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

Commentary: U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small had to cringe Friday morning when she read the headline on the front page of the Sun-News.

“Rep. Torres Small now supports impeachment of Trump.” it said. That’s not accurate.

As reporter Algernon D’Ammassa makes clear in the lead of the story, Torres Small has now come out in support of an impeachment inquiry for the first time. Not impeachment.

Analysis: 70% of NM Families with Children Will See State Income Tax Cut

Oct 16, 2019
New Mexico Voices for Children

Commentary: Most New Mexico families with children – 70% – will get a break on their state personal income taxes when they file their 2019 tax returns, thanks to legislation enacted in April by the state Legislature and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. That’s according to an analysis by the Washington, DC-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), released today in coordination with New Mexico Voices for Children.

Commentary: Worker and community organizations support the Bernalillo County ordinance that gives employees paid time off for health, family, and domestic violence related issues, but call for improvements so it helps more working people.   

“We are disappointed that the ordinance was watered down, but we still believe this is a victory for Bernalillo County’s working families. Everyone needs paid time off when they are sick, and this law makes that a reality for more people,” said Zeke Sanchez-Taylor with OLÉ.

In a questionable political maneuver, after Bernalillo County Commissioners passed the ordinance on August 20, business lobbyists began pressuring commissioners to weaken it. 

Welcoming A New Leader In Las Cruces

Oct 13, 2019
Peter Goodman

Commentary: One recent Sunday afternoon I left the garden to go to Peace Lutheran for the Installation of Xolani Kacera as Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

I met Xolani when he first arrived in Cruces, and feel a connection to him.

Churches were never my favorite places in youth. Jesus's words resonated; but churchgoing didn't. As a civil rights worker, I learned that despite Jesus's concern for the poor and oppressed, white churches were fine with discrimination; then as I came to oppose the Viet Nam War, I noticed churches weren't very tolerant of dissenters urging peace. (I didn't yet know Christianity had been used to justify slavery.)

In the '60's, had you shown me a film of Xolani's installation ceremony, I'd have asked what the film-maker had been smoking.

  Commentary: There are a lot of things that millennials as a generation are killing - from diamond industry, to Applebee’s - but it’s only now as we’re staring down the weed-filled road of aging that some articles starting to ask, what’s going to end up killing us?

A study by Blue Cross Blue Shield, who would probably like to keep us alive longer if only to have us pay our premiums for more years to come, does a type of depressing market research with their data. The first ominous news: “The major decline in health happens at 27.”

Valuing The Preservation Of Public Lands

Oct 11, 2019

Commentary: I count myself very lucky growing up in Las Cruces with parents like mine, where publicly accessible lands have provided the backdrop to many of my childhood memories and have shaped who I am today.

Day hikes in the Organs, excursions to the lava flows and rock art sites, and backpacking trips in the Gila provided the setting for imagination to run wild and us kids to experience a sense of independence and discovery not easily found.

The Push To Nationalism

Oct 10, 2019
Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

  Commentary: When the term “cosmopolitan” was originally coined, it had a different sense than it might today.

A “cosmopolitan” was not a cocktail and did not refer to a world traveler, or a magazine marketed for women, or a luxury hotel in Las Vegas.

The Greek notion of “kosmopolitês,” was summed up by Thomas Paine when he wrote, “Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”


Response to migrant presence in Las Cruces

Oct 10, 2019
Walt Rubel

Commentary: I was elected to serve New Mexico — to attract healthcare providers to rural towns, fix our broken border policy, and invest in infrastructure to save lives and bring our whole country into the 21st century. Every time I get a news alert that distracts from this work, I want to turn it off. But I do not have that luxury.

About two weeks ago, reports were published that President Trump withheld military aid to pressure the Ukrainian President into interfering with our national election. If true, President Trump’s efforts to leverage the power of his office for personal political gain is evidence he put America’s national security at risk.

Commentary: It was fabric softener that clinched it for my Mom. I was now officially a millennial after a Yahoo listicle pointed her toward what all my generation has been killing. “It’s that,” she said, “that’s the thing they all are killing that fits you to a T.”

I explained that using it was just putting unnecessary chemicals on my clothes; what was the need? She pounced, “That’s exactly what the article said. You’re one of them.”

Free College Proposal Raises Serious Questions

Oct 8, 2019

Commentary: Gov. Lujan Grisham has put forth a plan (set for debate and possible approval in the 2020 Legislature) for “free” college for New Mexico residents. For many families this may seem like an unadulterated good thing. And, as the parent of three who is pondering (and already saving for) the college educations of his three children, I totally understand that reaction.

But, from the viewpoint of an economist or even someone who is simply concerned about New Mexico’s future, there are several serious problems with this proposal.

A Trip To Juarez

Oct 8, 2019

Commentary: I am often asked what it is like to travel to Juarez, Mexico, which I go to often for business. A lot of people who used to travel across the border frequently are now reluctant or outright scared to travel to this northern-Mexico border city because of the drug wars and reported violence. It’s easy to perceive Juarez as a scary place where bad things can happen. However, we can tend to lose sight of the fact that this city has residents who do live normal lives, and face the same challenges that we do on the U.S. side of the border. In order to provide people who will not travel into Mexico the opportunity to live vicariously through my visits to Juarez, I will provide a play-by-play of my latest visit to that city for business.

