Just when you think the rifts between Democrats and Republicans are too great for anything good to happen, here comes a bipartisan plan to revamp the New Mexico Senate district boundaries. District Judge James Hall approved the compromise plan last week, which had the support of Gov. Susana Martinez, some other Republicans, a group of Democrats and Native Americans.
The plan pits two Republican incumbents in the southeastern part of the state against each other, and a pair of Albuquerque Democrats against each other, but leaders from both parties are saying that’s OK. The judge said in his ruling that the compromise plan satisfied the legal requirements of population equality and reasonably preserved political and geographic boundaries. He also said the plan protects Native American voting rights by creating three districts in northwestern New Mexico in which Native Americans of voting age make up more than two-thirds of the population.
Leaders of both parties called it a fair plan. Not everyone favored it, but it had enough support, and substance, to streamline the legal proceedings and win the favor of the judge.
Wouldn’t it be nice if party leaders could springboard off such a cooperative effort and find even more common ground during the current legislative session? A fair amount of friction between the parties is healthy, but we’re getting tired of unnecessary gridlock.
We’d prefer to see a little less partisanship and a little more common sense in dealing with the issues facing our state.
Under our feet
The Albuquerque Journal reported on a scientific study, recently released, that says the earth’s crust in New Mexico is stretching at a rate of about an inch every 40 years — at the Rio Grande Rift, which splits the state essentially down the middle. The tear in the Earth’s crust helps to define the state’s central mountain chain and the Rio Grande Valley to the south.
Scientists were surprised to find the stretching so spread out. The stretching and straining of earth’s crust is a well-known phenomenon at the edge of continental plates, but this kind of activity in continental interiors is something of a puzzle to scientists.
It’s just another fascinating physical feature of the Land of Enchantment.