Every villain wants the same thing: control

Our family just enjoyed a weekend in Disneyland. We love the Happiest Place on Earth and the opportunity to be lighthearted, spend time together, and play with our granddaughters. On this particular trip, I found myself thinking about how fairy tale storytelling compares to real life.

Does art imitate life, or does life follow art?

One thing that kept coming to my mind is that the villain in every Disney story is seeking to, in some way, control others. The Evil Queen from Snow White wants to take the lives of those who simply want to enjoy the beauty of love, freedom, and happiness. The Wicked Sorcerer wants to enslave or kill those who are simply living their lives. Some of the villains are male, some are female, and others are dragons or even snakes.

Regardless of their form, the one thing they have in common is their desire to control and take something from someone, doing them no harm. I couldn’t help but reflect on how I’ve felt this way at times as a Responsibly Armed Citizen who simply wants to protect and defend what I love.

The people who want to chip away at our freedom to keep and bear arms seek what feels like a similar type of control over your life and mine. Oftentimes, it comes with a “pretty face” or dressed up in some fashion that makes it challenging to disagree. They call it “smart gun laws” or “common sense gun control” and tell you it is “for the children.”  

In the world of Disney and fairytales, the antagonists and adversaries often cast their spells using cleverly worded phrases and rhetoric to trick well-meaning people into mindlessly nodding their heads in agreement. In the same way, those who attempt to restrict gun ownership are like modern-day pied pipers. They siren call their way into the words that spew from the mouths of our favorite Hollywood actors and feisty young politicians. And those of us who haven’t fallen under the spell are oftentimes painted with the brush of being small-minded social outcasts who love our guns more than our children.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, over 2.5 million times each year, lives are saved by people who are responsibly armed. I own and carry firearms for the express purpose of protecting my life and the lives of those I love. In this battle of wits and wills, what are we, the keepers of the truth, to do so that we, too, don’t willingly tie on our own puppet strings and become one of the Rights Restrictors’ bobble-headed marionettes? How do we save our children and our children’s children from drinking the poison of distorted history and protect this generation and the next from climbing down the steep staircase to the dungeon of gun-control lies

To break the spell, simply keep asking (and answering) one little word. “Why?” Why do we have a Constitution? Why did our Founding Fathers include a Bill of Rights? Why do the 27 Words of the Second Amendment include the clause “shall not be infringed”? Why did the very first gun control laws come about? And why are the loudest voices that are trying to restrict your rights to self-protection coming from the very people who have armed security protecting them and their children 24 hours a day? Why, if guns are bad, do these people rely on guns to protect them? Just keep asking why, and you will soon see the smoke and mirrors, half-truths, emotional manipulation, and outright lies begin to vaporize as the phantoms they really are. 

You and I simply want to live the American hope of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We want to build our little cottage, snip off the puppet strings, and live out the promise of a future filled with freedom. It is important to keep our eyes on the North Star of truth so that we, too, do not fall prey to the spells of those who want us to fall into the deep sleep of apathy and who seek to enslave us under their heavy boot of tyranny. We must know the truth and constantly plant the seeds of truth. We must every day take up our shield of wisdom and teach the next generation how to use the sword of truth because the villains are many, the villains are loud, and because every villain wants the same thing: control.

Second Amendment activist Cheryl Todd is a visiting fellow emeritus at the Independent Women’s Forum. Read more about her here.

Vulnerable Vasquez calls in far-left Gov. MLG for last-ditch 2023 fundraising plea

On Saturday, far-left U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez, who faces tough reelection odds next November, called in far-left Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to help him rake in last-minute cash ahead of the New Year by appealing to the fringe progressive base.

“Right-wing extremism and petty politics are on the rise, yet Gabe is committed to working across the aisle to vote for common-sense legislation that moves our state/country forward,” wrote Lujan Grisham in a fundraising email, despite Vasquez siding with the far-left on basically everything, including instituting a new land grab in Deming and refusing to vote to help reduce inflation under the Joe Biden regime.

She continued, “Fighting for this amazing state means fighting for progress,” adding, “While his far-right opponent is reliant on extremists like Donald Trump, Mike Johnson, and Kevin McCarthy, we know your support will take him past the finish line and into another term of building progress for New Mexico and America.”

It is unclear why the governor is name-dropping McCarthy, who just quit Congress, but it appears to be a way to fluff up the fringe progressive base in the attempt to drum up cash ahead of 2024. Former Congresswoman Yvette Herrell is running again with the support of all the U.S. House GOP leadership.

