Rio Rancho Turns On Red-Light Cameras

From - RIO RANCHO, N.M. -- Red light cameras are on in Rio Rancho. The city activated the cameras Tuesday morning but drivers have a 30-day grace period before they would have to pay any fines. The new cameras were installed at two intersections in what authorities say are areas prone to dangerous driving conditions. More News New Mexico

Bill ending “social promotion” easily clears House

From Capitol Report New Mexico - A piece of legislation that Gov. Susana Martinez has called vital in her efforts to reform New Mexico public education — ending the practice of “social promotion” — cruised through the floor of the House of Representatives by a 62-5 vote Tuesday (March 1). The measure, which combines House Bills 100 and 21, would require third-graders to read at a proficient level before moving on the fourth grade. Now that it has passed the House, the measure moves on to the Senate, where the Governor is confident it will pass so that she can sign it into law. More News New Mexico

GAO: $100-200 Billion in Duplicative Annual Fed Spending

From -The GAO examined numerous federal agencies, including the departments of defense, agriculture and housing and urban development, and pointed to instances where different arms of the government should be coordinating or consolidating efforts to save taxpayers’ money.  The agency found 82 federal programs to improve teacher quality; 80 to help disadvantaged people with transportation; 47 for job training and employment; and 56 to help people understand finances, according to a draft of the report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal…There have been multiple efforts to cull the number of federal programs in recent years, but they often run into opposition from lawmakers in both parties who rush to defend individual spending provisions. In fact, GAO’s recommendations are often ignored or postponed by federal agencies and lawmakers, particularly when they could require difficult political votes…More News New Mexico

VA School Removes Ten Commandments From Lockers

From weasel zippers -The Giles County School Board voted Tuesday to removed framed copies of the Ten Commandments from its schools — for the second time in as many months. Now some students are speaking out against the decision.  A group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wisc., says it had threatened to sue the Giles County School Board on behalf of residents who wanted the Commandments removed after they were reposted. A lawyer from the group released the following statement to WVVA: “Along with the ACLU of Virginia, we are monitoring the situation to ensure that the school board does not attempt to skirt the law and put the Ten Commandments back into Giles County Schools. Any such attempts to violate the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent would constitute a losing legal battle for the school board.”  More News New Mexico

Haussamen's Take on Wirth-Rue Interview

NMPolitics - Sens. Peter Wirth and Sander Rue went on the radio program News New Mexico this morning to decry a rule their colleagues passed that allows committee chairs or ranking members to shut down filming and photographing of public meetings. Referring to an incident in which I was questioned by the chair and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee before I was allowed to photograph last week, Wirth said what is “particularly challenging” from a First Amendment standpoint is asking a person’s purpose in wanting to film or photograph – which happened to me. “I think it goes too far, and we’re going to have some First Amendment issues,” said Wirth, D-Santa Fe and a lawyer. “I just don’t see how asking individuals what the purpose of their filming is, how that’s going to pass scrutiny.” The N.M. Foundation for Open Government shares Wirth’s concerns. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Senators Rue and Wirth to Appear on NewsNM

Peter Wirth
Senator Peter Wirth, a Democrat, joined two lone Republicans, Senators Sander Rue and Mark Boitano in casting votes against an overwhelming majority of their colleagues in the Senate last week. The issue was the a measure declaring that committee proceedings in the Roundhouse can only be photographed or videotaped with the approval of the respective committees’ chairman and vice-chairman.
Sander Rue
What was not determined with the 35-3 vote (Senator Rod Adair expressed his opposition to the proposal but did not vote) was the criteria to be used by the great and powerful chairs and vice chairs to preclude photography and vidotaping of "public" proceedings. We will have both Senator Wirth and Senator Rue on News New Mexico this morning to explore this latest barrier to open government.


