AlamogordoTownnews.com – Mayoral Candidates A Question on Pay and Accomplished Legislation

Alamogordo is in the middle of early voting for multiple positions within the municipal government. AlamogordoTownNews.com issued 26 questions to the two mayoral candidates and received their responses. A few questions of the 26 were questions around campaign finances and personal finances related to the salary of commissioners and the office of the mayor.

The Founding Fathers never intended a permanent political class controlled by the wealthy and never intended for there to be career politicians. Our government was set up for citizen statesmen, not for career politicians at every level be it city or county commission, mayor, or congress person.

The idea was “citizen statesmen.” Our founding fathers wanted honorable people of common origins to do their duty and serve their city, county, state, or country for a limited time, then step aside and go back to their farms or businesses and let others serve in their place. The design was not for careers in politics. No matter how good the man or woman, as terms pass and decades tally, they become beholden to the powers that perpetuate them.

So, in that vein of thinking in our 26 questions we asked the two mayoral candidates question number 23.” Given the job is a part time job and one of public service, would you be willing to accept the position if elected for NO pay and dedicate the public check each month to a local community organization rotating the donation monthly?”

The responses were almost comical, if one really reads into them, and one should really read and digest the candidate responses.

A question for the public is this? Non-profit organizations have oversight by an appointed board and operate on a volunteer basis (without pay) to ensure the non-profit is managed in the best interest of the agencies mission. Board members are not employees of the agency, they have the same oversite responsibilities of that agency as the city commission and mayors’ office has of the budget and enforcement actions of city government.

 Why do we not, hold the positions of part time politicians, to the same principle?

Do we get better leadership at the city commission level and the office of mayor by paying for it?

Is the leadership of Alamogordo better than the leadership that works for free of the best local non-profit organization? Think about that for a moment?

The city budget is about a $50 to $60 Million dollars and the pay to the commission is little in comparison to the overall budget. However, pay, any pay does lead to career politicians. The sitting commissioners get $500.00 a month. The mayor gets $800.00 a month in salary.

The requirement is to attend 2 commission meetings per month.

Wonder what the hourly wage of our potential mayor would be? Now let us make some presumptions for thoughts to ponder…

Let’s divide two meetings, an average of 3 hours a meeting and let’s say each candidate puts in 3 hours of preparation and reading before each meeting, soooo… about, 12 hours a month in direct services.

Now of course the commissioners and the mayor answer email on occasion and take constituent phone calls.

We will make another presumption based on our experience in government service in a city many times the size of Alamogordo. We doubt that constituent dialog is a daily occurrence given the size of Alamogordo, so let’s suppose they devote 8 hours a week to constituent services that 24 hours a month.

Total constituents work we will estimate at about 36 hours a month. (Of course, each candidate will more than likely defend their work suggesting they work countless hours for constituents and the city of Alamogordo.} The constituents know the truth!

For the mayor that would be an average of about $22.00 an hour or double the minimum wage or average wage for a Wal-Mart employee, restaurant worker or hotel worker in Alamogordo. Per the US Census and Wikipedia, males in Alamogordo have a median income of $28,163 versus $18,860 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,662. So, the pay inequity of women becomes more obvious as women per capita in Alamogordo make about $9.00 and hour. So, the mayoral candidate, elected will be making 2 times the average per capita income of their constituents under this presumptive scenario.

There again, what happened to service for one’s community? Most candidates running for an election are using other people’s money or “campaign donations”, then the candidate gets paid for the job. What a deal! What other job in American does one use other people’s money to campaign for and profit from? Only a career politician.

We are not advocating for no pay for political leadership; however, we do wonder if pay were taken out of the equation of politics, what kind of leadership would we then have? If the political system was held to similar oversight as non-profits would the results be what one sees today or better? A thought to ponder….

The responses to the question that we …

AlamogordoTownNews.com – “Given the job is a part time job and one of public service, would you be willing to accept the position if elected for NO pay and dedicate the public check each month to a local community organization rotating the donation monthly?”

Susan Payne Response: “This question is full of presumptions. I assure you I don’t really get a paycheck for this position, but I am grateful for the medical and dental insurance that my paycheck goes toward even if it’s not enough to cover all of it.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com Fact Check – The candidate gets a paycheck per the city budget, so the answer is rather misleading. Rather the candidate spends her money on medical or dental insurance is irrelevant to the question. It is income and she, per her answer “is spending it on insurance.” According to the US Census 6.9% or about 2200 residents of Alamogordo don’t have insurance, thus the “medical and dental insurance that candidate Payne’s paycheck goes to” affords her coverage that about 2200 of her constituents can’t afford to maintain. Thus, yes candidate Payne does receive a payment from the city of Alamogordo and based on her answer she

Nadia Sikes Response: My job as a commissioner has been FULL-TIME. I spend all my time working for the betterment of our community and if anything, would support an ordinance to pay our Mayor and Commissioners more fairly.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com- Fact Check – We cannot substantiate candidate Sikes response that her job as commissioner has been “full time.” AlamogordoTownNews.com believes both candidates spend much of their time for the betterment of their community. Givin their resume of community service we believe that to be a fact, that they each work toward their vision of betterment to the community.

The question however is, are they doing in while in service in their official roles as government leaders, or a private citizen or as a leader of a non-profit? Only they know what is in their heart, and only you the voter can interpret their actions.

Ms. Sikes response that she would support and ordinance to pay the mayor and the commissioners “more fairly” is concerning. What is “more fair” is a question? And since the topic of “fairer” pay was raised, how do the candidates stand on the minimum wage for city staff? Are the entry level minimum wages paid “fairly’ based on their contribution to the city? Who is of more value the lifeguard making minimum wage protecting the drowning child at the city owned pool or the mayor? You decide?

AlamogordoTownNews.com rates both candidates answer to the question of pay for the mayors’ office a failure, the responses don’t represent the Christian values of “selfless service to one’s community” one would expect for a small town of 31,384 constituents.

Along the vein of pay, the question then becomes; are we as citizens getting the government, we pay these candidates to provide us? Both are sitting commissioners, and both have the power to initiate dialog, craft proposed ordinances and lead the city via legislation.