Lujan Grisham is woefully unpopular, topping the rankings as one of the least popular governors in America. Those numbers surely worsened when she unilaterally attempted to snatch Bernalillo County and Albuquerque residents’ gun rights via executive order, which a Democrat-appointed judge slapped down.

Now, Vasquez heavily relying on the far-left governor to help him rake in some last-ditch donations appears to be a move toward the unconstitutional governor and her extreme positions on anything from abortion to energy policy.

Lujan Grisham’s 7-member panel votes to limit gas cars in close vote

At the Rio Grande Foundation, we have written extensively about Gov. Lujan Grisham’s disdain for “democracy,” let alone a representative republic, but last night’s (Thursday, November 16) vote by her un-elected EIB takes the cake.

Unsurprisingly, despite overwhelming numbers of New Mexicans in opposition, the SEVEN member Board voted on a mere 3-2 basis (in support) to mandate a drastic increase in the number of EVs sold in New Mexico.  You can find the list of all seven members here while the vote was as follows: Bitzer and Trujillo voted NO, and Ely, Garcia, and Suina all voted YES. Two of the Board’s seven members DID NOT VOTE: Honker and Cates.

In other words, MLG couldn’t even get an outright majority of her un-elected board to support her policy to force cars that New Mexicans don’t want on them. That sets aside inherent biases and conflicts of the members, like Sandra Ely being a paid employee of the Environment Department AND being married to prominent, recently retired environmental attorney Steven Michael.

There are numerous reasons to litigate. We’re confident that lawsuits will arise from this “kangaroo court” in which massive policy changes are initiated by a board acting without as much as a majority of its own membership.

Paul Gessing is the president of the leading free market economic policy think tank and taxpayer watchdog group, the Rio Grande Foundation. This article originally appeared in Errors of Enchantment.

MLG embarrassed liberal politicians and media across the nation

New Mexicans woke up to “Governor announces statewide enforcement plan for violence, fentanyl reduction – Plan includes 30-day suspension of concealed, open carry in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.” 

Santa Fe Democrats didn’t believe suspending concealed and open-carry weapons would end violence in Albuquerque. As Bill Clinton’s buddy Rahm Emanuel once said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you thought you could not do before.”  Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s opportunity was to strip New Mexicans of their Second Amendment Rights while propelling her to the national stage.

What could go wrong? It worked with the COVID-19 epidemic. No one complained when she stripped us of our Rights while New Mexico became the worst state for infection rates. No one complained when Albuquerque Mayor Keller stripped us of our Second Amendment rights on our public lands while Albuquerque continued to set records for violent crimes. New Mexicans have had enough of being blamed for their failures.  

MLG was propelled to the national stage, just not in the manner she had hoped for. Her blatant effort to exploit the suffering of Albuquerque residents for her political gains was apparent to even New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation (whose dreams of Presidency went poof). MLG’s future went poof. 

MLG acknowledged that her actions were a boost to the NM GOP (also rehabilitated the NRA reputation) fundraising activities when she wrote on X,” I’m still waiting on a thank-you note from the New Mexico GOP,” MLG ended her post on X by “… using it as an opportunity for immediate action to save New Mexican lives.” The Republican Leaders in the NM Senate and House should accept MLG’s invitation to enact bipartisan legislation that will turn New Mexico into the safest state in the Nation. 

My top five legislative actions to make New Mexico one of the safest states in the Nation.

1) Allow New Mexicans to vote on a new Bail Bond Referendum modeled after the Federal Bail Bond system. 

2) Pass a “Darian Jarrott Three Strike & Your Out Law” that ends New Mexico’s enticement of felons from across the country. 

3)  Pass a “Jackson Weller Felon in Possession of a Firearm Law” that keeps felons arrested for firearm possession behind bars until their trial. 

4) Pass a “Peace Offer Recruitment Law” that compensates Peace Officers who move to New Mexico, restoring Peace Officers’ qualified immunity, and social workers are no longer counted as Peace Officers. 

5) It is time we pass NM Representative Rehm’s “Unlawful Firearms while trafficking” Bill. 

MLG and her Santa Fe Democrats have woken the New Mexican People. The Republican Party has an opportunity to demonstrate they care about the hard-working people of New Mexico, not just a fat bank account. 

