Lydia Emmanual Productions Inc and 2nd Life Media Inc announced a partnership with the non-profit Southwestern Trails Cultural Heritage Association, owner of KALH Radio 95.1 and streaming at https://kalh.org/.
Founded by Kenneth Bass the station has a reputation for excellence in music and hard-hitting community coverage via Spectrum New via Radio Personality Anthony Lucero. KALH was named Country Station of the Year (2012) by New Music Weekly Magazine (Nashville). However, the station while country focused plays more than Country. KALH plays New Country, Hot Country, Old Country, R&R Classic Oldies, R&B, MOR, Bluegrass, Western Swing, Big Band Jazz AND MORE. The biggest variety of music available on the radio, on the web or personal digital device live from Alamogordo.
The station, while nonprofit will be operated under a management agreement with 2nd Life Media and Emmanual Lydia Productions Inc. Chris Edwards CEO of 2nd Life Media will assume the role of General Manager with the programing support of Anthony Lucero, and contributors to programming Lydia Aspen Renteria and Emmanual Renteria and a focus on sports and fitness in partnership with Rene Sepulveda. Chris Rollerson will continue the focus on Tularosa High School Football and Basketball broadcasts.
Under the new leadership the success and family traditions of the Bass family will continue to be honored front and center as a community focused nonprofit organization committed to the local community news and information along with quality music and entertainment. Tularosa High School Sports will remain a cornerstone to the sports lineup.
No major changes are expected at this time, excepting for an investment in some infrastructure to ensure long term sustainability and new equipment to sustain the 95.1 radio broadcast as well as live streaming.
Longer term the station will place a professional studio within the Sands Theater at 1017 New York Avenue in Alamogordo’s Historic Cultural Arts District with live streaming of music and special events “live from the Sands.”
With this upgrade the station will be partnering with local students at area High Schools, New Mexico State University and Seniors Organizations; creating opportunities for student and senior created shows focused on art, culture, history, music and the stories of the Tularosa Basin and the Heritage of Southwestern New Mexico. Spectrum News is being rebranded Alamogordo Town News and will continue with radio personality Anthony Lucero at the helm or programming and content.
KALH-LP’s mission is to continue the almost 2 decade tradition as a public non-profit radio station that will entertain, inform, challenge, inspire and engage our listeners through an eclectic mix of musical, cultural, educational and community affairs programming and related activities in collaboration with Alamogordo non-profit organizations, local news sources and small business partnerships.
The vision of KALH-LP, a main street, New York Avenue focused Community Radio station is for a truly local radio station that reflects the diversity of views, news, and talent in our community. Our goal is to have as much local programming as possible, including talk and call-in shows; public and community affairs; writers, and a wide range of voices and perspectives as well as continue to provide the finest variety of Country and a variety of other music platforms. The broadcast schedule aims to:
Provide information, news, and dialogue in partnership with AlamogordoTownNews.com
Address critical local concerns, such as education, the economy, and the environment
Profile local culture and diversity of talent
Remember, preserve, and tell the stories of local history
Recognize the rich natural beauty and resources of the region
Highlight live programs and remote broadcasts as a community radio station
In 2003, under the Direction and leadership of Ken Bass the station was incorporated and applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a low-powered, FM, community radio station. The station has operated continuously since. He passed on March 27th, 2021, and he is missed everyday by his family, friends, community, and everyone at KALH Radio. The Bass family has operated the station since his death with a pride and a commitment to the community.
The Bass family made the difficult decision to resign from the board and hand leadership of the non-profit Southwestern Trails Cultural Heritage Association, owner of KALH Radio 95.1 to the Renteria’s and the Sepulveda’s to ensure its long-term sustainability as a community focused organization.
Chris Edwards spokesperson for the new board leadership said, “with the revitalization efforts of Alamogordo’s New York Avenue, the Bass family has been very supportive of our efforts to renovate downtown buildings, tell the history and KALH had a very strong relationship with our operating businesses. We feel it an honor to carry the mission of Ken Bass forward of telling the stories preserving history and restoration efforts and ensuring local news coverage. KALH-LP is another tool for us to further tell the stories of history and what makes Alamogordo the greatest community in New Mexico.”
For questions, sponsorship information or to volunteer or program ideas contact Chris Edwards at email@example.com and reference KALH in the email header.
KALH-LP has a new transmitter that will be installed in the next few weeks in the meantime the station is streaming online and can be heard anywhere with a computer or smartphone at https://kalh.org/
New Mexico joined the Union in January 1912. It has participated in 28 presidential elections through 2020, alternating some extended periods of support for Democratic and Republican candidates. Democrats have now won 7 of the last 8 elections, including Joe Biden’s 54% to 44% win over Donald Trump in 2020.
Locally in Alamogordo, Otero County, New Mexico
In Otero County, it appears the Republican stronghold is strong and in place and most races are a given to swing to the Republican candidate with ease.
However, there are three races of interest this mid-term election that could be seen as competitive for a variety of reasons.
The position of magistrate judge in Otero County is typically a snooze as to what to expect of an outcome. However, this midterm election for magistrate Division One and Magistrate Division Two there are interesting dynamics at play.
The position of magistrate is one that does NOT require a law degree, and candidates typically, are individuals well embedded in the local political party system.
The position of magistrate in Otero County has historically been made up of candidates that come from the “political machine” and as such, the position has been riddled with controversy, the last several years with political games alleged locally and via former Governor Martinez…
Most recently Otero County Magistrate Judge Steve Guthrie agreed to resign the Division I seat April 25, 2022, ending further disciplinary proceedings related to a judicial inquiry by the New Mexico Supreme Court which began in 2021. Guthrie’s resignation became effective April 25, according to New Mexico Supreme Court documents when the court granted a petition for permanent resignation “in lieu of further disciplinary proceedings.“
In September 2021 the Judicial Standards Commission asked the court to open a disciplinary inquiry related to a slew of alleged misconducts by Guthrie. The Commission had conducted its own inquiry into the allegations beginning in January 2021. Among the allegations were improper sentences and incarceration for defendants, improper bail issuance, failure to complete required paperwork, engaging in judicial activities without proper jurisdiction, judicial misconduct and violation of a defendant’s right to due process.
Guthrie was censured prior to that incident in 2019 by the New Mexico Supreme Court for misconduct related to a spat he had with a neighbor.
Otero County Magistrate Judge Scott Newton officially resigned from the bench and withdrew his candidacy for 12th Judicial District judge. Newton said he was tired of the politics being played at the local and state level because of him taking a leave of absence due to a medical issue. Newton said he was not going to have his good name destroyed or put his family through it. “They’re attempting to use this legal absence that I took for a basis that I am unfit to do my job,” he said to the Alamogordo Daily News in 2017 “It’s a total lie. There’s nothing wrong with me. I do have my own personal health issues to deal with, but it’s not an issue in terms of being a judge. It’s just somebody wants to make it an issue. I am not going to stick my neck out there and get it chopped off. It’s just not worth it. Especially with the medical issues that I’ve been dealing with, I don’t have the energy or stamina to fight that fight or put my family through that fight.”
Newton was elected to the Magistrate Court Division I judge’s seat in 2010 after Judge Richard Stokely retired from the bench.
Otero County Magistrate Court Judge Gene C. Galassini hung his robe up in April 2016 also under a cloud of criticism.
Per the Alamogordo Daily News at the time, “Galassini, 59, decided to resign or in his case retire from the bench because of health reason but more importantly to spend time with his three grandchildren. He and his wife, Rocky, also just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary,” at the time of his resignation.
“It’s the stressful nature of the job,” Galassini said. “I’ve got three grand babies plus one on the way. It’s just time to start spending some time with them.”
He was first elected Magistrate Court judge in 2006 then took the bench in January 2007 after 23 years of being an officer with the New Mexico State Police in Las Cruces, Roswell and Alamogordo. Galassini retired as a lieutenant from State Police District 8 in Alamogordo.”
However, records with the State Supreme County show that the resignation may of had more to the story; then stress and health issues.
