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.

Commentary: Diana Murillo-Trujillo has filed to run for reelection for Mayor of the City of Anthony.  Murillo-Trujillo was elected Mayor of the City of Anthony in 2016.  She brings a wealth of local government experience and perseverance to the Office of Mayor with 12 years of combined experience as Trustee, Mayor of the City of Anthony, and Doña Ana County Commissioner.  


In 2017, Diana Murillo-Trujillo sought to be elected Mayor of the City of Anthony with four clear goals in mind: Investing in infrastructure, investing in recreation for families, increasing public safety, economic development and job creation.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGIES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES

 Commentary: The fallout from Lujan Grisham’s vaccine mandate continues. Today Chaves County elected officials rallied with healthcare workers on the steps of the courthouse on Main Street to push back against the Governor’s blanket mandate of vaccinations for healthcare workers. New Mexico historically has struggled with staffing in rural hospitals and the decision by the administration to exclude weekly testing, in lieu of mandatory vaccinations, has forced many healthcare facilities to deal with the potential of mass layoffs and resignations.

Bringing the World Market to Companies in Mexico

Aug 23, 2021

Commentary: Prior to the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, wealth had become so concentrated in Mexico that an estimated 500 families controlled 80 percent of the nation’s land. This factor helped push the country to a bloody revolution that lasted more than a decade. An eerily similar statistic exists today in Mexico’s export statistics. It is now estimated that 500 companies account for approximately 80 percent of the country’s exports to the world. This is not a good statistic, as it reveals that the vast majority of Mexico’s micro-, small-, and medium-sized companies, often referred to by the acronym “mipymes” (micras, pequeñas y medianas empresas in Spanish), are not taking advantage of the world market.  


 Commentary: I don’t like plastic bags any more than members of the Las Cruces City Council, who recently passed a ban on them starting Jan. 1.

 

It’s not just their uncanny ability to escape confinement and sail into the nearest tree or bush, where they will flap in the breeze until somebody comes along and dislodges them. The health and ecological damages caused by plastic bags goes beyond just being an eyesore.

 

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, about 730,000 tons of plastic bags, sacks and wraps were produced in the United States in 2015. Less than 13 percent of that will be recycled. The rest will be dumped in a landfill or, worse, in the ocean.

In these turbulent times, let's talk to each other

Aug 23, 2021
Peter Goodman

 

  Commentary: Hearing people say, “Oh, I just can’t talk with THEM anymore,” about folks with different views of our bizarre world, set me thinking about why I talk (and even listen) to most everyone; and I’m grateful that my life’s been a course in openness.

Chance and curiosity have led me into varied worlds. My parents, seeing I was a juvenile delinquent headed for no good, sent me to a top prep school where I was surrounded by wealthy kids from extremely prominent families. 

Back to School brings big challenges

Aug 20, 2021
ALLIANCE FOR EXCELLENT EDUCATION

Commentary: School has begun for most New Mexico students. While every school year is different, this year is certainly more different than most. For starters, students are returning to “semi-normal” classrooms after 1.5 years of remote learning and relative chaos. Unfortunately, as of this writing schools in Rio Rancho, Carlsbad, Los Lunas, and Roswell have “temporarily” had to again go “virtual.”

Lost classroom time has had a big impact on academic outcomes for New Mexico students. According to the Legislative Finance Committee, the Legislature’s “in-house” think tank, K-12 students in New Mexico have fallen behind anywhere from six months to two years. Furthermore, lost classroom time will widen existing learning gaps, particularly for low-income families.

Commentary: The House Republican Leadership team today called on the Governor to convene an immediate Special Session of the New Mexico Legislature to address the escalating and already out of control crime problems plaguing Albuquerque and the rest of the state.  Republican leadership told the Governor that the runaway crime problem has become a public emergency as the crime rate continues to rapidly increase and has become progressively worse day by day.  

