KRWG

Local Viewpoints

KRWG welcomes you to join our community discussion.  E-mail your comments to:  feedback @ nmsu.edu  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.

Get Ready To Wait: The State Of The Supply Chain

Oct 8, 2021

Commentary: Have you been notified that the delivery of a product you ordered is being delayed? Or have you gone to a store and seen a “temporarily out of stock” sign on a shelf? These inventory issues are most likely being caused by the delay in cargo arriving from Asia to West Coast ports. On top of the delays, freight costs have skyrocketed. According to the Maritime Executive Magazine, “With global demand remaining high for the container carriers, long-term contracted ocean freight rates stand at a remarkable 85.5 percent higher than a year ago.”

Bears Ears National Monument / Bob Wick/BLM

Commentary: Today, the Biden Administration announced restoration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments, reversing President Trump’s illegal action to strip protections from these sacred and important lands and at last honoring his promise to Indigenous communities led by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. 

In a statement, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition said, “By taking this action, President Biden will be recognizing the deep and enduring ancestral and cultural connections that Tribes have to this landscape and taking a step toward honoring his commitment to Indigenous People by acknowledging their original place in this country that is now our shared home.”

Commentary: Early voting began for local elections on October 5 at the Doña Ana County Government Center, 845 N. Motel Blvd.  It’s not too late to register to vote or update your registration.  This can be done now through October 30, at the Government Center or at a Voting Convenience Center beginning October 16.  If you prefer to use an absentee ballot, apply as soon as possible and return it promptly, no later than 7:00 pm on November 2nd. 

As you prepare to vote, you need reliable information to determine which candidates best represent your values.  This involves investigating a variety of diverse sources of media (broadcasting, publishing, and the internet).

Las Cruces Hero in the Classroom

Oct 5, 2021

  Commentary: While navigating through the fall semester after nearly a year of remote learning has been a transition, staff throughout Las Cruces Public Schools share their excitement of being able to see students back in the buildings for in-person learning. Keeping in mind all the health practices and procedures in order to provide a safe and welcome learning environment to students, this coincides with putting needs of students first.  

 

Heroes can be found in every classroom throughout the district, over at Centennial High School, you will find an educator who inspires students with unique needs, ensuring they not only feel safe at school, but also encourages them to believe that any person who values or displays kindness to others, can too be a superhero.  

Asking Questions of the Places You Belong

Oct 5, 2021

Commentary: It's those lies that you tell when dating that catch up to you when you're married. One of the earliest conversations with my now-husband was about him biking around town and getting a flat. Did I like to bike? Sure, I did, you handsome devil.

That, he discovered, was not the truth.

Bike riding for me conflicted heavily with my clumsy nature as a child. The first instance when I realized that my father had indeed let go, I promptly fell into a rosebush. Bikes and lying. It's been a theme for me.

Commentary: Experienced registered nurses fear that the Crisis Triage Center is so badly run it could really harm someone and harm Doña Ana County.

It’s run by RI, specifically by Karina Diaz, a certified art therapist/psychotherapist who is not a nurse. Pre-opening, one source said Diaz “kept firing employees, amazing human beings,” including Freddy Hernandez, a highly experienced nurse whom the source called “a ray of sunshine.” RI says it did not fire Hernandez, a temp, and that it has fired no CTC staff nurse.


 

  Commentary: Every four years, Americans flock to the polls in droves to elect a new president. Last year, more than 155 million people cast their ballots, most of them just happy that the campaign was finally over, at least for a minute.

 

Two year later, we have the mid-term elections, where we elect a new governor, and all members of both the state and U.S. House are up for re-election. Next year, voters will get to weigh in for the first time on the governor’s aggressive public health order to combat COVID-19.

Las Cruces Home Prices Rise 27% In One Year; What's Going On?

Sep 30, 2021

Commentary: As with many things, COVID has turned the real estate market topsy turvy. Rather than the more typical fall in housing prices in recession, this time, prices are up. Here in Las Cruces, for example, the August median home price increased by 27% compared to a year previous.

Analysts have given several reasons for this, from city folk fleeing pestilence infected urban centers to reluctance to having virus laden potential buyers trapsing through otherwise sanitary homes. Regardless of the reason, it is the strength in real estate market that have motived many economists to predict a rapid recovery.

