New Mexico In Depth

U.S. Census Bureau via Flickr CC

The census is one of the more important events in our democracy. Every 10 years each person is counted so that resources can be allocated, programs created, and a general understanding of the population is had. It should be a clean process. Should be. The 2020 census has proven to be anything but clean. Mud has been thrown on the process, as people and institutions attempt to manipulate the numbers, subsequently stripping power from some and giving it to others. Peppered throughout this episode is an editorial from NoMoNo about why the census matters: The state is counting on us to be counted. If you haven't completed the census form yet, do it now. It only takes a few minutes. Click here to get started.

Ichigo121212 on Pixabay / Creative Commons


COVID-19 spreads most easily in confined spaces with lots of people, so at least a dozen states have released hundreds or thousands of prisoners early to reduce outbreaks in incarcerated populations. In New Mexico’s largest state prison in Otero County, about 80% of inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus. In April, the governor announced that some prisoners would be released to stem the spread of COVID-19, but the state prisoners still in Otero County are not eligible for release because they have a sex offense on their record. Journalist Jeff Proctor with the Santa Fe Reporter and New Mexico In Depth published a report last week about the coronavirus outbreak in the Otero County Detention Center. He spoke to KUNM’s Kaveh Mowahed about why only 71 inmates have been released statewide, and why none of them were in Otero County.

John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

Tribal communities in New Mexico have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus, due to deep social and economic disparities resulting from colonization. Now, the pandemic threatens to make those disparities worse by hindering the 2020 Census count that will affect how much federal funding goes to tribes over the next decade. Shaun Griswold, urban Indigenous reporter with New Mexico In Depth, reports tribes are playing catch-up after public health shutdowns along with geography and other factors have led to low Census response rates so far. He told KUNM’s Hannah Colton that an undercount could mean a difference of millions of federal dollars going to basics like housing and education.   

my_southborough via Creative Commons / Creative Commons

Many New Mexicans are being told to stay at home and distance themselves from others to minimize the cases of COVID-19 in the state. But that’s not an option for those stuck in jails and prisons, who usually have close contact with each other in tight spaces. Expanding on an earlier episode, this conversation is all about the dangers that these inmates face – as well as the staff who oversee them and the community at large.

Jobs For Felons Hub via Flickr CC

Episode 31 is all about jails and prisons during the pandemic, and it's packed. (Plus, Your NM Gov is airing weeknights at 8 p.m. on KUNM this week.) 

We hear from:

Wikimedia Commons via CC

A 2016 federal sting operation in Albuquerque that targeted largely communities of color is raising more questions about the tactics officers used and how effective they were.  

Jeff Proctor broke the ATF sting story for New Mexico In Depth and the Santa Fe Reporter. He spoke with KUNM’s Elaine Baumgartel about what he learned when he followed up with Jennifer Padilla, one of the women who was arrested in the sting.

Rio Grande Hydrologists Worried After July Heat

Aug 3, 2016
Laura Paskus/New Mexico In Depth

During the irrigation season in New Mexico, the Rio Grande is allowed to go completely dry in some stretches. Even Saturday’s intense thunderstorm in Albuquerque hasn’t sustained flows in some regions of the river south of the city.

Were Jail Inmates Victims Of Excessive Force?

Jul 27, 2016
insunlight via Flickr / Creative Commons License

There’s been a lot of focus lately both locally and nationally on how police officers use force—sometimes deadly force—against people.

Now, New Mexico’s largest jail is back in the headlines after it was revealed that two inmates may have been the victims of excessive use of force.

Agency Downsizes Gila River Diversion Plans

Jun 27, 2016
Kevin Dooley via Flickr

It looks like state officials have scrapped a $1 billion proposal to divert water from the Gila River in southwestern New Mexico – but they’re still looking to spend $80 million to $100 million to take water from the river for towns and farmers.

APD Chief Defends Reverse Drug Sting Tactic

Jun 6, 2016
MoDOT Photos via Flickr / Creative Commons License

When you think of a drug sting operation, you might think of busting drug dealers. Last week the chief of the Albuquerque Police Department defended a reverse drug sting operation in which undercover officers posed as dealers in early May and arrested mainly homeless people and people with mental health issues who tried to buy drugs.

