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a plea to washington from a disabled new mexican: give me a chance at a healthy life

commentary: my name is david alcon and i am a disabled son of a disabled veteran. my diagnosis came to light just recently, as the past 18 years of my life my hereditary mental health disability had gone undiagnosed and untreated and kept me in and out of jail for petty crimes.heath haussamen / nmpolitics.netthe u.s. capitol buildingafter being arrested for assaulting my father i was transported by a deputy sheriff from grants to mesilla valley hospital in las cruces — a move that saved me from drowning further into my mental illness.it was here that i learned i was in the midst of a mental crisis, and was diagnosed with a hereditary mental disability caused by war. my father served in vietnam with the americal infantry division. the veterans affairs administration does not compensate hereditary mental health issues so i rely on medicaid.mental health counseling has provided me the support i need to keep my disability in check; the medication helps and the counseling has turned my life around. medicaid provided me the medication and staff at mesilla valley hospital to bring me me from the functioning dream “heisenberg” state and confusion my mind was in to making a 180-degree change.mesilla valley’s clinicians prescribed an effective combination of medications and regular, rigorous counseling sessions, all of which were thankfully covered by medicaid.  almost two weeks later i returned home. i continue my medication regimen and, until recently, counseling sess...





trump has secretive teams to roll back regulations, led by hires with deep industry ties

gage skidmore / creative commonspresident donald trump (photo cc info)president trump entered office pledging to cut red tape, and within weeks, he ordered his administration to assemble teams to aggressively scale back government regulations.but the effort — a signature theme in trump’s populist campaign for the white house — is being conducted in large part out of public view and often by political appointees with deep industry ties and potential conflicts.most government agencies have declined to disclose information about their deregulation teams. but propublica and the new york times identified 71 appointees, including 28 with potential conflicts, through interviews, public records and documents obtained under the freedom of information act.some appointees are reviewing rules their previous employers sought to weaken or kill, and at least two may be positioned to profit if certain regulations are undone.the appointees include lawyers who have represented businesses in cases against government regulators, staff members of political dark money groups, employees of industry-funded organizations opposed to environmental rules and at least three people who were registered to lobby the agencies they now work for.at the education department alone, two members of the deregulation team were most recently employed by pro-charter advocacy groups or operators, and one appointee was an executive handling regulatory issues at a for-profit college operator.so far, the process has...





a plea to washington from a disabled new mexican: give me a chance at a healthy life

commentary: my name is david alcon and i am a disabled son of a disabled veteran. my diagnosis came to light just recently, as the past 18 years of my life my hereditary mental health disability had gone undiagnosed and untreated and kept me in and out of jail for petty crimes.heath haussamen / nmpolitics.netthe u.s. capitol buildingafter being arrested for assaulting my father i was transported by a deputy sheriff from grants to mesilla valley hospital in las cruces — a move that saved me from drowning further into my mental illness.it was here that i learned i was in the midst of a mental crisis, and was diagnosed with a hereditary mental disability caused by war. my father served in vietnam with the americal infantry division. the veterans affairs administration does not compensate hereditary mental health issues so i rely on medicaid.mental health counseling has provided me the support i need to keep my disability in check; the medication helps and the counseling has turned my life around. medicaid provided me the medication and staff at mesilla valley hospital to bring me me from the functioning dream “heisenberg” state and confusion my mind was in to making a 180-degree change.mesilla valley’s clinicians prescribed an effective combination of medications and regular, rigorous counseling sessions, all of which were thankfully covered by medicaid.  almost two weeks later i returned home. i continue my medication regimen and, until recently, counseling sess...





