U.S. Representative Gabriel Vasquez Representing New Mexico District Sworn In? Chaos in the House

A new congressional term began Tuesday as members of the 118th Congress were set to be sworn in while questions remain over whether House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy can get enough votes to be elected speaker of the House.  

In a press release from U.S. Representative Gabriel Vasquez office and a post on his website; its confirmed that members were sworn into the United States House of Representatives January 3rd, 2023.  https://vasquez.house.gov/media/press-releases/taking-oath-office

However, constitutionally there would be a question to the legitimacy of a swearing in, if it occurred, prior to the election of a speaker. So not to pars words, so to speak, but each member at this point has taken an oath, however the official ceremonial swearing in of congress for the official record can’t officially happen without a speaker in place. 

The first official act of the House in a new Congress is to elect a speaker, and no other member of the House can be sworn in before that happens. The speaker of the House, in addition to deciding what comes to the floor for a vote, is, per the Constitution, second in line to succeed the president. The speaker is in line behind the vice president. Adding to the urgency, the chamber cannot move forward with any legislative business until a speaker is elected. No committees can be formed, no committee chairs or rules agreed upon and no legislation can move forward or any action by the House until a leader is selected.

At noon, the clerk of the House raised the gavel for the 118th Congress and call a quorum or call for the minimum number of members that must be present for business to be done.

Candidates for speaker are nominated by each party’s caucus or conference. 

On Tuesday, Democrats united placed New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries’ name into nomination. Republicans as expected placed Kevin McCarthy’s name into nomination.

No rule requires the nominee to be an elected member of the House, according to Article I, Section II of the Constitution. 

Prior candidates nominated for the position who were not members of the House when they were nominated include former Sec. of State Colin Powell, Georgia politician Stacy Abrams and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky.

After nominations are offered, the speaker is elected by roll call vote. A candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast to become speaker. If all members of the House are present and voting, the majority is 218 votes.

If all the members are not present, it is a majority of the members present and voting who selects the speaker. If no candidate wins a majority, the roll call is repeated until a speaker is elected.

In 1849, the House was in session 19 days without being able to elect a speaker, with no candidate having received a majority of the votes cast. The House voted 59 times before it adopted a resolution that declared that the speaker could be elected by a plurality – the person who receives the most votes even if it is not a majority.

In 1856, the same thing happened except the House had 129 votes before declaring the candidate could be elected by a plurality.

Republicans faced a leadership drama as they took control of the House on Tuesday and the first of them governing the new house showed a house in disarray, upsetting moderates and many Republican donors across the nation. 

As the 118th Congress convened, the first order of business in the chamber was the election of a new speaker — and current Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is so far being stymied by a group of hardliners demanding concessions. The House voted three times for speaker and McCarthy could not garner the 218 votes required. In the third round of voting, 20 Republican lawmakers voted against McCarthy for speaker: the highest amount so far. Those votes went to Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

In the first two rounds, 19 Republicans voted for a different candidate. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., voted for McCarthy two times before changing his vote to Jordan.

McCarthy received 202 votes in the latest round, making it the third time he’s trailed Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Democrats had already elected Jeffries to be their caucus leader in the new Congress.

To win the gavel, McCarthy needs a majority of the members-elect who are present and voting. But because the GOP holds only a five-seat advantage, a small number of defections is stopping McCarthy from gaining the office he’s long sought.

The House can conduct no other business until a speaker is chosen. For the first time in a century, the vote is requiring multiple rounds and now, multiple days.  

An interesting fact: McCarthy has so far gotten fewer votes to be speaker in each round on Tuesday than he did when the last Congress convened in 2021. In 2021, when Republicans were in the minority, McCarthy got 209 votes from every Republican voting. In the three rounds Tuesday, with voting continuing, he got 203, 203 and 202.

So, for newly elected New Mexico Representative, Gabe Vasquez; he was a part of history and got to witness history as an active participant. Today showed just how messy the art of democracy can truly be. 

Change in Leadership at Community Public Radio KALH-LP Alamogordo, New Mexico to 2nd Life media Lydia Emmanual Productions Inc

Lydia Emmanual Productions Inc and 2nd Life Media Inc announced a partnership with the non-profit Southwestern Trails Cultural Heritage Association, owner of KALH Radio 95.1 and streaming at https://kalh.org/

Founded by Kenneth Bass the station has a reputation for excellence in music and hard-hitting community coverage via Spectrum New via Radio Personality Anthony Lucero. KALH was named Country Station of the Year (2012) by New Music Weekly Magazine (Nashville). However, the station while country focused plays more than Country. KALH plays New Country, Hot Country, Old Country, R&R Classic Oldies, R&B, MOR, Bluegrass, Western Swing, Big Band Jazz AND MORE. The biggest variety of music available on the radio, on the web or personal digital device live from Alamogordo.

The station, while nonprofit will be operated under a management agreement with 2nd Life Media and Emmanual Lydia Productions Inc. The new board President is  Emmanuel Renteria, Vice President Rene Sepulveda and Secretary/Treasurer Lydia Renteria, with a few community at large directors under consideration. 

Chris Edwards CEO of 2nd Life Media will assume the role of General Manager with the programing support of Anthony Lucero, and contributors to programming Lydia Aspen Renteria and Emmanual Renteria and a focus on sports and fitness in partnership with Rene Sepulveda. Chris Rollerson will continue the focus on Tularosa High School Football and Basketball broadcasts.

Under the new leadership the success and family traditions of the Bass family will continue to be honored front and center as a community focused nonprofit organization committed to the local community news and information along with quality music and entertainment. Tularosa High School Sports will remain a cornerstone to the sports lineup.

No major changes are expected at this time, excepting for an investment in some infrastructure to ensure long term sustainability and new equipment to sustain the 95.1 radio broadcast as well as live streaming.

Longer term the station will place a professional studio within the Sands Theater at 1017 New York Avenue in Alamogordo’s Historic Cultural Arts District with live streaming of music and special events “live from the Sands.”

With this upgrade the station will be partnering with local students at area High Schools, New Mexico State University and Seniors Organizations; creating opportunities for student and senior created shows focused on art, culture, history, music and the stories of the Tularosa Basin and the Heritage of Southwestern New Mexico. Spectrum News is being rebranded Alamogordo Town News and will continue with radio personality Anthony Lucero at the helm or programming and content.

KALH-LP’s mission is to continue the almost 2 decade tradition as a public non-profit radio station that will entertain, inform, challenge, inspire and engage our listeners through an eclectic mix of musical, cultural, educational and community affairs programming and related activities in collaboration with Alamogordo non-profit organizations, local news sources and small business partnerships.

The vision of KALH-LP, a main street, New York Avenue focused Community Radio station is for a truly local radio station that reflects the diversity of views, news, and talent in our community. Our goal is to have as much local programming as possible, including talk and call-in shows; public and community affairs; writers, and a wide range of voices and perspectives as well as continue to provide the finest variety of Country and a variety of other music platforms. The broadcast schedule aims to:

  • Provide information, news, and dialogue in partnership with AlamogordoTownNews.com
  • Address critical local concerns, such as education, the economy, and the environment
  • Profile local culture and diversity of talent
  • Remember, preserve, and tell the stories of local history
  • Recognize the rich natural beauty and resources of the region
  • Highlight live programs and remote broadcasts as a community radio station

In 2003, under the Direction and leadership of Ken Bass the station was incorporated and applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a low-powered, FM, community radio station. The station has operated continuously since. He passed on March 27th, 2021, and he is missed everyday by his family, friends, community, and everyone at KALH Radio. The Bass family has operated the station since his death with a pride and a commitment to the community.

