New Mexico

Three Rivers Fire in Lincoln National Forest has grown to 6,100 acres, 0% contained

On Monday morning, a fire, which is being called the “Three Rivers Fire” of 2021 started in the Lincoln National Forest. According to officials, the blaze has already enveloped 6,100 acres, starting approximately half a mile from the Three Rivers Campground on the backside of the White Mountains of the Smokey Bear Ranger District. On Monday morning, the fire was reported to be at 4,000 acres.

The fire is “being driven by steep terrain and extreme fire weather conditions, including gusty winds and low humidity levels around 8 percent,” says the National Forest Service. The fire has spread almost to Ski Apache and into the South Fork area.

“The fire is 0 percent contained. Firefighters, aircraft, and equipment are on scene. Additional firefighting resources, including three additional large air tankers and ground crews, have been ordered and will be arriving as soon as possible. A Type-1 Incident Management Team was ordered this afternoon, will be in-briefed tomorrow, and take command thereafter. There have been no reported injuries. No structures have burned.” 

“Smoke was highly visible from Highway 54 and is moving to the northeast into the adjacent communities of Alto, Capitan, and Ruidoso. Please visit the NM Department of Health’s smoke page for information on protecting your health during fires and on smoky days,” writes the Forest Service.

There is currently no known cause of the fire at this time, but an update is expected mid-morning on Tuesday with more information. As for now, those in the area should take heed of the following evacuation areas and centers, as well as the following road closures:

Evacuations: Evacuation notices are in place for:

• Nogal Canyon Area

• Bonito Canyon Area

• Tanbark

• Church

• Ranchman’s Camp

• Loma Grande

• Cora Dutton

• Magado

• Ski Apache

Evacuation Centers

• Nazarean Church Camp, 200 Bonito Park Rd. Alto, NM 88316

• Capitan Senior Center at 412 Tiger Drive Capitan, NM 88316

• Ruidoso Downs Senior Center at 393 Highway 70 West Rd. Ruidoso Downs, NM 88346.

(Evacuees with livestock can take their animals to Lincoln County Fairgrounds at 101 5th St. Capitan, NM.)

Road Closures

• Ski Run Road

• Bonito Canyon Road aka Rd 107

• Nogal Canyon Road aka 400

• Three Rivers Trailhead and Campground

Following news of the blaze, public officials representing the area made it clear they are working with fire officials to [aid] in any way necessary. Republican Congresswoman Yvette Herrell wrote, “My staff and I are closely monitoring the Three Rivers Fire and staying in regular contact with the USDA, USFS, state, and local officials. Our prayers are with those fighting the fire as well as those in its path. Stay safe, heed the warnings and orders from authorities, and be prepared to relocate quickly if necessary. Please also beware of unconfirmed information about the situation, and follow official sources like U.S. Forest Service – Lincoln National Forest, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, and for the latest reliable and factual updates.” 

To follow the latest information on the Three Rivers Fire, please follow the National Forest Service’s official page for the blaze on Facebook here.

A tale of two Catholic dioceses during Coronavirus: Las Cruces vs. Santa Fe

Following a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court ordering capacity limits on places of worship cannot be more restrictive than other places, such as schools, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham lifted her stringent “color-coded” reopening plan for places of worship.

While many places of worship rejoiced in the decision following a year-long assault by the Governor on people of faith, others remained at Lujan Grisham’s status quo, including the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, which kept the “red to green” framework restricting masses, funerals, weddings, and other essential church services.

Archbishop John C. Wester said in a statement, “It is of paramount importance to remember that the Church values everyone’s safety and well-being.” He added, “Life is sacred and we are taking every precaution to protect our people from the coronavirus.”

This means that the Roman Catholic faithful in northern and central New Mexico will remain restricted on their church attendance, including Colfax County, which currently sits at the “red level,” meaning it “may not exceed 25% of the maximum capacity of any enclosed space on the premises.” The six counties in the diocese at the “yellow” level will only be allowed to have a maximum of 33% capacity, according to the levels Wester is following. The ten other counties in “turquoise” will still only be allowed a max of 75% as well. 