a plea to washington from a disabled new mexican: give me a chance at a healthy life

commentary: my name is david alcon and i am a disabled son of a disabled veteran. my diagnosis came to light just recently, as the past 18 years of my life my hereditary mental health disability had gone undiagnosed and untreated and kept me in and out of jail for petty crimes.heath haussamen / nmpolitics.netthe u.s. capitol buildingafter being arrested for assaulting my father i was transported by a deputy sheriff from grants to mesilla valley hospital in las cruces — a move that saved me from drowning further into my mental illness.it was here that i learned i was in the midst of a mental crisis, and was diagnosed with a hereditary mental disability caused by war. my father served in vietnam with the american infantry division. the veterans affairs administration does not compensate hereditary mental health issues so i rely on medicaid.mental health counseling has provided me the support i need to keep my disability in check; the medication helps and the counseling has turned my life around. medicaid provided me the medication and staff at mesilla valley hospital to bring me me from the functioning dream “heisenberg” state and confusion my mind was in to making a 180-degree change.mesilla valley’s clinicians prescribed an effective combination of medications and regular, rigorous counseling sessions, all of which were thankfully covered by medicaid.  almost two weeks later i returned home. i continue my medication regimen and, until recently, counseling sess...





trump has secretive teams to roll back regulations, led by hires with deep industry ties

gage skidmore / creative commonspresident donald trump (photo cc info)president trump entered office pledging to cut red tape, and within weeks, he ordered his administration to assemble teams to aggressively scale back government regulations.but the effort — a signature theme in trump’s populist campaign for the white house — is being conducted in large part out of public view and often by political appointees with deep industry ties and potential conflicts.most government agencies have declined to disclose information about their deregulation teams. but propublica and the new york times identified 71 appointees, including 28 with potential conflicts, through interviews, public records and documents obtained under the freedom of information act.some appointees are reviewing rules their previous employers sought to weaken or kill, and at least two may be positioned to profit if certain regulations are undone.the appointees include lawyers who have represented businesses in cases against government regulators, staff members of political dark money groups, employees of industry-funded organizations opposed to environmental rules and at least three people who were registered to lobby the agencies they now work for.at the education department alone, two members of the deregulation team were most recently employed by pro-charter advocacy groups or operators, and one appointee was an executive handling regulatory issues at a for-profit college operator.so far, the process has...





nm high court rejects albuquerque ballot-access challenge

will keightley / creative commonsalbuquerque at sunset. (photo cc info)albuquerque mayoral hopeful stella padilla has lost her ballot access battle in the new mexico supreme court.on monday, padilla’s lawyer, a. blair dunn, turned to the state’s highest court, asking the justices for an expedited review a lawsuit padilla filed against albuquerque city clerk natalie howard seeking to be placed on the oct. 3 ballot — a lawsuit a district judge rejected last week.but on tuesday, three of the five new mexico supreme court justices — edward l. chavez, charles w. daniels and barbara j. vigil — rejected padilla’s request for an immediate hearing. chief justice judith k. nakamura provided witness. in their order, the justices provided no reasons for the denial.the lawsuit was rejected at the district court level on the argument that only people whose signatures were disqualified — not padilla, the potential candidate whose forms they signed — had standing to sue.the legal battle arose from a determination by howard’s office in may that padilla fell 181 signatures short of the 3,000 valid nominating signatures required for qualification as a mayoral candidate in the oct. 3 election.advertisementstrongly disagreeing with howard’s assertions, and claiming she had more than enough signatures, padilla sued the albuquerque election chief in second judicial district court, where district judge nancy franchini dismissed the suit last friday.in her case against howard, ...





behold, the american political monopoly

commentary: in a word, corporate monopolies are awful for consumers. aside from the obvious outcome of setting higher prices, they are nasty in numerous other ways.courtesy photomax mastelloneby limiting competition, they artificially restrict our choices and reduce the incentive to maintain quality, because well, if we are the only game in town, “sol.” think comcast.limited competition also tends to suppress product and service innovation, so we get to overpay for aged products or technologies long after improved versions show up elsewhere. one salient example is the more expensive, far slower internet speeds we must live with compared with our european counterparts. monopolies lead to reduced consumer satisfaction and give customers reason to believe that they are being bullied or exploited.although rarely discussed, political monopolies also exist and are similarly bad for “consumers of government,” i.e. citizens. this may be a new concept for many but it is entirely appropriate to view the u.s. two party political system as a duopoly — that is, a monopoly by two parties that share near total control of the american political “marketplace.”the democratic national committee and the republican national committee are private, nonprofit corporations organized under section 527 of the irs code. this means that all donations that they receive are tax-exempt. essentially, they are subsidized by the taxpayers. the arrangement is identical to what we know as “corpor...





