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The debate thread

Refuse the Juice - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 9:54am
If you guys want to chat about the debate - use this post. I did not watch it live. I think it's a bum deal that Beto is getting flack for speaking Spanish. The man is trying to be inclusive... Brad Kanus
Categories: Local Blogs

In San Elizario, Texas, residential growth competes with cotton farming for land

Borderzine - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 8:38am

Many Borderlanders may not realize that El Paso County’s Lower Valley is one of the nation’s largest cotton producers. But the valley’s historical farming communities like San Elizario, Texas, face a struggle to continue working the land.

“Cotton farming in San Elizario can be traced back to the early 19th century in the El Paso Lower Valley,” says Orlando Flores, of Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Services. “Originally the county produced grapes, the Mission Grapes, but died off due to a fungus. After that, cotton was introduced into the valley.”

Cotton fields in Clint, Texas being flooded by irrigation canals. Photo courtesy Orlando Flores, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Services.

Cotton became popular and turned out to be a major cash crop for El Paso’s upper and lower river valleys. The dry environment, low humidity, and high elevation of the region allows for a longer growing season which makes it the area ideal for growing large amounts of cotton. Many of the cotton fields in the Upper Valley were sold off to housing developers years ago, making the Lower Valley the highest producer of cotton in the area today.

“The Rio Grande is very significant to agricultural life in San Elizario and allows for a different type of farming,” Flores says.

Cotton harvester gathers Pima Cotton in the Lower Valley. Photo courtesy Orlando Flores, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Services.

Instead of using sprinkler systems, farmers in the Lower Valley use a traditional style of acequia irrigation, that involves communal irrigation canals and flooding the fields with water. Spanish colonies in the American Southwest used this type of irrigation system in places such as New Mexico, Texas, California, and Colorado.

Pima cotton, considered the best quality of cotton, and upland cotton are what the region grows. According to Texas A&M Agrilife, about 60% of the crop in the El Paso area is high-quality Pima cotton.

“El Paso County is responsible for about 50% of the state of Texas’s cotton crop. It is huge and people don’t realize that,” Flores says. “We are the largest Pima cotton producers in the state of Texas with over 200,000 acres across the entire Lower Valley and only second to the state California.”

But the agriculture tradition of the Lower Valley is showing signs of fading. Shannon Skov, a cotton farmer in Clint, Texas, says the art of farming is slowly dying due to labor shortages and the opportunity to cash out by selling land to developers.

“It is more profitable to sell your land than to farm it and finding people who are willing to work on farms is difficult.”

Many farmers in the Lower Valley rely on family to help plant, water and harvest the crops. But with younger generations following other career paths, farms have become more difficult for families to maintain on their own.

“Farmers rely heavily on migrant workers,” Skov says. She says it is harder to find workers these days.

Meanwhile, as the city of San Elizario grows, acres of fields are being lost to a housing boom. According to U.S. Census, the city had 4,000 residents in 2010, which has grown to more than 9,000 in 2017. Most residents now work outside of the city, with an average commute of about 40 minutes. Primary employment sectors for residents are construction, healthcare, retail and government.

“There still is agricultural life in San Elizario. You can still find alfalfa, pecans, cotton, and Sudan grass in the area, but more and more acres of land are being sold,” Flores says.

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Click hear to read In San Elizario, Texas, residential growth competes with cotton farming for land

Categories: Local Blogs

San Antonio v El Paso - Shots Fired

Max Powers - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 6:29am
Oh, man. Did you see what happened last night? Some little guy named Julian Castro from San Antonio beat-up on y'alls boy, Roberto O'Rourke. First, San Antonio took Sea World from y'all. Now, it is San Antonio's third-rate presidential candidate that beats up on your second-rate presidential candidate. The worse... Max Powers
Categories: Local Blogs

Can this be true?

ElPasoSpeak - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 5:00am

David K over at Refuse the Juice wrote this in a recent blog post:

“Streetcar” update… A friend reached out to tell me they were in El Paso last week and road the trolley.  She mentioned something about a baseball derailing a care recently, but was otherwise happy with her ride.  She had to take an Uber back to her hotel, though.  The whole thing struck me as funny.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Father-Daughter Death Left Me Without Words

EPN - Border Analysis - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 10:00pm
You have either heard about or saw the picture of the father and daughter who drowned only inches […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Joe Biden's Immigration Hypocrisy

US Immigration Reform Forum - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 12:57pm
Joe Biden's Immigration Hypocrisy


Source: Joe Biden's Immigration Hypocrisy

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Reason Magazine Immigration Feed
Categories: Local Blogs

Children Shouldn?t Be Dying at the Border. Here?s How You Can Help.

