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.

Cost-free solution can help New Mexico’s Unbanked

Aug 10, 2019

Commentary:  According to the website Nerdwallet, New Mexico has the 7th-highest percentage of “unbanked” households among US states. That means that 11 percent of New Mexico families don’t have access to bank accounts.

That same report estimated that New Mexico households lose between $40 and $104 million annually in fees and expenses due to being unbanked. Even for many New Mexicans who do have bank accounts, the geographical size and sparse nature of our population makes it difficult for many in our State to get to a bank in a timely fashion.

Rubel: Governor Stumbles On Most Pressing Issue

Aug 8, 2019

 


Democrats To Trump: Cancel Your Visit So We Can Mourn In Peace

Aug 6, 2019

  Dear Mr. President:

Since the start of your Administration, El Paso has been ground zero for many of the cruel immigration-related policies enacted by you in your efforts to punish, demonize and terrorize immigrants and immigrant communities. From family separation to large-scale child detention to the Remain in Mexico policy, El Paso has been witness to your Administration’s repeated failure to properly address the humanitarian crisis leading to the influx of Central American asylum-seekers. In the face of your Administration’s cruelty, however, the El Paso community has shown the rest of the country the importance of coming together to provide for those that are most in need, that our diversity is our strength, and that by recognizing the contributions of immigrants to our community, we honor our history as a nation of immigrants.

Commentary:  The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) mourns the passing of so many innocent lives over the weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.  The El Paso murders were apparently intended to target Latinos and immigrants by a white nationalist killer.  NHLA, a coalition of 45 of the nation’s preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, calls upon leaders in the nation and in the states to take action to prevent and deter any future racist incidents of extreme violence.  Now is the time to demonstrate unequivocal opposition to white nationalism and nativism, including statements by Donald Trump that have contributed to the rise in anti-Latino and anti-immigrant violence, and to dehumanizing policies that treat any immigrant or potential immigrant as somehow deserving of fewer rights and protections,  and less humane treatment, than citizens.

 

Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

Commentary:  I did not watch the second round of Democratic presidential debates, and I am no poorer for it.

CNN brought 20 contenders to Detroit Tuesday and Wednesday nights for what may as well have been a pillow fight: 10 candidates on stage at a time, impossible time limits that prevented substantive answers or debating propositions, a format bound to force candidates to wrest attention and earn social media clips by means of spectacle.

In short, I expected little better from CNN than what NBC delivered with its shoddy back-to-back 20-candidate debates in June, and I declined to believe that engaged citizenship required me to watch the farce play out live. Caring about politics does not necessitate bolstering CNN’s ratings and exposing oneself to its advertising.

Sierra Club NM

Commentary: On Monday, the EPA announced the appointment of former oil and gas executive, climate denier and former New Mexico Energy Secretary Ken McQueen as EPA Region 6 administrator. In response, Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter director, said: 

"Putting an oil and gas executive like Ken McQueen in charge of our drinking water and the air our children breathe is a dangerous mistake. McQueen has repeatedly proven he will put the interests of oil and gas companies before our health and the bountiful resources that make New Mexico and Southwest unique. 

Udall Responds to President Trump’s Comments on El Paso, Dayton Shootings

Aug 5, 2019
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary:  Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall responded to President Trump’s comments in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings. Earlier today, President Trump tweeted that congressional action on gun violence should be paired with action on the Trump administration’s immigration agenda. Udall issued the following statement:

 

“In the wake of an act of anti-immigrant, white supremacist terror, President Trump is now proposing that any action to prevent gun violence should be paired with restrictions on immigration. The president’s suggestion is offensive, and it validates and fuels the same kind of anti-immigrant bigotry that was behind the evil El Paso attack. Insisting that sensible gun safety measures be paired with the president’s anti-immigrant agenda is tantamount to giving into the hateful ideology that motivated this terrorist attack – that immigrants are somehow to blame for this white supremacist violence.

 

Reflections On Religion

Aug 4, 2019
Peter Goodman

 

  Commentary: At Saturday's farmers market, three men asked whether I'd thought about becoming a Catholic.