The Bass family made the difficult decision to resign from the board and hand leadership of the non-profit Southwestern Trails Cultural Heritage Association, owner of KALH Radio 95.1 to the Renteria’s and the Sepulveda’s to ensure its long-term sustainability as a community focused organization.

Chris Edwards spokesperson for the new board leadership said, “with the revitalization efforts of Alamogordo’s New York Avenue, the Bass family has been very supportive of our efforts to renovate downtown buildings, tell the history and KALH had a very strong relationship with our operating businesses. We feel it an honor to carry the mission of Ken Bass forward of telling the stories preserving history and restoration efforts and ensuring local news coverage. KALH-LP is another tool for us to further tell the stories of history and what makes Alamogordo the greatest community in New Mexico.”

A comment from community member and community volunteer Chez Sanchez…


I appreciate how you clearly acknowledged Ken as the founder of the station. I don’t know if you knew him but he was a powerful person with an engaging way of drawing in his listeners to the story he was telling. His caring for our community had no bounds and he was completely unafraid of challenging local politicians and individuals when he felt they weren’t keeping our community first, well before their own selfish interests.

He is missed by all who knew him and I have great hope for how you and Anthony will move forward with Ken’s creation. I’m excited to see where this station goes from here, of course keeping Ken’s spirt to entertain, inform, and sometimes protect our community.” -Chez

For questions, sponsorship information or to volunteer or program ideas contact Chris Edwards at cedwards121788@icloud.com and reference KALH in the email header.

KALH-LP has a new transmitter that will be installed in the next few weeks in the meantime the station is streaming online and can be heard anywhere with a computer or smartphone at https://kalh.org/

Or https://station.voscast.com/5b01bba90dce3

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Stephanie DuBois V Couy Griffin, Judge Shannon Murdock ordered a Dismissal of Restraining Order Case

The New Mexico 12th Division court hosted the hearing today between seated Otero County appointed County Commissioner Stephanie Dubois which filed for a restraining order against Couy Griffin after a tense public comments session in the November Otero County Commission meeting. The Honorable Shannon Murdock ordered a dismissal.

Dubois said she made the order after an incident that happened during a county commission meeting on Nov. 10. During the meeting on November 10th, Griffin made comments towards Dubois during a public comment period. An argument then ensued between both parties, involving shouts and harsh words. Dubois said she was terrified over what happened and still fears for her life. “I’m just fearful. I’m 77 years old,” she said. “It was very scary that nobody protected me.”

However, the verbal quarrel wasn’t the only incident that happened to Dubois according to her in several reports with Albuquerque television stations. The restraining order however only outlined the events of that day when filed.

The hearing was virtual and not an in person hearing with a judge brought in from out of the area because all members of the local judiciary recused themselves from the case or had a full docket.

The hearing was originally scheduled for December 5th to be heard in front of the Honorable Shannon Murdock. The filing of a restraining order is a serious action by a public official on a constituent even one that is a former county commissioner. The issue locally was such a hot potato with the hearing scheduled for December 5th, 2022. The state Supreme Court appointed the Honorable Shannon Murdock to preside.

The hearing was postponed then to December 15th as Commissioner Dubois requested a continuance and Couy Griffin filed for a dismissal.

The hearing was hosted virtually today, and the judge dismissed the case. The record or minutes of the case has not yet been released to the public.

2nd Life Media and AlamogordoTownNews.com requested a comment from Commissioner DuBois but her response when we asked for comment was “No.”

We then also requested a comment from former Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, and he provided us the following statement…

“The filing of this restraining order was purely political. I did not threaten Stephanie in any way nor did I harass her. I merely expressed my opinion that I felt her appointment to the seat in which I was elected was a disgrace. And that opinion is formed by the fact that she has run for office eight times and been unsuccessful every time she has run. She is not an elected voice of Otero County but an appointed voice of the radical progressive Governor of New Mexico. We hear daily that our democracy is under attack. Not a better example of that than what has happened in Otero County. But I’m glad it’s behind me and I appreciate you for allowing me to share my side of this story.”

The case is now dismissed. Ms. Dubois will serve in her role for two more weeks and the Amy Barela will be sworn in as the newly elected commissioner for Otero County District 2.

A side note and additional commentary regarding coverage of this saga in Otero County Politics:

Our earlier reporting on the ongoing saga of the restraining order was met with harsh attacks by some members of the Otero County Democratic machine and some members of the Otero County Republican machine. Individual members of each attacked our coverage in some social media channels some making attacks very personal to the businesses we operate. Without naming names a few went as far as cyber bullying and questioned why we took sides on the issue. A few became very hostile and passionate. Social media challenges and phone calls can be interesting. We were accused by some of only viewing the issue of intimidation of Ms. DuBois from a position of privilege as white males, (the majority owner and the publisher is a Hispanic male), we were told we were insensitive and don’t understand hostility. (As members of the LBGTQ community in a conservative county we would beg to differ.) However, to reassure ourselves that we were being fair and unbiased we had our specific to this issue reviewed by a panel outside of the county for their take on our coverage. They unanimously agreed our reporting did not show bias.

The review committee surmised that:

“The AlamogordoTownNews.com allowed for each sides point of view to be heard but did offer a valid question of rather the free speech would potentially be infringed upon by a restraining order. The AlamogordoTownNews.com site also questioned inconsistencies in the statements by those involved depending upon the media outlet. It questioned if the county saw a threat and as an employer and should it have filed a restraining order as based on court precedent a route taken by other governmental bodies?”

AlamogordoTownNews.com and AlamogordoConservativeDaily.org will continue to publish stories of the public interest. It will question official positions and actions of elected and appointed representatives when it deems it of interest to the public. Most of the coverage is not political but is of community interest related to sports, business, community interest and culture.

The political coverage does garner large readership and when Couy Griffin is involved it does seem to spark community interest and hot debate locally and from across the nation.

Will Couy Griffin continue in the public political spotlight long term, or will he seek other avenues in the private sector? 

Time will tell. He will be under less of a microscope in the new year excepting for any ongoing court cases, investigations, or trials since he is no longer a public official.

The ownership and business interests of this media company also are not public officials, thus not in the public realm. They are protected by First Amendment rights and protections afforded to them via Amendment One and is supported via membership in Independent News Organizations which assist, mentor, and grow small local media companies to keep a free local press and public dialog alive and well in small rural communities.

Until the next story, let’s each have a day of positivity and prosperity during this season of caring.

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The Joys and Pitfalls of Operating a Small-Town News Service

Alamogordo is a unique community in that it is basically a town without a legitimate major news provider. Like many small rural communities, the local community stopped supporting the local paper, the paper struggled and was eventually acquired by a national media conglomerate. The result now the public complains, because there is no consistent local coverage and dedicated local reporting.

