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.

Walt Rubel

Thoughts On Peng Shuai And The Attack On Democracy

Nov 30, 2021
Peter Goodman

The Stressed Logistics Chain

Nov 30, 2021

Commentary: When it rains, it pours. As North America struggles with disruptions in supply chains and clogged seaports of entry, heavy rains earlier this month has caused Canada to suspend rail service to the Port of Vancouver, the country’s major port of this type on its west coast. This rail suspension occurred while there were more than 60 container vessels lined up offshore  to be unloaded. Major disruptions are being felt in the agricultural, coal, and mineral sectors, which are adding to the misery of delayed shipments and stretched supply chains.

Walt Rubel

Peter Goodman

Commentary: Nearly any business owner in New Mexico will tell you that Michelle Lujan Grisham and her policies have been unfriendly to business. Setting aside the COVID lockdowns, since she took office in 2019, we’ve seen multiple tax hikes, numerous new regulations, and numerous policies that make it more costly and difficult to hire workers.

These policies aren’t just “anti-business,” taken as a whole they undermine economic freedom. A new study provides hard data that quantifies and highlights the negative impact of policies of Lujan Grisham and the Legislature (at least in 2019).


Commentary: The last decade has been difficult for New Mexico. While our neighboring states have been able to attract new industries paying higher wages, New Mexico has stagnated. But now, New Mexico enjoys a record surplus, thanks to the boom in the energy patch. Add to this the recently passed $1.2 trillion federal bi-partisan infrastructure bill, with funds for roads, bridges, and especially important for us, high-speed internet. 

All this can be a real game changer for New Mexico if our political leaders can take advantage of this once in a generation opportunity. But while have had an opportunity handed to us by oil and gas, there are obstacles. The Economic Development Department recently commissioned a study from the Center for Innovation Strategy & Policy to develop a strategy to move forward.  

Walt Rubel

Commentary: Wednesday evening we saw a thought-provoking photo show; next morning, making notes on fictional characters, I realized why everyone should write fiction; then a cousin called from California, dismayed about changes at the community college where she teaches art.

David Sorensen’s “Beautiful Barbarism” is at Art Obscura, a Mesilla Park gallery we really like. I took my time viewing the images.David moved to New Mexico for its peace and natural beauty, then noticed how we treat this land we love.

One image eloquently juxtaposes a sunset storm/rainbow with colorful graffiti on the roofless adobe walls of an abandoned bar. In another, the sun highlights a freshly-killed coyote strung up on a mesquite. A third shows a child’s pink sandal atop hundreds of spent shells in the desert.

To See It All

Nov 11, 2021


Commentary: The paper was riddled with red marks, comments on the side (some intelligible) and plenty of arrows and strikethroughs. Her underling, who was about two levels above me in rank, scurried toward me, waving, with the draft in her hand. "It's great!" she exclaimed. "If it had been really bad, she would have thrown it in your face."

She meant that literally. Big Boss would have thrown my first assignment at me. A whole grown person — and her subordinate and my supervisor — all thought this was OK behavior. Spoiler: That is not OK.

It was a red flag placed into a field that would be colored by so much red that it would battle the colors of the sunsets I would watch as I drank night after night in my backyard. Thoughts rumbled with whys, with what was the point. My family watched me decay from the window in the kitchen over roughly a year. Watching the Great Resignation has been strange because I relate to the stories I read. I went through my moment breaking away from an 8-to-5 in 2017. I had the same experience then; some jobs are not worth the money or your mental health.

Pickleball takes hold in Las Cruces

Nov 8, 2021
peter goodman

  Commentary: With so much to say this week about Climate Change (100 nations at COP 26 vowing to cut methane emissions sharply) and education (public comment period on teaching social studies ending on 12 November), I’ll ponder pickleball.

A lifelong basketball addict grown old, I play pickleball frequently. So do about four million people in the U.S., and many elsewhere. It’s our nation’s fastest-growing sport. One Hollywood producer won’t vacation anywhere that lacks pickleball courts, per a Vanity Fair piece, “How Pickleball Won over Everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to your Grandparents.” (I know folks in their eighties who routinely beat folks half their age.) National TV caught relief pitchers playing in the Chicago Cubs’ bullpen; and pickleball addicts include Russell Wilson, DiCaprio, George and Amal Clooney, Bill and Melida Gates, and Phil Mickelson.

Commentary: It is often said that Your Vote is Your Voice, but voting is the culmination of an ongoing process in which we identify issues that concern or interest us. Then we respond through the ballot and other means, such as interactions with our elected officials. The issues on which we vote are often complex and we make better decisions about them when we gather information and test our ideas against those of others.  The League of Women Voters was created in 1920 with the goal of educating newly enfranchised women voters.  That is, the right to vote was viewed as an important step, but not the only responsibility of citizens living in a democracy.


  Last week, the New Mexico Legislature finally passed a rule banning guns in the state Capitol building. Now, they need to provide that same common-sense protection for local school boards and city councils.


The Legislative Council Committee, which includes leaders from both parties and chambers and meets each month when the Legislature is not in session, passed the new rule on an 8-5 vote, with all Republicans in opposition.