“We clearly have a unique opportunity to finally take the necessary steps to stop the growing number of violent and non-violent crimes across our state, and we stand ready to go to work immediately to get the job done,” wrote House Republican Leader Jim Townsend (Artesia), House Republican Whip Rod Montoya (Farmington), and House Republican Caucus Chair Rebecca Dow (T or C).  

  Commentary: The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Wednesday that it will ban a common pesticide from use on food crops. The pesticide, known as chlorpyrifos, has been linked to brain damage in children. However, chlorpyrifos will still be permitted for nonfood uses such as golf courses, turf and in pest treatments. The new rule will take effect in six months. 


The decision comes after a court ordered the EPA in April to revisit the agency’s earlier decision to allow the use of chlorpyrifos and to reconsider its safety on food. The EPA’s decision is the latest move by the Biden administration to roll back Trump-era policies.

Earlier this month, U.S. PIRG and its partner organizations delivered more than 27,000 member petition signatures to the EPA, calling on the agency to protect public health and ban chlorpyrifos.

DPNM Chair Jessica Velasquez

Commentary: Today, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham took decisive action by implementing an indoor mask mandate to keep New Mexicans safe in response to the rising threat of the Delta variant, particularly among unvaccinated Americans. Governor Lujan Grisham’s action will allow New Mexico’s economy to continue its recovery while protecting vulnerable New Mexicans and the state’s hospitals and health care workers. 

 In contrast, New Mexico GOP “leaders” are remaining silent or even actively undermining attempts to encourage vaccination. Prominent GOP gubernatorial candidates and party leaders, including Steve Pearce, Rebecca Dow, Greg Zanetti, Greg Schmedes and Jay Block have failed to join the now-bipartisan call to encourage Americans to get vaccinated, implicitly endorsing misinformation and conspiracy theories about the safe, effective vaccine. Meanwhile, Representative Yvette Herrell has joined conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene in an attempt to punish New Mexico’s universities for requiring vaccinations. New Mexico Republicans have shown they will not stand with the vast majority of New Mexicans to fight the war on Delta, saving thousands of lives and bolstering our economy.  “This pandemic is the kind of challenge that demands strong, principled leadership, and GOP candidates have repeatedly refused to rise to that task,” said DPNM Chair Jessica Velasquez. “It’s clear that these so-called ‘leaders’ would rather stand with conspiracy theorists than do what’s best for New Mexicans. It’s time for the GOP to grow a spine and call on all New Mexicans to wear a mask and get vaccinated.” 

RPNM Chair Steve Pearce

Commentary: The following is a statement from RPNM Chairman Steve Pearce regarding today’s latest Pandemic Health Order announced by Gov. Lujan Grisham, re-implementing an indoor mask mandate and demanding certain vaccination requirements statewide:

 
“The Governor’s latest Pandemic Health Order again demonstrates her lack of science and consistency in this serious health matter. It’s beyond comprehension that her unrestrained and autocratic actions continue after the destruction she has caused to New Mexico this past year. The Governor has her blinders on, refusing to acknowledge that COVID-infected migrants are crossing into our state unchecked. Last month more than 200,000 people crossed the southern border: no testing, no masks, no vaccinations. Our Governor lets that happen without restrictions, yet she places onerous burdens on our families, businesses and communities. Our two U.S. Senators, Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan, just voted against COVID testing for immigrants at the border, and our Governor sits idle, allowing this influx of people to continue. Lujan Grisham’s latest mandate lacks logic, fairness and continues to endanger the lives of New Mexicans.”

Report: Pandemic relief out of reach for many immigrants, refugees

Aug 17, 2021

Commentary: Many of New Mexico’s Asian/Pacific Islander and African immigrants and refugees are unable to access the assistance they are eligible for due to a pervasive lack of language access at state agencies. That’s one of the main points in a report released today by New Mexico Voices for Children. The conclusions in the report, Eligible but Excluded, are drawn from a series of in-person surveys and interviews conducted with the assistance of three immigrant- and refugee-serving organizations – the NM Asian Family Center, NM Black Leadership Council, and UNM’s United Voices for Newcomer Rights.  

