Author Archives: Stephen Spitz

Catch and Release Judges

Are Catch and Release Judges responsible for our high crime rate? In 2016 New Mexico voters approved a Constitutional Amendment giving judges the power to release a defendant prior to trial based on that individual’s risk of danger or flight, not on how much an arrestee can pay to get out of jail. Critics, including Governor Martinez, say this Amendment is exacerbating New Mexico’s crime problem, and call for it to be “repealed and replaced”. Defenders of the Amendment, including the chairman of the state bail reform committee, former UNM Law School Dean Leo Romero, argue that while none of the 2010-to-2016-crime rate increase can be attributed to the later adoption of the November 2016 constitutional amendment, it will take time for prosecutors and courts to adjust to new rules. Please join host Stephen Spitz and special guest, Professor Leo Romero, as we explore bail reform in New Mexico. Produced with the assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci.

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Who is Dolores Huerta?

Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history and is our special guest this month. A new documentary about her life, Dolores, is about to change that. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, she became one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century, and continues the fight to this day, at 87. As she lead the struggle, she was attacked by false charges of immoral conduct and child neglect, which resulted in her being forced out of the union she formed. Please join host Stephen Spitz and one of the giants of the civil rights era, Dolores Huerta. Produced with the assistance of Marshall Broyles and Lynn Schibeci.

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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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