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.

Changing Policies Of Oppression

Jun 10, 2020


  Commentary: It all started with some mail for my husband and ended with me sitting on my porch with a law enforcement officer. I asked him to come. I sat with him without fear. I was able to do that because I'm white and I have privileges that minorities don't.

Let's backtrack. Earlier in the year, my husband opened an official-looking letter that I thought might have been about registering to vote. Turns out it was a court summons — for weeds. No warning, no knock on the door but a demand: Come straight to court on this date in about a month. He was incredulous but sighed and resolved to deal with it.

Parents: Education Is The Foundation Of Change

Jun 10, 2020
Las Cruces Protest / Lydia Hammond/Facebook

  Commentary: Dear Parents:  With the recent murder of George Floyd, by members of the Minneapolis Police Department, I decided as a father it was time to teach my daughter about racism. My daughter is seven years old. It’s hard as a parent to have a conversation like this with a child so young and innocent, not yet tarnished by the ways of the world, but as I sat her down I thought about the other seven year old children of color in this country that have already been directly affected  by acts of racism and the much harder conversations had by their parents. I asked my daughter if she knew what racism meant, and she answered no. I told her it’s when you are treated differently based on the color of your skin. I knew even saying it then, that it was such a trivial answer to the question, but I then wondered what the right answer could be?

  Commentary: As state lawmakers prepare to address New Mexico's fiscal fiasco next week, the Democrat-led Legislative Council has approved allowing them to sit at home during virtual meetings and be paid before and during the Special Session: this is an insult and another hard slap in the face to all hard-working New Mexicans.

So let's pay ourselves, at home, while the state is going broke. Spend, waste, repeat, as we all face an uncertain fiscal future.

Quiet, passive protests won’t change anything

Jun 9, 2020
Las Cruces Protest / Lydia Hammond/Facebook

Commentary: Do government officials get to tell the people protesting against them how, when and where they can protest?

I saw that concept taken to its absurd extreme in 2004 when I went to Boston to cover the  Democratic Convention, where Bill Richardson was serving as chairman. About a block away from the convention center, police had fenced off an area of the street for a designated protest zone.

Each day as I went into and came out of the arena, I passed a cage of protesters holding signs and chanting in unison. There were always more at night as I was coming out than in the afternoon when I was going in. But either way, they were easy to ignore. Which, of course, was the intent.

Hello, everyone, on this day of prayer, where we try to understand God’s plan in our pain.

To George’s family and friends — Jill and I know the deep hole in your hearts when you bury a piece of your soul deep in this Earth.

As I’ve said to you privately — we know. We know you will never feel the same.

For most people, the numbness you feel now, will slowly turn, day after day, season after season, into purpose through the memory of the one they lost.

A Nation In Crisis

Jun 7, 2020
Copyright, Peter Goodman (2001)

Commentary: There’s way too much to say.

A uniformed man with three armed pals keeps his knee on the neck of a prone man for many minutes, and when the prone man politely says he can’t breathe, his tormentor taunts, “Then get in the car!” – keeping his knee on that neck until the man dies.

A Succession of Once-in-a-Lifetime Events

Jun 6, 2020

Commentary: Nothing has made me feel my status as a middle-aged millennial quite like the increased use of a face mask. I followed a college-aged group out of the grocery store, who I had seen inside. They had been shopping like newly minted roommates, testing out the edges of bawdy humor but still carefully polite with one another, and still sliding in "Excuse me, ma'am" to the likes of me. The whole group was unmasked, while most solo shoppers were masked.

They climbed into their Jeep, and I loaded my groceries into the back of my sedan, huffing and puffing into my mask, which I looked forward to stripping off. It wasn't the first group of young'uns that I had seen unmasked, and I felt a bit strange about my mental tsk-tsking.

The Time is Now to Invest in Western Water Infrastructure

Jun 6, 2020



  Commentary: The coronavirus crisis reminds those of us in the water world of the importance of the systems which sustain us. 

Our water systems are among the very most important. The need for effective planning, preparation and implementation of water policy and infrastructure is critical, as we manage the engines which drive our economy, our health and our safety.   It is most certainly a primary focus of the Western water community, which develops and manages the water infrastructure so critical to every individual and every economic sector. 

