« November 2009 | Main

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

12/9: Sandy Jones for State Land Commissioner Kickoff in Santa Fe

From Sandy Jones for State Land Commissioner:

For State Land Commissioner
Invites you to the Campaign Office for our Grand Opening
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
5:30 – 7:30 PM
1322 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Inside the Grubisic Law Office
Just blocks from the New Mexico State Capitol
Click for flyer (pdf)

Please RSVP to Cristal Jones at 505-819-7127 or at Cristal@JonesForLandCommissioner.com - all donations appreciated!

The public is invited to attend the reception and take the opportunity to meet Jones and talk about their issues and concern with the state land office.

Sandy Jones announced his candidacy for State Land Commissioner in September. Jones is currently Chairman of the Public Regulations Commission. Before being elected to the PRC in 2006, he operated a construction business for over 25 years. He lives in Sierra County on a small farm with his wife Ginni. Jones said his love for the land and his hopes for the future of our children have led him to run for this office.

Last week the Jones campaign brought in FDR, a well-known political consultant firm. FDR Services is based in Seattle, Washington. The 2010 campaign season will mark the 28th anniversary with over five hundred campaigns it has managed in over thirty-two states. FDR has also represented parliamentary and presidential campaigns in seven countries including Spain, Japan and Poland.

In New Mexico, FDR has represented Governor Bruce King, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, State Senator Peter Wirth and over a dozen other campaigns. FDR is best known for it's strategic planning and it's creative advertising which has won numerous prestigious awards including "Telly" and "Polly" awards for excellence in advertising.

For questions about the grand opening you can call the headquarters at 505-983-2870.

December 8, 2009 at 09:23 PM in 2010 NM Land Commissioner Race, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

29 Years After Lennon's Death, the Eternal Wars Continue

Just spend 10 minutes and watch it: An eye for an eye will make us all blind. Feel what we are doing on this planet. Feel.

December 8, 1980. The date is etched into many of our memories. John Winston Ono Lennon gunned down in front of the Dakota Apartments where he and Yoko and Sean lived, at age 40. I've written about Lennon and what he means to me and so many others a bunch of times. On this 29th anniversary of his death, I hope you'll contemplate his message of peace and love, even in the face of the upcoming escalation of the Afghanistan occupation and the continuing violence in Iraq.

It doesn't have to be this way. I don't care what the generals and experts and politicians say. War equals failure, plain and simple. There are other much more powerful and just ways to counteract violence and heal the divisions within and without that create it. But it takes creativity, genuine courage and and a wisdom that comes from studying peace, not war.

As you think about Lennon and his legacy, you might want to check out some of my previous posts on this sad anniversary and this extraordinary human here, here and here.

December 8, 2009 at 02:29 PM in Current Affairs, Peace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Unintended Consequences: NAFTA and a Borderland in Crisis by Stephen Jones

This is a post by contributing writer, Stephen Jones, who is a progressive political activist and a resident of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Late last summer we in New Mexico and West Texas opened our respective local newspapers and found the lurid headline, ‘THREE HEADS FOUND IN COOLER IN JAUREZ.’ This gang-related triple murder just across our southern border is typical of the tragic headlines that greet us almost weekly in New Mexico and elsewhere in the Southwest. The occasional trickle of traffic now moving across the once crowded, friendly and bustling border crossings that once bound nations and families together over la frontera at El Paso, Texas and Columbus, New Mexico is testament to a world gone suddenly, tragically and frighteningly wrong.

We are all familiar with the demagogic appeals of the right to its angry racist base of support in regard to the immigration into the United States of both documented and undocumented Mexican laborers, and the related attacks by racists on Mexican culture and character in the southwest over the violence in Juarez and elsewhere in the borderlands. What we rarely hear is thoughtful criticism of the provisions and implementation of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, that is largely responsible for these unintended consequences.

NAFTA represents one of the keystone economic agreements of the “neoliberal” economic philosophy outlined by “Austrian School” economists Friedrich von Hayak and neo-conservative Milton Friedman of the University of Chicago, and implemented politically by Ronald Reagan and his successors over the past thirty years in the United States. That “giant sucking sound” we heard, the “Austrian school” neo-cons assured us was all in our imaginations. Rather the “comparative advantage” of the United States, the concept of relative economic, marketing and technical strength of one party over its partner would help lead to a thriving American workplace.