Too many days have passed since my last article was sent to you and you deserve an explanation. 

This year, I aimed to finish Backpacking the last sixty miles of the John Muir Trail. The JMT earned its reputation as the nation’s most famous trail for its 8-13,000 elevation, 46,000 feet of ascent, 220 miles long, rough terrain, river crossing, and hazardous weather. That is why half the people who start the JMT finish. Because of where I stopped and restarted when I finished the JMT, I ascended 58,000 feet and hiked 238 miles. Not bad for a lovable old dog. 

This year, deep snow kept the trail closed until the end of July. Then, I scrambled to obtain a permit, purchase supplies, repair damaged equipment (my backpack is 45 years old), and finally train (hiking to the top of the Sandia Tram) with a loaded pack. On my last trip up to the top of the Sandia, I was jogging to keep up with the young bucks (Marion reminded me I am a lovable Old Dog). I tripped, fell, and jammed my back, making continued training and typing my articles nearly impossible. I then concentrated on rehabilitation and keeping up with business. 

I finally felt good enough to move forward to try. This past Friday, I left home for Mammoth, Calif., to finish the last leg of the JMT. The night before entering the JMT, I rechecked the weather. The long-term forecast changed; temperatures dropped by 10-15 degrees, wind chill is now a factor, and snow is possible. The window for finishing the JMT this year closed.  

A landscape with mountains and clouds

I will be back next year to finish the John Muir Trail

Host, “To the Point with Mick Rich.” 2018 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate (NM). Founder & CEO, Mick Rich Contractors. Husband, father, grandfather. Read more from Mick Rich at MickRich.substack.com.

Opinions expressed by Piñon Post contributors do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the publication or its editorial staff. Submit an op-ed to the Piñon Post at news@pinonpost.com.

Dem Party desperately wants us to stop talking about impeaching MLG—we won’t

The Democrat Party of New Mexico (DPNM) has characterized Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s illegal order banning guns and subverting her oath as a mere “policy dispute,” attacking myself and state Rep. Stefani Lord for upholding our oaths by holding her accountable.

DPNM told KOB 4, “New Mexico needs real solutions to take on the public safety issues impacting our communities. Calling for an impeachment over a policy dispute isn’t a real solution,” claiming impeachment was “disrespectful to the people of this state.” Did you hear that, fellow peasants? The New Mexico Democrat Party has spoken!

Oh, but wait… There’s more! Lujan Grisham’s office condescended, “It is unsurprising but disappointing that Republicans in the state are choosing to use this time to orchestrate a political stunt instead of coming up with solutions to protect all New Mexicans. With less than 120 days until the start of the session, now is the time to focus on drafting comprehensive legislation to stem the epidemic of gun violence in the state.”

First and foremost, let us acknowledge that public servants, regardless of their political affiliation, take an oath of office to uphold the Constitution and protect the rights of the citizens they serve. 

The actions of Governor Lujan Grisham, particularly her executive order restricting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens to bear arms and her comments that her oath and our rights are not “absolute,” go way beyond the bounds of a policy dispute. It is a matter of profound concern when public officials abuse their oath and deny citizens their constitutional rights. Breaking one’s oath is an impeachable offense.

DPNM’s sad attempt to downplay these actions as a mere policy disagreement is both disingenuous and dismissive of the gravity of the situation. When a governor takes unilateral action to curtail fundamental rights, it is not a matter of partisan politics; it is an affront to the principles of liberty and democracy that should unite us all.

Governor Lujan Grisham and her allies have flagrantly gaslit the public by venomously spewing the lie that Republicans have no ideas to address the issue of violence in our state. This claim is not only false but serves to polarize our political discourse further, further proving the governor’s deceit and lack of fitness for high office. We, Republicans, have consistently put forward ideas and proposals to address crime and ensure our communities’ safety. 

The GOP sponsored bills to keep violent criminals behind bars, increase sentences for felons who illegally get ahold of firearms and use them in crimes, enhance sentences for trafficking, and the list goes on and on. Each of these tangible and results-based solutions died immediately at the hands of the governor’s allies in the legislature.

Let us not forget that Governor Lujan Grisham has had five years to confront the crime issue in our state. To suggest that this is a sudden crisis that requires emergency measures, such as her recent illegal executive order, is disingenuous at best. It raises the question of why she has yet to prioritize this critical issue earlier in her tenure or at all.