So, are we getting the legislative progress we deserve in the city of Alamogordo to elevate one of these two individuals to the level of mayor and spokesperson for the city of Alamogordo? Along that line we asked the following question

AlamogordoTownNews.com – If you have held office please provide 3 pieces of legislation, ordinances, or initiatives that you personally sponsored that were focused on jobs or education. Please provide the outcomes to the legislation since passed…

Nadia Sikes Response: “Proudest of my work with Code Enforcement, with improvements to our green spaces and the Bark Park, Alamogordo Mainstreet and ZIA, our public transportation, our library. Before I initiated the ordinance to require campaign reporting on the City level, there was NO reporting.

AlamogordoTownNews.com Fact Check – the question was what three pieces of legislation, ordinances or initiatives did you personally sponsor that were focused on jobs or education. Based on the response it would appear the direct answer is zero however Ms. Sikes did initiate a very important piece of legislation that would follow under the sunshine laws to require public reporting of campaign contribution. We too, agree that is an important piece of legislation to have initiated and are happy that was successfully passed by the full commission.

We ask both candidates to please provide the AlamogordoTownNews.com a direct copy of your last campaign filing? We could request one via the open records act and will do so if the candidates don’t provide us such information, but it would be timelier and more considerate if each candidate would email the AlamogordoTownNews.com a copy of their most recent filing prior to election day for publication.

Susan Payne Response: “The city does not specifically have any ordinances that would fall into either of these categories. HOWEVER I was heavily involved in reworking our LEDA ordinance which focuses on job creation. In addition, I sit on the Otero County Economic Development Board and focus allot of time on Job and business creation.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com Fact Check – the question was answered by Ms. Payne and the answer is indeed interesting that the city “does not have any ordinances that fall into the category of job creation or education.”  Ordinances that may be true, but initiatives or legislative actions? It does appear the commission has acted in relation to jobs and education.

The city during the tenure of both commissioners has acted or initiatives on job creation at some point. Incentives or accommodations by the city were given to the Medlin Ramps leadership with a commitment of so many jobs to be created. The commission under Ms. Payne passed a “resolution” recently related to schools as a statement on school polices by the state. Thus, the board and Ms. Payne has acted related to jobs and education, yet both candidates seem to have skimmed over their actions in their responses.

What other actions have the candidates taken and skimmed over?  

An informed citizen is important as the role of the mayor and the commission is to work on behalf of Alamogordo’s citizens. Our role as citizens is to be informed, educated, and ensure our local governmental leadership is responsive to our local community needs. Learn, ask questions act, and get involved.

Both candidates have a very solid resume of service to the community and on the level of service and passion for the community both certainly have passion and a commitment to service.

The question we need to ask ourselves is which candidate has the temperament of collaboration and is the candidate to best represent the city of Alamogordo with the state and national leadership to help secure matching state and federal funds for public works projects, major street, and highway repairs, for business development and revitalization.

Which candidate has the stage presence, to collaborate with the powers of other regional cities, the county, state, and federal leadership and represent the bests interests in Alamogordo?

Vote, the future of Alamogordo is decided by your vote.

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An offering of Historical Rope Bed & Jenny Lind Spindel Bed from the 1800s

Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts, Antiques and More 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo has recently acquired two awesome antique bed frames from the late 1880’s or 90’s that are unique for the design and story.

The first acquired piece is Jenny Lind or Spool Bed Headboard and Footboard presented to our collectors.These have a history of fans from Abe Lincoln for the 1850’s Opera singer Jenny Lind, the ones from the later 1800’s and early 1900s are unique finds. The history of the spooled bed or Jenny Lind is unique…

The spool bed, or Jenny Lind bed as they’re often called, is one of our favorite antique styles. The spool detail is so delicate, crafted, and beautiful and these beds can really add a special element to a space.In the 16th century, colonial woodworkers rediscovered a tool called a lathe for the spindles, which dates all the way back to ancient Egypt and Greece. Upon rediscovering it in Europe and America, they went nuts with it and used the lathe on every square inch of wood. They were so popular, even the president was sleeping on one.

Abe Lincoln’s bed at the Chicago History Museum was a spindle bed or Jenny Lind.

These beds are referred to as two things: spools for their resemblance to sewing spools and Jenny Lind after the 1800s Swedish opera singer of the same name. Ms. Lind came to America in 1851 on a much-publicized tour and captured the public eye. She was a “national superstar or music idol” long before the likes of Beyonce or Adele.

Johanna Maria “Jenny” Lind (6 October 1820 – 2 November 1887) was a Swedish opera singer, often called the “Swedish Nightingale”. One of the most highly regarded singers of the 19th century, she performed in soprano roles in opera in Sweden and across Europe and undertook an extraordinarily popular concert tour of the United States beginning in 1850. She was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music from 1840.Ms. Lind was said to prefer the colonial-style spool beds during her hotel stays, and the notion stuck. The spool bed has been referred to as the Jenny Lind bed ever since.

Originally the spindles of these highly acclaimed beds were turned and crafted using a lathe operated by a foot pedal, which was a slow and laborious process. Can one just imagine how much effort and time went into crafting each bed?

Talk about an heirloom piece these are truly a work of artistic design, each one was crafted a foot pedal and then Steam power replaced the foot pedal in the later 1800s, making spool beds much easier to “mass” produce, if one can imagine such a thing in the later part of the 19th Century America. Mass production at that time meant about 1 to 5 a week produced with a team collaborating on their creation from crafting the spindles to staining the final bed frame produced.

Dating and Placing spool-turned Jinny Lind beds

The earliest spool-turned beds have long straight lengths of turnings because that was initially the easiest style to produce

1830 – headboards and footboards about the same height

1850s – spool-turned furniture was made with rounded corners because spool-turners developed a method of bending the spool turnings.

These bed headboards and frames showcased and available for the fine collector of antiques and fine arts at Roadrunner Emporium is believed to be dated from the late 1880’s and was submitted to us from an estate collection of 2 bed frames

.Rope Beds

The second unique bed frame being offered is a Rope Bed of similar caliber also of a fine estate collection

.In the 1800s and mattresses were held on bed frames using a woven rope design. These ropes needed frequent tightening to ensure a taut, firm mattress for a good night’s sleep. Hence, the phrase “sleep tight” was born.

The mattresses were often stuffed using straw, shredded corn husks, or down feathers. These materials attracted bed begs, and so over time it became a common phrase to say “sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

Rope beds were invented in the 16th century and fell out of fashion quickly after the invention of the coil spring mattress in 1865. The history of rope beds is so iconic that even the American Girl Doll Collection crafted a rope bed as a part of their American Girl Doll House furnishings collection.