Goodman: Time For A State-Owned Bank In New Mexico?

Oct 6, 2019
Peter Goodman

Commentary: Suppose, in 1919, New Mexico, a cattle-raising state being taken advantage of by large cattle-dealers and big eastern banks, had formed its own state bank? 

In agricultural North Dakota, a populist wave established the Bank of North Dakota (BND) to protect farmers from powerful out-of-state grain brokers, railroad tycoons, and private bankers. Through changing times, BND has fulfilled its mission to "promote agriculture, commerce, and industry," by plowing state funds back into local economic development.


  Commentary: The National Education Association of Las Cruces (NEA-LC) is recommending School Board President Ed Frank for re-election in District 5 and local education advocate Teresa Tenorio in District 4. Both candidates agree with parents and teachers that we must work on a school budget to reduce class size, adequately fund classrooms and offer competitive salaries to recruit and retain the best qualified school employees our students deserve. 

What Merits Impeachment?

Oct 3, 2019

  Commentary: Frank Bowman has spent a lot of time on the phone this week.

The University of Missouri law professor’s new book about the history of impeachment in British and American politics, “High Crimes and Misdemeanors,” has arrived in bookstores just in time for the narrative about impeaching President Donald Trump to change, almost overnight.

This week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had been throwing pails of ice water on talk of impeachment throughout Trump’s term, used the I-word herself when she announced a formal impeachment query following reports about the president’s contacts with his Ukrainian counterpart.


Having neighbors means living with cats and dogs

Oct 2, 2019
Walt Rubel

Commentary: The city is about to get into another cat fight; and the county is going to get dragged into it as well.

For the past two years, a joint city and county task force has been working on proposed revisions to their animal codes. The task force recommendations include a proposal to return stray cats to the area where they were picked up.

Where Is Our High-Speed Rail?

Oct 1, 2019

Commentary: I recently had need to go to Houston to pick up a vehicle and decided I would try Amtrak to get there rather than the carbon intensive jet flight. I waited for a while at the Deming stop and got on the train. I ended up seeing a lot of new sights I would not have driving on the freeway or traveling by air.

The ride was comfortable and clean and staff was nice. What I had not known is that freight cars are given priority over the tracks and whenever we we came to a section of two tracks, we ended up sitting still while the freight trains passed the other direction. Sitting still on the tracks many times for many minutes for this relatively short trip made it much longer than I expected. It gave me time to ponder the situation.

New Mexico Files Brief in U.S. Supreme Court to Preserve DACA and Protect DREAMers

Sep 30, 2019
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

  Commentary: Attorney General Balderas, joining a coalition of 16 attorneys general, announced today the filing of a brief in the United States Supreme Court in the coalition’s ongoing lawsuit to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The lawsuit, originally filed in September 2017 and to be heard by the Supreme Court this fall, argues that the Trump Administration’s attempt to revoke DACA was based on a faulty legal analysis and harmed State residents, institutions, and economies.



  Commentary: Two things precipitated the remodeling of our shed into an office: children and the gig economy. The shed was already on the property when we bought it but had become more of a refuge for ants, and all my tchotchkes that the sweet mantras of Marie Kondo haven’t torn me away from yet. It’s sturdy, think an oversized Tuff Shed before they were cool, just plopped oddly nearly into the middle of the usable space of the yard.

Report: More NM Kids Live in Concentrated Poverty, Despite Economic Growth

Sep 30, 2019
James Jimenez

Commentary: Despite a fairly strong economy nationally, ten states – including New Mexico – have seen an increase in the share of children living in areas of concentrated poverty, according to a new report. The report also shows that children of color are more likely to live in high-poverty, low-opportunity neighborhoods than are white children. The data snapshot is from the Annie E Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT program.

“While children do best when their family is economically secure, the well-being of the larger community is also important. Children need to grow up in neighborhoods with high-quality schools, safe places to play, good job opportunities, and reliable transportation,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “Neighborhoods that are under-resourced and have high levels of poverty not only fail to provide opportunities, but can even put our kids at risk because there is less access to healthy food and more exposure to  environmental hazards, such as poor air quality, and toxins such as lead.”

Climate change is our greatest challenge

Sep 30, 2019

Commentary: The consensus of scientific evidence has for at least 50 years supported climate change arising from human action. Yet, the world generally and the United States particularly has failed to adopt adequate measures to mitigate greenhouse gas admission. We now stand at the brink and urgent action is necessary. Action on climate change is the greatest challenge to public policy of our time.

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, are now over 400 parts per million. The last time carbon was this concentrated was 3 million years ago. Global temperatures were 3-degrees C higher; sea levels were 10 to 20 meters above today’s level. Meanwhile, the human species is only 250,000 years old. And agriculture has been practiced for about 10,000 years.