 

One turned out to be the son of two close friends of mine from the 1970's. We spoke energetically of our love for them – and of the plane crash that killed them so young. 

 

“At each moment, do not rely on tomorrow. Think of this day and this day only, because the next moment is uncertain and unknown,” wrote 13th Century Japanese zen master Dogen. I first read that while riding on a train through North China. Just then the train lurched to a sudden stop, on a bridge. Outside my window a peasant lay dying, hit by the train. Point taken. I have Dogen's words on a T-shirt.

Can’t Get No Customer Satisfaction?

Aug 1, 2019

Commentary: Do you ever feel as if Harry Potter has draped his invisibility cloak over your shoulders when you walk into a business? Does shopping make you feel like Jagger – can’t get no satisfaction? Ever been in conversation with a sales associate, manager, or even a doctor, only to have another employee barge in and start another conversation as if you weren’t even there? Well, it has happened to me one time too many.

  Commentary: U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined House and Senate Democrats in unveiling a resolution that would roll back the “1332 waiver” rule, which is another Trump administration effort to sabotage Americans’ health care and another attack on the 130 million Americans who rely on the critical pre-existing condition protections the administration is trying to eliminate.  The Trump administration rule, if left in place, would allow states to greenlight substandard, junk insurance plans that don’t fully protect people with pre-existing conditions, don’t cover essential health benefits like prescription drugs and maternity coverage, and raise costs on many American families. Under the Congressional Review Act, Udall and Heinrich’s resolution must be considered within 60 legislative days of July 15 and can pass the Senate with the support of a simple majority of senators.  

 

Puerto Rico: Inspiration To The World

Aug 1, 2019
Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

  Commentary: From time to time we are reminded of the power of humane mass movements, and this week we beheld that potential in Puerto Rico.

For over 10 days, the streets of San Juan became rivers of human beings demanding the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. Although a formal impeachment inquiry had begun, the island’s governor had indicated a desire to stick it out.

 

Commentary: We’ve wasted so much time and money on the failed Gila River diversion proposal that we have no choice but to continue wasting more time and money on it.

 

That seemed to be the argument made to the Albuquerque Journal by Howard Hutchinson, a member of the special entity formed to oversee the project, who said he had been working on the river diversion proposal since 1973. “Predecessors and mentors of mine have also invested many years and lots of money in this issue,” he told the Journal. “It would be a tragedy for all that time to be wasted.”

Commentary: On July 20, the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon and Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s historic moonwalk, I sat down to watch the film “Apollo 11” with my family. This wonderful film is not portrayed by actors nor is it a documentary, rather it is an aggregation of actual high-quality film footage of the Apollo 11 mission from pre-launch to post-earth- landing. There is no narrator, only the voices of the people in the various film clips are heard. The sheer scope of the Apollo 11 spacecraft (363 feet or nearly 34 stories high), the enormity of the Vehicle Assembly Building (129,428,000 cubic feet) in which the various stages of the spacecraft were assembled, the teamwork of the thousands of people who worked on this mission, and the bravery of astronauts Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong who rode their craft more than 238,000 miles to the moon and back, was truly inspiring.

Peter Goodman

Commentary: When a district judge reached for a reliable tool recently, it was suddenly gone.

The tool was Forensic Intervention Consortium of Doña Ana County, better known as jail diversion (JD), a local nonprofit that saves us big bucks every year.

JD helps seriously mentally ill people referred by law enforcement, the courts, the detention center, lawyers, and/or clinical providers. They may or may not have been diagnosed, and often fall through the cracks. JD makes sure they get to court, or meet with a lawyer or counselor. Just finding these folks can be a challenge. Judges consult JD regarding appropriate conditions for pretrial release – then rely on JD for monitoring. 

Commentary:  Donald Trump Jr. today joined Trump allies such as Steve Bannon and failed Kansas Gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach at an immigration symposium in Sunland Park, New Mexico. The event was organized by “We Build the Wall,” a haphazard organization that has been criticized for endangering federal employees

Democratic Party of New Mexico Chair Marg Elliston released the following statement in response to Donald Trump Jr.’s remarks in Sunland Park:

“Donald Trump Jr. came to New Mexico to parrot his father’s lies and divisive rhetoric. In reality, President Trump has failed to keep his promises to the American people, instead passing a tax bill that benefits the wealthy and enacting tariffs that put an unnecessary burden on hard working Americans. 

“Republicans claim to be fighting for working class people, but their actions speak louder than words. This kind of hypocrisy is why New Mexicans are ready to put a Democrat in the White House in 2020.” 

Commentary:  Rep. Alonzo Baldonado (R-Los Lunas) delivered a letter to Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC) Chair Christine Trujillo (D-Albuquerque) requesting that the LESC hold an emergency hearing on the sudden dismissal of Public Education Department (PED) Secretary Karen Trujillo. Secretary Trujillo was abruptly fired from her position earlier this week.  

 

Fostering Independence In Our Children

Jul 25, 2019
Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

Commentary: “A mission for Gabriel, to be executed with the utmost care and attention,” the scroll began.

At age 11, it was high time for my son to go to the store by himself. Yet there was a good chance he would balk.

Luckily, I had recently finished reading “The Hobbit,” that paradigm of reluctant hero stories, to my children. New experiences and challenges are seldom to Gabriel's taste, rather like dear Bilbo Baggins, unless we frame them so as to capture his imagination.

So I presented his first solo excursion as a quest.

 

Rubel: Senate Should Reform Committee Rules

Jul 24, 2019

Commentary: The Senate, whether in Santa Fe or in Washington, D.C., has long prided itself on being the more deliberative of the two legislative bodies.

The House, where each seat is up for grabs every two years, may twist and turn with the political winds of the day. But the Senate, filled with legislative lifers who have seen numerous past administrations come and go, provides stability and a long-term view.

It’s the world’s greatest deliberative body, or so we’re told. But, can you really make that claim when you refuse to hold deliberations?

Wildlife Services is back on Doña Ana County Commission agenda

Jul 24, 2019
Courtesy: State of Texas

  Commentary: Doña Ana County took a big step last week towards coexisting with wildlife by revising its  annual contract with Wildlife Services for the first time in decades. Under pressure from the agency however, the contract will be back on the Doña Ana County Commission's agenda again in August.

The amendment in question introduced by Commissioner Manuel Sanchez requires the agency to attempt to resolve human-wildlife conflicts non-lethally before resorting to killing the animal. It is expected that an effort will be made at the August 13th County Commission meeting to strip out this amendment. 

Goodman: Hatred Is Always In Season

Jul 21, 2019

Commentary: At first Trump's openly racist tweets seemed comically stupid. Just Trump being Trump.

They are racist. U.S. law says so. Racist guys yell, “Go back where you came from!” to girls wearing hijabs. All four targets were citizens, three born here. The fourth has been a citizen longer than Melania Trump, but has a darker complexion, a refugee kid who rose to Congress. It ain't about citizenship or loyalty, but color.

The tweets seemed especially foolish. Trump attacks women's soccer forward Megan Rapinoe and helps unify UWWMT against him – then sees Dems bickering, steps in to show them what a real enemy looks like. Unifying Dems. Frightening Republican Senators from swing states. 

Trump tweets beg the question, what kind of country do we want?

Jul 19, 2019
Trip Jennings / New Mexico In Depth

 

   Commentary: In the past week our president has taunted four first-year congresswomen of color, tweeting they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” as if they are not fully American.

He escalated the attack Wednesday at a North Carolina campaign rally, with the crowd chanting “send her back,” a taunt ostensibly meant for Somali-born U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. 

I’m used to angry jibes and taunting in politics, especially on social media. But this is different, and nastier, and familiar. It’s racist. 

"Unthinkable" Behavior By Elected Officials

Jul 19, 2019

Commentary: Last week was a bizarre time in America, maybe a better word is “crazy.” Yes, crazy, that’s the shoe that fits the foot in Washington these days.

America is the world’s most resilient and envied democracy, well over 200 years  old and still going strong. Migrants hiking 1,000 miles from Central America to our borders aren’t doing that to go to Walmart. They yearn for freedom, safety and hope in America. And opportunity for a decent life.

 

  Commentary: The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing is approaching, and yet our digital information systems still can’t deal with the apostrophe in my name.

Ordinary business still requires me to explain my name to customer service reps, who respond that while they understand my Italian surname includes an apostrophe, there is little they can do because, they whisper, “the computers don’t understand,” and then trail off as if fearful the machines are listening.

 

Haaland Votes To Raise Minimum Wage To $15 Over Five Years

Jul 18, 2019

Commentary: Today, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) voted to give New Mexicans a raise with the Raise the Wage Act of 2019. The bill which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 over five years and gradually eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers passes the U.S. House and now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

Torres Small Rejects $15 Minimum Wage Bill Passed By House

Jul 18, 2019

Commentary: Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small (NM-2) continues to fight for increased prosperity for rural New Mexicans and remains supportive of increasing the federal minimum wage. However, she does not support the “one-size-fits-all” approach taken by H.R. 582, The Raise the Wage Act. This bill failed to  consider the regional differences in cost of living, and a nonpartisan CBO study concluded that this bill would cost 1.3 million job losses.

“It’s time for the federal minimum age to be raised, but in a way that considers the unique factors of each region’s economy. What works in places like New York City or Seattle doesn’t always work in more rural areas like the ones I represent,” said Torres Small.

Free Enterprise: What New Mexico Desperately Needs

Jul 17, 2019
imagebase.net

Commentary: Amid New Mexico's boom in oil tax revenues, legislators have contemplated ways to put these surplus funds to work for the Land of Enchantment. During the last session the Legislature grew spending by 11%. They raised taxes, doubled the State’s film subsidy program, and created an outdoor division, among many big-spending ideas. When taken together the 2019 session resulted in a massive expansion of government.

 

 

Commentary: The final chapter is finally being written to the horror story that started in the summer of 2013 when Gov. Susana Martinez dismantled the state’s mental health system, alleging that all 15 of its private providers were committing fraud. And, it’s not going to be a happy ending for New Mexico taxpayers.

 

The state Human Services Department announced last week that it had reached a settlement with three of the companies that sued after having their Medicaid funding frozen by the Martinez administration - Hogares Inc. of Albuquerque; Valencia Counseling Services Inc. of Los Lunas and The Counseling Center of Santa Fe.

 

The settlement calls for Hogares to be paid $1.81 million, Valencia Counseling Services $301,500 and Valencia $579,500. Those are negotiated compromises, representing only part of what the companies alleged they are owed.

 

 Commentary:  Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced legislation to help ensure humane and safe conditions and treatment for people in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. The Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act, S. 2135, would require CBP to meet the basic health and medical needs of people in its care by conducting health screenings and delivering emergency care; providing humane short-term detention conditions; and ensuring access to adequate water, nutrition, and sanitation.

 

Gerrymandering is OK--according to Supreme Court

Jul 16, 2019
supremecourt.gov

Commentary: Sad time in America. The Trump/ McConnell Supreme Court ruled that Federal Courts cannot stop politicians from gerrymandering districts in their state to favor one party over another. Of the ten most gerrymander states, only one has a Democratic legislature (Maryland). The rest are all Republican and include states like Texas, North Carolina and Kentucky.

As Justice Elena Kagan said in dissent “this decision violates the constitutional rights of many hundreds of thousands of American citizens.” This practice affects local, state and Congressional elections. With modern computer data about voting patterns, Politicians draw District lines so they select their voters, rather than voters selecting the politicians. Weird district shapes appear in these states that look like spaghetti rather than lines based on non-political considerations.

Detention Centers are Part of America’s Dark History

Jul 16, 2019
HHS

Commentary: The first substantial U.S. detention program began in 1838 under the auspices of President Martin Van Buren, who marshaled the manpower of over 7,000 soldiers. Led by General Winfield Scott, Van Buren ordered the eviction of the entire Cherokee nation from their tribal lands in the south and forced them to trek 1,200 miles west to reservations in Oklahoma. Before they were put on the "Trail of Tears", they were detained in detention centers called "emigration depots." These forts existed in North Carolina, as well as Chattanooga, Tennessee and Fort Payne, Alabama. 

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