The New Mexico State Supreme Court granted the State Ethics Commission’s Petition to Accept Stipulation in Light of Permanent Resignation from Judicial Office concerning Otero County Magistrate Judge Gene C. Galassini, Supreme Court Case No. S-1-SC-35791, JSC Inquiry No. 2015-074. “The Supreme Court order made Judge Galassini’s retirement permanent effective 02/29/16, forever barred him from holding judicial office in New Mexico, and unsealed the Supreme Court’s file in the matter.
A link to the Supreme Court File and Mr. Galacini’s resignation letter is below:
Mr. Galassini was hired in 2021 to serve Congressional Representative Yvette Herrell as her law enforcement liaison and has been paid a salary and other compensation since appointment of $34,833.33 as a member of staff.
The 2022 Mid Term Otero County Magistrate Matchup:
Magistrate Judge Division One has turned into a very competitive race with the Reverend Warren Robison competing against John R Seacrest III, both candidates have deep roots in Otero County, both have professional, volunteer and business experience and both have campaigned with professionalism, dignity and mutual respect with no negativity in their race for office.
Reverend Warren Robinson Experience: “Reverend Robinson has 20 years of teaching, counseling and community service in Alamogordo to include 3 years’ experience with Juvenile Justice Board helping youth with reconciliation for criminal offenses, a wide range of local board experience with non-profit service organizations, Chaplain for both Alamogordo City Police and the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, knowledge of the community business leaders and deeply involved in local history and historical preservation” according to his responses to the League of Womens Voters.
John R Secrest III Experience: “What I bring to the courtroom is real life experience and vast knowledge. I am an entrepreneur/small business owner since age 18 with 21 years in Landlord/tenant rights, business contracts, and well versed in DWI/DUI laws. I have also been a plaintiff on several appearances in Mag. Court. To further prepare, I have been mentoring with previous Mag. Judges as well as studying the NM Criminal/Traffic Law manual and NM Constitution. I am a constitutionalist, from the people for the people’s court. I live with unwavering morals, integrity, and honesty. I am UNBIASED and fair.” according to his responses to the League of Womens Voters
The League of Womens Voters asked both candidate what they would do about the backlog within the Magistrate System? Their response was…
Reverend Warren Robinson: “Once within the system I’ll be thoughtful in listening to staff and reviewing the existing processes, then use my experience interfacing with multiple constituencies to influence process changes to end any backlog.”
John R Secrest III: “It is my understanding that Otero County Magistrate Court does NOT have much of a back log. If there is a back log it is primarily due to covid restrictions impeding the court’s ability to operate per usual and in that instance, I would say more cases will need to be handled telephonically. There is always room for improvement.”
Both candidates demonstrate a passion for community and a sense of ethics that the magistrate’s office needs to rebuild its reputation in Otero County.
Magistrate Division 2
The race is between well-known Alamogordo MainStreet and arts advocate and realtor, Claudia Powell, verses Michal Ryan Suggs, the incumbent who was appointed to the Division II Magistrate Judge’s seat Feb. 20, 2018, by Gov. Susana Martinez after Judge James Scot Newton resigned from the bench.
Claudia Powell’s Experience per her website:” Claudia Powell has been part of this community working tirelessly as a relator since 1986 serving our military with impeccable service since 1986. Mrs. Powell has received the Military Relocation Specialist designation from the National Association of Realtors, Past President Alamogordo MainStreet, Director of the Tularosa Basin Historic Society, Otero County Habitat for Humanity, Past President Otero United Way and Past Director of the Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts.“
Michal Ryan Suggs Experience per the League of Women’s Voters: “Juris Doctor- Master’s degree in criminal justice from New Mexico State University, a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, 21 years law enforcement experience, 6 years adjunct professor of criminal justice and 4 years incumbent as Otero County Magistrate.”
When asked what they would do about the backlog within the Magistrate System?
Claudia Powell: “My understanding is the backlog that was created during the Covid-19 crises is now cleared. However, if I were on the bench, I would work with the staff, within the legally bound confines, utilizing my years of collaboration and partnership skills to ensure we did all within our means locally to ease any backlog.”
Michal Ryan Suggs Experience per the League of Women’s Voters: “I can proudly say, there is no backlog of court cases in Otero County Magistrate Court. The court continued to operate throughout Covid. All of the Judges in the 12th Judicial District work tirelessly to serve the people. Whatever adjustments were needed to the docket to ensure timely access to justice were and continue to be made. Under my leadership as Presiding Judge, the speedy and fair resolution of cases has been and always will be a priority of the Otero County Magistrate Court. Our rights deserve this level of experience, knowledge, and continued commitment.”
The other race that has proven, interesting, is the race for Otero County Commissioner District Two, formerly occupied by the controversial Couy Griffin. The two candidates to win the primaries are Amy Barela on the Republican side, verses Stephanie Dubois, on the Democratic side. Both candidates won a contested primary.
The race was considered initially an easy win for Amy Barela given the district leans heavily Red and heavily conservative. However, politics, judicial rulings and an appointment by the Governor of Ms. Dubois into the seat of which Couy Griffin was removed by judicial order has created many interesting dynamics into the race.
Political scientist and pollsters watching the district competition believed it an easy win for Ms. Barella. Speculation was that there would be a backlash, due to the judicial removal of Couy Griffin, thus a wave of Republican voters activated and to the polls.
Ms. Barella has easily outraised, outspent and outpaced Ms. Dubois in advertising, door knocking and overall visibility.
Ms. Dubois on the other hand, received an appointment to the vacant position by the Governor with swearing in to occur on 10/28/22.
Ms. Dubois has been much more visible in the recent weeks and attended several events with the Congressional Democratic Candidate and others. Yesterday in Tularosa, a Get Out the Vote event was sponsored by Ms. Dubois, and Independent Candidate Elaine Allen seeking the position for District 56 State Representative was also present.
The campaign within Tularosa has become very competitive with some rumors of foul play, but thus far the campaign has been, overall civil.
Ms. Dubois appointment by the Governor, received a respectful response by Ms. Barella. However, the response to the appointment by the Republican Party and by the Candidate for State Representative District 51, was aggressive in tone, and filled with negatives that did not benefit candidate Barela, who has shown a level of respect and decorum during the race.
Several independents and moderate Republicans questioned, said they were leaning toward Ms. Barela but after the Republican Party response, and that of the candidate for District 51, they “opted for Ms. Dubois.” One cited, “I’ve had enough hate from that office, Couy was an embarrassment and brought nothing but trouble to Otero County, the vigor of hate that was espoused by the Party response made me decide to break the party line and vote for Ms. Dubois,” a respected and well-known Republican that asked that his name not be used said he really likes Amy but “maybe it’s time to shake things up on the commission, and end the rubber stamping of the Steve Pierce mandates, the county budget is a mess, obviously what we have in place is not working.”
Will there be a backlash from the Republican Party response to the appointment of Ms. Dubois, will Ms. Dubois be able to elicit enough moderate Republicans, motivated Democrats and Independents to the polls to carry her over to remain in the district 2 seat? Will the curse of mid-terms and the economy play into the results of the local elections? We will know in about 2 weeks.
The mid-term elections in most states are traditionally, a completely different animal and can lead to all kinds of unexpected results. The mid-term election of 2018 was the year of the woman.
2018, women candidate had broken the records for the number of candidates for governor, U.S. House and U.S. Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives elected a record number of women, with at least 90 women expected to make their way to Washington, D.C. in January.
In 2018 Deb Haaland of New Mexico broke the barrier and became one of the first Native American Women elected to congress. Democrat Deb Haaland, the former chairwoman of New Mexico’s Democratic Party, won New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District in the 2018 midterms.
Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, became one of the first Native American women elected to Congress alongside Democrat Sharice Davids, who won Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District. Two Native American men — both Republicans — served in the U.S. House of Representatives prior to 2018.
Expectations for this mid-term election…
It’s true that the polls have shifted somewhat toward Republicans in certain key races. On September 15, FiveThirtyEight’s forecast gave Democrats a 71 percent chance of holding the Senate, as of midday Wednesday, that number is 61 percent. In other cases, forecasts haven’t changed much: FiveThirtyEight has the GOP’s House takeover chances still above 70 percent. And there have been some contrary indicators, with surprisingly good poll results for Democrats in redder states like Iowa and Oklahoma.