Unpacking Trump's Visit To N.M.

May 25, 2016
Elaine Baumgartel / KUNM

KUNM Call In Show 5/26 8a: 

Protests outside Donald Trump's Albuquerque rally became a national story after people stormed police barriers and threw rocks at officers. But before all of that went down, hundreds demonstrated peacefully for hours. 

Big Pork? Little Pork? Broken System?

Oct 14, 2015
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KUNM Call In Show 10/16 8a: 

  

A new water system for the Cebolleta Land Grant down South. A dam in Cabresto, near Taos. The new interchange at Paseo del Norte and I-25 in Albuquerque. The Spaceport. These are the kind of infrastructure projects that move water and people around the state—and maybe someday, outer space. They cost a lot of money, and some or most of that money comes from the state.

Legislature 2015: What Bills Passed?

Mar 23, 2015
Arianna Sena/KUNM

KUNM's Floyd Vasquez chatted with Gwyneth Doland about bills from the state legislature that passed this session as part of our People, Power and Democracy reporting project. Our partners are New Mexico In Depth, New Mexico PBS and the UNM Communication and Journalism Department. 

KUNM: The session ended at noon on Saturday. Now that it’s all over, tell us what happened?

Legislature 2015: What Bills Didn't Pass?

Mar 23, 2015
Arianna Sena / Creative Commons

KUNM's Chris Boros chatted with Gwyneth Doland about bills that did not pass at the state legislature this session. It's part of our People, Power and Democracy reporting project. Our partners are New Mexico In Depth, New Mexico PBS and the UNM Communication and Journalism Department. 

KUNM: We heard from you this morning about some of the bills that passed and are awaiting the governor's signature. But that was only a couple hundred bills. And there are many, many more that did not make it.

“Dark Money” Bill Dies In Santa Fe

Mar 21, 2015
Arianna Sena

Lost in the drama of Saturday was the death of legislation that would have exposed so-called "dark money” groups to more public scrutiny.

The cause of death?

Late-session disagreements and wariness in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Home Visiting Reduces Potential For Child Abuse, Experts Say

Mar 19, 2015
JZim534 via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Javier Martínez was familiar with home-visiting services when his son Camilo was born in January.

Martínez’s 2-year-old daughter Marisela participated in a program, which teaches parenting skills and provides other support for pregnant mothers and new parents and guardians. Such programs improve kids’ performance in school and beyond. And, as New Mexico In Depth and the Las Cruces Sun-News reported in December, home visiting is one way to help reduce fatal child abuse.

Legislature May Require Public Comment

Mar 16, 2015
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You may not want to listen to your nutty neighbor badger the city council about chemtrails or aliens, First Amendment advocates say allowing public comments—even wacky comments—is essential. A bill moving through the state Legislature would make it the law.

Lawmakers Consider How To Regulate Money In Politics

Mar 16, 2015

Guy Bowers imagines his phone ringing off the hook if New Mexico were to return to the days of contributors giving unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns.

Lottery Proposal: More Cash Prizes Would Yield More Scholarships

Mar 14, 2015
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The cost of tuition at New Mexico public universities is rising and more students are taking advantage of the lottery scholarship, which pays almost full tuition for qualifying students—but fewer people are buying the scratch-off tickets that fuel the scholarship fund.

That’s one of the factors contributing to a slow-building crisis in scholarship funding.

Unions Give Big In New Mexico Politics

Mar 13, 2015
nathangibbs via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Campaign cash may be as much at the heart of the the fight over union membership laws in New Mexico as the dispute over union dues, though no one will directly say so.

Labor unions spent nearly $2.8 million in the 2013-14 election cycle, virtually all of that going to Democratic political action committees and candidates, a New Mexico In Depth analysis shows.

The bulk of that money – more than $1.7 million – went to Patriot Majority New Mexico, a political action committee, or super PAC, supporting Democratic House candidates.

State Offers Child-Care Help For More Than 1,000 Children

Feb 23, 2015
Heath Haussamen

More than 1,000 additional New Mexico children could receive government-funded child-care assistance if their parents or guardians ask for it.

