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Today's Opinions

  • Accion teams with national craft brewer to coach local entrepreneurs

    BY JUSTIN HYDE
    New Mexico Market Manager, Accion

  • 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.

  • House GOP improving transparency in New Mexico

    BY REP. JIM SMITH
    House Dist. 22, Chair, House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee

  • Crony capitalism benefits a few, hurts economy

    Corruption, crony capitalism and economic growth had not linked in my mind. An oversight, to be sure. Or just dense.
    The Committee for Economic Development in Washington, D.C., the Thornburg Foundation of Santa Fe and Michael Rocca, University of New Mexico political science professor, have combined to argue the three are quite connected.
    The factors are “a key reason for New Mexico’s lackluster economic growth,” Rocca says.
    The report is “Crony Capitalism, Corruption and the Economy of the State of New Mexico.” Rocca’s team included one undergraduate honors student and two Ph.D. candidates. The project came from discussions at the Thornburg Foundation. The Committee for Economic Development went to Santa Fe at Thornburg’s invitation, says Mike Petro, CED’s executive vice president. Rocca says he was contacted by CED and Thornburg.
    In the introduction, Rocca and his team say, “(Crony capitalism) refers to the unhealthy relationship between some private interests (e.g. business, anti-business interests, professions, and social groups) and government. Deals are struck that reward winners on the basis of political influence rather than merit.”

  • Scalia and the Constitution

    BY DR. CALEB VERBOIS
    The Center for Visions and Values

  • The slippery slope of civil society

    Civil society is a slippery slope.
    It’s a constant tug of war between total individual freedom and rules that enable us to live as a society.
    We have free speech, but we may not yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater to start a panic. If we defame another person, we can be liable for the damage we cause. Your freedom to swing your arm, the saying goes, ends at my nose. We argue vigorously about freedom of the press and what government should be required to disclose.
    Government imposes laws, enforces laws, and has the opportunity to abuse its powers.  Usually it doesn’t. When it does, people sometimes get very badly hurt, but we can correct the abuse.
    Our laws swing back and forth with trends. We go through an era of being “tough on crime,” then the trend reverses as we see, for example, that too many people are in prison.
    Government makes mistakes; sometimes those mistakes lead to tragic results for individuals, but the power is kept in check by opposing forces, including the will of the people and the opportunity to throw officeholders out of office at the next election.

  • No need to raise taxes in New Mexico

    BY PAUL GESSING
    President, New Mexico's Rio Grande Foundation

  • Latest batch of DWI bills, like the last, won’t work

    Tim Solano is one big reason we need tougher DWI laws, says a lawmaker. Solano is a good example of why those laws don’t work, says a DWI expert.
    Solano had five DWIs in 2005 when he killed a woman bicycling in Santa Fe. He served 10 years in prison. In December, after his release, he was arrested again for DWI.
    That was frightening to Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes, R-Albuquerque. Her husband exercised in the same area when they lived in Santa Fe. She’s carrying HB 83 to increase penalties for multiple DWI convictions. It’s one of three DWI bills in the governor’s package that recently passed the House.
    The measures won’t have any effect on the state’s dreadful drunken driving experience, said Linda Atkinson, executive director of the DWI Resource Center. “The victims get told that these laws will prevent future DWI deaths, but it’s a disservice to victims,” she said. “It won’t change anything. It’s very, very sad.”
    Atkinson has been involved in DWI issues since the 1980s and has worked with such DWI crusaders as Nadine Milford and former Gallup Mayor Ed Muñoz. She co-founded the nonprofit DWI Resource Center, which tracks data and provides information to victims.