Addressing crime and ensuring the safety of our citizens should always be a top priority for any leader. The people of New Mexico deserve nothing less. Rather than resorting to criminal executive orders, we should be engaging in a constructive dialogue, working collaboratively across party lines to find effective solutions that enhance public safety while respecting our constitutional rights.

The actions of Governor Lujan Grisham are not a matter of mere policy disagreement. They represent a serious breach of trust, an abuse of the oath of office, and a denial of the constitutional rights of our citizens. We must recognize the gravity of these actions and impeach the governor for knowingly violating our rights and her oath. 

To take immediate action to help impeach Gov. Lujan Grisham, please visit ImpeachMLG.com

John Block is the founder and editor of the Piñon Post and is the state representative for New Mexico’s 51st House District in Otero County. John has fought for years for New Mexicans’ constitutional rights and is the primary sponsor of New Mexico’s Constitutional Carry legislation.

Protecting our Constitution from tyranny on Constitution Day

As we celebrate Constitution Day, we are reminded of the enduring wisdom enshrined in this venerable document — a wisdom that has guided our nation through its most challenging moments. Our Constitution, born from the crucible of liberty, represents the embodiment of our Founding Fathers’ vision: a government of, by, and for the people, firmly grounded in the protection of individual rights.

Yet, on this Constitution Day, our Constitution finds itself under an unprecedented threat right here in New Mexico, where Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s wildly illegal executive order—even in its now-edited form — has stripped away the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. This egregious overreach is not only an affront to our Constitution but also to the oath Governor Lujan Grisham took to uphold it.

Governor Lujan Grisham’s claim that no Constitutional right is “absolute” should send shivers down the spines of all Americans who value their liberties. It is a dangerous assertion that reveals a concerning disregard for the fundamental principles on which our nation was built. Our Founders understood the importance of protecting these rights as bedrock principles, not mere privileges subject to the whims of government officials. Our rights cannot be signed away by the stroke of a pen.

The Second Amendment, like all constitutional rights, is not a suggestion; it is a right expressly guaranteed to the people. It is the safeguard against tyranny and the assurance of our ability to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The lawless governor’s actions undermine the very essence of our Constitution, and it is our duty to defend it.

State Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park) and I are tirelessly working to impeach Gov. Lujan Grisham for her unconstitutional actions. Our efforts should be a beacon of hope for anyone who cherishes the Constitution and the rights it protects. We stand at the threshold of a critical moment where the fate of our Constitution hangs in the balance. Only We The People can protect it.

Now is the time for all lovers of liberty, regardless of party affiliation, to rally behind us and our pursuit of justice. The Constitution is not a partisan document; it is the foundation of our nation, and its preservation is our shared responsibility.

On this Constitution Day, let us recommit ourselves to the timeless principles enshrined in our Constitution. Let us remember that our rights are not subject to the whims of any politician. And let us stand united in support of impeachment efforts against Gov. Lujan Grisham, for the defense of our Constitution is a cause that transcends politics—it is the very essence of our American identity.

To help Rep. Lord and me in this fight, please help our efforts by supporting me here and Rep. Lord here. More information on our impeachment efforts will be released this next week.

John Block is the founder and editor of the Piñon Post and is the state representative for New Mexico’s 51st House District in Otero County. John has fought for years for New Mexicans’ constitutional rights and is the primary sponsor of New Mexico’s Constitutional Carry legislation.

Appraising former Gov. Bill Richardson’s legacy

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has died. While we at the Rio Grande Foundation often disagreed with the former governor, we also had our areas of agreement. Here are a few thoughts on him and his legacy.

Compared to today’s Democrats, Richardson was a moderate. He genuinely seemed to desire economic growth for New Mexico and had a plan (which was fairly successful) to grow NM’s economy. He cut NM’s top income tax rate from 8.2% to 4.9% and reduced capital gains taxes.

Sadly, Richardson ALSO fell into the trap of big government boondoggles. His purchase of a supercomputer was one, but his Rail Runner and Spaceport have been very costly. The RailRunner continues to lose ridership while the Spaceport remains unproven even as Virgin Galactic FINALLY has started manned tourism launches. Subsidies for Eclipse Aviation and Schott Solar also failed to create long-term economic success.  Richardson also laid the groundwork for New Mexico’s costly film subsidies, which have helped film while failing to develop New Mexico’s economy despite hundreds of millions in subsidies.

