The Lessons on Recalls; Gavin Newsom and Couy Griffin – Similarities and Differences
“Recall” is the mantra yelled by those not happy with the actions of politicians. Daily we hear recall the governor, recall the commissioner, recall, recall, recall. The threat of a recall can has consequences on an incumbent politician and can hamper their reputation and ability to govern or lead.
In New Mexico, the recall effort of Otero County Commissioner, Couy Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump has garnered local, state, and national media attention. In California the recall effort to unseat Governor Gavin Newsom, once the most popular politician in California just ended as a $300 Million dollar debacle for the Republican party of California. The taxpayers are forced to pick up the $300 Million dollar tab for the “special election” that just concluded with Newsom overwhelmingly remaining in office.
What are lessons learned from the recall of Newsom, and are there any parallels with the soon to conclude effort to recall Commissioner Couy Griffin.
The Governor of California, Gavin Newson; represented the largest economy in America, the 5th largest in the world, the most prosperous state in wealth generation and the engine that drives the American economy via Silicon Valley; so yes, much is at risk when a governor of California failed the competency test. A former governor of California was successfully recalled, Gray Davis, leading to the rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the office of governor but that is because of the electric crises, and he could not keep the lights on for business thus the California economy was at risk
Couy Griffin, as County Commissioner of Otero County represents a district within Southern New Mexico that was once the home and the center of America’s space race, nuclear program and contained a school system ranked in the top 10 in the nation. His district in the 60s thru 80’s, while rural, was like California in the concentration of scientist, researchers, innovation and was a center of military industrial collaboration and commerce. Now, however, the district has transitioned to one with increasingly dilapidated buildings, a drain of a qualified and educated work force compared to its past. The district contains one of the lowest vaccination rates and some of highest high school dropout rates in Southern, New Mexico and a lot of blame against the governor and northern New Mexico for the problems plaguing the district.
Mr. Griffin has been a lightening rod of controversy from his affiliation as leader of Cowboys for Trump to missteps in rhetoric that often gets him in trouble, and his handling of campaign finances and those around Cowboys for Trump. These have been lightening rod issues which provide poor optics politically.
What does Gavin Newsom and Couy Griffin have in common that led both to battle a recall effort?Both had a significant issue with optics and understanding voter perceptions.
Mr. Newsom before a statewide lockdown was seen eating at one of the most prestigious restaurants in the US, the French Laundry, celebrating the birthday of a close friends and ally. He implemented policies that were viewed by many as harsh, over reactive, and harmful to business.
In retrospect, yes indeed he was insensitive and created very poor optics thus deserved to be called on his actions. But at a cost of $300 Million to the taxpayers? That’s not quite an example of fiscal responsibility and taxpayer sensitivity by the Republican machine.
Economics are showing that when it came down to his policies, over the longer term, the state of California has bounced back stronger than ever, with the largest budget surplus ever and an economy that is churning stronger than at any time since it was founded. Wealth creation is at an all time high and business interests embrace Mr. Newsom because he himself was a connected and prosperous business owner and operator of high-end resorts, wineries, and restaurants. He came from a history of wealth generation and job creation thus the policies he implemented impacted his business interest directly, and he also felt the pain of those decisions. His net worth when entering the governor’s mansion was estimated as at least $20 Million.
The business community never turned-on Newsom, thus the overwhelming rejection of his recall and a failure by the Republican Party of California to unseat him.
Was Katilyn Jenner and Larry Elder the best the Republican party could do to unseat Newsom? If that is the best and the brightest of California’s Republican party, then the Republican party of California certainly has some soul searching to do. Sadly, the taxpayers of California must pick up the $300 Million dollar tab of this debacle.
Back to Commissioner Griffin, he is embroiled in the final weeks of the effort to get a recall question on the ballot. So far with less than 2 weeks left in the effort it appears Griffin may very well survive the recall effort without a vote ever getting on the ballot. Signature collection is sluggish at best. There will be entertaining commentary once the signature drive is over as the real stories of behind the scenes come to light.
