AlamogordoTownNews.com Political Candidates GB Oliver & Amy Barela Q & A Responses & Financials

The Republican primary race between GB Oliver and Amy Barela for the 2nd District County Commission primary is the most watched race in the county and appears to have the most buzz from near and far. 

If fundraising were the measure, Mr. Oliver seems to be leading with a campaign war chest to date of $13,963,76 verses $9476.79 for Amy Barela to date.

Links to their most recent filings are below, followed by responses to the Q & A survey of questions from AlamogordoTownNews.com

GB Oliver 2nd District County Commission Seat Candidate

Largest Cash Contribution: Robert Joe Pattillo $2000, Richard A Boss $1000, Kerry Eaton $1000, Aubrey Dunn $500, James J Klump $500 (All local donors)

Loans to Campaign: GB Oliver $6063

In Kind: Justus Photography 

Total funds raised as of reporting period: $13963.76

Ending Balance as of reporting period: $ 8,977.79

Amy Barela 2nd District County Commission Seat Candidate

Largest Cash Contribution Self 2,562.38, Committee to Elect James Townsend Barela, Amy A. (Amy For Otero) $1000, Dustin Collins & Michael Collins $1000 each (local donors)

In Kind Justus Photography $100 

Total funds raised as of reporting period: $9,476.79

Ending Balance as of reporting period: $ $2,172.17

In April before the race got heated and in full swing, we submitted questions to all the candidates in the various races. Mr. Oliver and Ms. Barela were thorough in their execution the questions and each are very serious in the campaign for office. Both are very visible to the public and both have very active campaigns with a field of volunteers working on their behalf and with a very active social media presence. Both candidates have a unique offering and a wealth of public service experience. The question for the voters seems to come down to what is the go forward vision for Otero County that best fits the future and which candidate best represents a path forward to securing that future. What follows is the responses to our questions. We appreciate their time and dedication to allowing the public to get to know them better.

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Provide a brief biography of your governing and business experience.

Amy Barela Response:” My name is Amy Barela, and I am running to be your county commissioner in this 2022 primary election. I am a conservative that has served this county in many voluntary capacities for over 12 years. Some things I have been able to do:

  •  Bring the National Day of Prayer back to Alamogordo and for the last 5 years we have done just that.
  •  I have helped to increase our voter turnout and voter registrations in Otero County by 10%.
  •  I stood with businesses to help keep their doors open when unfair mandates jeopardized their livelihoods as well as their employees.
  • Along with a team of dedicated individuals we worked to get the county commission to designate Otero County as a second amendment county. There were 625 people in attendance when the county commission passed this resolution……… unanimously.
  •  I fought the school boards and alerted parents to the indoctrination of their children with curriculum that is fully engulfed with (CRT) critical race theory, sex education and other radical teachings parents were not aware of.
  •  These are just some of the things I have been privileged to work on with many wonderful, energetic people. I would enjoy visiting with you to listen to your concerns about the issues.

While this seems about activism, I do this to educate the community and hope to give the community a voice in all matters and issues. I try to keep the community informed because it is important for everyone to have the facts to make educated decisions. There are many resources available to us. The number one resource being you. I listen and have listened to Otero County citizens for years. The people guide me in their needs now and as your commissioner I will continue to listen to your needs.

  •  Holloman AFB is vital to our community. However, we must not put all our eggs in one basket. We must look at other ways to bring solid businesses to employ citizens in our county.
  • I understand the forestry issues adding the dumping and trash problems.
  •  I will work to protect our mountains and forest through responsible use of the land. I know how to help citizens clean up their neighborhoods caused by illegal dumping.

I am excited to address the opportunity of the American Dream, home ownership, with new laws that have been changed to allow access from counties for funding. I also have a plan to incentivize volunteers at our fire departments to allow our law enforcement to get back to being law enforcement and not first responders. I have a plan. I want the best for our county. I need your prayers in this new venture and am excited to move Otero County forward. I need your support. I humbly ask for your vote June 7th.”

GB Oliver Response: “’I’ve held virtually every position that exists in banking, including sitting as a director on the Board of Western Bank.

I was one of 3 founding members of the Paragon Foundation, an organization that provided funding and attorneys in cases defending Property and Constitutional Issues. I was named the Executive Director of the Foundation and remain in that position. The Paragon Foundation grew to have thousands of members spread across the United States. I published a Nationally syndicated Magazine on behalf of the Foundation, The Cowboy Way, that was provided to membership, as well as sold in Walmart, Barns and Nobel, Hastings, Tractor Supply, and numerous other outlets. The Foundation also carried or was the major funder of three cases heard by the United States Supreme Court, Robbins vs. Willkie, Heller vs. D.C., and McDonald vs. Chicago. Heller and McDonald are considered today to be second amendment landmark cases.

Currently, I am the Executive Director of the Alamogordo Center of Commerce where I have played a key role in solvency of a permanent status of the 3rd and 4th F-16 Squadrons, expansion of hyper-sonic weapon testing at HAFB and bringing in a regional Jet Service. I have also been actively involved in bringing a host of new business, Hotels, and a 252-unit Apartment Complex that we will be announcing shortly.”

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. If your office is judicial, please explain your judicial policies or view from the bench.

Amy Barela Response: “N/A”

GB Oliver Response: “I have never held an elected office; however, I have been working hand and hand with Holloman leadership, acting as the liaison between Air Force and our elected officials in Washington to fund the expansion of the HAFB test track, expanding air space to assure the solvency of the F-16 mission as well has funding for state-of-the-art facilities for the MQ-9 mission. These endeavors have not only expanded the mission at Holloman but created many civilian jobs for this community.

I have also taken an active role in highlighting the NMDOD Stop Light Report regarding schools and have advocated for expansion of STEM, Career Tech, more school to work opportunities as well as higher standards.

Last year we secured 32 million dollars to be used for the design of the test track, this year we are seeking 138 million to begin construction on that facility. Those dollars will ensure that all hypersonic testing for the United States will be done at Holloman. We will be flying to Washington is the coming month to secure 58 million for the MQ-9 program and an additional 26 million through MILCON for taxi strip expansion.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What piece of legislation or ordinance have you passed that you are proudest off? If Judicial what ruling had the greatest impact on you when making it and why?

Amy Barela Response: “N/A”

GB Oliver Response: “As mentioned previously, the Paragon Foundation had major investments in three cases that were heard by the United States Supreme Court. Those cases were Robin vs. Wilke in 2007, District of Columbia vs Heller in 2008, and McDonald vs Chicago in 2010. I had the privilege of sitting before the Supreme Court during the oral briefs in all three cases. These cases have directly protected Americans 2nd Amendment Rights. 

I also co-authored several pieces of legislations, not only in New Mexico, but Wyoming, Arizona, and South Dakota. The most notable was the Concealed Carry Bill for the State of New Mexico, which required three legislative sessions before passing both houses and being signed by Governor Johnson.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Why are you running for office?

Amy Barela ResponseSee answer #1”

GB Oliver Response: “God has placed me in arenas my whole life that have developed my skill set to ultimately lead our community to a brighter future. My time in DC fighting for the rights of Americans has given me understanding of the intricate landscape of bureaucracy. DC is a terrible place, however learning how to navigate the architecture of the system has given me the edge to propel Otero County to a fighting chance to find prosperity.

Perhaps my greatest skill is being able to bring groups of people together, for a single purpose and vision. Our goal four years ago was to bring the City of Alamogordo, Otero County, the Alamogordo Public Schools and the leadership of Holloman Air Force Base together, meeting in the same room, at the same time, with a single focus. That had never happened in the history of this community and now it happens, here in the Center of Commerce, on a monthly basis.

This is my home and my family’s home for 125 years. It is where we raised our children, owned businesses, and have been allowed to live and associate with the finest people on this earth. It would be my greatest honor, and it is time for me to give back a small part of what this community has given my family.”

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

Amy Barela ResponseSee answer #1”

GB Oliver Response“We must be vigilant and proficient with spending taxpayer funds. A solid budget with growth factors is a must! We must expand and diversify our economic potential to GROW our way to a more fiscally responsible chapter.

Supporting our Sheriff’s Office is of utmost importance as we continue to see an uptick in crime and instability in our Judicial System. A strong emergency plan is a must. The more inflation creeps the more we need to rely on each other as a community to get through the upcoming economic crises. 

Protecting our Forest Land and water sheds with true intent. The Federal Government must be put on notice for the mismanagement of our Public Lands. This incompetence has impacted our water systems, cattle growers’ ability to maintain herds and a serious consequence for wildlife habitats and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Protect our historical and cultural backgrounds and capitalize on our strengths that we demonstrate in our community. We are unique and the rest of the Country can learn from us.”

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

Amy Barela Response: “County Cleanup plan, road repair / development schedule, judicial complex issues to be complete or several stages through the implementation of, low-income housing 

development”

GB Oliver Response: “We have brought vision followed by action and accountability. We have brought high paying jobs, growth, educational prowess via alternative learning opportunities, a regional Jet service and now our community has seen the impact of solid leadership.”

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? 

Amy Barela Response: “Last week”

GB Oliver Response: “I met with two business owners on New York Avenue, in their place of businesses on 5/11/2022.”

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?

Amy Barela ResponseALamogordoTownNews.com note: NO RESPONSE ON THE QUESTIONARE to this question from Mrs. Barela

GB Oliver Response: “The attitudes of business owners on New York have improved dramatically over the last three years. That, in itself, opened the doors to the transition we are witnessing in our downtown. Now this community is taking that area seriously, traffic is increasing and that alone will not only bring other businesses and increased property values in that area. My family owned five business at one time on New York in the 1920’s and 30’s. It was the heart and soul of this community then…and has the potential to be that again.”