Richardson was pro-2nd Amendment, especially compared to modern Democrats. He was endorsed by the NRA twice. 

In broader terms, Richardson was a consensus-builder who genuinely tried to represent the entire state, whereas current Gov. Lujan Grisham often ignores rural New Mexico in favor of vote-rich urban areas.

Richardson (gently) reproached Gov. Lujan Grisham for her overly zealous failed COVID lockdown strategy. He also (sagely) pushed NM legislators and Lujan Grisham to avoid raising taxes in the most recent legislative session.

Finally, as with so many other New Mexico politicians, ethical questions abound. Richardson was associated with noted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and missed out on a key role in the Obama Administration due to ethical questions. There is likely a great deal to both of these stories that the public is not aware of, but they highlight deep-seated problems with New Mexico’s political culture and Richardson’s own character.

Paul Gessing is the president of the leading free market economic policy think tank and taxpayer watchdog group, the Rio Grande Foundation. This article originally appeared in Errors of Enchantment.

Opinions expressed by Piñon Post contributors do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the publication or its editorial staff. Submit an op-ed to the Piñon Post at news@pinonpost.com.

Dems use over half a billion NM taxpayer dollars to underwrite solar plant

Santa Fe Democrats recently celebrated a new $1 billion (with $0.6 billion incentives) solar panel plant built in Albuquerque by Singapore’s Maxeon Solar. Meanwhile, Phoenix Republicans celebrated a $30 billion (no report of incentives) computer chip plant being built outside of Phoenix by American Intel/Brookfield. Why do the hardworking people of New Mexico have to pay companies to come to New Mexico?

New Mexico is ranked fiftieth in educating its youth. State Senate President Pro-Tem Mimi Stewart (D-Bernalillo), indicted Ex-New Mexico House Majority Floor Leader Sheryl William Stapleton (D-Bernalillo), and their fellow Santa Fe Democrats put and kept New Mexico at the bottom of all fifty states for education.

New Mexico is ranked forty-fourth in keeping our youth and ourselves safe. Santa Fe Democrats misled New Mexicans to believe eliminating cash bonds would save our child. Instead, our youth are dying violently at the highest rates ever.

New Mexico is ranked forty-fourth economically. Santa Fe Democrats have created an environment that is only friendly to Big Labor and Addiction industries (legal and illegal drug trade, sex trafficking trade, gambling trade, liquor, and alcohol trade). All other sectors have to be subsidized to come to New Mexico or unable to leave (military bases and government laboratories) our state.

New Mexico is ranked forty-seventh for rural internet and road infrastructure. Santa Fe Democrats are stuck in the past with land-based rural internet. Rural New Mexicans could have internet within thirty days if they did not politically oppose Elon Musk’s Starlink network. Santa Fe Democrats would instead put NM tax dollars into Spaceport America, RailRunner, and Albuquerque’s ART than our highway network.

New Mexico is ranked forty-first for opportunity and equality. I understand why our state ranked low for the chance; Santa Fe Democrats’ policies have created tremendous job growth in the addiction industries (see definition above), historically low-paying jobs that fail to provide a path out of poverty. I don’t understand how our state can be a minority-majority state, run by Santa Fe Democrats for decades, and rank low for equality. How are Santa Fe Democrats perpetuating inequality?

Santa Fe Democrats’ failure to educate our youth to provide safe communities, a lack of economic opportunities, a crumbling highways network, and the continued struggles of our “minority-majority” is why Maxeon Solar did not initially consider New Mexico. Once Santa Fe Democrats offset those failures with 0.6 billion dollars in subsidies, Albuquerque was chosen. 0.6 billion dollars is the value one company places on the shortcomings of the Santa Fe Democrats.

Maxeon Solar may be as desperate as Santa Fe Democrats. The Motley Fool website listed three reasons Maxeon Solar stocks recently dropped precipitately,” … missed badly on revenue; management forecasts continued weak sales in Q3, and probably Q4. At the same time, Maxeon is building even more production capacity in a fragile demand environment.” With NM’s 0.6-billion-dollar contribution and Albuquerque’s Industrial Revenue Bonds (guaranteed by Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act), Maxeon has almost zero investment in New Mexico.