Like Newsom, Commissioner Griffin has a horrible problem with optics and the public perception of his behaviors. Yet, he does not seem to care.
With the deadline of the recall fast approached he appears emboldened and as such is speaking his mind more, traveling in spectacle with his horse red and the American flag near Holloman Airforce Base this past week, and a trip to Montana in the works. He made statements at the most recent County Commission meeting that his opponents felt were “unbecoming of a commissioner.”
Will Couy Griffin survive the recall? As of September 7th, the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin had 991 of the 1574 required. The deadline for signatures is September 28th and then assuming 1574 are valid then there would be a special election as the deadline for the November election was missed.
Will Couy prevail as Newsom did in California? Odds at this point are yes unless there is a sudden influx of valid signatures over the next 12 days.
History has proven recall elections are won and lost based on how the business community sides.
In the case of Gavin Newsom, the business community was tightly aligned with him. In Silicon Valley he received over 80% of the vote against recalling him. Even in Republican rich, Orange County, the election swayed to his favor. Business executives contributed heavy to his campaign and saw no need in a change to the status quo.
In Otero County where is the business community in relation to Commissioner Couy Griffin?
He has not proven to be an effective business leader or wealth generator. He claims to make less then $23K per year in salaries. He has not delivered skilled employment opportunities or high paying jobs to his district through any direct demonstrated successes. He attempted to get the Forestry Service to revisit lumber laws and forest management but that fell through during Covid. His ties with the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce, now the Center of Commerce, are one of the contributing factors that led to the recall effort. One of the 5 accusations for the recall, is that his travels to DC were not county business, and the county should not pay. To bail him out the Chamber “passed the hat,” Couy’s term. That hat passing, created a flurry of investigations with the County and Secretary of State and was a contributing factor to Couy’s issue of recall.
Alamogordo and Otero County business interest seem to be silent on the recall of Couy. No major corporate contributions have been disclosed to this point, no statements in support of the recall by the area’s largest employers, no endorsement of the recall by the Center of Commerce but equally silent is no loud voice of support. Basically the business community is absent in this fight though the County Commission controls a good deal of government leverage in interfacing with state and feds on redevelopment funding and infrastructure improvement.
So, what does Commissioner, Couy Griffin and California Governor Gavin Newsom have in common?
Though political ideological opposites that are united in common purpose, to survive a recall.
Both failed to understand the public outcry that can result from poor optics or poor management of their image as political leaders.
What one says and does matters to the public.
Both were temporarily weakened by the recall efforts, but both are now feeling a new sense of embodiment toward their ideology and beliefs as the result of victory or potential victory over the recall efforts.
Both enriched their campaign or personal coffers because of the recall efforts and the publicity around them.
Newsom brought in over $70 Million into his campaign coffers and has a large chunk remaining unused.
Griffin going into the recall claimed he was broke, lost his wife, almost lost his C4T Pickup Truck and his horse- Red, thanks to fundraising efforts led by the controversial Ben Bergquam Frontline America with alleged ties to the Proud Boys. Via Bergquam’s fundraising efforts for Griffin, Griffin has $41,142 in a funds of the $50K fundraising goal that Bergquam created for him.
Both love the media spotlight.
Newsom is the “pretty face” of the progressive movement and is a media darling
Griffin is the lightening rod cowboy for Trumpian ideology, on a horse, attending rallies around the country.
Both got a pass from the business community
Couy got a disinterested business community that for the most part is waiting out the recall effort and is staying mute in dialog and direct fundraising.
Gavin Newsom got a bounce and significant funding to maintain his role from the business community.
What the recall movement has done is it has brough two politicians, opposite on almost every topic, but united in a battle to win over the prevailing winds of a recall effort.
Newsom won his effort to stay and prevailed. September 28th is D Day for the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin. Will he prevail and join the club of recall survivors with Gavin Newsom? Stay tuned…
Location Gerald Chapman Hospital Alamogordo, individuals with heart conditions, blood clots, serious ailments and in need of ICU space are being denied the level of care because there is limited space available, and those in need of care are seeking Medi-vac options to hospitals in other states where care is available. The reason? Most beds locally and across the nation are going to Covid-19 patients who did not get shots, and thus are sicker than those that did, and they are selfishly taking the critical care spaced needed by those otherwise healthy individuals.