A Society Worn Out by a Sterile System

Sep 29, 2021

Commentary: It's like he could sense it before I could. My typically happy-to-tag-along son was dragging his feet to leave for a routine follow-up appointment. He told me that he was afraid of it taking a zillion hours. Last time, I told him, it was barely a half-hour. This time, he was right.

Because my work is flexible, and my kids are on a school-specific holiday break, it didn't surprise me that the waiting room was filled exclusively with older folks. What did surprise me was that the room was packed. Our first visit had seemed like gear-work: a patient came in, a patient checked in, a patient went back.


 

  Commentary: In response to recent data showing an exponential increase in COVID-19 cases in children, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) are urging Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock to work as quickly as science allows to authorize safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for children under the age of 12. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association have been tracking COVID-19 cases in children since the start of the pandemic. In the last few weeks, they reported the largest increase in pediatric COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

Laura Paskus

  Commentary: Today, the Interior Department’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) announced it will formally withdraw a Trump-era rule that  amended regulations governing how oil, gas, and coal companies assess the value of publicly-owned minerals they extract and the amount of royalties that they should pay to taxpayers. The Trump administration had previously rescinded an Obama-era ONRR valuation rule, an action that was subsequently struck down in court, then adopted a new ONRR rule in the final week before President Biden was inaugurated.

Peter Goodman

 

  Commentary: An assistant district attorney’s missed deadlines in the Baby Favi case made headlines. That same fortnight, I read of three more missed deadlines, one by the same ADA. Not good.

That ADA has left, after many years with the Third Judicial District Attorney’s DA’s office. Everyone says he was a good, conscientious attorney. His resignation letter said he just couldn’t stand having such a heavy caseload that he couldn’t do his work properly. “I was shocked, given his deep commitment to the office,” a defense attorney said.

New Mexico Patients, Advocates Push for Changes to Medical Debt Rules

Sep 27, 2021

  Commentary: Patients, advocates and medical providers on Monday testified before a virtual hearing for the Office of Superintendent of Insurance (OSI) to ask OSI to change draft rules to require hospitals, urgent cares, and clinics to connect patients with public assistance for medical bills and to adequately protect low-income patients from being sued or sent to collections for a medical bill--as mandated by the new Patients’ Debt Collection Protection Act. New Mexicans spoke about the need to place affirmative obligations on hospitals, urgent cares, and medical providers to check if patients qualify for protection from lawsuits or being sent to collections, and to remove language that would allow this protection to automatically expire after only 12 months.


 

  Commentary: I lack the credentials to offer a legal opinion as to how the New Mexico Supreme Court should rule in the case relating to the death of Faviola Rodriguez. But you don’t need a law degree to know what’s right.

 

Baby Favi was 2 years old in September, 2018 when police responded to a 3 a.m. call for help with a toddler who was not breathing. EMTs trying to save the little girl’s life noticed bruises to her ribs and face. She was taken to MountainView Regional Medical Center, where she died from the blunt-trauma abuse she had suffered.

Democrats Join Supreme Court Brief in the Fight to Uphold Roe v. Wade

Sep 22, 2021
supremecourt.gov

  Commentary: This week, U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury (N.M.-01) joined 236 lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in filing a bicameral amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold nearly 50 years of precedent in Roe v. Wade, after the Court decided to hear a challenge in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. 188 Democrats in the House and 48 in the Senate joined in filing the amicus in support of women’s reproductive rights with the Court. 

 

The House will also vote on Friday on a bill to protect reproductive rights legislatively through the Women’s Health Protection Act (H.R. 3755), which Congresswoman Stansbury cosponsors with 214 total members.

Rep. Stansbury Joins Rep. Bush and Others in Effort to Help Prevent Eviction Crisis

Sep 21, 2021

Commentary: Today, U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury (N.M.-01) joined Congresswoman Cori Bush (Mo.-01), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and over three dozen lawmakers in introducing the Keeping Renters Safe Act of 2021, which would provide the urgently needed authority to extend a nationwide eviction moratorium due to the pandemic. After the Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium last month, the legislation would clarify that the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has permanent authority to implement an eviction moratorium in the interest of public health. Reinstating the eviction moratorium could keep nearly 600,000 people across the country housed in the coming months.

2021 New Mexico Climate Summit Planned For October

Sep 21, 2021

  Commentary: As many parts of New Mexico continue to experience near-record or record-breaking temperatures, New Mexico Speaker of the House Brian Egolf today announced the first-ever New Mexico Climate Summit, to be held at the State Capitol on October 25-26, 2021. 

