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.  Submissions must adhere to these guidelines.


Commentary: Today, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced the Trump administration will transfer over 560 acres of public lands to the Army to build roughly 70 miles of border barriers. The acreage includes public and desert lands in Arizona, California and New Mexico, including areas immediately south of Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona and Otay Mountain Wilderness in California. 

The land transfer is a result of Trump’s national emergency declaration and waiving of virtually all environmental and cultural protection laws at the border for wall construction. Trump will use $3.6 billion of the military’s budget for these portions of the wall-- cutting over 125 projects that benefit military families and readiness. The Sierra Club, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC)’s challenge of Trump’s national emergency declaration will be heard by the 9th Circuit Court on November 18th. A ruling in favor of the groups could shut down Trump’s national emergency declaration and halt the fund transfers. 


    Commentary: Wednesday evening, Albuquerque city council voted 6-0 in favor of passing resolution R-19-187 “Declaring a Climate Emergency”. Numerous citizens gave testimony to their concerns about the growing climate crisis and the federal government’s inaction concerning the issue. Residents of all ages showed up in support of declaring a climate emergency, particularly a younger cohort who presented a powerful argument for action to secure a sustainable future. 

The Value Of Play For Adults

20 hours ago
Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

Commentary:    Commentary: It is commonly accepted, if not always understood, that play is essential for child development; but what about adults?

Joan Moriarity has no board certification, but in her role as “game guru” at the Snakes & Lattes Board Game Café in Toronto, she is something of a play therapist for adults, because play is also necessary for grown human beings.


Change In A Harsh Climate

Sep 17, 2019

Commentary: Every past climate change over the last 2,000 years affected only half the globe. This climate change, this one we are in now, is world-wide.  Either we keep treating this global warming like a hot potato or we work on what we can do where we live, city or country.

For instance, science says if those who raise cattle added 1% seaweed into the cattle’s diet, the methane gas released into the atmosphere by cattle would be cut in half.

 Commentary: President Trump lied repeatedly yesterday during a speech in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, making false claims about everything from the economy to health care.

No Need for New Permanent Fund in New Mexico

Sep 17, 2019

Commentary: Budget analysts in New Mexico expect the Legislature will have an incredible $907 million of so-called “new money” when they convene in January. A vast majority of that money comes from the boom in oil and gas production in the Permian Basin.

With nearly $8 billion available in 2020, the general fund budget will be up nearly 27% over just two years. Even fans of bigger government have to be concerned about the rapid rate of government expansion in such a short period of time.

What should be done to solve this very nice problem to have? 

Groups Sue EPA Over Los Alamos Pollution

Sep 17, 2019

Commentary: Late yesterday, clean water advocates filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force it to address extremely high urban storm water pollution in Los Alamos County, downstream from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

Urban storm water pollution from PCBs, copper, zinc, nickel, and gross alpha radiation in Los Alamos County is threatening public health – some pollutants are more than 10,000 times public safety limits. This pollution should have triggered federal action to reduce or eliminate these discharges in the form of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, but the EPA has failed to act. In 2014 Amigos Bravos petitioned the agency to address this threat, but it did not respond. In June of this year Amigos Bravos and Western Environmental Law Center sent a letter notifying the EPA of the organizations’ intent to sue due to the agency’s inaction on the 2014 petition. EPA did not respond substantively to this letter.

Flickr (Creative Commons)

Commentary: President Trump lied repeatedly tonight during a speech in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, touting his tax bill and trade wars as part of his claim that he’s working for New Mexican families. In reality, the president’s trade wars have threatened New Mexican farmers’ livelihoods, and his tax bill will actually raise taxes on many New Mexican families by 2027. 

 While the president has pursued policies that hurt hardworking families, Governor Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico state legislature have been working to diversify our economy and reform our tax code to create an economy that works for all New Mexicans. 

Goodman: Thoughts On Trump's Hurricane Of Controversy

Sep 15, 2019
Peter Goodman

    Commentary: As we age and our cognitive abilities diminish, often it's not the mistakes we make but our overreactions to them that really give us away.


Like Donald Trump getting confused about where Alabama was. No big deal. I laughed; but I also wondered if I could still fill in all the state-names in the right spots on the wordless maps Southwest Airlines used to have on napkins. I guessed I could, taking my time; but if someone else couldn't, so what?


But the Donald couldn't just laugh and shake his head and correct himself.

What Does The End Of Libor Mean?

Sep 14, 2019

Commentary: Like many, I have a personal interest in the ups and downs of the London Interbank Offer Rate, so called Libor, as my flexible rate mortgage is tied to it. If Libor is up, then so is my rate; if Libor is down, so to does my rate go down.

The problem is that Libor is about to go away. My mortgage, along with $400 trillion worth of other debt pegged to Libor, are about to become orphaned. Affected contracts include derivatives, business loans, and corporate bonds. Much of this Libor-linked debt has inadequate fallback provisions, creating uncertainty. No one knows what the ultimate solution will be.