What is the option? Sure, you have the option not to get the shot. If you feel that way don’t but we those that followed the health guidelines have rights to. The rights of those that did follow guidelines and yours should not infringe upon one another.
Thus, we have the right as a stockholders in an insurance company to ensure that the insurance company optimizes profits so I get the highest payout in dividends possible. Insurance companies give incentives and discounts to those that don’t smoke, that exercise regularly and who live health lifestyles. When we make healthy choices, we get rewarded with lower premiums and higher levels of protect and services than the at-risk individual that is insured. It’s a choice you know.
Thus, as stockholders that believe, in free enterprise and limited government interference, we embrace the insurance companies that charge higher premiums to those that don’t get the vaccinated. This isn’t about politics this is purely about profits and the dividends payouts we expect from our investment in stock. We have the right as stockholders to demand maximum profits and maximum payout to us the stockholders and owners of the insurance companies. Stockholders in oil companies demand mitigated risks and the highest possible return on our investment, we demand the same of the insurance companies of which we are invested in.
It’s free enterprise baby! The company of which is a corporation by its charter as a corporation per Business 101, it has one goal, per its mission as a corporation; that is to optimize profits and revenue for its owners the stockholders.
So, we that are stockholders of several insurance companies that get dividends say yes optimize that revenue revenue, protect my dividends payouts, stamp out government interference, it’s a free country and charge higher rates to the unvaccinated. It’s free enterprise, exercise your free enterprise rights to optimize revenues and protect shareholder dividends.
Amend Triage Rules. This is a call out to the American Medical Association and state and national lawmakers to get out of the way of doctor’s decision making, allow the doctors and nurses freedom to amend the triage rules and provide ICU space and care for those who have other ailments and those who got vaccinations over those that did not. The Triage rules say sickest gets priority and doctors work on that theory for fear of being sued. It’s freedom of choice throw those rules away. Let doctors make choices based on what they believe is right not some damn government mandate to care for the sickest as the priority. Get the government out of health care. Get the government out of triage decision making. Get out of the litigation rules that allow doctors to be sued. Repeal medical malpractice rules and repeal all rules that take a doctor’s right to make free and clear decisions based on who he wants to give care to and at his priority of care. Give the doctors and nurses the right to lower the priority of care of Covid patients.
Trust God? Then let nature run its course and let the doctors care for those that care for themselves. Freedom to make triage decisions should not be dictated by government interference. Freedom to profit by the insurance companies is a God given right per the constitution. Let’s freedom ring but freedom from all the government interference. Let’s not pick and choose.
Well why not, it’s a free country isn’t it?
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At the Alamogordo City Commission meeting of 8/24/2021, the cowboy of the County Commission, Couy Griffin, rode in on his white horse to present the city a letter that the County Commission had drafted asking that the road going to the detention center be renamed. Mr. Grifin made several comments that raised questions about the roads name and the optics around the road leading to the County detention center.
By Mr. Griffins own admission when asked by AlamogordoTownNews.com if the commission asked him to speak to the Alamogordo City Commission in public comments, about the road or to deliver the letter, he admitted “I took it upon myself to hand deliver the letter and to express my personal feelings as to why I believe the road should be rededicated.”
If one were to listen to Mr. Griffin’s statements last evening it would appear the road leads to the County jail and there was malice in the naming. Thus the AlamogordoTownNews.com site decided to call the power brokers of Alamogordo and get the story and the history.
Factual History of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Drive
Up until 2005 there was no consideration for an MLK Drive in Alamogordo but “a group of about 50 to 60 concerned citizens made it a priority for consideration of naming a road after Dr. King” according to the Reverend Warren L Robinson, Pastor of Owen Chapel A.M.E. Church and past president of the Alamogordo Chapter of the NAACP.
