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.  Submissions must adhere to these guidelines.


Low interest rates bad news for retirement

Aug 19, 2019
Dr. Chris Erickson

Commentary: Long-term interest rates are low and some fear going lower. This has important implications for investment and savings. It will affect our retirement and will affect our children 

Globally, the yields paid by governments has turned negative. Japanese, Sweden, France and German, for example, all have negative 10-year bond yields, meaning that an investor who buys these bonds and holds them to maturity is guaranteed a loss.

Report: NM Has Highest Rate of Workers Who Lack Paid Sick Leave

Aug 19, 2019

Commentary: Half of all workers in New Mexico cannot earn paid sick leave and have to either go to work when they or a family member is sick or stay home and lose pay. This is the highest rate in the nation, according to a report released today by the child advocacy organization, New Mexico Voices for Children.

A big part of the problem is that the federal government has no paid sick leave policy – unlike most wealthy nations. Several states and municipalities have enacted paid sick leave policies – most recently, Oregon – but paid sick leave legislation for New Mexico stalled during the most recent legislative session.

Peter Goodman

Commentary: County government is getting a little weird again.

At Tuesday's meeting: (1) someone urged the Commission to put County Manager Fernando Macias on administrative leave; (2) Macias accused County Commissioner Shannon Reynolds and Sheriff Kim Stewart of “blatant misrepresentations”; (3) County Attorney Nelson Goodin told Reynolds, “I'm trying to give you my legal opinion and you seem to want to argue” – then walked away; and (4) we learned that Macias and Stewart never sat down and discussed a contract (for magistrate court security) they were at odds over. 

Photo by: Nathan J. Fish



Doña Ana County Commission buckles under pressure from feds

Aug 13, 2019
Courtesy: State of Texas


  Commentary: Today the Doña Ana County commission completed its capitulation to a federal agency over how conflicts with wildlife should be resolved. 

Today’s action culminated a reversal of position that began in April, when the commission voted to ban the use of certain county funds for lethal control of predators and rodents. Under pressure from Wildlife Services--a USDA agency that killed 1.5 million native animals nationwide last year--and its allies, the Commission reversed itself in July, when it approved a contract with Wildlife Services that permitted lethal control methods but added a modest requirement that the agency try nonlethal methods of resolving problems at least twice before resorting to killing the target animal, unless there was an imminent threat to human safety or health. (donald trump)

  Commentary: Widespread, devastating impact looms as the Trump administration sidesteps Congress with “Public Charge” changes. The expanded“Public Charge” rule allows the government to deny permanent residency (green cards) and visa renewals to lawfully present immigrants who participate in basic need programs like Medicaid, housing assistance, and SNAP food assistance. The rule also adds specific requirements into the public charge test, including income, age, health and English proficiency. Advocacy groups condemn the new rule, which goes into effect October 15th, 2019.

Trump’s new rule would roll back civil rights protections in healthcare law

Aug 12, 2019

  Commentary: In a move that will especially harm trans people, the LGBTQ+ community, patients who speak languages other than English, and people who need access to abortion services, the Trump administration proposed rolling back enforcement of nondiscrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act. New Mexico advocates who champion access to healthcare urge New Mexicans to publicly oppose Trump’s latest threat to healthcare accessibility.  

The Massacre In El Paso

Aug 12, 2019

Commentary: My heart is heavy. This is a column that I never imagined that I would ever have to write. In the span of minutes on August 3, a deranged gunman with white supremacist beliefs went into the Wal-Mart at the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas and murdered 22 people with an AK-47-style assault rifle. Apparently, he traveled from the Dallas region to El Paso to murder Mexicans, whom he referred to in an online manifesto as “invading” the U.S. and impinging on white America. Several hours later, another deranged killer murdered nine people on a busy street in Dayton, Ohio.

Moving Forward After The El Paso Shooting

Aug 11, 2019
Peter Goodman

Commentary: Donald Trump didn't slaughter 22 human beings in El Paso, wounding and traumatizing many more. He didn't write the killer's racist “manifesto” that tracked Trump's rhetoric while seeking to protect Trump from blame. 

Trump mischaracterized the flood of asylum-seekers as “an invasion,” portraying these would-be immigrants as dangerous. (They're not.) The shooter called the Hispanics he sought to kill “invaders.”

Supporting Castro For Highlighting Public Information Naming Trump Donors

Aug 10, 2019

Commentary: We live in dangerous times, and bold and courageous actions are necessary to curb the violence and racism that happened in El Paso last weekend. After Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) tweeted a graphic Wednesday revealing the names of 44 constituents in his San Antonio district who have donated the maximum contribution of $2,800 to President Trump's campaign, Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), has affirmed his solid support of Rep. Castro's action, stating that his tweet was necessary to make everyone aware of Trump's donors who are helping to spread his repeated messages of intolerance, bigotry, hate and violence against Latinos and other people of color in this country.