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

Amy Barela Response: “Before covid”

GB Oliver Response“2018” 

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

Barela Response: “School Board Meetings. Often”

GB Oliver Response“In 2016 I was asked to address the returning teachers and staff for the Alamogordo Public Schools. This community learned a tough lesson regarding the quality of Public Education and its impact on the business community. The quality of our education system was one of the reasons given by the Under Secretary of the Air Force for not permanently bedding down the three F-16 Squadrons at Holloman. His quote was “we will not subject the children of the men and women at Holloman Air Force Base to a substandard education.” That is what brought the changes in our Public Schools and eventually led to a perinate bed down of the three F-16 squadrons.”

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

Amy Barela Response“Often”

GB Oliver Response: “It was several months ago when I joined the Holloman Commander’s wives in a tour of the Flickinger.”

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

Amy Barela Response: “Stood beside them during covid shutdowns to keep them open over big box stores. I am a job creator.”

GB Oliver Response“Everyday via the Center of Commerce…It’s what I do.”

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?

Amy Barela Response: “Remove the junk cars”

GB Oliver Response: “The Center of Commerce, for the last year and a half, has made cleaning up this community one of our priorities and to engage with the City and County in that effort. Rodney Eaton led the initiative with several “Trash Pickups,” where 160 individuals gathered on a Saturday at various locations and the results were several tons of trash removed from our highways and streets. That has expanded into Otero County’s involvement, where their personal and equipment has joined these pickups. Our Sherriff participates by patrolling the highways to slow traffic during these pickups. The City of Alamogordo has now joined this movement by condemning and removing several structures in this community each month. In fact, the city has now budgeted money this year to completely rebuild Alameda Park, turning that facility into a beautiful park that we can all enjoy and be proud of. The lesson I take away from what has transpired in the last year and a half is that one man, Rodney Eaton, had a passion to change the optics of this community and because of the close relations we have fostered over the last four years with the City and County, we live in a cleaner environment.

We have several more of these clean ups scheduled and we invite you to participate!”

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

Amy Barela Response: “Attend ribbon cuttings”

GB Oliver Response“Center of Commerce is the first interaction an incoming business has when coming into this community. At the present, I am working with two hotels, two Aerospace companies out of California, both associated with the development of the hypersonic program slated to come to the Test Track. We are entertaining three investment groups looking at apartment complex sites, that also includes the 252-unit complex mentioned previously, three restaurants, a major truck stop, an entertainment venue, and a major box store.

Housing is our highest priority and what is refreshing about the Apartment complex is that for the first time, this project has been made possible by the City of Alamogordo and Otero County working on different facets of this project to make is happen. That is a first!”

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.

Amy Barela ResponseAlamogordoTownNews.com this was left blank by Mrs. Barela

GB Oliver Response: “Not going there.”

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

Amy Barela Response: “Yes”

GB Oliver Response: “They would certainly enhance the quality of life for those living here, however there are certainly higher priorities that need to be achieved to ensure their success.”

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? 

Amy Barela Response: “That is everything I do often”

GB Oliver Response: “Most of my life has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for those living in our community. Color, culture, or sexual orientation plays no role in my world. We are all God’s creation, with certain needs, rights, and each deserves an equal opportunity. The rest is left to the courage and determination of the individual. To believe anyone, because of their color, culture, or sexual preference needs special status with government agencies is an insult to that individual’s integrity and God given gifts. I have never seen an individual, when given special status from government, that led a happier, more fulfilled life.” 

AlamogordoTownNews.com: How are you funding your campaign?

Amy Barela Response: “Self and donations”

GB Oliver Response: “The majority is my money with a few local doners”

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

Amy Barela Response: “I think the county needs to have a reporting form for each newly elected official to report any income that is received from county (ie business transactions). Campaign finance reports are filed with the SOS for anyone to review. I plan on closing my account after the election and do not see the need to fundraise during my term. I will reopen if running for re-election when time.”

GB Oliver Response: “Transparency is the only true method of moving our community forward”

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?

Amy Barela Response: “Yes”

GB Oliver Response: “Absolutely, Government works best in sunlight.”

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?

Amy Barela Response: “Support any and all new business.”

GB Oliver Response:” Absolutely! In a healthy community, the original business district is always the heart and soul of activity. It should be the goal of every local governmental body to maintain and foster business there because it identifies not only who we were, but who we are. I have traveled all over the United States and when I see a community downtown business district, it tells me all I need to know about the trajectory of that community.”

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

Amy Barela Response: “Building it to be a better place for my family.”

GB Oliver Response: “The economic opportunities that are coming to this community. Make no mistake, there is rough water ahead, but there is no community that I’m aware of, better positioned to recover and excel once we see the other side, than are we.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Can you work in a bi-partisan manner with the majority party to drive more state and federal funding into redevelopment and jobs creation into the district?

Amy Barela Response:” I didn’t realize redevelopment and job creation was partisan?”

GB Oliver Response: “I have demonstrated many times the importance of finding middle ground and promoting our goals in Otero County.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Rather a judicial candidate or other candidate what can you do in your role to help solve the issue of homelessness and mental health patients on the streets of Alamogordo?

Amy Barela Response: “Affordable home ownership, veteran home ownership, jail rehabilitation and work programs, address drug abundance and availability with enforcement.”

GB Oliver Response: “Working collectively with our local agencies to support and find solutions will be our best method of stability for those in need.”

At AlamogordoTownNews.com, we appreciate the candidates that took the time for thoughtful responses to inform and possibly serve the public. 

Early voting has begun, get to know your candidate and come on down to the county building and vote early and let your voice be heard.

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CAlamogordoTownNews.com Political Candidates David Greenwald & Stephanie DuBois Q & A Responses & Financial

The Democratic primary race between David Herny Greenwald and Stephanie Louise DuBois for the 2nd District County Commission primary is neck to neck in the fundraising race with Mr. Greenwald slightly ahead of Mrs. DuBois. Links to their most recent filings are below, followed by responses to the Q & A survey of questions from AlamogordoTownNews.com

David Henry Greenwald 2nd District County Commission Seat Candidate

  • Largest Cash Contribution: Karen Lecomte $300, Christopher Jones $250, James Neely $200 (Local)
  • Gary Stallings, $250 (Out of County)
  • Loans to Campaign: 0
  • In Kind: 0
  • Total funds raised as of reporting period: $1722.54
  • Ending Balance as of reporting period: 1418.17

Stephanie Louise DuBois 2nd District County Commission Seat Candidate

  • Largest Cash Contribution: Debra Holland $250, Denise Lang Brown $200, Self $100 (local donors),
  • Robert Lara $100, Elizabeth Stefanics $100, Linda Siegle $100 (Out of County Donors)
  • Loans to Campaign: 0
  • In Kind: 0 
  • Total funds raised as of reporting period: $1495
  • Ending Balance as of reporting period: $747

Candidate Questionnaire Otero/Alamogordo Primary Elections between candidates David Henry Greenwald and Stephanie Louise DuBois

Note in an email dated 4/4/2022 Ms. DuBois emailed that she would “rather not participate” in the questionnaire.  What follows is the responses from candidate Greenwald…

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Provide a brief biography of your governing and business experience.

David Henry Greenwald 2nd District County Commission Seat Candidate response: 

Education: B.A., University of Northern Colorado, Anthropology and Archaeology; Northern Arizona University, Graduate Studies in Archaeology and Cultural Resource Management.

Background: I was raised on a ranch in Wyoming and developed a deep and abiding respect for the land. That early experience as well as a lifetime dedicated to cultural and natural resource management has allowed me to understand the concerns of those who rely on the land and its water resources. I admire and respect those who make their livelihood from the land: farmers, ranchers, foresters, outfitters and others who respect and retain an understanding of sound management practices. For more than 48 years as an archaeologist, I have consulted with conservationists, tribal governments, environmentalists, ecologists, and land managers, seeking methods to achieving mutually acceptable solutions. 

My wife, Dawn, and I were business owners for 17 years in Otero County before retiring here. For the past 9 years, I have served in a volunteer role as President of Jornada Research Institute, centered in District 2 of Otero County. I am heavily involved in eco-tourism in Otero and Lincoln counties, which is focused on engaging all ages of the public through involvement, study, and protection of cultural and natural resources. I consider myself a practical conservationist owing much to my conservative upbringing in Wyoming. I understand the need for sensible management applications to maintain environmental sustainability. I currently serve as President of Jornada Research Institute, a 501 – C – 3 not-for-profit educational and research organization. I am also a board member of the Tularosa Arts and History Council and a trustee of the Archaeological Society of New Mexico.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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. If your office is judicial, please explain your judicial policies or view from the bench.

David Henry Greenwald Response: I have not held office previously.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: What piece of legislation or ordinance have you passed that you are proudest off? If Judicial what ruling had the greatest impact on you when making it and why?

David Henry Greenwald Response: I have not held office previously, thus not applicable.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com:  Why are you running for office?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “To try to make a difference. I’m born of conservative roots and believe in holding the line on spending while attempting to improve the job market and promote opportunities for residents of Otero County. We need to bring more jobs to this area to keep younger residents here and stop the “brain drain.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com:  What is your vision for the office you seek

David Henry Greenwald Response: “To bring back some normalcy to Otero County, reduce or eliminate wasteful spending on audits and unnecessary consultant fees. I hope to provide some level of rationale thought and behavior, and work to improve services, roads, and facilities for all Otero residents.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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

David Henry Greenwald Response: That I have helped to improve county management and services, better relations among Otero County residents, and helped bring new businesses to the area.

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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?

David Henry Greenwald Response: May 10, 2022

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Applying the Main Street revitalization program offers a community to draw businesses and people together. Efforts in the Alamogordo downtown district can benefit from applications and strategies offered by programs such as Main Street America, where grants can be obtained to help business owners or help businesses locate in downtown area. Alamogordo is unique in its Mid-America and Pueblo Revival architecture. Although I don’t have experience with programs like Main Street America, I have a keen interest in historic preservation. When the Plaza Pub was being threatened by the proposed construction of a CVS store, I went before the Alamogordo City Council and gave a presentation on why the Plaza Pub building should be preserved and repurposed. In that presentation I provided a similar type of project in Phoenix, Arizona, that I was involved that had a church of significance to the surrounding community that was slated to be destroyed as part of an urban redevelopment project. The parties involved found a way to develop around the church and make it part of that redevelopment area, satisfying the objections of the local residents. It is buildings such as the Plaza Pub (now the Tularosa Basin Historical Museum) that so many affiliate with Alamogordo. 