Around 2004 according to City Manager, Brian Ceasar; “the city was looking at the option of creating a bypass that would run from Scenic Drive, through South Florida, around parts of the city and eventually connecting to Highway 70 near Holloman”. As a result of that proposed bypass at least one public meeting was held in 2005 and consideration was made and presented to call the Bypass Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.
As a result of that proposed bypass there are now unintentionally TWO Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Drives within the city limits of Alamogordo. One is by the golf course, and another is the one Mr. Griffin referenced which leads to the County Jail.
The original intent was not for this to be two separate roads, but one long continuous road that would be the large bypass road connecting Highway 54 to Highway 70.
Commissioner Matherly Takes Proactive Action in 2020
Obviously, the optics of a MLK Drive leading to the County Jail does not look good for the city nor to Otero County. As such a group of concerned citizens brought this concern to County Commissioner Gerald Matherly last year. Around October of last year Commissioner Matherly placed discussion of the roadway onto the County Agenda. It was then discussed and debated and decided by the Otero County Commission in 2020, that they would ask the city of Alamogordo, to rename the roadway leading to the jail, due to the poor optics of MLK Drive leading there. As such, the issue had been raised by concerned citizens and a proposal for resolution made.
Commissioner Matherly did the correct thing in placing it on the county agenda and taking the lead to get the name changed of the portion of the roadway separate from the other and leading to the jail.
The reality is the road was already named Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, well before the County committed to placing the jail there. The intention of the city and the county was for the road to be a bypass and for the jail NOT to be the only building on the long-designated roadway.
As history would prove, the bypass fell by the wayside, funding never came forward, there are now residential houses in part of its pathway. The result of time and no funding and the net result is city now has two roads named after MLK one of which is poor optics leading to the county jail.
Commissioner Matherly attempting to fix a wrong and championed the fix in October of 2020.
Paperwork and Fate
As fate would have it, the issue of changing the portion of MLK Drive that went to the jail, languished for quite some time. Covid-19 hit, roles within the county attorney’s office changed and the paperwork never got to the city as a complete package to move the issue forward.
Brian Ceasar the City Manager said, “the city was awaiting the completion of the paperwork and the payment of $150.00 per city code in order for the city’s process of renaming the street to move forward.”
Couy Griffin had the issue placed back on the last County Commission agenda to send a letter to the city at last month’s commission meeting. Commissioner Matherly reminded Mr. Griffin that the issue was already in the works and that he would personally see what the hold up was to move it forward.
Last Monday, Commissioner Matherly went to the City Planning Department to see what the holdup was, and he was told the paperwork had been filed to rename the road to the jail from MLK Drive to an alternative name but that the fee had never beenpaid, thus the issue could not move forward. At 10:04 am on Monday, Commissioner Matherly, then went to the City Cashier and personally paid the $150.00 to move the project forward.
Once the payment was made by Commissioner Matherly, then that moved the wheels within the city into action.
Next Steps thanks to Commissioner Matherly
AlamogordoTownNews.com spoke to Planning Commissioner Eddie Kemp who said, “that as soon as the item is placed on the planning commissions agenda it is ready to move forward as per the rules of the city code.”
After more research from AlamogordoTownNews.com it was learned that the item is now on the agenda for the City Planning Commission to consider on October 7th.
The process is that they will more than likely approve the renaming for the street by the jail and send the item to the City Commission for consideration as per City Ordinance. The City Commissioners will then vote on renaming the road by the jail from MLK Drive to the alternative name. Once that is done the city will then rededicate the street a new name.
The commentary from Commissioner Couy Griffin at the City Commission meeting last night, was probably unnecessary, as the wheels of the process were already moving forward thanks to the payment by Commissioner Matherly.
The comments by County Commissioner Griffin, did not reference the complete history, nor how the city and the county got into the pickle it is in, so to speak. His comments did leave one with an uneasy feeling, as to why the road to the jail was named after the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, thus our investigation and multiple phone calls to the powers that be to get the real story and understand the history to present to, you, our readers.
