Piñon Post

Lujan Grisham’s Human Services Dept. Secretary David Scrase quits

On Friday, it was announced that Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s New Mexico Human Services Secretary, David Scrase, M.D., was stepping down from his post, one of the few cabinet members who has lasted throughout the governor’s reign beginning in 2019.

In a statement, Scrase said, “It has been an incredible honor to work for the Governor for the past four years.”

“I am proud of all that we have accomplished together,” he wrote, touting his response to COVID-19. He added, “I feel extremely privileged and cherish the four years working with the outstanding leaders and employees at HSD. Likewise, the several years that I spent with the Department of Health and their amazing leaders and staff was another high point in my life.”

“In addition to the support and encouragement that I have received from both departments, I have received continual and strong support from members of the Legislature as well, and for that I am very grateful. I have made many lifelong friends and will take wonderful memories into my retirement — And, of course, I could not possibly have endured the challenges of the past four years without the support of my wife Chantel and my family. I am deeply grateful for everyone with whom I have crossed paths during this time.”

During the pandemic, Scrase refused to lift lockdown orders and insisted New Mexicans must take the coronavirus vaccine. He also worked to keep the state’s indoor mask mandates in place. 

In 2021, Scrase said restrictive mask mandates and lockdowns could last for years into the future. 

Group sues City of ABQ over $250K Planned Parenthood donation

On Friday, it was revealed that the Rio Grande Foundation, in partnership with the Liberty Justice Center, is suing the City of Albuquerque over its $250,000 donation to the abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

The Albuquerque City Council in August 2022 voted 5-4 to fund the abortion giant, claiming it was giving Planned Parenthood the money for supposedly necessary abortion procedures, including abortions.

“New Mexico’s constitution prevents politicians from using taxpayer funds like their own personal piggy banks,” says Daniel Suhr, managing attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. “Albuquerque’s grant to Planned Parenthood is pure politics, and the state constitution prevents that kind of abuse of taxpayer dollars.”  

“Taxpayers should not be compelled to subsidize Planned Parenthood or any other private group,” said Gessing, who is president of the free-market Rio Grande Foundation. “The anti-donation clause of New Mexico’s constitution is a bulwark for taxpayers against politically motivated earmarks just like this one.”  

73% of Americans, including pro-choice individuals, women, and millennials, oppose mandated taxpayer funding of abortions, according to a recent Marist/Knights of Columbus poll.

In a previous op-ed from New Mexico Sun, City Councilor Renee Grout wrote, “This is not a simple disagreement on a political issue. For many people, abortion is sanctioned murder. It is wasteful and wrong to give $250,000 of taxpayer money to a business that makes $1.3 billion every year advocating for and performing this procedure.”

Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn, the sponsor of the $250,000 blank check to Planned Parenthood, was annoyed that the Council was revisiting the vote, saying, “Now is not the time to roll back something that we literally passed two months ago.”

Report: Suspect arrested in connection with shootings targeting Dem politicians

On Monday, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) revealed that Solomon Peña, a former GOP candidate for state House of Representatives District 14 was arrested at his Albuquerque home. He is charged with conspiracy to pay four men to shoot at Democrat lawmakers’ homes.

As we previously reported, the politicians who were apparently targeted included outgoing Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley, Commissioner Adriann Barboa, and two legislators. Sen. Linda Lopez and newly appointed Sen. Antonio “Moe” Maestas were apparently targeted, although gunshots were heard near Maestas’ office, not his home.

Later, Democrat New Mexico House Majority Leader Javier Martínez (D-Bernalillo) reported he found gun holes and bullet remnants at his Albuquerque home. 

APD Chief Harold Medina told the Albuquerque Journal, “Peña, an unsuccessful legislative candidate in the 2022 election, is accused of conspiring with, and paying four other men to shoot at the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators.”

Police officers executing the arrest said outside of Pena’s home, “Solomon Peña please come out with your hands up, we have the place surrounded.”