Another example has been the recent National Register of Historic Places nomination that I was a major contributor to for the Tularosa Acequia System. Although the Village of Tularosa has been listed as a District with various contributing buildings, the acequia system was not specifically identified. In 2019, I was part of a team who completed the complex nomination of the acequia system, which is now being recommended by the State Historic Preservation Office as the standard guide for future acequia nominations.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Probably one of the championship football games at Tularosa High School.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Not applicable”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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

David Henry Greenwald Response: “I did a presentation and shared a film on the history of Fort Craig and the looting of military and civilian graves that took place from the 1960s well into the 1990s. The name of the film was Helluva Way To Treat A Soldier, produced by the Bureau of Reclamation. Looters were searching for military items to sell on the black market. We were tasked by the Bureau of Reclamation to fully excavation the cemetery to recover the remains of those who were buried there but were being desecrated by profiteers and antiquity collectors, and attempt to identify them. The remains of all 65 individuals are now buried at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Largely, my focus has been on eco-tourism, creating opportunities that involve public programs as educational venues that teach all age categories about our natural and cultural resources. These programs teach participants about the value the resources provide and what we can learn from studying them, about how the past was and how we may be able to use that knowledge to better the present, and the need to respect our natural and cultural resources so future generations can learn from and enjoy them . 

Recently, we had Alamogordo middle school students participate in an excavation program to teach them about archaeology methods and techniques. Except during Covid, this has been a reoccurring program, one that the students get to experience the outdoors and actual excavating of prehistoric remains.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Although I have not been involved in any efforts up to this time to correct this situation, I have been attempting to find a solution that may help reduce the number of such abandoned homes and derelict businesses. Perhaps an incentive program could be developed that provided funds to such owners to clean up their property or remove unsightly accumulations of debris. The incentive program would provide funds to the owners rather than pay a clean-up crew to do the work. This approach could save the county considerable revenues, while the owner’s costs would be covered. This program needs some development, but it would likely place the burden on the owners through incentives.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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

David Henry Greenwald Response: “No activity. I think there should be an organized committee at the county level that welcomes new businesses to the area, shares information about the new business to the area with the public and promote its services and products. This was a disappointment to me when we created the non-profit that I operate, with very little interest shown toward what we were attempting to do. A few in the community have been very supportive, but we’ve felt little support since the inception in 2013. This needs to change with an interest in all businesses to see that they are successful and remain a viable part of the greater community.

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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.

David Henry Greenwald Response: “All businesses are important to the community, whether they are owned and operated by an individual or a large corporation. I would like to see greater use of historic buildings and buildings repurposed rather than new construction that lends itself to urban sprawl. The community should focus on heightened use of the downtown zone where more activities associated with the arts, music and culture could be shared with residents and visitors to the area.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Absolutely. Music, art and cultural diversity are a reflection of ourselves. The more robust and greater the variety, the more representative it is of our diverse heritage. When we experience the arts and culture of other nationalities, we gain a better understanding of people who may look different than ourselves but share the same life hardships and accomplishments. Art and music transcend ethnic and cultural boundaries. I was instrumental in bringing the Los Rondas de Cifuentes to Tularosa from Guadalajara, Spain to perform traditional music and songs from Spain with hand-made instruments at St. Francis de Paula church just prior to Christmas in 2019.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “No activity.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: How are you funding your campaign?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Privately with donations.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Absolutely.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Yes, assuming it doesn’t conflict with a previous event.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Yes, I would like to see more cultural activities offered in our area.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

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

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Alamogordo’s setting. It is located in what was a very active cultural area during prehistoric times. However, very little formal research and documentation has been completed on its prehistoric occupants, how they lived, the various resources they used to feed themselves, or how extensively they used the land and resources available to them. Alamogordo offers prime opportunities for eco-tourism if developed in tandem with BLM and the USFS.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Can you work in a bi-partisan manner with the majority party to drive more state and federal funding into redevelopment and jobs creation into the district?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “I feel that I can. Much can be gained from negotiation and compromise as I learned during my professional career that required finding reasonable solutions to complicated needs with a fixed amount of funds available.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

AlamogordoTownNews.com: Rather a judicial candidate or other candidate what can you do in your role to help solve the issue of homelessness and mental health patients on the streets of Alamogordo?

David Henry Greenwald Response: “Lacking prior experience in such social matters, I would likely attempt to provide a reliable shelter where individuals in need could turn for help. Perhaps this could be a community-wide service supported by public, private, civic organizations and churches with an emphasis to shelter and house those in need.”

Stephanie Louise DuBois – No Response

At AlamogordoTownNews.com, we appreciate the candidates that took the time for thoughtful responses to inform and possibly serve the public. Early voting has begun, get to know your candidate and come on down to the county building and vote early and let your voice be heard.

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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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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 The Couy Griffin Interview – France, The Recall and Dark Days…

AlamogordoTownNews.com The Couy Griffin Interview…

AlamogordoTownNews.com as a community citizen-based publication is actively engaged in digging deeper into stories, business interests and the movers and shakers of the Alamogordo community via in depth researched coverage and dialog rather than the lightweight coverage of the local corporate owned news entities.

AlamogordoTownNews.com attempts to hear and publish different sides of issues and to ensure a diverse population of voices are heard. As such we will report a variety of viewpoints, some we agree with, some we find distasteful. We will always attempt to present facts and we will limit perceived propaganda and if facts are in question, we will question them. Individuals in the public domain of politics and entertainment that live a very public life have a higher standard of what is perceived as slanderous against them and many times at the local political level that is a lesson not at first understood nor recognized.

 Fact based; science-based reality checked dialog is the foundation of our reporting on hard stories. Political stories can at times get shaded with opinion of those being interviewed. In this interview we have attempted to be unbiased and fair in allowing Mr. Griffin an open platform and quoting him verbatim without edit excepting for a few grammatical edits in punctuation.

 We have published many articles related to the recall effort of Couy Griffin that have been presented by the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin and others via its variety of spokespersons, directly affiliated and not affiliated with the effort.

As such the editorial board of the AlamogordoTownNews.com site felt it appropriate to reach out to Mr. Griffin and get his thoughts concerning the recall, but equally important we have presented the question to many local political leaders of, what they have done while in office to improve the lives of the people they represent?

As we enter the municipal elections period, we will press those elected and those seeking elected office on what, if anything, they have accomplished to better the lives of their constituents. We want hard concrete facts not talking points to present to the electorate. We will not always get them as that is the nature of political dialog.

What have they achieved that benefits the citizens, the business community, the level of education and poverty in the area? Those are the hard questions each voter should ask prior to casting a vote. Few elected leaders like these questions when pressed. Accountability of local political leaders seems to be lacking by a complacent citizenry within Alamogordo and Otero County when looking at low voter turnout in relation to local elections.

One gets the government one deserves by participation, and one does indeed get the government one deserves by a lack of participation. Those at the table do indeed decide, as Chez Sanchez reminds Otero County Citizens in his blog posts, and that principle we do indeed, agree.

Otero County seems to have one party that is driving the dialog and much of that dialog seems to be driven from extreme positions within that party, from the mask mandate in public schools to overall public health and immigration; the alternative parties and independent point of view is missing in much public dialog and debate within Otero County. Are there other voices and other active parties? If so lets hear from them on the many issues before the city and county.

The silent majority of Alamogordo and Otero County voters are just that, mostly silent, and as such the evolution and election of individuals such as Congresswoman Yvette Herrell and the election of the commissioner Couy Griffin is the result of that silence and complacency by those in the silent middle or those more moderate in thinking within all parties.

The perception by the public of extremist positions, controversial rants, and allegations of mishandling the public trust is what appears to have led to the recall effort of Couy Griffin.

Mr. Griffin has been controversial at best, some would say damaging to the reputation of the county at worst.

That is not for us to decide within the context of this article. The context of this article is to hear from Couy Griffin himself and then as the recall effort proceeds, you, the educated and informed voter within his district will decide his outcome and the outcome of the future of the Otero County politics of the future.

This recall effort is historic for the county and eyes all over New Mexico and the nation are watching this effort. Mr. Griffin is certainly feeling pressure based upon our dialog with him. What proceeds is a series of questions and his response to each.

 We offer no opinion but just present the dialog and you the reader can consider the responses…

The Couy Griffin Interview of August 7, 2021…

We began the dialog with Mr. Griffin in wanting to know a bit about his past and his time in France. How did he end up there and did he enjoy his life there, and then we proceeded into his role as an elected official, Cowboys for Trump, and the recall?

AlamogordTownNews.com – How long did you live in France and how did you end up there?

Couy Griffin Response – “I attended Cochise College in Douglas Arizona. I won the region in bull riding competition as a freshman and competed at the college national finals at Bozeman, Montana. I moved to Paris in 98’ and returned to the states in 2003.

AlamogordoTownNews.com – It sounds exotic for a cowboy from New Mexico to end up in France. Tell us about your history and how you ended up in France working at Disney?

Couy Griffin Response – “I attended college on a rodeo scholarship where I competed as a bull rider.  I went to school with a friend who grew up on the Navajo Reservation and saw an ad where they were looking for Native American Indians to perform in the show.  He responded, was hired, and plugged me to the casting director to play the role of a cowboy in the show.

 It was an amazing experience and truly a world class show.  It was a scripted show that starred Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull and Cowboys and Indians from across the states.  My roles were trick riding, trick roping, driving the stagecoach and a little bit of acting.  

