Renato Costa

See how much MLG’s staffers are making after their extravagant raises

The Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham administration is no stranger to seeing hefty pay raises for staffers, as we have reported for years, such as in 2021 when she gave a $32,000 raise to a special assistant to New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney, who also got a hefty raise. 

But new figures from the governor’s office show extravagance in raises to staffers after her 2022 reelection. 

According to figures from the New Mexico Sunshine Portal, her new chief of staff =, Daniel Schlegel, got a staggering $72,524 pay raise — a 64 percent increase.

Administrative assistant Sheila Nelson got a 50 percent pay increase of $28,462, senior advisor Courtney Kerster got a 30 percent pay bump of $41,100, cabinet director Mariana Padilla was raised 28 percent or $37,850 in pay, and deputy chief of staff ​​Diego Arencon and director of cabinet affairs Caroline Buerkle both got a 19 percent pay increase totaling $28,218.

Many other instances of lavish pay raises happened across the board from legal assistants to senior-level staffers, who made up to a mind-boggling $185,000. 

The governor’s spokeswoman Maddy Hayden claimed, “Merit-based raises are standard practice across virtually every workplace, and the governor recognizes the extremely hard work employees in her office do every day, which routinely includes work on holidays, late into the evening and over weekends, to serve the people of New Mexico,” as reported by the Santa Fe New Mexican

“Hayden did not respond when asked why some employees in the Governor’s Office, such as Martin Chavez, a former mayor of Albuquerque who has served as Lujan Grisham’s infrastructure adviser since November, or administrative assistant Shiela Nelson, didn’t get salary increases,” the outlet reported

The median income in Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office is $131,950.00, with the lowest-salaried person, a constituent services deputy director, receiving $41,600.00 with the next-highest salary being $58,760 for a “special assistant.” The highest-paid positions in the office are tied at $185,000. 

The median household income in New Mexico is $54,020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Albuquerque ranked on a national list — this time for something good

New Mexico’s largest city is making headlines by being ranked on a national list — but unlike in the past — it’s for something good this time.

Money Magazine ranked Albuquerque as one of its best places to travel in 2023. It is ranked alongside Lisbon, Portugal; Alexandria, Virginia; Atlanta, Georgia; and Barcelona, Spain.

The magazine says the average cost of a trip to Albuquerque is $1,889.00. 

“To explore the city, stay in downtown or Old Town, two of Albuquerque’s most historic (and walkable!) neighborhoods. You’ll have easy access to public art, boutiques and day spas, and a hotel will only cost you about $145 a night — 53% cheaper than in nearby Santa Fe,” Money writes.

The article also boasts the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway and Central Avenue, which it writes “is packed with neon signs and quirky restaurants.”

“One last note on Santa Fe: Albuquerque’s neighbor to the north is just an hour and a half train ride away, and the scenery you’ll see from the Rail Runner Express train is worth the trip alone. An adult day pass is just $2.25, so you can hit up the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Meow Wolf and the New Mexican Museum of Art and be back in Albuquerque in time for another gorgeous sunset,” it adds. 

Money also boasts New Mexico’s state question when referencing cuisine choices while also advising visitors to pack “plenty of layers due to the fluctuating desert temperatures. The final recommendation Money has is to “drink lots of extra water — and don’t overdo it on the cocktails” due to the high elevation. 

The good press is a welcome change from the constant headlines broadcasting the Duke City’s horrific crime problem, making it one of the deadliest cities in the country. Many businesses, even big box stores like Walmart, have fled Albuquerque due to an increase in theft and crime-related losses. Despite these, the Money Magazine spread focuses on some of the good aspects of the city and why one should visit.

U.S. Supreme Court lets abortion pill stay on market for now

A short 7-2 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court Friday evening ordered the abortion drug mifepristone may remain on the market until a federal lower court rules on the matter, giving the Joe Biden regime a temporary win pending a court determination.

“In this case, the issue is not abortion pills directly, but whether the FDA acted appropriately in approving the drug more than 20 years ago. The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the pro-life plaintiffs, alleges the FDA ‘chose politics over science’ in approving the drug and acted unlawfully by removing safeguards around mifepristone, including permitting the pill to be delivered by mail,” reported Fox News

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. wrote, “ At present, the applicants are not entitled to a stay because they have not shown that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the interim. The applicants claim that regulatory “chaos” would occur due to an alleged conflict between the relief awarded in these cases and the relief provided by a decision of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. It is not clear that there actually is a conflict because the relief in these cases is a stay, not an injunction, but even if there is a conflict, that should not be given any weight. Our granting of a stay of a lower-court decision is an equitable remedy.”