Maxeon will need tremendous luck to avoid the fate of other bankrupt American solar panel manufacturers. Albuquerque’s Schott Solar (our company was one of several companies that built the Schott Solar Albuquerque plant, which went up in flames this past week). Tucson’s Global Solar (I chose not to invest in purchasing the assets out of bankruptcy) ended in bankruptcy. Even Obama’s Solyndra ended in bankruptcy despite hundreds of millions in subsidies. The only winners in these endeavors were Chinese companies that purchased the equipment from the bankrupt companies.

A recent Foreign Policy magazine headline, “The state (Arizona) will remain a destination for foreign investment due to a skilled workforce, leadership in water conservation, and low tax burdens.” Three critical factors that entice businesses to move to Arizona. Assume that is why Virgin Galactic built their aerospace manufacturing facility in the Phoenix area and not the Albuquerque area.

The CEO of a well-respected architect firm shared with me that an Arizona developer flew into Albuquerque to meet at the site for their new forty-acre mixed-use development near I-40 and Unser Boulevard. A young man stumbled into the group as they listened to the developer’s vision for the site. He was clutching his stomach from a gunshot wound, asking for help. After the ambulance left with the wounded young man, the developer turned to the group and said he did not want to be associated with “this.” He ended with I am leaving, and I am done with New Mexico.

Maxeon is a Singapore-based company. Singapore is a city/state/country that does not tolerate crime—mandatory canning for vandalism. Sexual assault and prostitution sentences are up to five years in prison; additional years are added if a person under 16 is involved. Outrage of modesty crimes may result in prison sentences. Lastly, the mandatory death penalty for many narcotic crimes. What will happen when Singapore Business Leaders realize what Santa Fe Democrats sold them?

Once New Mexicans elect individuals committed to solving our state’s challenges and not protecting Santa Fe Democrats’ political contributors, we will not have to bribe companies to come to New Mexico.

Host, “To the Point with Mick Rich.” 2018 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate (NM). Founder & CEO, Mick Rich Contractors. Husband, father, grandfather. Read more from Mick Rich at MickRich.substack.com.

Opinions expressed by Piñon Post contributors do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the publication or its editorial staff. Submit an op-ed to the Piñon Post at news@pinonpost.com.

From ABQ homeless to South Valley and Isleta Pueblo residents

Is this environmental racism by the ABQ Mayor & Council? 

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and City Council applaud themselves for fighting “environmental racism” by stopping business development in the Albuquerque South Valley. While they look away from the pollution their policies have created, the pollution flows to South Valley residents via the Rio Grande. 

A person holding a sign in the middle of a street  Description automatically generated

July 2023 Downtown Albuquerque, photograph provided a subscriber.

Homeless people are urinating and defecating on our sidewalks and city streets, just as this person is doing. Our firm was renovating a restaurant in downtown Albuquerque. As I was walking to the building, I witnessed a homeless person urinating on the sidewalk while APD just looked away. This is not just about decency. It is about our public health. 

The City of Albuquerque’s Storm Water Pollution Prevention states,” When it rains,…pollutants get washed from … streets into storm drains and then directly into the Rio Grande untreated!” Please note that the homeless person in the photographs is just feet from a storm drain. It further states, “Pet waste left on the ground gets carried away by storm water contributing harmful bacteria, parasites and viruses to our river. Please clean up after your pet.”   

What impact does the Mayor and City Council’s Homeless have on the water quality of the Middle Rio Grande? To answer that question, we requested documentation from the NMED Surface Water Quality Bureau and Albuquerque Metropolitan Flood Control Authority to assess the water quality of the Middle Rio Grande over the past ten to twenty years. Specifically, we requested Escherichia coli counts of the Rio Grande River north and south of Albuquerque. E coli is a bacteria found in the intestines of people and animals and is used to assess water quality.

I assumed that as a graduate civil engineer emphasizing water resources, I would be able to find the information within the haystack and then decern the info. I wasn’t successful in finding the news, but I was able to ask the right questions. The answer was that the Rio Grande’s water quality has deteriorated with increased homelessness. But further study is needed to determine the exact extent, and no public official wants to know.  

What I also discovered was quite remarkable. The EPA Standard for E. coli for surface freshwater ways is 100 cfu/100 mL. However, in the Middle Rio Grande, that standard is 410 CFU/100mL; However, in Isleta Pueblo, that standard is 88 CFU/100mL. What is recorded for E. coli for the Middle Rio Grande varies between 25 (little water) and over 600 (high flow).  Why are the Mayor and Council okay with a contaminated Rio Grande?

What can be done now?

