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.

Paying the Dues for Life and Not for Work

Jun 8, 2021

Commentary: A few years back, at a weekend conference, I did a brief tour of the newsroom of my state's largest newspaper. Other attendees walked through the rows of empty desks without so much of a glance around. I ogled the different personal items on the desks — the witty mugs, the dog calendars and so, so many books — I thought about what it might be like to work there.

My undergraduate degree is in journalism. I started college in an offshoot of a computer science degree at a technology-focused university. Unfortunately, the only class I enjoyed was English. I did the sensible thing and followed all my high school friends to the "party school," the state school, down the road.

Las Cruces Candidates Call for Repeal of Ranked Choice Voting

Jun 8, 2021

Commentary: Two candidates for Las Cruces City Council are calling for the Mayor and City Council to repeal the Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) process used in the 2019 municipal election, and “return to the time-honored traditional one-person, one-vote system” for future elections.

“The convoluted RCV process produced a bizarre result in 2019,” said Fifth District candidate Ronnie Sisneros and Sixth District candidate William Beerman in a joint statement. The candidates said, “Even though only about one-third (37 percent) of the voters voted for the incumbent Mayor as their first choice, he ended up getting another 4-year term because of the RCV process.”

Herrell Requests Oversight of Meatpacking Industry

Jun 8, 2021

Commentary: Following last week's bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Department of Justice requesting an investigation of potential antitrust violations, Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) today requested the House Oversight and Reform Committee hold a hearing on the lack of competition within the beef processing industry and its threat to our nation’s food supply.

Heinrich: The Electric Future Must Begin Now

Jun 8, 2021
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  Commentary: Our future depends on our acting now to confront the climate crisis by enacting policies to convert our economy from fossil fuels to clean energy. By making this switch, we will also create millions of new jobs, save American households money on their energy bills and protect lives by improving the air we breathe in our homes and workplaces.

To get there, we need to begin by electrifying large parts of our economy and changing the supply of all that electricity from polluting fuels to clean energy. We must start with our homes and vehicles because, according to research from Rewiring America, a nonprofit organization focused on the widespread electrification of the U.S. economy, 42 percent of all of our energy-related carbon emissions come from the machines we have in our households and our cars. To keep global warming at livable temperatures, we need to replace existing machines that use fossil fuels with clean electric substitutes when they reach the end of life.

Crash Davis doesn’t have much to offer Osaka

Jun 7, 2021

 


  Commentary: There’s a great scene in the movie “Bull Durham” where Crash Davis, the veteran catcher, teaches hotshot pitching prospect Nuke Laloosh how to talk to the media: “We’ve got to play ‘em one game at a time.” “I’m just happy to be here, and hope I can help the ballclub.” “I just want to give it my best shot. And, the good Lord willing, things will work out.”

 

As a former sportswriter, I thought director Ron Shelton gave it 110 percent in capturing the typical locker room exchanges. Players and coaches lean on cliches because they’re safe, and there’s one available for every situation.

No One Is Above The Law

Jun 7, 2021

 

Commentary:  A friend said recently that even if prosecutors proved that Donald Trump had committed huge crimes, we should never see a President of the United States in an orange jump suit.

He had no quarrel with Trump’s impeachment, or with VP Spiro Agnew going to jail in the ‘70s. If Trump cheated banks and government out of big bucks, they could and should pursue him civilly; but not jail an ex-president.

I disagree.

  Commentary: The Republican Party of New Mexico condemns the sale of shirts and masks being sold on Amazon that read “Blue Lives Murder.” RPNM believes such an anti-police message is unconscionable and downright dangerous. 
 
RPNM finds these shirts and masks offensive and joins law enforcement, police unions and others in a call to remove these items from being sold. It’s imperative that we stand with our police.
 
“The sale of these shirts and other items is shocking and horrifying,” said RPNM Chairman Steve Pearce. “We denounce these sales. These are turbulent times when police officers are being attacked across our country. This sends the wrong message and will provoke more violence against the men and women in blue. RPNM will always support law enforcement. These brave heroes serve and protect our communities, and to promote and sell apparel and masks with these words is immoral and cannot be tolerated.”

Signing The Papers

Jun 4, 2021

Commentary: The doctors first asked me to leave the room. I can't remember where I went and whether I was escorted or not, but I left. My parents went to sit down with the doctors at a little table in my hospital room. The doctors would explain, and my parents would meticulously sign, the stack of forms that detailed all the horrible ways the surgery I would have the following morning could go wrong.

It was extensive. I could lose feeling in my body, or I could become a paraplegic. I could suffer blood loss; I could die. My parents, then the age I am now, sat and signed those documents one by one as the doctors talked. My mom, scared and overwhelmed, only remembered that at the end, she asked them to get a very good night's sleep to prepare for the next day. They assured her they would.

Roping Together a Weak Defense of Social Media

Jun 4, 2021

  Commentary: Social media gets a bad rap. Most of it is well deserved. It caters to various strains of "fake news," unrealistic life standards and relentless commercialism of all aspects of life. But as a work-from-homer, social media has been a savior against the stark loneliness I felt when I sat in the office alone, particularly over the past year.

