Renato Costa

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. 

NM Gas Co. rate hike request to PRC revealed

The New Mexico Gas Company (NMGC) has submitted an application to raise customer rates, citing inflation and escalating operational expenses across various sectors, according to KRQE 13 News.

If approved, this rate adjustment would lead to an approximate monthly increase of $6.70 for residential customers beginning in October 2024. This represents an approximately 11% rise compared to current residential billing rates.

The NMGC has justified this request by pointing to the need to cover expenses associated with maintaining a skilled workforce and complying with expanding regulatory mandates.

The gas company is seeking additional revenues totaling $49 million, which they plan to allocate toward essential infrastructure and system upgrades. These improvements are crucial to ensuring the continued provision of safe and dependable natural gas services to the people of New Mexico.

The proposal will undergo a thorough evaluation by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission over the coming months, with a final decision expected in late summer 2024. NMGC recognizes the challenges associated with a rate increase but emphasizes its necessity for fulfilling its commitment to delivering reliable natural gas services to the residents of New Mexico.

It’s worth noting that NMGC had already implemented a rate increase in January, resulting in an approximate monthly uptick of $2.70 for customers. This latest request underscores the company’s dedication to maintaining the quality and safety of its services in the face of rising costs and evolving regulatory demands.

Judge swiftly smacks down MLG’s unconstitutional gun ban

On Wednesday, far-left Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s anti-gun order on Bernalillo County residents was swiftly smacked down by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge David Urias issued this ruling on Wednesday, which represents a setback for Democrat Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s efforts to address a series of recent shootings, including the tragic death of an 11-year-old boy leaving a minor league baseball game in Albuquerque.

The far-left governor issued an emergency public health order last Friday, suspending the right to openly or concealed carry firearms in public areas, a measure rooted in a specific threshold of violent crime statistics primarily observed in Albuquerque and its surrounding areas. The governor cited recent incidents of shootings across the state, particularly those involving the loss of young lives, as the impetus for this action. Nevertheless, she acknowledged that criminals might disregard the order.

Those found in violation of this order could have faced civil penalties and fines of up to $5,000, enforced by the New Mexico State Police. However, the local sheriff and Albuquerque’s police chief had chosen not to enforce the order.

Advocates for gun rights launched a barrage of legal challenges against the order in the U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, alleging that it infringed upon their civil rights protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In response to these developments, Republican lawmakers have called for impeachment proceedings against the governor. This marks another instance of Governor Lujan Grisham testing the boundaries of her executive authority, reminiscent of her prior use of public health orders to implement stringent lockdown measures during the initial stages of the COVID pandemic.

Democrat state Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces, the chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, responded, “Federal Judge Urias predictably enters a restraining order precluding recognition of the Governor’s gun ban. Senate Judiciary has recognized even well intended gun laws must comply with the constitution to serve any purpose; and has dealt with those efforts accordingly.”

The ACLU turns on Lujan Grisham, rips her new anti-gun order

You know it’s bad for far-left anti-gun Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham when the farthest left organization around — the American Civil Liberties Union — turns on her and bashes her unconstitutional public health order banning guns in Bernalillo County.

The group wrote in a press release, “The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico raised concerns today that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s use of emergency powers could lead to overzealous policing and senseless incarceration.”

ACLU of New Mexico Litigation Manager Lalita Moskowitz issued the following statement:

“The ACLU of New Mexico is heartbroken over the recent death of a child and shares the governor’s concern for the well-being of our community. However, we are equally concerned that her solution to the complicated problems of substance abuse, addiction, and gun violence is to pour more resources into law enforcement.  

Historically, this kind of approach leads to the over policing of our communities, racial profiling, and increased misery in the lives of already marginalized people. Instead, the governor should be following evidence-based solutions such as me​​aningful diversion and violence intervention programs and addressing the root causes of violence. The order also raises legitimate and pressing concerns about New Mexicans’ privacy. 

We are closely monitoring the legal challenges to this executive order, recognizing that many people in our state are focused on the section related to firearms. However, we are deeply concerned about other parts of the order, including the governor’s decision to suspend a program that helps children avoid juvenile prison. We know that incarceration during childhood increases the likelihood that someone will end up in the adult criminal system. Ending a program that helps young people find a different path is counterproductive to public safety.  

While we acknowledge the severity of the fentanyl crisis, we oppose any actions that risk further criminalizing our youth or individuals struggling with addiction. 