The show was very well received by the European guests.  There were two shows a night that seated around 1.200 people a show where the guests enjoyed a full BBQ Menu and all the beer they cared to drink.  It was a world class show on every front.

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Did you enjoy the life overseas?

Couy Griffin Response – “I truly enjoyed living in Paris.  I bought a condo just near the golf course and had a wonderful group of the most diverse friends a person could have.  Friends from all over the world.  I was able to travel to most of the Western European countries and was truly blessed to see more of the world.  During the end of my stay, it got a little harder to live in France with the political tension between France, the US, and the mess in Iraq.  All the French media could do is talk about “the cowboy” George W. Bush.  And with me being an actual cowboy living in Paris you could imagine the negative attention and environment I sometimes landed in. “ 

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Would you do it again?  

Couy Griffin Response – “I would absolutely love to be involved in another type of Wild West show again one day.  I created and produced a few shows after moving back to the states.  One of which was here in Alamogordo at the Otero County Fair.  I have tremendous confidence in my ability to produce a show, but I lack in the financial backing and organizational ability to actually put one on.  There is so much that goes into production but Lord willing and by God’s grace I hope that one day it will happen.  To answer your question “if I’d go back” I’d say no.  I’d rather take my talent and the learned experience and move forward but I’d definitely love to be involved again one day.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com How are you personally impacted by the recall effort? 

Couy Griffin Response – “This recall effort has been by far one of the most difficult seasons in my life.  The reason being is because I have fallen victim to the lies and slander propagated by those involved as well as the local media who give them their platform.  When I drive thru town with my 6-year-old son and see the signs and booths set up promoting this recall it just makes me feel horrible.  With my social media being shut down I now have no platform to defend myself against these lies.  In today’s world you can be tried, convicted, and sentenced thru social media and local media without being given any kind of right to respond. 

 When my hearing was scheduled to address the allegations in this recall the state of NM scheduled this hearing on the same day of my monthly commission meeting.  I was faced with either attending the commission meeting and upholding my oath to office or going to defend myself against the recall.  I filed a motion of continuance stating that my right to due process was being infringed upon and the District Judge Manuel Arrieta (a Bill Richardson appointed judge) denied that motion.  Therefore, they had this hearing to decide my fate without me being present. The allegations for recall and my defense are such:

  1.  Fails to properly attend meetings.    This accusation stems from me attending 4 county commission meetings telephonically.  This is a common practice in Otero County and has been accepted for years.  Out of the 4 meetings I telephonically attended 2 of them were because of the quarantine restrictions which disallowed me to attend.  So technically I only attended 2 meetings which I could have been physically present for but due to being out of town I called in and attended.  The previous District 2 Commissioner Susan Flores telephonically called into 8 commission meetings during her last 4-year tenure in office.  That is over twice as many even with the meetings I couldn’t attend because of quarantine restrictions.
  2. Banishment from the Mescalero Apache Reservation.     This happened because I traveled onto the Mescalero Apache Reservation and met with a tribal member named Chris Valdez who couldn’t get the tribe to help him with medical treatment from a work-related accident.  While meeting with Chris we spoke about the recent Covid money the tribe had received and where that money had been spent.  Upon publicly requesting an audit to make sure that money was getting to the people of Mescalero it wasn’t long after that tribal president Gabe Aquilar banished me from the reservation.  All the while he is driving a brand-new Ford Expedition while many of the people he is elected to represent are living in very destitute conditions.
  3. Use of County Resources for Cowboys for Trump.  This stems from using my office to record videos.  All I did was record videos with my phone while in my office.  Since being elected to this office I have spent less of the county money in reimbursements than any of my fellow commissioners.  To date I have spent $397 in travel expenses.  My fellow commissioner Gerald Matherley has spent over twice as much as I have, and we took office at the same time.  Previous District 2 Commissioner Susan Flores spent over $8,600 dollars in travel expenses during her last term as county commissioner in this same office.  I have been extremely careful and frugal while being in office.  Yet I have been to Washington DC countless times fighting against the federal overreach on the citizens of Otero County.  All the way to the Oval Office with a personal, one on one meeting with the President.  And President Trump has never recognized Cowboys for Trump or me being a part of Cowboys for Trump.  Every time I have spoken to the President, Vice President, or heads of the United Sates Agricultural Dept they have always and only recognized me as Commissioner Griffin.
  4. Filing improper travel voucher, failing to exercise proper fiduciary responsibility.    I filled this travel voucher out under the direct advisement of the county secretary Sylvia Tilbrook as well as County Manager Pamela Heltner.  I had never filled a travel voucher out before and they are the ones that got me the paperwork and stepped me thru how to fill it out.  This voucher was then approved by the finance director Julliane Hall as well as County Manager Pamela Heltner.  I had absolutely no idea there was any problem with this voucher nor did my fellow commissioners when former commissioner Lori Bies as well as Gerald Matherley both voted to approve this voucher in a regularly scheduled meeting.  The amount of the voucher turned out to be more than my budget would allow so both commissioners voted to raise my budget allowance to cover this “improper voucher” which now I’m the one taking the heat on.
  5. Violation of the Gift Act by soliciting and accepting $3,500 from a restricted donor.     I’m not sure if it was $3,500 or $3,400 but I know that G.B. Oliver from the Chamber of Commerce “passed the hat” to local business owners to help me raise this money.  The money was only raised to help pay the county back for the illegal travel voucher that they issued.  This money that was raised was raised for Otero County.  As soon as the full amount was raised, I took this cash money in an envelope, got a money order from Well Fargo, and paid the county back the full amount for the travel voucher.  Only trying to do the right thing.  That is to make a wrong a right.  I also first checked with our County Attorney Michael Eshelman who advised me there was no problem in raising this money to pay the county back. 

That is in a nutshell my response to these allegations.  A response that the state of NM and District Judge Manuel Arrietta did not allow me the opportunity.  If I would have been able to attend this hearing, I don’t believe the recall would have been allowed to move forward and I wouldn’t be going thru what I’m going thru right now.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – What 3 accomplishments have you done as a commissioner that you are proudest of?  

Couy Griffin Response – This is a tough question because the so many issues I have fought for have been such huge battles. 

    1. I was able to address the serious conditions of our local forests directly with the President.  On my first conversation with the President, I asked him if he knew where Cloudcroft New Mexico is.  He replied no and I told him that he would know exactly where it was if the forest surrounding it were to catch on fire.  The President then networked me with Undersecretary of Agriculture Jim Hubbard who oversees all the national forests across America.  I had a commitment from Undersecretary Hubbard to bring his whole staff to Otero County and while we were organizing the trip Covid hit.  This completely shut his office down and hampered his efforts.

     2.  I stood alongside our local sheriff David Black as well as the N.M. Sheriffs Association in defending against the red flag gun laws.  I travelled the state and spoke strongly inside our county to push back against these unconstitutional laws.

     3.  I was the only elected official to question the Governor in Santa Teresa NM when she said there was no crisis on our southern border.  I advocated strongly for our local border patrol and fought hard to get our secondary checkpoints back open when the crisis on the border forced them to close.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com –What have you done as a commissioner to bring jobs to the district? 

Couy Griffin Response – “Bringing jobs to Otero County was one of my main focusses while entering into this office and is still a focus today.  The jobs that I fought for are the jobs that have always sustained our local economy.  That is logging and sawmilling, oil and gas, and the ranching industry.  That is why I spent so much time in Washington and focused so heavily on creating a strong relationship with President Trump.  These jobs which include natural resources on federal land could only be fought for on the federal level.  I fought and attained a verbal commitment from President Trump that in his words he was going to “fix my problem”.  I truly felt that our problems were going to be fixed during his second tenure in office but with the outcome of the speculative election it has been a great defeat.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – What have you done to lower the poverty rates and improve the graduation and literacy rates in your district since elected?

Couy Griffin Response – “I believe I have fought for those problems non-stop over the last 3 years while being in office.  The reason being is because with a stronger private sector and less dependance on the government those problems will fix themselves.  When you have a society that is solely dependent on federal money you have destitution on every front.  If we could have gotten our logging and sawmilling industries on their feet, it would have provided jobs in the private sector and given people a hope for growth and prosperity moving forward into the future.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – What have you personally done to attack the blight of abandoned properties and properties that are eyesores of junk in your district? 

Couy Griffin Response – “I just received a call and drove by one of these properties yesterday.  It is so hard to get these types of properties cleaned up with current state laws that are on the books.  I have encouraged our state representative Rachel Black to investigate getting whatever legislation we need thru the state house to address this horrible problem.  I have also visited with the property manager of Eileen Acres as well as brainstormed with property owners from this development about what options may be available.  I have expressed a commitment to do anything in my power as a commissioner to clean up abandon buildings and trailer houses throughout the county, but we really need cooperation from the state and that is still to be determined.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Have you officially announced a run for sheriff in the other county?  

Couy Griffin Response – “No I have not.  But I have entertained the thought and have spoken about it publicly.  With the current political state in our country, I feel the office of Sheriff is the most important and powerful political position in the county.  If we must make a strong stand one day in our country, it will need to be done thru the office of Sheriff and I feel I have the intestinal fortitude and would be willing to lead that charge.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – If you are running for sheriff why are you holding on to the commission position as it would appear your heart is more into the role of a sheriff?  

Couy Griffin Response – “I’m not running for sheriff, at this time anyway.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Can a sheriff hold office if you were elected while having a federal indictment pending?  

Couy Griffin Response – “I am currently facing a misdemeanor trespass charge and one that I don’t believe is fair or just.  So, we will just see where that ball lands.  I did nothing violent or anything that I have any conviction over that was wrong on Jan 6th.  I simply stood alongside fellow Americans to protest what I believe were fraudulent elections.  And did so under the guise that we were still a free country and still had a Constitutional Right to do so.

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you believe former president Trump turned on you when he distanced himself from Cowboys for Trump?  