2nd Life Media saw that gap in coverage and felt the community of Alamogordo deserves local coverage. March of 2021 2nd Life Media Inc launched the AlamogordoTownNews.com site as an alternative to get local news, local sports coverage and local business and non-profit events covered and before the public realm. The week of launch the online publication had 20 readers and the focus was initially on downtown revitalization and sports coverage. Now we have over 6000 readers.

On March 21st, 2021, we published our first story announcing the launch of this new service we market at AlamogordoTownNews.com…

“Hello to Southern New Mexico. We love the history of the Alamogordo News but believe it is time that more local news coverage of sports, politics and small business comes to Alamogordo. So, in collaboration with the local community and in support of building Alamogordo into an art, entertainment, tourism capital of Southern New Mexico. We begin this journey together. If you have news stories you would like to see published, please email me at CoachEdwards@2ndLifeMedia.com. with story details, photos and more. Let’s work together to create a real local positive community newspaper. We look forward to working with our community together in positivity.”

Our first several stories announced the Marilyn Sepulveda Scholarship Fund encouraging applicants, a focus on New York Avenue small businesses and sports coverage. As Covid restrictions loosened up we began more focus and the arts and cultural initiatives within Alamogordo and the potential growth and investment by small business entrepreneurs. As elections and politics took center stage we covered highlights of municipal elections, interviewed candidates, and found ourselves digging deeper and asking more candidate questions then the traditional newspaper. All along the way our readership grew significantly.

While delving into the political antics of Couy Griffin, John Block, Karl Melton, and the machines that run the political leadership of Otero County we hit on the nerves and the comfort of some of the establishment.

We have been called a right-wing talking piece by those on the left and attacked harshly by Couy Griffin supporters and the Trumpian brigade on the right. Given we have been equally criticized by the old guard chairmen of both political parties, that reinforced to our board of advisors, we are on the right track of being fair, allowing for each party to be heard, and balanced, in that both sides staying equally critical of our coverage, as it does not favor either.

Our coverage can be critical, asks questions and looks beyond the walls of Otero County and Alamogordo at precedent. We seek advise and reach out to academia and other media sources to validate information, to seek history or background and to reach a perspective that extends beyond Alamogordo and Otero County.

Our favorite stories to run are on the personalities and business leaders that are carrying Alamogordo forward into prosperity and those with a vision or passion. Stories on COPE, published stories in Influence Magazine, ongoings of the Flickinger Center, Alamogordo MainStreet investment and people making a positive difference to our community are our favorite stories to create. Stories on STEM and Academic successes of high school students are always fun to create. Stories on sports success and highlights of high school sports successes always bring joy to our faces when writing them in partnership with other media partners.

We have a great working relationship with the local radio stations and deep partnerships that help us with news tips and getting information to the public with many nonprofits, those in the faith community and the resources of government.

AlamogordoTownNews.com believes we have made a positive impact with our commitment to get information out to the local community that is missing by the traditional new sources.

Is there room for improvement? Certainly, YES!

We operate on a shoestring budget, and we do the best we can with limited resources. We would we like to hire a team of reporters certainly. With the public support that may happen in the upcoming years. We’d love to launch a print edition, someday, but as media evolves print is devolving, so time and financing will determine if that is feasible in the future.

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/support

Running a local news publication can be tricky and can be dangerous in some people’s eyes.

When we exposed some of the political antics of Couy Griffin, we had a gentlemen come into our place of business wielding a gun, telling us that gun rights trump our right of free speech. We quickly reminded him amendment one, is that of free press, and we are not intimidated by a gun wielding lunatic. The pen is mightier than the sword in the end. An armed idiot in our place of business is met with like force.

When we ran stories counter to the propaganda of John Block and Karl Melton, again we hit home with facts that made them uncomfortable. Rather than respond in a mature matter of political rhetoric. they went on the offensive, and personally attacked the authors and the businesses owned by 2nd
Life Media Inc. They then went on and tried to impede the right of the author to petition and vote, attempted to assassinate the reputation of the affiliated businesses and ownership, and may have violated laws around voter suppression and intimidation. Investigations will determine if rights were violated. A free press won’t be intimidated into silence by character assassination and tactics of intimidation.

A free press that is open to challenge those in authority ensures a free society. Amendment One is Intentional by our founding fathers.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Political coverage appears to be the most controversial coverage we provide via AlamogordoTownNews.com.

While we prefer the more positive coverage of community events, business success, and sports sadly the political stories drive the most readers and engagement.

Just yesterday we were asked by a seated County Commissioner who filed a restraining order against a former commissioner to “not litigate this issue in the public realm” and “which side are you on?”

Our response is the same to this Democratic leader as it was to our Republican leaders. Our job is to keep the public informed on those issues or cases that are of interest to the public and in the public realm.

Elected leaders that take actions are in the public realm, and we will cover the story, if there is an interest to the public. We are not on any side of the issue. We ran stories on precedent in the courts to these types of actions by elected leaders and the public.

We seek to inform the public on precedent and on any situation that could potentially impact Amendment One or any of the founding principles of a free society.

2nd Life Media and AlamogordoTownNews.com has expanded with readership now in the thousands. We now partner with additional outlets such as its sister publication AlamogordoConservativeDaily.org which publishes stories of local interest on several different platforms and via a Newsbreak Newsletter.

We, of course operate on a shoestring budget. If you would like to support an independent citizen driven news source, we appreciate contributions to the primary news site.

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/support

Some small newspaper facts:

The total advertising revenue for locally focused U.S. daily newspapers in 2020 was $1.07 billion, based on the Center’s analysis of financial statements for publicly traded newspaper companies. This is down 40% from 2019, much steeper than the 25% decline the overall newspaper industry experienced during the same time.

The United States has lost almost 1,800 papers since 2004, including more than 60 dailies and 1,700 weeklies. Roughly half of the remaining 7,112 in the country – 1,283 dailies and 5,829 weeklies – are in small and rural communities. The vast majority – around 5,500 – have a circulation of less than 15,000 consistent with our readership and that of the Alamogordo Daily News.

Vanishing Readers: Print readers are disappearing even faster than print newspapers, and the pace appears to be accelerating.

Over the past 15 years, total weekday circulation – which includes both dailies and weeklies – declined from 122 million to 73 million.

While more and more readers prefer to receive news online, this dramatic loss has been driven not only by changes in reader preference, but also by the business decisions of newspaper owners. The decrease in daily circulation comes primarily from the pullback of metro and regional newspapers from distribution to outlying rural and suburban areas. In contrast, much of the loss in weekly circulation since 2004 comes from the closure of more than 1,700 weeklies.

This decrease in print readers raises serious questions about the long-term financial sustainability of both small community and large metro newspapers.

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/support

Web hosting, marketing recruitment, posting time, research and creative all takes resources. Contributions help keep an alternative news and media source viable. We ask that you shop local with our local advertisers and sponsors and shop in our local storefronts on New York Avenue.

If you feel generous enough to directly contribute to our news enterprise, we will recognize you if you so desire as a special supporter of a free and independent press. Some donors prefer to remain quiet and discrete. We respect those sponsors and donors to the AlamogordoTownNews.com operations as well and their need for discretion. We keep in confidence our donors and supporters except those who give permission to use their support in public.