He further noted, “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has engaged in what has become the practice of ‘leverag[ing]’ district court injunctions “as a basis’ for implementing a desired policy while evading both necessary agency procedures and judicial review.” 

Justices Alito and Clarence Thomas were the only justices to dissent from the majority opinion, with no other justice weighing in on the matter. 

The Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter followed U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk’s ruling on a case ordering the abortion drug to be banned from being distributed due to the unsafe nature of its contents, which has been proven in the case.

A 2021 scientific study found from FDA data between 2000 and 2019 that there were many deaths and adverse medical events directly linked to the use of mifepristone. The researchers found in their research that “[s]ignificant morbidity and mortality have occurred following the use of mifepristone as an abortifacient.”

Until the Fifth Circuit rules on the case, the abortion drug will be allowed to be disseminated. Some radical far-left pro-abortion sources are claiming they will create a black market for the killing drug even if a court strikes it down, opening the possibility for more women to be maimed and killed by the abortion industry via contraband efforts. 

Alec Baldwin gets off scot-free of criminal charges from deadly ‘Rust’ shooting

Alec Baldwin’s attorneys have revealed that criminal involuntary manslaughter charges against the actor stemming from the fatal October 2021 Rust shooting resulting in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins will be dropped.

“We are pleased with the decision to dismiss the case against Alec Baldwin and encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic incident,” attorneys Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro said in a statement.

Set armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed still faces charges connected with the shooting, although attorneys are confident those charges will also be dropped. 

“We fully expect at the end of this process that Hannah will also be exonerated,” her attorneys, Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion say. 

“A third person involved in the on-set catastrophe, assistant director David Halls, previously pleaded no contest to a single count of petty misdemeanor negligent use of a deadly weapon. He had handed the gun to Baldwin before it was fired but neglected to make sure the gun didn’t hold live bullets,” according to the New York Post

Hutchins’ family’s attorney said it was “clear what happened.”

Baldwin “had the gun, he says he pulled the hammer back, it fired, and she was killed. … The experts will look at it and make any determinations, but we don’t think this was caused by any defect in the weapon.”

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Hutchins’ family, Baldwin rejected, arguing the family was being “misguided.”

Rust has since resumed filming this week at a new location in Montana. Baldwin is both starring in and producing the film. 

Lujan Grisham tries playing the victim after being labeled a ‘murderer’

State Rep. John Block (R-Alamogordo) recently took to Twitter to characterize Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s comments supporting abortion up-to-birth as the governor being a “murderer.”

Following the tweet, Lujan Grisham’s office played the victim, telling the Santa Fe New Mexican, “Comments like these absolutely have the potential to incite violence, including to the governor, her family and colleagues.”

It is unclear how she equates being called a “murderer” to “inciting violence,” but she is well-known for name-calling of her own. 

She told New Mexico sheriffs who were unhappy with her anti-gun laws that they were “rogue sheriffs” having a “childish pity party,” and she called her political opponents “QAnon lizard people.”

Lujan Grisham’s former communications director Tripp Stelnicki called the Republican Party in New Mexico a “death cult” for not wanting to cripple small businesses with lockdowns.

She also Lujan Grisham applauded ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter rioters during the George Floyd riots who took to the streets to protest (many without masks or social distancing), writing, “This is a violation of the mass gatherings, no doubt, but we’re just going to take a leap of faith in protecting protesters who have no other way, quite frankly. Right? There’s no other way to be seen, to be heard, to be respected, and to be clear about your message.” This came while conservatives were met with scorn for protesting. 

However, when it comes to being labeled a “murderer” for signing laws to institute abortion up-to-birth in the state, squander $10 million in taxpayer funds for a new state-sponsored abortion mill, and sign laws to restrict local governments from following federal laws banning abortion drugs, she apparently can’t take the heat.

Rep. Block, who was elected in 2022, is the founder and editor of the Piñon Post and a longtime pro-life advocate, fighting on the frontlines for the right to life from conception to natural death. He sponsored New Mexico’s first-ever Heartbeat Bill, H.B. 258, during the 2023 Legislative Session to protect children in the womb from the moment a fetal heartbeat is detected.

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Colorado just became a ‘safe haven’ for minor gender transition ‘tourism’

New Mexico’s neighboring state of Colorado just became the “first transgender tourism state,” according to the Daily Mail, which reported on three new laws signed by Democrat Gov. Jared Polis to allow children to travel for puberty blockers even if the drugs are banned in the states where they live.

