Piñon Post

Herrell goes scorched-earth on open-borders Vasquez

Far-left Democrat Rep. Gabe Vasquez voted multiple times against a slew of bills that would help alleviate the border crisis happening in New Mexico’s Second Congressional District. He even voted against the bipartisan “Laken Riley Act” to mandate that immigration authorities detain non-citizens charged with crimes.

Now, in New Mexico, border agents have conceded Mt. Cristo Rey in Santa Teresa to the Cartel, as we reported this week.

“Friday, I wrote to you about the infuriating story of illegal immigrants waltzing into our children’s schools,” wrote Republican former Congresswoman Yvette Herrell, who is running against Vasquez, regarding a recent story about illegal immigrants camping out in Santa Teresa Middle School to evade authorities. She went on to talk about the Mt. Cristo Rey development.

“Invasions serve one purpose: to conquer,” Herrell continued. “Not only do we not have control of our southern border – we are now losing our territory to illegal immigrants over Joe Biden’s and Gabe Vasquez’s open border and pro-illegal immigration policies.”

She added, “Our national security and sovereignty are being threatened, our children are not safe, drugs and human trafficking are spilling into our country, and Americans are being killed. There is nothing more important than securing our border, arresting and deporting illegal immigrants, and stopping this invasion now!”

“Gabe Vasquez should be held accountable for treason for actively encouraging this, but we need to start by defeating him in November,” concluded Herrell.

The border issue is set to be a key issue in November, with the invasion at the southern border creating a humanitarian crisis, with drugs like deadly fentanyl, human trafficking, weapon smuggling, and even pedophiles seeping across the border, as we previously reported. Vasquez, who is vehemently against border security, has refused to back efforts to stem the flow of illegal immigration. 

Lujan Grisham’s eco-leftist crusade pushes extreme mandate forward

New Mexico continues its crusade against gas vehicles in the attempt to force electric vehicles (EVs) on its roads, as state regulators recently dismissed a bid to pause the enactment of new regulations aimed at increasing EV availability despite ongoing legal disputes. 

With a 4-1 vote, the state’s leftist Environmental Improvement Board decided against the New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association’s request to halt the implementation of these EV mandates amidst the association’s legal challenge in the state Court of Appeals.

Far-left Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has pushed the shift towards electric vehicles to perpetuate the “climate change” theory. This approach has led to severe vehicle emission standards and mandates for zero-emission vehicle inventories.

However, this move has raised concerns among local auto dealers and figures like Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren. They argue that such mandates will disproportionately affect rural areas, where EV charging stations are scarce. Affordability also remains a significant concern, particularly for consumers in economically challenged regions like the Navajo Nation.

Not everyone is on board with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s EV agenda. Critics, including Republicans in the state legislature, have labeled it as unrealistic. They point out the vast distances many New Mexicans need to travel in the country’s fifth-largest yet thinly populated state, raising questions about the practicality of relying solely on electric vehicles.

Under the new rules set to take effect in 2026, 43 percent of all new passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks delivered to New Mexico dealerships by manufacturers must be zero-emission. This requirement escalates to 80 percent for passenger cars by 2032.

Carlos Garcia of Garcia Automotive Group highlighted the challenges in the EV market, referencing major manufacturers like Toyota and Ford reducing their EV production forecasts. He expressed concerns about the broader social and economic ramifications of the EV mandates on New Mexicans, beyond just the automotive industry.

The Rio Grande Foundation wrote on its website, Errors of Enchantment, “In a move that was hardly surprising, New Mexico’s unelected Environmental Improvement Board and the even more radical (also unelected) ABQ/Bernalillo County Air Quality Board chose to move forward with the EV mandates they adopted back in November. Those mandates are for 43% of new vehicles sold in New Mexico to be electric starting in the summer of 2026 (just over 2 years from now).”

“Those mandates are widely seen as unattainable by auto industry insiders and car dealers alike as interest in EV’s wanes among consumers. But, Gov. Lujan Grisham and her cadre of radical environmentalists and left-wing advocates remain dedicated to pushing forward no matter what it costs consumers, taxpayers, or how many job losses are inflicted on auto dealers. According to the most recent information available EV sales in New Mexico now account for 4.82 percent of all vehicles sold in the state. That means a nearly ten-fold increase in EV sales must occur over the next two years,” the group wrote

See how Domenici’s fundraising haul stacks up against Heinrich’s

The fundraising race is heating up in New Mexico as incumbent Sen. Martin Heinrich and Republican challenger Nella Domenici gear up for the upcoming election. 