The Diocese of Las Cruces is in light blue while the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is in red.
The current “Red to Green” framework from the Lujan Grisham regime.

However, another Roman Catholic diocese in New Mexico, the Diocese of Las Cruces, which covers most of the state south of Torrance County, is not cowering to fear and is letting each priest of each parish decide how to proceed. 

In a statement from the diocese, it declares that “Bishop Peter Baldacchino has removed the restrictions on Mass attendance and will continue to leave it in the capable hands of the priests in the diocese to celebrate Masses, Funerals, and Weddings at the capacity which they deem prudent while continuing to be aware of their parish realities and the current health precautions set forth by the State and Federal Government.” 

“[T]hose that are at risk for COVID-19 are encouraged to stay home and watch the numerous live stream Masses available in the diocese,” the diocese said.

The Diocese of Las Cruces was a trendsetter last April when Bishop Baldacchino resumed public masses, the first diocese to do so. 

“We [as priests] have been called by Christ and ordained to serve the people of the Diocese of Las Cruces, to bring them hope and consolation during this difficult time,” Baldacchino wrote at the time.

“In the events of these days and weeks the Lord is calling us out of our comfort zone, he is calling us to seek new ways to reach the people. In addition to this mission with which we are entrusted, we also have the mission to keep people safe. The two must be equally pursued.” 

“While it is true that we need to take every reasonable precaution to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, it is equally true that we offer the greatest ‘essential service’ to our people. The past few weeks have brought to light many unintended consequences of the ‘stay-at-home’ order,” he continued.

Bishop Baldaccio’s leadership is in stark contrast to Archbishop Wester’s, where the Diocese of Las Cruces is calling the faithful to live out their faith with their own choices, while the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is mandating Christians to follow strict guidelines that reduce their choices. 

Read more about Gov. Lujan Grisham’s assault on the faithful here. 

Gov. MLG paid her daughter, a cosmetologist, $1,040 in campaign funds for ‘media preparation’

Embattled Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who was accused and later settled with $62,500 in campaign funds for sexual assault, did not only pay off an accuser with campaign cash.  

According to the Lujan Grisham campaign’s most recent filing, she paid $1,040.00 to her daughter, Erin Grisham at “Beauty By Erin Grisham” for “media preparation” on October 13, 2020. It appears suspect that the campaign made sure to list the Governor’s daughter’s services as “media preparation” instead of as hair and makeup, since she is a freelance hair and makeup artist, according to her LinkedIn profile. Erin Grisham does not have a registered LLC or other registered taxable entity with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office, although she holds a cosmetology license that expires in 2022, according to the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department. 

On her professional profile, Erin Grisham writes that she has been a “Hair and make-up stylist for members of the NM State Representatives and New Mexico State Democratic Party.” On LinkedIn and her website, Erin Grisham lists no other services she offers other than hair and makeup. It is unclear if Erin Grisham still resides in the state since, on her website, she writes, “ I started my career in New Mexico and recently moved to California to further my education in the beauty industry.”

According to New Mexico state law, “Expenditures that are reasonably attributable to the candidate’s campaign and not to personal use or personal living expenses are permissible campaign expenditures.” Makeup and hair expenses are not appropriate uses of campaign funds, per state law.

For the date the expenditure was made to Erin Grisham, Gov. Lujan Grisham was at a virtual fundraiser for the re-election of Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil (D-Bernalillo) from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. According to her official calendar from the Office of the Governor, Lujan Grisham had a cabinet meeting at 10:00 a.m., a “USC Climate Discussion” from 11:50 am to 12:50 noon, and a call with Vice President Pence and other governors scheduled for 12:00 noon. 

Later in that week, the Governor had a “Casey Foundation: Opportunities for Young People in New Mexico” on October 14th, a press conference on the 15th, and multiple calls with Democrats and Dr. Deborah Birx on the 16th. 

In the same campaign finance report, Lujan Grisham’s largest expenditures were the $62,5000 to James Hallinan, sexual assault accuser, $50,000 to the Democrat Party of New Mexico, and $34,100 to Anne Lewis Strategies of Washington, D.C., which is listed in the campaign finance report as an “online consultant.” 