Yet what amounts to a relatively minor poll shift has been greeted with a sense of impending Democratic doom, for reasons mostly unrelated to the polls themselves. The bad economic news, the historical trend of the president’s party performing poorly in midterms, and the tendency of polls to understate Republicans in certain key cycles (especially Senate races) can all be read to suggest that the smart money is on the GOP to do well.
This underlying assumption that Republicans should be the favorites and will end up the favorites means that small poll shifts in the GOP’s favor get interpreted as devastating for Democrats. And that assumption could well be correct — there are good reasons to believe it. Alternatively, it remains possible the polls are basically on target, or that election night results could deliver a surprise in the other direction.
Democrats remain the favorites in the battle for the Senate, according to FiveThirtyEight, but their advantage has shrunk in the past month. When you look under the hood of FiveThirtyEight’s model to see why, it mostly comes down to shifts in four contests:
In Nevada, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) dropped from a 61 percent favorite to a 49 percent slight underdog.
In Pennsylvania, the chances of John Fetterman (D) winning dropped from 83 percent to 68 percent.
Meanwhile, the chances of challengers Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina winning each dropped from about 40 percent to 27 percent.
Other Democratic candidates, like Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA), haven’t seen similar drops in the past month. Kelly is a 78 percent favorite to win, and Warnock is a 57 percent favorite. In Ohio, Tim Ryan remains a 28 percent underdog.
With the Senate split 50-50, the basic math is that so long as Fetterman picks up that GOP seat in Pennsylvania, Democrats can afford to lose one seat of their own. So, they could lose Cortez Masto or Warnock, but not both. And if Fetterman loses (and no other Democrats campaigning for GOP-held seats win), even losing one Democratic incumbent would flip the chamber.
Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania look like the most important states in determining Senate control. But there’s a problem. Only one of those contests — Georgia — has been frequently polled of late. And it’s unclear how useful those polls are, since if neither candidate tops 50 percent of the vote next month, Warnock and Herschel Walker will just head to a runoff in December.
Public polling in the other two key states has been sparse. In Nevada, we’ve gotten only two public polls conducted in October — one showing Cortez Masto up 2, and one showing her trailing by 2 among likely voters. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the two public polls have both shown Fetterman up just 2. One of those polls is from the Trafalgar Group, while another is a joint effort from one Republican firm and one Democratic firm.
Since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s sweeping four-term presidency, every president has fallen victim to the “midterm curse.”
The “curse” is considered political shorthand at this point—the opposition party to the incumbent leader will wrest control of the House of Representatives or the Senate from the leadership. In fact, the sitting presidential party has lost seats in the House in every single midterm election since FDR’s first term, save for three: FDR himself in 1934, Bill Clinton in 1998 during his second term in office, and George W. Bush in 2002 fresh off a hotly contested victory in the 2000 general election. In each of these instances, the presidents had remarkably high approval ratings—around 70%—often due to historic moments that offered an opportunity for landmark leadership, such as FDR’s New Deal, Clinton’s federal budget surplus, and Bush’s handling of the aftermath of 9/11.
There are a variety of explanations as to why parties often face defeat in the midterms after sweeping the floor in the presidential election. Voter apathy and presidential approval ratings play a large part, but voters are not the only ones who sway the outcome of elections. Midterm elections are susceptible to impacts from the re-drawing of districts and gerrymandering that may occur after a presidential election and can work to disenfranchise a party’s voting block. This is not a phenomenon isolated to the U.S., either: The parties of political leaders across the globe tend to strengthen early in a presidential term before diminishing later.
The President’s party has only gained seats in the House three times since 1934
The incumbent party lost control of either the House or the House and Senate six times since 1934. Only three presidents—FDR, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush—gained seats in the House of Representatives for their parties at midterms.
In FDR’s case, this was thanks to his swift decisions steering the country out of the Great Depression, including the New Deal and various economic relief measures. Clinton’s second term in office marked the first Democratic president to gain a second term since FDR. Though his popularity was beginning to falter due to emerging personal scandals—including the Monica Lewinsky situation, which saw Clinton face impeachment for lying to Congress—it hadn’t yet hit the low that would follow. Bush’s midterms were a narrow race to win an easily swayed power balance, marked by gerrymandering and expensive campaigns that ultimately favored the incumbent party.
The Senate has faired similarly
Statewide Senate races are not impacted by redistricting but still often suffer the same outcome for the president’s party. For most of the 20th century, Senate races were often won by the opposite party than the state in question had gone for in the presidential race. In 1986, for instance, the “mismatch rate” of U.S. Senate races was around 59%, meaning over half of states voted into office senators of the opposite party than they had voted for president most recently. This has waned in intensity recently—particularly during Obama’s presidency—but still generally held. However, the 2022 election cycle may mark a departure from this tradition, with only 4% of registered voters claiming they planned to vote for a senator from a different party than they had endorsed for president.
Presidential approval rating is often the clearest predictor of seat changes
Midterm elections tend to be considered referenda on the party in power. As a result, the electability of Congressional members is increasingly tied to the public’s attitude toward the president. Swing seats have consistently gone to the nonincumbent party when public approval of the current president is low, and the inverse when the public believes their administration is doing well.
Since FDR’s presidency, presidents with a low public approval rating have lost an average of 37 congressional seats during midterms. Only two presidents—Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—have had a public approval rating above 60% during midterm elections; consequently, they have been the only two presidents in recent history to avoid the “midterm curse.”
Voters may be motivated more to turnout when their party is not in power
Voters generally turn out in lower numbers for midterms than for presidential elections. In the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, respectively, only 4 in 10 eligible voters turned up to the polls, whereas 6 in 10 voted in the 2016 general election. However, the drive to overturn the actions of an unfavorable president can be a powerful antidote to voting apathy. A good example of this was the 2018 midterms, in which, according to an analysis by Catalist, “young voters and voters of color, particularly Latinx voters, were a substantially larger share of the electorate than in past midterms.” These voters were majority Democrats, voting in opposition to the Republican incumbent, Donald Trump. That year, midterm surge voting leaped up, and it was “clear that both mobilization and persuasion were critically important in producing this scale of victory for Democrats.”
What does this mean for 2022?
In sum, the 2022 midterms will likely follow the patterns laid out here. All seats in the House of Representatives are up for the taking and a third of those in the Senate. President Joe Biden’s approval rating—40% as of Oct. 20—is on the lower end of historical midterm rates for an incumbent president, suggesting that, if historic precedent holds, Republicans will gain seats on Nov. 8. However, some factors may exert outside influence on the midterm results.
The Democratic Party has been experiencing the same mobilization that spurred a midterm surge during Trump’s presidency, this time regarding issues such as abortion rights and inflation. Voters in Kansas recently turned up in record numbers to vote down measures that would restrict abortion access; elsewhere in the country, local and state legislatures have taken up steps and earmarked funds protecting the right to choose in repudiation of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
AlamogordoTownNews.com Mr Melton lied there is No communication from constituents asking for the resolution to be considered.
During the special session of the Alamogordo City Commission meeting on August 2, 2022, Mr. Melton went on public record and lied. If one watches the video proceeding of that day one sees at 3:57.45 when Mr. Melton claims, “the reason for bringing it (the resolution) forward to discuss is because I heard from my constituents this is what they want. I am in this role to represent them…I am here as a service to our constituents; we have to represent them…”
NO SUCH COMMUNICATION EXISTS.
2nd Life Media and AlamogordoTownNews.com under the Open Records Act requested from the City of Alamogordo all communications from citizens “requesting that Mr. Melton place the Sanctuary City for the Unborn on the agenda as a resolution and or any communications regarding abortion and the fear of clinics in Alamogordo up to the date the resolution before the public in a “Special Session.” Also requested were notes from City Staff regarding any dialog that Commissioner Melton had with staff and staff notes related to the proposed resolution regarding “Sanctuary City for the Unborn” Status and all communications from constituents 60 days prior suggesting that Abortion was a hot button issue that “required it to be addressed by the city commission.”
During the special session of the Alamogordo City Commission meeting on August 2, 2022, Mr. Melton went on public record and lied. Mr. Melton claims, “the reason for bringing it (the resolution) forward to discuss is because I heard from my constituents this is what they want…”
NO SUCH COMMUNICATION EXISTS. The Melton/Block Duo lied…
The City Charter and State law requires the retention of all communications that are related to records or communications used, created, received, maintained, or held on behalf of a public body are public records just as if they were maintained by the public body itself.