Domenici’s campaign has hit the ground running, raising over $1.25 million in the first quarter of the year. The campaign reported contributions from more than 1,100 supporters.

On the other side, Heinrich’s campaign has not fallen behind, bringing in over $1.5 million during the same timeframe. With $3.5 million in cash reserves at the end of 2023, Heinrich’s financial position appears strong, though the full details are yet to be disclosed in the Federal Election Commission filings.

Launching her campaign earlier this year, Domenici, the daughter of the revered late Sen. Pete V. Domenici, has positioned herself as a proponent of innovative solutions in border security, natural resource utilization, and education reform.

The Republican Party sees Domenici’s candidacy as a key opportunity to reclaim a stronghold in New Mexico, a state currently dominated by Democrats at both the congressional and statewide levels. 

Despite Joe Biden securing the state in the last presidential election, Republicans are hopeful to flip the seat being held by the far-left Democrat who is out-of-touch with the voters.

Heinrich, who secured his position in a three-way race in 2018 with 54% of the vote, faces a re-election battle in a Senate where Democrats have a razor-thin majority. 

With the November elections approaching, both campaigns are ramping up their efforts to win over New Mexico voters. Domenici recently met with victims of the Hermit’s Peak Calf Canyon fire on the disaster’s two-year anniversary, where those affected continue to wait for relief. 

“It’s a disappointment of the federal government, the New Mexico state government, and I’m hugely disappointed in our state leaders,” Domenici told KOAT 7. “No one should be treated this way it doesn’t have to take this long.”

Heinrich moved his family to Silver Spring, Maryland, over a decade ago after running a campaign for U.S. Senate, claiming he hadn’t “gone Washington,” as reported by the Albuquerque Journal. The Journal’s article on Heinrich’s exodus from New Mexico for Mayland has mysteriously disappeared from the publication’s website. However, it is archived at this link forever.

‘It’s theirs now’: Border agents concede N.M. mountain to Cartel control

A video posted by reliable Fox News reporter Matt Finn shows illegal immigrants ravaging a mountain in Sunland Park, New Mexico, while Border Patrol agents apparently won’t defend it, calling the mountain the Cartel’s.

Finn wrote in the video post, “Unbelievable. A Border Patrol agent in Sunland Park, NM just told us a mountain in the United States is ‘not ours’ anymore. ‘It’s theirs.’ Referring to Cartels.  We literally spent five minutes on Mt. Cristo Rey and a group of illegals breezed by.”

Mt. Cristo Rey is adorned by a 29-foot-tall statue of Jesus, which was erected in 1940 after the vision of Fr. Lourdes Costa “ who in 1933 after looking out the back window of his residence in the community of Smeltertown, envisioned erecting a monument at the summit of this glorious mountain.” 

Since the purchase of the mountain and the building of the Jesus statue, Mt. Cristo Rey has become a holy place for Catholics for generations.

But the criminal illegal immigration seeping across the border by way of the mountain has led to vandalism and desecration. Vandalism and gang-related graffiti have scourged the holy place.

Ruben Escandon Jr., vice president and spokesman for the Mount Cristo Rey Restoration Committee, told KFOX 14, “I continuously question why they were not going to put up a fence on the Southside directly behind the monument and their answer was the terrain was too treacherous.”

“The price tag to fix damages and restore Mt. Cristo Rey is between $15,000 to $20,000, according to Escandon. The restoration committee depends heavily on donations, which are often collected during the annual pilgrimages done in October,” the outlet reported.

The illegal immigration scourge, which amped up again after Joe Biden was inaugurated in 2021, has gotten to its worst peak in the history of the country. States like Texas have done their part to stem the flow into their state, but with the robust actions in Texas, illegal immigrants are now flowing through New Mexico, with Border Patrol apparently not able to stem the illegal flow on Mt. Cristo Rey.