The Cooperative Business Model

Aug 10, 2019
Dr. Chris Erickson

Commentary:  The co-op has often been touted as an alternative to the traditional for-profit corporation that allows for softer capitalism. Rather than simply maximizing profits, the coop works to maximize the benefit that accrue to members, who are often customers or employee, but also other stake holders. But in setting up a coop, care needs to be taken to create the correct incentives.

Cost-free solution can help New Mexico’s Unbanked

Aug 10, 2019

Commentary:  According to the website Nerdwallet, New Mexico has the 7th-highest percentage of “unbanked” households among US states. That means that 11 percent of New Mexico families don’t have access to bank accounts.

That same report estimated that New Mexico households lose between $40 and $104 million annually in fees and expenses due to being unbanked. Even for many New Mexicans who do have bank accounts, the geographical size and sparse nature of our population makes it difficult for many in our State to get to a bank in a timely fashion.

Rubel: Governor Stumbles On Most Pressing Issue

Aug 8, 2019


Democrats To Trump: Cancel Your Visit So We Can Mourn In Peace

Aug 6, 2019

  Dear Mr. President:

Since the start of your Administration, El Paso has been ground zero for many of the cruel immigration-related policies enacted by you in your efforts to punish, demonize and terrorize immigrants and immigrant communities. From family separation to large-scale child detention to the Remain in Mexico policy, El Paso has been witness to your Administration’s repeated failure to properly address the humanitarian crisis leading to the influx of Central American asylum-seekers. In the face of your Administration’s cruelty, however, the El Paso community has shown the rest of the country the importance of coming together to provide for those that are most in need, that our diversity is our strength, and that by recognizing the contributions of immigrants to our community, we honor our history as a nation of immigrants.

Commentary:  The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) mourns the passing of so many innocent lives over the weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.  The El Paso murders were apparently intended to target Latinos and immigrants by a white nationalist killer.  NHLA, a coalition of 45 of the nation’s preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, calls upon leaders in the nation and in the states to take action to prevent and deter any future racist incidents of extreme violence.  Now is the time to demonstrate unequivocal opposition to white nationalism and nativism, including statements by Donald Trump that have contributed to the rise in anti-Latino and anti-immigrant violence, and to dehumanizing policies that treat any immigrant or potential immigrant as somehow deserving of fewer rights and protections,  and less humane treatment, than citizens.


Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

Commentary:  I did not watch the second round of Democratic presidential debates, and I am no poorer for it.

CNN brought 20 contenders to Detroit Tuesday and Wednesday nights for what may as well have been a pillow fight: 10 candidates on stage at a time, impossible time limits that prevented substantive answers or debating propositions, a format bound to force candidates to wrest attention and earn social media clips by means of spectacle.

In short, I expected little better from CNN than what NBC delivered with its shoddy back-to-back 20-candidate debates in June, and I declined to believe that engaged citizenship required me to watch the farce play out live. Caring about politics does not necessitate bolstering CNN’s ratings and exposing oneself to its advertising.

Sierra Club NM

Commentary: On Monday, the EPA announced the appointment of former oil and gas executive, climate denier and former New Mexico Energy Secretary Ken McQueen as EPA Region 6 administrator. In response, Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter director, said: 

"Putting an oil and gas executive like Ken McQueen in charge of our drinking water and the air our children breathe is a dangerous mistake. McQueen has repeatedly proven he will put the interests of oil and gas companies before our health and the bountiful resources that make New Mexico and Southwest unique. 

Udall Responds to President Trump’s Comments on El Paso, Dayton Shootings

Aug 5, 2019
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary:  Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall responded to President Trump’s comments in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings. Earlier today, President Trump tweeted that congressional action on gun violence should be paired with action on the Trump administration’s immigration agenda. Udall issued the following statement:


“In the wake of an act of anti-immigrant, white supremacist terror, President Trump is now proposing that any action to prevent gun violence should be paired with restrictions on immigration. The president’s suggestion is offensive, and it validates and fuels the same kind of anti-immigrant bigotry that was behind the evil El Paso attack. Insisting that sensible gun safety measures be paired with the president’s anti-immigrant agenda is tantamount to giving into the hateful ideology that motivated this terrorist attack – that immigrants are somehow to blame for this white supremacist violence.


Reflections On Religion

Aug 4, 2019
Peter Goodman


  Commentary: At Saturday's farmers market, three men asked whether I'd thought about becoming a Catholic.


One turned out to be the son of two close friends of mine from the 1970's. We spoke energetically of our love for them – and of the plane crash that killed them so young. 


“At each moment, do not rely on tomorrow. Think of this day and this day only, because the next moment is uncertain and unknown,” wrote 13th Century Japanese zen master Dogen. I first read that while riding on a train through North China. Just then the train lurched to a sudden stop, on a bridge. Outside my window a peasant lay dying, hit by the train. Point taken. I have Dogen's words on a T-shirt.