Goodman: Make Time To Study Climate Change

Sep 29, 2019
Peter Goodman

Commentary: At the old Fountain Theater in Mesilla we saw a moving film (moving moving picture?): Funan, a complex animated feature that tells the story of a Cambodian family caught up in the Khmer Rouge madness of the late 1970's. It destroys their lives. Only one woman and her young son escape to Thailand, and ultimately to France. 

Very fine movie. Maybe the animation, though highly effective, helped distance us emotionally – just enough to make the unbearable bearable. The characters are 2D recreations of humans. (At some of the toughest moments, while I was contemplating a new horror visited upon the family, I was also thinking “Wow!” at the subtle way an animated face had changed, or at the slender white line that appeared, stretched itself, and quickly disappeared to indicate a tear.) 

  Commentary: New Mexico House Republican Caucus Chair Candy Spence Ezzell (R-Roswell) released the following statement in response to the new vehicle emission standards proposed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The proposed standards would apply to cars sold in New Mexico beginning in model year 2022. It is projected that the mandate would improve the average fuel economy of vehicles sold in New Mexico to 52 miles per gallon. 


“When are the governor and her allies in the Legislature going to realize that they live in New Mexico and not California? More people in New Mexico drive pick-ups than Priuses. These new standards are going to hurt our farmers, ranchers, builders, and tradespeople. Anyone who depends on non-hybrid vehicles for their livelihoods is going to feel the effect of this new mandate. These emission standards may make sense for a more urban state like California, but it's a bad move for New Mexico.” 


New Mexico Is on the Doorstep of a Bright Future

Sep 26, 2019

Commentary: As the combination of record state revenues, a new administration and momentum from the 2019 legislative session continues, I believe that New Mexico is on the doorstep of prosperity undreamt of only a short time ago.  As we better understand the magnitude of oil reserves in the Permian Basin and work with private industry and our research institutions to expand the limits of those reserves, we can propel ourselves into this bright future by strategically investing in three critical areas:  education, energy and behavioral health care.


  Commentary: New information challenges the Trump administration’s stated reasoning for rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), according to a friend of the court brief filed today with the U.S. Supreme Court.

MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) filed an amicus brief on behalf of nearly two dozen DACA recipients who intervened to defend the initiative against a 2017 challenge filed by Texas and other states.

Youth Deserve The Chance To Fight For Their Futures

Sep 26, 2019
Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

Commentary: Jonathan Franzen got panned this month for his essay in the New Yorker challenging readers to stop pretending climatic change can be solved or averted.

“If you care about the planet, and about the people and animals who live on it, there are two ways to think about this,” Franzen wrote. “You can keep on hoping that catastrophe is preventable, and feel ever more frustrated or enraged by the world’s inaction. Or you can accept that disaster is coming, and begin to rethink what it means to have hope.”

On Friday, Sept. 20, high school students in at least 800 locations in the United States plan to engage in a walkout from school to participate in Global Climate Strike events calling not just for hope, but action to end climate change.



Commentary: Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) issued the following statement after the Senate voted in bipartisan fashion, by a margin of 54-41, to pass Udall’s resolution to terminate the president’s national emergency declaration for the southern border, which the Trump administration is using to raid billions in military construction funding and divert it to the border wall, including $125 million from military projects in New Mexico.

“Once again, the Senate sent a clear message to the president: We object to this phony national emergency declaration, and to a president diverting billions in military construction funding for a political purpose. It is unlawful and unconstitutional.

Commentary: A presentation at the Domenici Conference a few years ago convinced me that the loss of low-skilled jobs to automation will mean we need to re-think our public education model. K-through-12 isn’t going to be enough for the future workforce. We need to start including community colleges and universities in the free public education system.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has proposed a plan to accomplish that by building on the state’s current lottery scholarship program and ensuring that students are receiving all of the federal assistance they are eligible for.

The Value Of Learning Another Language

Sep 24, 2019

  Commentary: My niece, who is in college, asked me the other day about the value of learning Spanish for her profession, which is nursing. Typically, one thinks of the nursing field as a profession that one practices locally. However, with doctors and nurses being able to use software such as Skype and Zoom to be able to examine patients far away from clinics, and the ever-changing composition of ethnicities locally and internationally, the medical field can have an international component. This is especially true at the U.S.-Mexico border, where it is typical that many Mexicans and American cross the border into the other country to see doctors and dentists.


Pearce Blasts Impeachment Investigation

Sep 24, 2019
RPNM Chairman Steve Pearce

Commentary: Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce released the following statement in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry:

 “Today’s announcement makes it clear, Democrats have a singular focus on impeaching the President. The President has been clear about his call with Ukraine and will release the transcript tomorrow. Democrats need to place less emphasis on impeachment and focus on issues that matter to the United States, including border security and passing the United States- Mexico- Canada Agreement. Once again, Democrats in our state and across the country are not working for the American people and instead are focusing their energy on an impeachment fishing expedition, which the majority of our nation is against.

“We should be calling attention toward Joe Biden, he should release the transcripts of his calls as Vice President with Ukrainian and Chinese leaders. The evidence suggests there are strong reasons for investigations."