Couy Griffin Response – “Former President Trump never distanced himself from Cowboys for Trump.  That was a “Fake News” headline.  If you believe he distanced himself from Cowboys for Trump, where did you come to that conclusion from?  President Trump has never even publicly recognized Cowboys for Trump.  The different times President Trump recognized me, Couy Griffin, was only as an Otero County Commissioner.  That is the representation that I brought Otero County.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – What benefit did the association of Cowboys for Trump bring to Otero County?

Couy Griffin Response – “It helped me to build a relationship with the former President.  By me starting and operating Cowboys for Trump it allowed me the opportunity to speak to him about issues directly affecting the great people of Otero County.  You could view Cowboys for Trump as a type of “non-paid” lobbying group for Otero County that worked itself all the way into the Oval Office and gained direct attention from the President of the United States.  That was an accomplishment.  And all my reward has been an unjust and uncalled for recall election with my name smeared daily on social media and mainstream media.  But the reward that I work for is not of this world but a world to come.  And the only one that matters at the end of the day is God and praise be to Jesus God knows my heart and knows why I do what I do.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you feel the political establishment in Otero County, the state or the Republican Party has turned or distanced themselves from you? 

Couy Griffin Response – “I have been very let down not necessarily by the state party but by the chairman Steve Pearce.  Only days after the event of January 6th Steve issued an official public statement off the state party platform that said “Couy Griffin travelled to Washington DC to lead the protests and riots”.  This was a flat out lie and a very slanderous attack.  Steve to this day has not retracted that statement nor apologized for it.  So, in saying that I have absolutely no respect for Steve Pearce.  And to this day wonder how you can lose the Governor’s race and when you do you are rewarded with the position of chair of the Republican Party??  Steve is a multi-millionaire that knows his way all too well around Washington DC.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com – Why do you think a bipartisan recall committee was formed and any feelings towards those individuals or party officials?  

Couy Griffin Response – “In my opinion “bi-partisan” has really lost its edge and its meaning.  I say that because many Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats and vice versa.  Most are just bar certified attorneys who pick an R or D to fight for but at the end of the day they sleep in the same bed of corruption.  All the legislation coming out of our state and federal houses only give more grounds for attorneys to sue.  Alas creating more work for most of these agenda driven scum bags.  Take Brian Egolf for example. He is the ringleader and one of the biggest reasons New Mexico is so oppressed.  You put attorneys like Egolf and Jacob Candelaria in office and you are going to have a dysfunctional and self-serving government like we currently have in NM.  Civil Rights, Equal Rights, Transgender Rights………all this legislation does is provide more ground/standing for attorneys to sue but does nothing to help NM become more prosperous or successful.”

AlamogordoTownNews.com went back and forth with multiple emails for clarification and in dialog with Mr. Griffin. We concluded letting him know we were considering running two stories one as a more of a human interest and one of the more political Couy Griffin. He responded to that feedback requesting that we do one “story and that the man he was before he entered office is the man he is today.

Again AlamogordoTownNews.com is not issuing an opinion on the recall or of Mr. Griffins feedback from this interview process. We will leave that for the readers to determine. We do have some unanswered questions and will follow-up with Steve Pierce and others referenced via his comments in future stories of follow-up.

We will conclude this article with Mr. Griffin’s final statement to the AlamogordoTownNews.com site…

I’d rather not have the story laid out in a way on how such a nice guy could now be such a horrible domestic terrorist.  Of course, not accusing you of that’s the way it would be presented but I can promise you one thing.  I’m the same guy today as I was before if not more loving and more sacrificial today.  

Since entering office, I have done everything for the greater good and made huge sacrifices.  After my first trip to Washington when Cowboys for Trump was founded and branded and all the guys, I rode with came back to families awaiting their arrivals at the airport I came back to divorce papers on my kitchen table.  

I had to get completely out of the restaurant business because after the Alamogordo Daily News began their slanderous attacks my business was in the tank.  I have given all my personal time, finances, and energy to this cause.

 I’ve made some emotionally driven statements a couple times, only good Democrat…and black NFL football players who want to disrespect our flag and play something as RACIST as a “black national anthem” to go to Africa and play their football.  Both statements taken entirely out of context.  

The first statement I was only speaking figuratively and the second as a red blooded American.  If you don’t love it leave it. But the media will only cherry pick those two sound bites out of hundreds of speeches I’ve made.

 I’ve ONLY ever wanted to put America and the American People first.  I’ve wanted to protect our second amendment and protect the unborn.  And it’s too bad Democrats don’t care as much about dead babies as they do dead Democrats!!

I’ve written you candidly and honestly as I would a friend.  In trusting that you are decent though I’ve never met you.  That is the way I treat everyone.  With love and respect.  As I have learned to do as I work out my faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.

You can use anything I’ve told you to date.  Even this message right here.  All I ask is that you don’t twist my words or try to present me as someone I’m not.  I’m tired of the media. I’m tired of the liars and slanderers like Paul Sanchez, Scott Fredericks, and the rest of the recall committee.  

I have a little over a year left on my oath to the people who elected me and after that I will have done my service.

Politics is the most dirty, corrupt, and hateful world I have ever looked into.  And the only reason I fight the way I do is to try and do my part to protect our country and freedoms from those who want to destroy both.  I am financially broke and hang in the balance of an uncertain future.  But by God’s grace I will not be threatened, intimidated, and I damn sure won’t back down.

Sincerely,

Couy”

AlamogordoTownNew.com is publishing the interview notes directly as written by Mr. Griffin. We offer no commentary at this time but will allow comments, guest commentaries or feedback from any of our readers if they remain professional, stick to facts and do not engage in propaganda and distortions of facts nor personal attacks.

The comments from Mr. Griffin are his and his alone and he owns the commentary of which is published as a response to questions posed.

Now the readers and the voters of his district will decide his fate and that of the political agenda of Otero County as the recall effort moves forward. Mr. Griffin has approximately 1 year left in his term if the recall effort fails before he would face re-election if he so chose to run.

Supreme Court Upholds ADA for a 3rd Time

The Supreme Court on Thursday tossed out a closely watched legal battle targeting the Affordable Care Act, rescuing the landmark health care law from the latest efforts by Republican-led states to dismantle it.

The court ruled 7-2 that the red states and two individuals who brought the dispute do not have the legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of the law’s individual mandate to buy health insurance and ordered the case to be dismissed.

Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented. Justice Stephen Breyer delivered the majority opinion for the court.

As originally enacted in 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act required most Americans to obtain minimum essential health insurance coverage. The Act also imposed a monetary penalty, scaled according to in- come, upon individuals who failed to do so. In 2017, Con- gress effectively nullified the penalty by setting its amount at $0. See Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Pub. L. 115–97, §11081, 131 Stat. 2092 (codified in 26 U. S. C. §5000A(c)).

Texas and 17 other States brought this lawsuit against the United States and federal officials. They were later joined by two individuals (Neill Hurley and John Nantz). The plaintiffs claim that without the penalty the Act’s min- imum essential coverage requirement is unconstitutional.  The court concluded they had no standing. 

To read detail of the ruling visit

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/19-840_6jfm.pdf

Thursday’s 7-2 ruling was the third time the court has rebuffed major GOP challenges to former President Barack Obama’s prized health care overhaul. Stingingly for Republicans, the decision emerged from a bench dominated 6-3 by conservative-leaning justices, including three appointed by President Donald Trump.

“The Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land,” President Joe Biden said, using the statute’s more formal name, after the court ruled that Texas and other GOP-led states had no right to bring their lawsuit to federal court.

At the time of printing no statement has been released by the New Mexico Republican Party concerning the ruling. 

The lawsuit, initially fashioned as Texas v. United States, was filed in February 2018 by 20 Republican state attorneys general and Republican governors. The plaintiffs wanted to revisit National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius (NFIB), where the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, upheld the mandate as constitutional. In that decision from 2012, Chief Justice Roberts construed the mandate as a tax, concluding that it was valid under Congress’s authority to tax and spend.

The challenge in Texas is related. The plaintiffs argued that the individual mandate is unconstitutional after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, in which Congress set the penalty for not purchasing “minimum essential coverage” coverage to $0. That bill was adopted in December 2017 using the budget reconciliation process after Congress repeatedly tried and failed to repeal the ACA throughout 2017. Without the penalty, the plaintiffs argued, the mandate is unconstitutional. They further argued that the mandate is so essential to the ACA that it cannot be severed from the rest of the law, meaning the entire ACA should be struck down. At a minimum, they asked the court to strike down the law’s guaranteed issue and community rating provisions alongside the mandate.

The state plaintiffs were later joined by two individual plaintiffs who live in Texas and purchased unsubsidized marketplace coverage. These individuals objected to having to comply with the mandate but intended to purchase ACA-compliant coverage in 2019, even after the penalty was set to $0, because they wanted to follow the law. The individual plaintiffs were likely added to the lawsuit to bolster the states’ weak standing argument in the lawsuit—which we now know was to no avail.

Democratic state attorneys general from (initially) 16 states and the District of Columbia—led by then-California Attorney General (and now Department of Health and Human Services Secretary) Xavier Becerra—were allowed to intervene in the case to defend the ACA. These states sought to protect their interests in billions of dollars in federal funding under the ACA, to ensure that their residents have access to health care, and to prevent chaos in their health care systems if the ACA was found to be unconstitutional.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) partially agreedwith the plaintiffs and declined to defend the constitutionality of the mandate and other key ACA provisions. This was a highly unusual position: historically, the DOJ has defended federal statutes where a reasonable argument could be made in their defense. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions informed Congress of the DOJ’s position that the mandate was unconstitutional and that the ACA’s provisions on guaranteed issue, community rating, preexisting condition exclusions, and discrimination based on health status were inseverable and should also be invalidated. At that point, the DOJ had drawn the line there, arguing that the rest of the ACA was severable and should remain in effect.