Marijuana dealer Darren White of PurLife gave the Governor’s campaign three separate payments of $10,000 in December 2020, just weeks before the 2021 Legislative Session, where the Governor’s recreational marijuana bill was rammed through. Lujan Grisham also received a $10,000 contribution from Bright Green in Grants, which the campaign finance report identifies as a marijuana company. 

This story will be updated if Lujan Grisham’s campaign responds to the Piñon Post‘s request for comment.

Ben Ray Luján wants Big Tech CEOs to ban RFK Jr., doctors for ‘anti-vaccine’ posts

In mid-April, Democrat Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey demanding they purge a dozen accounts. Individuals on the list included multiple medical professionals who are critical of the COVID-19 vaccine. Certain vaccines, such as the Johnson & Johnson shot, have been shown to cause side effects. 

Klobuchar and Luján wrote, “We write to express our concern about the public health ramifications of online coronavirus vaccine disinformation and to urge you to remove the accounts that have been identified by experts as responsible for producing the majority of this disinformation on social media platforms.”

The move comes at the behest of a far-left fringe group, “Center for Countering Digital Hate” compiled a list of 12 individuals who the organization calls the “Disinformation Dozen.” Among those included on the list are Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and numerous other big-name medical professionals for alleged violations of the platforms’ community standards. 

On the website for the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), the group writes, “Misinformation militates against our success in containing COVID-19, and threatens to undermine open society values in the post-pandemic world.” The terminology “open society” is eerily familiar to billionaire George Soros’ group, Open Society Foundation.

Ex-journalist Imran Ahmed, who has written for The Huffington Post in the past, founded the CCDH. The organization has previously demanded advertisers blacklist sites including “American Greatness, Moonbattery, American Thinker, Big League Politics, Zero Hedge, WND, The Washington Standard, Gateway Pundit, Breitbart and The Federalist,” according to the Daily Mail

Now, Klobuchar and Luján are capitalizing on the far-left dark money bully group’s research to silence the voices of those who are hesitant to support the COVID-19 vaccine, including the former Attorney General of the United States’ son, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. 

“Websites and accounts maintained by these content producers host a high volume of content that contains vaccine disinformation, which is ultimately posted and shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Quite troublingly, some of this content targets Black and Latino communities with tailored anti-vaccine messages,” allege the two senators in their letter. 

The two explicitly noted how since these twelve individuals identified by CCDH have large followings on social media, they should be gagged merely for disagreeing with people like Dr. Anthony Fauci who have religiously pushed the vaccine, while also telling people who have been inoculated that they should still wear masks and social distance regardless. “Despite your policies intended to prevent vaccine disinformation, many of these accounts continue to post content that reach millions of users, repeatedly violating your policies with impunity,” write Klobuchar and Luján. 

“Most Americans want to get vaccinated. Across all ages, ethnicities, and races. No matter where they live. However, vaccine hesitancy remains a large threat to public health. A recent poll found that nearly 1 in 4 Americans said they will not get the coronavirus vaccine.”

The demands come as the Joe Biden regime is paying off social media influencers, possibly millions of dollars, to push vaccinations and masks, which is clearly not working for a quarter of the country that does not want the vaccine, as Klobuchar and Luján note.

Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, “We’ve run PSAs on the ‘Deadliest Catch,’ we’re engaged with NASCAR and country music TV. We’re looking for a range of creative ways to get directly connected to white conservative communities.” It is curious how the two senators allege the “anti-vaxxers” on their hit list of twelve are supposedly targeting “Black and Latino communities with tailored anti-vaccine messages,” while Biden’s own press secretary admits that the regime is targeting “white conservative communities” to ram the vaccine down their throats. 

Frustrated, the two senators concluded their letter writing, “As we continue to distribute and administer vaccines across the country, your platforms must step up and take action against people that are spreading content that can harm the health of Americans.” 