ACLU-NM stands in support of initiatives that prioritize treatment and improve access to services to facilitate recovery. We know these approaches are far more effective than criminalization or incarceration.  

Our organization remains committed to advocating for policies that safeguard the civil liberties and rights of all citizens, while simultaneously addressing public health crises through compassionate, evidence-based strategies.”

Earlier Tuesday, state Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Doña Ana County) called for the governor to rescind her order, blasting its unconstitutionality. So far, no elected Democrat in New Mexico has come out supporting Gov. Lujan Grisham’s order.

As impending impeachment looms over MLG, she gets unlikely far-left foe

On Friday, far-left anti-gun Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham opened up likely the biggest can of worms in her entire tenure as governor with the most brazenly unconstitutional move yet — banning all open or concealed carry for anyone in Bernalillo County — claiming their constitutional rights are now “suspended” due to a “public health emergency” she just declared via executive order.

Social media and the news exploded with outraged comments coming from all sides. State Reps. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park) and John Block (R-Alamogordo) called for the governor’s impeachment over her crimes against the Constitution and her oath of office, which she described as not “absolute.” 

The state House Republicans announced their own lawsuit against the governor, writing in a press release that they “will file a federal lawsuit alongside the NM Senate Republicans challenging the unconstitutional gun ban enacted by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.”

 “The outrage from New Mexicans and Americans across the country reveals how precious our rights are, and we will not back down from defending and fighting for what makes the United States of America a unique experiment. This country and our state were founded on principles of freedom and democracy, and one political figure will not erase our shared history,” said GOP House Leader Ryan Lane (R-Aztec). 

Elon Musk even called for the far-left governor’s removal.

Then the most unlikely voice came out against her — extreme far-left U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (R-California) — who said, “I support gun safety laws. However, this order from the Governor of New Mexico violates the U.S. Constitution. No state in the union can suspend the federal Constitution. There is no such thing as a state public health emergency exception to the U.S. Constitution.”

Lieu served alongside Lujan Grisham while she was a congresswoman from New Mexico’s First District from 2013 to 2019. She served with the California Democrat from 2015 until her inauguration as New Mexico governor.
To make matters worse for the governor, Democrat Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen have refused to enforce the unconstitutional order, saying he has extreme “reservations” regarding its constitutionality.

Lujan Grisham declares ‘gun violence’ emergency, uses $750K for gun grabs

Far-left anti-gun Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a public health emergency in New Mexico, cloaking it in the tragic murder of an 11-year-old boy on his way home from a baseball game. 

“The time for standard measures has passed,” she wrote. “Today, I am declaring gun violence a public health emergency in New Mexico.” Gov. Lujan Grisham emphasized what she perceived as the need for additional action to combat the escalating gun violence.

“I want to know that local officials are giving the epidemic of gun violence the attention it deserves. I want to know that every parent is making sure their guns are locked up. I want to know that district attorneys and judges are using every tool at their disposal to hold bad actors accountable. I want to know that every gun store is not allowing straw purchases. I want to know that every law enforcement agency is using our red flag law,” she added in the long-winded statement.

The governor called on citizens to demand change from their communities, friends, and elected leaders, urging them to get involved and speak out against “gun violence.” She pledged to provide more details on this public health emergency in collaboration with law enforcement and criminal justice leadership.

Governor Lujan Grisham has scheduled a meeting to determine immediate actions to snatch guns in New Mexico communities. She also made a plea to Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, urging them to take swift action to combat the illegal flow of drugs and guns into the state and provide additional federal resources. She even claimed she “begged” Garland for additional federal agents. 

The governor noted that the executive order “provides $750,000 to state agencies for the purposes of quickly reducing gun violence and encourages mayors, sheriffs and other officials… request additional emergency funding from the state as well.”

Lujan Grisham has been actively seeking federal assistance since June 2022, and she claims she recently sent her fourth letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, emphasizing the urgent need for immediate resources to combat violent crime in New Mexico.

The executive order and accompanying press release were light on solutions to help with New Mexico’s mental health crisis.

Far-left Dems seize Labor Day to advocate for more socialism in NM

Far-left Democrats in the New Mexico Legislature used the Labor Day holiday to demand more socialism in New Mexico, this time wanting paid medical leave.