“It makes Colorado a safe haven for children under-18 with gender dysphoria looking for puberty blockers, hormone therapies and sex change operations – which have been restricted in more than a dozen Republican states,” reports the Daily Mail. Children can now travel to the state and undergo gender reassignment surgery and hormone replacement therapy without their parents.

The other laws Polis signed include proposals similar to New Mexico’s, which harbors criminal abortionists from extradition to other states for abortion crimes.

“Colorado also became the first state in October 2021 to include transition-related care for transgender people as part of the requirements for essential health care in the state, meaning people looking to access those transition services will be able to use the health insurance they pay for to get the care they need,” noted the report. 

Republican states have moved to protect children from child mutilation, with states such as Indiana prohibiting minors from accessing hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and surgeries in the state.

New Mexico state Rep. John Block responded to Polis signing the bill, which he dubbed as “child mutilation trafficking.” 

He wrote, “New Mexico is known as the abortion up-to-birth trafficking state and now Colorado is known as the child mutilation trafficking state. God help us and may He save our children!”

During the 2023 Legislative Session, Democrats rammed through a bill, H.B. 207, which adds “gender identity” as a protected class under the state’s Human Rights Act. Block presented an amendment during the bill’s consideration that would protect children from efforts to force their gender ideology in school locker rooms and sports. That amendment died. 

Although New Mexico is not the first “transgender tourism state,” it is the first abortion up-to-birth state, stripping all protections for women, babies, and doctors in its 2021 legislation.

Hobbs woman found guilty after horrifically throwing newborn in dumpster

On Friday, a jury found Alexis Avila, 19, of Hobbs guilty of abuse of a child relating in great bodily harm and attempted murder in the first degree. 

In January of 2022, Avila was caught on camera throwing her newborn, dubbed Baby Saul, in a dumpster outside the Rig Outfitters and Home Store in Hobbs. He was wrapped in a trash bag.

Fortunately, three people dug through the dumpster to find him, and he was rushed to the hospital in Lubbock, Texas. Baby Saul is “happy and healthy today living with family,” according to reports. 

“Officers with the Hobbs Police Department were called to an alley way in the Broadmoor Shopping Center after three people who had been digging through a dumpster found the hours old boy in a trash bag, alive, and with his umbilical cord still attached but crudely cut,” according to

“Medical staff testified that the newborn suffered from hypothermia, severe anemia, and kidney problem, among other issues after being abandoned and left in 40 degree temperatures for more than six hours.”

Once police found Avila, she admitted she gave birth at home and abandoned the child, claiming to be too young to take care of him.

Avila’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 1. She faces 18 years imprisonment, but it could be reduced to 12 years.

Following the verdict, Fifth Judicial District Attorney Dianna Luce noted how “tough” the case was but how fortunate it was that the perpetrator’s actions were caught on camera. 

“That video said it all,” she said. “It clearly caught her actions, her expressions and it’s still difficult for people to watch that video when you think about the fact that baby was inside that bag.” 

Governor surprises with sweeping line-item vetoes in tax bill

On Thursday, Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham delivered New Mexicans a major surprise by vetoing major portions of the Democrats’ tax package, H.B. 547, which is seen as a big win for fiscally responsible legislators.

According to one report, Lujan Grisham “struck from the bill a phased-in reduction of the tax New Mexico consumers pay on most goods and services, a 20% alcohol tax increase, an electric vehicle tax credit and changes to the state’s personal income tax system aimed at benefiting low-income residents.”

The far-left enviro-Marxist group the Rio Grande Sierra Club whined on Twitter following the veto of the electric vehicle tax credits, “We are incredibly disappointed to see the [governor] line item veto the climate tax credits in the comprehensive package. This is a climate emergency and merits emergency action.”

The governor also vetoed a 25% tax on cigars, which lawmakers argued would make a $10.00 cigar $12.50, creating a “black market” for the products by bringing them in from other states, as Rep. John Block (R-Alamogordo) noted. 

Portions of the bill that remain intact include $500 one-time tax rebates for single filers and $1,000 for married, as well as an expanded child income tax credit of up to $600 per child.

A fiscally irresponsible measure left in the bill includes additional film production tax credits, which critics argue will mostly benefit large production houses out-of-state that will hire temporary workers in New Mexico while continuing to keep post-production out-of-state in the Los Angeles area. 

Another bad portion of the bill that she vetoed is a reduction of capital gains deductions. According to KRQE 13, “Currently, New Mexico allows taxpayers to claim a deduction of up to $1,000 or 40% of the profit of a long-term asset sold. In other words, if you sell stock and make a profit of $10,000 on it, you only have to pay state income tax on 60% (or $6,000) of that profit,” The outlet added that “the capital gains deduction for non-business-related personal sales would be capped at $2,500. In other words, if you sold the same amount of stock as given in the example above, you would have to pay state income tax on 75% (or $7,500) of the profit.” 