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/support

This holiday season from our family to yours, thank you for the support! We look forward to an interesting and even more engaging 2023. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family. May you have a blessed and prosperous New Year.

Rene Sepulveda, Chris Edwards and the staff and family of 2nd
Life Media, AlamogordoTownNews.com and AlamogordoConservativeDaily.org and our podcasts, thank you!

AlamogordoTownNews.com When a public official files a RESTRAINING ORDER is that a dangerous precedent to free speech? cOUY gRIFFIN vS sTEPHANIE dUBOIS orTERO cOUNTY NEW mEXICO

When a public official files a restraining order for public comments is that a dangerous precedent to free speech?

The Otero County Commission the last several years has been the albatross of New Mexico in driving a media circus of controversy. Most of those controversies were driven by Couy Griffin while holding office of County Commissioner District 2, but the actions of the commission related to a variety of issues have raised questions and multiple court cases, a few of which have risen to the attention of the New Mexico Supreme Court and may eventually land on the docket of the US Supreme Court.

With the removal of Mr. Griffin from office, some thought civility and common sense would come back to the commission. The appointment of Stephanie DuBois by the Governor to fill Mr. Griffin’s position led to more controversy being so close to the general election.

The County Commission meeting of November 10th became a true circus of hostility and the meeting fell into disarray that again garnered national media attention to Otero County New Mexico and not in a positive light.

During that meeting, during public comments Couy Griffin went on a verbal rampage disparaging Ms. Dubois and attacking her role in the office she was appointed to calling her “an eight time looser.” Ms. Dubois felt she was verbally assaulted and not protected by the County Commission Chair nor the Sherrif is what she has stated in public comments.

Ms. Dubois told KOAT Action News; “I’m just fearful. I’m 77 years old. I don’t own a gun. I don’t have any way [to protect myself]. And for me, that thing in the room was frightening,”

According to a filing at the Otero County Courthouse, Couy Griffin is facing a restraining order from Stephanie Dubois. She’s the current county commissioner till December 31st via the appointment.

Dubois said she made the order after an incident that happened during a county commission meeting on Nov. 10. During the Thursday meeting, Griffin made a few comments towards Dubois during a public comment period. An argument then ensued between both parties, involving shouts and harsh words.

Dubois said she was terrified over what happened and still fears for her life. “I’m just fearful. I’m 77 years old,” she said. “It was very scary that nobody protected me.”

However, the verbal quarrel wasn’t the only incident that happened to Dubois. She claims she felt threatened the day the commission certified the election results when Couy was on horseback on the public street carrying a flag that said, “we the people.”

She told KOAT “Couy is on a horse, hiding behind a fire truck with a big flagpole that said, ‘We the people.’ All of a sudden, I see the flagpole moving and he comes down and puts himself between me and my car,” she said. After the two moments, the 77-year-old decided to file a restraining order, to ensure her safety and protection.

These statements to KOAT and statements she has given prior and then yesterday to radio personality Anthony Lucero of KALH radio raise questions as to the timing of events, were they as aggressive as perceived, or were they just an exercise of free speech?

Free speech can sometimes be intimidating when on the receiving end as a public servant. But unless an actual threat has been made it is hard to define what is meant as rhetoric and what is an actual threat to a public servant.

The restraining order was filed prior to the incident on horseback. There seems to be conflicting dialog and conflicting interpretations as to what occurred via the horseback incident.

Ms. Dubois did a post on November 12th that described the incident and then the description to Anthony Lucero at KALH and the description of that incident to KOAT television News seems to differ a bit.

To KALH she mentioned a deputy sheriff asked her where she was parked and agreed to walk her to her car. She then said during the interview with Mr. Lucero that “the deputy was present when Mr. Griffin appeared from behind a parked firetruck on horseback and on the public street. She claimed to Mr. Lucero in an interview yesterday that the deputy, “only went so far with me and I ended up going to the car by myself.“

Did Ms. Dubois feel intimidated, one could certainly see how she could feel intimidated by Mr. Griffin, but the question posed is was her safety at risk? It’s hard to imagine a deputy sheriff would have exposed Ms. Dubois to harm due to the personal liability and the liability to the department. Further based on experience with law enforcement in Otero County most are very responsible, professional and take their oath of office to ensure public safety seriously. I recently personally had an incident on the street with a gentleman that threatened me, the deputy at the courthouse was very protective of me and ensured my public safety from the threat. Based on my experience with the Otero County Sheriff’s Department and with the local Alamogordo Police Department it seems at odds that a sworn officer would allow Ms. Dubois to be at risk.

Even at the crazed County Commission meeting of November 10th, 2022, at 1:15.43 of the video one can witness Sherrif Black removing the microphone from Mr. Griffin and ordering the room vacated to calm the room. The Chairwoman ordered the room closed for 15 minutes for a cooling off period.

While the tone of the conversation was not “civil dialog” and was harsh and aggressive in tone, one is hard pressed to see a threat of harm to those seated on the commission dais.

Ms. Dubois via her filing for the restraining order claims, “I am an elderly woman who feels she has no protection from law enforcement.”

While her assertion that “Mr. Griffin shows a great deal of anger towards the party” she belongs is factual, the assertion that she feels she has no protection from law enforcement seems counter intuitive to the culture of law enforcement.

The filing of a restraining order is a serious action by a public official on a constituent.

The issue locally is such a hot potato that local judges recused themselves from presiding over the hearing scheduled for December 5th, 2022. The state Supreme Court appointed the Honorable Shannon Murdock to preside.

Judge Murdock has an interesting job in hearing this case. Not often does a public official file a restraining order on a member of the public due to public comments.

There is precedent in California for such a case…

Can a city restrict the conduct of a self-described civic-minded individual, with a history of flamboyant speech and dramatic behavior in his communications with the city, without running afoul of free speech rights?

In City of San Jose v. William Garbett, filed on November 24, 2010, the Sixth Appellate District Court of Appeal says yes, when the conduct meets the conditions for an injunction under Code of Civil Procedure section 527.8.

Section 527.8, also known as the Workplace Violence Safety Act, allows any employer to seek a temporary restraining order and injunction on behalf of an employee who “has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from any individual” at the workplace. For purposes of the statute, a city is an “employer.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 527.8(d).) “Unlawful violence” is defined as “any assault or battery or stalking as prohibited in Section 646.9 of the Penal Code, …” (§ 527.8(b)(1).)

“Credible threat of violence” is defined as “a knowing and willful statement or course of conduct that would place a reasonable person in fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family, and that serves no legitimate purpose.” (§ 527.8(b)(2).)

To obtain an injunction, an employer must establish, by clear and convincing evidence, not only that the defendant engaged in unlawful conduct within the meaning of the statute, but also that great or irreparable harm would result to the employee if the injunction were not issued due to the reasonable probability unlawful violence will occur in the future. (Code Civ. Proc. § 527.8(f); Scripps Health v. Marin (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 324, 335.)

Interestingly in the case it was not the elected or appointed individual seeking the restraining order but the city applying for the restraining order to protect its paid personnel. In the case of Ms. Dubois, she is paid by Otero County thus the county is the one that is tasked with workplace protection.