The Rope Dollhouse Bed (also known as Addy’s Bed) was introduced to Addy’s Collection in 1993. Retail cost was $48. It was combined with the Family Album Quilt in 2011 to form Addy’s Bed and Bedding.

Antique Rope beds are unique finds and very rare to find with all the pieces intact. The unique offering found at Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, Antiques and More is a true gem in that all of the pieces are intact- headboard, side walls and all of the posts. The wood is dry and aged but for a heritage selection with a little love and care this unique offering is a true gem.

These two unique heritage piece offerings are available at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo, New Mexico. Profits from the sale of these two heritage items go to Alamogordo’s historic Owens Chapel A.M.E.

AlamogordoTownNews.com Mayoral Candidate Susan Payne Responds to 26 Questions

Susan Payne candidate for Mayor of Alamogordo has politely responded to our request to answer 26 questions as compiled from polling of our readers.

The race is down to two candidates as the 3rd withdrew thus the silence in response. Early voting begins tomorrow, in a race that has had no public forums other than a few meet and greets, no published position papers and no candidate websites to see a detailed plan of what a Sikes or Payne administration would mean to the city of Alamogordo and it’s citizens.

What Alamogordo is in for, is a cat fight between Nadia Sikes and Susan Payne, in what one hopes will remain a non-partisan and polite race. Will the newcomers purchasing homes and investing into Alamogordo make a difference in this race or will the machine that some say runs Alamogordo select the candidate due to voter complacency?

The next 30 days will tell the tale.

Below are the 26 questions submitted to the candidates from AlamogordoTownNews.com and Susan Payne’s responses…

AlamogordoTownNews.com

1. Provide a brief biography of your governing and business experience.


Susan Payne Response:
 “Six years as a city commissioner, 2 years on the community development advisory board. Over 30 years of corporate and small business experience including an accountant for Mazda Motor of America Corporate Headquarters, Bramalea Corporation, United Way of Otero County and more recently for the past 12 years I have built a successful non-profit whose mission is to assist those less fortunate and take people from dependence to independence. 

I hold a BS in Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Management. I have been recognized with several awards including the Community Hero Award given by the NM Coalition to End Domestic Violence, The “Pursuing Excellence” award given by Love INC National and the Community Service Award given by ITA International. 

Although often asked, I do not sit on allot of boards as I take it very seriously and I just don’t believe I can be effective and still balance my personal time. I also think that
because I operate a non profit it would inappropriate to focus too much energy on raising money for other non-profits although there are a couple that my husband and I personally support.”

2. AlamogordoTownNews.com – If you have held office please provide 3 pieces of legislation, ordinances, or initiatives that you personally sponsored that were focused on jobs or education. Please provide the outcomes to the legislation since passed...

Susan Payne Response: “The city does not specifically have any ordinances that would fall into either of these categories. HOWEVER I was heavily involved in reworking our LEDA ordinance which focuses on job creation. In addition, I sit on the Otero County Economic Development Board and focus allot of time on Job and business creation.”

3. AlamogordoTownNews.com What piece of legislation or ordinance have you passed that you are proudest off?

Susan Payne Response: When I was first elected to office, the police union had been working without a contract for 18 months. I’m honored to have really pushed for reasonable negotiations as part of my first few months in office and extremely proud that we were able to find resolution after all those months. Allot of what I’ve pushed for over my years on the commission is really “cleaning up” and clarifying many outdated ordinances.”

4. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Why are you running for office?

Susan Payne Response: “Before I ran for office I would spend each commission meeting literally watch commissioners argue with each other. Often the meetings would go on until midnight. I never believed that it was the way things should be done as it showed absolutely no decorum. Since my time on the commission things have changed drastically and, while we don’t always agree, we also don’t allow that to get in the way of doing what is best for our community. I believe I have allot to offer and running for Mayor will simply give me greater opportunity to do what I’ve been doing in terms of improving our city. I am passionate about economic growth and believe Alamogordo has allot of potential. I have allot of support and I can only attribute that to my work so far on the commission.”

5. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What is your vision for the office you seek?

Susan Payne Response:  “My vision is to see our city grow while still maintaining that home town feel that most citizens enjoy. The Mayor is only one vote and part of the commission as a whole. Our current Mayor was a large and visible presence before the pandemic and really helped to change the tone of city hall. I would like to continue that as I work with administration and the citizens to be a leader that our community can count on to represent our city in a positive way. Alamogordo really is the total package and as Mayor I want to ensure that the rest of the state recognizes that.”

6. AlamogordoTownNews.com -When we sit down 4 years from now what will you tell us you have accomplished while in the office you seek?

Susan Payne Response: I will demonstrate the economic growth that we will have undertaken. I will be able to show a growing work force and I will also show off the arts and cultural district that I think we all have an interest in seeing enhanced.”

7. AlamogordoTownNews.com – When is the last time you visited New York Avenue and shopped or spoke in person with the shop owners of that business district? Specifically what shops and when?

Susan Payne Response: “I am not a big shopper however I believe it was about a month or so ago. I purchased a gift certificate from Victoria’s (one of my favorite downtown stores) and spent about 45 minutes speaking with Alice and her employees. I enjoy our downtown businesses and try to shop there first as the need arises.”

8. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What do you view as the biggest opportunity and how you can assist with that opportunity for business growth in the New York Avenue business corridor?

Susan Payne Response: “I try to stay involved in Alamogordo Main Street and actually attended a meeting last week with state and local leadership of that organization. Before the pandemic, Mainstreet and the downtown merchants association were really beginning to thrive. There was the evening art walk once a month and I, along with MANY citizens was a regular attender. I see these types of events as truly the backbone of our community. It is a great way to not just help our merchants but to bring our community together.”

9. AlamogordoTownNews.com – When is the last time you attended a High School Sports program?

Susan Payne Response: “I attend them all the time. My son-in-law is a football coach (Go Tigers!) and our family loves going to support our team. In addition, my grand daughter runs track and is a varsity basketball player and we are proud and devoted grandparents. Finally, Love INC (the non profit I run) is a financial sponsor of girls basketball.”

10. AlamogordoTownNews.com – When is the last time you attended a High School Academic or Arts Program? Which event?

Susan Payne Response: “I have been a judge for several spelling bees, again, our grand daughter is a National Honor Society and Golden Scholar inductee, I attend high school graduations and have also been involved with Junior Leadership Otero. This year my grandson is involved with the Chaparral Choir so I’m sure I will be attending concerts and finally I’m a huge supporter of STEM.”

11. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What is the last event you participated in at the Flickinger Center?


Susan Payne Response: “By participating I’m going to guess you mean attended? I attend most all of the Alamogordo Music theatre productions as I really enjoy musicals of any kind. I really wanted to go to the last summer series but unfortunately due to illness I missed that one. I’m looking forward to the November production of “A funny thing happened on the way to the forum.”

12. AlamogordoTownNews.com –What have you done to support local entrepreneurship and jobs growth the last 4 years?

Susan Payne Response: “I’ve devoted my entire time in office to both. Alamogordo does not lack jobs but we do lack a workforce. One of my grandkids is actually a local entrepreneur and we are incredibly proud of how hard she has worked and how successful her business has been in such a short time. My high school grandchild is actually a baker and bakes beautiful cakes. My husband and I are looking at what we can do to assist her with a facility that perhaps she can rent space in when she is baking as she gets numerous requests for her cakes. Finally, after 27 years of working for a local business in town, my husband just retired and now is a small business owner himself.”

13. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What have you done to improve upon the blight of abandoned homes and derelict businesses in Alamogordo or Otero County in the last 4 years?

Susan Payne Response: “I would say half of the calls I receive from constituents are for code enforcement issues. This is something I take seriously as I recognize that our citizens do not want to look at unsightly properties. Having said that, I also recognize the rights of our property owners so always feel it is better to try to work with them to come to some kind of resolution. Perhaps the most notable property that the commission was finally able to demolish was the Sahara Apartments. Tinsley trailer park is finally getting cleaned up. There is a property in my district which ahs literally been a health hazard, that is finally being demolished after many years and much effort. There was a business on White Sands that I was able to get cleaned up. Many of the properties in my district we have seen drastic improvements on. I have participated in many “Keep Alamogordo Beautiful events” including painting and cleaning up balloon park.”

14. AlamogordoTownNews.com -Where do you stand on the Recall of Couy Griffin and why?


Susan Payne Response: “It would highly inappropriate and incredibly unprofessional of me to comment on this issue as Couy is a fellow county commissioner and we will continue to have many occasions where we possibly have to work together. Also, it has nothing to do with my ability to be Mayor.”

15. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Where do you stand on the exposed broken sewer line issues and amending the law so the city would be responsible from the sidewalk to the street?

Susan Payne Response: “This is an ordinance that has been enacted since the 90s. After much research I see no way to change this without doubling water and sewer rates which would cause an undue burden on our low income residence including those living in public housing. I’m open to viable suggestions.”

16. AlamogordoTownNews.com –What have you done to welcome new businesses into Alamogordo?

Susan Payne Response: “I am a member of the board of Otero County Economic Development, the chamber of commerce and I am the vice chair of Maingate United and as such I work diligently to create ways to attract new business to Alamogordo.”

17. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Name the top 5 locally owned businesses that you believe best represent the image you would like to see of Alamogordo going forward.

Susan Payne Response: “I support all of our businesses and would never pick just 5″

18. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you support an arts and cultural zone and diversity?

Susan Payne Response: “Absolutely. This is something Alamogordo Main Street is currently working on. I attended their latest meeting and listened to their ideas and I’m very excited to see their vision come to fruition.”

19. AlamogordoTownNews.com – What outreach have you done to build bridges of understanding and collaboration between people of color, the LBGTQ community and local government and the business community?

Susan Payne Response: “Hmmm??? I haven’t specifically done outreach in this arena however, working in the field that I do, I have many occasions to work with many diverse groups of individuals. As Mayor I will continue to work with everyone for the betterment of our community.”

20. AlamogordoTownNews.com – How are you funding your campaign?


Susan Payne Response: “My campaign is being funded by friends and supporters.”

21. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Would you support a local city and or county ordinance that requires annual reporting and transparency of finances on anyone in elected office with annual reports on campaign fundraising?


Susan Payne Response: “We already have one, so yes, I suppose, I would, since I have nothing to hide.”


22. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Would you participate in a public drop in, questions and answers and/or a public forum hosted at Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue in mid-October?

Susan Payne Response: “Possibly, if my schedule permits.”

23. AlamogordoTownNews.com – Given the job is a part time job and one of public service, would you be willing to accept the position if elected for NO pay and dedicate the public check each month to a local community organization rotating the donation monthly?

Susan Payne Response: “This question is full of presumptions. I assure you I don’t really get a paycheck for this position but I am grateful for the medical and dental insurance that my paycheck goes toward even if its not enough to cover all of it.”

24. AlamogordoTownNews.com  – Would you support moving the farmers market to New York Avenue and amending city ordinances to allow weekly events and street fairs?

Susan Payne Response: Of course. At one time it was downtown however a couple of business owners were not happy about this and because of the way the ordinance was written, the event was moved to Alameda Park. One of those business owners has since closed shop but one is still there. I am personally not opposed to bringing this back before commission and actually talked about that at the Mainstreet meeting last week.”

25. AlamogordoTownNews.com –  Would you support the growth of more bars, restaurants, galleries, and entertainment venues in Alamogordo’s New York Avenue area? What will you do personally to support growth and revitalization of the corridor?

Susan Payne Response: “I will continue to support Alamogordo Mainstreet and their efforts including the funding that they currently receive for these types of projects. Simply put, the city already has begun this process and I support efforts made to that end.”

26. AlamogordoTownNews.com –What is the one thing about Alamogordo that excites you the most?

Susan Payne Response:  “There are lots of things about our community that excite me. The multitude of events and activities. Driving around and seeing our young people playing in our parks and green spaces. Friday night football games at tiger stadium. Early morning listening to the Tiger band practice. Enjoying a meal at a local restaurant and inevitably running into several other people I know. Working with other agencies and non-profits to assist those in need. Seeing and hearing the excitement when new businesses come to town. Maintaining our small town feel while seeing economic growth. Showing our unwavering support and pride for all things military, first responder and law enforcement related. Seeing our town come together for various parades and special events.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com thanks candidate and sitting Commissioner Susan Payne for taking the time to process the questions, with well thought out and honest answers. 

Running for political office is never easy and one’s life is put under a microscope of which some wonder, is it worth it? It takes a lot of ego and self confidence to be able to withstand the scrutiny of the voting public, social media and the press. 