The outcome anticipated, is that there will soon be one Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Road and that will be the one near the golf course. The road to the county jail will be named a new name and hopefully one of hope and inspiration.
The longer-term desire of many and confirmed in a discussion with the Rev. Warren L Robinson, Pastor would be, “eventually for MLK Drive to be repositioned to the city center like it is in most cities.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com concurs with that thought.
We believe that the city should indeed continue the path as proposed by the County to rename the street by the jail.
But we propose that the City Commission and the power structure of Alamogordo should consider the history and contributions of the African American and Hispanic Communities and their neighborhoods within the city center of Alamogordo and name two streets in honor of civic leaders.
We propose that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive be the name placed on the street where the old Corinth School is located. Prior to 1950 Corinth School was the segregated Black School in Alamogordo. It would be appropriate to name that downtown street after Dr. King and to place an educational placard on that street explaining the history of desegregation that took place on that street led by Coach Rolla Buck and others of the time.
We also propose that the street where the Dudley School was located be named after Ceasar Chavez Drive. Until 1946 the Dudley School was the segregated school for Hispanic Students. Again, under the leadership of Coach Rolla Buck at the time the Hispanic School was closed, and the Alamogordo High School was integrated with Hispanic students. As such Ceasar Chavez Drive would be an appropriate naming of the street where Dudley School was locate and an educational placard placed on that street as well explaining the history of the street, the school, and the significance of the street naming.
The issue that Couy Griffin spoke about at last nights city commission meeting was not a nefarious issue as one might have been left to wonder, as MLK Drive was supposed to be a major bypass. The White Knight concerning the issue is Gerald Matherly in leading the dialog beginning in 2020 to fix the issue.
Now let’s have other white knights within the city of Alamogordo move forward not only with changing the name of the street by the jail but giving an honest dedication to history and naming appropriate streets after historical figures of our diverse community.
The bigger issue however before the city of Alamogordo is to embrace the diversity within the city, name the appropriate streets in the appropriate neighborhoods after those of historical significance. Who will be the champion within the city to go a step further and place educational placards on the streets in question, to explain the naming and the significance of those streets, and those neighborhoods, to the city’s rich diverse and multicultural history?
It is an election year for mayor, do any of the candidates for mayor have the wherewithal and the leadership ability to demonstrate an honest embracing of the diversity of the city of Alamogordo and placing proper honor to that diversity in the naming of city streets?
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The reception and book launch at Roadrunner Emporium Fine Art, Antiques and More will also showcase the works of southern New Mexico artists Delia Lopez Holloway, Marty Torres, the sculptured tree trunk artwork creations of Artist Rene Sepulveda and over 45 partners displaying their artistic creations to the public. This open house from 6 to 8 will feature live music, light appetizers and is a meet the local artists events.
About the Book Series:
Book 2 is of the 4 part series of books on Coaches Robert & Marilyn Sepulveda and the influence of Coach Gary Hveem on the Alamogordo High School Athletics program.
Book one titled Coach Robert (Bob) Louis Sepulveda: The Early Years released last year to critical acclaim.
Co-written by authors; Chris Edwards & Rene Sepulveda, book one of the series begins with the Alamogordo, New Mexico athletic program of 1916 progressing through today. The focus is on the track & field and its paths that crossed into interscholastic football and cross country. The series is a comprehensive history that tells the stories of the many personalities from 1916 to 1996 that influenced New Mexico and national interscholastic, collegiate, and pro sports including the NFL; in Track and Field, Cross Country, High School Football and beyond.
The book series takes on issues of the launch of national interscholastic sports standards, school sports integration, Girl’s Title IX implementation, the politics of high school football athletics and more.
The series contains the records of 100s of young athletes, rich in dialog and interviews with athletes, coaches, and more. The series factoids highlight successes and failures of some great athletes & coaches, plus history lessons related to athletics. The central characters in the book are Coaches, Bob and Marilyn Sepulveda, paired with a variety of characters that played a role in the program success of the Alamogordo, New Mexico Track and Field, Cross Country & Football programs over 9 decades.
