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Today's Opinions

  • Money constraints will limit 2016 legislative agenda

    Most action during the 2016 legislative session beginning Jan. 19 looks to come in bits and pieces.
    Beyond the bits, the action will be political posturing for the 2016 election and, maybe, incremental movement on the big topics of tax reform and highways.
    This conclusion comes from more than four hours of listening to senior state government officials, “interested stakeholders,” four legislators and Scott Darnell, deputy chief of staff for Gov. Susana Martinez. The occasion was the annual legislative outlook conference of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute, held Dec. 17 in Albuquerque.
    The constraints are lack of money for anything exciting and the governor’s agenda, or crabby types might say, the non-agenda other than education.
    “New money,” projected at $231.7 million, is defined as expected recurring revenue in the coming year minus recurring spending this year. That $231.7 million is up 3.7 percent from the current year appropriation but down $62 million from the August forecast.
    David Abbey, director of the Legislative Finance Committee, began with recounting past crunch times for the state. “I am confident we can get through it again,” he said.

  • Analysis: Bush strong in GOP debate but it may not matter

    BY STEVE PEOPLES
    Associated Press

  • What do ‘radical Islam’ and ‘terrorism’ really mean?

    BY DR. L. JOHN VAN TIL
    Visions and Values

  • Letter to the Editor 12-20-15

    Amazing things happen when we work together

    Truly amazing things can happen when we work together!  Often it’s the little things that make the biggest difference in people’s lives.  
    Last week, the scissors and the clippers were hard at work at the LA Cares December Food Pantry Distribution.  A temporary barbershop/beauty salon was set up and had a party atmosphere as two hair stylists and one barber offered free “Haircuts for the Holidays” to our clients.    
    Clients ranged from a mom spending a half hour away from her family being pampered to a mom with her three young sons, and another mom who said she never can fit a haircut into her tight budget. A few teenagers and gentlemen all were treated to 20 haircuts generously offered by Christie and Met Haynes of The Beauty Shop in Santa Fe and LAFD Firefighter David Baca.   

  • What happens now, following aftermath of climate talks

    By Marita Noon
    Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great

    The Sierra Club has announced their next effort: “to prevent the extraction of fossil fuels right from the start” – a campaign known as “Keep it in the ground.” The plan, reported The Hill, is to “shut down coal mines, and crack down on hydraulic fracturing, along with stopping the transportation of fossil fuels in oil trains, pipelines and coal export terminals.”
    The plan sounds ludicrous to anyone who understands energy or follows the topic – after all, Germany’s plans to “go green” have failed miserably – but activists who are committed to the cause are buoyed by several recent victories.
    A post, “Keep It in the Ground Movement Scores Another Victory Over Fossil Fuel Interests,” on Greenpeace.org states: “Remember when we told you that the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground was gaining momentum? We weren’t making that up.” The author then goes on to list the “much-discussed” successes:
    • Shell’s departure from the Arctic;
    • Rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline; and
    • Exxon’s history of climate denial.
    She then touts something that slipped under the radar for most news watchers: on Dec. 7, the Bureau of Land Management “ announced a last minute delay to a fossil fuel lease sale,” which the post claims is due to “grassroots opposition.”

  • Despite efforts, 1 in 6 New Mexicans goes hungry

    By Marilee Dannemann
    Special to the Monitor

    High school kids come around dropping leaflets at my door asking me to donate a bag full of food. This time of year, there are food drives everywhere. Sometimes I give, sometimes I don’t.
    It makes more sense to give money. It’s less inspired but more practical. I was reminded of that recently by Wally Verdooren, chief development officer at Roadrunner Food Bank.
    Because of discounts and bulk purchasing, the food bank can provide five meals for $1. I can’t give a can of tuna fish for that amount.
    Don’t jump all over me. I don’t want to quash anyone’s enthusiasm. Many people are more motivated to give something tangible than to write a check. We want to encourage the teens, church groups and everybody else to do whatever works to help feed those in need.
    According to Roadrunner, more than 17 percent of New Mexicans are food insecure, meaning they can’t count on regular access to food. That’s one in six New Mexicans, or more than 360,000 people. It includes 28 percent of the state’s children, or 145,000.
    Roadrunner is New Mexico’s main nonprofit food assistance hub, working throughout the state with partner distribution organizations and more than 500 local agencies – food pantries, soup kitchens, after-school programs, and senior centers.

  • Letter to the Editor 12-16-15

    Islamophobia – shame on USA

    Very un-American: I am ashamed to live in a state that announces its ignorant reluctance to accept Syrian refugees. Gov. Susana Martinez, you should be ashamed. Mr. Trump, Mr. Rubio, have you no shame in using the deaths in Paris as a drum to beat for you election?
    I didn’t write this, but I agree completely; it is not just Trump, Rubio, and Susana: it’s the citizens who stand up and cheer, and the pundits who rail against Pres. Obama and call for stricter background screening. We should look at our more civilized neighbors to the north in Canada, who are already taking in the first of 25,000 refugees that will arrive in two months.
    The United States’ review process is already several years long. For years I’ve heard journalists and military people who had Iraqi and Afghan interpreters, including some they credit with saving their lives numerous times, plead for years that our government grant visas that were promised them in the beginning.
    Look up the phrase, “People of the Book;” you will find this includes Jews, Christians, and Muslims. All three religions believe they descend from Abraham (i.e. are Abrahamic). Look in your dictionary for the definition of

  • NM’s ‘worst-run’ designation stirs political wasp nest

    An announcement last week that New Mexico is the worst run state in the country stirred the political wasp nest.
    It was quite a Christmas gift to Democrats and political bloggers, and indictments of Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration flowed.
    The governor and her people predictably respond to bad news with an inarticulate jumble of blame and defensiveness, this time invoking education reform, repeating her mantra of making our economy “less dependent on the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., and ending with “the decades-long failed status quo.” Blah, blah.
    In her defense, there’s a lot more to be said, and a chunk of the study was wrong.
    State rankings appear frequently, and they’re all over the board. In 2015, New Mexico was ninth on a well-being index, 49th in financial literacy, fifth in strictness of traffic laws but second in worst drivers, third in school safety but 42nd in school quality, and fourth among Lonely Planet’s World’s Best Value Destinations.
    CNBC said this is the 24th best state for doing business; Forbes said it’s the third worst. Kiplinger’s said New Mexico is third worst place for retirement; WalletHub said it’s the 11th best place for military personnel to retire.