Is New Mexico’s Drought Manageable?

New Mexico is experiencing its worst drought in more than 1000 years. Available surface water has already decreased by one-quarter and is forecast to significantly decline. To make up for this, groundwater pumping has increased, but since much more water is being used, than being replenished, it’s unsustainable. What does this mean for the average New Mexican? Will we be able to live normal lives?  And, what is the State doing to manage this crisis?

Joining host Stephen Spitz to discuss all this is the State’s top water official under Governors Richardson, Martinez, and Lujan Grisham, John D’Antonio Jr., PE. We will explore the above questions as well as the right to use water, who uses how much water, and why Mr. D’Antonio resigned in protest.

Produced with assistance of Lynn Schibeci, Elias Henley, Tristan Clum, and Roman Garcia.

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Are Raging Wildfires the New Normal?

By early Spring New Mexico had already experienced its two largest wildfires in history as well as the McBride fire, which destroyed more than 200 homes in Ruidoso. Is this the new normal? And are controlled burns really the answer given that the disastrous Hermits Peak fire that ended up destroying more than 300 homes and displacing thousands of New Mexicans.

Joining host Stephen Spitz to discuss this is UNM professor and fire ecologist, Dr. Matthew Hurteau. We will explore how fire risks are best managed, why fire suppression still rules the day, and how the Hermits Peak fire went so horribly wrong.

Produced with assistance of Lynn Schibeci, Elias Henley, Tristan Clum, and Roman Garcia.

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Stockholm Water Prize Laureate Sandra Postel

Corrales resident Sandra Postel is the winner of the Stockholm Water Prize, considered the Nobel Prize for water. We are honored that she will be our guest. 

Host Stephen Spitz will begin the discussion with Ms. Postel’s latest book, Replenish—the Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity. Further discussion will include: will there be enough fresh water for the ever growing world population and what is the outlook for New Mexico and the Western United States? All this and much more, with special guest Sandra Postel. 

Produced with assistance of Tristan Clum and Lynn Schibeci

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Native American Slavery and its Legacy

Slavery and the legacy of slavery are frequently analyzed these days. Native American slavery, however, is often glossed over. Why? How extensive was it, who were the enslavers, and who exactly were the enslaved?

Joining host Stephen Spitz to discuss this is Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez, who was New Mexico’s official State historian for 8 years. He has just received a 1.5 M award from the Mellon Foundation to develop an interactive digital database focused on enslaved Native Americans in New Mexico and the Southwest. Dr. Rael-Gálvez is an Indigenous slavery scholar, who, it turns out, also descends from enslaved people. We will explore both his personal and professional perspective on these important questions.

Produced with assistance of Lynn Schibeci, Elias Henley, Tristan Clum, and Roman Garcia.

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Nehemiah Griego – both Victim and Murderer?

On Jan. 18, 2013, 15 year-old Nehemiah Griego shot dead his father, mother, and three siblings. Why?

In “Sins of the System”, Dr. Regina Griego, Nehemiah’s aunt and guardian, lays out his complex family history as well as a broken justice system and the frayed safety nets that failed to save her nephew. It turns out that he was seriously malnourished, beaten two or three times a week by his militaristic father, abused by his mother, and surrounded by loaded weapons of every kind. On the other hand, his crimes were horrific, such as the point-blank murders of his younger brother and sisters.

Please join host Stephen Spitz and author Regina Griego as we explore these troubling crimes.

Produced with assistance of Lynn Schibeci, Elias Henley, Tristan Clum, and Roman Garcia.

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Representative Javier Martinez– Juarez to Speaker of the House?

Last year we interviewed Albuquerque, representative Javier Martinez as an up and coming legislator. His most prominent legislation was tapping our $ 25B Permanent Fund to expand early childhood education and legalizing marijuana. He has since become House Majority Leader and, with the retirement of Brian Egolf, is in line to become Speaker of the House.

On this month’s show, Representative Martinez joins host Stephen Spitz to discuss his journey from his childhood home in Juarez, Mexico, to an organizer in Albuquerque’s South Valley, to a legislative leader. We’ll find out if Speaker of the House comes next.

Produced with assistance of Elias Henley, Roman Garcia, Tristan Clum, and Lynn Schibeci

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The 2022 Legislative Session: A loss for the Governor?

Politics 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. A good example of that complexity is the lack of success of Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s crime and hydrogen hub agenda this 30-day Session.  It was a partial lost but was it a political win for the Governor who insulated herself from Republican attacks on these issues?

New Mexico People Place and Ideas host Stephen Spitz will put that to this month’s guest, Joe Monahan, the lead political blogger in New Mexico: he will provide listeners with an inside look at what happened this Session and why.

Produced with assistance of Elias Henley, Roman Garcia, Tristan Clum, and Lynn Schibeci

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Mariel Nanasi derails PNM merger

In 2020 PNM and Avangrid, an energy company with utilities and generation facilities in 24 states, announced their intentions to merge. The $8.3B purchase is worth a very healthy 20 times PNM’s projected earnings and would result in a hefty $713 million cash buyout to PNM shareholders.  PNM would then become a subsidiary of Avangrid, which is itself a subsidiary of Iberdrola, a Spanish company worth $85B, and one of the largest energy companies in the world. One lawyer stood in the way, Mariel Nanasi of New Energy Economy; 23 other parties, including the NM AG, Hector Balderas, did not. In December the NM Public Regulation Commission (PRC) sided with Nanasi.

On this month’s show host Stephen Spitz sits down with Mariel Nanasi to find out how a single lawyer obtained such an outsized victory and whether she is right on the merits.

Produced with assistance of Elias Henry, Roman Garcia and Lynn Schibeci

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Don Hancock on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

Joining host Stephen Spitz this month is Don Hancock, Director of the Nuclear Waste Program for the Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC). We will discuss the proposed expansion of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in southeastern New Mexico. WIPP is the nation’s only deep geologic long-lived radioactive waste repository.

Its mission is to dispose of transuranic waste 2,150 feet underground in an ancient salt formation. This waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other debris contaminated with trace amounts of radioisotopes. The Energy Department intends to dramatically enlarge this mission with the disposal of plutonium left over from the Cold War. Mr. Hancock and the SRIC oppose this change as dangerous and inconsistent with WIPP’s state certifications. We will explore the basis for this opposition and ask how and where the plutonium should be disposed.

Produced with assistance of Tristan Clum, Roman Garcia and Lynn Schibeci

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I’m Possible by UNM Professor Richard Antoine White

Growing up in Baltimore, UNM Music Professor Richard Antoine White did his best to care for his mother, who was battling alcoholism, while experiencing homelessness and hunger. Searching for his mother one night resulted in a near death experience in the snow and being taken in by his adoptive grandparents. Under the care of his adoptive family, White discovered his purpose and passion for music and began his journey to musical success.

On this month’s show Dr. White joins host Stephen Spitz to discuss his new memoir, I’m Possible, which recounts how he went from the streets of Baltimore to becoming the first Black musician to earn a doctorate in Tuba Performance and the principal tubist for the New Mexico Philharmonic.

Produced with assistance of Elias Henry, Roman Garcia and Lynn Schibeci

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