Local Viewpoints

KRWG welcomes you to join our community discussion.  E-mail your comments to:  feedback @  Comments included here represent the views of the individual writers and do not necessarily represent the views of KRWG or New Mexico State University.

Lily Eskelsen García-President, NEA / NEA photo

Commentary: NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement responding to published reports about House Republican plans to move two immigration bills through Congress.

“Once again, House Republican leaders are standing in the way of what a majority of Americans and the Congress support: the Dream Act. Instead, they are putting forward two inhumane bills crafted from Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant playbook – as the world watches in shock while crying babies are maliciously separated from their parents.

Vote "No" on Las Cruces Bond Issue

Jun 15, 2018

Commentary: I am mad as hell -  - Las Cruces is again threatened with more taxes. There is a proposal to have a general obligation (GO) bond election for $35 million. A home owner with a house valued at $100,000 would have to pay approximately $67 a year in additional property taxes to fund various projects. Las Cruces property owners should be angered at this audacity.

El Paso state delegation urges EPISD trustees to delay school closure

Jun 15, 2018

Commentary: El Paso - Today, State Senator José Rodríguez and State Representatives Joe Pickett, Joe Moody, Mary González, Cesár Blanco, and Lina Ortega sent a letter to the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) Board of Trustees urging them to not make a hasty and irreversible decision to close schools without providing sufficient opportunity for the community to provide input and plan for major changes. (Note: A copy of the letter is attached.)

China and the United States are in a great power conflict

Jun 15, 2018

Commentary: The Rise and Fall of Great Powers is a 1987 book by Paul Kennedy in which Kennedy argues that Great Power ascendency is strongly correlated with a strong economy and that decline is often associated with imperial overreach.

Kennedy’s book has lessons for the current conflict between the United States and China over dominance in Asia and Africa. This is a struggle that will playout over decades.

Group Blasts Trump Administration "Censorship" Of Scientific Studies

Jun 14, 2018

Commentary: DENVER—In response to reports this week that the Department of Interior is requiring USGS scientists to submit their presentation titles for political review and that the Interior Department watchdog found no basis for canceling a study into the health effects of mountaintop removal mining, the Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Advocacy Director Jesse Prentice-Dunn:

“Secretary Zinke must end this censorship. Politicians should rely on sound science to make sound policy. Ryan Zinke has it the other way around: He consistently tries to bury science that doesn’t fit his politically predetermined decisions. From geology to archaeology to climatology, we now see a pattern of Zinke silencing researchers that can only be described as an all-out war on science.”

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

Commentary: EL PASO, TEXAS -- Despite overwhelming bipartisan approval of protections for those with pre-existing conditions, Ted Cruz continues to throw his full support behind unwinding them and repealing healthcare for Texans.

Commentary: Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham released the following statement in response to news that Governor Susana Martinez supports the Trump policy that separates families at the US-Mexico border.

Strengthen New Mexico — Focus on Families

Jun 13, 2018

Commentary: In recent decades, the structure of the New Mexican family has changed significantly.  For example, grandparents raise young children, and single parents struggle to make paychecks stretch for another month.  Even the most idealized families must now watch as their children combat — and sometimes fall prey to — drugs and alcohol at increasingly younger ages.  In these trying times, a village is not always enough.  Sometimes, it takes a state to raise a child.

Leaders Urge Reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Jun 13, 2018

Commentary: Over 40 elected officials from across New Mexico sent a letter today to the state’s Congressional Delegation urging reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LW

Commentary: The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) finalized a decision today not to allow the Jemez Ranger District to be leased for geothermal development. In May of 2015, the SFNF began considering a proposal to lease approximately 195,000 acres for geothermal production.  The proposal stemmed from an Expression of Interest submitted by an out-of-state company.

Grave Concerns Over Special Interest Money In New Mexico Elections

Jun 12, 2018

Commentary: New Mexico has laws preventing companies regulated by the Public Regulation Commission from contributing to those running to be PRC commissioners, but they don’t do any good.

That was made clear in the days leading up to Tuesday’s primary election when PNM Resources, the parent company to the largest regulated utility in the state, contributed $440,000 to help commissioners who they believed were friendly to their cause.

The money was directed to New Mexicans for Progress, a newly created political action committee that immediately went to work on a last-minute campaign to smear the challengers opposing their favored regulators – Sandy Jones and Linda Lovejoy.

New Mexicans Protest Trump's Wall

Jun 10, 2018

Commentary: We're at the border, to protest yet another federal stupidity. 