nm high court rejects albuquerque ballot-access challenge

will keightley / creative commonsalbuquerque at sunset. (photo cc info)albuquerque mayoral hopeful stella padilla has lost her ballot access battle in the new mexico supreme court.on monday, padilla’s lawyer, a. blair dunn, turned to the state’s highest court, asking the justices for an expedited review a lawsuit padilla filed against albuquerque city clerk natalie howard seeking to be placed on the oct. 3 ballot — a lawsuit a district judge rejected last week.but on tuesday, three of the five new mexico supreme court justices — edward l. chavez, charles w. daniels and barbara j. vigil — rejected padilla’s request for an immediate hearing. chief justice judith k. nakamura provided witness. in their order, the justices provided no reasons for the denial.the lawsuit was rejected at the district court level on the argument that only people whose signatures were disqualified — not padilla, the potential candidate whose forms they signed — had standing to sue.the legal battle arose from a determination by howard’s office in may that padilla fell 181 signatures short of the 3,000 valid nominating signatures required for qualification as a mayoral candidate in the oct. 3 election.advertisementstrongly disagreeing with howard’s assertions, and claiming she had more than enough signatures, padilla sued the albuquerque election chief in second judicial district court, where district judge nancy franchini dismissed the suit last friday.in her case against howard, ...





human decency should prevail despite political affiliation

commentary: on the morning of june 14, as i watched news reports of a republican congressman being shot (for being republican) while at practice for a bipartisan charity baseball game in virginia, my immediate reaction was to text congressman steve pearce, who was at the scene, and offer prayers for those involved.courtesy photoaubrey dunni then left my santa fe apartment, and as i climbed into my vehicle i noticed glass on the front seat and looked up to see a bullet hole in the windshield.to say i was concerned is an understatement. because of what was unfolding in washington d.c., i immediately thought it was related to my political affiliation.to compound the situation, my deputy commissioner’s vehicle was vandalized the day before; while she was working in the field someone slashed her tire.i later learned that on june 13, the day before the d.c. shooting, gunshots had been fired near my apartment off canyon road and it was likely that my vehicle was struck at that time by a .40 caliber weapon. i honestly don’t know if the shooting was related to my political affiliation or not, but in light of the tragedy in d.c., it causes one to reflect on the overheated and dishonest rhetoric coming from the extreme progressive left toward conservative public officials.uncivil discourse puts our entire country at risk. i fully support our first amendment right to free speech, but we must temper that against harming another person, even a person espousing views with which we stron...





human decency should prevail despite political affiliation

commentary: on the morning of june 14, as i watched news reports of a republican congressman being shot (for being republican) while at practice for a bipartisan charity baseball game in virginia, my immediate reaction was to text congressman steve pearce, who was at the scene, and offer prayers for those involved.courtesy photoaubrey dunni then left my santa fe apartment, and as i climbed into my vehicle i noticed glass on the front seat and looked up to see a bullet hole in the windshield.to say i was concerned is an understatement. because of what was unfolding in washington d.c., i immediately thought it was related to my political affiliation.to compound the situation, my deputy commissioner’s vehicle was vandalized the day before; while she was working in the field someone slashed her tire.i later learned that on june 13, the day before the d.c. shooting, gunshots had been fired near my apartment off canyon road and it was likely that my vehicle was struck at that time by a .40 caliber weapon. i honestly don’t know if the shooting was related to my political affiliation or not, but in light of the tragedy in d.c., it causes one to reflect on the overheated and dishonest rhetoric coming from the extreme progressive left toward conservative public officials.uncivil discourse puts our entire country at risk. i fully support our first amendment right to free speech, but we must temper that against harming another person, even a person espousing views with which we stron...





