New Mexico

Toulouse Oliver’s office settles lawsuit after denying voter records

The office of New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver has resolved a legal dispute concerning voter records through a settlement of $22,000 with a libertarian think tank. This agreement comes after the initial denial of access to voting information.

The Southwest Public Policy Institute (SPPI) first informed The Daily Signal about resolving their lawsuit regarding a denied request under the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA). This act is analogous to the federal Freedom of Information Act.

SPPI president Patrick M. Brenner emphasized the significance of the settlement in conveying a message to all governing bodies. He remarked, “You are being watched, and we do not take ignoring public records requests lightly.” He emphasized that government agencies often employ tactics like stonewalling, delays, or reclassifications to dismiss requests, but the secretary of state’s office took the unusual step of attempting to disregard their request completely.

Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a far-left Democrat first elected in 2016, has a prior background as the county clerk of Bernalillo County, where she had oversight over public records.

Linda Bachman, the director of legislative and executive affairs for the secretary of state’s office, confirmed that a verbal settlement had been reached and that efforts were underway to document the agreement in writing. Bachman stated, “The SOS maintains that it did not violate the requirements of the Inspection of Public Records Act, but deemed it in the best interest of the Office and the public to settle this disputed claim without incurring further litigation costs.”

Patrick M. Brenner articulated the purpose behind their request, saying, “We were looking for voter records, all of which are subject to public inspection. We wanted to educate the public if we know which members of the public to educate.”

The lawsuit reached the settlement stage after a state court dismissed the motion by the New Mexico secretary of state’s office to have the case dismissed. Brenner underscored this outcome as a necessary step in holding public records custodians accountable for their actions and ensuring public access to government records.

Brenner stressed the importance of transparency in upholding a robust democracy and affirmed their commitment to fight for it within the boundaries of the law.

Gabe Vasquez ditches Biden’s NM ‘climate change’ event

Far-left U.S. Rep. was missing at Joe Biden’s “climate change” event in Belen Wednesday, despite the rest of the state’s Democrat congressional delegation in attendance. That included U.S. Reps. Teresa Leger Fernandez, Melanie Stansbury, U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich, and Ben Ray Luján.

Gov. Lujan Grisham was in attendance, as was a slew of Democrat state legislators and even one Republican legislator, New Mexico Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca. 

Baca wrote amid Biden’s speech, “The Arcosa facility in Valencia County is a bright spot in an otherwise grim economy under [Joe] Biden. While I celebrate these new jobs, let’s not forget that good wages only go far in a strong economy. Under Bidenomics, working-class families are being gutted by inflation at the pump and the grocery store. I hope this … visit is more than just a politically motivated publicity stunt distracting us from the work needed to improve the lives of all New Mexicans.”

However, Vasquez was not in attendance in an apparent attempt to distance himself from the woefully unpopular Biden.

KOB 4’s Matt Grubbs noted that Biden confirmed to the crowd, “no Gabe.”

Former Congresswoman Yvette Herrell, who is running to reclaim her seat from Vasquez, wrote, “While Gabe Vasquez is dodging [Biden] and we’re all trying to dodge Bidenomics, I’m in Lea County at the Parade & Fair with real hardworking Americans. I’m not afraid to show up and do the work New Mexicans need in Congress!”

Biden was met with a slew of anti-Biden protesters who were quite vocal about the opposition to the Democrat politician. 

“I don’t think it will give many people jobs, and I think he is a failure. I don’t think anything he has done for us has been successful, and he is a disappointment,” Belen resident Beverly Castillo told KOB 4. 

The New Mexico GOP wrote in a statement about Biden’s visit, “He didn’t address our Governor’s failing education system. He didn’t address his Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s horrible decision to obstruct the financial future of Navajo allottees. He didn’t address our border communities or offer them any solutions to stop the child traffickers, deadly drug smugglers, and cartels who are exploiting our open border. He didn’t address our oil and gas workers, who produce the largest source of revenue in our state and whose jobs are threatened by his administration. Instead, [he] came to brag about his ‘Bidenomics’ which has only resulted in higher prices at the pump, escalating food costs and less money in the pockets of hard-working New Mexicans.”

Lujan Grisham shuffles around Cabinet amid string of resignations

Amid an unprecedented number of resignations in Democrat New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Cabinet, she has tapped her Tourism Department Secretary Jen Paul Schroer to be her Aging and Long-Term Services secretary following the resignation of Katrina Hotrum-Lopez earlier this month.

