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.

Goodman: Will Trump Prevail In November?

Sep 6, 2020

Commentary: Donald Trump should be toast; but will precisely the problems that should sink him help keep him afloat?

Capping four years of incompetence, lawbreaking, and ethics violations, Trump has mismanaged the pandemic so badly the U.S. easily leads the world in per capita cases and deaths; and just when several troubling police shootings of Black people have awakened more whites to systemic racism than anything since the 1960’s, Trump is still peddling racism. Logically people would reject Trump to save lives and to diminish our society’s racism and divisiveness. Plus, Joe Biden capped the Democratic “convention” with the best speech of his life. Why wouldn’t Biden rout Trump?

 

Examining Cost Projections: Universal Health Coverage For New Mexico

Sep 4, 2020

Commentary: Last fall, the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee selected Maryland-based KNG Health Consulting to conduct a fiscal analysis of the homegrown Health Security Plan (HSP). The HSP would automatically cover most New Mexicans and provide comprehensive services and freedom of choice of doctor.

KNG’s final report attempts to answer a basic question: Would the HSP’s estimated revenue pay for its estimated cost? The HSP is assumed to begin operations by 2024.

Paul J. Gessing

Commentary: New Mexico leaders, especially those working in and around K-12 education, are scrambling for solutions to the State’s broadband issues. An estimated 25 percent of families in our State do not have access to broadband.

That is troubling in normal times given the importance of being able to access useful information at one’s fingertips, but when so many of our students have been forced to learn at home (whether that is virtual or home school), it becomes a much more serious issue.

How To Reach These Kids

Aug 31, 2020

Commentary: As a green card holder, my mother never voted. My father claimed that as a member of the military, he didn't particularly feel like he should vote. Thinking back, there was never much discussion about voting in my family. We lived like nomads, never tied to a place for more than three or four years. Why get involved knowing who the mayor was, or our city councilors? Those topics never really came up.

Why, then, am I so invested in politics, particularly local politics, when I could be just as untethered to a firm mooring due to my upbringing? And, I was asked the other day, how can parents do a better job engaging their children in voting and public policy issues? In effect, can we engage millions who can vote but traditionally don't because they are "young"?

Rubel: As Athletes Protest, Will Society Listen?

Aug 31, 2020

Commentary: Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947, but change came slower to Birmingham, Alabama.

The minor league Birmingham Barons played in the Southern Association, which had just one black player in its history. Nat Peeples played in two games for the Atlanta Crackers in 1954. The Southern Association went under in 1961. After two years without baseball, the Barons were ready to make their return. But there was a problem.

Peter Goodman

Commentary: The Trumpist Convention was an alternate-reality show of questionable legality.

There were moments of grace: Senator Tim Scott spoke well, but he IS the entire Congressional Republican Black Caucus. Karen Pence spoke movingly of art therapy helping a PTSD-plagued veteran, but didn’t explain the connection to Trump.

Mostly people said, straight-faced, how much Trump cares about the average person, and how hard he works. Trump even mentioned the “unnecessary deaths” from COVID-19, as if our absurd global lead in per capita deaths had nothing to do with him. (In Trumpworld, when China “let” this virus spread, Trump started the biggest national mobilization since WWII. And he “follows the science.”)

 

Fed adopts policy that could help low-income Americans

Aug 28, 2020

Commentary: The Fed has adopted changes to policy which might seem small, but in fact have important implications for New Mexicans.

The Fed announced that it will no longer preemptively increase interest rates when unemployment falls but will keep rates low until inflation picks up. Second, the Fed announced that the 2% inflation rate target is no longer a cap; instead, the Fed will seek to achieve an average 2% inflation rate. This means that inflation can climb above 2% for substantial period of time before the Fed takes action.

Together, these two announcements mean that interest rates are likely to remain lower going forward than otherwise would have been expected. And it means that inflation rates will also be higher, perhaps double the average of 1.4% we have experienced the last five years.

Political Campaigns Should Be About Ideas...Not Personalities

Aug 27, 2020

 

  Commentary: “Joe Biden likes you.” 