American manufacturing hasn’t exactly thrived. Neither has American marketing or any other economic indicator under NAFTA. Furthermore, the immediate consequence of the passage of NAFTA under the Clinton Administration, coupled with the failure of Democrats to address health care reform, was that Democrats stayed home from the polls in 1994. NAFTA also led to a deepening political stratification and the ascendance of right-wing extremism at home.

If anything, NAFTA has been even more devastating to Mexico. Peter Costinini, reporter for MSNBC, writes, "In the Mexican countryside, NAFTA has accelerated the exodus of campesinos (peasant farmers) to the cities and corporate farms of northern Mexico and the U.S. Overwhelmed by the influx of cheap, subsidized U.S. corn allowed by NAFTA, many of Mexico's 2.7 million corn farmers are leaving their lands.”

According to the Center for International Policy, U.S. subsidies and financing to Mexico under NAFTA have served to create distorted market conditions. Huge U.S. agricultural conglomerates like Monsanto and ConAgra have “forced open” the Mexican markets to American grains, notably corn. By undercutting and dumping cheap grain on the market, indigenous farmers, who have worked the land in Mexico for generations, have been driven out of business. As a result they have been driven off the land.

Furthermore, while American agri-business lobbies to retain, and continues to exploit Depression-era price supports, Mexico has been forced to accept International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic guidelines for “fairness.”

Mexico is the most rapidly urbanizing nation in the world. In ten years the percentage of population working in agriculture has dropped from over 40% to 30% of Mexico’s demographic profile. As a result, Mexico’s rural population has been forced to seek work in the cities, where they take up residence in substandard housing, with poor health and sanitation conditions. Communities are split apart, and families and traditions trampled in the process. As in the United States, dislocation and alienation lead to desperation. This creates a ready-made recruiting ground for the drug gangs of Mexico.

Facing starvation, others flee across the border into the United States. Those who make it past the natural dangers of the desert crossing face an underground “illegal” status, the seething hatreds of right-wing demagogues and barriers of language and culture to overcome. This results in more alienation, and often, gang membership on this side of the border, strengthening the international drug trade even further.

The hideous East Berlin-like “fence” that separates Juarez from El Paso and Sunland Park, New Mexico is no barrier to commerce. Mexican drug cartels know how to dump their products on American streets just as well as ConAgra knows how to dump its corn on Mexico’s. Addiction and its related physical diseases resulting from the drug trade put additional strain on the American health care system; yet another unintended consequence of NAFTA.

This is not to say that Americans should entirely abandon free trade. Comparative advantage is a legitimate economic concept, not just an empty phrase tossed around by the so-called “economists” of the “Austrian School.” Free trade also needs to be fair trade. The European Union is successfully integrating its economies while building in protections for labor, health, human rights and the environment. Applicant states are given time and assistance to ramp up to Western European standards. Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the Southeast Asia are working toward free trade modeled on the European and not the American model. We should too.

We need to begin to address the issues at the root of the borderland crisis, and we need to do it now. If we don’t, we may soon find that the El Paso “fence” is about as effective at holding back gang violence as it is at holding back the free-flow of American corn or Mexican drugs.

To read more posts by contributing writer Stephen Jones, visit our archive.

December 8, 2009 at 01:06 PM in Agriculture, Border Issues, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Hispanic Issues, Immigration, Trade | Permalink | Comments (4)

Rep. Martin Heinrich Will Deliver Your Holiday Card(s) to Vets & Troops


Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) announced his “Holiday Cards for Our Troops” program in a statement released by his office. Congressman Heinrich is collecting cards for service members recovering from injuries and stationed away from their families this holiday season. He will then hand-deliver the cards to patients at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque. Rep. Heinrich is also partnering with United Service Organizations (USO) to send holiday cards to troops stationed overseas. Cards collected by Rep. Heinrich will be included in troop-support packages and sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The holiday season can be a difficult time of year for the men and women who serve our country,” said Rep. Heinrich. “Being away from friends, family and the comfort of tradition during the holidays is an incredible sacrifice. Having spent time with our service members, I know how much it means to them to hear from folks at home. Thoughtful words of encouragement and support from our community can make a huge difference in boosting the morale of our brave men and women who serve our country with honor.”