Karen Bedonie announces candidacy for New Mexico governor

On Saturday, businesswoman Karen Bedonie of Mexican Springs, north of Gallup, entered the 2022 race for governor of New Mexico, making her the second Republican to announce their candidacy following Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block who announced last Saturday. 

In an announcement video, Bedonie says, “I am a woman of courage and I have worked tirelessly to formulate a liberating plan for the beautiful state of New Mexico.”

“The heaviest burdens that weigh my mind are what we need to do to save our state: energy, safety, law enforcement support, education, reducing taxes, cutting the red tape for small businesses, freedom, independence, jobs, agriculture, forestry, and all of our very precious industries here in New Mexico. And we also need to keep God in our endeavors.” 

“I have respect for the moderate Democrat[s] that are also the same as my Democratic parents. The common ground is based on conservatism. It’s the teachings that have shaped my life to become a loving person and a hard worker.”

The announcement video, which features inter-spliced photographs of Bedonie holding a rife, posing with law enforcers, her husband, and her family, portrayed her campaign’s focuses on a family, faith, and freedoms-based message.

“I believe the Second Amendment of the Constitution is absolute, written so beautifully that the builders of this nation installed these rights to withstand tyranny and the trampling of our liberties and freedoms. As a mother of five daughters, we will bear arms to protect ourselves. Missing, murdered, and indigenous women is real and is also unresolved,” Bedonie said in the announcement video. 

Bedonie’s formal announcement took place at Allen Hall in Grady, New Mexico, where people from across the state, including Albuquerque-area and Hobbs, gathered to support the candidate. At the event, Bedonie and her daughters served fry bread to attendees and spoke with supporters about issues to turn the state around. She previously ran for Congress in 2020 for the Third District, which covers most of northern New Mexico.

If Bedonie wins the GOP nomination, she will face embattled Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who was accused and later settled $62,500 for sexual assault. Lujan Grisham has been a controversial figure in New Mexico, grabbing national headlines for her hostility toward New Mexicans during COVID-19 and her penchant to ram through extreme far-left legislation to further her agenda.

Liberal ABQ priest’s parish can’t pay its fair share to victims

On Saturday, it was reported by the Albuquerque Journal that liberal priest Vincent Paul Chávez’s Albuquerque parish, St. Therese Little Flower Catholic Church, was asked to shell out church funds to help pay a universal settlement in its Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

Unfortunately, St. Therese church, under the controversial and divisive leadership of Rev. Chávez, is bleeding cash, claiming the pandemic hit the church hard. “We have very minuscule savings at the Archdiocese Savings and Loan Program at the Catholic Center,” said Chávez in a letter to Archbishop John C. Wester. He added that the funds available to the over-politicized parish are “meager.”

This comes in stark contrast to other churches, such as the well-managed, fiscally responsible St. Joseph on the Rio Grande parish, which is giving the Archdiocese $300,000 for the settlement without question. Those that do contribute would be eligible for a “channeling injunction” to protect them from lawsuits from individual survivors whose claims occurred before 2018, according to parish finance Chairperson Frances Donio of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande.

However, the mismanaged funds at St. Therese may be due to Rev. Chávez’s messages pushing liberal political messages, including one display where the priest put a statue of the baby Jesus in a cage in protest to immigration policies of President Donald. J. Trump. 

Chávez was forced to remove the divisive political display after parishioners threatened to disenroll their children from the nearby St. Therese Catholic School and a letter from Archbishop Wester demanding he take it down and “please refrain from any contentious, controversial and provocative signs in front of the church.” 

Chávez’s politicization of the Child Jesus to push for liberal immigration policies is by no means an isolated incident. The priest has posted extremely controversial anti-Republican messages on the church’s billboard, reading things like “Trump golfs and attacks opponents as deaths near 100,000… Memorial weekend.” 

Others read things like, “Red states America… Deaths up… Pray for them.” 

In May 2020, the church also held a “Black Lives Matter” march while its billboard read things like, “Thank you, Governor, Dr. Fauci and CDC for keeping us safe” and “No human is illegal in God’s realm.” 