According to the governor’s office, Lancing Adams, the current Development Director, will be the acting Tourism Secretary.

“I am honored to champion the needs of New Mexico seniors as the new Cabinet Secretary of Aging and Long-term Services. Every New Mexican, at every age, deserves access to quality healthcare,” Schroer said in a Tuesday press release. 

“I see great opportunity in improving how the state assists older adults and their caregivers in maintaining independence, living safely and autonomously. I appreciate the governor’s confidence as I take a disciplined approach to reaching the department’s true potential,” she added.

Sec. Jen Paul Schroer via Gov. Lujan Grisham’s office.

“Secretary Schroer has been a valuable member of my cabinet,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “She has a long history of service to New Mexico that will inform her decisions leading a new department. As an emerging health care leader, Sec. Schroer knows how to get things done and finds creative ways to problem solve – attributes that will serve New Mexicans who use the services in the Aging and Long-Term Services Department well. I look forward to working with her in this new role.”

The governor’s press release reads, “She currently serves on several cross-agency teams including the CYFD Transformation leadership team deploying technology solutions to support foster families and social workers, as well as, supporting workforce recruitment strategies for PED and DOH. Additionally, she was appointed by [Joe] Biden to serve on the U.S. Route 66 Centennial Commission.”

The news also comes after Economic Development Department (NMEDD) Secretary Alicia J. Keyes left the administration.

ABQ Police Dept. issues traffic warning ahead of Joe Biden’s visit

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Joe Biden will be visiting New Mexico to talk about climate change and fundraise for his 2024 campaign. This is Biden’s latest trip to the Land of Enchantment, previously visiting the state to stump for Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in her successful 2022 reelection bid. 

According to the Albuquerque Police Department, “Drivers are advised to avoid I-25 south of I-40 & I-40 west of the Big I on Tuesday afternoon & Wednesday morning. Side streets may also be impacted.”

“Please be patient during this time. There will be no parking allowed along the route for the motorcade. Parked cars will be towed,” the Department continued.

A report from ABQ Raw noted that advice from the Department included, “APD will have a strong presence to manage and control traffic effectively. Officers will be stationed strategically to ensure minimal disruptions.”

“While every effort will be made to maintain traffic flow, the public is urged to exercise patience and understanding, considering potential delays in the specified areas.”

Biden previously visited New Mexico in 2022 to stump for far-left Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in her narrow yet successful reelection bid.

A fundraiser by failed former congressional candidate Randi McGinn will feature Biden and the governor, according to invites sent out to supporters:

Lujan Grisham was one of the first public officials to formally endorse Biden’s announcement that he will seek another term in the White House.

Gabe Vasquez sends ‘painfully out-of-touch’ email to constituents

Far-left Democrat U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez from the Second District recently emailed constituents asking, “Are your bills too high right now?”

Email sent out by Vasquez’s office asking constituents about inflation.

Former CD-2 Congresswoman Yvette Herrell, a Republican, responded to Vasquez’s email, writing, “My opponent, Rep. Gabe Vasquez, is painfully out-of-touch with the people of New Mexico and does not deserve to represent us in Congress.”

“Vasquez acknowledges bills are too high for working families in New Mexico, but of course, he doesn’t mention how… He has voted NO on bills that would help BRING DOWN costs…. He supports Joe Biden’s OUT-OF-CONTROL inflationary spending.” 

“Radical politicians like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Gabe Vasquez have created the mess we’re in, so why would we think they could get us out of it?” she wrote.

All of New Mexico’s U.S. House delegation, including Vasquez, voted against a measure that would fight inflation by promoting American energy over that of Saudi Arabia, Russia, and other foreign nations.

Vasquez won in Novemebr 2022 due to an extreme Democrat gerrymander done by the far-left state legislature.

Vasquez bragged in an August 2022 press release, “Redistricting moved the 2nd Congressional district from a Trump +12 to Biden +6 district and that is reflected in these results,” it concludes.