pearce to run for governor instead of seeking re-election to u.s. house

u.s. rep. steve pearce, r-n.m., has decided to run for governor instead of seeking another term in congress.heath haussamen / nmpolitics.netu.s. rep. steve pearce, r-n.m.pearce told county gop chairs from around the state about his plans on sunday evening. his team wouldn’t comment sunday when asked by nmpolitics.net about his decision.but pearce confirmed his plans in an interview with the albuquerque journal published early monday. later monday, he announced his campaign in a news release.“i’m running for governor to change the direction of the state i love and call home,” pearce said in the release. “new mexico has such great potential, but we need leadership to move the state forward.”“too many people are struggling to find jobs and too many families are wrestling with poverty. our kids are working their way through a broken education system. crime has taken over our streets,” pearce said. “we can do better. we have to do better.”democrats came out swinging, saying pearce shares blame for the state’s plight.“if steve pearce thinks he should be governor after voting against the interests of new mexicans and supporting an extreme right-wing agenda, he should know he can’t fool voters,” said democratic party of new mexico chair richard ellenberg. “pearce would push the same failed republican economic agenda of the past seven years.”“we’re going to hold him accountable for his failure to stand up for the community on health care, on p...





pearce to run for governor instead of seeking re-election to u.s. house

u.s. rep. steve pearce, r-n.m., has decided to run for governor instead of seeking another term in congress.heath haussamen / nmpolitics.netu.s. rep. steve pearce, r-n.m.pearce told county gop chairs from around the state about his plans on sunday evening. his team wouldn’t comment sunday when asked by nmpolitics.net about his decision.but pearce confirmed his plans in an interview with the albuquerque journal published early monday. later monday, he announced his campaign in a news release.“i’m running for governor to change the direction of the state i love and call home,” pearce said in the release. “new mexico has such great potential, but we need leadership to move the state forward.”“too many people are struggling to find jobs and too many families are wrestling with poverty. our kids are working their way through a broken education system. crime has taken over our streets,” pearce said. “we can do better. we have to do better.”democrats came out swinging, saying pearce shares blame for the state’s plight.“if steve pearce thinks he should be governor after voting against the interests of new mexicans and supporting an extreme right-wing agenda, he should know he can’t fool voters,” said democratic party of new mexico chair richard ellenberg. “pearce would push the same failed republican economic agenda of the past seven years.”“we’re going to hold him accountable for his failure to stand up for the community on health care, on p...





secretary of state’s power grab on nonprofit privacy

commentary: we all know how a bill becomes a law, right? a lawmaker writes a bill, the legislature passes it, and then the governor signs it.courtesy photobradley smithat least, that’s what new mexico’s constitution says. unfortunately, losers in the legislative process are increasingly willing to ignore that process, and a rulemaking currently underway in santa fe shows how.this spring, the new mexico legislature considered imposing new donor disclosure rules on nonprofit organizations. the measure was vetoed by governor martinez over privacy concerns. now secretary of state maggie toulouse oliver is attempting to impose those rules by bureaucratic fiat, using a regulation to enact what couldn’t be done through the normal lawmaking process.bureaucratic rulemakings can serve an important function. they help to implement and clarify laws that are passed by the legislature.but here, instead of implementing the law, the secretary of state’s office is enacting rules that were rejected in the constitutional lawmaking process. although pitched as “political disclosure,” as governor martinez wrote in her veto message in april, “the broad language in the bill could lead to unintended consequences that would force groups like charities to disclose the names and addresses of their contributors in certain circumstances.”furthermore, the rules, if adopted, will almost certainly be challenged in court. it wouldn’t be the first time new mexico got itself in hot water by ...