US Immigration Reform Forum - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 12:56pm
Children Shouldn?t Be Dying at the Border. Here?s How You Can Help.

Speak up. Donate. Educate yourself. Vote.
Source: Children Shouldn?t Be Dying at t...
Categories: Local Blogs

What is the motive?

Refuse the Juice - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 11:15am
Max can say whatever he wants about how historical designations are totally meaningless for property owners, but that won't make it true. You don't seek and receive the designation without giving up something. Otherwise, they'd just hand them out to... Brad Kanus
Categories: Local Blogs

Ballpark lease

ElPasoSpeak - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 5:00am

There were some questions last week about the contract between the city and the group that owns the Chihuahuas.

This post from some time back will provide some details

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

America First = American Imperialism

US Immigration Reform Forum - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 12:14am
America First = American Imperialism


Source: America First = American Imperialism

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Reason Magazine Immigration Feed
Categories: Local Blogs

The Stupidity of Congress

EPN - Border Analysis - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:00pm
Want to understand why nothing ever happens in Congress? Look no further than the idea that Congress can […]
Categories: Local Blogs

U.S. Government Says Migrant Children Deserve Dirty, Traumatizing Conditions

US Immigration Reform Forum - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 1:13pm
U.S. Government Says Migrant Children Deserve Dirty, Traumatizing Conditions


Source: U.S. Government Says Migrant Children Deserve Dirty, Traumatizing Conditions

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Reason Magazine Immigration Feed
Categories: Local Blogs

Where is the Times actually printed?

ElPasoSpeak - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 5:00am

Am I mistaken in my belief that the Times is still printed in El Paso while the layout and design are done out of town?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

El Chapo To Be Sentenced Today

EPN - Border Analysis - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 10:00pm
El Chapo Guzmán was found guilty of violating several federal charges related to drug trafficking on February 12. […]
Categories: Local Blogs

We're at the 'Concentration Camp Semantics' Stage of 2019 Now

US Immigration Reform Forum - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 9:19am
We're at the 'Concentration Camp Semantics' Stage of 2019 Now


Source: We're at the 'Concentration Camp Semantics' Stage of 2019 Now

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Reason Magazine Immigration Feed
Categories: Local Blogs

Trump?s Immigration Plan Would Have Missed This Nobel Prize Winner

US Immigration Reform Forum - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 9:19am
Trump?s Immigration Plan Would Have Missed This Nobel Prize Winner

I.I. Rabi came up with the idea behind M.R.I.s. Who brought it to fruition? A man whose family fled genocide.
Source: [url=https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/24/opinion...
Categories: Local Blogs

The Terrible Things Trump Is Doing in Our Name

US Immigration Reform Forum - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 9:19am
The Terrible Things Trump Is Doing in Our Name

One year ago, Trump outlawed family separation. It hasn?t stopped.
Source: The Terrible Things Trum...
Categories: Local Blogs

Reader poll

ElPasoSpeak - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 5:00am

Frater Jason has recently written comments about people learning more about our Constitution.

Should the blog start a series of posts that reprint the Constitution?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

The 2020 Elections Will Be Shaped By Immigration Bashing

EPN - Border Analysis - Sun, 06/23/2019 - 10:00pm
Some of you may have noticed that I missed two days of blog posts last week – Wednesday […]
Categories: Local Blogs

New report explores New Mexico education system’s downward trend under Martinez administration

Borderzine - Sun, 06/23/2019 - 12:17pm

That’s a stark ranking, the second year in a row New Mexico earned that distinction.

For detractors and supporters of former governor Susana Martinez, there’s a lot to digest in the numbers released Monday because they track with nearly her entire tenure.

The chart below shows the Kids Count rankings in several categories for 2012-2019, but most of the data comes from 2010-17 (Rankings go back to 1990, but a different methodology was used in those years, making direct comparison difficult).

“It very much is a reflection of what happened, and more specifically, what didn’t happen during the Martinez years,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which monitors the indicators for New Mexico.

