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.

Making A List And Checking It Twice

Aug 10, 2020

 


    Commentary: Of all the things I haven't expected in my life, I didn't expect that I'd need to retake second grade. But, thanks to COVID-19, here we are. Here are many of us, back to thinking we escaped worksheets and algebra, only to be pulled back in like an old and tired Michael Corleone in his kitchen.

I remember my first go-around with the second grade, almost 30 years ago. I remember friends. I remember first crushes. I remember being exasperated with the amount of busy work that we did, culminating in a refusal to partake in making a hand-shaped cardboard turkey. The thought still peeves me.

Commentary: “For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.” I remember being fascinated by this proverb when I was in elementary school. It taught me that overlooking the smallest details can wreak havoc on a project. This ancient proverb lends itself well to the situation the United Kingdom (U.K.) is facing with Brexit, its exit from the European Union (E.U.). The focal points of Brexit have involved macro issues such as how to pull the U.K. out of the E.U., how tariffs on future trade will be handled, whether the U.K. will form its own free trade agreement with the U.S., and how E.U. standards on products entering E.U. countries will be applied to soon-to-be, ex-E.U. member, the U.K.  

Choosing A New District Judge In New Mexico

Aug 9, 2020

 

  Whom should the Democrats nominate to run in November for the new judicial position, with a half-criminal and half-civil docket?

The Judicial Nominating Commission considered nine strong candidates, sending four names up to Governor Lujan-Grisham. She, with General Counsel Matt Garcia, interviewed all four and nominated local lawyer Casey Fitch, who will serve at least until year’s end.

November’s election will decide who holds the position after that. The Governor selected Fitch; but former Magistrate Judge Richard Jacquez, whom she also interviewed, is contesting the Democratic nomination. Doña Ana County members of the State Central Committee will choose a nominee next week.

 

Dr. Chris Erickson

Commentary: The current recession is a crisis like no other. GDP fell 9.5% in the third quarter, the sharpest decline on record. Here in New Mexico, employment is down by 8.3% since the onset of the Pandemic. Add to this the sharp drop in oil prices. All this illustrates what we already knew, which is that this is easily the deepest, sharpest recession in our lifetimes.

The impact of the Pandemic on the economy is profound, affecting both the supply side and the demand side. The supply effect arises because the Pandemic exposes people who are at work to the virus. People react to this risk by avoiding the workplace.

Rep. Xochitl Torres Small

Commentary: Congressman Harry Teague’s guest editorial in the (August 5)  Las Cruces Sun-News was a surprise. He said that New Mexico needs a congresswoman who “knows and appreciates the impact of the energy industry has on all New Mexico.”  I thought he meant Rep. Xochitl Torres Small.  Instead he was endorsing her Republican opponent.  Mr. Teague, a Democrat who briefly represented New Mexico’s Second Congressional District, hasn’t kept up with Rep. Torres Small’s record of the past two years.

  Commentary: Today, the Interior Department’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue proposed a new valuation and civil penalty reform rule.

Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

Commentary: Say something enough times, even if it’s a lie, and people will repeat it. 

Here’s what happened.

 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham gave a press conference last week, during which I asked a question about campaign rallies and political protests. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we are in a season of robust social protest over police violence and racism, and now we are in the final 100 days of an election cycle. I wanted to get the governor on record with her recommendations about these activities in light of the public health emergency. 

Commentary: The City Council will be voting on the creation of a Tax Increment Development District ("TIDD") for the vacant land on the site of the old Las Cruces Country Club. This TIDD transaction is being ramrodded by a Zachary Wiegert of Nebraska for a private investor group. Mr. Wiegert has established a number of anonymous LLC's for the TIDD lacking any transparency and making them unaccountable to the taxpayers. 