Recycling plant catches fire in ABQ, billowing smoke ‘unhealthy for everyone’

On Sunday afternoon, officials announced they were battling the blazes of a fire at a plastic recycling facility in Albuquerque south of the International Sunport.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue warned in a statement posted at 4:03 p.m., “AFR and Bernalillo County [are] working a multi-alarm, multi-jurisdictional fire. Structures, product and vehicles are involved. Fire is not under control. Stay clear of the area of Bobby Foster and south University”

A health alert expiring Monday morning was sent out for Albuquerque and Bernalillo County residents late Sunday evening due to “smoke [that] contains hazardous air pollutants,” and expires Monday morning.

“The fire is at a facility that stores plastics. Please avoid the area. For respiratory health, stay inside [and] keep windows and doors closed. If needed for comfort, use air conditioners on recycle/recirculation mode,” wrote the City of Albuquerque’s Environmental Health arm. 

The alert made clear, “This smoke is unhealthy for everyone, and people should limit outdoor activity tonight in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.”

“Matt DeMaria, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, said the forecast called for westerly winds to carry the smoke east over the city Sunday evening. He said overnight the winds were expected to blow the smoke into the South Valley, and temperature inversion could make for more unhealthy conditions tomorrow morning,” reported the Albuquerque Journal.

“All (the toxic pollutants) could be trapped lower in the atmosphere, which could potentially pose a health risk,” DeMaria said.

Violent slaying of ABQ woman catches national press

The family of a 23-year-old woman from Albuquerque, who tragically lost her life when confronting the thieves who stole her car, demands justice for their loved one. The incident involved a 13-year-old suspect who shot Sydney Wilson after she tracked her stolen vehicle to a Smith’s grocery store and gas station in Southwest Albuquerque using a GPS app.

According to KOAT Action News, Sydney Wilson’s family stated that she was fatally shot by the 13-year-old suspect when she approached her stolen white Hyundai. The minor later surrendered to the authorities and is currently held at Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center, facing charges of murder, tampering with evidence, and unlawful possession of a handgun.

The national press, including Fox News, is now picking up the story.

Before the fatal shooting, the teen suspect and other juveniles had stolen alcohol from Walgreens and recklessly driven the stolen car. As the situation escalated, the car’s driver crashed into a black Mustang and a curb while attempting to escape, leading to the deployment of the car’s airbags.

Sydney Wilson’s sister, Crystal Miller, recalled arriving at the scene shortly after the attempt to resuscitate her sister. She expressed deep anguish and regret for not being there to prevent the tragedy, as Sydney had called her moments before the shooting to inform her about finding her stolen car.

Despite Crystal’s guidance against confronting the thief, Sydney was determined to reclaim her car, displaying her strong-willed nature. Her family believes that even though the suspect is young, he should face severe consequences for his actions.

Crystal Miller emphasized that she wants the harshest penalties for the teen and even believes that the suspect’s parents should be held accountable.

Sydney Wilson’s mother, Deidra Wilson, echoed the sentiment, expressing concern over the lack of adult supervision and the need to improve the home environment for children in New Mexico. She questions why a child as young as 13 was involved in such dangerous criminal activity.

“I want the maximum sentence for him and the family involved. He is 13 years old. There’s no reason he should have been on the streets without an adult,” Wilson said. 

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina acknowledged the broader issue of minors engaging in criminal behavior throughout the state and emphasized the importance of uniting as a community to foster a healthy environment for children.

The family’s calls for justice and accountability highlight the need to address the larger problem of juvenile involvement in crimes and ensure that such incidents are not repeated.

During the 2023 Legislative Session, Democrats made it easier for underage offenders to be sprung from prison, even those like the suspect who had killed another. Therefore, the suspect, if charged, will be eligible for parole early, depriving the Wilsons of peace of mind knowing the perpetrator is behind bars.

NM Dems have ‘severed ties’ with Democrat lawmaker

According to a report from the Albuquerque blog called “The Paper,” the New Mexico Democrat Party has severed ties with Democrat state Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto of Albuquerque amid a barrage of claims by women that he sexually harassed them, claiming “credible accusations and subsequent investigation” led to the break.

“To date, there have been accusations of eight incidents of harassment, sexual and otherwise, by Ivey-Soto against several women, many of them lobbyists, and a few of which were witnessed by others,” claimed the outlet. 

“DPNM has severed ties with Senator Ivey Soto within our internal party affairs. He has been told by phone that he is not welcome at our events,” the Party wrote to the outlet in a statement.