“Fundamentally, the story the data tells is there was a real failure by the Martinez administration to invest in youth, children and families in a way that made much of a difference in terms of these kinds of rankings,” he said. Jimenez was chief of staff to Martinez’s predecessor, Democrat Bill Richardson.

Behind the numbers

It’s worth digging into the 16 categories to see where the state has been and where it’s going.

The report for 2012, based on data from Martinez’s first year in office, shows the state 49th in child wellbeing. In 2018 and 2019, New Mexico ranked  50th. But there are nuances within those numbers. There have been some important improvements that Martinez gets credit for, despite the overall trend downward.

Probably the biggest strides have been in early education, where the Legislature and governor increased access to preschool during lean budget years. When Martinez started, 61% of 3- and 4-year-olds did not attend preschool, for a ranking of 44. In 2017, that was down to 56%, and New Mexico jumped to 29th in the nation in that category.

Another high-profile action by Martinez was to accept Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, something many other Republican governors rejected at the time.

“The one area where she did do well in, and we give her credit for, is the Medicaid expansion. That had an immediate and dramatic impact on some of the health stats for our children,” Jimenez said.

That action cut the child uninsurance rate in half, from 10% down to 5%, with New Mexico zooming past 12 states in that area.

Still, two big areas that Martinez focused on — K-12 education and the economy — showed little sign of budging. Fourth-graders not proficient in reading went from 79% to 75%, with no change in ranking, and 8th-graders not proficient in math went from 76% to 80%, dropping New Mexico four slots to 49th. As for economic well-being, a slightly smaller percentage of children live in poverty, 27% in 2017. That rate fluctuated between 29% and 31% during her time in office. Other economic conditions have stagnated or gotten worse for families who struggle to access secure employment and affordable housing.

That’s despite Martinez’s push to diversify the state’s economy through tax incentives and a corporate tax cut in 2013.

“Clearly the trickle down approach didn’t work,” Jimenez said. “Tax incentives as a way to spur economic development as a general policy has almost always failed in our state and in our country.”

New Mexico In Depth has contacted former Gov. Martinez for an interview about the Kid’s Count numbers, but has not heard back.

However, on her legacy website, Martinez touted the increase in the number of students graduating from high school and college. “High school graduation rates have increased to an all-time high of 73.9% in K-12 public schools, with graduation rates for Hispanic and low-income students growing at a faster rate than the rest of the state,” the website said.

The site also touted Martinez’s use of a $50 million closing fund for economic development projects that created more than 8,000 new jobs.

Where to next?

Jimenez said to really move the numbers on child wellbeing in New Mexico would take a unified approach between the governor and Legislature. That was difficult to achieve during the Martinez administration, when the Republican governor and Democratic-controlled Legislature had different ideas about the way forward.

One thing that can help bring a cohesive approach to child wellbeing is the newly passed Early Childhood Education and Care Department, he said.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was a backer of the department, which will bring together all programs serving children from birth to age 5. Tripp Stelnicki, a spokesman for the governor, said interviews for a secretary to lead the department are taking place now.

“It will be a lot of work and a sizable investment to stand up this new agency, but well worth it when we deliver the turnaround New Mexico kids and families deserve,” Stelnicki said.

He also said the governor would take a comprehensive approach to improving child wellbeing, rather than “cherry pick” solutions.

Still, he said, Lujan Grisham did plan to keep pushing the Legislature aggressively on early childhood education. (Her attempts during the past legislative session to get money for preschool from the Land Grant Permanent Fund fell on deaf ears, though she did manage to get a hearing in front of the Senate Finance Committee, a first for the idea.)

NM Voices’ Jimenez said his group was pleased with the change in direction coming from the governor’s office, and saw two areas where the state could dramatically alter the trajectory for New Mexico’s children.

The first was in education.

“We’re pretty excited about the way they are speaking about culturally and linguistically appropriate education for our children. They’re not operating under the assumption that the national standardized tests ought to be the metric against which we measure children’s success,” Jimenez said.

He said the state should also shift its strategy from economic development to workforce development.

“What industry really needs is a workforce. We would recommend to the governor that. Let’s focus on ensuring we have the workforce a 21st century economy needs,” Jimenez said.

This article first appeared on New Mexico In Depth and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Click hear to read New report explores New Mexico education system’s downward trend under Martinez administration

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by Dr. Radut