fracking boom leads to tension in navajo communities

melorie begay / new mexico in depthmarie herbert-chavez speaks at navajo nation council listening session at counselor chapter.on a windy monday morning in may, residents packed the counselor chapter house. some sat in plastic folding chairs, while others leaned against the wall, all paying attention to the speakers.coming to the front of the chapter house, marie herbert-chavez introduced herself in the navajo language. “i’m going to talk real fast ok,” she said as she took the microphone to talk about fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, in her community near chaco canyon.four members of the navajo nation council, speaker lorenzo bates, councilor amber kanazbah crotty, councilor davis filfred and councilor leonard tsosie, who represents counselor as well as nearby chapters, had come to hear testimony from area residents.the listening session, which lasted about five hours, provided a glimpse into tensions in several small navajo communities near chaco canyon over an uptick in fracking in recent years, pitting those who worry about the public health hazards it poses against government agencies who authorize it, as well as some of their neighbors who benefit  economically from leasing their land to oil and gas companies.while the packed chapter house included environmental activists and navajo nation oil and gas company representatives, members of the community, like chavez, made their presence felt.“i have an oil drill right behind my own backyard,” chavez said.





secretary of state’s power grab on nonprofit privacy

commentary: we all know how a bill becomes a law, right? a lawmaker writes a bill, the legislature passes it, and then the governor signs it.courtesy photobradley smithat least, that’s what new mexico’s constitution says. unfortunately, losers in the legislative process are increasingly willing to ignore that process, and a rulemaking currently underway in santa fe shows how.this spring, the new mexico legislature considered imposing new donor disclosure rules on nonprofit organizations. the measure was vetoed by governor martinez over privacy concerns. now secretary of state maggie toulouse oliver is attempting to impose those rules by bureaucratic fiat, using a regulation to enact what couldn’t be done through the normal lawmaking process.bureaucratic rulemakings can serve an important function. they help to implement and clarify laws that are passed by the legislature.but here, instead of implementing the law, the secretary of state’s office is enacting rules that were rejected in the constitutional lawmaking process. although pitched as “political disclosure,” as governor martinez wrote in her veto message in april, “the broad language in the bill could lead to unintended consequences that would force groups like charities to disclose the names and addresses of their contributors in certain circumstances.”furthermore, the rules, if adopted, will almost certainly be challenged in court. it wouldn’t be the first time new mexico got itself in hot water by ...





fracking boom leads to tension in navajo communities

melorie begay / new mexico in depthmarie herbert-chavez speaks at navajo nation council listening session at counselor chapter.on a windy monday morning in may, residents packed the counselor chapter house. some sat in plastic folding chairs, while others leaned against the wall, all paying attention to the speakers.coming to the front of the chapter house, marie herbert-chavez introduced herself in the navajo language. “i’m going to talk real fast ok,” she said as she took the microphone to talk about fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, in her community near chaco canyon.four members of the navajo nation council, speaker lorenzo bates, councilor amber kanazbah crotty, councilor davis filfred and councilor leonard tsosie, who represents counselor as well as nearby chapters, had come to hear testimony from area residents.the listening session, which lasted about five hours, provided a glimpse into tensions in several small navajo communities near chaco canyon over an uptick in fracking in recent years, pitting those who worry about the public health hazards it poses against government agencies who authorize it, as well as some of their neighbors who benefit  economically from leasing their land to oil and gas companies.while the packed chapter house included environmental activists and navajo nation oil and gas company representatives, members of the community, like chavez, made their presence felt.“i have an oil drill right behind my own backyard,” chavez said.





