New Mexico

OSHA complaint filed against NM abortion business after staff member dies of COVID-19

On Wednesday, Abortion on Trial, a pro-life group, filed an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) complaint against a Sunland Park abortion facility, Women’s Reproductive Clinic of Sunland Park, alleging that the location did not alert the Department of Health that a member of facility’s staff had contracted COVID-19.

One staff member, Gloria Martinez, died of the virus, while the abortionist himself, Dr. Franz Theard, was previously in an intensive care unit recovering from the virus, alleges the organization.

“Women’s Reproductive Center of Sunland Park is engaging in dangerous practices which have left one employee dead and another one in the ICU due to the contraction of Covid-19. The clinic has failed to report this as required by law,” reads the group’s letter.

“[D]ue to the extreme infection at Women’s Reproductive Clinic of Sunland Park, the Department of Health should immediately implement protective measures for abortion clinics,” the complaint continues.

According to the group, Women’s Reproductive Clinic of Sunland Park is seeing patients despite its “extreme outbreak of Covid-19. Numerous women have been seen recently entering the facility for abortion services without masks, without social distancing, and without there having been any inspection or investigation by the Department of Health or OSHA.”

One other point made in the letter is that the vacuum aspirator machines used to kill children through abortions may “lead to aerosolization of droplets which contain the Covid-19 virus,” and as such, the abortion facility “could be the source of a super spreader event.”

Ethel Maharg of New Mexico Right to Life commented on the issue saying “No quarantine restrictions are adhered to, yet no police are being dispatched there to make certain they are not violating the health order. No citations are issued, and no one is going to jail. This is clearly hypocrisy as women are allowed to choose abortion, yet we are not allowed to live our lives as free citizens. Where is the right to choose here?”

Jamie Jeffries, executive director of Abortion On Trial, said, “The way this doctor dropped the ball on handling a Covid-19 outbreak in his clinic is simply unacceptable. When healthcare providers are the source of a public health crisis the state needs to step in and do something to protect their citizens.”

There has not been word back yet from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office on the complaint. If the Governor’s office does wish to comment, this article will be updated with their response.

Did Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham go to Hawaii?

The above artwork is not an actual photograph of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in Hawaii. It is a composited image.

On November 20, a rumor began floating around on social media that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was in Hawaii at that time. As all good reporters do, the Piñon Post reached out to the Governor’s press secretary, Nora Sackett, and communications director, Tripp Stelnicki, to ask for comment on the claim.

Despite repeated requests for comment from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office, there was no response to our emails and calls. 

There was not much information to go by to verify the unsubstantiated rumor that the Governor was in Hawaii, however, a possibly pre-recorded interview between Lujan Grisham and PBS’ Judy Woodruff, aired on the 20th. This may suggest the Governor was not in Hawaii, at least on the days prior to the interview hitting the airwaves.

Since the Governor’s office refused to offer a response to the Piñon Post, we were forced to file an Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) request, to which we were given no records tying Lujan Grisham to a Hawaii getaway. We did, however,  uncover interesting conversations between the Governor’s staffers, showing their true feelings about the people of New Mexico.  

Reporters from other networks (not the Piñon Post) asked Lujan Grisham’s office if she was in Hawaii, and were given responses from the communications team — something never before afforded to the Piñon Post. 

KOB 4 News’ Jaden Torres asked press secretary Nora Sackett, “Nora, we have received several emails from people stating that the governor was seen at the airport about to leave on a flight to Hawaii this weekend. She said they have several friends that are flying through and they spotted her, supposedly. Reaching out to confirm this allegation, or debunk it. Appreciate the time!” 

The Governor’s press secretary offered a lengthy answer claiming the Governor took no such trip while bashing Republicans and judging the asker of the question for being at the airport: 

In my perfect dream world you would first ask any one of those people to show where they got this supposed information from. The governor is at home in Santa Fe, where she very clearly was in her livestreamed press conference just yesterday. She is not leaving her home – as all New Mexicans have been instructed to do to stop the spread of the virus. She has not left the state since before the outset of the pandemic. People saying things on the internet doesn’t make them true. Please feel free to encourage Republicans on Facebook on my behalf to get new hobbies 🙂 Also please remind your viewers that no one should be traveling through any airports right now unless it is for absolutely essential purposes!

Brittany Bade of KRQE 13 News asked Sackett, “We are getting inundated with messages from people who are very upset, claiming that the Governor is in Hawaii. I’m not seeing that information anywhere and it’s probably just coming from a random Facebook post, but I’d like to clarify. Is the Governor in Hawaii?” Sacket replied with the same condescending answer sent to KOB’s Jaden Torres.