Harbison: It's Only a Plan, Not an Ordinance

Jim Harbison
For the last three weeks I have written about the environmental activist’s efforts driven by the United Nations Agenda 21, under the guise of “sustainability”, to fundamentally change the nature of American society. It became very obvious that the general public has very little knowledge of the impacts of this UN agenda. Furthermore, few people, including our own City Council, have taken either the time or effort to understand the ultimate objectives of this program. Instead they see “sustainability” as a method of obtaining Federal dollars to achieve their own social agendas.
Sustainability is one of the UN’s environmentalist programs that advocate “social equity” which is another term for wealth redistribution. An underlying philosophy of UN’s Agenda 21 is that “Land … cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principle instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth, therefore, contributes to social injustice.” Social equity is a remedy for the poor and minorities to reclaim lands that the middle and upper classes have allegedly stolen from them through economic means. There are serious private property implications that are imposed by these theoretically beneficial sustainability initiatives.
Cities across America have become willing participants in the attempt through the sustainability movement to fundamentally change and “socially redesign” American society. Cities belong to the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and yet appear to be unaware of the major tenets of the organization or are deliberately concealing those objectives from the public. The City of Las Cruces is complicit in this effort. Adoption of their proposed sustainability plan requires the City to comply with the UN’s International Energy Conservation Code which is based on global warming theory even though the United States government has refused to be regulated by this code. This plan was tabled at Tuesday’s City Council meeting until the March 7th Council meeting.
All the Councilors stated that the plan was well done but needed some modifications. Most wanted it adopted immediately and changes made in the future. Councilors Sorg and Pedroza commended it for its “social equity” components. Councilor Connor expressed concerns that this draft plan included 22 policies that have not been brought before the Council. The Mayor told the Council that is was just a plan and would not have the impact of an ordinance. It becomes alarming when our elected officials summarily discount the unintended consequences of any plan which will drive the policies of the city for the next twenty years, or worse, deliberately attempt to deceive the public about them.
While I support efforts to improve our society I am deeply concerned when any government entity fails to disclose the true intent of any initiative that clandestinely attempts to “socialize” America no matter how noble the primary cause may seem to be.
The old expression of it being “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” seems to be more than appropriate when it comes to adopting international sustainability initiatives. Developing local government policies and ordinances based on standards developed by the United Nations but not adopted by the United States government are inappropriate and unacceptable. I am not willing to forfeit US sovereignty for some perceived “higher” good which leads to a “One World” government that is permeated by those envious of the success and quality of life experienced by the American people. I would encourage everyone to go to: to learn about the ‘good, bad, and ugly” implications of sustainability and let your local government know your opinions.


Sanchez: Let's Abrogate Contracts

Michael Sanchez
Santa Fe, NM- Senate Majority Leader, Michael S. Sanchez's (D-Valencia County-29) bill to assist New Mexico homeowners facing foreclosure passed Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday, February 26, 2011 and is now headed to the Senate floor. Senate Bill 406, Mortgage Fair Foreclosure Act, is designed to facilitate loss mitigation between homeowners and mortgage holders, when possible, to avoid foreclosure. Mitigation may include modifying the loan, adding missed payments to the loan balance, and converting adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed rate.
"The current economic climate has caused many homeowners to fall behind in their mortgage payments and confront the real possibility of losing their family homes," said Sen. Sanchez. "If given information about opportunities to renegotiate their loans, many will avoid foreclosure and possible homelessness." Many New Mexico homeowners have found themselves unable to keep up with mortgage payments on "toxic loans" they accepted with teaser rates, negative amortization or subprime interest rates and terms. Additionally, with the depression in the housing market and the drop in home values, many homeowners now owe more money on their homes than they are worth. It has been estimated that 85% of New Mexico homeowners facing foreclosure actions do not or cannot afford attorneys to represent them in court. "Unfortunately, many homeowners have lost their homes in foreclosure actions because they had no one advocating for them or they were unaware of any opportunities to renegotiate their loans and keep their homes. This bill will protect consumers by leveling the playing field," said Sen. Sanchez.