Working hard or hardly working? For Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration, the answer is, “both.”
Life seems to be pretty sweet for Ryan Stewart, the state’s top educrat. An investigation by KOB’s Chris Ramirez found that the “public servant” who’s nominally in charge of the Public Education Department is with his family, “2,000 miles away in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” having “moved back … on a full-time basis.” Stewart’s absence has “some in the education field” wondering “about the effectiveness of managing not only a large and complex agency from afar but one that is in peril from the effects of COVID-19.” No kidding.
In an interview with KIVA’s Eddy Aragon, Ramirez said that it took three weeks to arrange an interview with the cabinet secretary (there’s no timeline yet on when/if Stewart will return), and that the governor’s office “blew me off” when a conversation with Lujan Grisham was requested. Apparently, the state’s chief executive couldn’t “swing it.” It’s an odd claim, given the governor’s “official work schedule.” For example, during the week of July 6th, she “worked” a grand total of 15.25 hours. (Including four and a half hours of press-conference preparation, the event itself, and a television interview).
Meanwhile, the policies Lujan Grisham has implemented to “protect” the public from COVID-19 are working quite strenuously — to wreck the economy and worsen intimate-partner violence:
• New Mexico’s chile growers are fortunate to have a good crop this year, but are facing supply-chain difficulties, with “restaurants … shut off.”
• Commissioners have unanimously requested gubernatorial permission to hold the Curry County Youth Expo, an opportunity for junior ranchers/farmers to show and sell their livestock. The potential participants are “running … a business,” and the event is “how many of them fund their college.” (The elected officials’ intentions are noble, but when the phone don’t ring, it’ll be the governor).
• The Clovis Fun Center has been “shut down by the state government due to people complaining about us being open even though we were taking every precautionary measure to keep our customers safe.”
• The “the largest domestic violence shelter in the state” is experiencing a surge in victims. Before Lujan Grisham’s lockdown, its “crisis line received around 150 calls a day,” but now processes 220 contacts per day. What was once an intake rate of “zero to two families daily” has grown to “between six to nine families” every day.
Is it better when state government is off the job, or on? Enquiring New Mexicans want to know….