In another email exchange, the Governor’s “Special Assistant,” Chris Garcia in an email titled “Let’s go to Hawaii” told communications director Tripp Stelnicki, “Taking calls on a fake FB post that the GOV is in Hawaii.” 

Stelnicki replied, “We’ve gotten asked about it. Sooo dumb. I’m at her houe [sic] right now– can confirm, not in Hawaii!” 

It cannot be proven for certain if the Governor was in Hawaii, however, based on the PBS interview and internal correspondences between the Governor’s staff, it can be concluded that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham likely was not in Hawaii on November 20th. 

Also revealed in these conversations, both internally and externally, the Governor’s communications team has no issues with being open about their disdain for Republicans and reporters merely asking questions. 

Congresswoman-elect Yvette Herrell reveals her official U.S. House photo

On Tuesday, Congresswoman-elect Yvette Herrell of New Mexico’s Second Congressional District revealed her brand new official photograph as a new member of the U.S. House of Representatives. 

In a Tweet, the Congresswoman-elect wrote shared with her followers the photograph, featuring her wearing a black and white houndstooth jacket and a pin with the New Mexico and American flags. 

See Rep.-elect Herrell’s beautiful official photo here: 

Herrell beat one-term incumbent Democrat Rep. Xochitl Torres Small by a sizeable margin in November, running on a pro-Trump, pro-gun, and pro-business ticket.

ABQ City Hall: Protest opposing COVID crackdown bill turns into celebration after councilors nix it

On Monday, the Albuquerque City Council was set to vote on Ordinance 20-40, a strict COVID-19 enforcement bill that would make it a misdemeanor to disobey public health orders. 

The Piñon Post reported last week on the proposal, and countless New Mexicans wrote the Albuquerque City Council demanding they withdraw the bill.

On Monday, the Piñon Post learned from City Council staff that “the sponsors have chosen to take it off the agenda for today,” but they “have not said” if they will place it back on the agenda. Later that day, it was formally announced that the bill sponsors, Councilors Isaac Benton and Cynthia Borrego had withdrawn the proposal. 

A group of patriots was already planning on organizing outside of City Hall to protest the ordinance. However, that protest turned into a celebration of the proposal being nixed. 

Protesters came with American flags, Trump flags, and patriotic gear. Here is a picture of the schene:

Steve Pearce re-elected as New Mexico GOP Chairman

On Monday evening, the Republican Party of New Mexico held their State Central Committee meeting where they voted on the self-nominated candidates for party chair, vice-chair, second vice-chair, treasurer, secretary, and vice chairs for all three congressional districts.

Chairman Pearce, a longtime U.S. congressman, state legislator, faced his first re-election challenge for the chair position, with three candidates vying for the role.

As a seven-term congressman, he has an impressive record of achievement, with 87 bills he had sponsored and cosponsored became law. Pearce has also been a fearless advocate for the Oil & Gas industry, which holds up our economy, and the right to life. 

However, Pearce came out victorious winning the vote, beating his nearest competitor, by 76-47. Robert J. Aragon was elected as 1st Vice-Chair, Robert (Bob) Taylor Graham was elected as 2nd Vice-Chair, Ali Ennenga was elected as CD1 Vice-Chair, Amy Barela was elected as CD2 Vice-Chair, Anita Statman was elected as CD-3 Vice-Chair, Mari Trujillo Spinelli was elected as Secretary, and Leonard-David Chavez was elected as Treasurer. Each position is a two-year term.

Pearce looks to continue building the Republican Party in the state and growing the party’s base. Under his chairmanship, the Republican Party raised $6 million — a figure never seen since 2000 — and 30,000 new registered Republican voters. He also recruited 101 candidates to run for office in 2020, the greatest Republican spread in years. 

Despite some nasty campaigners looking to tear down Pearce, claiming he has been ineffective, his numbers appear to speak for themselves, with no huge losses in the Legislature, reclaiming Congressional District Two, his former seat, and making millions of voter contacts. 

Pearce has proven he can raise money, organize massive field campaigns across the state, and recruit a robust set of candidates to run. He has continued to be resolute in his support for Presodent Trump and his America First policies, and securing the vote. 

The Piñon Post previously interviewed Pearce before the race. Check out our interview below: 

MLG’s press secretary, state rep. mock New Mexicans in latest social media tirade

Yesterday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s press secretary, Nora Sackett, retweeted a post showing screenshots of a conversation between people asking if they will take the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available.