“And for business-related sales, capital gains deductions would be capped at 20% of the profit, rather than the current 40%. With a lower cap, the change would presumably help the state generate more tax revenue, while potentially costing some businesses more money by limiting the dollar value of their deduction.” With the measure no longer being in the bill, it is a relief for New Mexico business owners and those who sell assets.

A provision Lujan Grisham struck from the bill, despite previously advocating for it, was a gross receipts tax deduction from 4.875% to 4.375%. She vetoed it. 

The governor wrote in her veto message, “Given the unpredictable nature of the economy and our state’s reliance on oil and gas revenues, I am not confident this package is fiscally responsible.”

NM bill to harbor criminal abortionists signed into law

On Wednesday, Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed S.B. 13, sponsored by Sen. Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque), which bans the extradition of criminal abortionists and the sharing of information regarding such criminals with other states. The governor was joined by the sponsor and late-term abortion doctor Eve Espey of UNM School of Medicine at the bill signing. 

Section 4 of the legislation reads, “It shall be a violation of the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Protection Act to request from a third party, or for a third party to transmit information related to an individual’s or entity’s protected health care activity with the intent to: . . . (6) deter, prevent, sanction or penalize an individual or entity for engaging in a protected health care activity.” 

According to New Mexico Alliance for Life (NMAFL), “This language expressly covers any pro-life communicative activity aimed at stopping abortion. It is hard to imagine a broader, more blatantly unconstitutional restriction. Note that it applies not just to the communications of pro-life groups, but also even to inquiries from pro-life individuals.” 

Section 9 of the bill expressly exempts from extradition criminal fugitives who commit or conspire to commit illegal abortions, so long as the perpetrator remains in New Mexico during the commission of the crimes. 

Therefore, “an abortionist who sends pills to another state will be protected by New Mexico. Additionally, the abortionist must have fled from that state after the commission of the action. This may create a loophole if an investigation is not brought before the abortionist arrives in New Mexico,” NMAFL wrote.

S.B. 13 would isolate New Mexico from other states, as many pro-life legislators pointed out during the debate of the legislation.

The measure passed the state Senate by a vote of 26-16 and narrowly passed the House by a vote of 38-30. 

Democrat Sen. Pete Campos of Las Vegas was the lone vote against the measure in the Senate. Democrat Reps. Anthony Allison of Fruitland, Ambrose Castellano of Ribera, Harry Garcia of Grants, D. Wonda Johnson of Church Rock, Patricia Lundstrom of Gallup, and Joseph Sanchez of Alcalde opposed the bill in the House. 

After the signing of the legislation, the pro-abortion New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice wrote on Twitter, “We are proud to say New Mexico protects reproductive freedom at all costs,” boasting about the harboring of criminal abortionists in the state.

Lujan Grisham signs bill changing NM’s assisted suicide law

On Tuesday, Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed S.B. 471, which will no longer force New Mexico doctors to perform physician-assisted suicides following litigation by the national group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in Lacy v. Torrez. The measure passed unanimously through both legislative chambers.

The bill allows exceptions for physicians based on reasons of conscience or religious beliefs. Previously in 2021, physician-assisted suicide passed the legislature, which would mandate all physicians to prescribe drug “cocktails” to cause death in terminally ill patients. 

The American Medical Association previously wrote in a medical opinion, “Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.”

During the 2021 assisted suicide bill’s hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the “expert witnesses,” law professor Robert Schwartz and physician Steven Kanig could not 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.”

Following the signing of S.B. 471, ADF’s senior counsel Mark Lippelmann wrote, “We commend the New Mexico Legislature and Gov. Lujan Grisham for enacting this critical law to protect health care professionals who object to assisted suicide for reasons of conscience or faith.”

“Dr. Lacy and the thousands of other Christian medical professionals we represent believe every life is sacred and full of inherent value, and that assisted suicide ends an innocent human life without justification. The government should never force doctors to surrender their religious, moral, and ethical convictions.”

Dr. Jeffrey Barrows, senior vice president of bioethics and public policy for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) wrote after the bill’s signing, “As Christian health care professionals, it is our aim to serve every patient with excellence and compassion, as image-bearers of God,” adding, “We strive to perform our work according to the dictates of our faith and professional ethics, including the belief that every life is precious. We’re grateful New Mexico quickly responded to our lawsuit by enacting protections for conscientious physicians.”

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