Any candidate for office is to be commended, for opening themselves up to this scrutiny while running for office, and years after, as the public spotlight always follows those who were once public.  

With any set of questions, responses bring more questions for specifics in details, examples of progress and a need for more information. We hope the voters engage in dialog and follow-up with both candidates and actually get out become active and vote.

We hope this race, and whoever the winner of the race is, stays committed to the principles of non-partisan behaviors, shows compassion and empathy, is timely and accepts the role as their primary focus to truly represent the broad diversity of Alamogordo with tact and diplomacy and always puts their constituents above their personal interest or agenda.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Politics: Mayoral Candidate from District Two/ Mayor-Pro tempore Nadia Sikes Resume

Mayoral Candidate, District 2 Commissioner and presently the Mayor Pro tempore, Nadia Sikes was the first of the mayoral candidates to provide a resume and answer the candidate questionnaire sent to the mayoral candidates for the upcoming Alamogordo Municipal election.

Alamogordo Mayor Pro Tempore and District 2 Commissioner Nadia Sikes runs for Mayor of Alamogordo 2021

The Latin term “pro tempore” means “for the time being,” so the title of mayor pro tempore which is the secondary title of District 2 Commissioner Nadia Sikes wears on occasion. Basically, if the Mayor is out of town, sick, or simply unavailable or unable to preside and run the city commission meetings or appear on behalf of the city Nadia Sikes serves as the Mayor Pro tempore or as the “place-holder” in Mayor Boss’s absence.

Ballots for this upcoming municipal election will be mailed out soon and early voting begins on October 5th, 2021 for the November election. 

Getting to know the candidates is the responsibility of every able bodies citizen. Patriotism includes informed decision making and active participation in the election process. 

AlamogordoTownNews.com has sent questions to the candidates and invited the candidates to host a meet and greet during the month of October. Nadia Sikes has been the first of the candidates for mayor to complete our request. 

This article is an outline of her resume as presented by her as her qualifications for the position of Mayor of Alamogordo. 

Nadia Sikes moved to Alamogordo 17 years ago when her husband, Aaron, was stationed at Holloman Air Force Base. Her career included marketing and sales with IBM, marketing for skilled nursing facilities and working for the National Public Radio stations in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Wichita Falls, Texas.

Community involvement is important to her and she says her involvement enables her to ‘keep my finger on the pulse of the community’ and better understand the needs of Alamogordo.

Her Community involvement per her and outlined in her public profile includes…

  • Alamogordo City Commission, District 2, since 2012
  • Member, Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee
  • Member, GCRMC Community Advisory Committee
  • Member, LULAC Council 8095
  • Member, NAACP
  • Member, Otero County Community Health Council
  • Member, Prescription Drug Overdose Committee
  • Member, Southern NM Public Lands Alliance
  • Member, ZIA Board
  • Member, Secretary, COPE (Center of Protective Environment) Board
  • Patron Board Member, KRWG Public Radio/TV
  • President, Friends of the Library
  • Voting Member, Otero County Juvenile Justice Board
  • Voting Member, Southeast Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SERTPO)
  • Voting Member, Southeastern NM Economic Development District
  • Transportation Lead with 100% Otero
  • Food Insecurity Co-Lead with 100% Otero
  • Volunteer each Wednesday with the Otero Hunger Coalition for the curbside meal

She suggests that “Our community is full of dynamic, talented, busy people – people involved in community projects, non-profit organizations, companies, agencies, and institutions – people who make our community such an interesting and great place to live. Every Monday I host a two-hour radio show “Community Corner” on KRSY AM 1230, in which I get to highlight the personalities and events in and around our community. On Wednesday, I host “The Wednesday Show” on KRSY AM 1230 as well. I enjoy our beautiful mountain scenery, working in my yard, keeping up with politics and news and spending time with my husband and our two dogs, Max, and Jaxson.”

 Mayor Pro tempore Sikes responses to the multiple candidate questions will be released in a separate article.

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Creative Decorative Towel Making Class Taught by Katheryn Cecava Roadrunner Emporium

Katheryn Cecava leads the class in instruction and creation of beautifully crafted decorative towels for use as decoration, in the kitchen and for gifting. Her Milk & Honey creations are sold exclusively at Roadrunner Emporium and she is going to share the magic of crafting these artisan gems with her class.

Class is approximately 2 hours, supplies included and the fee is 20.00. RSVP by calling 7078806238, or IM us or visit us in person prior to the event.

The class is limited and is offered as a part of our crafts and arts teaching series, sharing the joy of arts, crafting and culture of the Alamogordo, New Mexico community.

Date: 10/9/21 
Time: 10 am
Location: Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo NM 88310
Contact 7078806238
Email cedwards121788@icloud.com

ALAMOGORDO nEW mEXICO mAIN sTREET: nEW yORK aVENUE 1900 TO 2021

Shopping #AlamogordoMainStreet the historic New York Avenue from 1900 to present day, anchored by Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery , Antiques & More 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico. Now is the time to shop local, shop historic, rediscover Alamogordo’s artesian community that makes southern New Mexico so unique. Santa Fe quality Southern New Mexico pricing. Welcome back to the historic New York Avenue.

#AlamogordoMainStreet #NewYorkAvenueAliveAfter5 #RoadrunnerEmporium #AlamogordoCenterofCommerce #ShopLocal #ExclusivelyAlamogordo #2ndLifeMedia #ArtistReneSepulveda #AuthorChrisEdwards

AlamogordoTownNews.com It’s Free Enterprise – Insurance Companies Protect Shareholders and Dividends by Increasing Rates on Anti-Vaxers, Amend Triage Rules It’s A Free Country All Business & Doctors Freedom of Choice

Location Gerald Chapman Hospital Alamogordo, individuals with heart conditions, blood clots, serious ailments and in need of ICU space are being denied the level of care because there is limited space available, and those in need of care are seeking Medi-vac options to hospitals in other states where care is available. The reason?  Most beds locally and across the nation are going to Covid-19 patients who did not get shots, and thus are sicker than those that did, and they are selfishly taking the critical care spaced needed by those otherwise healthy individuals.

What is the option? Sure, you have the option not to get the shot. If you feel that way don’t but we those that followed the health guidelines have rights to. The rights of those that did follow guidelines and yours should not infringe upon one another.