Other slogans from the church include messages such as “Bridges, not walls” and “God bless Joe/Kamala… Time for unity.” 

From the pulpit to the sidewalk of his church, Chávez may have pushed the faithful away with his politicization of the Catholic faith for his own Democrat-supporting beliefs and support for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. It is unclear if there is a direct correlation between the failure of St. Therese parish’s fundraising and the divisive comments by Chávez, but they are not likely helping the parish keep the lights on.

After year-long assault on people of faith, Gov. MLG lets churches reopen at full capacity

On Friday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was forced to rescind her previous orders setting capacity limits on church gatherings after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that capacity limits on places of worship cannot be more restrictive than other places, such as schools. 

In a seemingly strategic move to not want to cause any more controversy in her embattled administration, where she was accused and settled $62,500 over sexual assault, she begrudgingly lifted the order, according to Nora Sackett, the governor’s mouthpiece. 

“The state, of course, is always concerned about the risk of viral spread anywhere people are gathered,” Nora Meyers Sackett wrote. “Nonetheless, the case law from the Supreme Court is clear.”

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Sackett “denied political pressure to fully open churches” was a factor leading to the decision, although many have doubted the validity of that argument.

Despite the health order allowing 100% capacity, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is directing its parishes to “limit capacity according to the color-coding for indoor services — and to not allow 100 percent attendance,” the New Mexican writes. 

The move by Archbishop John C. Wester is typical, as he previously championed the closure of Santuario de Chimayó sacred site for two consecutive years, citing COVID-19 as the reason for the closure. Wester also made a public service announcement for Gov, Lujan Grisham pushing masks.

The news comes after a long list of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s hostility toward the faithful, despite claiming to belong to the Roman Catholic faith. 

Here’s an overview: 

  • On Holy Saturday 2020, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham made a proclamation that all in-person Easter church services of five or greater were banned, effectively stopping New Mexicans from attending church on Easter Sunday. She said she wanted to make “absolutely clear that mass gatherings of any type are not permitted in houses of worship.” 
  • Abortion facilities were allowed to stay wide open while churches were shuttered.
  • On Easter 2020, the Governor made a “proclamation” from the Governor’s mansion, writing on Twitter, “This Easter, home is the holy place. I expect all New Mexicans to stay safe by staying home to celebrate, not gathering with friends and family.”
  • On Mother’s Day 2020, Gov. Lujan Grisham sent out her State Police to serve a cease and desist order to Truth or Consequences pastor, Dr. Caleb Cooper.
  • Pastor Jeff Carr of Mesa Baptist Church in Rio Rancho was told by the Governor’s Office that while in-person services were prohibited, he could still hold “online services, drive-in services where people remain in the car with their windows rolled up… or listen to a radio service, honk their horns for ‘Amen!’ and so on.”
  • Legacy Church in Albuquerque fought back against the Governor and sued the state and remained under scrutiny by the Governor and the liberal media for living out their faith through fellowship in their church. The Governor’s Democrat-controlled NM Supreme Court struck down the church’s lawsuit. After a Christmas Eve service, Lujan Grisham issued a $10,000 fine to the church.
  • Other churches caved to Grisham’s edicts:
  • Las Cruces Bishop Peter Baldacchin instructed his diocese that “While it is true that we need to take every reasonable precaution to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, it is equally true that we offer the greatest ‘essential service’ to our people. The past few weeks have brought to light many unintended consequences of the ‘stay-at-home’ order.” 
  • On Easter 2020, Gov. Lujan Grisham instructed New Mexicans to “celebrate safely” while important traditions such as the pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayó were prohibited

Now, with the small olive branch the Governor has conceded, this should be no means an occasion to celebrate. For over a year, New Mexicans’ rights have been infringed by Gov. Lujan Grisham, especially the ever-important right to worship at church. No person of faith should be celebrating an oppressive governess ripping away their rights and then giving them back to us months later, making it sound like a favor.