Pinging people during the day via the internet has allowed me to stay sane. I didn't know how much I'd miss the watercooler at the office — or more, the work friends I could meet in the break room for another cup of stale coffee — until it was only me and four walls.

Commentary: As New Mexico families emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us find life incredibly different than it was 15 months ago. Our households, our communities, and our jobs have all been impacted and likely look very different now.   

The pandemic was an indiscriminate hammer, fracturing the lives of people across the spectrum and far too many New Mexicans now find themselves struggling to make ends meet, or are employed but behind on housing costs like mortgages, rent, or utilities.  

Fortunately, thousands of renters in New Mexican are likely eligible to receive funds to cover up to 15 months of rent and utility payments. These payments will help keep people in their homes. 

Breaking Up with Oil and Gas Begins at the Roundhouse

Jun 4, 2021

Commentary: New Mexicans know very well that we are living in a ‘toxic’ relationship. For far too long, the Oil and Gas Industry has created a dependency model which has trapped our people into thinking ‘we are nothing without Oil and Gas’. 

Well, this is a lie. 

Our destiny as New Mexicans is not defined by an industry based on ecological destruction–rather by our love to our people, land and culture. We have a prosperous and healthy future awaiting, without the need to sacrifice our communities health and wellbeing. 

        

Commentary: We use the term BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini or in the year of our Lord) to denote the separation of time over the years. I think many people are going to modify this system so that BC means “before COVID” and AC means “after COVID.” These terms particularly have a profound meaning to retail businesses, especially those on either side of the U.S. border in cities such as Juarez and El Paso. In addition to non-essential businesses being shut down at the beginning of the pandemic, some for months, a different system of dealing with people crossing the border has been in place.


  Commentary: Thanks to solid investigative reporting by Searchlight New Mexico, the state Children Youth and Families Department is no longer using a secure messaging system designed to circumvent open records laws by automatically deleting records before a request can be made.

The system allowed CYFD officials to automatically delete their text messages. According to former CYFD Chief Public Information Officer Cliff Gilmore, Department Secretary Brian Blaylock told top staff members that they should set their messages to automatically delete after 24 hours, specifically to avoid the Open Records Law. He noted that once a request is made, records must be preserved. So, the best solution is to get rid of them before a request can be made.

Photo by Peter Goodman

 

  Commentary: Several public statements about the County’s controversial Barkhouse sole-source contract negotiations differed greatly from the documentary evidence. County Manager Fernando Macias and/or former Animal Control Manager Jeanne Quintero made these statements, while appearing to ignore credible negative information regarding Barkhouse. (Last week, Barkhouse declined to go forward.)

A court judgment against Kelly Barker for defrauding folks of $50,000+ seemed a huge caution flag. Macias said Friday the judgment meant little because it was from 2009 (when Barker was in her 50s), and because the County has had a positive experience with Barkhouse. Macias also stressed that this contract was just one among many matters he deals with, and that the planned contract covered a six-month pilot project, during which the County could evaluate both the four-pronged plan and Barkhouse’s performance.

Price spike in April raises fears of inflation

May 29, 2021

Commentary: April’s inflation number was the highest in 12 years. Meanwhile, the news is full of stories about record high lumber prices, chip shortages disrupting auto manufacturing, soaring real estate prices, difficulty in hiring thwarting restaurant re-openings. Some point to these supply side bottlenecks as indicating an overheated economy. They argue that urgent action is needed to prevent runaway inflation. Time for the Fed to put the brakes on!

          

Commentary: Driving through the industrial sections of the El Paso-Juarez-southern New Mexico region, one can see countless banners on production plants and distribution centers reading “Now Hiring” or “Help Wanted.” As the economy gains strength, demand for automobiles, housing, consumer products, and processed foods is starting to rise. However, as is the case in other sectors, a vicious cycle is occurring. Firms are struggling to expand operations because they cannot find the workers to help them do so. Talking to plant managers, I keep hearing the same two reasons why workers are unwilling to go back into the workforce.

Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  Commentary: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced legislation to assist federal fossil fuel producing states like New Mexico as revenues decline in the coming years due to market forces and policies to curb carbon pollution. The Schools and State Budgets Certainty Act would provide a predictable transition for states, counties, and Tribes and give those governments time to transition their budgets to more sustainable and reliable sources of revenue.

This is part of a larger effort by Senator Heinrich to develop concrete solutions to help states plan for revenue replacement and create targeted, place-specific programs for career re-training and economic diversification. Senator Heinrich is committed to putting every community in our country in the best possible position to thrive in the new clean energy economy.

usfws

Commentary: The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) today released the following statement in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to list the lesser prairie-chicken under the Endangered Species Act:

“The proposal to list the lesser prairie-chicken discards years of valuable progress with voluntary programs that have proven to be successful in conserving the species across southeastern New Mexico. Oil and gas operators are committed to leading habitat management and conservation practices, and have invested significant resources and enrolled in conservation agreements to protect the species and avoid habitat disruption. Undermining these existing efforts to grow the lesser prairie-chicken population in the local area could have unintended consequences, and a listing will prove to be unnecessary, onerous, and disruptive to oil and gas production that provides critical services to all New Mexicans.”


