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.

Beto O'Rourke: "Born" To Be President?

2 hours ago
Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke / File


  Commentary: Fetch the smelling salts and pick me gently off the floor: Beto O’Rourke is running for president.  

In the least surprising development of the 2020 Democratic Party primary, O’Rourke finally declared his candidacy on Wednesday after four months of buzz.

The former El Paso City Council member and three-term congressman may have lost his bid to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz last November, but in so doing he cultivated an aura of celebrity, social media aptitude and fundraising prowess that persuaded enough of the Washington political establishment, political commentariat and, at last, himself that he is made of presidential timber.

Goodman: Trump Is A Symptom Of Larger Problems

Mar 17, 2019


  Commentary: Have we reached a fork in the road?


We've used and abused other humans and our environment, living extremely comfortably. For decades it's been clear that our luck was running out – and should. 


Less clear is the nature of the reckoning. Materially, would the pie (world economy) grow, allowing our extreme economic advantage (being 6% of the population, controlling 60% of the resources) to decline in relative terms, nonviolently, and without causing us real suffering? Would technology, ingenuity, and some self-discipline mute environmental disruption?

Common Cause Cheers Passage of New Mexico Ethics Commission

Mar 16, 2019

Commentary: “We are  pleased and excited that the 2019 legislature has fulfilled a promise to the New Mexico voters to establish an independent ethics commission,” Heather Ferguson, executive director, Common Cause New Mexico.  Three quarters of NM voters last November voted to put an ethics commission in the constitution, but it was up to the legislature to set it up. 

The ethics commission has been a subject of debate in the legislature for over a decade as a number of high-profile convictions have captured headlines and sent public officials to prison.

Failure Of New Mexico Legislature To Remove Abortion Ban Inexcusable

Mar 16, 2019

Commentary: The League of Women Voters is deeply disappointed that the New Mexico Senate voted against HB 51, which would have repealed the outdated law making abortion a crime. New Mexico women deserve to know that a full range of healthcare will remain available to them even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.  The League believes that in a pluralistic society such as ours the individual's right to make reproductive choices, including abortion, must be affirmed.

There is no Emergency at U.S. Southern Border

Mar 15, 2019

Commentary: The claim that there is an emergency at the U.S. Southern border is just plain false. Apprehensions are at their lowest level in the last 20 years, most illegal drugs enter U.S. through legal points of entry, El Paso has not and is not a crime infested city, more Mexican immigrants have returned home from the U.S. than have migrated here since the end of the great recession and legal and undocumented immigrants living here commit less crime.

Risk of a global recession is rising

Mar 15, 2019

Commentary: There is growing evidence of a global slowdown. Italy and Turkey are already in recession. The French and German economies are showing signs of weakness. Add to this uncertainty about Brexit. All this has caused sufficient concern that the European Central Bank to announce a new stimulus program hoping to avoid a wider EU downturn.

Meanwhile, evidence is mounting of a big slowdown in China, with industrial output and retails sales weakening. While trade negotiations continue, tensions with the United States adds to the risk to the Chinese economy.

Bill to Move New Mexico to One Person, One Vote Heads to Governor

Mar 13, 2019

Commentary: Yesterday, the National Popular Vote bill passed the Senate Floor. This bill would move New Mexico closer to one person, one vote. House Bill 55, sponsored by Rep. Gail Chasey (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Daymon Ely (D-Corrales), Sen. Carlos R. Cisneros (D-Questa) and Sen. Mimi Stewart (D-Albuquerque), would allow New Mexico to enter into a multistate compact to award states’ presidential electors to the winner of the national vote.

El Paso Democrats pass a vote of no-confidence in Dr. Heather Wilson

Mar 13, 2019
Heather Wilson (Facebook)

Commentary:  Tuesday night, the El Paso County Democratic Party told the UT Board of Regents: We have no confidence in Dr. Heather Wilson to be the next president of the University of Texas at El Paso.

At a public meeting of the Party’s County Executive Committee, a resolution calling for a vote of no-confidence was introduced and voted on. The resolution cited Ms. Wilson’s voting record in the U.S. House of Representatives — voting no on providing 84 million dollars in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges in March of 2006, voting no on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation in November of 2007, voting no on providing federal assistance to states, local jurisdictions and Native American tribes to prosecute hate crimes, voting yes on a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in September of 2004, among other votes — and noted the more than 6,000 signatures from El Pasoans opposing her selection on The resolution passed unanimously.