Commentary: The Grant County Commission today passed a resolution to support federal legislation that would protect portions of the Gila and San Francisco Rivers and their tributaries as wild and scenic. The vote comes after a groundswell of support from Tribes, sportsmen, veterans, small business owners, faith and civic organizations, local municipalities and governments, and outdoor recreation and conservation organizations. Local community expressed their appreciation for the commission’s support of this important designation.

Democrats Demand Trump Administration End ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy

Sep 11, 2019

Commentary: U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) joined 23 of his Democratic Senate colleagues in calling on the Trump administration to stop restricting access to the U.S. asylum system by ending its “Remain in Mexico” policy, deceptively named by the Trump administration as the Migrant Protection Protocols. The “Remain in Mexico” policy blocks asylum seekers from being in the U.S. while they wait for their court hearings, forcing them to remain Mexico for extended periods of time, often under dangerous circumstances.


Lessons From Andrew Luck

Sep 10, 2019
Andrew Luck / Facebook

Commentary; The National Football League season will soon begin. For many Americans, this event feels like Christmas and Birthday time all rolled into one.

But something has happened to dampen the enthusiasm a bit for even some of the most die-hard fans. NFL star quarterback Andrew Luck shocked the sports world by announcing he’s walking away from football.

At an age when elite athletes are at their prime and winning championships, Mr. Luck is leaving his game. He cited the toll that football has already taken upon his body and mind, and his need to re-center his life in a very different direction.

Grave Concerns About Trump's Trade War And The Overall Economy

Sep 10, 2019

Commentary: Let’s talk honestly about the health of the economy today. Consumer debt is increasing significantly, due primarily to student debt and auto loans—about double of what they were 10 years ago—at $1.5 trillion and $1.1 trillion respectfully. Consumer spending has been key in economic prosperity since the great recession of 2009—but that will slow as these debts slow growth and spending decreases. Housing formation by college graduates with debt is already crippling that market, even with low mortgage interest rates.

Another concern is the ridiculous trade war started by the Trump administration. Rather than working with our allies to change China’s bad behavior, Trump wanted to go it alone—so now we have less leverage and are involved in a tit-for-tat trade war, and no one knows where or when it will end. Who suffers—Midwest farmers who are going bankrupt and consumers who pay taxes on more expensive imported goods and services.

New Mexico Works to Reduce Excess Methane Emissions

Sep 10, 2019
Four Corners Power Plant. Photo courtesy of EcoFlight and San Juan Citizens Alliance

Commentary:  Understanding how interconnected our environment is with human health is vital to ensure that our communities are healthy and vibrant. The State of New Mexico recently held methane stakeholder meetings around the state. I was fortunate to attend the one in Carlsbad. The local stories told spoke to me, not as a health-conscious environmentalist, but as a mother and a proud New Mexican.

I am thrilled that New Mexico is taking its first steps to protect residents from excess methane and volatile organic compounds. With the federal government rolling back safeguards, it is more important than ever that we are protected. Many people may feel like what happens in the rest of the state does not affect us here in Las Cruces, but that isn’t true.

Commentary: The U.S. Bureau of the Census recently released 2018 export data for Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), which are defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget as being an urbanized area of at least 50,000 people, in which counties and cities are grouped into specific geographical areas for census purposes and to aggregate related statistical data..

Peter Goodman

Commentary: The Doña Ana County Commission needs to schedule a work session with other elected officials – Sheriff, Clerk, Treasurer, and Assessor – concerning a key problem.

A city's comptroller and police chief aren't elected. The U.S. President appoints the FBI Director and U.S. Treasurer, with the Senate's “advice and consent.” If you and I were assigned to create an effective local government, we'd likely not fill so many positions through elections.

The Growth In Uncontested Elections Is Not A Good Sign

Sep 5, 2019
Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

  Commentary: Congratulations to Amy Delaney-Hernandez, incumbent William Bayne Anderson and Kenneth Teague on their election to the Deming Board of Education on Nov. 5.

Projecting them as the winners is no feat of prognostication because they are all running unopposed.

In 2019, the majority of seats on the Deming’s school board are up for election and yet candidates for three out of five positions will simply walk into office unchallenged.

It is not the candidates’ fault, of course, and they deserve thanks for filing their candidacies on Aug. 27. 



New Mexico Governor: Partner with workforce advocates at every opportunity

Sep 2, 2019
Office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Commentary: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday recognized the working people of New Mexico, celebrating Labor Day at community events with organized labor, including the New Mexico Federation of Labor, and issuing the following statement:

 “On Labor Day, we pause to commemorate and celebrate the men and women who fought to win protections and rights for all workers across this country. New Mexicans across the state are still advocating for their fellow workers, and I am proud to lead a state where we value those contributions and partner with workforce advocates at every opportunity. "We have a tremendous opportunity to rebuild state government’s relationship with both working families and unions, and I am proud of the progress we’ve made so far. My administration has been and will continue to be proactive in working to reach equitable agreements with labor unions, working to provide long-overdue wage increases for working people across industries, working to support parents who are striving to deliver a brighter future for their children.”