In Garbett, the City of San Jose sought 14 injunctions (and temporary restraining orders) on behalf of the city’s deputy city clerk, the mayor and city council. The city submitted evidence that the appellant, William Garbett, age 70, had a long history of grievances with the city going back many years, and that the appellant made a “credible threat of violence” toward a deputy city clerk, and other city employees under section 527.8(b)(2). In addition to evidence that the appellant regularly visited the city clerk’s office and attended city council meetings, expressed fanciful ideas, appeared agitated or angry or resentful toward the city, and had inappropriate verbal or physical outbursts, there was additional evidence that this antagonism escalated. Specifically, there was evidence that the appellant threatened a deputy city clerk by stating that his only recourse to change policy in San Jose was to act similar to that of one angry man in Kirkwood, Missouri, who a few months prior had shot and killed several people at Kirkwood City Hall. The deputy clerk, who understood the reference, reportedly felt threatened and feared for her safety and the safety of the mayor and city council. After she reported the event, the city searched the appellant when he attempted to enter council chambers and implemented extra monitoring procedures or security measures.

The trial judge granted the city’s initial requests for interim restraining orders. Following an evidentiary hearing – which included the testimony of several witnesses who had previous interactions with the appellant and two expert witnesses – the trial judge also issued 14 injunctions restricting the conduct of the appellant toward the deputy city clerk, mayor, and council.

Each injunction included orders requiring the appellant to stay 300 yards from the protected individuals and City Hall. The injunction also included specified exceptions which would allow appellant to attend public City Council. Those exceptions included requiring appellant to enter City Hall through a specified entrance, be subject to a search before entering the City Council chambers, sit in a specific row, use a particular stairway during meetings, and communicate with the City Clerk’s office by mail or proxy.

Appellant sought review of the injunctions contending, in part, that the orders restricting his conduct and movements violated his rights to free speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the California Constitution and represented the city’s attempt to “curtail what amounts to annoying behavior.”

The Court of Appeal affirmed all 14 injunctions including the restrictions on the appellant’s movements. The Court disagreed with the appellant’s First Amendment arguments, relying on California Supreme Court precedent establishing the right of the state to penalize willful threats to perform illegal acts, even those consisting of pure speech. In re M.S. (1995) 10 Cal.4th 698, 710.) The Court also found substantial evidence to support the court’s factual findings on the requisite elements of section 527.8, namely that the appellant had expressed a credible threat of violence toward city employees that was not constitutionally protected speech; that this conduct caused the city employees to experience fear; and a likelihood of future harm.

When the appellant protested that he did not intend to threaten anyone, the Court dismissed this argument, concluding that the defendant’s subjective intent is not required for the conduct to be deemed a credible threat under the current definition found in section 527.8(b)(2).

Appellant further challenged the injunctions on overbreadth grounds, taking issue with the limitations on his access to the City Hall building and his movements within the council chambers. The Court nevertheless upheld these restrictions, deferring to the trial judge’s view of the evidence and factual findings on the requisite elements of section 527.8, and the lower court’s considerable discretion to fashion orders aimed at preventing harm of the nature suggested by the threats.

The Garbett case establishes good law for public entities which seek to curtail repeat offenders or conduct that escalates or develops into what has been classified as more than merely annoying or unprotected speech.

The question in the case of Ms. Dubois verses Couy Griffin, does this case escalate to the level that requires such action? Did Ms. Dubois ask the County Attorney for assistance and protection?

Based on court precedent should the county be filing on behalf of Ms. Dubois or is she correct in filing a restraining order on her own?

As usual, this will be another interesting case that will draw much attention of the media both locally and on the national level. The judge in the case is in a no-win position, as whatever the outcome, there will be an outcry of criticism. Depending upon the ruling, this is yet another case, that could end up in appeal and continue to drive negative headlines to Otero County New Mexico.

Sadly, this again is another black eye to the reputation of Otero County and Alamogordo and does not show the best and the brightest of the region. This is another incident that makes the region look like the wild west verses an area of sophistication and a place that is conducive as a good business environment.

When a public official files a restraining order for public comments is that a dangerous precedent to free speech?

Based upon the case outlined above the answer is complicated at best, as the erratic individual was able to continue in his quest of expression but was required to comply with additional security measures to ensure the safety of public servants.

Otero County politics is always entertaining as we have said before. In the new year may we get past entertainment and move to a zone of civility and good governance for the good of the public.

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Remembering Stella M Edwards

It’s said that individuals go through various phases or stages of life and are different people at various periods of one’s life. The life of my mother, Stella M Edwards, would be just such a life.

The person I knew and grew up with was a much different mother than the one my middle brother, Michael, who is 9 years younger than me experienced. Then again, my youngest brother, Steven, is 18 years younger than me, thus the mother he knows and experienced, was a totally different woman, than the mother that my middle brother or I had. When one is put into the position of reflection and one writes of the memories of someone’s life or an obituary, the perspectives, viewpoints, and sense of who that person is will not always jive, with the memories or perspectives of another person’s recollections of that same person.

My mother, like many mothers could be considered a complicated anomaly. She like her mother before her had secrets. Mom like my grandmother sometimes would spill pieces of family secrets to their grandkids, but never, the story in whole. As such, much like my grandmother Maynard before her, there are family stories and gaps in our heritage that are secrets carried to the grave. The intention of those secrets was never malice but was to protect her me and her other children. Was she protecting us from perceived scandal, from hurt feelings, from feelings of inadequacy? Was the carrying of secrets meant to avoid conversations or questions that could be uncomfortable? When secrets fall to the grave do they die? Time always brings questions, and the wisdom of time brings about answers.

Mom over the years battled with depression and that depression caused health issues. Later in life those health issues were complicated by weight issues. Those weight and health concerns I’m convinced were a result of the demons of depression she covered up and never fully addressed throughout her life. Mom was an avid reader and had read enough books to fill a public library from a lifetime of reading. The invention of kindle probably saved a forest of trees in the books that she would have purchased and read in the later years of her life. Mom loved a good mystery from the complete works of Agatha Christie to the wonders of Stephen King. Mom loved more classical styles like O’ Henry and published poetry of her own winning several regional awards around South Carolina.

Mom in her younger years was athletic and would challenge my dad to many games of back yard badminton, swimming, bowling and loved to play card games and Scrabble. Every time I would come home, I could count on a good and very competitive game of Scrabble with mom, dad and myself competitive for the title.   

Tuesday 11/2/22, Stella Maynard Edwards, age 74, wife of John Melvin Edwards, 423 Indian Trails, Taylors (Greenville) South Carolina passed away peacefully in her home, after battling a stroke with son Steven Edwards at her side. Stella is survived by her husband, John M. Edwards; sons: Christopher Edwards (Rene), Michael Edwards (Cheryl), and Steven Edwards (Ashley); grandchildren: Christy Anderson (Quintin), Alicia Raines, Lori Edwards, Charles Edwards, Alaina Stewart, and Joshua Edwards; great-grandchildren, Mariah Gray and Tristan Anderson; sister, Judy Maynard; niece, Katie Grant (Chris); and beloved pets: Buddy, Minnie, and Penny. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brothers Jackie L. Maynard and John Robinson, sisters Joyce Ann Maynard and Janet Clayton; and fur baby, Sadie.