  Commentary: After 20 months, the time has finally come that so many people on the U.S.-Mexico border have been waiting for – on Nov. 8, the borders will be reopened to Mexican and Canadian citizens who can show proof of having been vaccinated for COVID-19.

“In alignment with the new international air travel system that will be implemented in November, we will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the United States for nonessential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings,” stated Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Oct. 13 in an official release.

The Tip of the Iceberg: Why there is No Quick Fix to New Mexico’s Nursing Shortage

Nov 3, 2021

  Commentary: Our healthcare system is in crisis, both in New Mexico and nationwide.  The causes of the staffing shortage are complex and fixing the problem will require an urgent and holistic approach.

            In a recent KRWG interview, Dr. Alexa Doig, Director of the NMSU Nursing Program, spoke on the Nursing shortage. Dr. Doig expressed concerns about the dwindling numbers of Nurse Faculty, “Recruiting faculty is crucial... Our ability to grow is really dependent on our ability to recruit qualified nurse faculty.”

Dr. Doig makes an irrefutable point.  One million “baby boomer” Registered Nurses are expected to retire between 2020-2030, and many Nurse Educators and Managers chose to step down early due to the stress of COVID.  Qualified teachers for healthcare programs are essential for patient safety but adding more Nurse Faculty is nowhere near enough to fix the problem.

Child Advocates Support EPA Methane Rules, Call for Stronger Protection

Nov 2, 2021
Laura Paskus

Commentary: James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, issued the following statement regarding the new federal methane rules, released today by the EPA: 

“We need strong rules that put an end to methane pollution from the oil and gas industry in order to protect today’s children – as they are disproportionately harmed by the air pollution it causes. We also need them to safeguard children of the future – as they will suffer the increasingly dire consequences of the climate crisis we continue to exacerbate.  

New Mexico needs better plan for federal funds

Nov 2, 2021


  Commentary: Worried that federal spending was getting out of control, Sen. Everett Dirksen warned in 1973 that, “a billion here, and a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”


Dirksen’s quote seems quaint these days, in light of new spending passed or proposed by Congress to combat and counteract the impacts of the pandemic.


The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, passed under former President Donald Trump, had $1.9 trillion in new federal spending. That was followed by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act, passed under President Joe Biden, which has added another $2.2 trillion. And, Congress is in the process of whittling down a human infrastructure bill, now estimated at $1.2 trillion, to go along with a traditional infrastructure bill costing another $1.2 trillion, which has already been passed by the Senate.

Thoughts On Building A More Inclusive Country

Nov 1, 2021


  Commentary: Recently, many old white guys feel under attack. U.S. citizens, white folks, and males have come down in the world.

U.S. citizens still have it way better than most; but our absurd preeminence during my youth – 6% of the world’s population with 60% of its goodies – couldn’t, and shouldn’t, last.

Whites still have it pretty good (see last week’s column); and men still generally have it better than women.

Mexican wolves see improved but imperfect management rule

Oct 29, 2021

Commentary: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a new rule for managing the recovery of endangered Mexican gray wolves. In a major improvement for lobos, the wild population would no longer be arbitrarily capped at 320 wolves. And the Service would have more specific objectives for improving the genetic health of the population. Finally, there would be increased restrictions on wolf killings as those objectives are being met.

But wildlife advocates and conservationists remain unconvinced that the rule is adequate to achieve full recovery of the species. Mexican wolves will continue to be removed or killed if they re-enter their historic habitat north of Interstate 40. And, in an exercise in mental gymnastics, the new proposed rule continues to classify the only wild population of Mexican wolves in the U.S. —186 at last count — as “nonessential” to the recovery of the species in the wild.

New Mexico Governor Signs Order To Reform, Simplify State Regulations

Oct 26, 2021

 Commentary: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes and other state leaders today unveiled the 20-year Strategic Plan that will guide economic investments in New Mexico and deliver a more robust, resilient and secure future for all families.

In response to Strategic Plan findings, Gov. Lujan Grisham on Tuesday took action to initiate a statewide effort to streamline the state’s regulatory system. Through an executive order, the governor will direct the Regulation and Licensing Department, in consultation with the Economic Development Department, to conduct a comprehensive review of the state’s rules and regulations to identify opportunities for updates, simplifications or repeals that will streamline the regulatory system -- and ultimately deliver the most business-friendly environment while maintaining the protection of public health and safety.


  Commentary: A great nation is able to teach its history honestly, celebrating its triumphs and correcting its mistakes.


That’s what the New Mexico Public Education Department is trying to accomplish with its proposed revision to the social studies standards. The 122-page plan lays out in fine detail what would be taught to students in social studies classes from kindergarten through high school.


And that’s one of my concerns. Dictating every detail from Santa Fe wouldn’t seem to leave much room for the teachers.

Peter Goodman


  Commentary: There’s a human race. One, homo sapiens.

The malarkey about black, white, yellow, or red races was a false construct used to justify slavery and other forms of exploitation of fellow humans.

