Editorial content. Content posted here may or may not reflect the opinions of the Beat. They reflect the opinions of the author.

Gov's Disdain for Democracy Nothing New

By Paul J. Gessing

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham recently gained national headlines for her public health order which essentially banned carrying a gun in Bernalillo County, the State's largest county by population. Her justification for this dramatic action was a recent shooting outside Isotopes Park, but residents of Bernalillo County and Albuquerque face and have faced these issues for years.

Each time a criminal uses a gun to kill or steal it is frustrating and sad event. Both the causes and solutions are complicated and controversial. No matter the crisis one person (including the Gov.) cannot simply suspend the rule of law and the US Constitution.

Many New Mexicans like me believe Albuquerque's crime problem is the result of weak leadership at multiple levels: The City fails to enforce the law, Department of Justice policies further hamstring the police, "catch and release" judges that voters (sadly) keep electing, and an unwillingness of the Gov. and Legislature to pass laws addressing our serious crime problems. And those are just the public policy failures, not the societal ones.

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Reduce Dropout Rate and Absenteeism by Making High School Relevant

By Mandi Torrez
  
To understand why students drop out of high school, researchers funded by the Gates Foundation hit upon a novel idea several years ago: why not just ask the dropouts?

So they did. Nearly half (47%) of the respondents reported dropping out because they were bored. Their top suggestion to help students stay: make school more engaging and enhance the connection between classroom and work. In other words, make the curriculum relevant.

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Time for All-of-the-Above Approach to Education

By Paul J. Gessing

New Mexico should be in crisis mode. Our K-12 education system is certainly facing a crisis. Problems abound: recent reports highlight serious school attendance issues, the NAEP (known as the “Nation’s Report Card” test places New Mexico 52nd across ALL age groups and subjects studied, the Kids Count report shows New Mexico kids are losing ground, and no one seems to have a solution. Education spending has increased markedly in recent years with nothing to show for it.

With New Mexico already suffering from poor educational outcomes the COVID pandemic and lockdowns instigated by Gov. Lujan Grisham truly put our children into a crisis. Getting our children out of last place and into something resembling a functional, successful system that prepares them for future success should be THE issue that everyone in New Mexico is concerned with.

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Protecting Consumer Benefits and the Economy: Congress Should Oppose the "Big Box Bill"

By Alonzo Baldonado, NM State Representative and small business owner

In an era marked by uncertainty and economic challenges, it is imperative that our lawmakers make informed decisions that prioritize the well-being of American citizens and the growth of our economy. The proposed "Big Box Bill," aiming to introduce credit card routing mandates akin to those enacted in 2011, raises substantial concerns about its potential repercussions.

While the bill may appear to target fairness and competition, a closer examination reveals that it could inadvertently favor large big box retailers at the expense of customers and the credit card benefits they cherish.

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Plan to Use Herbicides in the Forest

Last week the Gila Forest Service offered a meeting with the public concerning its plan to use herbicides as part of an hazardous fuel reduction program to protect private property from fire. The public has until Aug 21 to comment on this plan. You can go here to see the plan:
 https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=64491 
 To get to the info on herbicides - open "Scoping" folder at bottom of the page. Go to "Proposed action" pdf and on page 9 they describe the intended herbicide use. 

For a database of herbicide toxicity studies you can go to Beyondpesticides.com 

Here is the email for comments on the proposed forest service plan:
southwestern-gila-silver-city@usda.gov 

Some thoughts in response to their plan:

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Revised: Continue to be aware of scams

[Editor's Note: I just read an article about Amazon scams and have attached the link at the bottom, plus some additional information to help you detect scam emails.]

They come in all forms – phone calls, emails, text messages, social media.

If someone calls you telling you they are your grandchild or a long-lost uncle, for instance, make sure it is your grandchild or uncle before agreeing to send any money to anybody.

Hang up and call your grandchild or someone who knows if you have a long-lost uncle. If the grandchild answers, ask them if they are in trouble. Most likely they are not. If you call your cousin and he tells you there is no long-lost uncle, then you have saved a pile of money.

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Education Commentary from State Rep. Rod Montoya (Farmington)

In less than a month, kids across the state will return to their classrooms and face the most confusing environment that has ever existed in New Mexico public schools. This is due to recent changes in state law that were made by progressive legislators and Governor Lujan Grisham.

House Republicans have initiated an effort to notify parents of these changes which strip parents of their right to know what their kids are being taught, and what medical procedures and/or medications can be provided to children without their parents' knowledge. We are distributing a form that parents can use to inform school administrators of their demand to be involved in their children's education and healthcare decisions.

You need to know the Public Education Department and Department of Health are taking the position that you don't have the right to know what your children are learning or what healthcare choices they may be making - Specifically in regard to abortion, mental health, and gender-altering care.

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Cartoon/Trip Highlights Massive Policy Gap Between NM, Lone Star State

By Paul Gessing

A recent cartoon by John Trever highlights the vastly different approaches towards governance of New Mexico and Texas. The cartoon is of the state border circa 2030 as New Mexicans head to Texas for gas-powered vehicles while Texans visit NM for abortions and marijuana.

These are hardly the only differences between the two nowadays, as Texas has no income tax or job-killing gross receipts tax, it is a right-to-work state, and state spending per-person is less than half of what it is in New Mexico. Not coincidentally, Texas is also one of the fastest growing states in the nation while New Mexico's population is stagnant with young people leaving and being replaced by older people and retirees.

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