Stella Edwards was born and raised in Shawneetown, Illinois, where she was a cheerleader and active in the community during her high school years. She married John M Edwards of Cave-N-Rock, Illinois and traveled the country, living in multiple states in support of her husband’s career in retail for Woolworth, TG&Y and AutoZone.

Stella was passionate about education and community service. Mom took us to every museum possible and we spent many hours at the Field Museum in Chicago and the Smithsonian in DC. She was an avid supporter of being involved in her children’s education. She judged multiple high school and collegiate level speech and debate classes for her elder son, Chris. She homeschooled her youngest son, Steven who outperformed the educational system of South Carolina. Through volunteer service in her younger years, she instilled that passion of service to her children. Stella served as a community volunteer and chaired several activities and non-profit events in Florence, Alabama and in Clarksville, Tennessee. Events she led for charity included the local Mothers March of Dimes Walk, Danny Thomas St Jude Hospital Bike-a-thon, A Walk-a-thon for Childhood Leukemia and sponsored phone teams to assist with the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.

She became interested in the medicine because of her volunteering work with the various health related charities. Her visits to St Jude’s Hospital made a lifetime impact upon her and her volunteer service through her sorority, at a women’s clinic, operated by Planned Parenthood, that assisted with health screenings and Pap Smears in Florence Alabama was impactful on her ultimate career choice.

In her younger years she would have been deemed a progressive; a woman that demanded women’s rights and pay equity, had no tolerance for racial discrimination and supported marriage equality for the LBGTQ community, she supported President Carter and New Deal policies. In her later years she drifted more conservative becoming disillusioned with the political process. She leaned toward Trump’s shake it up and break it up philosophies due to frustration with public health policies in the US. She could never embrace the health plans of Hillary Clinton or Obama but respected their passion though she traveled to the beat of a different path. Mom was never terribly religious but felt a connection with a spirit beyond this place and time.

Stella and John Edwards had three boys as children: the eldest, Chris Edwards, middle, Michael Edwards and youngest, Steven Edwards. Stella went back to the university system later in life and attended during the same years her son, Chris was attending to his higher education and beginning a career, all the while having her third son Steven late in life and while seeking a secondary degree.

Stella was a graduate of Austin Peay State University, in Clarksville Tennessee ascertaining her nursing degree. She practiced medicine for several decades, beginning her career at the Clarksville Regional Medical Center and ultimately at Mary Black Medical Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina as head nurse. Her responsibilities included oversight of the critical care nursery. Her passion was such that many premature babies would spend months in the nursery, she produced a video diary for hundreds of patients, ensuring the mothers and fathers, didn’t miss a day of the baby’s growth from an at-risk birth to check-out as a functioning healthy infant.

After retirement mom and dad, refurbished their home together one room at a time. From there they traveled the country and drove thousands of miles exploring route 66 and every stop on the way. They traveled to California, and we have fond memories of viewing the salmon spawning near Tahoe to sharing experiences of the wine country, the missions of California and San Francisco. Mom met and engaged with my friends without judgement over the decades. Through my ups and downs, even with distance between us I could count on her and my dad’s support. At times I’d be frustrated by questions and what I felt were intrusions but in retrospect I know that her intentions were meant as support.

The mom of the last few decades was not the mom I grew up with, by no fault of either of us, the fault was distance and time. The trips to the mall, Books-a-Million, museums and battlefields, late night movies, card games of rummy or Scrabble with her and my aunt, the history we experience together is a far-off memory. Those memories are to be cherished and I would not trade them for the world. For the times you were there, and I ignored you, our years of silence, and the reunification, the ups and the downs thanks for the patience and the love. Time, distance, personal relationships, and ones chosen and immediate family in real life, takes precedent. Should we regret that, no, what we do is cherish the relationships of our chosen family but thank our birth family for the foundation they provided us. I am the person I am today because of the foundation I received. The good came from the guidance, care and love of my mother and father. The bad and errors in judgement I have made in life, I own those mistakes, they are no reflection of the family foundation of love and mutual respect I had as a youngster.

The gaps of my absence by distance were filled over the years with the love and constant companionship of my father, who was there for so many decades, through to the end. Together they always enjoyed their grandchildren. Charlie (Nathan), their eldest grandson who they helped provide homecare for in his most formative early years, to the many others, each always brought mom a smile and much joy. Her niece Katie Hill was the “daughter to her that she never had.” Her Granddaughter Lori she spoke of often, proud that she was also going into the medical field and following her grandmothers’ footsteps of care.

Mom, Stella Edwards, you are gone physically to that next plain of existence, but you will forever live in my heart and the hearts of those that knew you. May you find peace happiness in the next life that you sought in this life.

AlamogordoTownNews.com NMEDD Awards $1.9M in Capital Outlay to Alamogordo MainStreet – New York Avenue

New Mexico Economic Development Department announces $1.9 Million grant to New York Avenue…

$1.9 million in Capital Outlay funds from the New Mexico Economic Development Department paired with almost $1 Million in recent private investment into the Sands Theater, Emmanuel Lydia Suites, etc. by Emmanuel Lydia Properties LLC and 2nd Life Media/Roadrunner Emporium Inc and other New York Avenue private investment drives growth to the once dying New York Avenue Business District in Alamogordo New Mexico

Alamogordo MainStreet, in partnership with the City of Alamogordo and New Mexico MainStreet, was recently awarded $1.9 million in Capital Outlay funds from the New Mexico Economic Development Department and New Mexico Main Street to improve the street scape of the 800 and 900 blocks of New York Avenue in Alamogordo’s downtown district.

According to Economic Development Secretary, Alicia J. Keyes, “Capital Outlay investments are an important economic driver because they upgrade utilities, public safety, pedestrian access and more. These visible improvements beautify the streetscape, enhance a community’s character, and build confidence for private sector reinvestment.”

Alamogordo MainStreet and the City of Alamogordo, along with MRWM, have already completed work on creating the engineering and development plans for improvements in the district, and construction is likely to begin summer of 2023. Improvements will include major infrastructure like replacing water and sewer lines, updating utilities, new sidewalks, lamp posts, benches, and place making elements as well as much needed ADA compliant upgrades for pedestrians, and more accessible parking.

These improvements will benefit the downtown district of Alamogordo by helping to bring more foot traffic to the area, thereby improving the economy of the district and Alamogordo as a whole. Studies show that dollars spent in small local businesses are more likely to stay in the local economy than money spent at chain stores, and local businesses typically reinvest twice as much into their local economy.

In addition to the benefits that will be seen through increased foot traffic, this project will also create jobs during construction.

With the completion of this project, Alamogordo MainStreet will be eligible for more Capital Outlay grant opportunities to continue improving and beautifying Alamogordo’s historical downtown district.

During construction, businesses on the 800-900 blocks of New York Avenue will remain open and be accessible through their rear entrances during sidewalk work. Alamogordo MainStreet is working on a plan for signage to direct shoppers to the most convenient parking areas.

Alamogordo Mayor Susan Payne creating a business-friendly environment of Alamogordo.

Alamogordo, Mayor Susan Payne has made it a priority of her tenure to revisit and strike cumbersome city ordinances coordinating and collaborating with private business leaders to ensure city government gets out of the way and supports local small business growth. Her priority has been collaboration with all stakeholders in Santa Fe and locally.

