Too Much At Stake To Not Vote

There’s plenty of reasons people use to excuse themselves from not voting. But in case you need a reminder of why every vote, and especially your vote is important, we simply need to look at our state’s national rankings on everything from education to healthcare. That’s right, we are last in everything! In fact, New Mexico was recently ranked 51st in the nation in terms of our level of political engagement.   

A highly engaged electorate that participates in the democratic process and holds our elected officials accountable is critical to having a well-functioning democracy.

An updated Renewable Portfolio Standard is key to moving Farmington, and New Mexico, forward

This is the third in a series focusing on the long-term economic and social issues facing Farmington, New Mexico, and surrounding areas. As a region that has rich and diverse opportunities but generally relies on extractive industries economically, the whole area is facing uncertainty as the coal-burning San Juan Coal Generating Station closes its doors and oil jobs are moving to the southeast part of the state to capitalize on the Permian boom happening right now. In today’s piece, we’ll be looking at complementary legislation that needs to be implemented in the state to ensure areas like Farmington can continue to thrive well into the future. Last week we looked specifically at how securitization could help PNM recoup its costs as it transitions from coal-generated power to renewable sources, while also helping the Four Corners area transition to a new and more diverse economy. The second part of that prospect though is ensuring that utilities like PNM actually DO get their power from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by legislating what is known as a “Renewable Portfolio Standard,” which spells out exactly how much energy must be derived from renewable sources and by when. A quick aside here on language for this piece: Renewable energy in the broad sense is energy created from clean sources like solar or wind as opposed to energy from fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, or oil.

The elephant in the room: Pat Rogers and the democrats who back him

Yesterday, we introduced you to Pat Rogers, the itinerant Republican lawyer who seems committed to stopping progress at every turn in and around Albuquerque. We started our series with a synopsis of Rogers’ peculiar schemes to kill ABQ Democracy Dollars at the Bernalillo County Commision. But the bigger story is that just about every time community organizers in Albuquerque fight to return some agency to the people over corporate interests, or to boost the well-being of workers over big business profits, Pat Rogers is on hand like the grim reaper. Only a lot more smug. But his ability to swing citizen initiatives isn’t done in a vacuum. The voting members of the county commission and city council are culpable, even some Democrats.

Pearce hypocrisy: Toll roads good, methane controls bad

This week, Rep. Steve Pearce proposed toll roads as the answer to the massive amounts of traffic on Southeastern New Mexico highways due to the boom in oil production and the corresponding increase in oil traffic. The increased congestion along highway 285 outside of Lovington has given it the dubious nickname “highway of death.” The idea is that new and improved roads be paid for by the oil and gas companies who so heavily utilize the roads. 
But Congressman Pearce is fighting tooth and nail to overturn methane waste rules that ask these some companies to pay for the millions of tons of New Mexico’s natural gas they waste every year – rules that would mean millions in additional state revenue for things like these very roads. everyone would have to pay the tolls. 
Residents in New Mexico’s oil patch already pay a high price because of where they live and the associated oil and gas industry impacts. Increased pollution leading to higher rates of asthma and other respiratory issues and the associated healthcare costs that accompany that.

As Farmington goes, so goes New Mexico: A look at the changing landscape of our state

This is the first in a series focusing on the long-term economic and social issues facing Farmington New Mexico and surrounding areas. As a region that has rich and diverse opportunities but generally relies on extractive industries economically, the whole area is facing uncertainty as the coal-burning San Juan Coal Generating Station closes its doors and oil jobs are moving to the southeast part of the state to capitalize on the Permian boom happening right now. Farmington has always been a crossroads of sorts, situated uniquely at the confluence of three rivers and in modern times, highways and railroads. But as we move into the third decade of the twenty-first century, Farmington and other cities in the tri-county area of northwest New Mexico will be facing major changes as coal is phased out. No matter what the Trump administration says, or any campaign stumps from politicians like Steve Pearce promise, coal has seen its heyday and it’s never going to be a reliable commodity to build an industry on again.

“Preemption” – Progressive wins in New Mexico cities may be at risk at the state level

The Las Cruces City Council seated its new and re-elected members today and, in a flourish of newly proposed business, showed what a dedicated panel of progressive leaders can accomplish when working together. In their first session, the newly seated council saw returning Progressive Champion Gill Sorg be elected unanimously as the new Mayor pro-tem, signaling a shift away from registered Independent Greg Smith who’s held the post for the last two years. Sorg also went on to introduce proposals that the council take up a resolution in support of the Legislature legalizing recreational cannabis as well as a measure to bolster support for immigrants living in Las Cruces. Major cities in New Mexico are “home rule cities” which allow citizens to directly shape their cities in important ways — the most prominent being the use of citizen-led ballot initiatives. This rule has been an extremely important tool for progressive voters to move New Mexico forward.

Martinez is 6th “least popular” gov in the country: What do the falling approval numbers actually mean?

This week, a national polling company released findings showing that Governor Susana Martinez, already the two-time recipient of “worst run state” award, is now also the 6th LEAST popular governor in the country. This after her approval rating has dropped a full ten points since the beginning of this year. As Martinez moves into the final year of her governorship, it’s really not hard to look back over the last seven years and find a litany of blunders, bad policy, and downright criminal behavior. Not to mention the infamous Pizza Party that brought worldwide attention, unfortunately, to Martinez and the state. But what is it about this year that has New Mexicans fully pulling their support from the two-term Republican even as her party has taken the highest seats in government?

[WATCH] Sandoval County commission takes first steps to enact Koch anti-union law; right-to-work fights move from Roundhouse to counties

We reported earlier this year about the Koch Brothers and Americans For Prosperity and their meddling in ALL levels of New Mexico politics.

An update to the current situation of their involvement in things they shouldn’t be involved in shows that Sandoval County is the current target for a Right-To-Work ordinance to be forced onto New Mexican families. 

Late last week, the Sandoval County Commission held a heavily attended meeting about imposing a county level Right-To-Work ordinance.  Thursday night’s meeting was filled with supporters from Sandoval County at large, including Representative Damon Ely who spoke in opposition to Right-To-Work, emphasizing the educational opportunities and fair wages that unions provide in a state in dire need of these things.