To participate in the program, make or purchase a holiday card, write a message of thanks inside to a service member, and deliver or mail the card to Rep. Heinrich’s office in downtown Albuquerque or his new office in the South Valley by Saturday, December 12, 2009. Please follow these guidelines:

  • Address each card to a “Brave Service Member.”
  • Individual envelopes are not necessary.
  • If the cards are in envelopes please leave them unsealed.
  • All cards must be signed.
  • Please do not include your personal contact information (email, address, phone, etc.) or inserts (photos, gift cards, phone cards etc.).

Below are the addresses of Rep. Heinrich’s district offices:

Downtown Albuquerque Office: U.S Representative Martin Heinrich | 20 First Plaza NW Suite 603 | Albuquerque, NM 87102

South Valley Office: U.S Representative Martin Heinrich | 3211 Coors Blvd SW, Suite B3 | Albuquerque, NM 87121

For the full details of the program and guidelines, visit Rep. Heinrich’s Web site:

December 8, 2009 at 12:15 PM in Afghanistan, Holidays, Iraq War, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01), Veterans | Permalink | Comments (3)

Follow Blog from Copenhagen of Local Ecology Minister Who Made National News on Climate Change

S.-Joan-Brown Sister Joan Brown, a local resident who is part of a Franciscan delegation to the climate change talks in Copenhagen, was featured in USA Today’s cover story on Monday, December 7. The lengthy article, which included a front-page color photo of Sister Joan at a prayer vigil that took place last week at the Cathedral Church of St. John (Episcopal) in downtown Albuquerque, described the increasing conviction among people of faith that global warming is an urgent moral and spiritual issue, and portrayed the growing influence of the faith community on the debate over climate change.

Many people can't afford to make this trip," says Brown, who is using frequent flier miles and staying with a Danish family to cut costs. "But all our voices are needed, and this is one small way I can speak to the greatest moral and spiritual issue of our time."

... "I'm going to speak the truth to the delegates there, and try to educate people back here," she says. "It's our obligation for posterity to leave a world that exudes the beauty of the Creator for future generations."

... Other religious leaders in Copenhagen will include Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion; Richard Cizik, a former vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Jim Ball, head of the Evangelical Environmental Network; South African cleric and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu; and representatives from the National Council of Churches (NCC), which encompasses more than 100,000 Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical and other congregations with 45 million members across the USA.

Sister Joan, who works in ecology ministries for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe, is also Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light (NMIPL), an alliance of one hundred faith communities throughout the state committed to creation care, energy efficiency/conservation and renewable energy.

Her daily blog from Copenhagen can be accessed through the NMIPL website, www.nm-ipl.org/.

December 8, 2009 at 10:55 AM in Climate, Energy, Environment, Faith Community | Permalink | Comments (0)

Today: Las Cruces Vigil to Urge Senators Bingaman & Udall to Support Public Option

  • WHAT: Health Care Vigil, Good Samaritan Auditorium and walk to South Telshor (Las Cruces)
  • WHO: Groups members of MoveOn, League of Women Voters, Health Securities for New Mexicans, LULAC, AFSME, College Democrats and Organizing for America, NEA, AARP and others
  • WHERE: Good Samaritan Auditorium, 3011 Buena Vida Circle, Las Cruces
  • WHEN: Tues., December, 8th, Press Conference at 4 PM prior to speakers at 4:30 PM

From MoveOn: On Tuesday, December 8th, local residents will hold a vigil starting at Good Samaritan Auditorium at 4:30 PM to urge Senators Bingaman and Udall and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to do everything in their power to pass health care reform with a real public option. At the vigil, residents will highlight the disastrous economic costs of delaying or blocking health care reform and draw attention to the thousands of Americans who have to file bankruptcy in these hard economic times because of spiraling medical costs.

Vigil participants will highlight the number of Americans who are being forced into debt by medical costs, the leading cause of bankruptcy in America.

Health care reform with a public option would help cut costs and expand access to affordable, quality health care to millions of Americans. While over 70% of Americans and 86% of Democrats support the choice of a public option in health care reform, Big Insurance and HMO interests are spending nearly $5 million per week to defeat health care reform, with a special focus on killing the public option.

“We’re here today to urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as well as Senators Bingman and Udall, to stand with New Mexico families by doing everything in their power to pass health care reform that provides the choice of a real public option. With 2,547 Americans going bankrupt from medical costs everyday, we can’t allow a few Senators to derail what the majority of Americans want and need,” said Maury Castro of Health Securities for New Mexicans. “Having the choice of a public option will help reduce costs and expand access to health care for millions of Americans and we need Majority Leader Reid to use every tool at his disposal to get it done.”