NM House Republicans elect new leader, whip

On Friday, the New Mexico House of Representatives Republicans met to elect a new minority leader and minority whip.

The vacancies in the leadership positions were not unexpected. Former Rep. Ryan Lane (R-Aztec) made a voluntary decision to resign his leadership position and his seat, paving the way for new leadership. Lane’s House seat was filled by former FBI agent Bill Hall, also of Aztec.

Rep. Jim Townsend (R-Artesia), who previously served as whip, also stepped down from the leadership role as he is running for the New Mexico Senate. This smooth leadership transition demonstrates the party’s commitment to maintaining stability and continuity.

GOP House Minority Leader Rod Montoya (left) and GOP House Minority Whip Alan Martinez (right).

House Republicans selected Rep. Rod Montoya of Farmington as leader, while Rep. Alan Martinez of Bernalillo as whip.

Montoya has served in the House since 2015 and sits on the House Appropriations Committee. Previously, Montoya served as minority whip. Before coming to the Legislature, Montoya worked for GOP former Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, who served under Gov. Susana Martinez.

Rep. Martinez, who is a freshman lawmaker elected in 2022, previously worked for the State of New Mexico’s Department of Veterans Services. 

The one leadership role in the House GOP that will not change is that of Republican Caucus Chair Gail Armstrong of Magdalena, who will continue in that position. Armstrong has served in the Legislature since 2017, succeeding former Speaker of the House Don Tripp. 

Currently, Republicans hold 25 of the chamber’s 70 seats but hope to flip many Democrat-held seats in the upcoming November election.

Biden’s Dem rival making campaign stops in NM

Later this month, Joe Biden’s rival in the Democrat primary, author Marianne Williamson, will make campaign stops in New Mexico in an attempt to pull votes from the woefully unpopular current Democrat presumptive nominee.

Williamson will be at 7:00 p.m. in Santa Fe on April 12 at Unity Santa Fe, a leftist movement that “emphasizes spiritual healing, prosperity, and practical Christianity,” according to Brittanica.

The church’s website notes that it is “a welcoming inter-faith community that celebrates the oneness and divinity of all creation” and “We welcome all regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender identity, or sexual orientation.  You are a beloved child of God and we love you just the way you are.”

Williamson will then make a campaign stop in Albuquerque on April 13 at Unity Spiritual Center Albuquerque at 7:00 p.m.

“I do not believe [Joe] Biden is a strong candidate for 2024,” Williamson said to NewsNation after her decision to unsuspend her campaign and continue running against the octogenarian Democrat for the White House.

Marianne Williamson in Manchester (February 17, 2019). Marcn, Wiki Commons.

Williamson has not won a single delegate in the Democrat primary, coming in near-last in Iowa with 268 votes, third in New Hampshire with 5,006 votes, and second in Nevada with ⁦3,727.

Despite her lackluster performance, her continued remainder in the presidential race keeps support from Biden as all of Republican 45th President Donald Trump’s serious rivals have dropped out of the race. 

Biden currently has a 53 percent disapproval rating in New Mexico, with 41 percent approving, despite Democrats dominating the state in recent elections.

Lujan Grisham keeps flirting with special session

Far-left Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham continues toying with the idea of having a special session for “crime” and “public safety.”

Per a report from the Santa Fe New Mexican, the governor’s agenda for a potential special session would include sending “criminal defendants who are found incompetent to stand trial to a mental health or behavioral health treatment program,” a bill to ‘offer mental or behavioral health programs to people with “a significant mental health issue and a chemical dependency’ when family members are unable to have them involuntarily held in an inpatient facility,” measures to restrict panhandling, and increasing penalties for felons in possession of firearms.

Recently, the governor sat down with PBS New Mexico’s “New Mexico In Focus” to talk about the potential of a special session.

She told the program, “It’s a decision I can make. I have the authority to do that as governor [of] the state of New Mexico, so why not just decide? You know, part of it is I want to be successful for the public.”

She added, “We have a lot of public safety issues that still require, in my view, immediate and dramatic attention. And what I want is these strategies to get through a very narrow, very tight, special session.”

In the New Mexican’s report, the governor claimed she was leaning “80/20” in favor of calling a special session. Previously, the governor called a special session in 2021 to ram through a bill to legalize recreational marijuana sales in the state.