“We have individually disinvited him from past and future DPNM events and he no longer serves on any DPNM committees or caucuses or as the regular DPNM parliamentarian, which he was for years. After being highly involved in internal DPNM affairs for years, he is no longer welcome to have any role within DPNM,” the statement concluded, according to The Paper.

Ivey-Soto has vigorously denied the allegations, saying to the blog, “I am befuddled and bewildered” by the Democrats’ move. 

Fringe far-left national groups recently penned a letter to all groups associated with the senator asking them to sever ties with him. Signers included the Women’s March (led by antisemite Linda Sarsour), the National Women’s Law Center, and other low-profile “national” groups.

“As lvey-Soto has been credibly found to break basic rules of workplace conduct, he should not be in any position of power. To avoid any conflicts of interest and humiliating situations for women and survivors of sexual violence, we call upon your organization to sever ties and take any other appropriate action within your power to support the many women and survivors, including removing Ivey-Soto from panels, boards, committees; ending contracts with him; and finally, to call on him to resign from the State Senate,” the group wrote. 

Ivey-Soto has served in the New Mexico Senate since 2013 and previously served as Associate Deputy Secretary of State of New Mexico for Elections, Ethics & Legal. He was also reportedly the New Mexico State Elections Director.

In stunning move, Attorney General Torrez turns on Gov. Lujan Grisham

In a stunning move of opposition to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez announced a new Civil Rights Division in his office, a proposal the governor pocket vetoed from the 2023 Legislative Session.

“We are going to establish the first dedicated office focused on protecting the rights of everyone in this country, but particularly the children of this country, and that includes Latino children,” Torrez said before the start of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) convention, where he is being honored. 

Torrez says the division, vetoed in S.B. 426, will concentrate on civil rights cases and prioritize protecting children.

According to KRQE 13, he told the crowd, “Now, we didn’t get that bill over the finish line, but when we had the veto, I made a promise to this community, and I’m going to make a promise to my extended community across the country: we’re going to create the civil rights division in the Attorney General’s Office anyway!”

“We are re-allocating within the agency, and frankly, it’s a position that I didn’t want to be in. I didn’t want to be in a position where I had to repurpose some of the resources that we had dedicated to other issue areas, but I think it’s so important to start better protecting children and start improving education that we take a more affirmative role and build out this institution,” Torrez said to the ire of the governor, who expressed the Division would “muddy the waters for agencies already tasked with child welfare and that no funding was set aside for the division,” according to the report.

Because of the route the Attorney General is taking, Torrez said his prosecutors won’t be able to gather evidence ahead of litigation, but rather only after they make a public filing. “One of the other things that we don’t have that was included in the bill is the ability to gather discovery before litigation. A civil investigative demand. Where we could quietly gather information before we decided whether to initiate a formal action,” Torrez says, “Now, because we don’t have that power, we’re going to end up like all other civil rights plaintiffs—we’re going to file an action which is a big public process and then go through the discovery procedures after that.”

KOAT 13 added, “Torrez said he’s already hired two attorneys for the division and hopes to hire several more and a division director before the year is up. He added that the new office will also focus on equity in education and jail conditions.”

Another Lujan Grisham Cabinet secretary jumps ship

In the latest blow to the severely unstable administration of Democrat New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, another Cabinet secretary has jumped ship just weeks after Economic Development Department (NMEDD) Secretary Alicia J. Keyes left the administration.

The governor’s office announced the abrupt departure of New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department Secretary Katrina Hotrum-Lopez Monday, saying she had retired Monday, the same day as the announcement.

Hotrum-Lopez was one of the longest-serving officials in the administration, being at the Department since August 2019.

The former Cabinet secretary said, “It has been the great privilege of my life to work with the incredible team at Aging and Long-Term Services, as well as all the incredible state workers throughout New Mexico.”

“During my tenure, our department navigated an unprecedented global pandemic, historic wildfires, and all the everyday challenges of providing services throughout New Mexico,” she added.

Lujan Grisham’s health policy advisor Gina DeBlassie will step into the role and serve as acting secretary.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported, “Hotrum-Lopez’s retirement is the latest in a long series of departures of Cabinet secretaries under Lujan Grisham’s administration. Department of Finance and Administration Secretary Deborah Romero left at the end of 2022, followed in January by secretaries in the Public Education, Human Services and General Services departments. In June, the secretary for the Department of Information Technology was reassigned.”

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