Education Crisis? So What if we are Dead Last.

Education crisis, what education crisis; we are improving and doing the best we can with available resources. This is the essence of the State’s Answer to cases brought by Center for Law and Poverty and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund. No one, however, disputes that the vast majority of New Mexico school children finish each school year without the basic literacy and math skills necessary to continue their education or to succeed in life. These outcomes, plaintiffs argue, violate the New Mexico Constitution which requires, “A uniform system of free public schools sufficient for the education of, and open to, all children of school age…” Host Stephen Spitz will review the evidence presented in the case with the trial attorneys as we all await the court’s decision.

Produced with the assistance of Roman Garcia and Lynn Schibeci.

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Homeless to Founder of New Mexico’s Largest Homeless Shelter

Homelessness is present in large numbers in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe. And, in a revealing new survey carried out by NM Research and Polling, when Albuquerque residents are asked about their top concerns, an astounding seventy percent identified homelessness as our second most sever problem, just behind crime, while 43 percent of respondents view it is a very serious problem. What lies at the root of homelessness and how much do the conventional answers of alcohol, drugs, laziness and mental illness actually explain its causes?

Our guest, Jeremy Reynalds, knows the answers to these questions. In an amazing story, he was once homeless himself and then went on to found and now runs New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, Joy Junction. Please join host Stephen Spitz as we talk with Dr. Reynalds about how he rose from the despair of homelessness and how he now helps others do so.

Produced with the assistance of Roman Garcia and Lynn Schibeci.

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Water is for Fighting Over and other Myths

When we think of water in the West, we think of conflict and crisis. Recently newspapers have again featured scary headlines about our loss of water rights in the Texas suit against New Mexico and Mexico’s alleged plundering of a cross-border aquifer to serve Juarez.

Having covered environmental issues in the West for a quarter century for the Albuquerque Journal, our guest, UNM Professor John Fleck does not discount the serious problems posed by dwindling water sources. However, in his recent book, Water is for Fighting Over: and Other Myths about Water in the West, he argues for a fresh take on western water by emphasizing the successful collaborations now being forged to solve our most dire water threats.

But, is it really the case that water is not worth fighting for? Please join host Stephen Spitz as we explore whether New Mexico should fight to preserve its water rights and how cooperation can sometimes yield better outcomes than litigation.

Produced with the assistance of Roman Garcia and Lynn Schibeci.

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Who is New Mexico’s new Archbishop, John Wester?

Our guest this month is Archbishop John Wester who was installed on June 4, 2015 as the 12th archbishop of Santa Fe. In Wester, New Mexico Catholics have seen an archbishop who is highly engaged in “political” issues such immigration reform as well as childhood poverty, promoting strategies such as funding early childhood education through annual distributions from New Mexico’s $16B Land Grant Permanent Fund. Recently he was criticized by name by the Journal for advocating on behalf of Santa Fe’s soda tax to fund preK, obviously highly political stance. At the same time he adheres to the church’s teachings against gay marriage and abortion, praising those have coming forward “to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves” and has set about to eliminate the stain of pedophilia from the Church including in a very recent case in Los Lunas. Please join host Stephen Spitz and special guest Archbishop John Wester as we explore the proper role of the Church in today’s complex world.

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The 2017 Legislative Session: Budgets, Bills, Vetoes and the Underlying Politics

Politics and process inside New Mexico’s “Roundhouse” are notoriously complex with legislative success dependent on personal connections, intra-party rivalries, the power of lobbyists, and basic deal making. Our guest, the lead political blogger in New Mexico and well-known host of his election shows on KANW, Joe Monahan, gives us as close to an insider look and what happened this session and why, this legislative Session. Will our Governor compromise on tax increases, why didn’t the leveling down of the gross receipts tax pass, and what about the Constitutional Amendment to fund early childhood education. Tune in on April 7, 2017 as New Mexico People Place and Ideas host Stephen Spitz explores all these issues, and much more, with special guest Joe Monahan. Produced with the assistance of Roman Garcia and Lynn Schibeci.

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The Truth about Undocumented Immigrants

Would President Trump’s border wall extension work? And, what’s the likely outcome of a new border tax or withdrawing from NAFTA on the US, Mexico, and New Mexico? Latin American scholar Elliot Young joins host Stephen Spitz to discuss the history and possible impact of such efforts as we delve into President Trump’s borderlands’ proposals. Produced with the assistance of Jefferson White and Lynn Schibeci.

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Do Indians get a fair shake from the Federal Government?

Native Americans have recently made headlines in New Mexico as well as the national media; for example they continue to be featured in stories about the Gold King Mine Spill and the North Dakota Access Pipeline. Further, the New York Times did a major expose about extreme poverty in parts of the Navajo Reservation, including here in New Mexico. This raises the question of whether Indians are now getting a fair shake from the State and Federal Government? NMPPI host Stephen Spitz will raise these issues with the recent assistant Secretary of the Interior and overseer of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Obama Administration, law professor, and former UNM law school Dean, Kevin Washburn. We will also talk about what was accomplished during Professor Washburn’s tenure in government and what Indians can reasonably expect from a Trump Administration. Produced with the assistance of Jefferson White and Lynn Schibeci.

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Can Donald Trump Pull an Upset in New Mexico?

Can Donald Trump still win New Mexico. Nearly one-quarter of our voters are either undecided or favor a 3rd party creating a real opening. Democrats say, not so fast, early voting tallies put them far ahead of even 2008. This Friday morning host Stephen Spitz sits down with Dr. Lonna Atkeson, UNM’s Director of voting, elections and democracy with all the latest polls and political developments, as we talk about why Trump has focused on New Mexico and the chances of the Democrats retaking the State House. Produced with assistance of Jefferson White and Lynn Schibeci.

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“Zero suicide”: The Transformative Power of an Audacious Goal

In 2001, Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System set out to radically transform its mental health care delivery system with an audacious goal — eliminating suicide. The “zero suicide” initiative is an approach developed by today’s guest, psychiatrist Dr. Ed Coffey. Dr. Coffey’s approach aims to prevent suicides by creating a more open environment for people to talk about suicidal thoughts and then encouraging and enabling others to help them. It particularly aims to reach people who have not been reached through previous initiatives and to address gaps in existing behavioral health services. Almost unbelievably, his approach has indeed achieved dramatic and sustained reductions in patient suicide, including no suicides in some years throughout the 100,000 patient Henry Ford Health System. As a result “zero suicide” has become a worldwide movement, including here in New Mexico. So please join host Stephen Spitz and Dr. Ed Coffey, MD, as we talk about how to eliminate suicides. Produced with assistance of Jefferson White and Lynn Schibeci.

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New Mexico Faces a Multi-million Dollar Budget Crisis

New Mexico is facing a multi-million dollar budget crisis. According to financial watchdogs, the State needs to plug a $150 million hole in the budget year completed June 30, 2016 and is on track to overspend by another $300 million in FY 17. Worse, the State’s $700 million Reserve Account has already been depleted, virtually guaranteeing a Special Legislative Session. What’s confusing is that New Mexico’s economy is growing, albeit at an anemic pace. Joining host Stephen Spitz to explain the reasons for the budget shortfall and why New Mexico has been so slow to recover from the financial crisis is Dr. Jeffery Mitchell, Director of UNM’s Bureau of Economic Research, who advises State policy makers on these very issues. Produced with assistance of Roman Garcia, Jefferson White and Lynn Schibeci.

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