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Today's Opinions

  • Does more politicking work for the people?

    Governance is like a Shakespeare play in which the two governing parties act out human parts. Shakespeare famously heightens the drama with leading roles that carry the main action, spiced with an occasional ghost who reveals mindsets that drive the action. But today the action seems less important than the interplay of ghosts.
    The main action is the substance of politics – the policies to be evolved, discussed and enacted ... the necessary business of the people, by the people, for the people. A timely example would be rebuilding the middle class.  
    The ghost in the play is the “politicking” – phantom voices that name who let down the middle class. The action is the governance; the mindsets are drivers. Together, a play.
    Yet, almost every scene in today’s play is dominated by politicking – raising and reprising story lines to mythic proportions – to the detriment of real action on the people’s business. More skewing gets done than business. 
    And it gets worse. Although each party clearly seeks different policies, the politicking on each side mirrors the other. It is eerie.       

  • County issues should stir healthy discussion

    My name is Greg White and this series of articles will cover three issues that the County Council hopefully will be discussing and acting on in a positive manner over the next several months. The first I’m sure they will, the next two can head off litigation. The first is a rewrite of the proposed immigrant resolution proposed by Councilor Pete Sheehey. The second is what will the council decide about the sheriff’s office. And the last is the legal status of appointing a county employee to an elected position, namely appointing the county manager as the county treasurer.
    I hope my articles will spur healthy and respectful discussion and encourage people to come to council meetings to make their voices heard, again in a civil and respectful way. Which may be best accomplished by the council changing it’s rules on public comment to allow five minutes per person as it’s hard no matter how concise you try to be to actually convey feelings in three minutes. Three minutes works for boxers, ever try boxing it’s a whole lot more tiring than it looks, but I always find myself running out of comment time about 30 seconds from finishing no matter how much I rehearse.

  • Love the horses but let them starve

    Of all the demonstrations of Americans’ political hypocrisy, what we’ve done about the slaughter of horses is right up there.
    We can thank our governor for a recent example, though she is hardly alone.
    Like other public figures, the governor shed crocodile tears a few years ago during the controversy over the possible opening of a horse slaughterhouse in Roswell. That controversy helped spark a change in federal policy that effectively banned horse slaughter in the United States.
    This year, she pocket vetoed a simple bill that would have saved a few horses. A pocket veto means she simply ignored the bill until the deadline passed.
    The bill, HB 390, said when the state livestock board has custody of a stray horse, licensed rescue organizations should get a chance to buy the horse at a modest fee before the horse is offered at auction. This would allow the rescue to get the horse at a low price rather than having to bid against other unknown buyers, possibly including “killer buyers” who would take the horse to Mexico and sell it for slaughter. The bill passed both houses handily.

  • Avoiding shutdown is not such a bad thing

    The Boston Herald published this editorial Wednesday.

    So either “This is what winning looks like” or “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix (this) mess!”
    Yes, we’re confused too. In an early morning tweet yesterday President Trump seemed so unhappy with the temporary spending deal struck by congressional Republicans to keep the government up and operating until September that he would risk a shutdown then. But by mid-day he had suddenly decided that it’s a good deal after all and “a clear win for the American people.”
    The $1.1 trillion spending package does include a $15 billion boost in military spending — half of what Trump wanted — but in the greater scheme of things not a bad deal. And it includes $1.5 billion in additional cash for border security — some of it for “fixing” existing portions of the border wall.
    As for all those proposed cuts in domestic spending, well that’s just a big nevermind. The proposed $1.2 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health? NIH got a $2 billion increase. Defunding Planned Parenthood? Nope. The Environmental Protection Agency takes a 1 percent haircut on its $8 billion budget.

  • We need state tax reform but let’s be clear that it won’t be easy

    Many of us cheered Rep. Jason Harper’s tax reform bill in the recent legislative session. The Rio Rancho Republican, an engineer, had taken on the state’s knotty gross receipts tax, a burden to business, consumers and economic development.
    Harper proposed to dump most gross receipts tax breaks and levy one fair tax on everyone. It was significant that two Democratic heavyweights, the chair and vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee, signed on as sponsors.
    But complicated bills face an uphill struggle in Santa Fe, and this one was no exception. Majority Dems incorporated pieces of the Harper bill and proposed a multi-year phase-in.
    Now the governor has seized on tax reform as a way to balance the budget – and salvage her legacy.
    The governor has been on the road bashing Dems for passing tax increases. She took another swing at them during the nonpartisan New Mexico Tax Research Institute’s annual conference when she called legislators childish. This from an executive who vetoed the entire higher education budget.

  • Recreation Bond is not justified

    Lke any tax increase, the “Recreation Bond” deserves careful scrutiny. A tax should be for a legitimate valuable public purpose. There should be reasonable expectation the funds will be well used. And there should be no other reasonable alternative to further burdening citizen taxpayers. The Public School and UNM-LA mill levies in January were among the rare tax proposals that satisfy these three criteria (reference Jan. 18 column). This one does not.

    “More recreation facilities” sounds good. 

    What we really need is a different mix of recreational venues. We keep adding new ones, but rarely prune those no longer well utilized. Our demographics have changed. We have fewer young people, the biggest users. Sadly, physical activity is less per person, too. And tastes are more diverse. Baseball, softball, tennis, and golf are not nearly as popular as they were half a century ago. Yet, we build and maintain facilities as though they were. Build a new ice rink and keep the old one? Let’s get real.

  • Government should tighten belt, not raise taxes

    BY REP. RICK LITTLE
    New Mexico House of Representatives, R-Doña Ana and Otero Counties

  • Congress should ensure broadband can’t pick winners and losers online

    This editorial appeared in The Los Angeles Times April 19.

    Under its last chairman, Democrat Tom Wheeler, the Federal Communications Commission dramatically ramped up its regulation of telecommunications companies, especially those that provide broadband Internet access to the home. The commission adopted rules to preserve net neutrality, limit the collection and use of data about where people go online and subsidize broadband access services, while also slapping conditions on or flat-out opposing mergers between major broadband companies.
    Although the telecom industry resisted many of these steps as heavy handed and overly restrictive, Internet users, consumer groups and scores of companies that offer content, apps and services online welcomed them as prudent limits on broadband providers who face too little competition. And they’re right about that – far too many consumers today have only one or two practical options for high-speed Internet access at their homes today.