The conversation shows one person saying they were tested five times, while another person responds with “You weren’t given a vaccine because it isn’t out yet cousin.” 

Sackett wrote in her retweet, “I’m crying but also I want to die,” adding in a subsequent tweet, “Also there is like a not insignificant chance these are New Mexicans I swear to god.” 

The post appears to be insinuating that Sackett thinks those in the conversation are stupid while joking that they are likely New Mexicans. 

A far-left state representative, Elizabeth Thomson (D-Albuquerque), commented, “Yikes. Some education is obviously in order. Unfortunately, all of the disinformation is rampant and strong.” 

However, those on the right have taken offense to the off-color joke by the press secretary, with one commenting, “This is the disdain that @GovMLG and her staff have for New Mexicans. While New Mexicans die, her staff insinuates that New Mexicans are stupid. PATHETIC. #nmpol #nmleg” 

State Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences) wrote, “Wow! I don’t know why I keep feeling shocked by the behavior of the governor’s communication staff. They continue to show their distain [sic] for New Mexico residents.  #nmpol #nmgov #nmleg” 

This is just the latest condescending comment toward New Mexicans coming from the Governor’s press office, with communications director Tripp Stelnicki belittling a local television news reporter. 

After backlash, ABQ City Council drops bill jailing people for non-compliance with COVID mandates

The Piñon Post has learned that Ordinance 20-40, sponsored by Councilors Isaac Benton and Cynthia Borrego, which would mandate fines and jail time for those not following public health orders, will no longer be considered at Monday’s 3:00 City Council meeting.

According to City Council staff, “the sponsors have chosen to take it off the agenda for today,” but they “have not said” if they will place it back on the agenda. 

Our reporting was followed-up by a formal announcement from the Council, reading, “City Councilors Cynthia Borrego and Isaac Benton have announced that they are withdrawing O-20-40, relating to enforcement of Public Health Orders. They will turn their attention to creating an educational campaign to assist community compliance with Public Health Orders.”

The proposal would have charged all who “knowingly obstruct, impede with, or interfere with any City employee’s officer’s or agent’s enforcement of any public health laws, orders, or restrictions” with a misdemeanor, which is subject to a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or both. 

The backtracking on the proposal appears to be, at least in part, due to public outrage, with many reaching out to city councilors demanding they vote against the proposal. The New Mexico Republican Party shared a post on Saturday urging supporters to contact councilors to oppose the bill.

Albuquerque residents were planned to protest the bill at 12:00 noon on Monday, however, according to one organizer of the protest, it will now be “turned into a celebration.” 

Regardless, if citizens would like to contact City Council members regarding the proposal, their emails can be found below:

Mayor Tim Keller: MayorKellerIQ@cabq.gov

Councilor Lan Sena, District 1: lansena@cabq.gov

Councilor Isaac Benton, District 2: ibenton@cabq.gov

Councilor Klarissa Peña, District 3: kpena@cabq.gov

Councilor Brook Bassan, District 4: bbassan@cabq.gov

Councilor Cynthia Borrego, District 5: cynthiaborrego@cabq.gov

Councilor Pat Davis, District 6: patdavis@cabq.gov

Councilor Diane G. Gibson, District 7: dgibson@cabq.gov

Councilor Trudy Jones, District 8: trudyjones@cabq.gov

Councilor Don Harris, District 9: dharris@cabq.gov

In a crippling blow to MLG, Biden picks Hispanic California AG for HHS post in fictitious cabinet

On Sunday, it was reported that former vice president Joe Biden had selected Xavier Becerra, California’s Attorney General to head Health and Human Services (HHS) in his fictitious administration, dealing an epic burn to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who turned down a post for Secretary of the Interior. Now, she appears out of consideration completely. 

The New York Times reports:

Joe Biden has selected Xavier Becerra, a former congressman who is now the Democratic attorney general of California, as his nominee for secretary of health and human services, ending a politically delicate search that brought complaints from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about a lack of Latinos in the incoming cabinet.

Mr. Becerra became Mr. Biden’s clear choice only over the last few days, according to people familiar with the transition’s deliberations, and was a surprise. He has carved out a profile more on the issues of criminal justice, immigration and tax policy, and he was long thought to be a candidate for attorney general.

….

Mr. Biden’s selection of Mr. Becerra comes as the president-elect is under increasing pressure from the Latino community to diversify his cabinet. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico had been thought to be in line for the health secretary’s job, but she apparently fell out of the running. Instead, news leaked last week that Ms. Lujan Grisham was offered, and turned down, the position of interior secretary.