The suspect prevously served seven years in prison for involvement in a “slash and grab” robbery “scheme,” the Journal noted

Immediately following the revelation of Peña’s arrest, House Republican Leader Ryan Lane (R-Aztec) wrote in a statement, “We appreciate law enforcement’s diligence in pursuing this investigation and we are still learning of this development just as the rest of New Mexico is. New Mexico House Republicans condemn violence in any form and are grateful no one was injured. This is yet another example of a convicted felon unlawfully gaining access to firearms, which they are barred from owning or possessing, and using the weapon in a manner that causes public harm.”

Dem bill would create $6.1M enviro-Marxist ‘climate resiliency’ health fund

Democrat state Rep. Liz Thomson (D-Bernalillo) just dropped a bill she will be carrying in the 2023 Legislative Session, H.B. 42, to create a new “public health and climate resiliency fund” to “assist local communities in preparing for and responding to public health emergencies related to climate change and extreme weather.”

The bill would enact a myriad of enviro-Marxist responsibilities of the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), such as to “facilitate meaningful community engagement within communities most harmed, or determined by climate science as most likely to be harmed, by extreme weather events.”

It would also give the department the ability to give “grants” of up to $250,000 to “a political subdivision of the state or an Indian nation, tribe or pueblo for the purposes of preparing for and responding to public health emergencies related to extreme weather and other climate impacts.”

The grants would emphasize seizing as much private land as possible to make it government-owned, which mimics Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s “30 by 30” program to force at least 30 percent of public land into public “conservation” by the year 2030.

The bill reads that the priority will be “emphasize planning, projects and activities that are also eligible for grant funds from federal programs or help New Mexico become eligible for federal funds,” along with “climate adaptation plans,” among other requirements.

The appropriation attached to the bill would be $1.1 million from the General Fund to NMDOH throughout 2024 and $5 million throughout 2028. It would cost taxpayers a grand total of at least $6.1 million to enact this enviro-Marxist program that likely has nothing to do with health care nor would do anything to stop so-called “extreme weather.”

Another bill, H.B. 45, by state Rep. Matthew McQueen (D-Santa Fe) would create a fund to pay for the “acquisitions of land, conservation and agricultural easements and other interests in land and by funding land restoration to protect the land and water available for forests and watersheds, natural areas, wildlife and wildlife habitat, agricultural production on working farms and ranches, outdoor recreation and trails and land and habitat restoration and management.”

The 2023 Legislative Session starts at noon on January 17, 2023.

Heinrich continues his crusade against gas stoves

In his latest move, Democrat U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich is once again attacking his most fierce nemesis — the gas stove. You read that right. While New Mexicans struggle to heat their homes and feed their families, Heinrich is passionately joining a crusade of enviro-Marxists working to ban gas stoves. About 35 percent of Americans have gas stoves, according to the Census Bureau. Heinrich wants to make that zero percent.

In a December 22 tweet, Heinrich wrote, “Many people are unaware of the high level of dangerous indoor air pollutants emitted by gas stoves. That’s why I joined @SenBooker and a number of our colleagues in urging the Consumer Product Safety Commission to help protect Americans from these hazards.”

In an attached letter to the tweet, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) write, “In addition to the climate impacts, these emissions represent real health risks to millions of Americans. Both NO2 and PM2.5 are known to exacerbate respiratory conditions. Short-term exposure to NO2 is linked to worsening asthma in children, and long-term exposure has been determined to likely cause the development of asthma. Both pollutants have also been linked to cardiovascular impacts and a range of other adverse health issues. Even low-level CO exposure can exacerbate cardiovascular illness among people with coronary heart disease and other vulnerable populations.”

The lawmakers, including Heinrich, demand the following measures be taken to limit gas stoves:

• Require gas stoves to be sold with range hoods that meet mandatory performance standards, assessing their efficiency of removing the pollutants, 

• Where feasible, issue mandatory performance standards for gas stoves that address steady-state-off leakage, including requiring automatic shut-off valves, 

• Where feasible, issue mandatory performance standards for gas stoves that address the health impacts of hazardous emissions, 

• Require labels on gas stoves that educate consumers about their exposure risks, 

• Launch a public education campaign on the health risks of cooking with a gas stove, and steps that consumers can take to minimize their risk. 

Previously, Heinrich made a big stink about gas stoves, claiming using one was comparable to letting one’s babysitter smoke around a child. 

It’s unclear what Heinrich’s obsession with banning gas stoves is all about, but Heinrich has been on this tear for years. 

In July of 2021, Heinrich wrote on Twitter, “When you trade out your gas stove for an electric one you lower your monthly energy bills, create jobs, and move us closer to a zero-emissions future. And a bill I’ll be introducing would give you money back for doing that. This is how we build a clean energy powered economy.”

Heinrich previously bragged on social media about supposedly electrifying his home, sharing a video of him installing a new heat pump to supposedly save the planet. 

Dems’ Jan. 6 panel refers Pres. Trump, his NM-based lawyer for prosecution

During the last day of the partisan Nancy Pelosi-sanctioned January 6 committee hearing, the committee’s members referred 45th President Donald J. Trump, among others, including his former lawyer John Eastman, for prosecution. Eastman lives in Santa Fe and has been constantly harassed by far-left protesters outside of his residence for months.

“We believe that the evidence described by my colleagues today … warrants a criminal referral of former President Donald J. Trump, John Eastman, and others,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland).

The sham committee referred Trump for prosecution on the following counts:

  • Obstruction of an official proceeding;
  • Conspiracy to defraud the United States;
  • Conspiracy to make a false statement; and
  • Conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by assisting, aiding or comforting those involved in an insurrection

Eastman faces the same referral on alleged “Obstruction of an official proceeding.” Legally, on January 6th, no such “insurrection” took place. There was no such conspiracy to defraud the country nor false statements made before the partisan committee.

Eastman’s legal representatives at Burnham & Gorokhov, PLLC wrote following the news, “A criminal ‘referral’ from a congressional committee is not binding on the Department of Justice and carries no more legal weight than a ‘referral’ from any American citizen,” adding, “In fact, a ‘referral’ from the January 6th committee should carry a great deal less weight due to the absurdly partisan nature of the process that produced it.”

“At its inception, the January 6th committee had the resources and mandate to make important contributions in the area of Capitol Security, Electoral Count Act Reform and other areas of potential legislation.  Sadly, this opportunity has been squandered in favor of concocting a pretend ‘criminal case’ from pretend prosecutors designed to create political advantage for the Democratic Party and stigmatize disfavored political groups.  The American people have been ill-served by the January 6th committee and its members,” the firm continued. 

According to the Albuquerque Journal, “A 154-page executive summary to the committee’s full investigation was released Monday. The summary mentions Eastman 166 times.”

Criminal charges are not mandatory of the Department of Justice and are at the discretion of special counsel Jack Smith.

Editor’s Note: Mr. Eastman is a donor to Piñon Post editor and founder Rep.-elect John Block’s campaign for state House District 51.

Latest desperate smear campaign by leftist convict fails miserably

A desperate smear campaign by a disgraced convicted felon and leftist Alamogordo-based blogger Chris Edwards ended in defeat after a frivilous ethics complaint filed by his partner, Rene Sepulveda, was dismissed by the full State Ethics Commission. The complaint targeted Republican officials in Alamogordo, including Otero County GOP Chairman Josh Beasley, Republican State Representative-elect John Block, and Alamogordo City Commissioner Karl Melton. 

Edwards, a convicted felon and twice-failed candidate for Napa City Council in California, runs the blog “2nd Life Media,” which is now attempting to brand itself as conservative with the label of “Alamogordo Conserative Daily,” spewing similar leftist talking points and attacks on conservatives. During his failed political career, he was accused of “dirty politics” for misleading elderly voters during candidate forums. The frivolous complaint appears to be yet another Napa Valley-style political smear.

Sepulveda’s panicky eleventh-hour October 31, 2022 complaint, spanning 13 rambling pages, alleged there was a “consorted attack” by the three Republicans against pro-abortion radicals who attempted unsuccessfully to overturn Alamogordo’s sanctuary for the unborn ordinance passed in August. 

The conspiracy theorist’s complainant claimed the supposed attack, which never happened, was “orchestrated” by Melton and Block “via social media posts, a whisper campaign, and facilitated directly by the two individuals, and with their prodding of their supporters and the chairman of the Otero County Republican party, Joshua Beasley, rallied to their cause.” 

Hilariously, even in Sepulveda’s complaint, it acknowledged that Block, the founder and editor of the state’s largest online news publication, the Piñon Post, had factually reported on the petition. Still, he claimed Rep.-elect Block instituted the use of “malinformation.” No evidence was given.

The complaint then repeats a debunked conspiracy theory alleging Rep.-elect Block sent an unsigned piece of mail to those associated with Edwards sharing his federal indictment while claiming mail fraud. This false claim came despite Edwards being convicted of mail fraud previously and serving in federal prison for his crimes after defrauding 1-800 Flowers of nearly $1 million in an embezzlement and tax evasion scheme.

“Mr. Block directly mailed it or a member of the conspiracy did it on his behalf the fact remains an addition [sic] act of mail fraud was conducted having the return address of Mr. Edwards business on it,” claimed Sepuveda’s dismissed complaint, which provided no evidence.

Then, the letter adds defamatory accusations, erroneously claiming Rep.-elect Block and Commissioner Melton “conspired, instigated, and engaged in activities and actions of ‘voter intimidation and harassment,’” and “disqualify” the convicted felon from voting. It also claimed supposed “attempted economic intimidation” by printing news about Edwards’ illicit activities, of which he has repeatedly been convicted.

Previously, Edwards has doxxed Rep.-elect Block by publishing in his blog the conservative’s home address, email address, and phone number. He has done this on previous occasions against citizens who requested the pro-life sanctuary city resolution.

In conclusion, the failed smear tactic demanded the State Ethics Commission, which has no jurisdiction in the matter, grant a “cease and desist” against Rep.-elect Block from printing the truth about Edwards as well as a “retraction of the stories and an admission to intimidation tactics.” It also demanded a “cease and desist in attempts at voter intimidation and voter suppression and an admission of tactics not becoming of party leadership or those of elected office,” all of which have been unproven or destroyed.

The State Ethics Commission saw through the unhinged ramblings of Sepulveda and Edwards, with members of the Commission writing in response, “The claims that Complainant (Rene Sepulveda), filed against Respondents (John Block, Karl Melton, and Joshua Beasley), in administrative complaint No. 2022-041 are dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. See 1.8.3.l0(F) NMAC; Jurisdictional determination (Nov. 9, 2022). This administrative proceeding is closed, and the Commission will not disclose records relating to this proceeding.” 

Yet again, Edwards’ cowardly attacks on Alamogordo conservatives have failed, leaving the far-left California transplant with egg on his face following not only a failed petition drive to strip the City of its pro-life resolution but now a blow from the State Ethics Commission.

Read more about far-left Edwards’ failed smears against Otero County conservatives here:

All the safest New Mexico college campuses

The college and university ranking and review site, Niche.com, ranked New Mexico’s college campuses in terms of safety.

The safest college campus, according to Niche, is Northern New Mexico College in Española. The four-year degree offering school earned a “B+” safety ranking.

The top-ranking university campus is Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) in Portales, which ranked a “B+” grade and the second spot overall when factoring in both colleges and universities.

ENMU President Patrice Caldwell said to Eastern New Mexico News, “Our Public Safety Department, vigilant faculty and staff, and our well-maintained facilities make ENMU an attractive home away from home for our students. Student success begins with a safe place to live and learn.”

The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro clinched the third spot out of all schools in the state, with a “B” rating. New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas ranked fourth among all colleges and universities in the state with a “B” rating as well.

New Mexico’s other universities went unranked, with New Mexico State University in Las Cruces scoring a “B-” grade while the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque scored a much lower “C-” grade. Albuquerque is the sixth most dangerous city in the United States. 

Read Niche’s full rankings of New Mexico college campuses here.

Christian doctors sue New Mexico in federal court over assisted suicide law

On Wednesday, a Christian doctor and Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), sued the state of New Mexico in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The doctors sued after the state enacted a 2021 law forcing doctors to aid in physician-assisted suicides. The attorneys argued the mandate to facilitate the end of a patient’s life via a cocktail of life-ending drugs violated their religious conscience and professional ethics.

According to Life News, “The federal lawsuit explains that, despite historic condemnations of assisted suicide, New Mexico enacted the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act in 2021. The law requires physicians who are conscientious objectors to facilitate suicide by informing patients about assisted suicide and referring patients to physicians and organizations who will participate in ending their lives. If physicians decline to participate based on their religious beliefs or professional ethics, they can face substantial criminal, civil, administrative, and professional liability, including risking losing their medical licenses.”

