tom Udall, announced that her campaign had raised over $615,000 in the second quarter of 2018.  This marks the third straight financial reporting period in which Torres Small has shown her campaign’s strength.  In the first quarter of this year and in the pre-primary reporting period, Torres Small outraised her Republican opponent, Rep.

Trump's remarks during European trip illuminate actions at home

Jul 13, 2018

Commentary: President Trump let his blustery, undiplomatic best rip this week in England, making highly revealing comments about immigration in Europe in a wide-ranging interview with The Sun.

“So I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad.“I think you are losing your culture. Look around. You go through certain areas that didn’t exist 10 or 15 years ago.”

Trump’s criticisms of immigration and resulting policies in the United States are generally given as economic and safety concerns. But one has to wonder in light of his comments this week, about largely immigrants of color flowing into Europe, if his focus on reducing immigration has more to do with losing his own culture.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D)-TX 16

Commentary: Following a nine day, more than 1,000 mile drive across Texas, Beto O’Rourke announced that his grassroots campaign for the U.S. Senate raised more than $10.4 million during the second quarter of 2018. Powered by 215,714 contributions and not a dime from special interests, O’Rourke continues to break statewide and national fundraising records while putting people over PACs.

Goodman: The Pushback Against A Changing America

Jul 8, 2018
peter goodman

The Long Road To Solving The "Brain Drain" In New Mexico

Jul 8, 2018
Trip Jennings-New Mexico In Depth

  Commentary: Searchlight New Mexico’s Amy Linn took a deep look this week at the state’s dismal record at persuading talented, educated young people to stay once they’re college graduates.

The major stumbling block? There are plenty, but the one that appears to elbow all the rest out of contention for first-place honors is jobs, or, more precisely, the lack of them.

Predicting A Recession? Sorry, That's Not Reliable

Jul 6, 2018

Commentary: If you watch financial news, as I do, you no doubt have been witness to a flood of comment about the end of the expansion. Analysist are talking about the “late cycle.” Discussion turns to “inverted yield curves” and the coming recession.

Extremely low unemployment leading to wage pressure, tightening monetary policy and a looming trade war all have put analyst on the lookout for a recession. Mechanically speaking, we are late in the cycle in that we are in the midst of one of the longest expansions on record and is  now tied for the third longest expansion on record.

Commentary: President Donald Trump announced today via Twitter that he has accepted the resignation of embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.

In response, Kara Cook-Schultz, the director of U.S. PIRG’s toxics program, released this statement:

"Scott Pruitt pledged to ‘restore’ the EPA to its original mission of protecting human health and the environment. He failed, and his many ethical problems shouldn’t obscure that fact. Americans are less safe than they should be today, due to his poor decisions and leadership.

"We call on the president to clean up the toxic mess he made at the EPA by appointing Scott Pruitt. Republican President Richard Nixon, who created the EPA, understood that we needed to keep our air and water clean, and administrations from both parties have upheld that vision over the ensuing half-century. President Trump needs to nominate someone who will protect human health and the environment so that the EPA can truly succeed in its mission."

Commentary: From June 28-30, 2018, I had the opportunity to attend the International Restorative Justice Conference in Burlington, Vermont. The conference was entitled “Global Unity and Healing: Building Communities with a Restorative Approach.” It was sponsored by the Center for Justice and Reform at the Vermont Law School.

New Mexico Legislators: Stop Transfer Of State Park

Jul 5, 2018

Commentary: The Southwest Environmental Center and Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club call on the NM Legislature to take legal action to block the proposed transfer of the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park from NM State Parks to the NM Department of Game and Fish. According to information provided at a meeting held by the agencies last night, the transfer is moving ahead despite significant opposition from the Legislature and public.

Commentary:  National Education Association Executive Director John Stocks addressed more than 6,000 delegates at NEA’s annual Representative Assembly, which is meeting this week in Minneapolis. The following are remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thank you Lily … Thank you delegates … it is not easy coming up here at the end of a long day filled with powerful speakers.

Lee Saunders, Randi, David Hogg, and our incredible president Lily. Listening to those leaders alone is worth the trip to Minneapolis.

The theme of today is union strength and unity.

I could tell you that these themes are critical to our survival … I could tell you that unity has never been more important to us … blah, blah, blah, blah, blah … but delegates, I’m not here to tell you what you already know.

Given the context we face as an organization … as professionals and as advocates … I’m here to ask you to dig deep. When I say dig deep I mean search your soul and reflect on what unity and strength mean to you personally … and what they mean to this union and our democracy.

Lily Eskelsen García-President, NEA / NEA photo

Commentary: The Trump administration is rescinding guidance to colleges and universities on how they can use race in admissions decisions to promote diversity, according to news media reports. For years, research has shown that integration helps all students succeed. Classroom integration decreases achievement and wage gaps, reduces dropout rates, and increases the likelihood that young people of all races and backgrounds can live in the same communities and work in the same industries.

The following statement was issued by NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“Our schools are more diverse than ever, yet the Department of Education, time and again, has turned its back on our most vulnerable and at-risk students — particularly English language learners, students with disabilities, and students of color.

Las Cruces Group Files Lawsuit Against Trump Administration

Jul 5, 2018

Commentary: The Southwest Environmental Center (“SWEC”) announced today the filing of a lawsuit to enjoin the Trump Administration’s Family Separation and Detention Policy. The suit argues that the Family Detention Policy is illegal because the government refused to provide the public with notice and the opportunity to comment on the policy before it was adopted, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.