Behind the stage is the “new and improved” wall marking New Mexico's border with Old Mexico. We need no such wall, of course. Deer, mountain lions, and javelina need no such wall. The land looks the same on both sides, except that we've messed up our side.

This wall will waste money and our scarce water, and inhibit biological diversity – without really affecting drug trafficking. Drug cartels got plenty of ladders and digging tools. Animals don't. (donald trump)

Commentary: Trump and Republicans’ health care sabotage has already led to millions more uninsured Americans, and now their policies are causing premiums to skyrocket in markets across the country.

Commentary: What is poverty and who are the poor is a moving target. Take, for example, a new study released by the United Way that claims that nearly 51 million households don’t earn enough to fund a monthly budget that includes housing, food, health care, transportation and a cell phone.

Cell phone? Really, you are poor if you can’t afford a cell phone. Many reading this column will say yes, a cell phone is essential to quality of life in 21st century America; many of you, like me, will balk at this.

Money can’t buy love: Takeaways from the New Mexico primary

Jun 6, 2018
New Mexico In Depth

Commentary: New Mexico In Depth has three immediate takeaways from last night’s primary.

  • Incumbents in the general take note: voters are in the mood for newcomers.

Three Democratic state House incumbents were given the boot last night: Bealquin “Bill” Gomez in southern New Mexico, and two northern New Mexico lawmakers who found themselves in heated races, Debbie Rodella and Carl Trujillo.

Some Thoughts For The Trump Administration On Separating Immigrant Families

Jun 5, 2018

Commentary: In a tweet last week, President Donald Trump called on Democrats in Congress to reverse the immigration policy implemented by his attorney general.

“Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there (sic) parents once they cross the Border into the U.S,” he tweeted.

It seemed like a strange request. If Trump doesn’t like the policy, why doesn’t he just instruct Jeff Sessions to change it?

Commentary: All of the time I was growing up, going to school, and eventually graduating from business school, I was constantly told by mentors that a person should master a second language in order to develop a niche and to gain an advantage. Growing up in northern New Mexico, I was constantly exposed to Spanish through relatives and friends. However, Spanish in that part of the world is archaic Spanish, which is not used in modern Spanish-speaking countries. Therefore, I had to learn to speak modern Spanish.

History Will Vindicate Modern Abolitionists

Jun 3, 2018

Commentary: The Fugitive Slave Law or Fugitive Slave Act was authorize by the U.S. Congress on September 18, 1850, as part of the compromise between Southern slave-holding interests and Northern Free-Soilers. The law stipulated that all escaped slaves, upon capture, be returned to the one who purchased or inherited them and that officials and citizens of free states had to cooperate.

Goodman: Thoughts On Tuesday's New Mexico Primary

Jun 3, 2018
peter goodman

Commentary: I voted Friday. 

In the county sheriff primary, I wish incumbent Kiki Vigil had only one challenger. Having talked to deputies and watched the department deteriorate, I hope Kiki – for whom I voted in 2014 – loses. With name recognition and four challengers, he probably won't; but Eddie Lerma and Kim Stewart, two very different candidates, offer the best chances. Lerma has extensive local law-enforcement experience, and law-enforcement endorsements, while Stewart offers new ideas and extensive law-enforcement experience elsewhere. 

Last-minute information strengthened my preference for Steve Fischmann in the PRC race, despite annoying ads from both sides. We have a clear choice between a public-interest candidate (Fischmann) who'll fight for a fair shake from the utilities and for faster progress toward renewables at fair prices, and current PRC Chair Sandy Jones. Jones seems too close to regulated utilities. He complains that environmental groups concerned about climate change are backing Fischmann; but Jones is getting huge backing from companies that benefit from his decisions. PNM, a major utility he regulates, dropped $440,000 this month on a PAC that's been inundating us with misleading mailers against Fischmann. Officially, Jones has no connection with “New Mexicans for Progress.” But a PRC source has described seeing top PNM officials visiting with Jones in his office before meetings. Judging from Jones's mailer attacking Merrie Lee Soules the Saturday before the 2014 primary, expect a similarly misleading attack on Fischmann.

Fischmann: PNM Resources Spending Big To Elect Sandy Jones

Jun 1, 2018
Steve Fischmann

Commentary: Monopoly utilities should not be deciding who regulates them.  But that's what's happening in the current PRC election according to the latest campaign finance reports at the New Mexico Secretary of State's office.