Senate President Pro-Tem Mimi Stewart (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), Rep. Linda Serrato (D-Santa Fe), and Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Albuquerque) wrote in a Las Cruces Sun-News op-ed that they think “it’s time for a New Mexican Paid Family and Medical Leave.”

“Our push in the last legislative session for Paid Family and Medical Leave got more support than ever before. We were disappointed it didn’t become law this year, but we have not given up the fight because we know New Mexico workers deserve this important benefit,” they insisted. 

They plugged a far-left extremist group in its upcoming event that will advocate for the passage of the extreme socialist proposal, “We encourage you to join Southwest Women’s Law Center for one of their series of Town Halls across the state to share how access to Paid Family and Medical Leave would impact your family.”

S.B. 11, sponsored by the lawmakers, died at the hands of Democrats in the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee, with Reps. Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup) and Marian Matthews (D-Albuquerque) rejected the proposal with multiple concerns. In the Senate, Sens. Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Albuquerque) and George Muñoz (D-Gallup) voted against the bill.

Terri Cole of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce said the legislation would impose a “large escalating tax” on workers and employers, as reported by the Albuquerque Journal. The bill’s fiscal impact report (FIR) noted a shocking $516 million deficit in the fund would accrue by the 2028 budget year. 

Other concerns from stakeholders include the vagueness of the language in the bill and expanding the scope of coverage to any “blood” relative of the person in question.

“UNM also says the definition of a family member in Section 2.G (5), indicating that a family member is “any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee or employee’s spouse or domestic partner is the equivalent of a family relationship” broadens the federal definitions of family members under the Family Medical Leave Act and leaves some ambiguity in terms of how the department will interpret this language.  As written, it appears to open the door for paid FMLA to care for a parents-in-law, siblings-in-law, and potentially individuals such as cousins or cousins-in-law, depending on the Department’s interpretation of “blood” and “affinity” in this section,” according to the FIR.

Still, the far-left, led by Stewart, is hell-bent on ramming through “paid family leave,” likely in the next 30-day legislative session, which begins in January. 

‘Human Rights Act’ cited by far-left pols. seeking to ban free speech at NMSU

A recent appearance by Matt Walsh at New Mexico State University (NMSU) has sparked controversy, prompting two New Mexico state senators to call for a review of the university’s policies that allowed Walsh to speak on campus.

Democratic State Senators Carrie Hamblen and William Soules, along with seven other government officials, including state, county, and municipal representatives, jointly penned a letter addressed to the interim president of the NMSU Board of Regents. The letter, which was reported by Young America’s Foundation, expressed their profound disappointment regarding Walsh’s presence at a Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) event held on campus in April.

In the letter, Walsh was accused of “encouraging violence” and “spouting racist and pro-slavery rhetoric.” The officials also alleged that Walsh had “minimized accusations against known pedophiles and child abusers,” though they provided no substantiation for this accusation.

The letter’s contents included a call for a serious discussion on why the university permitted such an event that, in their view, knowingly caused fear and harm to a segment of the student population. They sought information about who within the administration supported the event and what policies or actions would be implemented in the future to prevent further emotional and psychological distress among vulnerable students.

Young America’s Foundation pointed out that, as a public university, NMSU had no legal basis to prevent Walsh from speaking on campus once he had been invited by the hosting club that followed all proper procedures.

The letter also cited House Bill 207, which mandates that the state’s Human Rights Act be applicable to all New Mexico government entities, institutions, cities, counties, and public contractors. This bill includes definitions for sex, gender, gender identity, disabilities, and sexual orientation within the Human Rights Act.

Interim President Jay Gouge invited Jewel Navarette, chairwoman of the NMSU YAF, to meet with him and Senator Hamblen. Navarette, representing conservative students, emphasized their commitment to defending their First Amendment rights and reiterated their determination to uphold the principles of free speech and expression on their campus.

“We will continue to fight for the right to free speech and expression on our campus,” she affirmed. “These public officials have no right to say what kind of ideas can or cannot be expressed at NMSU.”

The letter bore the signatures of State Representative Angelica Rubio, Las Cruces Council Mayor Pro Tem Kasandra Gandara, Las Cruces City Councilors Becky Corran, Johana Bencomo, and Becki Graham, along with Doña Ana County Commissioners Shannon Reynolds and Christopher Schaljo-Hernandez.

Santa Fe school board floats banishing Fiesta Council from visiting schools

Parents and local residents in Santa Fe expressed their frustrations on Thursday regarding a proposed resolution by the Santa Fe Public School (SFPS) that seeks to banish the Santa Fe Fiesta Council from participating in various local school activities.