She has not, in fact, called special sessions on the time-sensitive topics of reforms to her Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) or border security, both crises plaguing the state.

Dems again using failed Liz Cheney playbook to affect GOP primaries in NM

In typical fashion, anti-America First liberal “Republicans” are trying to seize onto a resource they have previously failed to get to help them across the finish line in GOP primaries: Democrats.

In 2022, rabidly anti-Trump Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming tried this tactic, mailing Democrat voters “with specific instructions on how to change their party affiliation to vote for her. Ms. Cheney’s campaign website now has a link to a form for changing parties,” reported the New York Times at the time.

Cheney, who led the “January 6” star chamber alongside far-left Democrats in an attempt to hurt 45th President Trump and voted to impeach him, was trounced by Trump-backed Harriet Hageman by 37.4 points in the 2022 primary — a massive blowout.

Now, in New Mexico’s conservative Otero County, Democrats are trying to resurrect Cheney’s epically failed strategy to stop a conservative America First Republican from becoming the County’s next treasurer. 

Conservative former Alamogordo City Commissioner Karl Melton is running for the open seat to oversee the County’s tax dollars and wisely invest them for the biggest benefit of the county. Previously endorsed by Republican former Congresswoman Yvette Herrell, Melton has the endorsements of state Reps. John Block (R-Alamogordo) and Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park) were the two representatives who led the impeachment effort against Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for her unconstitutional actions. Lord previously shared a legislative office with Black and chose to endorse Melton over her former colleague.

Melton has over a dozen years of experience in finance, accounting, compliance, and fundraising, working for groups such as the Heritage Foundation, the Club for Growth, and the Leadership Institute. He has worked managing funds for President Trump’s largest independent ally organizations, as well as leading trade associations, where he managed millions of dollars. He has a Master’s in Public Administration from Liberty University and is finishing a Master of Finance from the same institution. In contrast, Black has not completed any formal degree relevant to finance or accounting.

The establishment is running its own candidate, Rachel Black, who is the current deputy treasurer and who was ousted in 2022 by Block in the Republican primary after Black voted for Gov. Lujan Grisham’s multi-billion-dollar budget that wasted taxpayer dollars on Critical Race Theory, socialist “free” college programs, and an anti-gun “office of gun violence prevention” to infringe upon New Mexicans’ Second Amendment rights. In 2022, Black’s campaign, which now funds her current run for treasurer, was backed by pro-abortion legislators who voted for abortion up-to-birth and other Democrats, who threw thousands at her failed attempt to cling to power. 

That, among other bad votes, such as being the lone vote against tax relief for hurting small businesses during Lujan Grisham’s brutal pandemic lockdown, helped in Black’s defeat. She has promised to give her best friend, the current treasurer Laura Whiteside, the job of deputy treasurer, which she currently holds, an evasion of term limits and a way for both of them to pack more years onto their county pensions for the rest of their lives at the expense of the taxpayers. 

She said at a local meeting, “My chief deputy would be Laura, so nothing will change as far as anyone new coming into the office.”

Since working at the Otero County Treasurer’s Office under her best friend, Laura Whiteside, Black has advocated for pay raises for elected officials, saying in 2018 that she “believes it is time for Otero County elected officials to get a raise in their salary,” as reported by the Alamogordo Daily News.

“Do I believe it’s time? Yes. Do I believe it has to go to vote? No. I believe it’s up to you commissioners to make that decision,” she said, noting how the people should not have a say in whether politicians like her should get a pay raise.

Melton, in contrast, has noted he is not running for the salary or pension. In fact, if elected, he would actually take a pay cut to serve the people of the County. He also has pledged to have an interview process to find the most qualified deputy, not just hire his buddy like Black will do.

Taxpayers can expect more of the same from Black if elected, as she said in a recent interview, “I don’t know that a lot would really change, to be honest with you.”

Currently, the investments made by the current treasurer’s office are garnering a net 2.8 percent annual return, with many funds held in extremely low-interest certificates of deposit (CDs) that mature 4-5 years from now. 