Reopening Las Cruces has many moving parts

Jun 6, 2020


  Commentary: Like other department heads at NMSU, I’ve been spending a lot of time recently working on the fall schedule. Courses are being restructured to allow for social distancing. For many classes, this means moving at least partially to online delivery. We have had to do a fully rethink of how things will happen in the fall.

Of course, the really heavy lifting will be done by the faculty who have had to adapt delivery to account for the new COVID realities. Meanwhile, others at NMSU are involved in developing plans to reopen dining halls and dorms. Yet others are working on the IT infrastructure to ensure the smooth delivery online. The list goes on. Bottom line, NMSU is engaged in an all-hands effort to reopen campus in the fall.

Commentary: In Minneapolis, the world viewed yet another painful display of militant white male privilege, this time resulting in the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black citizen, by a police officer with a disturbing record of misconduct.


As a domestic violence counselor, I was struck not only by the vicious act of police brutality -one brazenly committed in broad daylight-but also reminded how male privilege and racism are very much at the root of so much intimate partner violence in America today. As someone who works the crisis hotline regularly, I bear witness to it all of the time.

Election 2020 Is Literally A Matter Of Life And Death

Jun 5, 2020

Commentary: The rage caused by the slaughter of unarmed human beings at the hands of those who believe it is their God-given right to do so has reared its ugly head yet again. First, it was a young man gunned down for jogging while black. Then it was a young black woman shot eight times by police in her own home for living while black. Now, we have watched in horror as an unarmed black man in handcuffs, face down, and pleading for his life was murdered as a police officer literally squeezed the life out of him. His name was George Floyd.

Governor elevates racial justice to center of administration

Jun 4, 2020
Office of the New Mexico Governor

Commentary: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday announced her intent to appoint a racial justice czar within the Governor’s Office and an advisory Council for Racial Justice to monitor state institutions and hold them accountable for ending systemic racism and assuring that all persons receive fair and equal treatment and opportunities. 

The governor made the announcement in a remote news briefing and conversation with state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, the Rev. Donna Maria Davis of Grant Chapel A.M.E. Church and Alexandria Taylor of the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, all of whom have committed to playing a role on the advisory council, the membership of which is still to be finalized.

Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

Grassroots candidates beat Big Oil money

Jun 3, 2020
Neomi Martinez-Parra / Facebook

Commentary: Tuesday, as people across the state and country continue to confront the systemic racism plaguing the country, voters in six state Senate districts made an emphatic statement in favor of candidates committed to moving New Mexico forward. New Mexicans voted for clean air and water, for clean energy, and for progress for people rather than corporations. 


The Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter proudly endorsed Siah Correa Hemphill, Pam Cordova, Carrie Hamblen, Brenda McKenna, Neomi Martinez-Parra, and Noreen Kelly, among many others. Correa Hemphill, Cordova, Hamblen, McKenna and Martinez-Parra all won.

Commentary: New Mexico Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart, and Senate Majority Caucus Chair Pete Campos today issued the following statement after President Trump used force against peaceful protesters in Washington D.C. and called for heavily armed military personnel to stop protests nationwide:

“We stand together as leaders in the New Mexico Senate in support of every person’s right to protest racism and demand justice. Their right to assemble peacefully and mourn the lives lost while seeking changes to a broken system – without fear of retaliation. And without uncalled-for displays of military “dominance.” New Mexicans have, by and large, been exercising their right to protest in a peaceful manner, and we believe our state and local law enforcement officials can and should work with their communities to keep protesters safe while holding any bad actors and outside agitators accountable for unlawful activities. We reject the president’s call for military intervention and instead ask that his attention be focused on healing our nation. Americans are looking to our leaders for real solutions. Solutions that uphold our Constitutional Rights. Solutions that protect both citizens and police while ending violence in our streets. And solutions that begin to restore the broken trust between the brave men and women of law enforcement and the communities they serve. New Mexico can and should lead by example.”