 

The two-day event will gather nationwide experts and leaders from across the state to develop bold new policies that address the climate crisis and include a just energy transition for all of New Mexico’s diverse communities. The summit is presented by Speaker Egolf, in partnership with organizations including Somos Un Pueblo Unido, Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, OLÉ, Center for Civic Policy, Western Resource Advocates, Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation Voters New Mexico, NM Wild, Power4NewMexico, the Angelica Foundation, and the Energy Foundation. 

Adventures Of Doing Business In Mexico

Sep 21, 2021

Commentary: Did you know that I am a retired bullfighter?  A friend and I were having lunch talking about the zaniest things we had encountered while traveling in foreign countries to do business. As we reminisced about our traveling experiences, the stakes started to rise. It felt like two grizzled soldiers reliving their war experiences, each amazed at the other’s stories.

I told him about the time I was invited to lunch in Mexico City by two lawyers from the Mexican state of Tlaxcala, the smallest of all that nation’s states. We were discussing a business deal involving their client. There was equal curiosity in the meeting, as I had never met anybody from Tlaxcala, and they had never met a New Mexican. Lunch was at a ritzy restaurant in Mexico City’s famed Zona Rosa district. Upon being seated, one of the lawyers got a sly smile on his face and asked if I would like to try a Tlaxcalan specialty. Wanting to be a good guest and remain in their good graces I eagerly said yes.

Separating Your Story From the Stories of Your Kids

Sep 21, 2021

Commentary: I'm a sucker for first-day-of-school pictures. It feels like it comes close to what we get as a new tradition in the past few years, a way for your social media community to come together and get a look at those critters you've made. A not-so-small part of me enjoys how I make others feel old when they notice what grade my kids are going into.

I feel a similar shock when I go on my rounds to check out old blogs. For whatever reason, the blogs that I read heavily about 10 to 15 years ago were all mommy blogs. Maybe I read them to get a glimpse of a future I wanted. Maybe I was there for the slight touch of mundane horror it came across as to me, then a single lady. Maybe they were just better writers. I was riveted by birth stories and how women negotiated the changes in their lives that children and marriage brought.

Albuquerque Journal / Pool photo

Commentary: Senator Jacob Candelaria (D-Bernalillo) and Senator Greg Baca (R-Bernalillo & Valencia) have filed suit against Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, petitioning the New Mexico Supreme Court to halt the Governor’s unconstitutional spending of federal American Recovery Plan Act (“ARPA”) funds without legislative authorization.

“When I became a senator almost a decade ago, I took an oath to defend the Constitution and laws of the state of New Mexico,” said Senator Candelaria. “We have filed this petition to halt the Governor’s unconstitutional efforts to usurp the Legislature’s appropriations power by claiming that she, and she alone, has the power to decide how billions of dollars in federal grant funds are spent. In our country, no one is above the law and no one person should ever have the power to decide, unilaterally, how much people are taxed or how public money is spent.” 

Peter Goodman

Commentary: Dona Aña County prudently aborted its sole-source deal with Kelly Barker. (See Sunday columns April 11 and May 30, 2021.) Currently, Barker is still soliciting donations to her “nonprofit,” Uncaged Paws, but allegedly using its funds for other purposes.

Former associate Kathy Tarochione says she’s seen through Kelly. She’s apologized to people she helped Barker attack, and is now willing to talk frankly about Barker. (They bought and own a house together. Barker – understandably – reacted badly to Tarochione’s candor. Tarochione recently moved out, after accusing Barker of elder abuse.) Tarochione says Barker deposited a check from the nonprofit into their joint account for paying the mortgage. Barker’s bank records raise questions. People considering donating deserve to know the truth, whatever it is.

 

  


 

  Commentary: I remember an old poster from my college days that asked, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”

 

That’s kind of what happened Saturday in Washington, D.C. Capitol Police who survived the battle on Jan. 6 were prepared for a second round. But this time nobody came.

 

Sadly, I fear it was a reprieve, not a reversal of what has been a disturbing trend.

 

During debate earlier this year on a bill that would have prohibited protests outside of private residences, members of the New Mexico Legislature talked about the threats they have faced.

Senators to Introduce Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Sep 17, 2021
U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.)

