Lack of imagination: a fatal flaw

Commentary - © 2014 Pat Temple - A lack of imagination can make life worse than death, in ways. And, sadly, the way human beings are made, they simply can't think ahead when it comes to certain specific areas. They're pretty good at laying out fields and irrigation systems. 
      They can picture a pecan farm twenty years in the future, and the way the house might look, with rich hardwood floors, high ceilings, and hand-created tile counter tops, but they are nearly hopeless at combating "common folklore" such as "the hook doesn't hurt the fish," despite the fact that the fish appears to be trying desperately to get off it.
     H. L. Mencken wrote, about 100 years ago, that people hadn't bathed until the last 75 years. He did that deliberately to see how many people would believe it. My father said he was thinking about that statement (and believing it) standing in front of a Roman bathtub in the Pliny Gardens in Florence, Italy. 
      He said the dichotomy almost did not occur to him. He was standing directly in front of proof that people bathed 2,000 years ago while thinking "I believe that people did not bathe until 75 years ago … and yet, here I am, standing in front of a bathtub that was hand-carved out of marble 2,000 years ago."
     It must have helped us survive, somehow, to have this ability to believe a certain set of facts that aren't facts at all, but it might not be so good for us as individuals. I know that for years the school system has said that children have to go to public schools "because they have to learn to get along with these people; they will be with them when they grow up." 
      It's not true. Getting along is among the most natural of any human qualities. Any two people sitting next to each other on an airplane can adjust to each other's differences in minutes, and find grounds for a first-rate conversation. Read full column


State sets aside money for special education dispute

The State Board of Finance has approved $26 million as a safety net if New Mexico loses a dispute with the federal government over special education funding. 

The board on Tuesday agreed to a transfer of the money from this year's budget accounts. The Legislature provided the money as part of a contingency plan for an ongoing fight over whether New Mexico met requirements for federal aid since 2010. 

Federal officials contend New Mexico has improperly trimmed state funding available for special education. The state disagrees.

 Deputy Public Education Secretary Paul Aguilar said up to $18 million could be needed if the federal government rules against the state for this year's budget.

 The board's bookkeeping move makes up to $26 million available if it's necessary when the dispute is resolved.

Information from The Associated Press. 


State working to eliminate feral pigs

State and federal wildlife managers in New Mexico are making progress in their fight against feral pigs. 
They say they have eliminated the majority of invasive porkers from 10 counties and progress is being made in another seven counties where pigs have taken up residency. 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Service Division says federal hunters tracked down and eliminated about 700 pigs last year as part of a $1 million pilot project. Most of the work was done across New Mexico's eastern plains. 
Officials say most of the pigs removed were female, which should put a dent in the population's ability to multiple again.
 Officials will be targeting two counties in New Mexico's Bootheel region next. 
Information from The Associated Press. 


Judge says Ruidoso can't ban negative opinions

Ruidoso Village Council
A federal judge has come down hard on Ruidoso officials who tried to ban residents from saying anything negative at council meetings. 
 U.S. District Judge James O. Browning issued an injunction Monday finding that the village of Ruidoso's rule or policy barring speakers from being critical is "an unconstitutional burden on free speech."
 Under the village rules, a speaker could praise personnel, staff or the village council, or could make a neutral comment, but could not voice criticism.
 In an 89-page opinion, Browning granted summary judgment to lawyer William Griffin, who sued after the council refused his request to speak at a meeting. Browning said limits can be placed on time and topic, but not on the speaker's opinion.


Rep. Garcia challenges primary election results

Mary Helen Garcia
Attorneys for the campaign of Rep. Mary Helen Garcia have formally a filed a motion challenging the results in the June Primary Election. 
Specifically, the attorneys cite irregularities in the signatures associated with absentee voting in the primary election for New Mexico House District 34. Rep. 
Garcia said. “The fact that Sunland Park has been marred by election fraud in the past, most recently in the 2013 municipal elections, and that the fact that similarities exist in this election, is more than a coincidence."
  Attorneys for Rep. Garcia submitted information by a forensic handwriting analyst, citing at least 17 cases of signatures not matching voter rolls. 
Third Judicial District Judge  Jim T. Martin set August 12 as the trial date for the election challenge. 
Information from The Associated Press.