In comparison, the inflation rate for 2023 was 3.4 percent, so with the current investment structure in the Otero County Treasurer’s Office, the County is losing money yearly, factoring in inflation. Other New Mexico counties’ investment portfolios are making nearly double, with some at upwards of 4.14 percent.

The latest inflation rate for March was “3.1% for the CPI-U and 3.5% for Core CPI-U,” as estimated by Wells Fargo.

Black has also alienated conservative elected officials by believing she, as deputy treasurer, does not need to attend County Commission meetings and coordinate with other conservative elected officials to work toward the betterment of the community, as the current treasurer’s office has been siloed off from the rest of the county administration.

Democrats are now openly supporting Black, with fringe pro-abortion up-to-birth Democrat Ashlie Myers (who is attempting to oust Block) writing, “gotta get the vote out for Rachel, then. I’m sure she needs volunteers to help get that done.” Myers’ campaign treasurer, Alexis Romo, who runs a faceless, nameless X account attacking both Block and Melton, agreed with Myers, making comments supportive of Black.

In 2022, Melton sponsored the successful resolution declaring Alamogordo a sanctuary city for unborn babies. Once the pro-life measure passed, Myers attempted to force the resolution onto the ballot for a vote by getting enough signatures through a petition process, calling the resolution “extremist.” Not only did Myers fail to get enough signatures, but she also failed to go through the proper protocols to get the petition itself approved before dissemination. Since then, she has had a vendetta against Melton for supporting the sanctity of life in the pro-life city of Alamogordo.

Local far-left Democrat Edward Chavez wrote regarding Melton’s candidacy for treasurer, “So I would think a few democrats and independents should definitely switch their registration to republican to keep Karl out of the treasury office (sic).”

Far-leftist convicted felon and Planned Parenthood supporter, who has had an unnatural obsession, akin to stalking, with Melton and Block for years now by posting incoherent screeds about them on a blog, agreed with Chavez, hoping “500 would change outcomes with a cushion to spare” in the attempt to keep the true conservative candidate out of the treasurer’s role.

Another leftist going by “Lisa Gman” on Facebook wrote in response to Democrat Myers’ glowing endorsement of Black, “I’m registered as a republican (sic) and I encourage other independents to register under another party. I will not vote for [Melton],” noting how she will be supporting Black. 

Currently, there is no official Democratic Party in Otero County after it was disbanded following a scourge of infighting between factions, leaving it in pieces. Since then, Democrats have independently threatened to infiltrate the 2024 Republican primary for Otero County treasurer.

If history is any indicator of Democrats’ successes with this tactic in 2022 with Liz Cheney and locally with their failed pro-abortion petition drive, it is unclear if they will convince enough Democrats to switch parties to vote for the leftist candidate. 

While Melton is running on a conservative platform of transparency for the county, wise investment of funds for the maximum return, and a promise to hire the most qualified candidate for deputy treasurer, the establishment candidate is getting support from Democrats looking to influence the Republican primary.

To learn more about Karl Melton, click here, and to donate to his campaign, click here.

See what first New Mexico billionaire’s solar fortune is worth now

In the late 1970s, amidst the global energy crisis sparked by the Iranian Revolution, a young Ron Corio, freshly equipped with a driver’s license, found himself stuck in extensive gas lines in New Jersey. This experience prompted him to consider solar power.

Decades later, Corio’s venture, Array Technologies, based in Albuquerque, has emerged as a leading name in the renewable energy sector (due to heavy government subsidy and no excise taxes whatsoever), propelling him to become New Mexico’s sole billionaire. Forbes attributes Corio’s fortune to strategic share sales following Array’s IPO in October 2020, positioning him as the wealthiest individual in the state as per Forbes’ latest state-wise richest person compilation.

Corio’s journey into the solar industry began post-high school when he ventured to the University of New Mexico, pursuing engineering. His path took a turn when he joined a local startup, HDI Research, which was innovating an automotive ignition system to boost efficiency and minimize emissions. This role marked Corio’s initial foray into solar, as he installed a solar setup for HDI’s remote cabin.

John Williamson, who served as Array’s chief engineer, remarked, “In those early days, solar wasn’t mainstream, positioning Ron as somewhat of an industry maverick. He faced skepticism, with many advising him to pursue more traditional career paths.”