December 8, 2009 at 10:10 AM in Healthcare, Obama Health Care Reform, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Tom Udall | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Saturday 12/12: Campaign Office Grand Opening for Joe Campos for Lt. Governor

Joe Campos discusses two of his top issues, renewable energy and green jobs, at the DFA-DFNM Meetup on 12.3.09

From Joe Campos for Lt. Governor:

Joe Campos
Candidate for Lt. Governor
Invites you to the Campaign Office for our
Grand Opening!
Saturday December 12, 2009
1:00 – 4:00 PM
1014 Central Ave (10th and Central)
Albuquerque, NM
Click for FLYER (pdf) and Pass It On

Talk to Joe and hear how he is going to Energize New Mexico!

Please RSVP to Michelle Mares at 505-916-6463 or joecampos@live.com - all donations appreciated.

575-472-jOSE (5673) | 1050 S. 10th St. Santa Rosa, NM 88435| joecampos@live.com | www.joecampos.org | Follow Joe Campos on Facebook and Twitter.

December 7, 2009 at 04:57 PM in 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Events, Joe Campos | Permalink | Comments (3)

Gov. Bill Richardson Changes Furlough Day in Response to State Employees

Governor Bill Richardson, responding to concerns from many state employees, agreed to shift one of the upcoming furlough days in order to avoid impacting three consecutive paychecks.

“I understand these furlough days are difficult on our employees and their families,” Governor Richardson said in a press release today. “I agree with the many employees who suggested spreading out the impact of the furloughs.”

Richardson's office says that the Governor’s Furlough Plan will save another $8.1 million – on top of the $8.3 million that will be saved by the elimination of several state exempt positions.

The revised furlough plan, which will be presented to the State Personnel Board on Dec. 16 for its approval, includes the following five furlough days, or alternative dates for about 17,000 state employees:

  • Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009
  • Friday, Jan. 15, 2010
  • Friday, March 5, 2010
  • Friday, April 2, 2010
  • Friday, May 28, 2010

The revised furlough plan, which was approved by the Governor’s Chief of Staff, makes limited exceptions for about 4,100 employees based on public safety, health and welfare.

Most of the exceptions are for direct patient care in hospitals and health facilities; custody staff in state prisons; State Police patrolmen and dispatchers; and security staff in Juvenile Justice facilities.

In addition to the exceptions, the revised furlough plan allows for alternative furlough dates in several areas of state government. Employees working on alternative furlough dates will still be required to take five furlough days off.

For example, State Parks employees will be allowed to take three of their furlough days on different days in March, April in May so all 34 State Parks can remain open during popular holiday weekends in the Spring.

Also several highway maintenance workers will also work on alternative schedules to ensure snow-removal crews are fully prepared to deal with winter storms.

Employees in agencies that are receiving a limited exception or an alternative prescribed schedule for furlough days will be notified by their agency head.

December 7, 2009 at 03:29 PM in Economy, Populism, Gov. Bill Richardson, Government | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why is NM-02 Candidate Steve Pearce Running for Job He Says Provides No Voice?

GOP's Steve Pearce: Running for seat he sees as powerless

Get a load of this one. The GOP candidate for Congress in NM-02 is running for a job he has dismissed publicly as a position with no clout. After being overwhelmed by now Senator Tom Udall in the 2008 election, Steve Pearce is trying to win back his seat in the U.S. House -- even though he suggests it's not worth a damn.

Saturday, Pearce said the following to a group in Alamogordo, "[I] ran for the Senate seat because it's where small states, such as New Mexico, have power. In the House, we have three seats. There are more than 400 seats in the House. California has more than 50, Texas more than 30 and New York more than 30. Our voice is nothing."

Scott Forrester, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, issued the following statement in response to Pearce's remarks:

“Why is Steve Pearce running for an office he believes has no voice? The constituents of New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district deserve someone who is committed to fighting for their values and interests. They don't need an opportunistic, do-nothing politician who is using the office as a political placeholder while he waits for the right time to run for the U.S. Senate.

“In six years, Pearce's accomplishments on issues which matter to New Mexicans -- like supporting working families and our veterans -- were scarce. Perhaps it is because he always treated this Congressional seat as a stepping stone instead of it as a platform to fight for the people of southern New Mexico.