(Thus, if any communication existed in a private server that is not operated by the city or notes of any calls, copies of text, social media inquiries that exist, then Mr. Melton by law was required to turn them into the city when a Public Records Request was submitted.
In this regard, if private email or other communications is used to conduct public business, (a constituent request to discuss abortion or a resolution around abortion would be public business) the email or communication, is a public record, even though a personal account is used. The person using the personal account is effectively using, creating, receiving, maintaining, or holding the data and must release it to the government body they represent and to the public if an Open Records request was submitted.
If a record exists and Mr. Melton did not release it, then he violated the law and is subject to fines and a misdemeanor.
If no records exist as per city staff, then Mr. Melton and Mr. Block lied in their assertion that this was “necessary to bring to a resolution out of constituent concern.” Not one single form of communication with city representatives regarding this issue exists prior to the public forum concerning the resolution.
In an article in the propaganda blog of his domestic partner, Candidate John Block, Melton is quoted as saying…“I have brought forward Resolution 2022-38 because my constituents are worried Alamogordo has no resolution or ordinance on the books protecting unborn life. This measure not only affirms life from conception to natural death, but it declares Alamogordo a Sanctuary City for the Unborn,” said Melton.
Which constituents are worried? None, Zero not a single request until they made it an issue.
Our public records request required the city to refer “all communications from constituents requesting or any dialog related to abortion and a resolution.” NONE EXISTS.
This was a ruse,“an action intended to deceive the public, a trick, a sham.”
It now makes sense why Mr. Melton does not support having a Code of Conduct in place for elected and appointed city commissioners. As this action crafted on deceit would be a violation of the public trust in misrepresenting a “constituent concern” that did not exist.
If the duo had been honest, they would have gone on the record and conceded that their family had financially gained from a pro-life organization via past employment and that this is an issue dear to them thus they wanted to bring it forward. An honest dialog of why it is important to them would have gained more allies, including this news source, verses deception to the public which is a violation of public trust.
And of great interest were a few elements of the staff notes procured via our Open Records request.
Staff notes referenced “Floyd”? We have an enhanced open records request seeking clarification and more information around the staff notes and rather the reference was actually to a resolution Roosevelt County passed a year ago.
Floyd and Roosevelt County verses Alamogordo, Otero County:
Floyd is a city in Roosevelt County, New Mexico, a year ago this small poor community passed, a pro-life resolution also with NO power of law.
The staff notes also referenced Karl Melton providing the staff an example resolution. As previously reported Mr. Block, Mr. Melton’s domestic partner worked for a pro-life advocacy group out of Washington DC, in his past and the family connection to a pro-life Advocacy group was left out of any dialog or disclosures on the part of Mr. Melton or Mr. Block during the heat of the resolution and petition fight. (Another breach of trust by failing to disclose past financial gains from a pro-life advocacy group.)
Floyd, New Mexico is a village in Roosevelt County with a population of 91, a racial makeup of 93.59% White, 5.13% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. The per capita income for the village is $13,747, 19.2% of families and 41.8% of the population lives below the poverty line, including 61.5% of under 18 and 19.2% of those over 64 living below the poverty line. It is in Roosevelt County with a total county population of 18,018. The population of the county shrank 1800 people from the 2010 census to the 2020 census.
Alamogordo, New Mexico is a city with a population 31,384, a racial makeup of 75.4% White of which Hispanic or Latino were 32.0% of the classification); 5.6% African American, 1.1% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 12.1% from some other race, and 4.2% from two or more races. the median income for a household in the city was $30,928. About 13.2% of families and 16.5% of the population were below the poverty line,including 23.9% of those under age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over 64 living below the poverty line.
The contrast between these two communities in population 91 verses 31,284; racial makeup 93.59% white verses Alamogordo’s more diverse, a poverty rate in Floyd of 41.8% verses Alamogordo 23.9% makes one wonder. Why would Floyd, Roosevelt County be referenced in any political dialog with Alamogordo as a “model” for public policy? One would think our elected representatives would model actions from successful communities not one with a shrinking county population and a poverty rate that has 61.5% of the children living below the poverty level.
True leadership means modeling public policy based upon successful communities.
Duplicity and Demagoguery – the Company One Keeps.
A fitting poem – The Company One Keeps
“One night in late October,
When I was far from sober,
My poor feet began to stutter,
So, I lay down in the gutter,
And a pig came near and lay down by my side.
Then we sang “It’s all fair weather when good fellows get together”,
Till a lady passing by was heard to say:
“You can tell a man who boozes,
By the company he chooses”,
And the pig got up and slowly walked away.”
Why are we focused on the Block/Melton duo?
The Melton Block duo has roused, either directly or indirectly through their surrogates to remove those that differ from their viewpoints from the party dialog. They engage in blocking dialog and profiles. To date they will not engage in civil discussion to find areas of collaboration; they see more value in attacking opponents rather then delivering an affirmative argument for their positions. It is easy to attack another of differing opinions, it more difficult to provide affirmative dialog with positive overtones to build consensus.
If we want representation within our city and at the state level to bring state funding for business growth and marketing, education, infrastructure, and support for our way of life, then leadership must show and offer positive collaborative solutions.
Our city and county deserve leadership that understands the art of horse trading and compromise. Hostility toward the power brokers up north does the region NO favors in brokering solutions.
We want a state representative and a commissioner that is looked at as seasoned professionals not one that is considered on the fringe. Fringe leaders garner headlines and build upon their personal ego but deliver little to their constituents.
Skilled moderate leaders on the other hand seek areas of compromise and collaboration to bring the best of government forward for the constituents within their district.
The Block/Melton duo have a history of partnering with those of dubious tricks and dubious reputations and tactics. A “mysterious mailer” with our business return address which is “mail fraud” went out to key Republicans in Otero County to disparage and intimidate us from questioning the radicalized tactics being displayed and reported upon.
The mailer was crafted with a specific intent to damage our business and to damage our reputation within the community. Was it sent from the candidate or the appointed commissioner or one of their ambitious followers? We hope not. The postal inspector general, the federal authorities and our private investigator will eventually have the answer to that issue and once established we will prosecute.
However, mysterious mailers and social media attacks are not new to Candidate Block and appointed Commissioner Melton, as per the company they keep. The duos associates, as reported by the New Mexico Political Journal, conducted smear campaigns against Albuquerque meteorologist Mark Ronchetti who is the Republican nominee for governor when he was running for Senator in 2020. As reported by the New Mexico Political Journal “John Block has posted particularly ugly smears, as has Rick Montoya, and there was a disgusting letter that quite a number of delegates have said looks like the style and tone of one of (Republican Party Leader) Pearce’s closest allies, John Billingsley.”
Mr. Block clearly still has not backed away from the attacks on Ronchetti, he has several stories he wrote in attack of Ronchetti posted on his campaign website.
All the while Block recently paid $1000 for a sponsorship at a fundraiser for Ronchetti. Hypocrisy or attempting to coddle favors in the final weeks before the election?
The playbook of Duplicity and Demagoguery continues. However those in Santa Fe and Albuquerque are all too familiar with these characters.
Clearly, we believe in responsible government. We believe those leaders in appointed and elected positions should be examples of collaboration and seek and sponsor solutions to business growth, crime, and security.
We do not believe that there is a role for duplicity and demagoguery nor personal agendas from elected or appointed leaders.
Thus far the appointed Commissioner Melton has not sponsored a single piece of legislation or a single ordinance to address real issues within the city of Alamogordo around business growth, crime prevention nor improving core services.
The appointed Commissioner Melton and his domestic partner have sown seeds of deceit and division and conned the public into believing a non-issue was the most pressing issue facing the city.
They know better! The additional ruse against a City Code of Conduct creates an even further wedge between the idea of accountability and real responsible governance.
Instead of meeting with moderate Republicans and Independents and seeking common ground for areas of collaboration they call out those that differ as RINOS. They block us on their social media pages and attempt character attacks and try to change the narrative rather than addressing real issues and ways to compromise for the good of the community.