According to KOAT 7, During the meeting, one participant voiced their concerns by asking, “Why are you taking so much time and attention to divide our history and culture?”

Lynette King, a parent who attended the meeting, expressed her frustration over the situation, stating, “It is heartbreaking to see our community like this.” King argued that the Fiesta Court has played a valuable role in educating youth about the history of Santa Fe and the significance of the 300-year Fiesta celebration.

Over the years, members of the Fiesta Court have visited schools, offering performances that recount the history of how the Spanish peacefully reclaimed the city from domestic terrorist and brutal murderer Popé, who his own people denounced and banished. 

Many attendees of the meeting on Thursday expressed disagreement with the proposed ban, contending that the representation and activities of the Fiesta Court have contributed positively to the community.

However, the proposed resolution has garnered support from a group that chose not to provide on-camera commentary. This group contends that the story presented by the Fiesta Court does not adequately address the struggles faced by Native Americans during that historical period. They argue that the narrative inadvertently glorifies colonization and the subjugation of indigenous peoples.

Despite the differing viewpoints, parents like Lynette King maintain that the involvement of the Fiesta Court in local school activities has been beneficial for children’s education. She highlighted the positive impact on kids: “It’s just, it’s a beautiful thing. It shows kids that they can do this too… They can be a part of the community.”

The SFPS board has scheduled another meeting on Monday at 5:30 p.m. to continue deliberating on the resolution and ultimately cast their votes on the matter. The ongoing discussions reflect the complex interplay of historical narrative, cultural representation, and community engagement as stakeholders weigh the potential effects of the proposed ban on the Fiesta Court’s involvement in local schools.

The Santa Fe schools have continued revisionist history in the past, such as stripping the name of peaceful conquistador Don Diego de Vargas from formerly De Vargas Middle School. The junior high school is now called Milagro.

Maggie Toulouse Oliver tries to mess up grocery store merger

Far-left Democrat New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is trying her hand at attempting to mess up a merger between Albertsons and Kroger grocery stores.

Toulouse Oliver recently added her signature to a letter co-signed by six other secretaries of state, rejecting the $24.6 billion merger — a direct attack on the free market.

Addressed to the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, Lina Khan, the joint letter conveys the concerns of Toulouse Oliver and her leftist counterparts from Colorado, Rhode Island, Arizona, Maine, Vermont, and Minnesota. Their primary contention is that the merger would curtail consumer choice, potentially eliminating the competitive drive to lower prices and leaving consumers powerless to ensure that the companies maintain their promises of affordable prices. Moreover, they argue that the consolidation could adversely affect local farmers, small businesses, and suppliers dependent on a competitive grocery market.

An Albertsons grocery store in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Tony Webster via Wiki Commons.

The letter highlights potential repercussions: “If the merger goes through, the lack of competition gives Kroger-Albertsons substantial power to dictate prices that harm growers and shippers who will be forced to cut wages for their own workers.”

However, Kroger’s perspective on the matter contradicts the officials’ bloviated concerns. A spokesperson for Kroger conveyed that the opposite is likely to occur if the merger progresses. They contend that prices would decrease, consumer choice would expand, and wages would increase as a result of the merger. The spokesperson also criticized the opposition, suggesting that the real beneficiaries of preventing the merger’s completion would be large, non-unionized competitors like Walmart and Amazon. Kroger assured that the merger would not lead to layoffs or closures of stores, distribution centers, or manufacturing facilities.

Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Albertsons, unfortunately, remained inaccessible for direct comment on their stance regarding the merger.

Kroger delivery vehicle. Phillip Pessar via Wiki Commons.

Currently, Kroger operates 24 locations in New Mexico, including 14 in Albuquerque, all operating under the Smith’s brand. The company is a significant employer in the state, with over 2,500 employees. Similarly, Albertsons has a substantial presence in New Mexico, boasting over two dozen Albertsons Market and Albertsons stores.

While the concerns expressed by Toulouse Oliver and the other secretaries of state may reflect their commitment to preserving competitive markets, it’s crucial to critically examine the potential influence of ideology on such decisions. Toulouse Oliver’s far-left, anti-capitalist perspective might inadvertently obstruct free-market dynamics, raising questions about the balance between consumer protection and fostering market competition.

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