Alamogordo Mayor Susan Payne reacted to the news with the following statement: “I am thrilled to see this project moving forward thanks to the incredible effort put forth by our Alamogordo MainStreet Partners led by Executive Director Nolan Ojeda. His leadership is exactly what was needed for this time and the dedication to this project by the Alamogordo MainStreet Board of Directors is something to be admired. I also want to give a huge thank you and express my appreciation to our incredible city staff for working so diligently to make this happen. The partnership, along with the many downtown merchants that have invested so much into the revitalization of our downtown area, are just one example of what is possible when we all work together for the betterment of our community. “

Increased Community Activities:

Alamogordo’s downtown MainStreet corridor of New York Avenue has seen a significant uptick in activities in 2022, with a variety of street festivals to include the Flickinger Center hosted Heritage Festival, Alamogordo MainStreet sponsored Rockabilly and the upcoming MainStreet Christmas, plus merchant driven activities such as Downtown Nights First Friday and the Summertime New York Avenue Farmers Market, Blush Salon sponsored Dogtoberfest and the November 12th New York Avenue Roadrunner Emporium sponsored Fashion Show at the Gardens of New York benefiting COPE. Additionally, the Flickinger Center via Patrons Hall, the Local Bodega and Roadrunner Emporium hosts art classes, singing lessons, free live music nights, a partnered history and ghost tour and more. 

Private Investment is leading the way to New York Avenue growth and jobs:

New businesses to the New York Avenue business district that have opened over the past year include the Local Bodega, Lydia Emmanuel Office Suites, New York Art and Music Studio, the Gardens of New York, and Copper Rose Salon. Soon to open businesses include Zia Comics, ReneFit NM Fitness, the 1209 Gallery, Gallery 1207 and more. 

Cultural Arts Paired with History Making the District Unique

An investment group consisting of Emmanuel Lydia Productions and 2nd Life Media/Roadrunner Emporium Inc. recently purchased the Sands Theater, built in 1928, that is undergoing renovation and will open in the near future hosting the Southern New Mexico Film Museum, a Cafe and be reinvented into a boutique performance venue and will show foreign, independent and classic films.

The Tularosa Basin Historical Society is also involved in downtown improvement in facilitating the building of a new railroad history park at the corner of White Sands and 10th Street also with a grant procured via Alamogordo MainStreet from Union Pacific Railroad.  The park development is funded in partnership with the Alamogordo MainStreet facilitated grant, the city of Alamogordo and the Tularosa Basin Historic Society within eyeshot of the 900 Block of New York Avenue.


Come on downtown to Alamogordo’s MainStreet New York Avenue, support local small business and keep dollars in the local community. 

To learn more visit https://www.alamogordomainstreet.org/

Sands Theater Alamogordo Coming Back to Life with Planned Rennovations

The partnership of 2nd Life Media Roadrunner Emporium Inc and Lydia Emmanual Productions LLC has completed the acquisition of the Historic Sands Theater, Alamogordo, New Mexico. The partnership is soon to begin renovations but, in the meantime, is having fun exploring options for decor and changes to come into a premier cafe, film museum and theater that will showcase classic and independent movies and live entertainment and musical acts.

The Sands Theater Alamogordo with restoration work soon to begin via the partnership of 2nd Life Media Roadrunner Emporium Inc and Emmanuel Lydia Productions LLC

The White Sands Theater opened in the 1920’s as an open-air theater. It was used mainly as an overflow for the Alamento Theatre on nearby 10th street. During hot summer evenings, it was widely used, as the Alamento was far too hot to enjoy a movie. 

The Sands Theater Alamogordo on Alamogordo’s Historic New York Avenue Cultural Arts and History District, interior staging of mannequins for photo shoot for a special promotion. The Sands Theater renovations are a joint project of 2nd Life Media Roadrunner Emporium Inc and Lydia Emmanuel Productions LLC

In the 1930’s a roof was added and became known as the White Sands Theater. It boosted itself of having a water-cooled loft that kept the entire theater air-conditioned. The original capacity was 210 seats.  The White Sands Theatre on Alamogordo’s New York Avenue opened in 1937 seating 456. The movie house continued with films until the late-1960’s. It then became a broadcast center which lasted until the mid-1990’s.

In the late-1990’s the building got a facelift, and the interior and exterior were restored to a modified Art Deco styling. It then operated as a live performance venue and movie theater. In 2012, it became a religious broadcast studio. It reopened on December 23, 2013, screening family movies and continued to operate as a studio but was closed to the public due to disrepair and lack of maintenance.

In June of 2022, a partnership arrangement formed to acquire the theater and rehabilitate it back to its grandeur. The partnership is between New York Art and Music Studio and 2nd Life Media/Roadrunner Emporium Inc. These two organizations are pulling talent and resources to make the venue a showcase for a variety of theatrical uses from independent films to live performances.

The Sands Theater Alamogordo on Alamogordo’s Historic New York Avenue Cultural Arts and History District, interior staging of mannequins for photo shoot for a special promotion. The Sands Theater renovations are a joint project of 2nd Life Media Roadrunner Emporium Inc and Lydia Emmanuel Productions LLC
The Sands Theater Alamogordo on Alamogordo’s Historic New York Avenue Cultural Arts and History District, interior staging of mannequins for photo shoot for a special promotion. The Sands Theater renovations are a joint project of 2nd Life Media Roadrunner Emporium Inc and Lydia Emmanuel Productions LLC
The Sands Theater Alamogordo on Alamogordo’s Historic New York Avenue Cultural Arts and History District, voice and acting instructor Cindy Williams experiments with teaching music and acting class at the Sands Theater Alamogordo. Acting, song, dance and more will be on the lineup once the renovations are completed. The Sands Theater renovations are a joint project of 2nd Life Media Roadrunner Emporium Inc and Lydia Emmanuel Productions LLC
The Sands Theater Alamogordo on Alamogordo’s Historic New York Avenue Cultural Arts and History District, voice and acting instructor Cindy Williams experiments with teaching music and acting class through breathing exercises at the Sands Theater Alamogordo. Acting, song, dance and more will be on the lineup once the renovations are completed. The Sands Theater renovations are a joint project of 2nd Life Media Roadrunner Emporium Inc and Lydia Emmanuel Productions LLC

AlamogordoTownNews.com Feeling the Heat Melton Produces a Single Email

Our query last week to the City for information was responded to, and yesterday, we ran a story accordingly based on the information from the city provided to us….

A late afternoon development occurred this afternoon, in the continuing saga of the proposed Resolution to Protect the unborn ,which has NO power of law in Alamogordo.

The resolution, with no power of law and defended through true hostility by appointed commissioner, Karl Melton, and his domestic partner, Candidate, John Block via a slam campaign against a young woman battling cancer; the mayor, myself and others continues to offer twists and turns.

Late this afternoon we received an email from the city clerk saying…

in the emails that were pulled for me, regarding “any correspondence  from any member of the public requesting Mr. Melton to place the “Sanctuary for the Unborn” resolution on the agenda? the attached email was not among the emails pulled. I have attached the email.

