Letters to the Editor, Oct. 15

Farmington Daily Times

Show us you care, Senator Udall

Senator Tom Udall recently expressed his concerns in regard to the BLM delaying implementation of the methane rule, citing specifically the royalties New Mexico is losing due to methane not being captured from natural gas wells in the state.  

Shortly after the outrage about the methane rule, some oil and gas industry officials expressed their concerns about the continual delays in getting drilling permits approved by the BLM in New Mexico.  This is also causing New Mexico to lose royalties, but I did not read that Senator Udall is concerned about permitting delays.

If he is truly concerned about increasing royalty payments to New Mexico he should be encouraging the BLM to approve new drilling permits in a timely manner.  I can guarantee you the royalties received from new shale wells will be far greater than any increase in royalties realized by capturing methane from old gas wells that are barely making enough gas to pay their operating costs.  

So, come on, Senator Udall, show us you really care about increasing royalty payments to New Mexico and urge BLM to approve new drilling permits.  

Jeff Peace 


We need God — and guns

People: We have a problem. We do not need guns out of our country. Guns in the right hands, founded this country, and have defended it ever since.

Just the mere presence of civilian guns and God, in this country have kept invaders from attack. Switzerland seems to use that tactic quite well.

Those men were not only well trained in the use of firearms, they were well trained in God’s word. 

We have so few people today, well trained in Gods word.

Those people had to depend on God and their guns, for survival, to put food on their table and clothes on their backs.

We no longer have that situation, or requirement. Walmart provides our food and clothing. Almost every home has an abundant water supply, provided by a municipality. Do you worship that "rock"? Living Water faucet?

God started that program, in the Garden of Eden. And the people rebelled. And God destroyed. Genesis 1:29-30 Genesis 3:23-24 

God started that program again, with the Hebrews in the Wilderness.

With His free manna every morning, and free quail every night. And free water from a rock at all times. Exodus 16:4 16:12 and 17:6

And those people rebelled. Deuteronomy Chapter 1:26-40

And God destroyed. Numbers 14:30-38 Except the two men who believed God.

And those under 20 years old. Exodus 30:14

God asks in Numbers 14:11-12 How long will these people despise ME? In spite of all the signs? Columbine and Sandy Hook to Vegas. 

We have a God problem, not a gun problem. 

God is destroying us, not the guns.

Even Jesus says: John10:30 "The Father and I are one."

Maybe Jesus is involved with this stuff as well.

We need God back in our country. And guns to defend Him.

We don't need "church," we need God.

Psalms 127:1 Unless God builds it, your building will be destroyed.

Hosea 4:6 My people perish for lack of knowledge, (not lack of church)

since they forget ME, I will forget them, and their children.

Guy Mraz 


Facts about the retirement board

An article in the New York-based International Business Times alleging that Gov. Susana Martinez influenced investment decisions at the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board is simply false. The Governor does not initiate, suggest or influence investment decisions by NMERB.

Staff and Trustees are solely interested in making investments in the best interest of NMERB and its beneficiaries as required by our fiduciary duty. Our members can be confident that politics does not play a role in management of the fund’s resources for their retirement.

Laws passed following New Mexico’s prior “pay-to-play” issues focus on placement agents, not campaign contributions. Not only is the NMERB in compliance with state law regarding placement agents, but the policy exceeds the law’s standards. 

Of the hundreds of investments made by NMERB, the International Business Times found only one that may or may not be in violation of the SEC rules regarding a two-year “blackout” period on contributions. NMERB has asked the manager, EnerVest, for a thorough explanation of this situation.

This is NMERB’s process:

• While the Governor appoints three Trustees to the Board, there has never been any influence on investment selection by her appointees or any other Trustee. The Trustees who serve on the Investment Committee have final approval of investments, but they do not influence the manager selection process. In 2015, only one gubernatorial appointee served on the four-member Investment Committee.

• The manager selection process is conducted and controlled by the NMERB staff and consultants, until one or more finalists are presented to the Investment Committee for approval.

• The Trustees do not know which managers are under consideration until the final approval at the Investment Committee. Whether a manager has made or will make a campaign contribution to anyone is irrelevant to NMERB’s selection process.  The Board and staff gather that information as part of their due diligence process. The information is made public, but does not influence the decision.

• Despite that fact that we are not required to do so by state or federal laws or Securities Exchange Commission regulations, ERB has voluntarily adopted a transparency policy of requiring managers to disclose and make public contributions.

• One of the contractual provisions for NMERB managers is a representation that they are in material compliance with SEC regulations. NMERB doesn’t police campaign finance laws because it has neither the enforcement authority nor the resources or expertise.

• Our campaign contribution disclosure requirement is based on the New Mexico procurement code requirements for state contracting.  Those requirements do not include what the article calls “independent expenditure” groups such as the Republican Governors Association and other third-party Political Action Committees (PACs).

• The increased allocation to alternatives is part of our long-term strategy since 2007 to reduce risk and volatility. Our alternative assets have performed very well, and many other public pension plans are following this strategy.

• Three investment groups were singled out by the article: Enervest, BP Capital and Crow. In all cases, these investments have generated positive returns for ERB. Since inception through of March 31 2017, the one EnerVest investment has returned just short of 10 percent in income and capital appreciation, net of fees, the BP investment has returned 99 percent. NMERB has invested in three Crow funds.  The first has returned almost 10 percent, the second just over 8 percent.  The third has not yet drawn any capital, so there is no relevant performance information to be reported as of March 31.

Board Chair Mary Lou Cameron said she is very comfortable that all investments are in the best interest of members. “The Board’s role is to ensure sustainability of our pension benefits for our members. Our staff’s responsibility is to recommend the best investments to us, while informing us of any political contributions made by investment managers.”

In short, all NMERB actions comply with all relevant legal, ethical and fiduciary standards and have grown the fund to over $12 billion for our members’ retirement.

Jan Goodwin

Executive Director

New Mexico Educational Retirement Board