Corio’s pivotal moment came in 1985 when he transitioned to a small Albuquerque solar company, Wattsun Corp. It was here that he conceptualized his first solar tracker, a pivotal invention aimed at enhancing solar panel efficiency by aligning them with the sun’s trajectory. This innovation laid the groundwork for what would become Array Technologies.

Fast forward, solar trackers now play a crucial role in solar energy generation, with the International Energy Agency noting it as the fastest-expanding renewable segment. Wood Mackenzie’s Annie Rabi Bernard highlights that trackers feature in nearly half of all new large-scale solar projects, presenting a significant growth opportunity in the sector.

Williamson fondly recalls Corio’s early contributions, “Ron wasn’t just the first to imagine a solar tracker; he was instrumental in making it commercially viable for the utility market.”

Strategic moves and industry foresight mark array’s journey from a small venture to a solar powerhouse. Despite facing challenges, including market competition and regulatory uncertainties, Corio’s resilience and innovation steered Array through. His decision to decline a buyout offer from Oaktree Capital Management during a turbulent period showcased his commitment to the company’s vision.

However, Array’s market dynamics shifted, prompting Corio to eventually partner with Oaktree, a move that led to his stepping down as CEO and CTO. Despite these changes, the company continued to thrive, with its IPO in 2020 marking a significant milestone.

Corio’s exit from Array didn’t mark the end of his contributions to the solar industry. As the company navigated post-IPO challenges and market fluctuations, Corio had already solidified his legacy within the sector.

Reflecting on Corio’s journey, Williamson shared, “Ron’s always been more hands-on, preferring the grit of engineering work over idle relaxation. Even after stepping away from Array, he continues to explore new technological frontiers.”

Beyond his business ventures, Corio has embraced philanthropy, channeling a portion of his wealth into the Corio Foundation, supporting various causes and fostering innovation through educational scholarships.
Forbes reported in 2023 that Corio was the state’s first billionaire. In 2021, his net worth was $1.1 billion, and it has shot up to $1.7 billion now, which is on par with what he was worth in 2023. He is currently ranked the 1,851th wealthiest person on the planet.

ABQ City Council set to take stance on police chief’s performance

The Albuquerque City Council is slated to convene on Wednesday to determine their stance on Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina. Councilor Louie Sanchez, a former APD officer, has raised the question of a vote of no confidence, emphasizing that such a vote would convey a “clear message.”

“We’re done with no accountability. We’re done with no transparency,” stated Sanchez, underlining the necessity to rebuild public trust in the police department.

Sanchez’s call has prompted Chief Medina to appear at the council meeting to field inquiries. An APD spokesperson, Franchesca Perdue, confirmed Medina’s attendance and readiness to provide insights into crime-fighting efforts and the department’s positive trajectory.

According to the city charter, a two-thirds majority vote from the Council can oust a police chief, provided there’s substantial cause. Even if the no confidence vote falls short, Sanchez intends to persist in his endeavors, potentially advocating for changes to the city charter.

While specific alterations weren’t outlined, Sanchez expressed willingness to collaborate with fellow councilors. Previously, Sanchez and councilor Renee Grout attempted to amend the city government structure from a strong to weak mayor system, albeit unsuccessfully.

Scrutiny of the law enforcement agency and its leadership began in January, following federal raids on the homes of three APD officers and a local attorney’s office. This was amid revelations of numerous DWI dismissals involving five officers, leading to over 190 dismissed cases. The officers implicated in the DWI unit resigned after being placed on administrative leave pending an internal inquiry by APD’s Internal Affairs Division.

In another development in February, Chief Medina was involved in a vehicle collision, injuring Todd Perchert. Perchert, speaking about his injuries, announced plans for legal action against the city, represented by attorney James Tawney.

Despite these challenges, the City Council narrowly voted against initiating a multi-agency investigation into Medina’s crash in March. This tumultuous period follows APD’s attainment of its highest level of compliance with the court-approved settlement agreement, or CASA, in November 2023. However, Sanchez voiced concerns that these recent events might jeopardize the prospect of concluding the CASA agreement.

“DOJ is probably not going anywhere,” remarked Sanchez, hinting at the ongoing oversight from the Department of Justice.

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