Interior Department resuming oil and gas leasing

Aug 16, 2021
Wildearth Guardians

  Commentary: The Interior Department announced tonight that it will resume the oil and gas leasing process that had been paused by President Biden’s day-one executive order. Interior also confirmed that the Justice Department will appeal the court decision which prompted the restart.

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:

“Tonight’s announcements show how urgent it is for Congress to fix the broken and rigged system that governs oil and gas leasing. Last week’s United Nations report on climate change made it crystal clear that we are out of time; the only way to avoid a climate disaster is to rapidly cut carbon emissions.

“While Congress must act, Interior Secretary Haaland must also use every inch of the broad discretion granted to her under America’s bedrock conservation laws to ensure any future lease sales fully account for the costs of drilling to our communities and our climate. Those costs will be borne not by oil and gas CEOs, but by our children and grandchildren. The stakes are too high, and we cannot return to the status quo.”

It's Long Past Time For The U.S. To Have An Equitable Economy

Aug 16, 2021
fema.gov

  Commentary: How come we can always find money for tax cuts and the military (especially last 40 years) without worrying about debt or inflation—but when it comes to the people’s economy we become very concerned? 

 

This includes money for good paying jobs, retirement, health care, education, child-care, infrastructure, addressing climate change and ensuring the effectiveness of our democracy. 

 

Military spending is now as much as during WW II in real terms and many corporations and billionaires pay little or no income taxes. What have we gotten for our increased military presence around the world—failed wars in Vietnam and the middle-east and what have we gotten for our tax cuts—self-righteous rich people and severe inequality.

 

It’s time we changed direction.

Luján Leads Introduction of the Native American Voting Rights Act of 2021

Aug 16, 2021
U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.)

Commentary: U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, led his colleagues in introducing the Frank Harrison, Elizabeth Peratrovich, and Miguel Trujillo Native American Voting Rights Act of 2021 (NAVRA) – landmark voting rights legislation that will protect the sacred right to vote and ensure equal access to the electoral process for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and voters living on Tribal lands.

Senator Luján previously led the House re-introduction of NAVRA during the 116th Congress alongside former U.S. Senator Tom Udall. Companion legislation was introduced by U.S. Representatives Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) and Tom Cole (R-OK).

  Commentary: Am I hypocritical in my relief that Facebook, Twitter, and the like are banning dangerous misinformation about the pandemic, vaccines, and the idea that China or a dead Venezuelan dictator helped Joe Biden steal the U.S. Presidency?

Free speech has always been a cause close to my heart. I have vigorously exercised that right to express highly unpopular points of view, some of which later became popular.

Commentary: This week, the United States joined a long list of nations that have tried and failed to rule Afghanistan.

The Soviet Union came immediately before us. Their adventures in Afghanistan left them vulnerable to the collapse of the Soviet empire that was to follow. The British, Sikhs, Persians, Mongols and Greeks all suffered the same fate, dating back to Alexander the Great and Genghis Kahn.

 

The fact that our 20-year effort in Afghanistan was no more successful than all the great empires before us should not be surprising.

Rep. Rebecca Dow, R-Truth or Consequences

  Commentary: After more than 40 years of gun shows at the EXPO New Mexico at the State Fairgrounds in Albuquerque the State of New Mexico will no longer allow gun shows at state-run facilities.

The NRA released a statement on the state's "misguided policy" banning gun shows saying, "Senate Bill 8 [a 2019 bill that enacted sweeping gun control] has been a colossal failure, as proven by the lack of any prosecutions for violations of the law and the skyrocketing murder rate in Albuquerque.  So, either the governor’s new policy is a tragic admission of that gun control failure or an action that reveals the true motive of the gun control movement: to end gun shows altogether."

Senators Reintroduce Public Health Insurance Option

Aug 12, 2021

Commentary: U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) have reintroduced the State Public Option Act, bicameral legislation to create a Medicaid-based public health insurance option to strengthen the Affordable Care Act by providing Americans with a new high-quality, low-cost choice when purchasing health insurance.


“Health care is a human right. For communities to thrive, Americans need quality, affordable health care,” said Senator Luján. “A state public option puts us one step closer to universal coverage for all Americans, and I’m honored to re-introduce this legislation alongside Senator Schatz to bolster our health care system.”

Stripping Identity From Work

Aug 11, 2021

Commentary: It was an advertisement for a flower farm this time. There were openings for studio and field assistants and delivery drivers, both full-time and part-time positions. There's always a mental flash when I see a job posting that sounds interesting but is completely out of my wheelhouse: "Wouldn't that be a nice change of pace?" I don't ask, "Is that who I am?"

There's a myth surrounding the job-hopping millennial. But now that we have employees quitting in droves — a good deal of them millennials, but not all — shouldn't we ask what a job or career means when we know that the system doesn't build security, value or purpose for who we are?

Stan Rounds via LCPS

Commentary: Last week, the entire Floyd School Board was suspended by the Public Education Department (PED) for refusing to follow state mask guidelines. This week, PED announced that former Las Cruces Superintendent Stand Rounds will serve in their place until further notice.

Senator David Gallegos (District 41-Eddy and Lea) issued the following statement regarding Mr. Rounds' appointment:

“Mr. Rounds is an honorable man and a gifted educator. However, I am deeply troubled that a duly-elected school board can be removed without statutory standing and replaced with an unelected individual with no association or stake in the district. The appointment of Mr. Rounds, who lives in Las Cruces and serves as the Executive Director of the New Mexico Superintendents’ Association, demonstrates that PED has no interest in respecting the right of parents and students in Floyd. I hope the Floyd School Board is swiftly reinstated with full authority so they can return to serving the needs of their community.”

Commentary: With national discussions about the protection of voting rights and the Congressional elections in 2022, residents of Southern New Mexico may not be focusing on the local elections that are coming up in November.  Doña Ana County has five municipalities: Anthony, Hatch, Las Cruces, Mesilla, and Sunland Park.  Depending on where you live, you may be voting for members of a school board, a city council, or other local positions and issues.  In Las Cruces, three City council seats, three Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education seats, and a municipal judge position will be filled.  There will also be elections in the Gadsden and Hatch school districts.

A stroke of luck

Aug 10, 2021

Commentary: Throughout my career, I have had many coincidences that make me think that we live in a small world. One of the most interesting occurred when I was the Director of New Mexico’s Commercial and Tourism Office in Mexico City. When I arrived, I made the rounds to different Mexican federal agencies, presenting myself and my state. In this respect, I scheduled a meeting with a high-ranking official (I will refer to him as “TM”) in Mexico’s Secretariat of Foreign Relations.

American Rescue Plan Act Funds: A Real Opportunity for New Mexico

Aug 10, 2021

Commentary: New Mexicans value fairness and justice.  But too many of us have experienced the inequity of not having access to opportunity, land, water, or wealth.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), New Mexico will receive $2.5 billion dollars for relief and recovery.  Decision makers must prioritize equity when distributing the ARPA funds, and if they do, it could be transformational for New Mexico. 

Securing the political power & representation we deserve

Aug 10, 2021

  Commentary: The reapportionment data from the 2020 Census is beginning to roll out, and while most of the attention was skewed towards New Mexico’s lack of population growth, there is much to celebrate for our families and for those who were part of this successful collaborative effort to count every New Mexican.

According to the data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, NM beat expectations in the 2020 census count. Why? Because together, we were able to overcome a long list of challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. And most importantly, NM successfully averted a census undercount–a situation that would have cost the state hundreds of millions in federal funding for the next 10 years. 


 

  Commentary: When President Joe Biden announced a plan to send local public health workers door-to-door on a mission to increase COVID-19 vaccinations, conservative pundits warned that those foolish enough to open their doors would be forcibly vaccinated against their will.

 

U.S, Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene went one step further, as is her wont, comparing those health care workers to the Nazi Brownshirts who aided Adolph Hitler’s rise to power.

Peter Goodman

 

  

Commentary: Congresswoman Yvette Herrell is providing a tragic example of putting ideology (or political convenience) ahead of her constituents’ welfare.

There’s a Delta-powered resurgence of COVID-19, particularly where vaccination rates lag. The Delta variant is more contagious, and may also cause more serious infections.

I called Herrell’s office Friday to ask about why she had introduced a bill to strip schools of federal money for mandating the COVID-19 vaccine. (This could deny hundreds of millions of dollars to UNM and NMSU. Both have ordered that almost all faculty, staff and students must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30 (or take weekly COVID-19 tests) to access university programs and facilities in-person.)

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham / Office of the New Mexico Governor

  Commentary:  Senate Republican Leader, Senator Greg Baca (District 29-Bernalillo and Valencia) and Senator David Gallegos (District 41-Eddy and Lea) met with Public Education Department Secretary Ryan Stewart and Secretary-Designate Kurt Steinhaus regarding recent actions taken by the Department. Following  the meeting, Senators Baca and Gallegos issued the following joint statement: “While we appreciate the Secretary and Secretary-Designate visiting with us today, we fundamentally disagree that the Public Education Department can legally remove a duly-elected school board under the force of law when they don't obey the the edicts from the Governor's office. This is a dangerous precedent that not only undermines the authority of all school boards, but the legislature which alone has the power to make laws. We support our local leaders and the families who voted them into office, and we hope the courts soon correct this blatant violation of local authority.”

Herrell must stop the anti-vaccine rhetoric; it's not the time for politics

Aug 6, 2021

  Commentary: Republican 2nd District Congresswoman Yvette Herrell made news earlier this week for signing on to co-sponsor legislation that would withhold federal dollars from schools and universities that mandate COVID vaccinations before students, teachers, staff faculty can attend.  

Don’t fret. The bill will not become law. Filed by Republican Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, it has attracted 10 co-sponsors, all GOP lawmakers in a U.S. House controlled by Democrats. It’s “message” legislation that positions Herrell in the escalating cultural war over COVID. 

But it’s a dangerous time to play politics.

fema.gov

 Commentary: As negotiations continue on a federal infrastructure package in Washington, DC, 60 essential immigrant workers from eleven New Mexico counties joined U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Lujan on Wednesday at a virtual roundtable to share their experiences during the pandemic and the need for legalization through Congress’ budget reconciliation process. They also lauded the Senator for being a champion in the US Senate and with the Biden administration for a path to citizenship for millions of immigrant workers.

Approximately 68,000 immigrant New Mexicans fell through the cracks when it came to federal economic relief because of their family’s mixed immigration status, despite working for years in critical industries such as agriculture, oil and gas, hospitality, and home health care. They were unable to access stimulus checks and unemployment benefits and often were fearful of seeking out other economic supports because of  perceived immigration and “public charge” consequences. 

EPA Urged To Strengthen Methane Rules For Oil And Gas Industry

Aug 4, 2021
Sierra Club

 

  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.) are calling on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan to consider current New Mexico state rules as the EPA works towards new proposed methane emissions regulations for the oil and gas industry.

Last month, President Joe Biden signed into law Senator Heinrich’s resolution to reinstate methane emissions standards to protect public health and tackle the climate crisis. S.J. Res 14, a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), nullifies the Trump administration’s 2020 Methane Rescission Rule and reinstates U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for methane emissions from the oil and gas industry and the regulation of air pollution from transmission and storage facilities.

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