The state’s Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) is clearing a waiting list of 1,119 children, saying it now has the funds available to offer assistance for childcare.

Agency spokesman Henry Varela confirmed the administration of Gov. Susana Martinez is paying for the extra child-care assistance using $400,000 from millions of dollars in unspent federal funds.

Lobbying At The Roundhouse

Feb 17, 2015
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KUNM Call In Show 2/19 8a: 

When the New Mexico legislature convenes in Santa Fe, lobbyists flock to the Roundhouse to pitch their clients' issues and legislation. Often those pitches involve free food, drinks and other gifts.

We'll look at the industries that spend the most money to convince lawmakers to support their ideas. We'll also ask how lobbyists affect which bills are passed and which measures stall.

We'd like to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online or call in live during the show. 

Guests: 

Payday Lending Industry Gives Big

Feb 16, 2015
frankieleon via Flickr / Creative Commons

Storefront lending companies and affiliated associations gave nearly $140,000 to New Mexico public officials and political action committees in 2013 and 2014, according to an analysis of data from the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office.

The bulk of that -- $115,805 -- went to dozens of elected officials, including Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, Democratic Attorney General Hector Balderas and more than half of the members of the New Mexico Legislature, Democrats and Republicans alike.

Lobbyist Events Fill NM Legislature's Social Calendar

Feb 16, 2015
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The New Mexico Legislature’s social calendar this year is packed with breakfasts, dinners, receptions and more.

The wining and dining of state lawmakers by individual lobbyists and organizations that have legislation before decision makers is an annual tradition in Santa Fe.

Roswell Braces For Departure Of Health Services Provider

Jan 28, 2015
Chris Blakeley via Flickr / Creative Commons license

Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh reached into his shoulder bag and pulled out a four-page brochure Monday at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

The pamphlet the former Republican state lawmaker held begins with this statement in bold lettering: “The behavioral health system in Chaves County is in crisis.”

The brochure is the product of an ad hoc committee formed by a state court district judge in Roswell, Kintigh says. The pamphlet goes on to warn of the consequences when a community has too few services for the mentally ill and other vulnerable populations.

Lawmakers Push To Shine A Light On Dark Money

Jan 26, 2015
Rrrodrigo via Flickr

In December the National Institute on Money in State Politics graded all 50 states on how much information they require independent groups to disclose about their donors. New Mexico got an F. In fact, we were one of only four states to score a zero.

Committee Shakeup In The House

Jan 23, 2015
Creative Commons

New Mexico’s 60-day legislative session kicked off this week. KUNM’s Gwyneth Doland checked in with New Mexico In Depth’s Sandra Fish on what she’s seen so far.

Doland for KUNM: So Fish, what did you think of your first week at the capitol?

Fish: Well, Gwyneth, I was focused on the House where Republicans took over for the first time in 60 years. And to my knowledge no one around the Roundhouse had anything to compare that to.

Behavioral Health Audit Firm Didn’t Follow Normal Practice

Oct 30, 2014
audit screen shot

A Massachusetts firm that audited 15 health organizations in New Mexico last year normally gives companies it’s scrutinizing a chance to respond before issuing official findings.

It is a common practice for auditors. Running the findings by staff gives organizations the opportunity to refute findings or address misunderstandings. It’s a way of ensuring the accuracy of an audit, among other things.

PAC Ads Target State House Races

Oct 28, 2014

Two political action committees are targeting state House races with television ads to air through Election Day.

Patriot Majority New Mexico, a union-funded state level PAC, is spending almost $96,000 to air 157 ads supporting Democrats and opposing Republicans in Albuquerque and El Paso.

Outside Groups Spar In Secretary Of State, AG Races

Oct 20, 2014

An outside GOP group is airing ads against New Mexico's Democratic candidate for attorney general, while a Democratic group is attacking the Republican secretary of state.

And if you’re counting down to Election Day, include at least 5,000 political ads on TV in your tally. That’s about the number of ads currently scheduled to run between Friday and Nov. 4.

But that’s only about 18 percent of more than 27,000 TV ads that have been contracted to air for New Mexico campaigns during 2014.

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