New Mexico Governor Issues Statement Regarding Albuquerque Protest

Jun 1, 2020
Office of the New Mexico Governor

  Commentary: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday issued the following statement: “I want to wholeheartedly commend the thousands of New Mexicans who peacefully protested in Albuquerque last night. Freedom of speech is an undeniable right of every American and every New Mexican, and in moments of crisis, in expressing anger at long-standing injustice and racism, that right is all the more important. These protesters were part of an exemplary demonstration.   “Later in the night, a small group took a wrong turn, and this is greatly concerning. We have received reports of shots fired at or in the direction of public safety officers – and this is flatly unacceptable. That sort of behavior is an attempt to distort the important work of the peaceful protesters – who have every right to demonstrate in peace – and puts both the protesters and public safety officers at risk. Those individuals, I have complete confidence, will be held accountable. There is no place in this moment for hijacking the protesters’ message of justice and non-violence.


  Commentary: Fans of horror movies know there are always early scenes that tip you off to the terrible things that will come later.

I had that feeling last week as I watched the press conference held by prosecutors in Minnesota. I assumed that it was called to announce an arrest in the murder of George Floyd. I was wrong.

They opened by announcing that there was nothing to announce. That was bad. Then they started talking and made things worse.

“There is other evidence that doesn’t support a criminal charge,” County Attorney Mike Freeman said.

And my heart sank. Here we go again. They’re going to try to defend even this.


A Technology War...Not A Trade War

Jun 1, 2020

Commentary: Industry is abuzz about the recent announcement of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) that it will build a $12 billion dollar chip manufacturing plant in the state of Arizona. The new fab (factory) will produce 20,000 wafers per month that are used to make chips. Controversy surrounds the deal as Senator Chuck Schumer and other Democratic senators want to know how much the U.S. and Arizona governments are incentivizing the deal. However, TSMC’s Arizona project can provide insight as to how Asian companies will set up operations in the U.S. and what they are looking for.

Facts Matter...Even On Social Media

May 31, 2020

Commentary: If you are still considering a vote for Donald Trump, please, as you read this, try to think if you know ANYONE who would behave this way and expect you to trust him to fix your roof or make a will for you.

I gather that Mr. Trump does not like Joe Scarborough, a former Republican Congressman who hosts a TV show.

Commentary: With the economy in such bad shape, how come the stock market is gaining strength? All indicators like jobless rates, weak service and mfg. sectors, drop in consumer income, etc. points to poor earnings for investors. What factors are at work here?

Remember that 84% of stocks are owned by 10% of investors and the top 1.0% has 40 % of the nation’s wealth. The primary option for their wealth are treasury and corporate bonds where yields are poor because we have very low interest rates. Actual yields for these low risk bonds are less than 1.0%. Therefore, the plutocrats are taking a chance on the future of stocks.  However, the Dow Jones and S & P 500 index does not measure the wellbeing of most Americans.

Paul J. Gessing

  Commentary: Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in New Mexico, the Four Corners region of New Mexico faced serious economic challenges. The declining price of natural gas which had been the basis of the area’s economy for decades was the most significant issue. 

The price which exceeded $15 per million cubic feet (MCF) back in 2008 embarked on a rapid decline with the advent of the “fracking” revolution. The price is now below $2.00 per MCF and shows no sign of rising in the foreseeable future. That’s a decline of over 80%.

Disturbing Confusion Over The Role Of Journalists

May 28, 2020
Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

  Commentary: Here’s a question: Are people who report news journalists, or snitches?


Recently, members of the public called me a snitch for something I reported, and lately some of my colleagues report hearing this complaint, too.


Here’s what I reported. On Memorial Day weekend, I wasn’t working, but on my way home from the hardware store I saw a political rally and you know, force of habit. It was a Cowboys For Trump rally, where three or four dozen people had gathered in the courtyard by the Luna County Courthouse listening to a man give a speech calling on New Mexico to reopen small businesses immediately, and questioning the legality of the state’s COVID-19 health orders.

Steve Pearce

Commentary: This afternoon Gov. Lujan Grisham held a virtual press conference to announce some changes to her public health order. The following is a statement from RPNM Chairman Steve Pearce:

"The governor's haphazard approach to reopening the state is hurtful and disastrous to New Mexicans. She seems to fling darts at an economic dartboard to determine who opens next and by how much. Tens of thousands of small businesses and houses of worship must still suffer at 25% capacity while other establishments reopen at 50%. There's no real method to this, and her inequitable and discriminatory decisions continue to kill our economy. New Mexico retailers are dying, as she gives out of state corporate giants our cash. The governor has offered no consistent strategy to help the little guy in the state in a fair way.