See below…

Mr. Melton texted me this evening via instant messenger to ensure I received the email and questioned rather we had journalistic integrity to report it. 

Unlike his partner, John Blocks propaganda engine, which to date has not retracted the lies about the mayor; we do have integrity, thus we are reporting we have this NEW updated information and are sharing it accordingly.

We asked Mr. Melton if there were any other correspondence and if this correspondence was from a constituent in his district?

Fact she is not in his district thus cannot vote for him, thus not a direct constituent. She is a resident of Commission District 6 and NOT of his district 3.

His response: 

She is an Alamogordo resident. I am not sure what district she is. I have never met her before she emailed me. Regardless she is not alone. I also received 91 other emails urging me to support the resolution once the special session was announced. Not to mention the countless face-to-face conversations I’ve had with constituents about this.”

Mrs. Caraway is a business professional and a Christian but is not represented by Mr Melton. Her correspondence provided to us today, is as follows…

The font text of the email and the signature is inconsistent, however there is now a record of an out of District email received. 

The fact the email, suddenly appeared after the story broke on the duplicity of this duo serving in office is entertaining.

The email was suddenly found and suddenly emailed to us and Mr. Melton wanted to ensure we received it. 

Melton via text: ”I assume you got the updated information from Rachel today? O”

In asking why it suddenly appeared his response: “The email did not originally come up when the City’s IT contractors did a search. That’s it. Mistakes happen. Not everything is a giant conspiracy. All your other questions are irrelevant to the subject of the conversation and frankly are overly personal. It’s no business of yours. I’m just wondering if you will own up to your own ambitions of nonbiased, objective reporting, or if you are going to let your feud with John impact how honest your articles are.”

We will trust it was just an “mistake by the IT Department” and we have no reason to feud. We just want an understanding of events that are transpiring via our elected representatives. 


So Mr Melton did NOT lie so to speak, he parsed words and received one email from a resident that cannot vote for him, and the the Melton/Block duo went on the offense. 

Does one email from out of one’s District truly demand a response of such magnitude? I only hope when we make a request to Mr Melton he and his partner are equally ambitious in resolving our concern for action by the city.

 Notice no correspondence of a response to the citizen was provided to us? 

However Mr. Melton did respond by seeking a way to revoke the business licenses of any business in the city that may conduct abortions. That is illegal verses state law but he did ask staff to review options…

Interesting wording in his request “to NOT issue or renew a business license to any establishment that performs an abortion.”

The hospital is a business, that operates with a business license. A doctor may be a resident licensed doctor with a business license of Alamogordo but have to perform an emergency abortion in Las Cruces or at the local hospital, based on what Melton set forth, his business license to have a practice in Alamogordo would be revoked. A doctors office or a hospital is an establishment with a business license.

If Mr Melton were allowed to move forward with an ordinance and by state law he cannot, he would have proposed an ordinance,  that would close down the hospital, if a life saving abortion were to transpire protecting the woman

Regardless of the semantics, Mr Melton wants to justify himself based on one email from outside his district. We stand corrected, there was one email.

The term constituency is commonly used to refer to an electoral district and only those who voted for a certain candidate within their district.

The terms (election) precinct and election district are more common in American English. Mr. Melton represents the constituents of District 3. The mayor represents the constituents of ALL of the city of Alamogordo. 

We stand by the assertion this was not an issue that should have been brought before the city.

We stand by the assertion that the Block/Melton duo drove this debate and issue not by the overwhelming demand of majority of their constituents but based upon a personal agenda and apparently one out of district email. 

Mr Melton alluded to me that he perceives us in a feud with his sleeping partner, Mr. Block. That is not the case. We are seeking to understand why the duo moved here and why this issue was so important to create such a fight, now as the duos first act at legislation locally. 

We asked the question ,how much money he or Mr. Block were receiving from pro-life interests? He ducked the question. NO Response to the money questions. 

Melton in his dialog with us suggested” I was really hoping after you posted your “tips for civil discourse” that this would turn out differently. I’m sorry you feel the need to withhold information because of how John writes his articles.” 

His dialog is a suggestion we would not share the new information provided by the city clerk to us today.

We are indeed sharing that information and the reader can and will make their own conclusions.

And yes, we still hope that the duo of Melton/Block, mature as elected officials that they would retract the lies about the mayor, offer apologies to the individuals that differ from them but are active in the political process, and learn from this saga.

We hope they will follow the 10 tips for civil discourse and grow into their positions, as professionals, not ego driven advisories to compromise.  

We need elected representatives to represent and to succeed not to divide but to drive collaboration not Division.

Can Melton/Block grow into professionals?   Can Melton/Block practice civil discourse? 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Welcome Home Honor Flight & Reception Saturday Oct 1, 2022, 8 pm New York Avenue

Alamogordo – 8:00 PM – The Van will come up White Sands Boulevard and turn right on 10th street then left on New York Ave and pass Otero County Courthouse. – Reception at the Gardens of New York 1120 New York Avenue 8 pm Saturday, October 1st.

We will have a police escort through Alamogordo and will bring the Veterans back to The Gardens of New York 1120 New York Avenue past the county courthouse around 8 pm. Reception from about 8-10pm.

The two local veterans returning from the honor flight are David Hatcher, he retired as an E-7 (Master Sargent) and was a helicopter maintenance tech. His AFSC was 43150D, and he worked on air rescue helicopters during his time in Vietnam. He served in Vietnam from ’70-’71 and then retired in 1993 as a Master Sergeant with 23 years of service. He lives in Alamogordo with his wife June who will be traveling with us on Saturday to welcome him at the airport.

Roger Bredy and his wife Cathy, live in Alamogordo as well. Roger retired here in Alamogordo after 25 years of service as an E-9. He was an A/A missile weapons troop who moved here from Florida in 1984 and then retired here in 1989.

We would like to see the sidewalks lined with well-wishers holding signs and US flags. This one small gesture helps bring healing to these Veterans.

“You have no idea what wounds it healed having people cheer and clap and be proud of you. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” Vietnam Veteran

Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico and El Paso transports America’s World War II, Korean and Vietnam War Veterans to Washington DC to visit the memorials built to honor and remember those who served. This trip of a lifetime provides closure, healing and the welcome home these heroes deserve. Every Veteran is taken on the flight at no cost to themselves.

This Alamogordo Flight was funded by Alamogordo 100 Women that Care and celebration coordination and veteran sponsorship for the Honor Flight by the US Veterans Motorcycle Club New Mexico Chapter. 

 The US Veterans Motorcycle Club New Mexico Chapter received the grant from the 100 Women that Care Alamogordo Chapter and opted to use the funds to support local veterans on the Honor Flight. The US Veterans Motorcycle Club New Mexico Chapter consists of members who are all honorably discharged, and their mission statement is “Veterans Helping Veterans.” The club says that when they heard that the Honor Flight was looking for sponsorship of a couple of local veterans it was a “natural fit to support the local veterans given the clubs mission.”

So, show your appreciation for these older veterans as they return home from a trip to DC for their honor flight. Join us and the New York Avenue business community as we honor these returning veterans with a celebration and meet and greet. 

Location is at the New York Art and Music’s Gardens of New York at 1120 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico, Time 8 pm October 1st – 1120 New York Avenue.

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