In December 2018, Judge O’Connor, a federal judge in the Northern District of Texas, agreed with the plaintiffs and declared the entire ACA to be invalid. He reaffirmed this decision in late December when issuing a stay and partial final judgment. Many of district court’s legal conclusions, from standing to severability, were criticized by conservative legal scholars, the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and the National Review editorial board, among others. 

The Fifth Circuit

The DOJ and Democratic attorneys general appealed Judge O’Connor’s decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Democratic attorneys general from an additional four states and the U.S. House of Representatives were allowed to intervene to defend the ACA while two plaintiff states withdrew from the case. On appeal, the DOJ under then-Attorney General William Barr took the new position that the entire ACA should be declared invalid. From there, the DOJ changed its position twice more, suggesting first that the district court’s decision applied only to the plaintiff states and two individuals, and second that the court’s remedy should be limited only to the provisions that injured the individual plaintiffs.

After oral argument, the Fifth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, partially affirmed the district court, agreeing that the mandate is now unconstitutional. However, instead of determining what this meant for the rest of the ACA’s provisions, the court remanded the case for additional analysis on the question of severability. One judge disagreed with these conclusions and filed a lengthy dissent arguing that the plaintiffs lacked standing and that, in any event, the mandate remains constitutional and severable from the rest of the ACA. She opined that there was no need to remand, especially on severability.

At The Supreme Court New Mexico Joined The Argument the ACÁ Should Stay Intact

The Democratic attorneys general and the House appealed the Fifth Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court. They initially asked for expedited review, which was denied. However, the Court agreed to hear the appeal on a non-expedited basis and also granted a conditional cross-petition filed by Texas, which asked the Court to uphold the district court’s decision. By granting both petitions, the Court considered the full scope of legal issues in Texas—from whether the plaintiffs have standing to whether the rest of the law could be severed from the individual mandate.

During the briefing and oral argument, 18 Republican attorneys general and governors, two individuals, and the Trump administration argued against the validity of the ACA, which was defended by 21 Democratic attorneys general and the House. The 18 challenger states were Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia. The 21 intervenor states were California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington. Republican attorneys general in Montana and Ohio were not parties to the case but filed an amicus briefarguing that the mandate is unconstitutional but severable from the rest of the ACA. And a bipartisan group of governors from Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin filed a separate brief arguing that the ACA should be upheld. All but four states took a formal position in the lawsuit.

Briefing was completed in mid-August, and all filings are available here. Prior posts analyzed opening briefs from California and the House; amicus briefs from nearly 40 health care and other stakeholders; opening briefs from Texas, two individuals, and the Trump administration; amicus briefs from six organizations; reply briefsfrom California and the House; and reply briefsfrom Texas and the two individuals.

Oral Argument

Oral argument was held on November 10, 2020 by the full panel of judges, including then-newly seated Justice Amy Coney Barrett whom President Trump nominated after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (The Texas litigation and oral argument loomed large over Justice Barrett’s confirmation process in the Senate.) All three core issues of the litigation were discussed during oral argument: whether the plaintiffs had standing to sue, the continued constitutionality (or not) of the individual mandate, and whether the rest of the ACA could be severed if the mandate is unconstitutional.

As discussed here, much of the oral argument focused on standing. Many Justices seemed troubled that the penalty-less mandate could not be enforced against the plaintiffs and that invalidation of the mandate alone would not address their alleged injuries. Many also raised concerns about the “standing through inseverability” theory advanced by the plaintiffs and DOJ. These topics were key in the Court’s ultimate decision, discussed below.

Post-Oral Argument

Following the 2020 election, the Biden administration formally changed its position in the litigation. In early February, DOJ submitted a letter to inform the Court that it had reconsidered its position and no longer adhered to the conclusions in previously filed briefs. Upon reconsideration, DOJ’s new position was that the individual mandate, even with a $0 penalty, remained constitutional: The 2017 amendment to the ACA to reduce the penalty to zero “did not convert [the mandate] from a provision affording a constitutional choice into an unconstitutional mandate to maintain insurance.” DOJ’s argument echoed the briefs filed by California and the Housebut did not address standing at all.

It is worth noting that Congress enacted the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021. This new law expanded upon the ACA by temporarily enhancing marketplace subsidies for lower- and middle-income people through 2022. To the extent that the Court looked to subsequent congressional action, this would have showed that the current Congress believed the ACA remained sound and constitutional. 

New Mexico Health and Human Services Department estimated that over $1.7 billion in federal funding was at risk because if the Medicaid expansion went away, then that would have away too, and so underpinning all of the ACÁ is not just the coverage that people have. It’s also the money that comes into New Mexico from the Federal system.

There was also concern about people with preexisting conditions, which is a protection under the Affordable Care Act that prevents insurers from discriminating against those who have them. If it had been overturned those protections would have also gone away.

Yet serious problems remain.

Nearly 29 million Americans remained uninsured in 2019, and millions more likely lost coverage at least temporarily when the COVID-19 pandemic hit according to the Kaiser Foundation. In addition, medical costs continue to rise and even many covered by the law find their premiums and deductibles difficult to afford as inflation rises.

In response, Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package enacted in March expanded federal subsidies for health insurance premiums for those buying coverage. His infrastructure and jobs proposal being negotiated in Congress includes $200 billion toward making that permanent, instead of expiring in two years.

But his plan includes none of his more controversial campaign trail proposals to expand health care access, like creating a federally funded public health care option or letting Medicare directly negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. While those proposals are popular with Democratic voters, they face tough odds in a closely divided Congress.

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Alamogordo Town News History Lesson Flag Day, Flag Code and Old Glory by Author Chris Edwards

Bernard Cigrand, a small-town Wisconsin teacher, originated the idea for an annual flag day, to be celebrated across the country every June 14, in 1885. That year, he led his school in the first formal observance of the holiday. Cigrand, who later changed careers and practiced dentistry in Illinois, continued to promote his concept and advocate respect for the flag throughout his life.

But prior to that when the American Revolutionbroke out in 1775, the colonists weren’t fighting united under a single flag. Instead, most regiments participating in the war for independence against the British fought under their own flags. In June of 1775, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to create the Continental Army—a unified colonial fighting force—with the hopes of more organized battle against its colonial oppressors. This led to the creation of what was, essentially, the first “American” flag, the Continental Colors.

For some, this flag, which was comprised of 13 red and white alternating stripes and a Union Jack in the corner, was too similar to that of the British. George Washington soon realized that flying a flag that was even remotely close to the British flag was not a great confidence-builder for the revolutionary effort, so he turned his efforts towards creating a new symbol of freedom for the soon-to-be fledgling nation.

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress took a break from writing the Articles of Confederation and passed a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white,” and that “the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

In response to the petition, Congress passed the Flag Act of 1777. It reads in the Journals of the Continental Congress:

Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.

The date commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. The flag was called the Flag Resolution of 1777 and was the first of many iterations of what would become the American flag we recognize today.

Betsy Ross Didn’t Design the Original Flag

Betsy Ross, born Elizabeth Phoebe Griscom, is widely credited with making the first modern American flag in 1776. Folklore states it occurred after General George Washington visited her home at 239 Arch Street in Philadelphia. Ross was the wife of John Ross, a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Militia. John was killed in the early stages of the war. What is known is that Betsy Ross worked in upholstery and helped war efforts by making tents and blankets.

The story of Ross and her presenting the American flag to Washington after he gave her a sketch of what he wanted didn’t become part of “history” until 1876 at Centennial celebrations of the American Revolution. Around that year Ross’s grandson, William J. Canby, wrote a research paper for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania claiming that his grandmother had made the first American flag.

The real designer of the American flag was Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the the Declaration of Independence as a delegate from New Jersey. Hopkinson was the Chairman of the Continental Navy Board’s Middle Department and also designed a flag for them around 1777, too.

Hopkinson was the only person to make the claim of inventing the American flag in his lifetime until the Betsy Ross apocrypha surfaced a hundred years later. Substantiating Hopkinson’s claims are preserved bills he sent to Congress for his work.

According to the United States Flag Organization:

Apparently acting on a request from Congress, Hopkinson sent a detailed bill on June 6th, and it was sent to the auditor general, James Milligan. He sent it to the commissioners of the Chamber of Accounts, who replied six days later on June 12th that they were of the opinion that the charges were reasonable and ought to be paid.

Flag Day itself was first established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. Wilson was also the first president to recognize Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, the latter of which is this Sunday. However, Flag Day didn’t officially become established until 1949 by an act of Congress.

Flag Day is not unique to the United States and many countries have specific flag days. Dates of flag days vary across the world, but most dates were chosen to mark a significant national event like an independence day, a declaration of independence, an important military victory, the creation of the flag, or something similar to our Armed Forces Day.

Prior to Flag Day, June 14, 1923, neither the federal government nor the states had official guidelines governing the display of the United States’ flag. On that date, the National Flag Code was constructed by representatives of over 68 organizations, under the auspices of the National Americanism Commission of the American Legion. The code drafted by that conference was printed by the national organization of the American Legion and given nationwide distribution.

On June 22, 1942, the code became Public Law 77-623; chapter 435. Little had changed in the code since the Flag Day 1923 Conference. The most notable change was the removal of the Bellamy salutedue to its similarities to the Hitler salute.

The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 prohibits real estate management organizations from restricting homeowners from displaying the Flag of the United States on their own property.

The Army Specialist Greg L. Chambers Federal Flag Code Amendment Act of 2007 added a provision to allow governors, or the mayor of the District of Columbia, to proclaim that the flag be flown at half-staff upon the death of a member of the Armed Forces from any State, territory, or possession who died while serving on active duty. The provision directs federal facilities in the area covered by the governor or mayor of the District of Columbia to fly the flag at half-staff consistent with such proclamations.

The Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (Sec. 595.)allows the military salute for the flag during the national anthem by members of the Armed Forces not in uniform and by veterans.

And how it was to become named Old Glory

Old Glory!”