Block seemed to have aligned, at past state conventions, with those that are on the fringe to the traditional Republican Party platform. He aligned with those that that attacked a seated Republican Governor in the past and were part of the element within that cost the Republican Party a significant number of seats in the state assembly, all the while state houses in most states have seen gains from moderate Republican candidates.
The extremist gets headlines and feed the fury of division, all the while the moderates collaborate and drive public policy forward.
What is most entertaining is Mr. Block is a newcomer and opportunist to Alamogordo. His past life he has flip flopped in ideology. He worked for a pro-life organization and as reported by The New Mexico Political Journal concerning Mr. Block,“the irony of a former Martin Heinrich intern and volunteer for Mayor Tim Keller’s campaign awarding himself the position of judge and jury of the conservative Republican purity test has been noted by many.”
More entertaining is the fact he does not own these flip-flops nor acknowledge his history. Rather than embrace his past, admit to his experience, and explain what he leaned from each experience he “whitewashes it.”
He whitewashed the story of his working with Martin Heinrich and tried to explain away why he worked with both Heinrich and Keller in his propaganda pages.
Note in his linked-in profile there is not a single reference to working as a Democratic Operative as a Martin Heinrich intern and a volunteer Democratic Operative for Mayor Tim Keller’s campaign. He does have a link to a policy brief he claims credit for yet does not allude to the Democratic Senator he crafted the brief for. He name-drops, Republicans, all over his linked-in resume but does not dare acknowledge his work for Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich or Mayor Tim Keller though in reality those two assignments were the most prestigious of his resume excepting of course for his position in Las Vegas as a Front Desk Agent at Diamond Resorts International.
The fact of him defining a RINO and who should, or should not be in the party, is classic.
According to a site called politicalfireball.comin a story posted April 8, 2020, “Block comes from deep Democrat roots and is the cousin of former Democrat PRC Commissioner, Jerome Block, who was sentenced after pleading guilty to fraudulent use of a state-issued credit card, embezzlement and election law violations. John Block’s uncle has also been in and out of jail for drug use and breaking the terms of his probation.”
His family experience explains his hostility toward this news source and his stance of being against “rehabilitative justice” as his family experience had run ins with the law and continued a path downward instead of a path forward.
Carpetbagger: “a person perceived as an unscrupulous opportunist”
The heat of Northern New Mexico media coverage began to impact the Block/Melton duo with another article titled Glass House John Block Exposed.
This heat and exposure with many articles attacking Mr. Block during the 2000 election may explain why the Block/Melton duo fled Northern New Mexico to seek political favor in Otero County having lived in the county less than 2 years…
Block in commentary on his propaganda page tried to “mansplain” his association with Democrats as a member of their staff.
Block: “I worked to help stop radical open-borders socialists from taking over Albuquerque by VOLUNTEERING on the Keller campaign for a little over three weeks to uncover unethical campaign practices.”
Yeah right, okay, sure. Anyone who has ever worked on a professional campaign knows that a “volunteer” will never be privy to the innerworkings of a campaign, its strategy, and its internal process. There is NO WAY a “volunteer” in just “three weeks” John Block, would have had access to any information that could be used in an ethics review.
A very funny story to weave, but of course, most Americans are gullible when it comes to politics and the spinning politicians weave.
Most of the public has never seen the innerworkings of a professional campaign, and how a professional campaign staff operates, so this story would seem plausible to the untrained political novice.
But it gets better…
Per Block, “the only office that granted me an internship was Heinrich’s.” That in itself is a testament that Republican leaders at the time did not offer Mr. Block an internship. One wonders why?
Block continued: “I was given the selective opportunity to serve the people of New Mexico as a Senate intern and bring a conservative perspective to the far-left office…My fellow interns repeatedly attacked my Republican ideals and repeatedly attempted to have me fired from the internship, but I did not back down — and it made my conservative values and support for our 45th president that much stronger.”
Or more radicalized, the duo felt the heat and fled the hot pan of Northen New Mexico politics? The Block/Melton duo fled Northern, New Mexico, for a “safe, conservative community” – Otero County. Why Otero County? If success was eminent in Northern New Mexico? – Opportunism.
The Melton Block Duo has flip-flopped on Ronchetti. One wonders if Ronchetti will remember this analysis of his senatorial run by Mr. Block?
Per John Block, “Instead of campaigning to be New Mexico’s next U.S. Senator, it appears Ronchetti is more interested in playing the high school bully, name-calling, and pushing everyone in his way just to get what he wants…The nasty, bottom-of-the-barrel ad-hominem attacks on fellow Republicans, many of them being fellow candidates, prove that Ronchetti’s campaign is willing to go to any embarrassingly low level to win.”
Sound familiar? Appointed Commissioner Melton and Candidate Block, showed their true colors with the lies around the Resolution and should look in the mirror… “The nasty, bottom-of-the-barrel ad-hominem attacks on fellow Republicans… prove that (Melton and Block) is willing to go to any embarrassingly low level to win.”
Blocks words not this commentators excepting for replacing Ronchetti with Block Melton.
Ronchetti would do well to distance hisself from this duo.
Note: the commentaries and investigations into the antics of Melton and Block will stop when they rise to the occasion of true leadership, end the attacks on those that differ in opinion and embrace open dialog with a civil tone to seek areas of compromise for a better Alamogordo. Until then, we will continue to forge forward a vision to Retake Republicanism from radicalization and bring it back to the ideals of a big tent that welcomes everyone and serves with decorum and grace. It’s time the Grand Ole Party return to its roots, expels with myths and reembraces the tenants of its past glory.
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Ex-Commissioner Couy Griffin Snug with Candidate John Block Coupled in Demagoguery
A demagogue, a popular leader, a leader of a mob, people, populace, the commons or rabble-rouser is a political leader in a democracy who gains popularity by arousing the common people against elites or those that differ in thought, especially through oratory and written dialog that whips up the passions of crowds, appealing to emotion by scapegoating groups and individuals, exaggerating dangers to stoke fears, lying for emotional effect, or other rhetoric that tends to drown out reasoned deliberation and encourage fanatical popularity. Demagogues overturn established norms of political conduct or promise or threaten to do so by attacking those that question their thinking.
The central feature of demagoguery is persuasion by means of passion, shutting down reasoned deliberation and consideration of alternatives. While many politicians in a democracy make occasional small sacrifices of truth, subtlety, or long-term concerns to maintain popular support, demagogues do these things relentlessly and without self-restraint. Demagogues “pander to passion, prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance, rather than reason.
Otero County and Alamogordo is a city divided along ideological political lines in a perceived battle with the liberals of Northern New Mexico and the federal government in ongoing battles over ranching and grazing rights, timber rights and directives from the BLM.
There is an independent streak and a great deal of conservatism running in the veins of a majority of Alamogordo and Otero Counties citizens. There is an underlying distrust of “outsiders” and a definitive distrust of state and federal directives.
The irony, Otero is the 3rd largest county in terms of land area in the state, with 6,613.21 square miles. The population of Otero County in 2018 was 66,781, 3.19 percent of the state total, and ranked 9th in the state in terms of population. Only 10% of the land area is privately owned; the Federal government via the military and BLM, the Mescalero Apache Tribe, and the State Land Office own the remaining 90% of the land.
Alamogordo, with a population of 31,230 in 2018, represented 46.76 percent of the total population of the county.
Per capita income for Otero County during the last administration was $34,636. Per capita income for Otero County was 83.24 percent of the state average ($41,609) and 63.62 percent of the national average ($54,446)
The percent growth of per capita income in Otero County between 2014 and 2018 of 8.61 percent was less than the state (11.91 percent) and the nation (15.70 percent).
Given that a majority of the land mass is outside of reach of the local government officials and given that incomes in the county significantly lag the state and national averages; then it is easy to understand the political culture of the area, and how extremist with demagogue tendencies rise to fill the void in leadership.
The most prolific of local leaders to gain national attention is Couy Griffin, Otero County Commissioner who raised his profile to the national stage in creating “Cowboys of Trump” and a fire and brimstone style of ideological propaganda that the masses embraced at the local level, at least at first.