  Commentary: Americans want a better future for our families and communities and a better life for ourselves: namely, good jobs, high-quality and affordable healthcare, a secure retirement, affordable college, great public schools, a healthy democracy and justice for all. These are the bedrock values of the American dream, and Labor Day is a time to reflect on our progress toward that future.

Unfortunately, these aspirations are out of reach for too many families. Contrary to the boasting of some, this isn’t the best economy ever—unless you’re rich.

Commentary: The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) today issued a statement in the wake of a shooting rampage by a white gunman in his mid-30s, that has thus far claimed five lives and left at least 21 others injured, including three police officers.


“Tonight, we are asking for justice for the innocent victims of another brutal mass shooting, this time in Odessa and Midland, Texas just three weeks following the tragedies in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio,” said Domingo Garcia, National LULAC President, who was born in Midland. “We cannot fully express our sadness and outrage at yet another incidence of violence involving the use of firearms. The investigation is already underway, and we will monitor its findings closely to learn whether this individual had a motive for this mass murder. Our LULAC members in Odessa will be reaching out to the families of the victims and survivors to offer any assistance they can in this difficult and painful time. LULAC once again calls on Governor Abbott to take real action to save lives in Texas,” he added.


Saying Goodbye To A Beloved Friend

Sep 1, 2019

Commentary: Bottle-feeding a weeks-old kitten creates a special bond. Your smell and lap and hands are his earliest memories. They are home. 

In July 2007, three related cats, feral, had litters in my backyard in Oakland. We brought one little family inside. Then that mother's sister deposited her five two-week old kittens on the back stoop, for us to raise. Their extreme youth made it tough. 

One was a long-haired Tuxedo with white on his paws. The hair made him seem solid. I called him Bear. 

Commentary: For as long as anyone can remember, New Mexico has sought a stable and dependable source of revenue that is not oil and gas. And for as long as anyone can remember, no such alternative has been found. Indeed, the adoption of fracking has resulted in greater dependence on oil and gas than ever before. For FY19, it is expected that fully 40% of state revenues will come from the energy patch.

Now comes news from Santa Fe that revenues are expected to exceed prior forecasts by more than $333 million. We are rolling in the doe. The boom this time is different. Prior to 2008, Permian oil production was in secular decline, but with the advent of new technology, we have seen a surge, with both more production per well and more wells.

Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

Commentary:  He was serious; it seems he really wanted to buy Greenland. So what?

President Trump wanted at least to propose purchasing the autonomous region from Denmark; and he did not respond well to be being rebuffed publicly by an ally.

Or maybe it was a calculated distraction from Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide, from the trade war with China, the inverted yield curve, or grim news about gun violence or the climate.

Such is the state of Donald Trump punditry and political chatter on social media (99 percent of which is useless): the president’s every move is simultaneously portrayed as calculated genius and fumbling incompetence. 

Yet what about us? Why did Greenland capture our imagination this week?


New PED Secretary Personally Knows Power of School Choice

Aug 29, 2019

Commentary: Like all New Mexicans, we at the Rio Grande Foundation want to see an improved K-12 system in place. I have two daughters in traditional public school. While concerned about the quick turnover at the top of the PED, we are optimistic about the hiring of Dr. Ryan Stewart.

Stewart comes to us from the Philadelphia area where he worked with an education reform organization called Partners in School Innovation. According to news reports he is relatively young (38) but has impeccable credentials (degrees from Stanford and Harvard).

The Albuquerque Journal reports that he has a 9 year old son. This is notably mainly because the son attends a “private Quaker school” in Philadelphia. In other words, Stewart and his family are financially in a position to pursue his own form of “school choice.” His “choice” is one that would be beyond the financial capability of most New Mexicans. The Rio Grande Foundation found three different Quaker schools in Philadelphia ranging in annual tuition from $16,000 to $30,000.

Judge Rules Against Santa Fe Restaurant in Wage Case

Aug 29, 2019

Commentary: State District Court Judge Raymond Z. Ortiz ruled against Santa Fe restaurant Maki Yaki and its owners for violating New Mexico's Minimum Wage Act and Santa Fe's Living Wage Ordinance. He ordered the restaurant to pay plaintiffs Verónica Velázquez, Juan Torres, and Ivan Hernández nearly $400,000 in unpaid wages and damages. The plaintiffs were represented by Gabriela Ibañez Guzmán, staff attorney at Somos Un Pueblo Unido's United Worker Center of New Mexico, and Santa Fe attorney Carlos Quiñones.

New Mexico Governor: Trump's Proposed Food Stamp Changes "Cruel And Unnecessary"

Aug 29, 2019 (donald trump)

Commentary:  Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) strongly oppose the federal government’s proposed rule changes eliminating Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). She joins 16 other governors who jointly signed a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

“This is a cruel and unnecessary policy change that will hurt many hard-working New Mexican families who are working as hard as they can to put food on the table,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “I strongly oppose this rule change. It is anathema to our duty to provide for vulnerable children, some of whom are being raised in single-parent households, with parents enrolled in college, trying to make better lives for themselves.