On our most recent KKOB radio program, my good buddy Josh stated that his friends rafted on the Middle Rio Grande, and all had horrible skin rashes the following day. I would not swim or fish in the Middle Rio Grande.

The city of Albuquerque has looked to pet owners to help solve the E. coli problem. It is time we hold the homeless accountable. It is time the police did not turn a blind eye to the homeless.

A downtown property owner told me that the city at one time was going to provide toilet facilities for the homeless, but it did not happen. The Mayor and City Council should immediately offer restroom facilities for the homeless.

The Mayor and City Council should develop a program to clean and sanitize our city streets and sidewalks to keep the human waste out of the Rio Grande and from being tracked into our homes on the bottom of our shoes.

What can be done for the long term?

We must upgrade our wastewater treatment facilities on the Rio Grande to ensure the water leaving our cities is as clean as the water entering our cities. New Mexico has the funds available,

We need new drinking water sources for the cities on the Rio Grande so they do not suck the Rio Grande dry and ensure adequate water flows to improve the water quality.  

Is this environmental racism by the ABQ Mayor & Council?

The answer is yes; if you read the article “South Valley Celebrates Revocation of Asphalt Plant’s Permit” in the February 14, 2023 edition of The Paper (co-owned by Albuquerque Council member Pat Davis), the answer would be yes. Because in The Paper stated, “Mountain View Coalition members and their attorneys are now celebrating their victory in the battle to address the long history of cumulative impacts, environmental injustice, and environmental racism in their community.” Thus, if you are responsible for polluting the South Valley, you are an “Environmental Racist.”

But there is more to the story than what was written. How much more pollution, and how would it compare to shopping center traffic? Did creating many good-paying jobs for low-income families justify the asphalt plant alone?  How can the family that owns the asphalt company be racist if they can trace their heritage to Spain? The air quality in the South Valley is more impacted by air pollution sources up-wind in Albuquerque than what is created in the South Valley.

Stopping the new plant in the South Valley is more about the Gentrification of the South Valley than the environmental racism of the disenfranchised. Like most Gentrified communities, the disenfranchised are forced onto undesirable lands, such as the Highland Meadows community.


In New Mexico, we are too intertwined among families, land, water, and air to cling to the idea that, somehow, we are separate from one another. What comes to mind from that great American philosopher Pogo, when racism is tossed at one’s supposed enemy, ‘We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is US.”

It is time to end throwing the Racism Stones. As Jesus said, “Let He Who is Without Sin Cast the First Stone.” 


I try to add a few Easter Eggs in my articles. This article has a few; the last article had a few, posse and marauder with power and money. If you “clicked” on power and money, posse and marauder would have made more sense.

I discussed who are the prosecuting attorneys and judges for Biden and Trump’s legal proceedings in last week’s radio program. I specifically outlined why Assistant US Attorney Weiss was weak and had a history of letting the Bidens off the hook. A week later, the national conservative media were covering the same facts.

A Side Note

In the 8/11/2023 Albuquerque Journal article AP, “Mickelson wagered more than 1$ billion, book claims”. Phill Mickelson has wagered more than 1 billion over the last three decades and wanted to place a $400,000 bet on the 2012 Ryder Cup while playing for Team USA, according to a much-anticipated book by renowned gambler Bill Walters.

Billy Walters and my path crossed three decades ago at the Paradise Hill Golf Course.

A competitor recommended our company to renovate the Paradise Golf Course Club House for the new owners. We were out of work, and we took the job. The owner’s representatives (the boys) were out of Las Vegas, and they looked the part. During the renovation, the boys would fly in from Vegas every couple of weeks. I would meet them at the end of the day. We sat around the bar table while they drank whiskey, smoked cigars, and they talked about what Billy wanted and his recent successes. The boys explained that Billy, Billy Walters was more successful than Jimmy the Greek. I wanted to believe it.  

Billy won more than he lost, and we got paid. After that, I never took another job that wasn’t good enough for my competitor, and I always ensured there was a letter of financing from a bank.

I hope you have a great week.

Host, “To the Point with Mick Rich.” 2018 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate (NM). Founder & CEO, Mick Rich Contractors. Husband, father, grandfather. Read more from Mick Rich at MickRich.substack.com.

Opinions expressed by Piñon Post contributors do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the publication or its editorial staff. Submit an op-ed to the Piñon Post at news@pinonpost.com.