 

That was what commentator Ezra Klein took away when Joe Biden secured the Democrats’ nomination for president. Klein wrote: “Joe Biden likes you if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. He likes you even if you don’t like him, because it’s his job to like you, no matter how you vote.”

 

Now that the figurative confetti has dropped, let’s get real: It is not, in fact, Joe Biden’s job to like you. 

California Electricity Woes a Warning for New Mexico

Aug 27, 2020
Paul J. Gessing

Commentary: Electricity and where it comes from is a very “hot” issue these days.

As with so many political issues of the left, California has put itself on the very edge when it comes to following the green agenda. It should come as no surprise, given the State’s “deep blue” politics, that California has some of the most aggressive renewable energy goals in the United States. As has been widely reported in the media, Californians are experiencing electricity shortages due in part to a heat wave hitting the State.

Commentary: This is why we can’t have nice things.

That was essentially the claim made by local developer Randy McMillan after plans fell through for a special tax district to fund a planned upscale project on the old Las Cruces Country Club property off Main Street.

McMillan, who was working with Nebraska developer Zachary Weigert on the project, said it was city staff who first came to them with the idea of using a Tax Increment Development District to help finance the project.

Waiting For The Wick

Aug 24, 2020

Commentary: The quarantine coincided with spring, so there were a lot of long, hard looks at our yard and impulsive decisions made. A tree had started to grow in the small, shallow dirt that was well-dug for a different planned tree. We recognized the space usurper as a native tree we also had in the front yard and wanted to see if we could replant it to add more shade.

New Mexico is in a Toxic Relationship

Aug 24, 2020
imagebase.net

Commentary: If you google “What are signs you are in a toxic relationship?”, you will run into brief descriptions of the following points: You are not yourself anymore, you feel trapped, and you lose your understanding of what the truth is. And from the sound of it, New Mexico is in a toxic relationship with the Oil and Gas industry.

Reshoring PPE: A National Priority

Aug 24, 2020

Commentary: Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, along with Senators Mike Rounds (South Carolina) and Shelley Moor Capito (West Virginia), has introduced a bill called the U.S. Made Act of 2020, which has the objective of reshoring Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) from China to the U.S. PPE equipment that is deemed to be a national priority under Graham’s bill includes sanitizing/disinfecting wipes, surgical/respirator masks, face shields, surgical gowns, and items used in hospitals such as bandages and bedding. The bill would mandate that all PPE be American-made within five years. Graham is pushing to have the bill incorporated into the Phase IV coronavirus relief package, if the White House and Congress, and Republicans and Democrats, can come to an agreement.

The Powerful Message Of The Democratic Convention

Aug 23, 2020

 

  Commentary: The Democratic “Convention” talked policy, but stressed character, competence, openness, and grace. And highlighted real people with real feelings for the candidate, from the New York elevator operator who’d spontaneously said, “I love you!” to the New Hamshire boy who stutters as Joe did, whom Biden encouraged.

Capped by a Joe Biden speech even Karl Rove praised on Fox, the well-produced event taught us who Biden and his wife are. Character counts, and whatever Republicans do next week, they can’t copy this with Trump’s life and character.

The Real Political Debate For An America In Crisis

Aug 23, 2020

  Commentary: This coming week, the GOP convention will attack the Democrats for being far left socialists. Definition of socialism is people working together to accomplish certain goals. We have many examples in our society—police and fire departments, public education, infrastructure like roads and bridges and regulations that promote competition and keep our water and air clean. 

 

These are needs that must be met by community action through the city, county, state or federal governments or they won’t be supported. 

We Need To Honor Local Heroes

Aug 19, 2020

Commentary: In this time of contested history, it has become difficult to choose an appropriate way to recognize individuals who played a part in history.  People in the past lived out the ideas, values and cultural behaviors of their time.  Few rose above them. The seventeenth century Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate was no exception, and attaching his name to one of our high schools is now considered by some to condone or even celebrate his many violent actions.

New Mexico joins lawsuit over Trump Administration’s attempts to undermine Postal Service

Aug 18, 2020

Commentary: Attorney General Balderas announced today that New Mexico is joining a multistate coalition that will file a federal lawsuit challenging drastic operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service that threaten critical mail delivery and could undermine the national election in November. The Postal Service cuts, including eliminating staff overtime, altering operations at state distribution centers and removing critical mail sorting equipment, threaten the timely delivery of mail to individuals who rely on the Postal Service for everything from medical prescriptions to ballots.

Rep. Xochitl Torres Small

  Commentary: Today, Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02) urged the United States Postal Service (USPS) Postmaster General DeJoy to reverse course on operational changes that have led to reduced services and delays in mail delivery across New Mexico.

In her letter to Postmaster General DeJoy, Torres Small specifically cites concerns about the effect of decreased operations on rural communities’ ability to stay connected, the delivery of life-saving prescriptions, and the ability to serve veterans living in remote communities.

Where Some Go, They Go Alone

Aug 18, 2020

Commentary: I met her in a ninth-grade Spanish class. It was already March when I moved to a brand-new state from overseas, meaning that I had less than six good weeks to make friends before break. Spoiler: I spent that summer getting very acquainted with the original "Star Trek" series alone.

I didn't make friends with her immediately, but I remember her escorting me down the hall from class. She shook my hand a little manically, her bones small and dainty, and I would tease her for years that she had a gaunt yet fierce avian look about her. Her handshake felt like the first acknowledgment of my arrival to the new land; she made me think that it could be home at some point.

imagebase.net

Commentary: Commentary: Kudos to Mayor Ken Miyagishima and Councilor Gill Sorg on their handling of the proposed Royal Crossings development proposal at the old Las Cruces Country Club site.  

Project owners withdrew their proposal to divert $243 million in future tax revenues to pay for development costs amidst a flurry of questions from the Mayor and Councilor Sorg.  The announcement came just hours prior to a scheduled city workshop to further examine proposal details.  

Developer complaints about community opposition, and insinuations that Mayor Miyagishima somehow lied to them during the project review process, are a clumsy attempt to deflect attention from obvious flaws in their subsidy proposal.  When elected officials respond to community concerns and ask questions about earmarking hundreds of millions in future tax revenues to pay a privately owned project’s expenses, they are not persecuting anyone.  They’re doing their job.

Commentary: The National Education Association of New Mexico (NEA-NM) has released a list of 5 essential recommendations for the safe re-opening of New Mexico public schools. In the official document containing the results of a series of surveys across New Mexico, Mary Parr-Sanchez, President of NEA-NM, stated that after months of listening to thousands of educator’s perspectives on health, safety, and school reopening, the message is clear; “Educators want a safe and judicious return to school for students and staff that is premised on scientific data demonstrating the virus is under control.”

 

Conventions are virtually a waste of time

Aug 17, 2020

 


  Commentary: At the Republican National Convention of 1952, supporters of Dwight D. Eisenhower worked to have 42 delegates stripped from states that were supportive of his main opponent, Sen. Robert A. Taft of Ohio. Still, Eisenhower didn’t win the nomination until Harold Stassen offered his votes.

At the Democratic Convention that year, ballots were cast for 16 different candidates on the first vote. Estes Kefauver led after the first round before Harry Truman tilted the scales for Adlai Stevenson.

That was the last time nominees were selected at the convention. There have been rumblings of a brokered convention since then, most notably orchestrated by Ronald Reagan in 1976 and Ted Kennedy in 1980. 

 

Ifo Pili / education.byu.edu

Commentary: Dear Mayor and Council,

I'm writing to express my opposition to 8.17.20 Agenda Item 9.2 regarding an employment agreement for Ifo Pili because the proposed pay is excessive and unwarranted and lacks any precedent, will cause city utilities, taxes, and fees to go up to pay for it, and will be bad for City employee morale.  

 

There is no basis to pay such a high amount ($216,000/year) in such a small organization and thus it's excessive and unwarranted.

 

The proposed pay would be dramatically more than the pay for the City Manager of Santa Fe a comparable-sized City and organization, the Dona Ana County Manager, or the Governor of New Mexico and thus lacks any precedent. 

Goodman: Concerns About Guardianship In New Mexico

Aug 16, 2020
Peter Goodman

  The plight of Dorris and Rio Hamilton has adult guardianship on my mind again.