Torres Small: Investigate Chinese Government’s Actions Regarding COVID-19

May 27, 2020

Commentary: This week, Congresswoman Torres Small (NM-02) joined members of the Blue Dog Coalition in sending a letter to House and Senate leadership calling on them to pursue bipartisan mechanisms to gather the facts regarding the actions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak and throughout the pandemic.

Specifically, the Blue Dogs called for the establishment of a bipartisan Commission to assess the United States’ preparation for and response to COVID-19, the Chinese government’s many errors at the onset of the outbreak, and the United States’ over-reliance on China for critical supplies. They also called for the leadership’s support of a federal inquiry into how the CCP might seek to exploit the epidemic to advance its foreign policy objectives to the detriment of the United States and our allies. Finally, the Blue Dogs called on Congress to prioritize coordination and evaluation of China policy through a structure that has bipartisan support, such as a task force, a select committee, or another means.

Strands Of Change

May 27, 2020


  Commentary: I heard the joke over and over when the quarantine started: In six weeks, we'll know everyone's real hair color. Who knew that we also might get to know people's true colors when we started missing out on our regular haircuts?

I've dyed my hair regularly for about 15 years. It's hard to remember when or why I started — probably a breakup when cutting my hair was not enough but a dramatic $10 box dye did the trick. But the habit formed, and much like anything that happens on a slow slide after a change you can't back out of, it's hard to break.

Commentary: The events held last week at the Field of Dreams to honor local high school graduates sure felt like graduation ceremonies. But they weren’t.

They were senior celebrations.

The reason for that is school officials want to give the class of 2020 a proper graduation. 

The celebrations were a lot of fun.


Peter Goodman

Commentary: Thursday morning I did something new: Walt Rubel and I were the commentators as hundreds of Mayfield High seniors experienced the first drive-by Senior Celebration [not “graduation,”], pulling up in beautifully decorated vehicles to get certificates [not “diplomas”] from Principal Eric Flass. 


A first for all of us, with plenty of good energy. An arduous but pleasant way to serve the community. Many beautiful, happy kids. Two stretch limousines, a lot of jeeps, and a big yellow Hummer. Very cute little dogs in laps. Us reading graduates’ words about their fondest memories and their plans. It all moved at a challenging pace, two hours of kids’ smiles, parents’ pride, and loving words about friends who’ll be missed – and then it was over.

Voting has never been more important, and it’s never been easier

May 22, 2020

Commentary: New Mexico has not escaped the disastrous impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. To date, we’ve had nearly 5,000 cases and 200 deaths. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham didn’t wait on guidance from the White House that never came.  She proactively halted most of our economy in an effort to save lives.  Reopening New Mexico is in its early stages.   The carefully considered economic shutdown starkly revealed the inequalities that were already threatening to crush our neighbors living on low incomes. More than 125,000 New Mexicans have filed for unemployment benefits since the pandemic began.

Making matters worse, the fall in oil prices has left cities and the state short on revenue needed for critical services that keep many of our neighbors afloat.

Commentary:  The COVID-19 pandemic has brought heartache and pain to all.  In New Mexico alone, cases of COVID-19 have exceeded 6,000, with nearly 300 fatalities and close to 2,000 cases officially designated as recovered.  The state is short nearly $2 billion in next fiscal year's budget.  Thousands of New Mexicans are unemployed or working without necessary personal protective equipment. Unemployment, isolation, extreme work environments, illness and death have created a sense of uncertainty and surreality.  But New Mexicans are resilient.  We have the mental strength and resourcefulness to both weather this storm and learn from it.


Student Loan Debt Forgiveness to Public Servants Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

May 22, 2020
U.S. Senator Tom Udall D-NM

Commentary: U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) joined a group of 10 Senators in introducing the Strengthening Loan Forgiveness for Public Servants During the COVID-19 Crisis Act, legislation that would provide student loan debt relief to public health workers, police officers, and others who dedicate their careers to public service. Many of these public servants have been playing a central role in helping communities in New Mexico and across the country respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.