Thus, we have the right as a stockholders in an insurance company to ensure that the insurance company optimizes profits so I get the highest payout in dividends possible. Insurance companies give incentives and discounts to those that don’t smoke, that exercise regularly and who live health lifestyles. When we make healthy choices, we get rewarded with lower premiums and higher levels of protect and services than the at-risk individual that is insured. It’s a choice you know.  

Thus, as stockholders that believe, in free enterprise and limited government interference, we embrace the insurance companies that charge higher premiums to those that don’t get the vaccinated. This isn’t about politics this is purely about profits and the dividends payouts we expect from our investment in stock. We have the right as stockholders to demand maximum profits and maximum payout to us the stockholders and owners of the insurance companies. Stockholders in oil companies demand mitigated risks and the highest possible return on our investment, we demand the same of the insurance companies of which we are invested in.

It’s free enterprise baby! The company of which is a corporation by its charter as a corporation per Business 101, it has one goal, per its mission as a corporation; that is to optimize profits and revenue for its owners the stockholders.

So, we that are stockholders of several insurance companies that get dividends say yes optimize that revenue revenue, protect my dividends payouts, stamp out government interference, it’s a free country and charge higher rates to the unvaccinated. It’s free enterprise, exercise your free enterprise rights to optimize revenues and protect shareholder dividends.

Amend Triage Rules. This is a call out to the American Medical Association and state and national lawmakers to get out of the way of doctor’s decision making, allow the doctors and nurses freedom to amend the triage rules and provide ICU space and care for those who have other ailments and those who got vaccinations over those that did not. The Triage rules say sickest gets priority and doctors work on that theory for fear of being sued. It’s freedom of choice throw those rules away. Let doctors make choices based on what they believe is right not some damn government mandate to care for the sickest as the priority. Get the government out of health care. Get the government out of triage decision making. Get out of the litigation rules that allow doctors to be sued. Repeal medical malpractice rules and repeal all rules that take a doctor’s right to make free and clear decisions based on who he wants to give care to and at his priority of care. Give the doctors and nurses the right to lower the priority of care of Covid patients.

Trust God? Then let nature run its course and let the doctors care for those that care for themselves. Freedom to make triage decisions should not be dictated by government interference. Freedom to profit by the insurance companies is a God given right per the constitution. Let’s freedom ring but freedom from all the government interference. Let’s not pick and choose.

Well why not, it’s a free country isn’t it?

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Special Report – Alamogordo’s Rev. Dr. MLK Drive: Facts & Fiction

At the Alamogordo City Commission meeting of 8/24/2021, the cowboy of the County Commission, Couy Griffin, rode in on his white horse to present the city a letter that the County Commission had drafted asking that the road going to the detention center be renamed. Mr. Grifin made several comments that raised questions about the roads name and the optics around the road leading to the County detention center.

By Mr. Griffins own admission when asked by AlamogordoTownNews.com if the commission asked him to speak to the Alamogordo City Commission in public comments, about the road or to deliver the letter, he admitted “I took it upon myself to hand deliver the letter and to express my personal feelings as to why I believe the road should be rededicated.”

If one were to listen to Mr. Griffin’s statements last evening it would appear the road leads to the County jail and there was malice in the naming. Thus the AlamogordoTownNews.com site decided to call the power brokers of Alamogordo and get the story and the history.

Factual History of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Drive

Up until 2005 there was no consideration for an MLK Drive in Alamogordo but “a group of about 50 to 60 concerned citizens made it a priority for consideration of naming a road after Dr. King” according to the Reverend Warren L Robinson, Pastor of Owen Chapel A.M.E. Church and past president of the Alamogordo Chapter of the NAACP.

Around 2004 according to City Manager, Brian Ceasar; “the city was looking at the option of creating a bypass that would run from Scenic Drive, through South Florida, around parts of the city and eventually connecting to Highway 70 near Holloman”. As a result of that proposed bypass at least one public meeting was held in 2005 and consideration was made and presented to call the Bypass Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.

As a result of that proposed bypass there are now unintentionally TWO Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Drives within the city limits of Alamogordo. One is by the golf course, and another is the one Mr. Griffin referenced which leads to the County Jail.

The original intent was not for this to be two separate roads, but one long continuous road that would be the large bypass road connecting Highway 54 to Highway 70.

Commissioner Matherly Takes Proactive Action in 2020

Obviously, the optics of a MLK Drive leading to the County Jail does not look good for the city nor to Otero County. As such a group of concerned citizens brought this concern to County Commissioner Gerald Matherly last year. Around October of last year Commissioner Matherly placed discussion of the roadway onto the County Agenda. It was then discussed and debated and decided by the Otero County Commission in 2020, that they would ask the city of Alamogordo, to rename the roadway leading to the jail, due to the poor optics of MLK Drive leading there. As such, the issue had been raised by concerned citizens and a proposal for resolution made.

Commissioner Matherly did the correct thing in placing it on the county agenda and taking the lead to get the name changed of the portion of the roadway separate from the other and leading to the jail.

The reality is the road was already named Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, well before the County committed to placing the jail there. The intention of the city and the county was for the road to be a bypass and for the jail NOT to be the only building on the long-designated roadway.

As history would prove, the bypass fell by the wayside, funding never came forward, there are now residential houses in part of its pathway. The result of time and no funding and the net result is city now has two roads named after MLK one of which is poor optics leading to the county jail.

Commissioner Matherly attempting to fix a wrong and championed the fix in October of 2020.

Paperwork and Fate

As fate would have it, the issue of changing the portion of MLK Drive that went to the jail, languished for quite some time. Covid-19 hit, roles within the county attorney’s office changed and the paperwork never got to the city as a complete package to move the issue forward.

Brian Ceasar the City Manager said, “the city was awaiting the completion of the paperwork and the payment of $150.00 per city code in order for the city’s process of renaming the street to move forward.”

Couy Griffin had the issue placed back on the last County Commission agenda to send a letter to the city at last month’s commission meeting. Commissioner Matherly reminded Mr. Griffin that the issue was already in the works and that he would personally see what the hold up was to move it forward.

Last Monday, Commissioner Matherly went to the City Planning Department to see what the holdup was, and he was told the paperwork had been filed to rename the road to the jail from MLK Drive to an alternative name but that the fee had never been paid, thus the issue could not move forward. At 10:04 am on Monday, Commissioner Matherly, then went to the City Cashier and personally paid the $150.00 to move the project forward.

Once the payment was made by Commissioner Matherly, then that moved the wheels within the city into action.

