.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Today's Opinions

  • Ins and outs of immigrants defined the U.S. since 1787

    The legal trails of immigration comprise many parts, to deal with persistent concerns. Since its inception, the nation has dealt with these concerns repeatedly in varying guises and combinations.

    Immigration issues that recur deal with jobs in one way or other and with the nature and quantity of immigrants and new citizens. Laws change as parties change course and populations grow.

    The two parts that are most distinctive are immigration and naturalization. The former refers to living and working here.

    The latter is a path to U.S. citizenship. Only citizens can vote and hold elective office.

    Today, becoming a citizen requires correctly answering six of 10 questions similar to these three:

    • What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?

    • There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.

    • Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.

    These questions are three of the 100 questions on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization test. The full list is online at “civics questions for naturalization test.” Take in the stirring naturalization ceremony nearby at Bandelier held every Fourth of July.

  • Prison reform bill needs to to be rescued, broadened

    The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, published this editorial Aug. 28 on prison reform programs.

    A prison reform bill that passed the House with a strong bipartisan majority is slowly dying in the Senate. It must be rescued and broadened.

    The First Step Act focuses on ways to help federal prisoners prepare for a productive life once they leave prison and to support them in their search for employment.

    It is a thoughtful attempt to break the destructive cycle that results in more than half of federal prisoners returning to prison within a few years after their first release. Pilot programs have shown that recidivism can be sharply reduced by providing such support.

    The lone problem with the First Step Act is that it addresses only the 225,000 inhabitants of federal prisons. That is just 15 percent of the nation’s prison population. The bill doesn’t help the far more numerous inmates transitioning from state prisons and local jails. It should provide states with grants to encourage the establishment of similar prison-to-society assistance programs.

  • Defining the role of the county sheriff

    BY CHRIS LUCINI
    Libertarian Candidate, Los Alamos  County Sheriff

    While campaigning for the position of sheriff of Los Alamos County, I’m often asked “What do you see the role of the sheriff to be?” My answer does not fit on a bumper sticker.

    First to be clear, I nor any other person in the office of sheriff gets to decide what the size, scope and powers of the sheriff’s office are. Neither does the county council get to decide that the sheriff’s office can be stripped of all of it’s powers.

    New Mexico state law dictates many of the powers and responsibilities of the county sheriff position, and the obligations of the counties for staffing and funding of the office of sheriff.

    The lawsuit currently before the New Mexico Appellate Court will, in my opinion, ultimately end up before the New Mexico Supreme Court. Once the New Mexico Supreme Court issues a decision, the extent to which the county charter and county council can restrict the office of sheriff will have been decided.

    The rule of law is critically important in society. It is vital that the county council, and the sheriff, abide by the decision of the court, and during the appeals process.

  • School responsibility goes beyond education

    Welcome to the school year and all the issues our schools have to contend with besides educating New Mexico’s children.

    Such as what is required if a student needs to take a pill.

    Even if you have had children in school in recent years, you may not know how complicated this is.

    I thought I was posing a simple question when I asked about rules for medication in schools.

    But simplicity cannot be assumed when parents are putting their children in other people’s hands every day.

    The minimum advice to parents is that before you send your child to school with even an aspirin, find out the rules of your school district. Each district makes its own rules within a general framework. Some may be different for elementary versus older students.

    The national associations of pediatricians, pharmacists, nurses and others all have sets of guidelines. That’s how important this is.

    The guidelines are reflected in policies of the state Department of Health.

    Most common: Almost all medication should be delivered to the school nurse with written instructions from the family doctor. Most medications should be administered to students only by the nurse, based on those instructions.

  • A shot of competition for EpiPen

    The Wall Street Journal published this editorial Aug. 19 on the Food and Drug Administration approving the first generic competitor to Mylan’s EpiPen.

    A couple of years ago Washington fell into anaphylactic shock over the high cost of EpiPens, devices that shoot adrenaline into someone having an allergic reaction. But the Trump Administration this week injected some overdue competition into the market that could lower prices for millions of Americans.

    On Thursday the Food and Drug Administration approved the first generic competitor to Mylan ‘s EpiPen. The competing drug is manufactured by the Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva. One might wonder why a simple spring device filled with a cheap medicine didn’t have competitors, even decades after invention.

    That was one question in 2016, when Congress hauled in Mylan CEO Heather Bresch to register outrage about the more than $600 list price of a two-pack of pens, which millions of kids and adults have to keep on hand. Not everyone pays full price after rebates and discounts, and some of the shock came from insurance designs that increased out-of-pocket costs. But the sticker price had increased more than 500 percent over 10 years.

  • Hollywood’s long con on New Mexico’s taxpayers

    BY DOWD MUSKA
    Research director, Rio Grande Foundation

    Enjoying the new season of “Better Call Saul”? If not, you should be -- you’re paying for it.
    Annually, New Mexico’s taxpayers spend $50 million to “incentivize” film and television production in their state.

    Unfortunately, after shoveling more than half a billion dollars Hollywood’s way over the years, the Land of Enchantment has little to show for its generosity.

    The payoff from “investment” in the entertainment industry is dismal. Dozens of studies have been undertaken to determine the ratio of subsidization to tax-revenue generation. The Rio Grande Foundation has distilled the best research down to 14 analyses, conducted in states as varied as Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. All were performed by either legislative auditors or tax departments, and not one was issued by Hollywood consultants, economic-development/film bureaucracies, or ideological think tanks of any perspective. When taken as a whole, the 14 studies found the average “return” for a taxpayer dollar to be an appalling 23.6 cents.

  • To improve our schools, spend more in the classroom

    BY FRED NATHAN
    Executive director, Think New Mexico

    While the recent Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico decision has understandably received intense interest for its landmark ruling that New Mexico’s public schools are not adequately funded, there has been less attention on another, equally important aspect of the ruling: the finding that more money will only make a difference for students if it is spent in the classroom. 

    As Judge Singleton explained in her ruling, there are two aspects to the state’s failure to provide an adequate education. First, she concluded that not enough money is spent to fund the programs children need.

    Second, Judge Singleton stated (on page 53 of her decision) that the Public Education Department and school districts are not doing enough to make sure that the money is actually being spent in ways that will improve outcomes for at-risk students.

    Last year, Think New Mexico studied some of the most successful school districts in the state, such as Gadsden, Texico, and Farmington. We found that these districts tend to spend a high proportion of their budgets on classroom expenses, such as teachers, coaches, counselors, nurses, educational assistants, and school supplies, rather than on administrative expenses in the central district office.

  • Would JFK be a Democrat today?

    BY GOV. JERRY APODOCA
    Former Governor of New Mexico

    Last week I had to ask my 10-year-old grandson what a meme was. He explained it’s a humorous video or image on social media. The reason I asked was I saw an image on social media that said, “Would JFK be a Democrat today?”

    It got me thinking, would he? I have always looked at myself as a JFK Democrat: pro-business with openness towards social issues and fairness for all New Mexicans. JFK once said, “if by a Democrat they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, who cares about the welfare of the people - their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties - someone who believes that we can break through the stalemate...then I’m proud to say that I’m a “Democrat.”

    I would have to agree – that’s the kind of Democrat I am.  

    As a father, teacher, businessman, legislator and later as Governor of New Mexico, I lived my life this way. I ran an open government and made sure my office and party represented ALL New Mexicans. I am most proud to have opened doors for the first time to minorities that had never had a voice in state government.