Working together to strike a balance for Greater Chaco | by Sen. Benny Shendo & Rep. Georgene Louis

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]STATE SEN. BENNY SHENDO represents New Mexico Senate District 22 and STATE REP. GEORGENE LOUIS represents New Mexico House District 26, both are Democrats.[/box]

Working together is tough, and learning to trust one another when facing big decisions can be even tougher. This is especially true when government agencies are trying to balance oil and gas development with the needs of communities, industry, and other stakeholders. Just because issues don’t have easy solutions, doesn’t mean we should shy away from finding common ground. This is especially true if we want to preserve the amazing beauty of our western landscapes and protect the health of our communities living with nearby oil and gas development. No other place embodies this conflict more than the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwest New Mexico.

Onboard with the Rail Runner? | two views by Rey Garduño & Paul Gessing

EDITOR’S NOTE: What do you think about the efficacy of New Mexico’s Rail Runner train system? Some love it, some hate it, almost everyone has an opinion. Below, you’ll find two strong, conflicting views about the rail service. First, an opinion editorial from ABQ City Councilor Rey Garduño on why he thinks the rail system is “an invaluable service” for New Mexicans. Second, a direct response from Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation who thinks Garduño is “just wrong on the Rail Runner.”

Santolina water worries are real concern | by Dr. Virginia Necochea

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]DR. VIRGINIA NECOCHEA is the Executive Director of the Center for Social Sustainable Systems and an organizer with the Contra Santolina Working Group.[/box]

The Albuquerque Journal’s editorial board is at it again. Many of us wonder if it is at all possible for them to write a piece that at minimum veers more towards a neutral stance rather than their usual favoritism towards developers and monied interests. As someone who has sat through almost every single hearing on the Santolina Master Plan, it becomes quite obvious that the Journal’s editorial board has not been present. Their latest piece titled – “Water worries overblown concern for Santolina,” clearly demonstrates their severe lack of what has been defined by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) as ethical journalism. SPJ states, “ethical journalism should be accurate and fair.

Developers are spending $1 Billion to build a fake town in the middle of the NM desert. Here’s why

What would you do with $1,000,000,000 dollars?  If you are a DC-based technology firm you just might be looking for a place to build a new city if you could just find a place to do it that was sure not to attract any residents. And the mayors of Hobbs and Las Cruces both say an empty city would make a great neighbor. Here’s the backstory:  In 2012, Pegasus Global Holdings, a Washington DC based technology company, announced plans to build a full-scale city, built to code with restaurants, shopping malls, city parks and homes of all sizes.  Just no people.

Could the FCC foreclose on New Mexico’s high-tech future? | by Rep. James E. Smith

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]REP. JIM SMITH is the chair of the interim Science, Technology, and Telecom Committee[/box]

What does the decision by the Federal Communications Commission to impose utility style regulation on the Internet mean to the future of New Mexico’s promising high-tech economy? Well, imagine this. You’re riding the new chairlift on Kachina Peak in Taos, steadily making your way to the summit at 12,450 feet as you take in the spectacular scenery below. Suddenly there’s a power failure. The lift tops climbing and you’re left dangling, wondering if you’re ever going to reach the top.

Time to invest in our families and communities | by Jacque M. Garcia

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]JACQUE M. GARICA, MPH is a coordinator with Bernalillo County PLACE MATTERS. [/box]

Much has been made of America’s crumbling infrastructure.  Rusting bridges and crumbling highways are only a part of our neglect.  A much bigger part, and one that many of us don’t see is the neglect of inner-city communities, distressed schools and long forgotten playgrounds. The recent protests in Baltimore, much like Albuquerque’s protests last year, may have been triggered by unjust police violence, but are much more deeply rooted in decades of neglecting our families and communities, especially communities of color. When Governor Martinez was asked recently about the possibility of a special session to approve the financing of infrastructure projects, she said, “if it is, it’s got to benefit the private sector.”  She made no mention of the needs of our families or communities, only the ‘private sector’.  That was the reason that the bill didn’t pass in the first place!  Lawmakers invested their capital outlay for projects like senior centers, tribal needs, and community colleges, much of what she stripped from the bill. The tax committees met nearly every day of the legislative session and every day they heard bills that would divert even more of our public tax dollars to the ‘private sector’. Nearly a dozen of those tax breaks made it into the final tax packages.

What are the most liberal and conservative towns in New Mexico? New data might surprise you.

New Mexico is nothing if not politically diverse.  The most recent elections saw us send unapologetic liberal Tom Udall back to the US Senate at the same time we sent solidly conservative Susana Martinez back to the Roundhouse. Weird things like that happen all over the country, and that prompted Business Insider to map out the most liberal and conservative towns in each state, based on data released  from Clarity Campaign Labs. So who gets the prizes in New Mexico?  Take a look:

Here’s a look at each of those towns:

El Rito, NM
El Rito, is an unincorporated community in Rio Arriba County, about 18 miles Northwest of Española.

Lobbyists and organizations spend half million dollars on pols this year

By Sandra Fish | New Mexico In Depth
Lobbyists and organizations feted New Mexico legislators and other officials with more than $519,000 worth of food, drink and gifts from Jan. 15 through the end of April. Of the 600 lobbyists registered with the Secretary of State’s office to represent more than 750 clients, only 116 spent money during the session. Those individual lobbyists spent $334,419 on events such as the 100th Bill Party, electric toothbrushes, teddy bears, gift certificates and, in one instance, ammunition for concealed carry training. And 14 companies spent $184,685.

The real “mommy wars” are playing out in the workplace | by Danila Crespin Zidovsky

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]DANILA CRESPIN ZIDOVSKY is is the Fund Development and Community Relations Officer at New Mexico Voices for Children and a new mother.[/box]

Take a glance at any contemporary parenting blog, website or social media group and you’ll see the “mommy wars” playing out. The battles range from helicopter parenting versus free-range kids to sling versus stroller, and cloth versus disposable diaper. While the battles (and the guilt that comes with them) are real, they are keeping our attention from the real mommy wars: the abysmal lack of national policies to protect new mothers in the workplace. Almost three-quarters of mothers are in the labor force and they are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of U.S. households. Still, the U.S. is one of the few nations on the globe that does not ensure that new moms have paid maternity leave.

More regulation will slow Internet growth and speeds in New Mexico | by Gov. Jerry Apodaca

[box]Jerry Apodaca is a former Governor of New Mexico.[/box]

The open spaces of New Mexico are integral to our state’s identity. We love our rural vistas, our deserts and forests, the peace and quiet. But let’s face it – it’s not easy to bring services such as high-speed Internet to rural areas of the state. We are fortunate that technological advances in wired, wireless and even satellite delivery are overcoming the issue of stringing coax, copper and fiber to every home and business in New Mexico.  

In fact, also 99 percent of New Mexicans have access to wireless broadband coverage, according to