Earth Day: MLG bashes America, claims U.S. has ‘worst record on greenhouse gas emissions’

On Thursday, embattled Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who was accused and later settled $62,500 for sexual assault, addressed Joe Biden’s “Leaders Summit on Climate” hosted by EPA administrator Michael S. Regan, where she spoke of her extreme actions to cripple the oil and gas industry and set “ambitious” emissions standards for the sake of “climate change.” 

She spoke of her unilateral executive orders to force through extreme environmental rulemaking through a “climate task force,” her work for New Mexico to join in Paris Climate Accord, which the United Nations admitted was a “fraud,” and her ambitions to “look forward” to “this administration’s work on infrastructure,” which could be a signal that Lujan Grisham sees federal dollars coming New Mexico’s way for extreme eco-leftist policies if Biden’s trillion-dollar infrastructure bill becomes law.

But Lujan Grisham specifically took time to bash the United States, claiming, “the U.S.–in the context of this panel–has the worst record on greenhouse gas emissions for every country represented on this panel.” However, the United States has the tenth-cleanest air quality in the world according to the World Health Organization, so it is unclear how Lujan Grisham has arrived at her anti-American stance on the “climate.” 

Other participants at the Climate Summit included leaders from pollutant-heavy nations, such as President Xi Jinping of the communist People’s Republic of China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, among other polluting nations on the top of the list for the most pollutant nations.

Throughout her time as governor, Lujan Grisham has pushed rabidly anti-energy policies, including the “Green New Deal,” also known as the “Energy Transition Act,” supported extreme emissions standards for oil and gas producers, tapped far-left enviro-Marxists to work in her administration, and has supported harmful 20+ cent gas taxes on the poor, which have luckily failed in the Legislature thus far. 

Read her full remarks in front of the panel below:

Like the… Biden administration, one of my first actions was to execute an executive order that established a framework for three critical components. One, we joined the Paris agreement and we set our greenhouse gas emissions reductions based on that agreement’s targets. 

So, we were very clear about what we wanted to accomplish and we had a climate task force that included every bit of the stakeholders that you identified in your question. So, the industry, consumers, utilities, environmental groups, scientists, other experts, every single economic stakeholder you could think of to make sure we could really move on those targets and we joined the U.S. Climate Alliance.

And I really want to put into perspective that the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan group of governors that represent more than half the U.S. total population, 60% of the U.S. GDP, and we collectively are responsible for 40% of emissions. And to put that into context, the U.S.–in the context of this panel–has the worst record on greenhouse gas emissions for every country represented on this panel. 

So, we have a long way to go. So we set an ambitious target, and as you know, we now have the leading methane rules in the country that eliminates venting and flaring by the gas industry, and by 2026, requires that we are recapturing 98% of methane emissions and we are on our way to set the very same targets for ozone rules. 

We didn’t let the pandemic interrupt that rulemaking process and our efforts to really bring the industry together with us. And I’ll tell you why that’s really important, although it gets criticized: because if you’re just choosing accountability, then you are chasing that effort all of the time without getting your entire state in a leadership fashion all on the same page, and it becomes politically cyclical. And what we want to establish in both our own state work, given that we’re a leading oil and gas producer in this country, is that we can show innovation, we can set incredibly ambitious standards, we can require accountability, and leadership in making sure that we are addressing climate change in a comprehensive fashion by making sure it’s not just government versus the industry, where the industry with government on one topic, which greenhouse gas emissions are methane, but it’s every single stakeholder and every single policymaker in the state, including the entire cabinet working together to achieve those results.

And I will add one last thing which is given that you’re building that, you’re using young people, everyone is at the table, we also have one of the country’s most ambitious renewable portfolio standards investments, and as we move towards investing in a rescue plan and look forward to this administration’s work on infrastructure, we’re gonna be ready to have a robust platform, as the mayor… in Louisiana talked about… that those infrastructure investments will also allow you to not only meet your current targets but to exceed them as we work as a coalition to address climate change across the globe. 

READ NEXT: These sitting ‘GOP’ legislators voted for MLG’s ‘mini’ Green New Deal

Heinrich ‘mourns’ death of woman who attacked two with knife, disobeyed police

On Wednesday in an apparent attempt at “solidarity” with those angered over the death of the late eight-time convicted drug addict George Floyd, Sen. Martin Heinrich sent out an email to his fundraising list titled “justice and reform.”

