Sowell: Gross Misconceptions

NewsNM: Swickard - obviously written last week, but the points are so very important - Commentary by Dr. Thomas Sowell - Our children and grandchildren may someday bless us or curse us for what we do this Tuesday. Against that background, it is painful to see the petty talking points and gross misconceptions that seem to dominate this year's election campaign. Take the question of jobs. How many times have we heard about how many jobs have been added during the Obama administration? Yet few people bother to find out whether these are net additions to jobs -- which is what is crucial.
The government can always increase some jobs, either directly by hiring more people or indirectly by policies that increase employment in particular industries or regions. But the real question is whether the government's actions create more jobs than they destroy -- that is, whether there is any net addition to jobs.
Yet who in the media even asks that question?
Instead, they focus on the unemployment rate. But people who have given up looking for a job are not counted as unemployed. The proportion of the working age population that is not working is higher now than it has been in many years. Read full column

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Coalition gives laptops to Las Cruces Animal Control
UNM not relocating drug clinic
AG's office asks for extension in ABQ 
Health Partners and Lovelace parting
Valles Caldera plans visitor center and shuttle system


Coalition gives laptops to Las Cruces Animal Control

The Coalition for Pets and People, which is represented by animal advocate organizations from throughout Doña Ana County, has donated nine laptop computers to the Las Cruces Police Department's Animal Control section. 

The donation of the Dell laptop computers and four air cards will allow Animal Control officers in the field to access local and national databases that have contact information for micro-chipped pets. 

Animal Control officers will be able to scan found pets for a micro-chip and then, with the contact information they obtain, return pets to their rightful owner without having to take the pet to the Animal Service Center

The goal of the Coalition for Pets and People is to reduce euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals. 


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AG's office asks for extension in ABQ 
Heath Partners and Lovelace parting
Isleta and Hard Rock part ways
Dona Ana County voters leave behind items
FBI gets involved in coyote hunt


Teachers' aides call administration raises 'a slap in the face'

In contentious meeting Wednesday night, outraged teachers aides let Albuquerque Public Schools leaders have it over their pay.
Their outrage stemmed from raises given to three assistant superintendents, and a pension raise for Superintendent Winston Brooks.

The district's educational assistants make an average of $13,000 annually in their full time position. They haven't seen a raise in four years.
"We had a slap in the face," educational assistant Jennifer Kruger said. "We would appreciate you realizing that you could not run the schools without us!"

Education assistant Feliz Gauna said perhaps the top leaders deserve the raises, but they could live without the extra money, unlike herself and her colleagues.

"We are below poverty," she said, pounding the podium.  "Let me repeat that, we are below the poverty (level)."

The assistants said they do their job because they love the children, many who have special needs.

"We know it's a service. We know that we're going to make a difference," Albuquerque Educational Assistants Association President Kathy Chavez said. "We do make a difference everyday in those classrooms. Everyday, we do that."

But, she said, they can't continue to live like this.

APS Board President Paula Maes said their hands are tied.

"There is nothing APS can do," she explained to Action 7 News after the meeting.  "It has to come from the legislature."

Chavez has launched a campaign to gather support and show lawmakers in Santa Fe.
But the union felt duped when news of the raises made headlines.

"Everyone was signing.  They were agreeing, and believing what we were saying," Chavez said. "Then boom, all hell broke loose."

The APS Board President said those raises saved the district money because the top positions now have to do extra duty.

The educational assistants said they have been doing extra work for the past four years.

At the end of the meeting, the school board ratified the AEAA's contract. It doesn't include a raise.
Read more at KOAT...

Valles Caldera plans visitor center and shuttle system

The Valles Caldera Trust is proposing a 10,000-square-foot visitor center near the current entrance to the Valles Caldera National Preserve off N.M. 4, and a shuttle system that would reduce the need for personal vehicles. 

The trust on Monday issued a final environmental impact statement that reviewed six alternatives for visitor access and resource protection in the 89,000-acre preserve in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos. The public has 30 days to comment on the plan.

The visitor center would include a lobby, theater, exhibit halls, classrooms, gift shop and observation decks. The preferred alternative also includes shuttle service for visitors to reach hiking trails, fishing spots and picnic areas proposed in the preserve. 

More than 125 individuals, agencies and groups commented on the draft environmental document in June.


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Medical Board rejects marijuana petition
Paseo project in ABQ to start within 6 months
FBI gets involved with coyote killing contest \


Hard Rock and Isleta Pueblo part ways

The Hard Rock name will soon be history at the casino and hotel on Isleta Pueblo. 

After less than three years, pueblo leaders have decided to cut ties and no longer use the well-known Hard Rock name. 
The pueblo has spent millions on the right to use the name. Millions were also spent to update the look of the casino and hotel.
 In an October pueblo newsletter, pueblo officials said the owner of the franchise did not live up to a contract agreement to provide marketing, management training and services. The newsletter also said the pueblo was trying to reduce a $1,000,000 Hard Rock franchise payment, due at the end of 2012, to $750,000.


FBI gets involved in Coyote killing contest

There's a dangerous new development in the coyote killing contest that has stirred up so much controversy.  

The owners of Gunhawk Firearms, the gun shop behind the coyote kill, are getting death threats, and the FBI is now looking into them.  An online petition has nearly 29,000 signatures opposing the hunt. 
Meanwhile the owners at the Los Lunas shop say not only have people threatened their lives, but they're also targeting their families.  
The owner Mark Chavez says he has a bag of threatening letters he'll hand over to police. 
The store has been pounded by protests after announcing it would hold a controversial coyote-killing contest. An Albuquerque gun store had proposed a similar contest but canceled.


ABQ to break ground on Paseo project within six months

ABQ city leaders hope to break ground on the Paseo improvement project within the next six months.

 On Tuesday voters gave the project the green light. Drivers said they're tired of the bottleneck traffic that they get caught in everyday near Paseo del Norte and Interstate 25. 
The state's Department of Transportation will be in charge of the construction and Mayor Richard Berry said they're already trying to make sure the construction doesn't increase traffic. 
Nearly two-thirds of voters in Albuquerque passed $50 million of bonds for the project. Berry hopes the entire project will be done in two or 2 1/2 years.


NM Medical Advisory Board rejects marijuana petition

The New Mexico Medical Advisory Board unanimously ruled Wednesday to reject the petition to remove post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifier for medical marijuana. 

There wasn't an empty seat in the House as Dr. William Ulwelling made his case. 
He argued a lack of scientific evidence proving medical marijuana helps patients suffering from PTSD is reason enough to get it removed from the list of qualifying conditions. 
Of the over 8,000 New Mexicans in the program, more than 3,300 currently use marijuana to treat PTSD.