From his pulpit on the Otero County Commission, he led a variety of conversations and debate from participation in the alleged insurrection to being an election denier. Mr. Griffin gained national notoriety and took that notoriety onto the speaking circuits. His supporters used the pulpit and he fundraised against his trials and tribulations to the toon of thousands of dollars. Not bad for a County Commissioner whose stipend for service is less than $20,000 a year. There is a fundraiser now online of which his goal is $50,000 and the plea is his removal from office $15556 has been raised the last 30 days. Not bad for a month’s work.
Mr. Griffin, possibly seeing the writing on the wall to his legal issues, or possibly just tired of the scrutiny he was under, opted not to run for re-election. Amy Barrela is the favored candidate to win his commission seat this November verses candidate, Stephanie Dubois.
That leads up to the duo of Karl Melton, appointed City Commissioner for Alamogordo, and his domestic partner, John Block, candidate for NM State Representative District 51.
With Griffin exiting stage left, and his influence waning, that created another opening for a new opportunistic demagogue.
The irony: this time, it’s not a rugged cowboy actor garnering for attention, fame and fortune on the backs of Otero County citizens, this time it is a young, educated, alleged conservative, LBGTQ duo, registered Republican, who profess Marjorie Taylor Green as a role model while professing fundamentalist Christian beliefs.
The irony of Melton/Block an out LBGTQ+ couple professing fundamentalist Christianity and Marjorie Taylor Green as a role model can’t be over-emphasized.
Per Multi-million-dollar Republican donor and American Capitalist Steve Forbes who supports the traditional Republican Party policies such as downsizing government agencies to balance the budget, tough crime laws, gun rights, rehabilitative justice, and support for the death penalty. He is editor and chief of Forbes Magazine and not a member of the perceived left-wing media influences. Thus, when Forbes Magazine of which he is editor and chief warns and highlights the demagogue rhetoric and antics of Marjorie Taylor Green, people should pay attention.
Per Forbes Magazine, “Greene baselessly claimedearlier this week that she believes straight people face extinction within 150 years during a segment on her streaming broadcast that airs on her social media accounts.” “Probably in about four or five generations, no one will be straight anymore,”Greene said. “Everyone will be either gay or trans or nonconforming or whatever the list of 50 or 60 different options there are.”
In other reporting by ultra-conservative Forbes Magazine, it highlighted the demagoguery of Marjorie Taylor Green and her conspiracy theories to include “that a devastating wildfire that ravaged California was started by “a laser” beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family. House minority whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) in June said some of Greene’s past comments were “disgusting” and racist, endorsing her Republican primary opponent along with House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).”
Yet, Marjorie Taylor Green is who the Melton/Block duo represent as arole model. Interesting since their role model spouts antisemitic propaganda and certainly propaganda counter to the lifestyle of the Melton/Block duo.
The duo seems to be taking their lessons of demagoguery from the Marjorie Taylor Green playbook and preying upon Otero’s citizens via demagoguery, attacking those who differ with them in opinion or thought, inciting their followers to attack small business owners, and even the mayor, when they express a differing opinion to their own.
Conservative Republicans, to include the House Minority Leader, the Minority Whip and the Forbes family which are huge Republican donors, all speak against Marjorie Taylor Green’s style of conspiracy leadership within the Republican Party. The Melton/Block duo reference her as a role model. That role model should give us all as citizens whom this duo represents pause and alert us to the road ahead.
This admission explains exactly what we can expect from this duo – demagoguery.
Thus, with Couy Griffins exit and wanning media attention, this opportunistic duo launched their first act in the saga of Melton/Block duplicity. Then they went on the offensive via an old-fashioned style of demagoguery, attacking the mayor, those that challenge their first act, a young lady battling cancer, and of course alternative media and business owners that don’t fall in line with their theology.
The propaganda and misinformation of a right-wing radicalized blogger, running as a candidate for a State Assembly District 51 from Otero County, New Mexico, John Block, and his domestic partner Karl Melton, has had Alamogordo, and Otero County up in arms and in a teether over a “resolution” that is a mere, opinion piece, and carries NO WEIGHT of LAW.
Mr. Block’s radical falsehoods and accusations against those whose opinions differ from his, continues with untruths and attacks. The aggression in their demagoguery MAY have even pushed them and a few of their followers to the edge, and in possible violations of election law “the Block/Melton – Big Lie.”
The lawful petition activity in an attempt to counter the “the Block/Melton – Big Lie” brought out enemies, including a partisan official who publicly encouraged a deceptive tactic, an error in judgement on his part.
Typical in fashion of demagoguery, those that follow the demagogue often get hurt.
“Go sign their petition using the name of your favorite founding father. Creative belligerence is an amazing tactic to defeat your opponent,” wrote Joshua Beasley, chairman of the Republican Party of Otero County, where Alamogordo is the seat of government.
Mr. Beasley later apologized. Beasley, in a county party email dated Sept. 2, said his inexperience as a party leader led him to the mistake when lobbying against the petition.
“I would like to take a moment of your time and apologize for my recent statement concerning the collection of petition signatures,” Beasley said on the email. “My sarcasm was a juvenile mistake. As I obtain more experience in this newly acquired position, I cannot promise a perfect performance, but I can promise I have the best of intentions for our county when representing and defending its constituents. I appreciate the feedback I have received from many of you and look forward to continuing to build a strong Otero County.”
Alamogordo resident, Jeff Swanson, filed a complaint against Beasley with the Secretary of State’s Office. Swanson cited a state statute outlawing forgery on election petitions or knowingly causing false information to be listed. Violating the law is a fourth-degree felony.
John Block, a blogger and the Republican nominee for state representative in Otero County’s District 51 furthered thedemagoguery in his statements…
“A radical group of scammers calling themselves New Voices Otero is trying to trick pro-lifers into signing their bogus petition by claiming it will give the voters a choice to vote on the resolution, but they are not telling them that Alamogordo is already a sanctuary city for the unborn,” Block wrote.
It is NOT- legally the opinion piece or resolution passed has NO WEIGHT of LAW, thus Alamogordo IS NOT a “sanctuary city for the unborn” – more demagoguery and further evidence of “the Block/Melton – Big Lie.”
Myers, Swanson and others exercised their right to petition the government. In response, Block accused them of engaging in a fraudulent scheme, even as his Republican chairman urged people to sign the petitions with phony names.
Mr. Block then petitioned the city of Alamogordo under a request for public records for ANY communications to the City Clerk’s Office from Ashlie Myers or Jeff Swanson on September 1st.
Block labels himself as an “America First Republican,” though his version of a free country doesn’t seem to tolerate dissent.
Karl Melton, who is Block’s partner, is an appointed city commissioner. Melton sponsored the resolution to label Alamogordo as a sanctuary for the unborn. He cried poverty in hopes of shutting down constituents who hope to overturn his resolution.
“There is no money budgeted this year for municipal elections, so if this petition receives enough signatures, the city would be forced to take away funding from important city-funded services,” Melton wrote on his Facebook page as a co-conspirator of more demagoguery and further evidence of “the Block/Melton – Big Lie”
Melton’s anti-abortion resolution had nothing to do with any city service, but he made it a public issue anyway. His next move was to use self-incrimination in hopes of silencing those who disagree with him. Melton told residents the city government he helps oversee “is so poorly run it doesn’t have a contingency fund.”
John Block, and his domestic partner, Karl Melton, appointed, crafted a fight within the city of Alamogordo, misleading local followers to believe by implying this is the first step in a fight to ensure abortions cannot happen, Planned Parenthood and other providers cannot come, and that Alamogordo is a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.”
In stirring that pot, this, gay duo, with their own slant to fundamentalist Christian values, duped their followers and rallied the public to believe facts that are not true or are pure propaganda.
What does the radicalized demagogue duo gain from this propaganda and attack on those that historically supported them?
Melton claimed, as reported in his domestic partners propaganda piece, that “I have brought forward Resolution 2022-38 because my constituents are worried Alamogordo has no resolution or ordinance on the books protecting unborn life. This measure not only affirms life from conception to natural death, but it declares Alamogordo a Sanctuary City for the Unborn,” said Melton.
Fact: Alamogordo is NOT “a sanctuary city for the unborn.” It may desire to be one, but legallyit is NOT.
Mr. Melton is splitting hairs and misleading constituents, when he says there is no resolution or ordinance on the books protecting unborn life.