Haaland Blasts Discrimination Against Transgender Service Members

Mar 13, 2019

Commentary: Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after the Department of Defense announced it will implement the order banning transgender service members from serving in the military effective April 12th:

“After hearing testimony from transgender service members who have served honorably and made great sacrifices for our country, it baffles me that the Department of Defense would move forward with this blatantly discriminatory policy. Any person who has volunteered to give their life for this country should be honored, respected, and thanked. Instead, thanks to yet another reckless Trump policy, these brave servicemembers will have to worry about whether their livelihood will be taken away from them and their families. This decision is a slap in the face to our troops and poses a threat to our nation’s readiness.”

Commentary: House Republican leaders delivered the petitions to overturn Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) to the New Mexico Secretary of State on Monday. The next step in the process will require the Secretary of State to approve the petitions before they can be circulated to the public.

“We are extremely grateful to all the New Mexicans who are reaching out to ask how they can help,” said House Republican Leader Rep. Jim Townsend (R-Artesia). “This bill is opposed by a an overwhelming number of county leaders and also by our Sheriffs. This is an attack on law-abiding New Mexicans and they deserve the opportunity to overturn this shameful law.”

New Mexico Oil Production Soars to a Record 250 Million Barrels in 2018

Mar 12, 2019

Commentary: New Mexico’s oil boom continues to reach new heights as recently-published data shows oil production reaching a record-high of 250 million barrels of oil in 2018. The United States Energy Information Administration reports that oil production climbed an impressive 46% from 2017 to 2018, surging 78 million barrels past the previous record of 171 million barrels set in 2017.

Udall Statement on Trump Budget

Mar 11, 2019
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary: Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, lead Democrat on the Senate Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, released the following statement on President Trump's budget blueprint: 

“The president’s budget is a clear reflection of his administration’s backwards and dangerous priorities, which would be devastating to New Mexico’s economy and to working families in our state and across the country. To finance tax cuts lining the pockets of the wealthiest few, the Trump administration wants to cut funding for education, Medicaid, Medicare, renewable energy, water projects, and roll back environmental programs that keep our air and water clean and safe. 

  Commentary: The Associated Press in Kansas organized a statewide test several years ago to see if government agencies were complying with open records laws.


They requested public documents from the clerk, sheriff’s office and largest school district in every county in the state, then did a big story about who was not in compliance. Most of those public officials offered an excuse and promises to do better in the future. But a few sheriffs refused to turn over the documents (arrest reports) even after statewide reporting, accompanied by finger-wagging editorials.


Haaland on Trump Budget

Mar 11, 2019

 Congresswoman Deb Haaland released the following statement after President Trump released his budget for the 2020 fiscal year:

“The President’s priorities are out of step with the concerns and needs of families in New Mexico. First and foremost, there’s no reason to funnel $8.6 billion for a border wall when that money should be used to support real border security or programs that move our country toward a transition to a renewable energy economy, quality public education for every child no matter their background, and access to health care for all Americans.

Investing In Ports Of Entry Is Border Security

Mar 11, 2019

Commentary: Ports of entry are the physical portals of interaction between countries. People cross to other countries to shop, vacation, and visit families. Businesspeople cross to expand their company’s revenue stream and to diversify their customer base. Trains, trucks, and barges transport goods back and forth to other countries. Ports are where people and merchandise are inspected, verified, and welcomed to our country. However, ports are also the first line of defense in intercepting bad players, unsafe products, and illegal contraband.

Reflecting On The State Of Las Cruces

Mar 10, 2019
peter goodman

Commentary: Reading Mayor Miyagashima's “State of the City” speech prompted this citizen to reflect on the subject.

Generally, the state of the city seems good. The mayor, council, and city manager have done much. I particularly applaud the city's commitment to environmental/sustainability issues; and I agree that passage last year of four bond issues illustrated a healthy willingness of citizens to invest in improving Las Cruces – and our quality-of-life. 

I experience the city driving, walking, or bicycling around, playing pickleball, attending meetings, and the usual other ways. 