That construct was central to (and a massive flaw in) our democracy. U.S. citizens held slaves. States enforced enslavement with laws, and vicious slave-catchers. Our Constitution denied blacks, women, and poor folks the right to vote, and made each southern slaveholder’s vote more powerful than a northerner’s vote.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Commentary: GLASGOW, Scotland – New Mexico’s ambitious climate change achievements and goals will be on the world stage as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham attends the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Scotland.

The international climate summit, which will take place in Glasgow, is the 26th session of the “Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.” The annual convening of nearly every nation on earth serves as a valuable opportunity for collaboration around formalizing global climate strategies and to spur collective action. The 21st Conference of the Parties in France resulted in the Paris Agreement, the goals of which Gov. Lujan Grisham committed the state to as one of her first acts in office.

The many faces of systemic violence

Oct 21, 2021

  Commentary: October is nationally proclaimed as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and during this month, many of us in the work to end violence against women across the nation are busy trying to educate our communities to bring an end to this systemic crisis disproportionately impacting Indigenous communities across the country.

Most of our movement leaders come to this work with real-life lived experiences and want to help others live a life without violence. In tribal communities, where the rate of violence is five times more likely to occur than in non-native communities, it’s important to understand the root causes of violence. It’s important to understand the historical context and historical trauma and how they are a direct consequence of ongoing systemic violence against our Indigenous nations as a result of the establishment and expansion of the settler colonial project we know as the United States of America. 

These are ‘The People’s Maps’

Oct 21, 2021

Commentary: Let’s face it! Redistricting is intrinsically an overwhelming, highly technical, and elitist process that was set up this way to suppress public input and participation in the once-every-ten-years process. But as it is now customary, community organizers and leaders have been able to dismantle many of these systemic barriers and obstacles, elevating the voices of community members in this highly important conversation.

So what is redistricting? Well, every 10 years, much like in 2020, the U.S. government carries out a complete head count of every person living in the country to track population increases or decreases. This information is used to determine how to best distribute funding and resources to every community nationwide. But perhaps most importantly, Census data is used to redraw political representation maps which determine how much or how little of a say you and your community will have in our federal and state governments. In other words, depending on who and how the redistricting process is carried out, you could experience a more responsive, representative government that works for the needs and aspirations of everyday New Mexicans, or the complete opposite–for the next decade.

That and a Venti Will Not Buy Your Status in the World

Oct 19, 2021

Commentary: Because my car is precious, it only takes the best gas. If it had its druthers, it would like to make the fill-up organic with a side of acai, but it knows that it lives in my stable, and I'm itching to convert from a sporty single-person sedan to a trusty Mom wagon, so it keeps the peace. However, after I finish pumping, I'll mutter to my kids about the 60 bucks I just dropped for a full tank and recently felt my ye olde oats when I told them, "When I started driving at 15, gas was hovering around a dollar a gallon."

  State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg has apparently decided that if the weak and subservient New Mexico Legislature will not stand up for itself, he’ll do it for them.


Eichenberg, who previously served in the state Senate, has written a court brief in support of a lawsuit filed by two senators, Republican Greg Baca and Democrat Jacob Candelaria, challenging the authority of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to spend federal relief money without going through the legislative process.

Laura Paskus, New Mexico In Depth

Commentary: Right now, Congress has a critical chance to fix the broken and outdated oil and gas leasing system that allows this country’s resources to get relentlessly depleted at a catastrophic cost to the climate, public health, the rights of Indigenous communities, and local communities.

We must face the truth head on. The federal oil and gas leasing program is rife with wasteful speculative leasing practices and loopholes that allow companies responsible for toxic water spills to evade any penalties and shift the cleanup costs to taxpayers. The current system allows these companies to nominate lands they want to drill, purchase leases at obscenely low rates, and deprive local governments of much-needed revenue by paying outdated, low royalty rates to taxpayers. In New Mexico alone, almost 4.3 million acres are currently leased for potential development. Beyond the exploitation of resources themselves, the Indigenous communities that have witnessed their sacred land being destroyed deserve recompense.

Legislation to Strengthen Land Grant Communities’ Rights

Oct 13, 2021
Senator Ben Ray Luján

 Commentary: U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and U.S. Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) and Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) introduced the Land Grant-Mercedes Traditional Use Recognition and Consultation Act to recognize community land grants as an important part of the culture and history of the State of New Mexico. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 116th Congress, Senator Luján unanimously passed similar legislation through the House to make it easier for land grant mercedes to work with federal land management agencies.

Support Grows For Wild & Scenic Designation To Protect Gila River

Oct 13, 2021
Gila River

  Commentary: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is preparing to reintroduce legislation to designate portions of the Gila River, its watershed and other rivers in the Gila National Forest as Wild and Scenic Rivers. Senator Heinrich acknowledged the growing support for the Wild & Scenic designation as part of the Gila Wild and Scenic Rivers of Opportunity Conference in Silver City, New Mexico.

“I’m grateful to all the local stakeholders and community leaders in southwestern New Mexico over the years who provided input to make sure we got this legislation right,” said Heinrich during his remarks. “And I am humbled by all the New Mexicans who have devoted themselves to protecting the Gila for future generations.”