election experts see flaws in trump voter commission’s plan to smoke out fraud

gage skidmore / creative commonspresident donald trump (photo cc info)vice president mike pence’s office has confirmed the white house commission on voter fraud intends to run the state voter rolls it has requested against federal databases to check for potential fraudulent registration. experts say the plan is certain to produce thousands of false positives that could distort the understanding of the potential for fraud, especially given the limited data states have agreed to turn over.“this just demonstrates remarkable naivety on how this voter data can be used,” said david becker, the executive director of the center for election innovation & research. “there’s absolutely no way that incomplete data from some states — mainly consisting of names and addresses — can be used to determine anything.”the commission’s vice chair, kansas secretary of state kris kobach, sent a letter to states last week requesting detailed information on voters. the request asked for information such as social security numbers and military status most states cannot legally make available. but most states will be handing over information that is public, such as names, years of birth and whether they’ve voted in previous elections.marc lotter, spokesman for pence, told propublica the state voter information will be run “through a number of different databases, looking for the possibility for areas where voter rolls could be strengthened.”while lotter would not say specificall...





new mexico behavioral health care system gets federal review

the federal health and human services department will inspect if new mexico is properly serving new mexicans in need of mental illness and addiction services.heath haussamen / nmpolitics.netgov. susana martinezthe review by the inspector general of the federal health and human services department, confirmed in late june and made public friday afternoon, comes roughly four years after gov. susana martinez’s administration disrupted care for tens of thousands of new mexicans when her human services department accused 15 organizations of medicaid fraud and potentially overbilling the government by nearly $36 million.citing the fraud accusations, the human services department suspended the flow of “behavioral health” medicaid dollars to many of the organizations in the summer of 2013. unable to stay in business without the medicaid dollars, many had to shut their doors and are no longer in business.ultimately no medicaid fraud was ever found. and the estimates of overbilling medicaid have been dramatically reduced; in one case, the state reduced to $484.71 what it said las cruces-based southwest counseling center owed after accusing it of overbilling medicaid by as much as $2.8 million as recently as january.the inspector general  of the federal health and human services department confirmed the review to four members of new mexico’s congressional delegation in a june 28 letter made public friday afternoon.the ig’s letter was in response to a may 24 letter u.s....





election experts see flaws in trump voter commission’s plan to smoke out fraud

gage skidmore / creative commonspresident donald trump (photo cc info)vice president mike pence’s office has confirmed the white house commission on voter fraud intends to run the state voter rolls it has requested against federal databases to check for potential fraudulent registration. experts say the plan is certain to produce thousands of false positives that could distort the understanding of the potential for fraud, especially given the limited data states have agreed to turn over.“this just demonstrates remarkable naivety on how this voter data can be used,” said david becker, the executive director of the center for election innovation & research. “there’s absolutely no way that incomplete data from some states — mainly consisting of names and addresses — can be used to determine anything.”the commission’s vice chair, kansas secretary of state kris kobach, sent a letter to states last week requesting detailed information on voters. the request asked for information such as social security numbers and military status most states cannot legally make available. but most states will be handing over information that is public, such as names, years of birth and whether they’ve voted in previous elections.marc lotter, spokesman for pence, told propublica the state voter information will be run “through a number of different databases, looking for the possibility for areas where voter rolls could be strengthened.”while lotter would not say specificall...





new mexico behavioral health care system gets federal review

the federal health and human services department will inspect if new mexico is properly serving new mexicans in need of mental illness and addiction services.heath haussamen / nmpolitics.netgov. susana martinezthe review by the inspector general of the federal health and human services department, confirmed in late june and made public friday afternoon, comes roughly four years after gov. susana martinez’s administration disrupted care for tens of thousands of new mexicans when her human services department accused 15 organizations of medicaid fraud and potentially overbilling the government by nearly $36 million.citing the fraud accusations, the human services department suspended the flow of “behavioral health” medicaid dollars to many of the organizations in the summer of 2013. unable to stay in business without the medicaid dollars, many had to shut their doors and are no longer in business.ultimately no medicaid fraud was ever found. and the estimates of overbilling medicaid have been dramatically reduced; in one case, the state reduced to $484.71 what it said las cruces-based southwest counseling center owed after accusing it of overbilling medicaid by as much as $2.8 million as recently as january.the inspector general  of the federal health and human services department confirmed the review to four members of new mexico’s congressional delegation in a june 28 letter made public friday afternoon.the ig’s letter was in response to a may 24 letter u.s....