Commentary: Responding to a staged pro-border wall rally organized by prominent state Republicans, residents from New Mexico border counties are speaking out against Trump’s wall and his manufactured crisis.


“The only threat to this county is in the paranoia being generated by the president's unfounded fear-mongering. The threat from border crossers into the bootheel is negligible. More than 95 percent of the 6,000 crossers at Antelope Wells over the past year were Central American families turning themselves in to seek asylum, according to the Border Patrol’s Lordsburg Sector,” said Kim Vacariu, a property and business owner in Rodeo, Hidalgo County. “There is no need for a wall across the bootheel of New Mexico. A wall here would destroy one of America’s most critical wildlife corridors — a natural asset drawing hundreds of researchers and several conferences per year to one of New Mexico’s most remote counties.”


Law Enforcement Failing To Follow The Law?

Mar 6, 2019

Commentary: Being robbed at gunpoint some 15 years ago remains a vivid memory. My attention fastened less on the gun than the gunman. I studied the mugger as a person for clues about his judgment and how much danger my friend and I were facing.

Just our luck, the kid was new at this, an amateur. His hands shook. He was in a sweat, his body was tense, and his finger was on that trigger as he waved the gun and pointed it at my friend’s stomach.

We would have felt safer with a professional, but we got "Flop-sweat Fred." Nevertheless, we negotiated the encounter with no shots fired and no additional holes on anyone’s person.

By the time you read this, 23 of New Mexico’s 33 counties may have declared themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuary counties.”


  Commentary: Bill Richardson wasn’t worried about either his Republican opponent, John Sanchez, or Green Party upstart David Bacon when he took the stage in Las Cruces for a televised debate prior to the 2002 gubernatorial election. Confident that victory was secured, Richardson directed his message to members of his own party in the Legislature.


He made it known that he would be proposing a big tax cut for the wealthy as one of his first acts. A future run for president was in the making, and Richardson needed to burnish his pro-business credentials.


The bill passed in 2003 reduced the top income tax rate from 8.2 to 5 percent and cut capital gains taxes by 50 percent.


That was the original sin.

Remembering Some Special People In The Borderland

Mar 3, 2019
peter goodman

Commentary: A week ago Friday, we signed our old friend, Orville “Bud” Wanzer, into hospice. Then on Saturday we attended a memorial for Edna Lucero, who'd died recently and peacefully at 96, making soup in the family farmhouse. Early Sunday morning, Bud died. (His obit is -- at least was supposed to be, but for the newspaper's ineptitude with its new system -- in today's Sun-News. Edna's appeared February 10.)


I knew Bud extremely well for half a century. I met Edna once, immediately wanted to visit her, and her husband of 73 years, Enrique, for a column, but never did.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, please come to New Mexico

Mar 2, 2019

Commentary: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez please come to New Mexico. We need you to explain to our political leaders the futility of tax breaks to lure business.

Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC, is the 29-year-old self-proclaimed socialist recently elected to congress from New York who was instrumental in convincing Amazon to cancel construction of its Queens campus.

Amazon famously had engaged in a nationwide search for a location for its new headquarters, dubbed HQ2, that pitted city against city in a bidding war. New York offered Amazon $3 billion in tax rebates and incentives, which works out to about $48,000 per job. The state also used special rules that overrode City zoning laws, streamlining construction.

Offensive Mascots and Statues in America

Mar 2, 2019

Commentary: America’s history of offensive mascots and statues is long with disturbing bigotry treated as a normal occurrence. Mascots and statues have been controversial social markers. Mascots and statues commonly laud a person, usually a white male in heroic terms at the expense of demonizing an entire ethnic group by featuring their defeat, inferiority, or otherwise criminal demeanor. The ‘gun slinging cowboy’ proposed as New Mexico State University’s mascot fulfills that stereotype in multiple ways. An “aggie”, short for agriculture, refers to an agricultural farm figure rather than a pistol carrying cowboy figure. In fact, other universities whose Aggie mascot designation is a ‘dog’ or ‘dawg’ does not connote offensive thoughts or feelings as does a pistol carrying cowboy. Historical context is instructive: an Aggie mascot in many colleges in the United States was started in the land grant tradition of Agricultural and Mechanical institutions focused on cutting-edge technical practices within the agricultural sciences, not pistol carrying cowboys.