Commentary: U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) will join Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to reintroduce the Democracy for All Amendment next week. This constitutional amendment would overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision, as well as other alarming decisions around campaign finance that led to floods of corporate and dark money in politics and diminished the voice of the American people in elections. These decisions have wrongfully equated money with free speech, and unfairly determined that big, wealthy corporations have the same First Amendment rights as people. This announcement coincides with Constitution Day, which commemorates the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and celebrates U.S. citizenry.  

Oil-Fueled Surplus both Blessing & Curse for New Mexico

Sep 16, 2021
Paul J. Gessing

Commentary: The news that New Mexico’s oil and gas industry has again generated record-breaking revenues for the State was welcomed by policymakers and interest groups alike. But the disconnect between the State budget picture and the economic situation for average New Mexicans could not be starker. And this is one of the “problems” associated with the state’s dependence on oil and gas.

Don’t get me wrong: we at the Rio Grande Foundation fully support the oil and gas industries. The so-called “progressive” Democrats in the Legislature who signed a letter to the Biden Administration earlier this year in support of the Administration’s illegal moratorium on new permits on federal lands definitely believe oil is a curse. We believe that New Mexicans are the recipients of a fabulous gift and that there is no reason for us to be among the poorest states in the nation as is currently the case.

Commentary: The advantage to being a customer of a City-owned utility such as Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) is that you have a voice, either directly to staff or through your LCU Board members. The reverse is also true, LCU has a responsibility to keep its customers informed and correct misinformation in the public arena.

Recently an opinion column titled “Facing our Energy Future” was printed in the Sun-News, the author presented some interesting points about the City of Las Cruces (City) plans to transition from natural gas. It’s true Las Cruces leaders passed a resolution in October 2020 calling for a “Climate Action Plan” that clearly defines objectives to reduce carbon emissions by the year 2050 and a goal of decarbonizing the natural gas system while ensuring energy affordability in our community. In April of this year, the Las Cruces City Council (City Council) also passed a resolution directing LCU to create an energy transition plan for LCU’s natural gas line of business with a long-term goal of transitioning to renewable energy while again ensuring affordability for all our customers. The City Council has recognized the need for careful planning and responsible fiscal management while pursuing a carbon-neutral future for Las Cruces. This planning does not include denying affordable services within LCU’s natural gas service area, which extends just outside the city limits.

From All Knowing To Questioning It All

Sep 16, 2021

Commentary: My kids enjoy having a hand in decorating our home. What that means is that scraps of cardboard become signs throughout the house. There is a scrap of paper denoting the napping to be done in the bedroom. There is a scrap of paper asking if we enjoy coffee — on the cabinet where I keep my coffee. There is a sign on their playroom that I refuse to let them take down that simply states, "No bad gas in."

This was before my daughter knew how to spell "guys," and it still amuses me every time I walk by.

  Commentary: There is an epidemic growing in New Mexico not being talked about in mainstream media–the growth in suicide among Indigenous youth. But with September being the National Suicide Prevention Month, it is time we address this head-on systematically, otherwise our Native communities will continue to suffer. 

Suicide has been gravely impacting New Mexico. In 2018 alone, New Mexico had the highest rate of suicide in the nation and it has been increasing every year since then. Most unfortunate, suicide impacts our youth disproportionaly–especially Indigenous youth between the ages of 15 to 24.

Heinrich Introduces Legislation To Help Students Complete College

Sep 15, 2021

Commentary: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced the College Completion Fund Act, landmark legislation to promote college completion in a thoughtful, innovative, and comprehensive way, and address longstanding inequities in college access and success.

Senator Heinrich unveiled the legislation last week during a virtual briefing hosted by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), in partnership with TICAS and Results for America, and with support from UnidosUS and Third Way—organizations all dedicated to the success of today’s students and are calling for a once-in-a-generation investment in the College Completion Fund (CCF).

Concerns About University Athletics In New Mexico

Sep 15, 2021


 

  Commentary: When the New Mexico Legislature put additional money in the budget last year to wipe out the debts of the athletic programs at New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico, it was hoped that the schools would no longer need to put our football teams up as cannon fodder in so-called “money games.”

 

“I’m sick and tired of both universities having to take money games,” said then-Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith. “We’re not competitive, and we’re getting crushed. But they’ve got to play these games to get enough money for their athletic departments.”

Peter Goodman


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