Legally, New Mexico state law governs health related issues, local law cannot, therefore no local city ordinance nor resolution with the “power of law” can legally be on the books to protect the unborn life from abortion, as Mr. Melton insinuates.
When Melton claims the resolution “declares Alamogordo a Sanctuary City for the Unborn,” he fails to educate the average citizen that the declaration has NO Power of Law and is meaningless.
The resolution carries the same weight of law as this writer declaring, “Alamogordo is a sanctuary city for invading aliens from the planet of Mars.” The implication is that Martians are welcome and safe in Alamogordo. When I declare, “Alamogordo is a Sanctuary City to those from Mars,” it would be laughed at as just hyperbole, however when a government body passes a resolution and a seated commissioner goes on a propaganda tour, people want to believe that Alamogordo is truly a sanctuary city that protects the unborn via the power of local law – it is NOT!
Melton’s partner, John Block, said, “By boldly declaring our city a sanctuary for the unborn, you are not just making an important and necessary statement; you are declaring that those who wish to shed innocent blood are not welcome in our city and do not stand with the values our fervently pro-life community believes in.”
While again, this is nice rhetoric and speaks well for Mr. Blocks fundraising efforts, (especially out of the area) as a talking point, it is absolutely not a statement of fact. The resolution is nothing but an opinion.
Mr. Block and Mr. Melton it appears collaborated in an effort to place the Sanctuary City for the Unborn resolution on the ballot. Mr. Melton expressed at a commission meeting that a large number of his constituents demanded action.
(AlamogordoTownNews.com has a public records act request into the city to verify. We have a request with date and time stamps of the actual number of requests for action on this issue that was submitted to the city prior to it being placed on the agenda. Stay tuned.)
What is a fact is that Mr. Melton’s domestic partner, Mr. Block has worked for a non-profitWashington DC based advocacy group called Americans United for Life. It is a corporation, that received $3.2 million in income per its form 990 that states the company “advances the human right to life in culture, law and policy.” Per the filing it spent $810,610 “on litigation and legal affairs, through the courts to defend life and to protect first amendment conscience. AUL has a combined litigation and legislation strategy, drafting, advising and providing model pro-life legislation to legislators, working to help get it passed, then assisting attorneys in defending prolife laws.”
Is Mr. Melton and Mr. Blocks intent to have Americans United for Life assist with attorney’s in defending this resolution or using it as a springboard for furthering their agenda?
Mr. Block has used his propaganda blog heavily, to endorse the resolution his partner set forth. He then went on the offense to attack and defame those against it, including a young lady receiving treatment for cancer, the mayor a business leader and this new source and its leadership.
Mr. Block and Mr. Melton are partners, thus this past financial family connection to this pro-life advocacy group and the timing of his election campaign, raises the question of did Mr. Melton indeed receive, “so many requests from constituents to sponsor this resolution?”
(AlamogordoTownNews.com has requested copies via an open records request with date and time stamps of all constituent communications requesting this be placed on the agenda. We are awaiting full details from the city of Alamogordo. Since Mr. Melton is opposed to the Alamogordo City Code of Conduct, and all such communications may not be in the city database, this request may lead to further questions concerning ethics and integrity of the complete record of official city correspondence with the commissioner and his partner related to this issue and the integrity of said correspondence.)
A question the citizens of Alamogordo should be asking is rather this effort to facilitate this resolution is part of a bigger plot at a potential legislation and used as a test balloon using the tools, learnings and support of the Washington DC Based Americans for Life, Mr. Blocks former employer?
Given Mr. Block, Mr. Melton’s domestic partner was employed with Americans United for Life, was there coordination, assistance, financial support or guidance in this effort from Mr. Blocks past employer? Why didn’t Mr. Melton disclose the past family connection to Americans United for Life and the capacity in which his partner served at the time of sponsorship of this resolution?
Should Mr. Melton have recused himself from sponsorship of this resolution and from debate and voting given his family tie and family financial gain, in the past, by affiliation with this pro-life advocacy group? Have Mr. Melton or Mr. Block had any contact with this corporation or any of its employees leading up to the sponsorship of the resolution?
At a minimum, in the spirit of transparency, Mr. Melton should have gone on the record and disclosed that his family had financially gained in the past by a relationship and of his partners past employment with Americans United for Life. There should have been a full disclosure of the relationship that existed and rather the advocacy group had been in any consultation or referenced in any manner with the proposed resolution. Mr. Melton with the disclosure should have recused himself from participating in the resolution vote.
Mr. Block when making public comment and attacking his opponents should have disclosed his past affiliation. He should have disclosed his past role and financial dealings and rather there was any contact with his former pro-life employer for support, reference, guidance, marketing assistance, legal assistance, verbiage or financial assistance or other contact concerning the resolution his domestic partner brought forth. Mr. Block should have disclosed he had a past financial incentive to move the pro-life agenda forward.
Did Mr. Block or Mr. Melton violate the law? Probably not. Did they leave out information that was relevant to the issue and the debate? Yes, they did. Was their failure to disclose a breach of ethics? Probably, this situation would make an interesting topic for a university level civics class or law class as a dialog on ethics and standards or codes of conduct and disclosure for the public trust. But now we better understand Mr. Melton’s concern with a Code of Conduct for City Commissioners.
Attempts to influence the City Clerk to quash signatures and ultimately a vote?
Mr. Block and Mr. Melton went even further in effort to discredit the democratic process that attempted to bring the resolution to a vote via a petition. On September 8th a Request for Public Records was submitted on behalf of John Block for a copy of the entire petition with signatures, names addresses and phone numbers. Interestingly the signature at the bottom of the request is that or his domestic partner and city commissioner Karl Paul Melton. KPM.
Thus, a collaboration and/or a co-conspiracy by the two to discredit the signatures of the petition begun. See below
With Mr Melton’s signature above Mr. Block received the data did “his analysis” and then submitted “his” analysis to the City Clerk of Alamogordo in an attempt to influence the outcome. He stated: “I am passing this along to help you in your validation process.”
See letter from John Block to the city clerk.
His analysis did not necessarily match the Clerks own analysis.
Mr. Block attempted to suppress this authors vote with false information that “this author is not registered to vote” and included a link to the indictment of the settled court case as alleged evidence of why my vote should not be counted.
New Mexico State laws states: ”If you have been convicted of a felony, you can register to vote once you have completed the court-ordered sentence of imprisonment, including any term of parole or probation for the conviction. This provision includes federal, state and out-of-state convictions.”
Mr. Block has gone on the record that he does not believe in “rehabilitative Justice” thus his attempt to suppress votes but only of those that differ from him.
But the city clerk was a professional and reminded Mr. Block that he cannot be involved in the research to certify rather signatures were acceptable or not…
The city clerk clarified that she cannot even look at his analysis until she completed hers.
The question citizens should ask is did Mr Block really believe his analysis would be considered?
He is allegedly experienced enough in government to know the ins and outs of process and should know of the clerk had considered his research then she would have set the city up for significant litigation exposure.
He was either naive?
Or was he and partner Karl Melton who signed for the information requested, attempting to influence the results of the clerks audit of which places him, the city and his partner Karl Melton in the crosshairs of potential litigation on charges of “voter interference,” “voter suppression” and with other actions, not covered in this story at this time, “voter intimidation.”
In the end, Mr. Block via his propaganda blog released a story that the city was not qualifying the petition and he was rabble-rousing and spinning a story that the petition failed due to not enough qualified signatures…”they failed to get a mere 589 signatures” he claimed thus why it failed.
He released his story prior to the city officially releasing a press release detailing the reason. He ran with the “failed to gain signatures narrative” and still runs with narrative as does his partner the seated Commissioner.
The truth is the petition was disqualified because the “initial steps in the process was not followed correctly to prequalify the petition” from the City Clerk prior to gathering signatures…
Since the resolution was non-binding, it never should have been considered for petition, as the resolution has no meaning, other than an opinion, it has NO bearing of law. A resolution is not law.
The question the community must demand an answer for is what was the real motive behind Mr Melton and Mr. Block to sponsor this resolution that had no power of law?
Who were they in bed with to bring this into the public realm?
What was the real reason for the intensity of the fight by the Block/Melton Duo?