Peter Goodman


It Won't Last Forever

May 19, 2021

Commentary: I remember the first thought I had about what I believed would make me a grown-up. I imagined that instead of standing up on my tippy toes to turn on the faucet and wash my hands, I would just lean over the sink. It would be glorious.

I remembered Early Me's thought on a random day years later, when I reached for the knobs to wash my hands. A yearning to be that age again pricked at me from the little acorn I had been. Time was translucent, as if both versions of me existed in the same moment. I could still feel her frustration at a large, looming world.

Goodman: Taking A Moment To Give Thanks

May 19, 2021
Peter Goodman


Herrell Introduces Bill To Suspend Federal Gasoline Tax

May 18, 2021

Commentary: Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) this week introduced legislation to provide relief from skyrocketing gas prices. The Pausing Unrelenting Markups on Petroleum (PUMP) Act of 2021 would temporarily suspend collection of the 18.4 cent federal gas tax.

"Inflation is rising and American pocketbooks are stretched," said Herrell. "Gas prices in particular are at their highest national average since 2014. The PUMP Act would immediately reduce gas prices and allow consumers to spend money in other ways, which will help our economic recovery get back on track."

Walt Rubel


Census Data a Warning to New Mexico

May 11, 2021
Paul J. Gessing

Commentary: The US Census Bureau recently released what can only be described as some disturbing data regarding the future of New Mexico. Notably, while the Land of Enchantment’s population grew by just 2.8 percent over the past decade, each of our neighbors saw double digit population growth with the exception of Oklahoma which still bested New Mexico with 5.5 percent growth.

That by itself should be a wake-up call for New Mexico’s Legislature and Gov. Lujan Grisham, but a report put out by New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee fleshes out some of New Mexico’s impending demographic challenges and should further guide efforts to change course and make our State a destination for jobs and economic growth, not a failing state that is hemorrhaging young people.  

By Any Other Name Lacks Respect

May 10, 2021

  Commentary: When he responded to my call with a deep, slow hello, it sounded like I roused him from sleep. I blurted out the question of whether I could speak to a world-famous comedian. Except, aside from the same last name and a shared first letter of the first name, this was not that comedian.

He laughed when I tripped back over my tongue to fix it. "Oh, it's OK. I can be him," he said pleasantly.

"No! I'm so sorry; that's terrible," I replied. "I even coached myself not to say that name before I called." He continued to laugh, and it smoothed over, but it was another reminder of how important names are to the back and forth of a conversation. Depending on the level of maltreatment of a name, the conversation can go downhill.

Time To End New Mexico's Tax On Social Security

May 10, 2021

  Commentary: As the special election to fill New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District heats up, an important area of bipartisan common ground has emerged: Both Democratic Rep. Melanie Stansbury and Republican Sen. Mark Moores are emphasizing their support for repealing New Mexico’s tax on Social Security income.

During the last two legislative sessions, nine bills were introduced to repeal this tax, sponsored by lawmakers from across the political spectrum. Unfortunately, despite the strong bipartisan support for this reform, New Mexico remains one of 13 states that taxes Social Security benefits. Of those states, New Mexico has the second-harshest tax, costing the average Social Security recipient nearly $700 a year.

Vaccines And Mandates

May 10, 2021
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGIES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES

Commentary:  Anybody who wants the COVID-19 vaccine can now walk into any Walmart in the country without an appointment, an insurance card or a dime in their pocket, and get a free shot.

In a very short period of time, the only people in the United States not vaccinated will be those who refuse to take the vaccine. That completely changes the equation on mandatory facemask laws.

 

Facemasks have served two purposes - protecting others from us and protecting us from others. Now that so many of us are vaccinated, we no longer need that protection. If the only purpose of the mandate is to protect those who have the ability to protect themselves, but are unwilling to do so, that’s not reasonable or sustainable.

Facebook / White House

Commentary: The Republican Party’s attacks on Liz Cheney demonstrate why the Trump-inspired question, “What would I do if I were a Republican?” has renewed urgency.

In 2016, conservatives and voters who “distrust all politicians” were sufficiently disenchanted with the U.S. political works to help toss in Donald Trump as a giant monkey wrench. Trump also attracted racist and jingoistic haters; but most Trump voters I know are regular folks. Many soon realized that the reality of “President Trump” was disastrous. He not only said and did harsh things to refugees and immigrants, socialist and atheists, and “welfare bums,” he endangered most everything U.S. patriots prize, such as national security, the rule of law, ethics in government, and separation of powers.

Commentary: With President Biden's proposed programs on Infrastructure and Families, Republicans are calling them socialism ideas that will move us toward communist countries like Cuba or Venezuela. That is not true. Capitalism does a good job of providing goods and services like automobiles, groceries, electronics, banking, repairs, haircuts, and clothing. But there are certain collective needs that the private sector has little incentive to provide—such as public education, roads and bridges, broadband access in rural areas, mass transportation, childcare, police, retraining programs, and basic research. To have a successful society, we need both.

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