Renato Costa

More businesses forced to go ‘cashless’ due to robberies, skyrocketing crime

Many small businesses are being forced to go “cashless” after a string of robberies that have left them with thousands of dollars swiped by criminals. 

Santa Fe’s Rowley Farmhouse Ales was robbed on November 8 of over $2,000 and a safe that costs about $1,000. 

“They ripped out our safe and about two grand. Plus the safe cost about a grand,” co-owner Jeffrey Kaplan told the Santa Fe New Mexican. This was the second time the establishment has been robbed, the first robbery also netting the criminals about $2,000. Now, the taproom is forced to go cashless.

The criminals  know restaurants have money,” Kaplan said, adding, “We said, ‘Let’s make this less of a target.’ ”

Albuquerque’s Burritos Alinstante restaurants are also cashless now due to crime.

The New Mexican reported, “The reason? Too many robberies where people with guns and wrenches and other weapons or tools came into the restaurants threatening employees and demanding cash,” according to Mary Ellen Chavez, who runs the restaurant chain.

“We had been robbed six or seven times in one of our stores in a very short period of time — six or eight weeks — and my employees were terrified,” Chavez said. “We were trying to figure out how to keep them safe and keep them going [to work]. And our solution helped everyone in that location feel a whole lot better.”

The move results in restaurants and other establishments having to pay three to four percent per transaction to credit card companies. But according to Chavez, after the implementation of the cashless policy, there haven’t been any burglaries as of yet. 

Carol Wight of the New Mexico Restaurant Association told the New Mexican that restaurants “are very concerned for their employees and staff, and they don’t want them handling cash and being vulnerable to burglaries,” adding, “We’ve had people held up and shot at gunpoint in restaurants. … You put somebody at risk every time you take money out of the safe and send it to the bank; you put them at risk just by having it on the premises.”

New Mexico has the second-highest violent crime rate in the entire nation, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s statistics. In 2021, for every 100,000 New Mexicans, law enforcement reported 2,189 crimes against persons or affecting 2.92% of the population. The only state with worse overall crime was Arkansas, with 2,276 crimes per 100,000 people.

In shocking move, NM House GOP elects all new leadership

On Saturday, the New Mexico House Republicans elected new leaders of the GOP caucus, propelling three new faces to all of the leadership positions. 

In a surprise move, GOP Caucus Leader Jim Townsend (R-Artesia) decided not to seek a third term in the position, although he will still remain a representative in the New Mexico House. The caucus elected Rep. Ryan Lane (R-Aztec) to succeed him in the vacant position.

House Republicans elected Rep. Jason Harper (R-Rio Rancho) to succeed GOP Whip Rod Montoya (R-Farmington) for the caucus whip position. 

Rep. Gail Armstrong (R-Magdalena) was chosen for the House GOP caucus chair position, succeeding retiring Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences), who did not run for reelection and will be leaving the chamber. Republicans now hold 25 seats in the 70-member lower chamber, a net pickup of one seat.

Rep. Lane told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “I think Jim thought it was a natural transition and the time to help new leadership come on board, you know, and finish out sort of the work that [Jim Townsend] begun.”

The shocking move by the New Mexico House Republicans comes as Democrats are making significant shakeups in their own caucus, with Speaker Brian Egolf retiring from the chamber at the end of his term and Rep. Javier Martinez (D-Bernalillo) the favorite to succeed him in the Democrats’ caucus. 

The Democrats also selected Rep. Gail Chasey (D-Bernalillo) as the new majority floor leader, succeeding Martinez, and newly elected Reena Szczepanski (D-Santa Fe) as their new majority whip. They also chose Rep. Raymundo Lara (D-Bernalillo) as their new caucus chairman.

NM House Dems nominate far-left racist Javier Martínez for speaker

On Saturday, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the New Mexico House Democrats, including those newly elected on November 8, voted to select far-left Majority Leader Javier Martínez as their pick to be the next House speaker.

Martínez is an unashamed racist agaisnt white people. He said in 2021, “one cannot be racist against White people.” 

He is known for his harsh criticism of Republican policies, and his support for far-left policies, such as abortion up-to-birth, the anti-police agenda, the “Green New Deal,” and higher taxes. Martinez also supports disrespecting the American flag by kneeling for the National Anthem. 

Martinez has in the past supported radical bills promoting illegal immigration, including one bill to put illegal alien teachers in New Mexico schools.

The Democrat also has admitted that Democrat “racist” policies in New Mexico, with leftists holding power for over 90 years, have led to failures in child proficiency in schools. 

After receiving the Democrats’ nomination, he praised the retiring current Speaker Brian Egolf, another far-leftist, saying under his rulership, the state has “passed some of the most transformative legislation in state history, including key investments in education, infrastructure, public safety, our environment, and more.”

First-term Representative-elect Reena Szczepanski (D-Santa Fe), who was hand-picked by Egolf, was nominated as the Democrats’ new majority whip. 

Rep. Gail Chasey (D-Bernalillo) was chosen to succeed Martínez as floor leader, another establishment choice from Democrat-dominated Albuquerque. Rep. Raymundo “Ray” Lara (D-Doña Ana) was picked to be the Democrats’ new caucus chair. 

The new picks from the Democrats demonstrate a hard-left turn, in the same vein as Egolf, who no doubt is content with the extreme left-wing leadership in the House.

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