Why the tactics of defamation against the mayor, voter suppression tactics and the fever pitch of demagoguery against those that disagreed with the resolution?
Why was it so important for Mr. Block to ensure his analysis of voters that signed the petition to vote on a meaningless resolution “was on the record”?
The central feature of demagoguery is persuasion by means of passion, shutting down reasoned deliberation and consideration of alternatives. Demagogues “pander to passion, prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance, rather than reason.
Mr. Block and Mr. Melton went all out together for a resolution with no meaning? Mr. Melton sees no sense in a code of conduct for the city commissioners? Was this a trail balloon for something else? What’s next as act 2 in the saga of Melton/Block political duplicity?
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The commission met in “special session” and in a vote of 2 to 1 with Couy Griffin calling in, the Otero County Commissioners certified the election.
A large audience was present with significant police presence as threats had come in against the commissioners. In the afternoon meeting, Republican County Commissioners Vickie Marquardt and Gerald Matherly voted to certify the results from the state’s June 7 primary over the objections of the third commissioner, Couy Griffin.
Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump, spoke by phone from Washington, where he had been sentenced earlier Friday to 14 days in jail on one count of entering a restricted area during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The commission chairwoman, Vickie Marquardt, expressed that if they don’t vote to approve the certification they may be arrested and the “Governor could appoint their replacements with would be s further dis-service to the community as they were elected with over 60% of the vote.”
In his remarks, Griffin refused to back down from assertions that the machines were not secure or apologize for leading a charge against a normally straightforward procedural vote that caused a week-long uproar.
“My vote to remain a no isn’t based on any evidence, it’s not based on any facts, it’s only based on my gut feeling and my own intuition, and that’s all I need,” Griffin said.
The crowd rallied behind Couys phone call and speech but in the end the legal process as interpreted by the State Supreme Court prevailed.
The state’s attorney general, Hector Balderas, had said Friday that the commissioners “must comply with the rule of law” or face legal action and potentially be removed from office.
“I don’t want to let anybody down, I know there’s a lot of people who want us to stand our ground,” Marquardt said Friday. But, she said, “I don’t think it’s worth us getting removed from our seats to do that.”
Commissioners in a second county, Torrance, who had delayed certification earlier this week, voted to approve the vote totals in a contentious public hearing Friday morning.
Next steps is the state will now certify, the candidates will be on the November ballot that were clear winners and a recount of the GB Oliver, Amy Barella race will move forward to determine the clear winner.
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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 Response: “See 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 Response: “See 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
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 Response: ALamogordoTownNews.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 Response: AlamogordoTownNews.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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On April 1st Alamogordo’s Main Street New York Avenue welcomed a familiar face, but in a new role, as a new business owner in this historic Alamogordo Main Street District. Pins and Needles at 915 New York Avenue, transitioned its ownership from Victoria Alamogordo’s proprietor Mrs. Alice Weinman, to that of her former “fabrics manager” Susan Bolinger and her business partner Penny Maurer.
Mrs. Alice Weinman is the veteran of Alamogordo’s New York Avenue having begun her adventure on New York Avenue almost 40 years ago. Mrs. Alice Weinman’s adventure in Alamogordo and on New York Avenue began as a result of the oil and gas bust of the mid 1980’s. She first set foot on New York Avenue in Alamogordo, New Mexico in October 1985. She said because she has been running three large ladies ready to wear stores in Texas she was bored to death after arriving in Alamogordo.Alice Weinman Owner Victoria Alamogordo
According to Mrs. Weinman also known affectionately on the street as “Mrs. Alice” when she came to Alamogordo, the Victoria store was already in operation but not doing well. She said she went into the store and said, “Hi, I am Alice Weinman, and I am here to help you.” The owner at the time responded, “Hi, I am Jatonne and I can’t pay you.” Ms. Alice says when she left the store that day, she had “the keys in her hand.”
Several years later she purchased Victoria at 913 New York Avenue. Over the next 37 years the business evolved and prospered and became a family business that included her husband, son and daughter Barbara; each assisting and working the business to grow. The business did indeed evolve and grow.
Alice and her family are the longest continuously operating business owners on New York Avenue, with businesses that have grown, survived and prospered, over almost 4 decades.
Ms. Alice has modified and tweaked the business over the years to ensure sustainability with the evolving taste of her customer base. That evolution has continued over the decades and in October of 2019 she had the idea of getting into the fabrics and the quilting business. She converted the vault area of her store into a sales area focused on quilting and fabrics. She hired a “fabrics manager” Susan Bollinger to lead the new part of her business.
Susan Bollinger is an Alamogordo native that worked in a frame shop for many years. She had an eye for art and colors, is a hobbyist artist and always admired Ms. Alice and wanted to go to work with her. That opportunity came about in October of 2019 when Ms. Alice hired her to manage to lead the “fabrics section” in the vault. The business was a success and grew and they made the decision to make Pins and Needles at Victoria into a separate business and acquired the building at 915 New York Avenue and renamed it simply, Pin and Needles. Susan Bollinger the new owner of Pins and Needles Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Susan Bolinger continued to run the business and expand it under the watchful eye and mentorship of Ms. Alice.
The new store opened in January of 2021 offering an expanded line of the highest quality fabrics and more, and to include quilt making classes from quality experienced quilting and sewing educators.
Both businesses evolved and prospered, and both survived the turbulence of Covid-19 with tweaks to the business offering along the way.
Ms. Alice’s daughter Barbara jokes, but is correct in her assessment, that the Roadrunner Emporium and the Local Bodega, both newer businesses on the street, that market themselves as small business incubators, are indeed incubators; but that her mother, “Ms. Alice was incubating and mentoring before it was a trendy buzzword on New York Avenue.” Brenda Barber continued that, “she is excited and proud to see Susan fly the coup, so to speak, having been incubated by Ms. Alice and the family operators of Victoria.”
Susan Bolinger is very complimentary of her relationship with Ms. Alice and the family operation of Victoria Alamogordo. She says that she always admired Ms. Alice’s grit, stamina and the care she shows for her staff and her customers. “Ms. Alice is one very special person and a treasure to New York Avenue and to Alamogordo,” according to Susan.
Susan Bollinger came to New York Avenue to assist Ms. Alice and grew under her leadership and mentoring. Susan has partnered with Penny Maurer in the acquisition of Pin and Needles. “Penny brings her accounting background to assist in our growth which helps me a lot,” according to Susan Bollinger.Shoppers at Alamogordo Main Streets Pins and Needles
Susan says that her “years of framing experience, the mentoring by Ms. Alice and her eye for color is what provides her the strength to want to own and build upon the brand of her own business.”
It appears that Susan is also making the business a “family affair” in the transition to her ownership that took effect April 1st. She is hitting the ground running with a store that is busy and as of today has new signage and a new logo. Susan’s daughter Meg Bolinger designed a brand-new logo and sign that was installed in the front window today. The new logo for Pins and Needles is sleek, trendy and current but with a nod to “the love and compassion of the art of sewing.” The needle threading a heart in the new signage is symbolic of Susan’s love of quilting and needle arts.New Pins and Needles Sign created by Meg Bollinger
Both Susan and her business partner have the bug for quilting and needle arts. Her business partner Penny Mauer started sewing and quilting during the Covid-19 lockdown and caught the “quilting bug” about two years ago.
When asked what makes Pins and Needles such a success, Susan said, “it is absolutely about providing the highest quality fabrics that are not found in big box retailers at the mall or online, and it’s about getting to know the customer by name and understanding their needs and their projects.”
Pins and Needles, Alamogordo, at 915 New York Avenue, offers classes and workshops, it is focused on a quality offering that cannot be found online nor at big box stores. Individual attention, knowing the customer’s name, understanding their project and how to help facilitate that project is what makes Pins and Needles successful and sustainable for the long run.
Congratulations to Susan Bolinger and her partner Penny Mauer on acquiring Pins and Needles, Alamogordo. Congratulations to Alice Weinman for her mentorship of this business venture. Congratulations to New York Avenue, for having another business success, that is transitioning to the next generation of business ownership that has the wisdom of history, traditions and an appreciation for the artisan skills of quilting and the art of the needle.
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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.
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.
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 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.
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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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 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.
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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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.
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: