Renato Costa

Failed TX candidate Beto O’Rourke visits NM to promote book

Former El Paso-area U.S. Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, a failed candidate for Texas governor and U.S. Senate, visited Las Cruces on Friday to promote his new book and complain about “democracy” not working.

During the event, O’Rourke discussed the themes of his book, “We’ve Got to Try: How the Fight for Voting Rights Makes Everything Else Possible.” The book explores what he claims to be the link between voting rights and the broader spectrum of societal improvements.

“I wrote this book to understand why our democracy and the right to vote is under such serious attack and what we can do to prevail in what I believe to be the fight of our lives,” O’Rourke said.

He added, “In the research and writing, I discovered truly inspiring stories of people who’ve been in this fight before, people like Lawrence Nixon, a Black doctor who lived in El Paso and spent 20 years of his life fighting and ultimately defeating the ‘white primary’ in Texas and laying the groundwork for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Not only can we overcome the challenges in front of us, we’ve overcome them before against much greater odds.”

The public gathering took place at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts, situated at the intersection of University Avenue and Espina Street. 

O’Rourke has been a fervent opponent of gun rights and supporter of extreme abortion up-to-birth, among other radical policies. 

Governor tries justifying unconstitutional anti-gun edict in Tuesday presser

One month following far-left anti-gun Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s unconstitutional edict trying to unilaterally usurp Albuquerque and Bernalillo County residents’ rights to open or concealed carry, she called a Tuesday press conference trying to defend the indefensible after a judge struck down her original order and her subsequent amended order.

She tried to take credit for a minor dip in gunshots detected from 166 over a 4-day span in September to 128 over another 4-day span later in the month, despite her unconstitutional orders being on hold pending the judge’s ruling.

“I am incredibly pleased by the outcome, but we have a long way to go,” she said, claiming her policies were helping “move the needle,” despite violent crime at an all-time high, with constant homicides in Albuquerque.

The governor said, “I won’t rest until we don’t have to talk about (gun violence) as an epidemic and a public health emergency. That’s the goal — and if we turn the tide and it’s sustainable.” 

“Every single New Mexican deserves that, and there’s not a single New Mexican who isn’t impacted by our public safety challenges and, quite frankly, this epidemic and crisis,” she claimed.

A Monday murder near the 1100 block of Second Street NW was the 118th homicide in the Duke City, just 20 shy of last year’s total with two full months to go. 

Lujan Grisham recently tripled down on her unconstitutional executive order, having her New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Patrick Allen reissue the stricken firearm ban on parks and playgrounds, which carries $5,000 civil infraction penalties. 

Lujan Grisham continues to face impeachment calls from 31 legislators, being led by Reps. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park) and John Block (R-Alamogordo), who have begun a certification petition process for an extraordinary impeachment session. 

Vasquez tops another ranking for most vulnerable U.S. House Dems in 2024

Far-left U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez (D-NM-CD2) was recently named on another list as one of the most vulnerable representatives in 2024 — this time ranking the third-most vulnerable Democrat.

Of the top ten most vulnerable incumbents in the U.S. House, Vasquez hit the National Journal’s top 10 most likely to lose in the next election.

In May, Roll Call listed Vasquez alongside Colorado’s Rep. Yadira Caraveo and Washington’s Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez as the most vulnerable Democrats in the House during the 2024 election.

The National Republican Congressional Committee listed Vasquez as a targeted seat and has consistently hit him on playing politics with the border, his stances on cutting New Mexico energy jobs, and siding with criminals over the police. 

A recent poll commissioned by KOB 4 that was released in mid-September showed Vasquez trailing GOP former Congresswoman Yvette Herrell, affirming how vulnerable he is in the next election cycle.

Vasquez has been recently trying to beef up his more “moderate” bona fides, such as condemning Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s unconstitutional gun ban executive order, but he has consistently voted along party lines on almost all legislation. 

Herrell was narrowly ousted in 2022 by around 1,500 votes after far-left Democrats in the state Legislature gerrymandered the district from favoring Republicans by 14 points to now favoring Democrats by four points. The franken-map drawn by the Democrats chops up communities of interest, such as Hobbs, Roswell, and Albuquerque, to shift political power. It is currently in litigation, and a judge is set to rule on the legality of the map in the coming days. 

Lujan Grisham’s NM Enviro Dept. launches newest attack on oil and gas

In a move that has raised eyebrows and sparked criticism, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) is intensifying its efforts to “crack down” on oil and natural gas violations in the Permian and San Juan Basins over the next six months. While the NMED frames this initiative as a robust compliance assurance measure using space-based, aerial, and on-the-ground monitoring, detractors are expressing concerns about the potential consequences.

NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney bragged about “record fines levied and collected against the oil and natural gas industry,” saying despite that, “many operators are not taking compliance with federal and state air quality rules and permits seriously.” 

“It’s clear Governor Lujan Grisham’s Environment Department is more concerned with getting money than getting things right,” said Larry Behrens, Communications Director for Power The Future. “These moves will do nothing but raise prices further, and it’s despicable for Secretary Kenney to brag about record fines while he takes in massive raises in his own salary. New Mexico’s energy industry already provides billions to Santa Fe, but it’s clear the Lujan Grisham administration has an insatiable appetite for more money.”

Over the coming months, NMED plans to collect compliance data through various monitoring methods, potentially referring enforcement matters to federal entities such as the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This has fueled concerns about the department’s reliance on external agencies, possibly diverting resources from state-level responsibilities.

Director of Compliance and Enforcement, Bruce Baizel, defended the approach, stating, “Using innovative technologies to monitor oil and natural gas operations along with more conventional boots on the ground will prove effective in holding polluters accountable.”

One of the contentious aspects of the NMED’s strategy is its potential impact on the oil and gas industry in New Mexico. While the department asserts that this crackdown is necessary due to rising ozone levels and poor compliance rates, opponents fear that it might stifle industry efforts to improve environmental practices.

The directive also emphasizes the monitoring of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOX), crucial components in the formation of ground-level ozone. However, critics question whether the NMED’s approach considers the economic implications and potential job losses that could result from stringent enforcement.

As the NMED moves forward with its aggressive enforcement strategy, the debate over eco-leftist policies that will kill the state’s primary source of income intensifies. 

New Mexicans are paying over 58 percent more for gasoline than when Governor Lujan Grisham took office, according to Power The Future.

Democrat NM lawmaker to resign for job in another state

In a shocking Monday announcement, University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano revealed that New Mexico state Sen. Benny Shendo, Jr. (D-Jemez Pueblo) was appointed Associate Vice Chancellor for Native American Affairs at CU Boulder. He will relinquish the state Senate seat by the spring of 2024.

A graduate of the University, Shendo brings his experience as a New Mexico state senator and his former high positions, such as tribal administrator and lieutenant governor for the Pueblo of Jemez.

Portrait of New Mexico state Sen. Benny Shendo, Jr.

A commitment to Native American affairs has marked Shendo’s professional journey, evident in his past roles at the University of New Mexico and as part of the dean of students office at Stanford University. His multifaceted background positions him uniquely for his new role, which will see him contributing to the Office of Government and Community Engagement.

In his capacity as Associate Vice Chancellor, Shendo will play a key role in fostering connections with tribal governments and communities across Colorado. His duties extend beyond the campus, involving collaboration with state and federal entities on matters pertaining to tribal affairs and higher education.

Shendo stated in a news release, “I cannot wait to get started in this new role at CU Boulder to strengthen our relationships with the tribes of Colorado and those historically connected to Colorado and to build a strong, supportive Native American community on campus for our students, faculty, and staff.”

Shendo is poised to assume his full-time position at CU Boulder on March 1, a move that necessitates his departure from the state senate. His decision to transition into this role underlines his dedication to advancing Native American initiatives within the realm of higher education.

Chancellor DiStefano highlighted Shendo’s appointment, saying in a news release, “We are delighted to welcome Benny Shendo back to the CU Boulder community,” adding, “His wealth of experience and commitment to Native American affairs will undoubtedly contribute to the university’s ongoing efforts to create an inclusive and culturally rich environment.”

Shendo was first elected in 2012 and currently chairs the powerful Senate Tax, Business & Transportation Committee.

New Mexico InDepth reported, “‘We’re trying to work out the details’ of the University of Colorado job, Shendo said, mentioning there was a possibility he could work from his home in New Mexico.”

Abortion trafficking banned in county bordering New Mexico

In a groundbreaking decision, a Texas county along the New Mexico border has taken a bold stand by outlawing abortion and abortion trafficking. The move has sparked heated debates and drawn attention from both supporters and critics.

Cochran County’s decision, aimed at protecting the sanctity of life and family values, is already making waves. Local authorities argue that it aligns with their commitment to uphold traditional principles, echoing the sentiments of one official who emphasized, “We believe in safeguarding the rights of the unborn.”

Pro-abortion extremists claim the move violates “reproductive” rights despite abortions ending the reproductive process. 

As the nation watches, the Texas-New Mexico border county has become a focal point in the ongoing battle over abortion. The ban not only covers abortion procedures but also includes measures against abortion trafficking, adding a layer of complexity to the debate.

Proponents hail this as a bold step towards preserving conservative values, while opponents view it as a potential powder keg for legal challenges. The county’s decision is expected to fuel the already intense national conversation on reproductive rights and may set a precedent for similar measures in other regions.

In March, far-left New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a law prohibiting local municipalities from “denying, restricting, or discriminating against an individual’s right to use or refuse reproductive health care.”

“Dickson pointed out that Roosevelt and [Lea] counties in New Mexico, which abut Cochran County, have taken the measures they can to ‘push back against the abortion industry,’” The Texan reported

The Texas county has marked a pivotal step in the fight for the right to life, and the move will likely save babies’ lives by halting abortion trafficking into New Mexico, which is an abortion up-to-birth state, per a far-left law passed in 2021 that garnered bipartisan opposition.

NM Supreme Court orders governor’s response to GOP’s lawsuit

On Tuesday, the New Mexico Supreme Court, which is comprised of mostly appointees of Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, ordered the governor to respond to a lawsuit lodged against her by all Republican members of the state Legislature, the Republican Party of New Mexico, National Rifle Association, among others, relating to her emergency powers.

The lawsuit came following Lujan Grisham’s unconstitutional order saying that she was “suspending” all Bernalillo County residents’ constitutional rights by banning them from open or concealed carrying for 30 days under the guise of a “public health emergency.” During the announcement, the governor claimed that no rights are “absolute” and that her oath of office isn’t absolute either. 

The Court wrote in the order, “WHEREAS, this matter came on for consideration upon the Court’s own motion to request a response to the verified petition for extraordinary writ and request for stay, and the Court being sufficiently advised, Chief Justice C. Shannon Bacon, Justice Michael E. Vigil, Justice David K. Thomson, Justice Julie J. Vargas, and Justice Briana H. Zamora concurring … that a response shall be timely if filed on or before October 16, 2023.” 

Since the lawsuit challenges the governor’s executive authority, the response time appears to be a chance to give her as much time as possible to formulate a defense of flagrantly abusing her powers. 

“We are thankful for the resounding support we have received throughout New Mexico as we are standing up and defending our American freedoms,” said House Minority Leader Ryan Lane (R-Aztec), announcing the lawsuit earlier this month. 

“We are filing in the New Mexico Supreme Court to continue the fight to defend our constitutional rights. We cannot allow one political stunt to undermine a document that guarantees our rights and has been a beacon of hope for so many globally. We are confident that our State Supreme Court will expedite this request and make certain our fundamental freedoms still hold strong and are upheld.”

He added, “From day one, we have made it clear that action on crime should be taken up with the Legislature and not played out on national media under a stunt that was destined to fail. We will continue to push the practical and commonsense crime reforms that we know will work in New Mexico to help save lives. We look forward to robust debate on our legislation, instead of the silencing of these topics, as now the world is watching how we solve the crime problems plaguing our communities.”

Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca (R-Belen) wrote, “Our fight is not over,” adding, “We intend to ensure that the temporary restraining order becomes permanent injunctive relief. We will not let up the pressure until we ensure no New Mexican is subjected to the removal of their rights through executive order ever again.”

Edgewood’s battle for pro-life ordinance takes unusual turn

Edgewood voters will not vote on a pro-life ordinance in November. The petition-driven initiative to overturn the ordinance by extremist pro-abortion activists, which the town commission approved in April, will not appear on the local election ballot, as anticipated.

Santa Fe County Clerk Katharine Clark informed Edgewood’s town manager, Nina McCracken, in a brief letter earlier this month that her office regards the issue as a non-binding “advisory question,” rendering it ineligible for the November 7 ballot.

McCracken clarified that the ordinance is temporarily on hold due to the petition. She explained, “The next election at which the ordinance can be considered would be in February if the commission calls for a special election.” McCracken emphasized the town’s commitment to supporting the voice of the people.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, this decision aligns with the direction given by the Secretary of State, as the issue is categorized as an advisory question, making it unsuitable for the ballot, claiming it has no legal weight.

Notably, no local abortion-related ordinances will appear on any New Mexico ballots. Instead, the ongoing dispute between some local governments and the state over the provision of abortion services will be settled in the courtroom this December.

The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on December 13 in a case that seeks to determine the impact of a recent law that codified a woman’s right to reproductive health services, including abortion, on local municipalities that pass ordinances contrary to this law.

The case is between New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez’s office and the counties of Lea and Roosevelt, as well as the cities of Hobbs and Clovis, which have passed pro-life ordinances despite the state law legalizing abortion.

At this point, Edgewood is not directly involved in this legal battle. Solicitor General Aletheia Allen from Torrez’s office suggested that all parties are waiting to see the outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling before initiating any legal action regarding the Edgewood issue.

The Edgewood ordinance, approved by the commission in April, aims to ban access to abortion pills and enables individuals to file lawsuits against those who violate this prohibition, subjecting the defendant to a minimum fine of $100,000. The ordinance is based on the federal Comstock Act, not state or local statutes.

While the issue may not be on the November ballot, it remains a topic of considerable significance in the ongoing debate surrounding abortion and local governance.

New poll delivers devastating news for gun-grabbing Gov. Lujan Grisham

A recent statewide survey commissioned by the New Mexico Shooting Sports Association (NMSSA) has shed light on the sentiments of New Mexico voters regarding public safety measures. The data overwhelmingly suggests that most voters in the state believe that the key to ensuring safety for their families is addressing crime and incarcerating criminals rather than implementing unconstitutional gun bans.

Ryan Munce, President of co/efficient, a national public opinion research firm, emphasized the findings of the survey, stating, “Our statewide survey affirms that most New Mexico voters believe their community is less safe due to Democrat Gov. Lujan Grisham’s ban on law-abiding citizens carrying firearms. There is broad agreement that violent criminals will still have guns and will still commit crimes.”

A striking 68 percent of New Mexico voters expressed their opposition to Gov. Lujan Grisham’s order that prohibits law-abiding citizens from openly and concealed carrying firearms in Albuquerque. Moreover, 89 percent of voters firmly believe that criminals will ignore this ban.

Munce highlighted the consensus among New Mexicans, noting, “To keep their families safe, New Mexicans agree that politicians and law enforcement should focus on putting violent criminals in prison instead of disarming law-abiding citizens in public.”

The survey also revealed that an overwhelming 83 percent of respondents consider a “crackdown on crime,” which includes “putting criminals behind bars,” to be the most effective approach to protecting families and loved ones from harm. This perspective underscores the belief that it is the actions of criminals, rather than inanimate objects, that are primarily responsible for crime. The governor has refused to call a special session to address crime, despite the crisis ravaging New Mexico streets.

Conducted between September 14 and September 18, 2023, the survey included 1,367 likely general election voters and employed a combination of mobile text responses and landline phone interviews. The survey’s demographic composition was designed to mirror the age, gender, education level, race, geography, and party affiliation of the true voting population, yielding a margin of error of 3.21 percent.

According to FiveThirtyEight’s pollster ratings system, co/efficient has a B+ rating, with its polls favoring Republicans by 2.3 percentage points. Regardless of this fact, that means 65.7 percent of respondents still massively oppose the governor’s anti-gun edict.

Thief snatches beloved Virgin Mary statue from ABQ church

In an act of pure evil that has left hundreds of parishioners heartbroken, a beloved decades-old statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary has vanished from St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The theft of this cherished five-foot statue, which had warmly greeted churchgoers for years, occurred back in August. It was reported when a church member witnessed a vehicle performing donuts in the church’s parking lot.

Now, all that remains in place of the statue is a simple wire outline, a poignant reminder of its absence. The church promptly filed a police report in the hope of recovering the stolen statue, but the initial response from law enforcement offered limited prospects for its return, according to KRQE News 13.

St. Anne’s Associate Pastor Benjamin Maes expressed the church’s frustration, saying, “The police came, and there was a report filed at that time; there was really nothing they could do, they said, but to ask around and to ask our community.” However, the incident did lead to an increased police presence in the area.

The statue of the Virgin Mary held great sentimental value for the congregation and was created by artist Felix Pedroncelli in 1999, fashioned from metal and fiber cement. It had graced the church’s front steps since its creation. Pedroncelli, who had earlier crafted a similar smaller statue for another part of the church, is deeply saddened by the theft but has pledged to create a new statue if the church requires one.

Pedroncelli shared his sentiments, saying, “Whatever I make, I donate them to people; It’s just my joy seeing somebody happy.” He hopes that the stolen statue can be returned, sparing him from having to create a new one. However, if it has been damaged or destroyed, he stands ready to repair and reinstall it for the church and its faithful congregation.

This unfortunate incident serves as a reminder of the challenges facing communities, including instances of theft and vandalism, and underscores the need for vigilance and community support. Albuquerque, in particular, has faced high crime rates under Democrat city and state leadership, with concerns about public safety remaining at the forefront of local discussions.

Recent unconstitutional actions by anti-gun Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to disarm Bernalillo County citizens were struck down this week by a Joe Biden-appointed federal judge, but the governor reinstated the order for parks and many public places in direct defiance of the temporary restraining order granted by the judge. 

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