This famous name was coined by Captain William Driver, ship master of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1831. As he was leaving on one of his many voyages aboard the brig Charles Doggett friends presented him with a beautiful American flag of twenty four stars. As the banner opened to the ocean breeze for the first time, he exclaimed “Old Glory!” (This voyage would climax with the rescue of the mutineers of the Bounty).

Captain Driver retired to Nashville in 1837, taking his treasured American flag from his sea days with him. By the time the Civil War erupted, most everyone in and around Nashville recognized Captain Driver’s “Old Glory.” When Tennessee seceded from the Union, Rebels were determined to destroy his flag, but repeated searches revealed no trace of the hated banner.

Then on February 25th, 1862, Union forces captured Nashville and raised the American flag over the capital. It was a rather small ensign and immediately folks began asking Captain Driver if “Old Glory” still existed. Happy to have soldiers with him this time, Captain Driver went home and began ripping at the seams of his bed cover. As the stitches holding the quilt-top to the batting unraveled, the onlookers peered inside and saw the 24-starred original “Old Glory”!

Captain Driver gently gathered up the flag and returned with the soldiers to the capitol. Though he was sixty years old, the Captain climbed up to the tower to replace the smaller banner with his beloved flag. The Sixth Ohio Regiment cheered and saluted – and later adopted the nickname “Old Glory” as their own, telling and re-telling the story of Captain Driver’s devotion to the flag we still honor today.

Captain Driver’s grave is located in the old Nashville City Cemetery and is one of three (3) places authorized by act of Congress where the Flag of the United States may be flown 24 hours a day.

A caption above a faded black and white picture in the book, The Stars and the Stripes, states that ‘Old Glory’ may no longer be opened to be photographed, and no color photograph is available.” Visible in the photo in the lower right corner of the canton is an applique anchor, Captain Driver’s very personal note. “Old Glory” is the most illustrious of a number of flags – both Northern and Confederate – reputed to have been similarly hidden, then later revealed as times changed. The flag was given to his granddaughter or niece who later donated it to the Smithsonian.

So on this flag day rather you are celebrating in Alamogordo, Nashville or the beaches of California, let us remember no party and no ideology owns the American flag. The American flag is the people’s flag with a long history that is a twist of tales and reverence. 

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Bill Swartz Crossing America for Charity Stops By Roadrunner Emporium & Fine Arts Gallery, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico

Dateline: Alamogordo, New Mexico, June 8, 2021

In case you missed the jovial guy on a bike zipping around Alamogordo yesterday, you missed a man of commitment and compassion.

Meet Mike Swartz. While some people have sat back and complained during this dark period of Covid-19 and the new awakening as we come out of it, there are some individuals that didn’t just sit back in self pity but some individuals set a goal and a path forward to help the greater good of their community and followed through on that path forward in enlightenment and action.A view of Bill Swartz journey 

Mike Swartz is one of those individuals. He is bicycling across America from Harbor New Jersey to San Diego to raise awareness and funds for charity.  His solo ride of about 4000 miles in total down the east coast and across the country is to raise money for Bell Socialization Services which began in 1966 as “The Bell Club,” a social gathering for people being discharged from local psychiatric hospitals into the greater York, PA community.  Created with support of the York chapter of Mental Health America and a financial donation from the York Jaycees, early Bell programs included meals and activities hosted by churches and organizations such as the Catholic Women’s Club, the Jewish War Veteran’s Auxilliary, the Jaycees Wives, etc., as well as dances, presentations, and outings.

The organization then engaged to enrich mental health services, in 1977, programs were also added to assist individuals with intellectual disabilities , and in 1986, the agency added shelter services to meet the needs of York County’s homeless families.

Over the years Bell services continued to evolve and expand and, today, about 2,500 people are served each year through dozens of programs offering an array of housing and basic living supports, guided by our Vision, Mission, & Values. Many Bell programs are licensed and/or accredited to meet strict standards of quality care. With more than 50 properties throughout York and Adams counties, people using Bell services are an integral part of the greater community.

You can follow along the remaining parts of Mr. Swartz journey and read his commentary and blog over his encounters along the way ata variety of social media pages which are  devoted to this bicycle ride. ‍ You’ll see photos, video clips and stories about my experiences and the interesting folks I meet as I bicycle across America.
* FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/coasttocoastbicycleride/
* INSTAGRAM: @billswartz3
* WEBSITE for this COASTtoCOASTbicycleride: www.thisclearbluesky.com

We were fortunate to meet this jovial man at Roadrunner Emporium on New York Avenue yesterday. He explained his journey and his passion and moved us with his experiences.

Mr Swartz said he was attracted to the street and to come into Roadrunner Emporium as he heard John a Lennon’s famous “Imagine” being coming from the Emporium and he knew from that inspiring sound he had to check out the Emporium and the historic New York Avenue. Proving once again “music unites us.”Artist Dalia Lopez Halloway and Author Chris Edwards Photographed by Bill Swartz on His Journey

His journey reminds us all that there are good people out there, not just sitting back but taking action from the darkness to bring light to causes and issues that are important to the community and the nation at large.

Humanity is out there if we just keep our eyes open and look for it. Good luck Mr. Swartz.

And to make a donation to the charity follow the link attached:

https://gofund.me/5b660142

To learn more about the charity he is supporting visit:

https://bellsocialization.com/aboutbell/

To see a FOX News Clip on his journey visit The Fox 43 TV news  affiliates video clip that gives a good overview of this coast to coast bicycle ride fundraiser and the charity for which I’m riding:

https://www.fox43.com/mobile/article/news/local/york-county-man-biking-across-the-country-to-raise-money-for-bell-socialization/521-0da649dc-48bb-4053-a4c2-7dde9b59e747?fbclid=IwAR2XGpbTP1JN_RCTKU3wJLQ2VorxOqTvSRc3x8EIwn98XCMLIuTqHD9Q6

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Alamogordo Town News Investigates: Why do homeowners have to pay for repairs to sewer connections that are in the city street and not the city?

Dear Mayor Richard Boss and Susan Payne District 3 City Commissioner and member of the Commission,

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/31293/alamogordo-town-news-investigates-why-do-homeowners-have-pay-repairs-sewer

We are writing this letter as one of several concerned citizens who have experienced damage to their water or sewer pipes or foundation damage as a result of actions by the City of Alamogordo and the contractors working on the McKinley Channel Project. The City of Alamogordo Department of Public Works has notified homeowners that they must repair the damaged sewer pipes connecting into their homes but that are in the public street beyond the sidewalk due to street damage that was caused by the McKinley Channel Project large equipment mismanagement under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Alamogordo.

Throughout the project over the last several months the streets adjacent to the project and homes adjacent to the project have suffered damages due to the rumblings, shaking and use of the heavy equipment used for this project.

While the citizens of the streets of Juniper and McKinley are appreciative, that after so many years, the city finally found funding for this important Channel Project. However, that project that benefits the city in whole, should not be done at the peril of the residence of Juniper and McKinley Avenues without consequences.

Several homeowners had complained to no avail until the last 2 weeks about the heavy equipment damaging the foundations of the homes when the equipment was running along the McKinley alley way. Primarily the weight of the industrial size earth dump truck. When driving along the ditch its vibrations were significant enough to cause considerable cracking to the foundations of multiple homes. See photo below as example 1 of damages caused by use of equipment from this project.

Under the stress of normal circumstances with natural earth vibrations one would agree with that thinking however this is not normal circumstances. The streets of Juniper and McKinley have been bombarded with extreme vibrations by heavy industrial grade earth moving equipment for months and these continued vibrations have caused unwarranted extra stress on these properties resulting in damages that the homeowners are having to cover and insurance refuses to cover.

The heavy dirt dump trucks were going up and down Juniper Drive and causing significant damage to that street. A local plumber reported multiple homes on that street had called him out for street repairs to their plumbing connections that all began during the time the dump trucks were driving up and down Juniper and the homeowners were forced by the city to pay for the repairs as the damage was on the streets at the connection points to the sewers and water mains. When asked why they must pay for damages of which they did not create they were told it was city code by city personnel.

City personnel also reported that they, “don’t believe the homeowner should be responsible once the line is in the street or sidewalk which is public domain but that their hands were tied. They claimed they have reported the issue many times to department heads and the commissioners, and they were told the code is the code and the person is liable.” What is most alarming is that not only did the residents NOT create this issue, but they were also forced to absorb the expense and Alamogordo is one of few cities in the state of New Mexico that forces homeowners to pay for damage to piping and connections from the sidewalk to the street, why?

A city worker also reported that, “the city is aware of the issue and the contractor and FEMA was actually compensating the city to repair the pavement that has been cracked and destroyed on Juniper Drive as a result of this heavy equipment. So here we have a real concern that raises a question of corrupt intent? The city is aware of the issue but has kept it quiet in admitting that the issue exists. The city forced homeowners on Juniper do conduct repairs to piping and infrastructure on public lands, yet the city was paid off or is in the process of being paid off for damages on Juniper. Is the city then going to reimburse those homeowners for “out of pocket expenses” or has the city enriched itself with this “payoff” and not reimbursed the homeowners? The homeowners who are out of pocket deserve answers.

NOW COMES MCKINLEY AVENUE, the giant earth moving dump trucks have been driving up and down McKinley for the past month and guess what? McKinley Avenue is now cracking even after being newly paved just 2 years ago…

The typical residential road in a small town of less than 50,000 residence costs on average $1.5 Million per mile to properly pave and that residential road should have a life of 30 years.  McKinley Avenue was repaved just 2 years ago and should not be seeing the cracking that is now showing up. That cracking was however a direct result of heavy equipment from the McKinley Channel Project.

Per the Institute of Urban and Regional Planning, University of California at Berkeley there are specific weight limits in place for what a typical residential road can handle verses a main through fare and a US interstate. Obviously the later has heavy weight limits and most residential roads are not designed for repeated use by heavy machinery such as the industrial dump trucks carrying dirt for the McKinley Channel Project. In a nutshell, McKinley or Juniper were not designed for the month of heavy industrial traffic that has been going up and down the roads. As such the vibrations and weight has cracked the roads and has cracked the sewer pipes and water pipes in the roads going into the homes.