Commentary: Steve Jones, a 74 year old retiree and resident of Ruidoso, New Mexico became a qualified candidate for Congress on June 25. 2020.  Jones is an Independent Candidate is running on three primary issues; 1) As most voters, Jones was shocked by the hyper-partisanship in Congress over the last two years. 2) Having worked in Socialist & Communist countries, Jones feels that is uniquely qualified to oppose the socialist movement that could destroy social security, welfare, and Medicare. , and 3) Jones wants Congress to undertake a bi-partisan study of Xenophobia to replace political rhetoric with action

Great American Outdoors Act signed into law

Aug 4, 2020

Commentary: Legislation to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been signed into law. The legislation, known as Great American Outdoors Act, would also provide funds to address the maintenance backlog for the National Park Service and other federal public land agencies. New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and Representatives Xochitl Torres Small, Ben Ray Luján, and Deb Haaland co-sponsored the legislation in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.

“This is a special day for public lands in New Mexico and all across the United States,” said Mark Allison, Executive Director for New Mexico Wild. “The LWCF supports projects big and small, from the maintenance of national monuments to the construction of playground equipment in our community parks. This legislation simultaneously recognizes New Mexicans’ desire for quality outdoor experiences and invests desperately needed resources in our communities as they struggle to recover from the havoc wrought by the global pandemic. New Mexico’s entire congressional delegation should be commended for their role in this historic moment.”

COVID-19's Devastating Toll On College Sports

Aug 3, 2020

Commentary: When Mario Moccia was named athletics director at New Mexico State University in 2014, he inherited a men’s basketball program that, thanks in part to the legacy of Lou Henson, was a consistent conference champion and qualifier for the NCAA Tournament.

That was the good news.

He also inherited a debt of several million dollars owed to the main campus; a football program that hadn’t been to a bowl game since 1960, and, even worse, was without a conference; and facilities that were not up to the same standards as their opponents’.

 

Voting, Now More than Ever, the Cornerstone of Democracy

Aug 3, 2020

  Commentary: The Voting Rights Act was signed 55 years ago this August, largely in response to the non-violent civil rights demonstrations of the early 1960s to address centuries of racial injustice. During the iconic march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital in Montgomery, the American public witnessed the savage beating of Rep. John Lewis and other Black citizens who were simply asking for the rights guaranteed by the 14th and 15th amendments.          

Beyond The Divide

Aug 3, 2020

Commentary: My favorite picture of my grandparents hangs in my hallway. They are in the middle of what seems like a joke, both smiling with their eyes closed and leaning into each other. It was taken by a cousin once removed who was able to be at their wedding anniversary celebration.

Due to time and distance, I could not. I was both pleased and sad to receive that picture. It wasn't just the distance that separated my grandparents from their only grandchild; it was a deviation of my journey in language and then, slowly, in culture.

Remembering Lou Henson

Aug 2, 2020

Commentary: Lou Henson was a good man who was damned good at what he did. His accomplishments and the esteem of all who knew him will live on and continue inspiring others.

 

 

Many can recite that he took two different teams to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, NMSU and Illinois, and retired as the sixth winningest basketball coach in NCAA history. But a key fact about Lou, buried in the 11th ‘graph of the wire service story on his death, was that in 1962, as a high-school coach from Las Cruces interviewing for his first college-level coaching job, as head coach at Hardin-Simmons, he said he’d take the gig only if they integrated the place. They did.

Photo by: Nathan J. Fish


James Jimenez - New Mexico Voices For Children

Commentary: The end of this year’s extended tax season gives us another chance to consider where our tax dollars are going and if they directly benefit our communities via our schools, health care, public safety infrastructure, and more. As a parent, grandparent, and New Mexican, I understand how important taxpayer dollars are for putting books in our classrooms, improving our hospitals, and supporting new infrastructure projects. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is squeezing New Mexico’s already tight state budget, as vital tax revenue drops during the recession. At the same time, oil and gas companies in New Mexico and across the West are filing for bankruptcy, leaving behind orphaned wells and leaving New Mexicans with the unpaid bill for cleaning them up. 


Unmasking Our Social Contracts

Jul 27, 2020

 


  Commentary: I'll admit it; I had been holding out on wearing a mask in one situation — walking around my neighborhood early in the morning. Two things made me change: knowing the story of someone I encountered and a droll analysis of my generation by the one coming up behind me.

A few weeks back, my family debated getting another dog, a playmate for our pup that is staring down mortality with wisps of gray lining the brown fur around her face. She is generally a relaxed dog, if hyper vigilant, and only sometimes boisterous. The only major transgressions have been things such as enthusiastically jumping up and knocking down — and almost killing — a sapling. Or, more worrisome, the time she snapped at a visitor who decided to stick their hand through the fence that sectioned off part of the yard where the dog was being kept. Really, the latter is my fault. I broke the social contract with the dog. She's not incredibly well socialized.

Las Cruces Development: What Does a Subsidy Buy?

Jul 27, 2020
Country Club Estates / Las Cruces

 

  Commentary: Developers have brought a controversial proposal to Las Cruces and Dona Ana County.   They’ll   build a state-of-the-art mixed-use development called Royal Crossings on the 91 acre abandoned Las Cruces Country Club property if the city and county agree to divert a projected $243 million in tax revenues into their pockets over the next 25 years.  

The developers will retain 100% ownership of the project.

 

Military Takes Over Customs In Mexico

Jul 27, 2020

Commentary: On July 17, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (commonly referred to as AMLO) announced that he was putting Mexico’s military in charge of Customs operations at land and seaports of entry in order to root out corruption. Illegal drugs, chemicals used to make illegal drugs, and contraband have been tied to violence in Mexico, mainly the ongoing drug wars fought by cartels. The situation has become so dire in some regions of Mexico that cartels are fighting over control of the ports of entry and the area that surrounds them. Control is usually obtained by either supplying “mordidas” (bribes) to Aduanas (Mexican Customs) personnel or using threats and violence to obtain compliance in illicit activities.

Intersecting Lives In Las Cruces

Jul 26, 2020
Peter Goodman

 

  Lives are like intersecting circles, like a kid tossing pebbles into a pond, creating circles that ripple outward, some immediately intersecting and growing together, others touching just briefly before they disappear, leaving the pond still.

Claude Fouilladd grows up in Paris, after the War. There’s a park he loves, Jardin du Luxembourg; and, decades later, he spends a lot of time there with his wife, Sharon, the love of his life.

He ends up teaching at NMSU.

Ilana Lapid grows up in Las Cruces. A young filmmaker and NMSU professor, she makes an award-winning docudrama in Belize about the illegal wildlife trade. About to leave for a film festival in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, she is diagnosed with a rare leukemia that would likely have killed her if she had left. (She recovers.)

 

Commentary: The following is a statement from Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce regarding President Trump's announcement that dozens of federal agents will be sent to Albuquerque to combat rising crime:

“Albuquerque is home to many federal facilities, including national labs, AFRL and a military base. Crime affects potential researchers and professionals who do not want to put their kids in our schools or live in a city that leads the nation in too many crime categories. The federal government has a vested interest in seeing that New Mexico has safe streets and that these sensitive facilities have a stable environment in which to operate. The decision to bring in federal agents to Albuquerque is a sad but true commentary on the failure of the Keller Administration. The city hasn’t been able to address its skyrocketing crime problem. The Mayor calls the federal agents ‘secret police’--an insult and a dangerous term on any level. Sen. Heinrich also called the federal agents ‘stormtroopers.’ These are irresponsible statements. Both should accept help from Washington to keep communities safe and to protect law enforcement. President Trump is standing up for law and order, and Albuquerque desperately needs this federal assistance as it continues to face an ever-growing crime problem.”

Luján Celebrates Passage of Landmark Great American Outdoors Act

Jul 22, 2020

  Commentary: U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) issued the following statement celebrating the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act – landmark conservation legislation to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and restore our National Park System:

                                                                     

The Great American Outdoors Act fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually and creates the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund. This will provide funding to the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Education to fix buildings, trails, roads, and other public infrastructure in need of repair over the next five years. The legislation has already passed the U.S. Senate.

 

New Mexico Secretary Of State To Trump: Don't Bring Federal Troops To Albuquerque

Jul 22, 2020

Commentary: Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver released the following statement following news that President Trump may soon send federal officers to Albuquerque, New Mexico:

“It’s tremendously disturbing that President Trump is considering occupying New Mexico’s largest city by sending federal troops into Albuquerque just over 100 days before the General Election. Any federal troop presence in New Mexico will have an intimidating effect on our citizens and disrupt the free exercise of their democratic rights. We’ve already seen the secret abductions of citizens by these troops in Portland and New Mexicans have no assurance that such unlawful actions would not occur in Albuquerque. The right to the free and fair functioning of our democracy cannot and will not be set aside in New Mexico for a Washington political stunt, or worse, a takeover of state and local democratic processes. We do not live in a country where voters need to fear going out on Election Day to exercise their right to vote. As Secretary of State, I will continue to advocate for New Mexicans to be able to cast their ballot in November without obstruction or intimidation.”

 

  Commentary: The question of how to expand “early childhood” programs in New Mexico has long been one of the most contentious public policy issues in the state. Recently, the Legislative Finance Committee produced a new report “Prekindergarten Quality and Educational Outcomes,”The report makes multiple positive claims about the effectiveness of pre-K that Katharine Stevens addresses in her new policy brief, “Why Expanding New Mexico State Pre-K Won’t Help the Children Who Need Help the Most.”

New Mexico Challenges Trump Administration Rule Curtailing States’ Clean Water Act Oversight

Jul 21, 2020
Facebook / White House

Commentary: Attorney General Balderas today joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule unlawfully curtailing state authority under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. For more than three decades, the EPA has consistently acknowledged and respected that Section 401 provides states with the authority to review, impose conditions on, or deny certification for federally permitted projects. However, as directed by President Trump’s April 2019 executive order, the EPA issued a final rule radically altering its water quality certification regulations to restrict state authority under the Clean Water Act. In the lawsuit, the coalition argues that the final rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act and Clean Water Act and must be vacated.

 

Torres Small Cosponsors RESTAURANTS Act to Help Struggling NM Eateries

Jul 21, 2020
Rep. Xochitl Torres Small

Commentary: Representative Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02) cosponsored the Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive (RESTAURANTS) Act to help meet the needs of New Mexico’s struggling independent restaurant owners and operators. The bill would create a $120 billion restaurant stabilization grant program to help independent restaurants manage the long-term challenges created by COVID-19. Reports have highlighted how COVID-19 business restrictions have hit local restaurants especially hard, and the RESTAURANTS Act takes into account the costs of acquiring masks, gloves, and other protective equipment for employees; cleaning materials; food; debt payments to suppliers; and other industry-specific needs as restaurants have been asked to operate at reduced capacity or temporarily close their doors. 

What We Gain From What We Lost

Jul 20, 2020

Commentary: The walks framed our days during the beginning of quarantine. They started and ended the day. My dog became slimmer; I did not.

While discussing the abrupt end of my daughter's school year with my mom during one of the walks, I told my mom about a recent article I had read, a data-laden piece that somehow was still tinged with anxiety-inducing barbs. It detailed how being ripped from school will be traumatizing for kids and how the unknown spiral of time before they go back will be time wasted.

My mom scoffed at the notion.

Albuquerque Journal / Pool photo

Commentary: Tuesday the New Mexico Restaurant Association sued the Governor, challenging her order prohibiting indoor dining. (Wednesday morning NMRA’s CEO discussed the situation with me on radio, repeating, “we’re not challenging the science” without mentioning the lawsuit.)

The case is politically-motivated. NMRA’s lawyer is Angelo Artuso. He has written that “Roe v Wade decided (wrongly), using both tortured language and logic, that pre-born humans are NOT ‘persons’ within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Actually, “pre-born humans” exemplifies tortured language.

 

Commentary: A fundamental assumption underlying libertarianism is the person’s sovereignty over their own physical bodies. This idea is the foundation of the right to private property, which is ownership over the product of one’s physical body.

Personal sovereignty also provides the fundamental logic to the adage, “Your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose,” or to rephase in a way more relevant to the time of COVID, “Your right to spiel virus ends at my nasal cavity.” For libertarians and libertarian fellow travelers, like me, these are always the hardest questions, how to reconcile conflicting rights. Where does the right to swing end and the nose begin? It is a hard question, not easily answered.

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