The email touched on the George Floyd trial and the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin. He wrote, “Yesterday, Chauvin was found guilty on all charges in the murder of George Floyd. The jury saw what we all knew — that George Floyd was cruelly and needlessly murdered. This verdict can’t bring him back, but I hope that it can grant a measure of comfort to his loved ones and set our nation on a path of reform.” 

“We mourn George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Antonio Valenzuela, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, Ma’Khia Bryant, and all of the other Black, Latino, and Native American men, women, and children whose lives have been cut short. For too long, we received no answers, no justice, and no accountability,” he added.

Interestingly, Heinrich included the name of Ma’Khia Bryant of Columbus Ohio, who experts state explicitly was not a victim of police violence. Bryant, who was shot dead, charged at two individuals with a large knife after repeatedly being told by the officer to stop before shooting her as she lunged at another woman with the knife.

According to Philip Stinson, a Bowling Green State University professor who has compiled nationwide statistics on fatal shootings that have led to criminal charges against officers, “from looking at the video, it appears to me that a reasonable police officer would have had a reasonable apprehension of an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death being imposed against an officer or someone else. That’s the legal standard.” 

Others, including basketball player LeBron James have been blasted for trying to politicize the justified killing of Bryant to advance a political agenda. James posted a tweet featuring the police officer involved in the shooting. His tweet read, “YOU’RE NEXT,” which many interpreted as a threat on the officer’s life.

It is unclear if Heinrich stands by James’ statement, but his use of Bryant to further a political agenda should be noted, for the evidence is still coming out, showing the policeman who shot Bryant was, indeed, acting within the bounds of his training and the law. Heinrich also used the opportunity to promote the newly signed New Mexico anti-police bill, H.B. 4, but he said he wants national reform on policing. Heinrich wrote:

Earlier this month, New Mexico took an important step forward by enacting important reforms in our criminal justice system. It’s time to take up similar reforms on the national level, beginning with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

Gov. MLG’s longtime senior policy advisor resigns amid governor’s groping scandal

On Wednesday, it was reported that Michelle Lujan Grisham’s senior policy advisor Dominic Gabello had resigned from the administration, making him the latest top-level official to leave her office amid her sexual assault scandal where she paid off a former staffer $62,500 with campaign funds who alleged she groped his crotch. 

Gabello will not abandon the Governor entirely but will cash in on his work for Lujan Grisham by “starting his own business and continuing to serve as a political consultant to the governor on the campaign side,” according to Nora Sackett, the Governor’s press secretary. 

Sackett says Gabello’s last official day will be April 30, telling the New Mexican that Gabello “was out of the office and unavailable for comment Wednesday.” 

“Dominic Gabello is a veteran political adviser, who has been a major part of Gov. Lujan Grisham’s team for near a decade and managed her congressional and gubernatorial campaigns,” campaign spokesman Jared Leopold said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have his help on Gov. Lujan Grisham’s campaign.”

While working in the administration, Gabello was getting $143,769 per year as senior policy adviser, which is comparable to other staffers’ salaries in the well-paid Lujan Grisham office. 

The resignation comes after Department of Workforce Solutions cabinet secretary Bill McCamley quit unexpectedly, John Bingaman, the Governor’s former chief of staff, left the administration to manage a private investment firm, and in January, Victor Reyes, the governor’s legislative director, stepped down. 

Last year, Department of Finance and Administration secretary Olivia Padilla-Jackson, Department of Health secretary Kathy Kunkel, and state epidemiologist Dr. Michael Landen all resigned, among others.

Gabello was front and center in the Governor’s groping controversy, where James Hallinan, the victim, claimed Gabello tried to talk him out of reporting the incident.   

Gabello was also central in organizing a meeting with communist Chinese officials in New Mexico, where Lujan Grisham and Chinese Consul General Zhang Ping discussed possibly making New Mexico a sister-state with the hostile nation. 

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