Friday, February 13, 2015

The Juarez Economy In NM, R's Get Cute On Right-To-Work, Driver's Licenses Forever, APD And Double Dipping And The Las Cruces Recall 

Not only are large swaths of New Mexico starting to resemble an upscale Juarez--payday loan stores on every corner and a Wal-Mart jobs economy--but we continue to get smaller. That's not exactly breaking news to readers of this blog, but for the record here are the stats:

The director of the University of New Mexico Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Jeffrey Mitchell, recently said the state is not only seeing slow employment and wage growth, but that it's losing population, too. New Mexico had a net loss of more than 2,500 people in 2014, the first time that has happened in decades, he said.

And what do you think the reaction is from the Governor and  Legislature? "Hey, Joe, we only lost 2,500!"


Here's the GOP's not so surprising strategy to try to get a right-to-work law enacted:

House Majority Leader Nate Gentry is expected to introduce a bill to the House Judiciary Committee today that would combine two hotly-contested measures—right-to-work and a statewide minimum wage increase—into one bill.

But the bill only proposes a statewide minimum of $8 an hour, up from $7.50. Residents of ABQ, Santa Fe and Las Cruces already have a much higher minimum than that so this strategy does not put much heat on the many Dems from those areas. If the GOP wants to play games, maybe the Dems should turn around and attach a right-to-work bill to a ban on abortion after the first three months. Then watch the ants scramble.


Thursday night the state House passed yet again a ban on driver's licenses for undocumented workers. We've been at this since Martinez took over in 2011. Does the Senate finally carve out a compromise? Majority Leader Sanchez might want to but Martinez has been so nasty to him you can hardly blame Sanchez if he works to stiff-arm her again.


Reader Hank Rosoff questions the wisdom of Mayor Berry's proposal to allow retired APD officers to "double dip" by being allowed to collect their pensions while rejoining APD:

If you are trying to change the culture of APD, why would you support measures that pay the existing senior workforce to stay around longer? They ARE the culture of APD. Bonuses to forgo retirement and double dipping to come back don't make any sense. Put some money into fresh recruits and revised training and more cadet classes.

The Berry proposal is getting a tepid response at the Legislature which isn't exactly filled with big fans of of the big city of ABQ. Retired APD Seargent Dan Klein takes note:

Republicans voted in the majority in 2010 to repeal double dipping, what will they do now? The Republicans are the party of fiscal conservatism and double dipping is harmful to the state's pension fund, so do they follow their creed or put the entire state on the hook for Albuquerque’s problems?


Reader Larry Gioanni writes of the bill passed by the state House this week that would hold back third graders who are not reading up to standard:

While I understand the stigma of grade retention I also see the problems created for teachers in the next higher grade when she or he is confronted with an even wider spectrum of learning abilities to try and teach to. This can only further dilute the teachers' effectiveness in educating our children and it gets ever more difficult for the student to catch up. Wouldn't it be more effective to group all those not ready for the next grade level into a separate class where their particular problems could be addressed without effecting the general student population? They could be promoted to the "needs help" (NH) level, another aspect of "Special ed". Please see Dr. Corso's essay on this and my comment. What do you and your readers think about this?


Reader Ronald Cauthon writes from Las Cruces:

For more than a year our city has been rocked by dissension over the minimum wage increase petition and its subsequent approval by the Las Cruces city council. There are two organizations formed that are very "Karl Rove-like" in the way they conduct themselves: New Mexicans for a Better Tomorrow and the Southern New Mexico Business Coalition. The manner in which these groups invented a recall effort against three city councilors has been the most divisive political campaign residents have ever witnessed. 

 For the northern half of the state, there is news in the situation regarding the recall and the business owners who have funded the recall. The effort of this small group will continue. Their stated goal is to select, train and elect their own city and county candidates, candidates that will be "business-friendly." None of that sounds divisive, right? But the slander against the councilors, those who support their councilors and any progressive voice in the community is excessive. Karl Rove tactics, indeed, innuendo, straight-up lies, and leading 'questions' mark their tactics. Sometimes there is political "news" in the southern half.

We welcome your comments, thoughts or your plaintive cries.

Thanks for stopping by this week

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