The leak prompted [Rep.] Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico to use a private meeting with top Biden advisers to rebuke the incoming White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, and other senior Biden officials for their treatment of Ms. Lujan Grisham, according to a Democrat familiar with the discussion.

Mr. Luján’s frustration revealed a broader concern that few Latinos have been chosen for high-ranking positions in the Biden administration. Alejandro N. Mayorkas, a Cuban-American and the nominee for secretary of homeland security, has been the only Hispanic selected for a cabinet job.

Lujan Grisham released a statement after the announcement, writing, “As I’ve consistently said, I have the best job in the world as governor of New Mexico.” She added, “I look forward to working with the Biden administration as we tackle the challenges we’re facing here in New Mexico and also across the country; COVID-19, combating climate change, and rebuilding our nation’s economy are just a few of the areas where we need to make significant progress right now.”

As attorney general of California, Becerra has been a rabid anti-life advocate, arguing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, leading unsuccessful assaults on pro-life pregnancy centers and other measures to end human life in the womb at all costs. 

Lujan Grisham had Rep. Ben Ray Luján, her alleged cousin, and other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus lobbying the 78-year-old former vice president for the HHS post, but due to Gov. Lujan Grisham’s ungrateful snub of the Department of the Interior role, she will now not be a member of the fictitious administration at all.

EXCLUSIVE: One-on-one with New Mexico GOP Chairman Steve Pearce

John Block, editor of the Piñon Post, had a discussion with former Congressman and current Chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico, Steve Pearce.

The exclusive interview touches on what Pearce has done during his tenure as chairman, how he has utilized his political connections to build up New Mexico, and the victories the Party saw in the last election. The Chairman also revealed what his vision is for his next term in the chairmanship if re-elected.

Republican Party chair elections are held on Monday, December 7, 2020, where the State Central Committee members will vote. Learn more about the New Mexico GOP by visiting their website, NewMexico.GOP.

Interview will premier at 9:00 a.m. local time.

ALERT: ABQ City Council voting Monday to fine, jail citizens breaking public health orders

On Monday, the Albuquerque City Council, overseeing New Mexico’s largest city, will consider a motion allowing $500 fines and 90 days in jail for non-compliance with public health requirements.

The proposal, brought forth by Councilors Isaac Benton and Cynthia Borrego would charge all who “knowingly obstruct, impede with, or interfere with any City employee’s officer’s or agent’s enforcement of any public health laws, orders, or restrictions” with a misdemeanor, which is subject to a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or both. 

“It’s really important that we all work together but for the people who don’t feel like they can work with this, it puts another layer, basically, of enforcement,” said Councilor Cynthia Borrego, who serves District Five. “For people who are just resistant and have that sentiment that ‘I’m not going to cooperate’, unfortunately, we need to do something to bring those numbers down and that’s what this really is doing.”

“Borrego says, if approved, the bill could also include penalties like up to 90 days in jail for refusing to comply with the public health order. The bill’s co-sponsor, Councilor Ike Benton, tells us stronger enforcement is needed and he has concerns about public health directives being ignored, so he hopes this added city ordinance, on top of state law, will make people take the orders more seriously,” reported KRQE News 13. 

The news comes as New Mexicans are already locked down due to the Governor’s public health orders, which have caused businesses to close and New Mexicans to stand in long lines to buy food and basic necessities at grocery stores.

If the Albuquerque City Council approves this measure, it would mean even harsher enforcement of the strict health orders and even less freedom for citizens. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office previously called restrictions on grocery store capacities merely a “minor inconvenience” and long lines at stores “Republican talking points.” 

The meeting will take place virtually on Monday at 3:00 p.m. More information about the meeting and to submit public written or live testimony can be found here. Citizens can contact Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and the Albuquerque City Council to oppose the bill by contacting the councilors below: 

Mayor Tim Keller: MayorKellerIQ@cabq.gov

Councilor Lan Sena, District 1: lansena@cabq.gov

Councilor Isaac Benton, District 2: ibenton@cabq.gov

Councilor Klarissa Peña, District 3: kpena@cabq.gov

Councilor Brook Bassan, District 4: bbassan@cabq.gov

Councilor Cynthia Borrego, District 5: cynthiaborrego@cabq.gov

Councilor Pat Davis, District 6: patdavis@cabq.gov

Councilor Diane G. Gibson, District 7: dgibson@cabq.gov

Councilor Trudy Jones, District 8: trudyjones@cabq.gov

Councilor Don Harris, District 9: dharris@cabq.gov

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