The ABQ bums have got to go — and I don’t mean the homeless

New Mexicans are compassionate people and were behind former Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry’s “A Better Way” initiative to address homelessness in the City of Albuquerque. The idea was that if the City provided the needs of the homeless, they would not be on the streets. Those elected officials did not understand what every business owner knows: your customers will increase when you provide what they need at a fair price. The Mayor and City Council Members did not end homelessness; they increased homelessness.

I assume Santa Fe Democrats did not pass a “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law because it was too harsh to those with two felonies. A few years ago, I gave a ride to an individual catching a train to VAMC treatment center in St. Louis. On the way, we stopped for his belongings (stashed behind a bush, he was homeless). I bought him breakfast and lunch to go. As we ate, I asked him where he was from and what brought him to New Mexico. He was from California and had two felonies and could not handle the stress of not getting a third felony. New Mexico is welcoming to those with multiple felonies.

Santa Fe Democrats Banned Qualified Immunity for our police two years ago. My buddy, Susan B, in Los Angels, related to me; her friend witnessed a person looting two stores and then proceeded to the city bus. She flagged down a police officer and pointed out the thief and the store he looted. The police officer responded that since she would not file charges, he would not arrest that individual who would most likely resist arrest and sue him. That is why APD arrives after the dust settles to take a report.

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Dollar General Store NW Albuquerque Photo by KQRE

I spoke with a retail clerk of a dollar-type store two years ago. She told me their new manager had ended the policy of allowing the neighborhood homeless people to shoplift. After implementing the new policy, homeless person or persons started a fire in the store. Essentially the homeless are running an old fashion protection racket. It reminds me of watching a shakedown racket on the “Sopranos.” And like in “Sopranos,” the police and politicians look the other way.

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Image and video from Natalie Wadas posted 07.03.2023 on the KQRE website and broadcast.

The Mayor and City Council have, until recently, been passively involved in the homeless shake-down racket. But now they provide the means for the homeless to take their shake-down rack across the city. People are observing the homeless waiting for the Albuquerque bus to return them safely to their neighborhood with their stolen goods—the video of four individuals stealing liquor and then calmly walking to the Albuquerque Bus Stop.

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Image and video from Natalie Wadas posted 07.03.2023 on the KQRE website and broadcast.

We hear the official responses so often that we can almost recite them from memory. This is scary for the business owners. It is frightening for the shoppers. This is unacceptable. We are currently investigating. We cannot comment because of the ongoing investigation. We are hopeful our new program will make a difference. Important crime victims to file a police report. We get the City of Albuquerque Public Relation spiel, “Acknowledged the feelings (it is scary), Tomorrow will be better (hope), Blame the victim (they don’t file a police report).

Individuals and businesses have given up on the Albuquerque Mayor and Council providing for our basic needs, Safety. Businesses and individuals are contracting with private armed security forces to ensure their and their customers’ safety and protect their belongings. Businesses have given up filing police reports because the police will not track down the perpetrators, and if the perpetrator is arrested, the district attorney will not prosecute. Now we have stopped reporting the loss to our insurance company.

I believe the reason for the increase in homicides is that the Mayor and Council have created an environment where law-abiding citizens and criminals have become desensitized, which leads to escalation. How? Violent crimes are reduced to lower charges, or no charges are filed. I have now heard of businesses not reporting armed robberies because they do not want to be shut down for being a criminal nuisance. Property crimes are not reported because businesses have given up. But in Murder, there is no hiding the body or the statistics.

Our Mayor, Council, and business leaders continue to believe that if we “Brag It, Not Bag It,” our city will have a bright future. Now, even London residents know.

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By Will Potter for DailyMail.com Published 07.07.2023

How can we regain control of our neighborhoods? 1) What my good buddy did. A homeless person walked into the store he was in and told him, “You’re buying me lunch.” His response was no. The homeless person pointed to the young woman behind the cash register and said, “She will” The homeless man walked away when my Good Buddy told him, “Not while I am standing here.” 2) Throw the bums out and I don’t mean the homeless.

Host, “To the Point with Mick Rich.” 2018 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate (NM). Founder & CEO, Mick Rich Contractors. Husband, father, grandfather. Read more from Mick Rich at MickRich.substack.com.

Opinions expressed by Piñon Post contributors do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the publication or its editorial staff. Submit an op-ed to the Piñon Post at news@pinonpost.com.

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