Haaland Puts Medicare For All Bill on the Table

Feb 27, 2019

Commentary: Today, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) put the Medicare for All bill on the table alongside 106 original cosponsors. The Medicare for Act of 2019 paves a path for universal health care enrollment for all United States residents. 

“Everyone deserves to see the doctor without breaking the bank. Everyone deserves to afford medication without having to wonder if they’ll be able to put food on the table. However, the current system of health care in this country is outrageously expensive and inefficient. Medicare for All will ensure that every person living in our country has access to quality health care and comprehensive benefits,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland.

Torres Small Supports Common-sense, Bi-partisan Gun Safety Measure

Feb 27, 2019

Commentary: Today, Representative Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02) voted in favor of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act.  The bill closes the gun-show loophole in federal gun background check laws and requires background checks for gun sales between two unrelated individuals.  It also includes smart exemptions for transfers between family members, as well as loans for friends going to the sporting range or on a hunt.

“Like a majority of gun owners across America, I believe in common-sense gun safety measures, which is why I supported HR 8,” said Rep. Torres Small. “While protecting our 2nd amendment rights, this bill ensures that dangerous individuals can no longer exploit the gun-show loophole to buy a gun while also making smart exemptions to prevent burdensome regulations for transfers between family and friends.  The measures in this bi-partisan bill strike a balance that will help to keep our communities safe and our rights protected.”

The Road Act Revisited

Feb 26, 2019

Commentary: The Roads Act is back on the road so to speak. First presented during the 2017 New Mexico Legislative Session, it is now staging a comeback. The issues prompting the legislation have not disappeared but remain of critical concern in southern New Mexico throughout the Elephant Butte Irrigation District.

The Promise And Peril Of Digital News

Feb 26, 2019

Commentary: In 2012, musician Joe Walsh released the song “Analog Man.” The first line of the chorus goes, “I’m an analog man in a digital world …”

The first time I heard it, I thought, Joe Walsh has written a song about me.

That was about the time I was working for Digital First Media, temporary owners of the Sun-News, and had been named interim editor after Jim Lawitz left. During the process to replace him, I was told that they were looking for a “digital leader to take our digital newsroom into the digital future.” And no, I’m not making that up.

Erickson: Time To End Public Subsidies For Spaceport America

Feb 25, 2019

Commentary: Recently I sat in the audience listening to a spoke person for Spaceport America explain the benefits of the Spaceport to the local economy. I was underwhelmed. Touted recent accomplishments was the filming of music videos and a intercollegiate science fair.

After the presentation ended, as the audience left the room, I asked the speaker for her best economic argument for Spaceport America. She said that was none. That if were to require the Spaceport to pay for itself, well it just wasn’t possible. She argued that New Mexico should support the space port because travel to space was romance.

Crisis In Venezuela

Feb 25, 2019

Commentary: “Motherland, socialism, or death," was changed in 2012 to "Motherland and socialism. We will live, and we will come out victorious." The tweaking in this political slogan in 2012 was one of the final acts of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in attempting to restamp his Bolivarian Revolution (named after 19th century Venezuelan revolutionary Simon Bolivar) before he succumbed to cancer the following year.

Goodman: Yes, Law Enforcement Must Follow The Law

Feb 24, 2019
peter goodman


  I'm glad we elected Kim Stewart sheriff. 


Her opponent was hooked up with a right-wing cult called the “Constitutional Sheriffs Association,” which holds that sheriffs outrank federal law-enforcement. Joe Arpaio and Clive Bundy are big supporters. It grew from the old Posse Comitatus. (Jews exploit Christian farmers through taxes and unfair loans.) 


These folks favor stronger penalties for illegal border-crossings and refuse to enforce laws they don't like. 

Las Cruces Area Groups Join Lawsuit To Fight Trump Emergency Declaration

Feb 22, 2019

Commentary: The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) filed a lawsuit with Sierra Club, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, to protect the people and places that are threatened by Trump’s dangerous power grab last week.

The lawsuit alleges that the president, once again, acted beyond his authority and unlawfully used his limited emergency powers to bypass Congress to fund his border vanity wall. The Constitution gives Congress alone the “power of the purse” and Congress used it last week to deny Trump the full funding for his dangerous and deadly wall.