Supporters of local control defend Cruces school board against PED overreach

Tuesday night the Las Cruces Public Schools board of directors met for work and ProgressNow NM was there. It was the first meeting since Public Education Department Secretary Hanna Skandera sent a scathing letter threatening a state takeover of the board last week. Tuesday’s meeting was full of supporters of the LCPS board, many wearing stickers that said, “I support local control.”

That’s feeling of local teachers, administers, parents and even students who feel that the PED secretary’s heavy-handed, top-down policies take needed control away from local schools. At points the audience applauded comments from the board and fellow attendees in calling PED’s accusations baseless and an intrusion into local matters. From the Las Cruces Sun-News:

The board room at the LCPS Administration Building was nearly full Tuesday, filled mostly with district employees, union representatives and members of the community who had shown up to express their support for the beleaguered board.

Skandera threatens Las Cruces School Board, again

Hanna Skandera is upset. She sent a lengthy letter to the Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Directors yesterday in which she voiced concerns over how the board conducted some of their meetings last year and certain actions that may have been “in direct defiance” of directives issued from the PED. While LCPS certainly has a long history of problems complying with the state’s open meetings act, the letter comes off as personal and defensive. Also, the first charge over the board directing Superintendent Stan Rounds to ignore directives is off base and was a matter of much controversy last year. Last year, Skandera bullied LCPS into submission and forced the board to rescind their decision that protected teachers’ sick days from being included in end-of-year evaluations.

Anti-Minimum Wage Ideologues Lose Another Battle in Las Cruces


In yet another example of how out-of-touch New Mexico conservatives are with prevailing views about economic fairness, anti-minimum wage ideologues in Las Cruces have failed (yet again) in their attempt to recall a city councilor. The Las-Cruces Sun News reports that the conservative PAC “New Mexicans for a Better Tomorrow” failed to gather enough signatures to recall City Councilor Olga Pedroza. This comes a week after the group also failed to gather enough signatures to recall City Councilor Gill Sorg. From the article:
The Las Cruces city clerk’s office announced Thursday that supporters of a recall attempt didn’t get enough valid signatures to trigger an election against City Councilor Olga Pedroza of District 3. …

Las Cruces Sun-News one of many papers failing to identify oil money funding op-ed columnist

From our friends at Media Matters:

Newspapers Across Country Fail To Identify Oil Money Behind Op-Ed Columnist


Numerous local newspapers failed to identify the fossil fuel funding behind Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, while allowing him to publish op-eds across the country misleadingly attacking a potential tax credit for wind power, while ignoring subsidies for the oil and gas industries.  
President Of Fossil Fuel Funded Group Publishes Op-Eds Across Country Without Disclosure
75 Percent Of Newspapers Surveyed Did Not Identify Funding Behind Thomas Pyle. At least 20 papers across the country published an op-ed by Thomas Pyle, president of the fossil fuel-funded American Energy Alliance, attacking wind power, and a currently expired tax credit for wind power. Of the 20 papers that ran the op-ed and Media Matters was able to access, only 5 papers — The Des Moines Register, Harrisburg Patriot-News, Desert Sun, Providence Journal, and Altoona Herald — disclosed Pyle’s ties to either the Koch brothers or fossil fuel companies. The other 15 outlets — The Deseret Morning News, Casper Star Tribune, Corpus Christie Caller-Times, Roanoke Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, OC Register, Tampa Tribune, Mobile Press-Register, Huntsville Times, Evansville Courier & Press, Arizona Republic, NH Union Leader, Wichita Eagle and the Las Cruces Sun-News — failed to disclose any ties to corporate backing and simply labeled him as the president of the American Energy Alliance or pulled a description from the American Energy Alliance’s “About” page:

[The Des Moines Register, 1/22/14; The Harrisburg Patriot-News, 1/24/14;The Desert Sun, 2/22/14;The Providence Journal, 2/26/14; The Altoona Herald, 1/22/14, Deseret Morning News,1/31/14; Casper Star Tribune,2/2/14; Corpus Christie Caller-Times, 2/3/14; Roanoke Times, 2/4/14; Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/6/14; South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 2/6/14; OC Register,2/7/14; Tampa Tribune, 2/7/14; Mobile Press-Register, 2/5/14; Huntsville Times, 2/5/14; Evansville Courier & Press, 2/8/14; Arizona Republic, 2/10/14; NH Union Leader, 2/18/14; Wichita Eagle,2/21/14; Las Cruces Sun-News, 2/25/14]
Thomas Pyle’s Op-Eds Misleadingly Attack Wind Energy
Pyle Says Expired Wind Tax Credit Is “Unfair,” Ignores Fossil Fuel Subsidies. Pyle’s op-eds criticized those who are calling for Congress to renew the recently expired federal wind production tax credit, saying it is a “case study of an unfair federal handout.” This tax credit for wind is “the main policy tool in the deployment of U.S. wind power,” according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, yet policymakers have frequently allowed it to expire (introducing uncertainty into the market). Meanwhile, permanent oil subsidies have not been eliminated, as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office explained:
Tax preferences for energy were first established in 1916, and until 2005 they were primarily intended to stimulate domestic production of oil and natural gas.