The construction company admitted as such these past few weeks to some homeowners and then came in and fixed the issue at their expense not the homeowner on 5 damaged residences this past week. While we are happy, they did, the question remains what happens to those homeowners where the issue may not be immediately apparent, and the issue pops up over the next year as a result of the recent damage? The construction company said when they are gone, they will no longer accept responsibility.

Photos of damage and recent repairs during May on McKinley Avenue.

In any other city in New Mexico, the city would assume responsibility as the connector to the sewer city is beyond the sidewalk in the street and in most cities in New Mexico the city assumes responsibility for those connections. The City of Alamogordo’s Public Works Department however notified several residences that the city is NOT responsible, and that the homeowner is responsible no matter where the connection to the sewer lies rather in middle of the road or nearer the homeowner’s property line. When the insurance companies were contacted several said they will NEVER pay a claim that is at the sidewalk to the street and that the city should be responsible and city code is contrary to that of almost every other city in the state.

In reviewing the city code for Alamogordo, it says the homeowner is responsible for repairs to the connection period and that liens are placed on homeowners’ properties for damages fixed by the city and not paid by the homeowner. So, in a nutshell, the city may allow damage and large oversized vehicles to trapse a residential road, that road may be damaged, and the damage may also happen to the homeowners piping and lead to their foundation. The city claims no responsibility and lands it with the homeowner. The city says the average fee is around $2,000.00 for these types of repairs that go into the sidewalk and city street. Alamogordo is the only known city that forces homeowners to absorb the cost of repairs that are beyond the homeowner’s property line into the sidewalk and street.

We propose this ordinance needs to be changed to be consistent with every other major city in the state of New Mexico or the city needs to reach an agreement with all the various homeowners insurance companies and pass an ordinance that makes them liable to cover such damage as they would if it were within the bounds of the property line of the home or business owner. The existing ordinance on the books is punitive and unjustifiably passes an unwarranted burden onto the property owner to fix and repair piping that is in the city domain.  As citizens we request the city to modify the city ordinance to be consistent with that of other cities in New Mexico immediately. The ordinance as written raises questions of constitutionality and property rights questions. By way of this letter and public statement we are requesting the city to place this letter into the public record in the public comments of the next city council meeting. Further we are requesting that this item be placed on the docket for review and discussion and finally request a vote be taken within 90 days on modifying the ordinance so that it is consistent with every other major city in New Mexico and that the city assume responsibility for all pipes, and connections outside of the property line of the homeowner or business owner meaning past the sidewalk and into the city street.

Concern Citizens of McKinely and Juniper Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/31293/alamogordo-town-news-investigates-why-do-homeowners-have-pay-repairs-sewer

Alamogordo, New Mexico Sports History, Alamogordo History: Look Back Girls Track & Field Success 1977 District Win & Remembering Coach Lawrence E. Johnson

The year as 1977 and the Alamogordo Girls Track and Field Team continued to show the state they were a team to take serious as they captured the 3AAAA district crown as the top team in the district. The Tigers earned 134 points placing 1st with Mayfield at 122 points in 2nd place and Las Cruces in 3rd
place with 104 points. 

Ruthie Fatheree collected a total of 33 points to pace Alamogordo’s effort for a victory.

District Medalist included:

  • Ruthie Fatheree, 1st Place, 50 Yard Dash, 6.0
    • 1st
      Place, 220 Yard Dash, 26.9
    • 2nd
      Place, Long Jump, 17’ 3”
  • Vicki Lee, Susan Lee, Debbie Salcido, Fatheree, 1st Place, 440, 50.4
  • Susan Lee, Fatheree, Salcido and Donna Scroggins, 1st Place, 880, 1:48.3
  • Vicki Lee, 1st Place, 100 Yard Dash, 11.3
  • Carmen Smith, 1st Place, Shot Put
  • Ruth Turning, 2nd Place, High Jump, 4’ 10”
  • Vicki Lee, Susan Lee, Cathy Frederick, Karen Guerrero, 2nd Place, Mile Relay, 4:14.9
  • Debbie Salcido, 3rd Place, Soft Ball Throw, 183’ 3”
  • Kim Campbell, 3rd Place, 110 Low Hurdles, 15.8
    • 4th
      Place, High Jump 4’ 8”
    • 5th
      Place, 80 Yard Hurdles, 11.9 (state qualified time)
  • Cathy Frederick, 3rd Place, 440 Yard Dash, 63.0
  • Toni Irvine, 3rd Place, Shot Put 34’ 8”
  • Salcido, Scroggins, Cheryl Greer and Guerrero, 3rd Place, Medley Relay, 1:59.6
  • Susan Lee, 4th Place 100 Yard Dash, 11.8 (state qualified)
  • Karen Guerrero, 4th Place, 440 Yard Dash, 63.4
  • Delinder Compton, 4th Place, 440 Yard Dash, 65.4
  • Angela Holloway, 4th Place, Shot Put, 34’ 5”
  • Janet Haug, 6th Place, 440 Yard Dash 65.9
  • Lisa Busick, 6th Place, Mile Run, 6:14.0

Coming off the district meet 10 girls qualified for state in 11 events. Ruthie Fatheree led the team in 5 events at the state meet. Susan Lee and Vicki Lee also feel the team pressure as both are competing in 7 events.

Albuquerque Manzano wins top team honors in girls AAAA Track & Field for the 1977 season. Alamogordo  Girls placed 6th at the state meet. 

Medalist at the state meet included:

  • Vicki Lee, Susan Lee, Debbie Salcido, Fatheree, 2nd, Place 440 Relay, 50.30
  • Vicki Lee, 5th Place, 100 Yard Dash, 11.38
  • Ruthie Fatheree, 6th Place, 50 Yard Dash, 6.26
    • 4th
      Place, 220, 26.45
  • Carmen Smith, 2nd Place, Shot Put, 40.3
  • Susan Lee, Fatheree, Salcido and Donna Scroggins, 3rd Place, 880 Relay, 1:47.5
  • Kim Campbell, 4th Place, Long Jump, 16’ 2 ¼

The 1977 Athletics season seemed to be coalescing with the coaches working more closely together under a new football coach now in full force that being coach Gary Hveem. At Alamogordo High School in 1977 both the girl and boy student athletes began working closer together. 

Cross Country, Track & Field, Golf and Tennis had boys and girls training together and sharing coaching staffs. Girls Track under the leadership of Head Coach Marilyn Sepulveda was assisted by Kay Morgan and Joe Bryant and beginning to garner attention from around the state. In the years to come many great things would be seen based on this solid foundation of excellence.

Most athletic programs were growing at Alamogordo High in 1977, but the result of Title IX and expanded girls athletics, the decision was made to cut the wrestling program to ensure all other programs were funded appropriately and all students had the opportunity to compete.

The 1977 school year also saw the return of Lawrence Johnson from a former star athlete and student to a teacher and coach who assisted the boys and girls track programs. As outlined in book one in the series he had an amazing career at Alamogordo, became a guidance counselor who assisted hundreds of students and ultimately became the Athletic Director in future years.

Lawrence Johnson was born July 15, 1949 in Dallas, Texas, to Rubin Lee and Susie Mae Johnson. His nickname was Slick and was famous with his student athletes for his sunglasses. He graduated from Alamogordo High School in 1969. He was an athlete under Coach Sepulveda and others. He was a district track and field champion in broad jump.

He went to college at Western New Mexico University in Silver City where he earned his bachelor’s in 1972 and master’s degree in 1975.

“I graduated from high school here in Alamogordo in 1968 and went off to college, I came back in 1972 and I got a job,” Johnson said in a 2014 Daily News article about his retirement. “I started teaching physical education and social studies at the middle school and I just continued from there. I really enjoyed teaching the kids, I also enjoyed coaching. I started the learning process at that time and I really enjoyed myself.”

He served 42 years at Alamogordo as a coach, teacher, guidance counselor and athletic director.

In 1982, Johnson began working at Alamogordo High School as a track and boys basketball coach, which he did for five years after prior experience as the JV Basketball Coach and Coach at the Middle High. He aided Coach Sepulveda from the beginning of his tenure with the Alamogordo school systems and throughout his career.

He also served as a guidance counselor for six years. Johnson became the assistant athletic director at AHS in 1993, the following year he became the athletic director. Johnson served as athletic director at AHS for 21 years, the longest tenured Athletic director in the school’s history.

He served on the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Board of Directors. In addition, Johnson was a member of the New Mexico Athletic Directors Association, (NMADA) board for 20 years. From 1998 to 1999, New Mexico Athletic Directors Association (NMADA) board for 20 years. From 1998 to 1999, he was president of NMADA.

In 2017, Johnson was honored with the Distinguished Service award from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA). He was one of 11 educators nationwide to receive the award.

In 1972, Johnson began working at Alamogordo High School as a track and boys basketball coach, which he did for five years after prior experience as the JV Basketball Coach and Coach at the Middle High. He aided Coach Sepulveda from the beginning of his tenure with the Alamogordo school systems.

Alamogordo School Board members unanimously approved the renaming of the Tiger Pit sports complex at Alamogordo High School to honor Lawrence E. Johnson for his many years of contribution to the community and the thousands of students and athletes he positively affected as a mentor and role model. His legacy continues in that facility today…

https://2ndlifemediaalamogordo.town.news/g/alamogordo-nm/n/30819/alamogordo-sports-history-look-back-girls-track-field-success-1977-district

Excerpted from Coach Bob Sepulveda The Early Days a joint collaboration of Author Chris Edwards and Artist Rene Sepulveda, available at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico and on Amazon in 36 countries. Soon to be released, Coach Bob Sepulveda The Golden Years 1977 to 1995 soon to be released on Amazon and fine independent bookstores everywhere.