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Today's Opinions

  • Promises made, promises kept

    BY REP. NATE GENTRY
    House Dist. 30, House Majority Leader

  • Ethics reform runs aground on politically motivated complaints

    This was the year we were supposed to see real ethics reform in Santa Fe, and it seemed that the stars had lined up.
    Secretary of State Dianna Duran and Sen. Phil Griego delivered scandals that were still fresh in mind. The public was more than ready – a poll for Common Cause New Mexico found that 85 percent of respondents supported creating an independent ethics commission. Another poll found 82 percent of New Mexico business leaders liked the idea.
    A Republican freshman, Rep. Jim Dines of Albuquerque, and a Democrat, Rep. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces, joined to carry a bipartisan bill.
    House Joint Resolution 5 would have created a nine-member ethics commission whose members would be appointed by the Legislature, judiciary and administration. The commission could initiate or receive complaints and investigate alleged violations by state officials, lobbyists, state employees, contractors, or would-be contractors. It could look into possible breaches of state ethics, campaign finance and procurement laws and hold public hearings to resolve complaints. Those making the complaints could not be anonymous.

  • LANS’ fund gives Native American businesses traction for growth

    BY KATHY KEITH
    Los Alamos National Laboratory Community Relations and Partnerships Office

  • Council must exercise oversight

    BY CHRIS CHANDLER
    Los Alamos

    Guest Columnist

  • Bipartisan good intentions of Senate Bill 9 did not pass

    Evaluation of bills introduced in the Legislature would have become more thorough if Senate Bill 9 had passed in the just completed 2016 legislative session. Because it often takes several years to pass a bill, this one could return.
    The bill had to do with state budgets and what it calls “evidence-based, research-based and promising sub-programs.”
    It had bipartisan sponsorship, but with a double minority. The Senate sponsor was a Republican, Sander Rue of Albuquerque. In the House it was Gail Chasey, a Democrat from Albuquerque. In their respective chambers, Chasey and Rue are in the minority.
    SB 9 would not apply to all of state government, though that isn’t clear from the bill’s text. Chasey told New Mexico In Depth, a news website, (nmindepth.com) that the bill built on the present application to early childhood education and some adult criminal justice programs of the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. Working with the Pew Charitable Trusts (pewtrusts.org), starting in 2011, the Legislative Finance Committee did the research and put the program in place.

  • Garcias are the faces of our great weariness with crime

    Leading up to the hearing Saturday night of the three-strikes bill, Roundhouse watchers were caught in political crossfire.
    In this legislative session, Republicans unfolded a big crime package and hollered that anybody who didn’t support it was soft on crime and didn’t care about the state’s children. The Democrats hollered back that the crime bills were just a distraction from the state’s dismal economy, wouldn’t work, and would bust an already fragile budget.
    So with this backdrop, coupled with the tiresome nastiness of national politics, the Senate Public Affairs Committee, with its majority of Democrats, took up HB 56, by a retired policeman, Rep. Paul Pacheco, R-Albuquerque.
    An amazing thing happened on Saturday. During a long evening of tears and personal stories, our legislators laid down their rhetoric and spoke from the heart. The Ds and Rs were kind to one another. And they passed the bill.
    HB 56 would enlarge the meaning of “violent felony” to include shooting at or from a vehicle, aggravated assault, kidnapping, child abuse, sexual assault of a minor and aggravated burglary. A third conviction for any of these crimes would bring a life sentence.

  • Accion teams with national craft brewer to coach local entrepreneurs

    BY JUSTIN HYDE
    New Mexico Market Manager, Accion

  • Letters to the Editor 2-19-16

    LA County owes Marquez debt of gratitude

    Richard Marquez recently left the Los Alamos National Laboratory after working there for over 10 years. Most people do not know that before working at LANL, he worked as a Department of Energy official in the Albuquerque office. During his tenure there, he provided significant assistance to Los Alamos County.
    Los Alamos County borrowed over $110 million to finance their hydroelectric facilities and other projects. After the bonds were issued, the market changed and it was to the county’s advantage to refinance those bonds. By doing so, they could save thousands of dollars per year. The transaction was held up in a disagreement on how to split the savings between DOE and the county. The county was in danger of missing the window of opportunity to refinance the bonds because of this disagreement. Richard stepped in and said that this was ridiculous. The DOE and the county are arguing over hundreds of dollars when thousands of dollars could be saved. He took an active part in the further negotiations with the county and hammered out a compromise that was fair.