Can’t Get No Customer Satisfaction?

Aug 1, 2019

Commentary: Do you ever feel as if Harry Potter has draped his invisibility cloak over your shoulders when you walk into a business? Does shopping make you feel like Jagger – can’t get no satisfaction? Ever been in conversation with a sales associate, manager, or even a doctor, only to have another employee barge in and start another conversation as if you weren’t even there? Well, it has happened to me one time too many.

  Commentary: U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined House and Senate Democrats in unveiling a resolution that would roll back the “1332 waiver” rule, which is another Trump administration effort to sabotage Americans’ health care and another attack on the 130 million Americans who rely on the critical pre-existing condition protections the administration is trying to eliminate.  The Trump administration rule, if left in place, would allow states to greenlight substandard, junk insurance plans that don’t fully protect people with pre-existing conditions, don’t cover essential health benefits like prescription drugs and maternity coverage, and raise costs on many American families. Under the Congressional Review Act, Udall and Heinrich’s resolution must be considered within 60 legislative days of July 15 and can pass the Senate with the support of a simple majority of senators.  


Puerto Rico: Inspiration To The World

Aug 1, 2019
Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

  Commentary: From time to time we are reminded of the power of humane mass movements, and this week we beheld that potential in Puerto Rico.

For over 10 days, the streets of San Juan became rivers of human beings demanding the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. Although a formal impeachment inquiry had begun, the island’s governor had indicated a desire to stick it out.


Commentary: We’ve wasted so much time and money on the failed Gila River diversion proposal that we have no choice but to continue wasting more time and money on it.


That seemed to be the argument made to the Albuquerque Journal by Howard Hutchinson, a member of the special entity formed to oversee the project, who said he had been working on the river diversion proposal since 1973. “Predecessors and mentors of mine have also invested many years and lots of money in this issue,” he told the Journal. “It would be a tragedy for all that time to be wasted.”

Commentary: On July 20, the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon and Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s historic moonwalk, I sat down to watch the film “Apollo 11” with my family. This wonderful film is not portrayed by actors nor is it a documentary, rather it is an aggregation of actual high-quality film footage of the Apollo 11 mission from pre-launch to post-earth- landing. There is no narrator, only the voices of the people in the various film clips are heard. The sheer scope of the Apollo 11 spacecraft (363 feet or nearly 34 stories high), the enormity of the Vehicle Assembly Building (129,428,000 cubic feet) in which the various stages of the spacecraft were assembled, the teamwork of the thousands of people who worked on this mission, and the bravery of astronauts Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong who rode their craft more than 238,000 miles to the moon and back, was truly inspiring.

Peter Goodman

Commentary: When a district judge reached for a reliable tool recently, it was suddenly gone.

The tool was Forensic Intervention Consortium of Doña Ana County, better known as jail diversion (JD), a local nonprofit that saves us big bucks every year.

JD helps seriously mentally ill people referred by law enforcement, the courts, the detention center, lawyers, and/or clinical providers. They may or may not have been diagnosed, and often fall through the cracks. JD makes sure they get to court, or meet with a lawyer or counselor. Just finding these folks can be a challenge. Judges consult JD regarding appropriate conditions for pretrial release – then rely on JD for monitoring. 

Commentary:  Donald Trump Jr. today joined Trump allies such as Steve Bannon and failed Kansas Gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach at an immigration symposium in Sunland Park, New Mexico. The event was organized by “We Build the Wall,” a haphazard organization that has been criticized for endangering federal employees

Democratic Party of New Mexico Chair Marg Elliston released the following statement in response to Donald Trump Jr.’s remarks in Sunland Park:

“Donald Trump Jr. came to New Mexico to parrot his father’s lies and divisive rhetoric. In reality, President Trump has failed to keep his promises to the American people, instead passing a tax bill that benefits the wealthy and enacting tariffs that put an unnecessary burden on hard working Americans. 

“Republicans claim to be fighting for working class people, but their actions speak louder than words. This kind of hypocrisy is why New Mexicans are ready to put a Democrat in the White House in 2020.” 

Commentary:  Rep. Alonzo Baldonado (R-Los Lunas) delivered a letter to Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC) Chair Christine Trujillo (D-Albuquerque) requesting that the LESC hold an emergency hearing on the sudden dismissal of Public Education Department (PED) Secretary Karen Trujillo. Secretary Trujillo was abruptly fired from her position earlier this week.  


Fostering Independence In Our Children

Jul 25, 2019
Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

Commentary: “A mission for Gabriel, to be executed with the utmost care and attention,” the scroll began.

At age 11, it was high time for my son to go to the store by himself. Yet there was a good chance he would balk.

Luckily, I had recently finished reading “The Hobbit,” that paradigm of reluctant hero stories, to my children. New experiences and challenges are seldom to Gabriel's taste, rather like dear Bilbo Baggins, unless we frame them so as to capture his imagination.

So I presented his first solo excursion as a quest.