State should be compensated for taken land

State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn came out with rhetorical guns blazing last week when it was announced that state Trust Land was among two areas within the Rio Grande National Monument near Taos that were included in the U.S. Senate’s energy bill for wilderness status, calling the move a “land grab” that is “tantamount to […]

McDonald: Being a cop requires accountability

It’s tough to be a cop these days. It always has been, but in today’s climate it’s particularly difficult. And it’s not just nationally, it’s local too, right here in cities and towns across New Mexico. Nationally, a new era of aggressive scrutiny of police shootings rose out of Ferguson, Missouri, when an 18-year-old black […]

Nice that school board’s making effort to do right

A little sunshine made its way into a public meeting last week. Portales’ school board acknowledged its recent failure in adhering to the state’s Open Meetings Act, then took action to correct errors and make the public’s business a little more transparent. The board on April 12 went into executive session, saying it planned to […]

Sloan: Best journalism involves digging

While attending the recent New Mexico Press Women Convention (open to everyone) in Albuquerque, I heard several panelists discuss the state of journalism. With so many competing news sources, staff sizes have been sliced. Thousands of veteran journalists have lost their jobs, with newspapers and broadcast media often retaining less experienced and lower paid reporters. […]

Letters to the editor — May 1

Golf course reflects great community As a 12-year-old kid first introduced to golf in Montana, I did not care that we only had a nine-hole course. It didn’t matter that our course had no water hazards or sand traps. Golf was far too challenging anyway. It didn’t matter to me if the greens were mowed […]

Diversity key to country’s energy security

Energy can be a strategic weapon, not just a commodity, and oil production has become a key lever in a price war between the U.S. and foreign oil producers that are targeting the U.S. oil industry. American producers are up against tough and unfair competition from massive government-owned companies that recently declined to curtail production […]

McDonald: Election outcome is on young voters

The older you get, the more you appreciate history, because you’ve lived through so much of it. And in this year, history is being written in dynamic and unpredictable ways. So don’t blink or you might miss it. Here in New Mexico, the tumult isn’t so obvious. We mostly live in small villages, towns and […]

Time stolen tax dollars used for jail as said

Curry County commissioners made a good decision last week. Yes, that’s news. They’re not known for such. They made the right call when they decided to continue with plans to make $10 million worth of improvements to the Curry County jail rather than slam the brakes on the project and invest instead in something shiny […]

Sloan: You can influence perception, too

My book-of-the-month summary for April is “Get Anyone to Do Anything: And Never Feel Powerless Again” (St. Martin’s Press, 2000) by David Lieberman. The 180-page work offers strategies for avoiding being manipulated, ending verbal conflicts, influencing and motivating others, winning friends and changing how others perceive you. Tips: • Deal with complaints by listening and […]

Stevens: Majority rule root of discrimination

A fictional fellow with a political agenda walked into a newspaper editor’s office with a letter he wanted published. The letter was 301 words long. The editor told him the word limit was 300. “How about we take out one word?” the editor asked. “No,” the fellow said. “Can we change ‘unexpected surprise’ to ‘surprise?’” […]

Important that tax problem be sorted soon

Two lawsuits contend the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department is sitting on refunds — years of them — that rightfully belong to immigrant taxpayers as a means to further Gov. Susana Martinez’s supposed anti-immigrant agenda. The state Taxation and Revenue Department says in turn that the only returns being held up are those that […]

McDonald: Pro-pot voters may sway election

Last week I wrote about how Gary Johnson, the probable Libertarian Party nominee for president, and how he has a shot, albeit a long one, at actually getting elected this time around. (You can read it at gazettemediaservices.com; click the Dispatch New Mexico link). I failed, however, to mention upon his advocacy for the legalization […]

Secrecy, despite intent, no good in government

Elected officials make decisions for all of us. They cannot make those decisions in secret — even if they say their intentions are good. Two recent incidents have caught our attention. Both are long-time traditions, we’re told, and both need to stop immediately. The first is Clovis City Commission’s routine of voting on committee appointments […]

Sloan: Make kindness your default mode

After beginning a satirical column about ISIS selling space on their clothes to advertisers — such as: “Come to Our Big Sale at Sloan’s Autos: We Are Blowing Up Prices!” — I received word that a professional acquaintance, 31, had committed suicide. That ISIS column is now on hold. His final Facebook post at 3:41 […]

Wilson: Life, news has left me conflicted

This last week has me conflicted, for various reasons. • No statement fills me with more internal conflict than, “Mr. Wilson, your insurance should take care of this today, but if there is a balance we will just bill you the difference.” So I’m free to go … as long as I don’t check my […]

New Mexicans get very little for tax bucks

In the world most law-abiding New Mexicans live in, when there is too much month at the end of the money, residents first look to where they can become more efficient and where they can economize. They do not usually look first to where they can get a fast buck. But the latter is how […]

McDonald: Libertarians have best shot ever

In this year of tumultuous political uncertainties, a viable third-party candidate could easily emerge —perhaps in the form of our own Gary Johnson. Johnson, New Mexico’s former Republican governor, is hoping to run for president for a second time as the Libertarian Party nominee. With his adopted party’s national convention less than two months away, […]

FBI website does well teaching beliefs vs. actions

A coalition of groups is calling on the FBI to shut down its “Don’t Be a Puppet” anti-terrorist website, claiming it targets American Muslims and establishes a thought police in schools. If anything, “Don’t Be a Puppet” goes out of its way to differentiate between “extremist thoughts (which) are not against the law” and those […]

Sloan: Hankins leads scrapbook-worthy life

Every resident at Heartland Continuing Care Center in Portales could be the subject of a can’t-put-down book. Hank Hankins, 88, actually is the subject of one — a scrapbook of photos with captions his daughter Linda created. In the activities room where residents play Scrabble, Skip-Bo (a card game) and dominoes — a game in […]

Stevens: Put your sleuthing skills to the test

So you’ve watched 1,000 TV crime shows and you’re pretty sure you’d make a good police detective. OK. See what you make of this case: Dennis Huggins and Art Ferro were in the same place at the same time, around 2 a.m. Tuesday. That’s about all they agree on. Here’s what Huggins had to say, […]