Next Steps thanks to Commissioner Matherly

AlamogordoTownNews.com spoke to Planning Commissioner Eddie Kemp who said, “that as soon as the item is placed on the planning commissions agenda it is ready to move forward as per the rules of the city code.”

After more research from AlamogordoTownNews.com it was learned that the item is now on the agenda for the City Planning Commission to consider on October 7th.

The process is that they will more than likely approve the renaming for the street by the jail and send the item to the City Commission for consideration as per City Ordinance. The City Commissioners will then vote on renaming the road by the jail from MLK Drive to the alternative name. Once that is done the city will then rededicate the street a new name.

The commentary from Commissioner Couy Griffin at the City Commission meeting last night, was probably unnecessary, as the wheels of the process were already moving forward thanks to the payment by Commissioner Matherly.

The comments by County Commissioner Griffin, did not reference the complete history, nor how the city and the county got into the pickle it is in, so to speak. His comments did leave one with an uneasy feeling, as to why the road to the jail was named after the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, thus our investigation and multiple phone calls to the powers that be to get the real story and understand the history to present to, you, our readers.

The outcome anticipated, is that there will soon be one Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Road and that will be the one near the golf course. The road to the county jail will be named a new name and hopefully one of hope and inspiration.

The longer-term desire of many and confirmed in a discussion with the Rev. Warren L Robinson, Pastor would be, “eventually for MLK Drive to be repositioned to the city center like it is in most cities.

AlamogordoTownNews.com concurs with that thought.

We believe that the city should indeed continue the path as proposed by the County to rename the street by the jail.

But we propose that the City Commission and the power structure of Alamogordo should consider the history and contributions of the African American and Hispanic Communities and their neighborhoods within the city center of Alamogordo and name two streets in honor of civic leaders.

  1. We propose that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive be the name placed on the street where the old Corinth School is located. Prior to 1950 Corinth School was the segregated Black School in Alamogordo. It would be appropriate to name that downtown street after Dr. King and to place an educational placard on that street explaining the history of desegregation that took place on that street led by Coach Rolla Buck and others of the time.
  2. We also propose that the street where the Dudley School was located be named after Ceasar Chavez Drive. Until 1946 the Dudley School was the segregated school for Hispanic Students. Again, under the leadership of Coach Rolla Buck at the time the Hispanic School was closed, and the Alamogordo High School was integrated with Hispanic students. As such Ceasar Chavez Drive would be an appropriate naming of the street where Dudley School was locate and an educational placard placed on that street as well explaining the history of the street, the school, and the significance of the street naming.

The issue that Couy Griffin spoke about at last nights city commission meeting was not a nefarious issue as one might have been left to wonder, as MLK Drive was supposed to be a major bypass. The White Knight concerning the issue is Gerald Matherly in leading the dialog beginning in 2020 to fix the issue.

Now let’s have other white knights within the city of Alamogordo move forward not only with changing the name of the street by the jail but giving an honest dedication to history and naming appropriate streets after historical figures of our diverse community.

The bigger issue however before the city of Alamogordo is to embrace the diversity within the city, name the appropriate streets in the appropriate neighborhoods after those of historical significance. Who will be the champion within the city to go a step further and place educational placards on the streets in question, to explain the naming and the significance of those streets, and those neighborhoods, to the city’s rich diverse and multicultural history?

It is an election year for mayor, do any of the candidates for mayor have the wherewithal and the leadership ability to demonstrate an honest embracing of the diversity of the city of Alamogordo and placing proper honor to that diversity in the naming of city streets?

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Coach Bob Sepulveda & Coach Gary Hveem the Golden Years Book 2 Release Party & Art Showing September 4th, 2021 6 pm to 8 pm

5 Time State & 19 Time District Champion, Coach Bob Sepulveda & Coach Gary Hveem the Golden Years Book 2 Release Party & Art Show

September 4, 6 pm to 8 pm Roadrunner Emporium Fine Art Gallery

928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico 88310

Alamogordo New Mexico: 2nd Life Media Company Inc. today announces the pre-release on Amazon.com with a book signing and art show at Roadrunner Emporium, Alamogordo, Saturday September 4th 6 pm to 8 pm.  

The reception and book launch at Roadrunner Emporium Fine Art, Antiques and More will also showcase the works of southern New Mexico artists Delia Lopez Holloway, Marty Torres, the sculptured tree trunk artwork creations of Artist Rene Sepulveda and over 45 partners displaying their artistic creations to the public. This open house from 6 to 8 will feature live music, light appetizers and is a meet the local artists events.

About the Book Series:

Book 2 is of the 4 part series of books on Coaches Robert & Marilyn Sepulveda and the influence of Coach Gary Hveem on the Alamogordo High School Athletics program.

Book one titled Coach Robert (Bob) Louis Sepulveda: The Early Years released last year to critical acclaim.

Co-written by authors; Chris Edwards & Rene Sepulveda, book one of the series begins with the Alamogordo, New Mexico athletic program of 1916 progressing through today. The focus is on the track & field and its paths that crossed into interscholastic football and cross country. The series is a comprehensive history that tells the stories of the many personalities from 1916 to 1996 that influenced New Mexico and national interscholastic, collegiate, and pro sports including the NFL; in Track and Field, Cross Country, High School Football and beyond.

The book series takes on issues of the launch of national interscholastic sports standards, school sports integration, Girl’s Title IX implementation, the politics of high school football athletics and more.

The series contains the records of 100s of young athletes, rich in dialog and interviews with athletes, coaches, and more. The series factoids highlight successes and failures of some great athletes & coaches, plus history lessons related to athletics. The central characters in the book are Coaches, Bob and Marilyn Sepulveda, paired with a variety of characters that played a role in the program success of the Alamogordo, New Mexico Track and Field, Cross Country & Football programs over 9 decades.

Coach Bob Sepulveda, New Mexico Coach of the Year for boy’s track; 1982, 1991 and 1996. Received the NHSACA Region 8 Coach of the Year in 1982, 1991 and 1996, Section 6 Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1996. Along with his wife Marilyn, both, received the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Level IV Coaching Milestone ring in 1989. He and his wife Marilyn were inducted into the Alamogordo Tiger Hall of Fame in 1988.

