I strongly support the constitutional amendment to require education and professional qualifications for the Public Regulation Commission (PRC).
My degree and work experience provide the background necessary to run my business properly. To understand the complex issues involved in the regulation of utilities and other major industries, I expect commissioners to have the appropriate education and experience as well.
The current PRC District 1 race is a perfect illustration of why we desperately need the amendment.
While reading profiles of both candidates, I learned that Christopher Ocksrider is a practicing attorney who also has an MBA and a BA in business. However, Karen Montoya does not have a degree in any discipline and has no work experience in business, the energy industry, or any other industry regulated by the PRC. This position is too important for on-the-job training.
Voters should be able to choose the candidate that they believe is best suited to the position, while knowing that either is competent to hold the office. Regardless of the outcome, we should have confidence that the winner is qualified and that consumers and businesses will be treated fairly.
Instead, the current system forces us to pick the only qualified candidate, and it even provides the possibility that no qualified candidate would be on the ballot so voters would be left with a lose-lose proposition.
This fall, I urge voters to approve Constitutional Amendment 2 to impose qualifications standards for the PRC and ensure we have proper representation. If they do not, we could continue to have ridiculous mismatches, or worse yet, races between aspiring Jerome Block Jr. juniors.
Scott Harenberg Albuquerque
2012 Money Pit
It’s hard to fathom the millions and millions of dollars that are being funneled into this election. With the only end in sight being Nov. 6, the money spent on the loser—and the winner, for that matter—is money down the drain.
Think about it: We spend unheard of amounts of money electing a guy (usually) who promises change in our interest, rather than spending the money on the change itself. For example, instead of sending a fat check to our local schools for new books, new teachers and technologies, we spend the money on a politician who promises to “fix” our education system. Yet election after election, we are disappointed in the results.
After the presidential debate on Wednesday, I watched the backlash of Facebook and Twitter posts proclaiming the absent Gary Johnson as the winner of the debate. Will Gary Johnson win? Absolutely not. Why? Because he is up against monumental amounts of money. The only solution is to give Gary Johnson a ton of money to become a player in the political world. This is the never-ending cycle. Our elections will only get more expensive as the years go on. Can Mr. Smith go to Washington anymore? The answer is yes, but only with some friends with deep pockets.
Eric J. Orona Albuquerque
An interesting linguistic event happened to Mitt Romney during the first presidential debate. You see, he used 90 minutes and thousands of words to say two words: never mind. Never mind that he threw 47 percent of Americans under the bus. Never mind that he and Paul Ryan want to repeal Pell grants. Never mind that he wants to deny health insurance to people with pre-existing conditions ...
Apparently Romney’s experienced a true miracle. After his epiphany, he picked those 47 percent up from under his bus, gave them first aid and now wants to care for them as any good compassionate person would. He's even going to send their children to college with federal aid. He's going to give health coverage to all those folks with pre-existing conditions. He'll give tax breaks to the middle class. He sounded so good the other night he could be Obama's running mate.
I, for one, can see right through his facade. Regardless of how many times he says "never mind," he will always be that corporate glamour boy looking to find more paths to corporate profits. Let’s hope that path doesn't lead to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Jeffrey Paul Albuquerque
Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”
This year, we hope every eligible voter will take the time to cast a vote in the Nov. 6 election. The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission recently completed its evaluations of Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Bosson, and Court of Appeals Judges Roderick T. Kennedy and Michael Vigil, who are scheduled to stand for retention. Under the state’s Constitution, these three appellate judges must receive at least 57 percent voter approval to remain on the bench.
Unlike other elected officials, these individuals are not running against an actual opponent. Instead, they are asking voters to allow them to remain in their current positions on the bench. Judges and justices standing for retention typically do not make campaign speeches, take a position on issues, or run advertisements. They run on their record of performance; however, many voters may not know where to look for information about their performance so they may make an informed decision.
That is where the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) can help. JPEC was established in 1997 by the New Mexico Supreme Court as a nonpartisan volunteer commission charged with providing voters with fair, responsible and constructive evaluations of individual judges seeking retention, and providing judges with useful information concerning their performance.
We evaluate judges in four main areas: 1) fairness, 2) legal knowledge, 3) communication skills, and 4) preparation, attentiveness, temperament and control over the proceedings. To do this, the JPEC reviews information from several sources: written opinions, caseload statistics, interviews, judges’ self-evaluations and independent surveys. The results of confidential mid-term surveys from past years are also reviewed. Our evaluations are based on the overall performance of the justice or judge instead of focusing on specific decisions or opinions. The JPEC then produces a narrative for each appellate judge with a recommendation of “retain,” “do not retain,” or “no opinion.”
In 2012, the Commission makes the following recommendations to voters:
Hon. Justice Richard C. Bosson, Supreme Court of New Mexico – Retain
Hon. Judge Roderick T. Kennedy, New Mexico Court of Appeals – Retain
Hon. Michael Vigil, New Mexico Court of Appeals – Retain
Our retention recommendations are not intended to imply that every judge received excellent or perfect marks from all groups surveyed. Instead, they indicate that their overall ratings were sufficient to recommend retention and that they responded positively to suggestions for improvement based on confidential mid-term evaluations.
The narratives, recommendations, and complete statistical survey results are available on the JPEC website at nmjpec.org, or can be requested in writing by calling (505) 827-4960.
It is important that citizens take the time to review the information the JPEC has provided so that they can make an informed decision and cast a vote in the November election. Those votes determine whether the appellate judges will be retained for another term.
The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission encourages every voter to do their part in improving our judiciary by making their voice heard. Each vote does count, so please vote in all races and ballot measures, including the judicial retention elections.
Denise Torres and James Hall N.M. Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.