"Southern New Mexicans don't need someone who believes their district has no voice in Congress. We need someone who puts his constituents first, someone who fights for our values, fights for southern New Mexico jobs, believes in funding for veterans and that someone is Congressman Harry Teague. Harry has delivered on the issues that matter and he won't abandon his district or his constituents for a convenient political opportunity.

"Steve Pearce didn't use his voice in Congress to help the people of southern New Mexico when he had one, why should they think another term in the House would be any different?

"New Mexico deserves better than that -- New Mexico deserves Harry Teague."

Pearce also made it clear he still has his eye on running for the Senate -- apparently after he gets another desultory two years in the House if he should win in 2010:

Pearce said he continues his belief for a conservative New Mexican voice in the Senate.

... "I am running for the next two-year term. As far as guarantees into the future, we take it two years at a time."

Just what New Mexico's 2nd district needs -- a placeholder who sees the job as a waste of time while he's waiting for an opportunity to run again for the Senate. That should go down well in a district -- like most others -- that's in need of strong support on so many fronts. Am I the only one who thinks Pearce is self-serving to the max in seeking another two years to bide his time while he plans his political future?

December 7, 2009 at 02:44 PM in NM-02 Congressional Race 2010, Republican Party, Steve Pearce | Permalink | Comments (2)

Governor Bill Richardson Signs Climate Change Executive Order

Governor Bill Richardson signed an executive order today that directs new emission reduction strategies to address climate change in New Mexico. Click for a copy of the order (pdf).

Today’s order builds on actions taken pursuant to Executive Order 2006-069 “New Mexico Climate Change Action” (pdf), in which the Governor directed state agencies to follow many of the bold recommendations of the Climate Change Advisory Group. The Group produced a plan in December 2006 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 267 million metric tons and create a projected $2 billion net economic savings for New Mexico’s economy.

“Climate change is the most critical environmental issue of our time,” Governor Bill Richardson said in a statement released by his office. “States will always have an important role to play in climate change policy, and New Mexico continues to act – not just talk – as Congress debates cap-and-trade legislation and the international community meets in Copenhagen to discuss global emission reductions.”

“This order will help bring the state to a new level in its efforts to advance climate change initiatives,” said New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry. “With Governor Richardson’s leadership, New Mexico continues to lead other states on those pressing issues. Our state will have a voice in the discussions in Copenhagen with representation by NMED’s Environmental Protection Division Director Jim Norton.”

The Governor’s executive order maintains a state government implementation team tasked with ensuring policies from the order are carried out. Those policies include:

  • Continuing to participate in the Western Climate Initiative to develop a regional greenhouse gas emission reduction program that addresses the unique characteristics of New Mexico;
  • Working with the State’s electrical utilities and stakeholders to develop recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired power plants within the State’s jurisdiction;
  • Developing recommendations for establishing an emission performance standard for new fossil-fueled generating facilities and new long-term power purchase agreements;
  • Developing recommendations for offset protocols that are consistent with the Western Climate Initiative;
  • Evaluating mechanisms for quantifying and awarding greenhouse gas emission allowances for emission reductions that occur before mandatory State or Federal cap-and-trade programs require such reductions;
  • Convening a Resilience Advisory Group to develop a plan for adapting to climate changes; and
  • Strengthening state government efforts to reduce emissions associated with energy use and transportation in state government operations.

The effort will be overseen by the state’s Clean Energy Development Council, which includes representatives from the state agencies of the Environment Department, Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department, the New Mexico Department of Transportation, Regulations and Licensing Department, Department of Finance and Administration, Department of Taxation and Revenue, the General Services Department, Department of Agriculture, Office of the State Engineer and Office of the Governor. The team will also consult with representatives from the Public Regulation Commission.

In spring 2005, Governor Richardson issued an executive order establishing greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for New Mexico and called for the creation of the advisory group to meet those goals. The state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals were targeted to meet year 2000 levels by 2012, 10 percent below 2000 levels by 2020 and 75 percent below 2000 levels by 2050. The Climate Change Advisory Group’s report is available at www.nmclimatechange.us/.

The Governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington signed a Memorandum of Understanding in February 2007 establishing the Western Climate Initiative in order to address climate change in a regionally coordinated effort. Since that date, six other States and Canadian provinces have joined the Initiative. More information is available at www.westernclimateinitiative.org.

December 7, 2009 at 01:35 PM in Climate, Energy, Environment, Gov. Bill Richardson | Permalink | Comments (0)

Next »