            “Coach Bob Sepulveda is just a good, hard-working coach and a good responsible person who cared about the kids in his charge. That for anyone who’s paying attention, is all the message that’s necessary”, per a Commentary in the Albuquerque Journal by Rick Wright  titled Message There for Those who Watch, Listen,Friday May 13, 1994

About the Artists & Roadrunner Emporium

Roadrunner Emporium showcases the works of southern New Mexico artists Delia Lopez Holloway, Marty Torres, the sculptured tree trunk artwork creations of Artist Rene Sepulveda and over 45 partners displaying their artistic creations from painting and sculptures to embroidery, needlepoint, hand woven designs, Native American arts and more. This event is open to the public showcasing local Southern New Mexico artistic talent.

This open house from 6 to 8 will feature live music, light appetizers and is a meet the local artists event Roadrunner Emporium Fine Art, Antiques & More, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico. Open daily 10 am to 7 pm. Closed Sundays.

Get past Masks, Universal Basic Income is the New Debate

While a small group of vocal locals are myopically (without thinking about anything outside your own situation) or short sightedly focused on not wearing masks or fighting against vaccines a real undercurrent of change is happening, and this vocal group needs to step back and look at the bigger world of issues that are about to it taxpayers on the horizon. This is not some esoteric idea from California but being tested not too far from here in New Mexico.

At least two New Mexico cities – Las Cruces and Santa Fe – are already considering, or moving forward with, targeted guaranteed basic income pilot projects

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted state and federal governments to send direct payments to citizens and is now fast tracking the dialog around a Basic Universal Income that in the past was considered a fringe idea. The newest debate on the horizon could center on guaranteed basic income, a policy that provides low-income residents with regular financial payments.

The argument:

In our country today, 40% of earners make $20K or less a year. What’s even more shocking is that 40% of earners actually make less than the 1968 minimum wage.

In Portland Maine, for example, the poverty wage for 1 adult with 2 children is $9 per hour. The state’s minimum wage is $10 and the living wage is estimated to be at approximately $29 per hour. The Personal Care and Service industries in Maine, which represents a large part of unskilled employment, is at or below the poverty level at an average of $23,288 annual income for an adult with 2 children. The required annual income for this demographic is estimated to be $59,101 before taxes.

Maine is not alone. Almost every area of the United States shows that workers are earning well below what is considered a livable wage.

MIT Defines a living wage via its living wage index for New Mexico as 28.65 an hour for a single adult with a child. Their living wage calculator methodology is the hourly rate that an individual in a household must earn to support his or herself and their family. The assumption is the sole provider is working full-time (2080 hours per year). The tool provides information for individuals, and households with one or two working adults and zero to three children. In the case of households with two working adults, all values are per working adult, single or in a family unless otherwise noted.

The state minimum wage is the same for all individuals, regardless of how many dependents they may have. Data are updated annually, in the first quarter of the new year. State minimum wages are determined based on the posted value of the minimum wage as of January one of the coming year (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019). The poverty rate reflects a person’s gross annual income. We have converted it to an hourly wage for the sake of comparison.

https://livingwage.mit.edu/states/35

An Explanation of a VESTED Economy and how everyone earns a livable wage…

In a vested economy, everyone earns a livable wage. No one is left behind. No one is underpaid. The technical explanation is that a vested economy is one in which the market surplus is distributed to the individual laborers who produce the surplus through an equitable process. Individuals become vested by successfully completing one or more requirements. For example, someone can be vested by completing an educational requirement or serving in the military. The non-technical explanation is that vested economics provides a metaphorical sponge for absorbing an economy’s excess supply of goods and services and a distribution mechanism called National Vesting for apportioning that excess back to its producers in an equitable manner. In other words, no one has to earn a poverty wage ever again.

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted some countries to send direct payments to citizens and is now fast tracking the dialog around a Basic Universal Income that in the past was considered a fringe idea.

In an attempt to put low-income workers on more solid financial footing, New Mexico lawmakers in recent years have approved a minimum wage increase and a paid sick leave requirement, among other policies.

Several legislators said they’re planning to watch the local-level efforts play out before possibly moving forward with a statewide proposal.

Santa Fe’s guaranteed basic income pilot program that will be funded by a national advocacy group as a “stability stipend.” It will provide 100 people under age 30 who have children and are attending Santa Fe Community College with monthly payments of at least $400.

Several other cities nationwide are also moving forward with similar programs that follow on the heels of Stockton, California, which provided 125 low-income people with $500 a month for two years.

New Mexico has long struggled with high poverty rates and more than 926,000 state residents – or about 44% of the state’s total population – were enrolled in Medicaid as of May.

 While state revenue levels have been on the upswing since plummeting at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing just 10% of those residents with $100 monthly financial payments would cost roughly $111 million annually.
But there could be different types of funding mechanisms available if New Mexico were to pursue such a policy, as Alaska has long offered its full-time residents an annual dividend based on the investment earnings on mineral royalties. The dividend amount for 2020 was $992 per person.

The Albuquerque Journal reported:

Las Cruces City Councilor Johana Bencomo, who is leading the push for a basic income program in the southern New Mexico city, described the traditional approach to addressing poverty as “patronizing and patriarchal,” and said cash payments allow recipients to use the money as they deem fit.

“I do believe that poverty is a policy choice,” said Bencomo, who is also executive director of a nonprofit group that advocates for immigrant and worker rights.

She also cited the impact of cash assistance programs funded by federal relief dollars during the pandemic, which included one-time payments of $750 for those who didn’t qualify for a federal stimulus check.”

During the presidential run Andrew Yang the Silicon Valley Billionaire brought the topic forward as a credible discussion siting the transition of business to a technology driven economy that he believes will displace up to 24% of the population from present employment types. Times and jobs are changing and while we are myopic in our arguments on masks, vaccines and the school system approach the rest of the world is moving forward in ways that could leave Otero County in the dustbowl of poverty unless elected leaders begin recruiting tourism, cultural arts and technology industries to the area to compete. 

With a solid business base of livable wage employment, a Universal Basic Income policy is a non-starter. However in areas of poverty without employment opportunities for livable wages or where there is huge income inequity with a shrinking middle class the theory takes hold and government is forced into seeking alternatives or action.

The action voters need to demand now is that the city commissioners and county commissioners partner with the state and federal governments and do real business recruitment and put ideological social issues aside and drive business opportunity. November 2nd several commissioner seats and the mayors office will be on the ballot. 

Consider this when voting. Register and get out and participate. Let your voice be heard at the ballot box.

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