From Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation
(Albuquerque, NM) – When it comes to understanding and holding government accountable, the first requirement is transparency. The Rio Grande Foundation has been researching and analyzing government in New Mexico for a long time and has thus been among the State’s strongest supporters of transparency and open government.
It is awfully difficult to analyze government, let alone hold it accountable, without ready access to basic information like budgets and other statistics about the government entity in question.
This document looks at the Public Education Department (PED). As seen below from the screenshot taken of the “School Fact Sheet” page of PED’s website, basic information has not been updated for several years:
Sent by Terry Timme, Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society
When Aldo Leopold first came to the Southwest as a forest ranger in 1909, there were six mountainous areas in New Mexico and Arizona with more than half a million largely untracked acres at their core. A decade later all but one — the headwaters of the Gila River — had been fragmented by roads.
It was a moment of reckoning in our treatment of wild places, and Leopold seized the chance to advocate for preserving a last large remnant of our natural heritage in the Southwest. His vision helped keep the Gila headwaters primeval in perpetuity — the Gila Wilderness, the first such set aside in the world, remains off limits to roads, tourist developments and all things motorized and mechanized.
To the Editor:
Comments on the WNMU President’s Society
In the October Regent’s meeting the Regents set up 5 goals for fiscal year 2017-18 for President Shepard to a receive $50,000 bonus. Goal number 3 for President Shepard's bonus this fiscal year is: From FY 2018 non-state revenues increase Foundation's assets by $400,000 with a weighted value of at least $8,000.
Dear Silver Schools Community,
It deeply saddens me to watch our district face, what appears to be, unending attacks. Since my arrival in early January, there has been a constant barage of assaults against our district. Some deserved, most not. Prior to my arrival, my goal was, and continues to be, to make Silver Consolidated Schools as good as it was when I attended here in the 1970s. I could not have asked for a better education. Our children certainly deserve the same type of educational opportunity.
I’m not exactly sure how or when the district got to the point where it is, and to be honest, to me we should be past that by now. By continually concentrating on the past, we will miss opportunities of the future. I have tried to maintain my focus in moving our district forward without listening to all of the rumors and negative publicity in the community. But now, I believe it is time for me to speak on behalf of and defend the many and various accusations leveled against the district and its employees.
Why do so many people want to destroy what is good in our community?
Public input has become a weapon to dis-incentivize anyone from doing anything constructive or thinking about a new way to approach an issue or even working for a living. All these sometimes bring out the worst in people. Why?
No matter what a well-meaning person does, someone has to come in with a complaint about how much it costs, how much it might hurt the environment, how much it might inconvenience the speaker, how it doesn't fit the agenda of the speaker.
By Senator Jeff Steinborn
Last April, Governor Susana Martinez vetoed legislation that could have saved New Mexico millions of dollars a year in prescription drug costs for state agencies and its employees and retirees. Senate Bill 354, which passed the Legislature with strong bi-partisan support, would have required all New Mexico state agencies who purchase pharmaceutical drugs, to work together to aggressively seek a better deal on drug prices.
Citizens pay a huge cost for high drug prices. In fiscal year 2016 New Mexico state government spent over $670 million on prescription drugs, a staggering 54% increase in just two years. Senate Bill 354 would have leveraged the purchasing power of all of our state agencies who purchase prescription drug benefits including the Departments of Health, Human Services, Corrections, Medicaid, General Services Department, UNM, and other agencies, to aggressively pursue lower drug prices. Even though the legislation passed the Senate unanimously and the House with broad bi-partisan support, it was vetoed by Governor Martinez without explanation.
by Senator Pete Campos
As crime rates rise, one may surmise that criminals control our largest city. The last few elections have shown that the people of New Mexico are weary of anticipating their turn to be a victim. They are ready for criminal justice reform. Earlier this month, Albuquerque indicated by a wide margin in the mayoral race that the city is ready to embrace change and proven practices. Last November, voters statewide decided to amend the Constitution of New Mexico's section on bail to protect the indigent and detain dangerous criminals.
The Department of Public Safety reports that violent crime rates in New Mexico rose by nearly twice the national rate increase in 2016, vaulting us to the second-most-dangerous state. The Office of the Second Judicial District Attorney reports that, despite internal reform, the office struggles to persevere under increasing crime and court mandates. State and local agencies make notable efforts but continue to fall short of significant impacts. One approach that is certain to effect change is to increase street police presence; however, as an inevitable result, this further stresses the courts and district attorneys. Be mindful that, much like working on cars or computers, when upgrading one piece of the system, the other parts also need upgrades to operate properly.
SANTA FE, NM – In a completely unexpected and last-minute announcement, the New Mexico Environment Department announced on Tuesday that it was withdrawing its proposed definition of "discharge permit amendment" and related proposed changes from its petition with the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) seeking changes to ground and surface water quality regulations.
Amigos Bravos, and Gila Resources Information Project (GRIP), represented by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, opposed NMED's discharge amendment language and had submitted technical testimony in opposition to it.
The Grant County Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.
The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.
The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.
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