I hope Rio and his lawyer provide all the information the court has requested, to stop the huge drain on family emotions and finances. I hope the lawyers and professional “guardians” let that happen.

Mrs. Hamilton needs supervision. That’s a sad fact after her impressive career as an educator. Her son Rio returned home from New York to take over providing that supervision. He seems capable of it, he wants to do it, and she wants him to. The court-appointed “guardian ad litem,” David Lutz, told the court he thought Rio should be helping his mother. She’d remain in a congregate-living facility and have a financial advisor, but Rio could make decisions for her or with her, take her to medical appointments, etc.

Editor's note:  States do not have to supplement the federal unemployment assistance of $300/week.  Here is the Labor Department letter that explains the program.  

Commentary: Representative David Gallegos (R-Eunice), member of the House Labor and Veterans Affairs committee, blasted the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS) for their callous disregard for the thousands of New Mexicans who have been forced to file for unemployment due to Governor Lujan Grisham’s forced economic shutdown. The department recently shared an update on unemployment funds, stating that while they would accept the additional federal assistance of $300/week from President Donald Trump’s executive order, they would not be willing to put up the $100/week match to the federal assistance, $400/week in total.

Looking To Artificial Intelligence For Conversation

Aug 13, 2020
Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

Commentary: Last weekend I had a long conversation with an artificial intelligence chatbot – but our friendship was short-lived.

 

The word “companion” can be traced back to an expression for breaking bread with someone. 

 

But during the pandemic and its attendant social isolation, these synthetic companions have been a popular download. There are a few on the market, and I chose Replika – with a K – which is among the more popular ones this summer. 

  Commentary: Today, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its proposals to eliminate methane protections from the EPA’s New Source Performance Standards. This rollback undermines EPA’s own mission by threatening public health, and disproportionately hurts Black and Brown communities who are already exposed to air pollution from oil and gas development at much higher rates. The same communities that are already suffering the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This move is a thinly veiled attempt to limit oversight of the nation’s more than 850,000 “existing source” oil and gas wells at the expense of our health, our safety, and our planet at a time when these protections are needed more than ever. In fact, leading oil and gas companies have been outspoken about the need for EPA to keep commonsense methane protections in order to address the growing problem of energy waste and pollution.  These rollbacks affect New Mexico particularly.

Time For Reform At New Mexico's Public Regulation Commission

Aug 12, 2020

Commentary:  New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission (PRC) has been at the center of a number of momentous and controversial issues (particularly the Energy Transition Act) in recent years. But bi-partisan momentum exists for reforming the powerful regulatory body and a Constitutional Amendment will be on this November’s ballot which will transform the PRC into a three member body appointed by the Gov.

Is this a good move? What evidence exists from other, similar regulatory agencies? In his new Issue Brief “Should the Governor Appoint PRC Commissioners?” which analyzes the issue and brings evidence from other states into the discussion, the Rio Grande Foundation’s Adjunct Scholar Kenneth Costello discusses the issue and offer his recommendations. 

An Incomplete Census Hurts all New Mexicans

Aug 11, 2020

  Commentary: Right now, the 2020 Census, the data derived from it and the redistricting process that comes after, is under threat. And unless the U.S. Senate’s COVID-19 relief bill contains an extension of the deadline to complete the census, New Mexicans will pay the price—for the next 10 years.

The census is incredibly essential for the wellbeing and growth of New Mexico. Each year, census figures help direct billions in federal funding. An analysis of 55 census-directed programs found that in fiscal year 2016, New Mexico received $7.8 billion in funding based on census results. That includes:

  • $4.3 billion for Medicaid

  • $693 million for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • $386 million for highway planning and construction

  • $194 million in special education grants

  • $144 million for school breakfast and lunches

  • $83.5 million for Head Start programs


  Commentary: Can we have a recovery before we find a cure to the sickness?

Debbi Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, was recently selected for a national group formed by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

According to the press release announcing the new Fellowship for Economic Recovery, it will give chamber professionals “education and tools to improve the post-Covid-19 pandemic outcomes in the communities they serve.”

 

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