“New Mexico is unlawfully compelling physicians to speak a certain message about assisted suicide, even if they object for reasons of conscience or faith,” ADF Senior Counsel Mark Lippelmann told Life News. “The Christian doctors we represent believe that every life is sacred and full of inherent value, and that assisted suicide ends an innocent human life without justification. The government should not force doctors to surrender their religious, moral, and ethical convictions.”

CMDA member Dr. Mark Lacy, who practices in New Mexico, has joined the lawsuit.

Background on the law:

The anti-life law passed the Legislature despite bipartisan opposition to the radical measure, with a final vote of 24-17. Despite the vast opposition, Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is close friends with the bill’s sponsor, now-former Rep. Debbie Armstrong (D-Bernalillo).

Democrats Pete Campos of Las Vegas, George Muñoz of Gallup, and Benny Shendo Jr. of Jemez Pueblo, joined Republicans in voting against the measure. Despite invoking his Catholic faith and saying he attended mass at the Cathedral, Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Doña Ana) voted with anti-life Democrats to approve the bill.

During the debate, Sen. Gregg Schmedes (R-Tijeras) said, “My concern is that when we legalize this practice, as we’ve seen in other states, the overall suicide rate goes up.” He added, “When I use the word ‘suicide,’ I don’t use it flippantly. Suicide’s the intentional taking of your life.”

The bill, which is opposed by multiple disability rights groups, the Navajo Nation, and many patients living with terminal conditions, seeks to further normalize a culture of death in New Mexico by letting medical professionals prescribe lethal drugs to patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness that could take their lives anytime up to six months.

The bill would legalize doctors to prescribe a “cocktail” of lethal drugs to patients suffering from terminal illnesses, which will save insurance companies money. 

During the bill’s hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sunday, the “expert witnesses,” law professor Robert Schwartz and physician Steven Kanig could not even list the drugs that would be prescribed to end an individual’s life and admitted that there is no set “cocktail” that is used. Schwartz claimed the concoction of harmful drugs “has been refined over the years” and that “these drugs do change.”

All the attempted gun grabs coming in the 2023 Legislative Session (so far)

As we reported in July, Democrats in the state legislature are scheming to ram through even more bad anti-gun bills to limit New Mexicans’ right to bear arms. They held a hearing where many proposals were previewed. 

During the July hearing, far-left Democrat Albuquerque-area legislators Dayan Hochman-Vigil and Pamelya Herndon released their plans to sponsor anti-gun bills in the 2023 Legislative Session. One measure would create and beef up the “Office of Gun Violence and Prevention,” which was initially funded $300,000 in the 2022 Legislative Session. Anti-gun activist Miranda Viscoli said the department, to be comparable with states like Colorado, needed approximately $3 million in funding. 

Herndon proposed a bill forcing New Mexicans to lock up their firearms. If they did not, and their gun somehow was used in an offense by a minor, the parent of that child could be made a felon if the victim of the crime is killed or permanently disabled. As noted by even some Democrats in the chamber, the bill would be the first crime proposal to base a defendant’s sentence not on their own actions but that of someone else (a minor) who got ahold of a firearm. 

Previous versions of this bill sponsored during the last two legislative sessions by state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez (D-Bernalillo) have died.

Now, even more anti-gun proposals are coming to light. According to the Albuquerque Journal, “Rep.-elect Reena Szczepanski, D-Santa Fe, who plans to sponsor the legislation that would raise the buying age for purchasing AR-15-style rifles, said New Mexico needs to keep forging ahead on a multi-faceted approach to addressing gun violence.” 

“She also described the bill as aimed at closing a loophole, as New Mexico already has a minimum age of 21 to purchase semi-automatic handguns.” 

In response to the proposed gun grabs, state Rep. Stefani Lord said, “I feel the gun bills they present are consistently going after responsible gun owners and are not addressing crime issues.” 

Democrats are also floating expanding New Mexico’s anti-gun “Red Flag” laws that violate both Second Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights. 

Scroll to Top