The Swiss Have A New Idea

Jun 1, 2018

Commentary: On June 10th, the Swiss will vote on moving their economy to “Vollgeld”. This referendum asks whether the Swiss banking system will be converted from a traditional fractional reserve system to 100% reserve system and establish debt free money. Many are skeptical as Vollgeld represents a radical change, but Vollgeld is a viable alternative.

Michelle Lujan Grisham

  Commentary: Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01), a candidate for governor, released and made publicly accessible her federal and state tax returns since 2013, which covers her tenure in Congress, and called on likely Republican gubernatorial nominee, Congressman Steve Pearce, to release his federal and state tax returns for the last five years as well.

“While other candidates gave their tax returns to specific news media, Congresswoman Lujan Grisham is going above what has been asked and publicly posting her returns online so that all New Mexicans have access to these documents,” said Deputy Campaign Manager Victor Reyes. “ Additionally, we are producing five years of returns dating back to her first year in Congress. Steve Pearce and all candidates for governor should follow suit and publicly release and make accessible their tax returns for the last five years so the public has a clear view into their financial dealings.”

Commentary: Today, Somos Un Pueblo Unido joined a nationwide lawsuit to block the Trump administration from adding a question regarding citizenship to the 2020 U.S. Census that could cost rural communities billions in federal funding by undercounting its growing Latino and immigrant populations.

The lawsuit was filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) in federal court on behalf of several community-based and voter's rights groups throughout the country.

New Mexico needs to use oil & gas bonanza wisely

May 30, 2018
Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

Commentary: New Mexico policymakers and citizens received some good economic news recently. Thanks to the much-maligned process known as fracking, oil production in the Permian Basin in Southeast New Mexico is booming.

New Mexico recently became the 3rd-biggest oil producing state in the nation and is now producing more oil than it ever has before. This has all led to a $673 million boost in state revenues.

Commentary: SUNLAND PARK, N.M.— Conservation and human rights groups will gather Saturday to protest new border wall construction near the Santa Teresa Port of Entry, west of El Paso, Texas. The rally will feature speakers, musicians, faith leaders and a sunset vigil in the path of the border wall’s construction. Local and regional residents will join artists and organizers to decry Trump’s wall and highlight the human suffering and environmental devastation caused by border militarization.

New Mexico Fights Trump’s Attack On Contraceptive Coverage

May 30, 2018

Commentary: Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general in filing a brief strongly opposing the Trump Administration’s decision to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans.

We All Should Be Concerned About A Tariff On Newsprint

May 29, 2018

Commentary: I am extremely concerned about the issue of a newsprint tariff. 

Why? Because, years ago, I took a journalism class in International Communications at NMSU taught by the late Professor Charles Eberhardt. He had started Voice of America in Italy, in the the 1940’s, and I remember him telling us that one way some governments control citizens is to withhold newsprint. Many, actually most, newspapers are barely keeping their heads above water as it is. Smaller and rural newspapers will go out of business if a tariff on newsprint forces them totally out of business.

Some Positive Developments For New Mexico Voters

May 29, 2018

  Commentary: New Mexico elections are begrudgingly becoming slightly more inclusive.

One example of that will be the inclusion of Libertarian candidates on the ballot this year in races for U.S. Senate (Aubrey Dunn); U.S. House, District 1 (Lloyd J. Patterson) and District 3 (Christopher Manning), secretary of state (Sandra D. Jeff), attorney general (A. Blair Dunn) and land commissioner (Michael G. Lucero). Bob Walsh and Robin L. Dunn will run for governor and lieutenant governor as write-in candidates.

The change is thanks to the strong showing of former governor Gary Johnson in the 2016 presidential election, and not to any enlightenment by Republican and Democratic lawmakers who want to maintain the two-party system. To earn major party status, a candidate from that party needs to earn at least 5 percent of the vote in the previous gubernatorial or presidential election. Johnson got more than 9 percent in his run for president.

peter goodman

Commentary: Let's step back from the exaggerations and insults of political campaigns and imagine we're on the selection committee to pick between finalists for a job. Say, Sandy Jones and Steve Fischmann for Public Regulation Commissioner.

Both are smart and capable. Fischmann had a business career with Levi Strauss, then was a responsive and thoughtful state senator here. I met Jones years ago. He was congenial and clearly a problem-solver; and he's now had extensive experience as a PRC commissioner.

Miracle In The Desert

May 27, 2018

Commentary: Something amazing is happening in the American Desert Southwest. Something many said could not be done. A National Hockey League team in Las Vegas, Nevada called the Vegas Golden Knights is competing for the holy grail of ice hockey, the Stanley Cup. This is happening in their very first season of existence as a new expansion team.