Coach Bob Sepulveda, New Mexico Coach of the Year for boy’s track; 1982, 1991 and 1996. Received the NHSACA Region 8 Coach of the Year in 1982, 1991 and 1996, Section 6 Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1996. Along with his wife Marilyn, both, received the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Level IV Coaching Milestone ring in 1989. He and his wife Marilyn were inducted into the Alamogordo Tiger Hall of Fame in 1988.
“Coach Bob Sepulveda is just a good, hard-working coach and a good responsible person who cared about the kids in his charge. That for anyone who’s paying attention, is all the message that’s necessary”, per a Commentary in the Albuquerque Journal by Rick Wright titled Message There for Those who Watch, Listen,Friday May 13, 1994
About the Artists & Roadrunner Emporium
Roadrunner Emporium showcases the works of southern New Mexico artists Delia Lopez Holloway, Marty Torres, the sculptured tree trunk artwork creations of Artist Rene Sepulveda and over 45 partners displaying their artistic creations from painting and sculptures to embroidery, needlepoint, hand woven designs, Native American arts and more. This event is open to the public showcasing local Southern New Mexico artistic talent.
This open house from 6 to 8 will feature live music, light appetizers and is a meet the local artists event Roadrunner Emporium Fine Art, Antiques & More, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo New Mexico. Open daily 10 am to 7 pm. Closed Sundays.
While a small group of vocal locals are myopically (without thinking about anything outside your own situation) or short sightedly focused on not wearing masks or fighting against vaccines a real undercurrent of change is happening, and this vocal group needs to step back and look at the bigger world of issues that are about to it taxpayers on the horizon. This is not some esoteric idea from California but being tested not too far from here in New Mexico.
At least two New Mexico cities – Las Cruces and Santa Fe – are already considering, or moving forward with, targeted guaranteed basic income pilot projects
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted state and federal governments to send direct payments to citizens and is now fast tracking the dialog around a Basic Universal Income that in the past was considered a fringe idea. The newest debate on the horizon could center on guaranteed basic income, a policy that provides low-income residents with regular financial payments.
In our country today, 40% of earners make $20K or less a year. What’s even more shocking is that 40% of earners actually make less than the 1968 minimum wage.
In Portland Maine, for example, the poverty wage for 1 adult with 2 children is $9 per hour. The state’s minimum wage is $10 and the living wage is estimated to be at approximately $29 per hour. The Personal Care and Service industries in Maine, which represents a large part of unskilled employment, is at or below the poverty level at an average of $23,288 annual income for an adult with 2 children. The required annual income for this demographic is estimated to be $59,101 before taxes.
Maine is not alone. Almost every area of the United States shows that workers are earning well below what is considered a livable wage.
MIT Defines a living wage via its living wage index for New Mexico as 28.65 an hour for a single adult with a child. Their living wage calculator methodology is the hourly rate that an individual in a household must earn to support his or herself and their family. The assumption is the sole provider is working full-time (2080 hours per year). The tool provides information for individuals, and households with one or two working adults and zero to three children. In the case of households with two working adults, all values are per working adult, single or in a family unless otherwise noted.
The state minimum wage is the same for all individuals, regardless of how many dependents they may have. Data are updated annually, in the first quarter of the new year. State minimum wages are determined based on the posted value of the minimum wage as of January one of the coming year (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019). The poverty rate reflects a person’s gross annual income. We have converted it to an hourly wage for the sake of comparison.
An Explanation of a VESTED Economy and how everyone earns a livable wage…
In a vested economy, everyone earns a livable wage. No one is left behind. No one is underpaid. The technical explanation is that a vested economy is one in which the market surplus is distributed to the individual laborers who produce the surplus through an equitable process. Individuals become vested by successfully completing one or more requirements. For example, someone can be vested by completing an educational requirement or serving in the military. The non-technical explanation is that vested economics provides a metaphorical sponge for absorbing an economy’s excess supply of goods and services and a distribution mechanism called National Vesting for apportioning that excess back to its producers in an equitable manner. In other words, no one has to earn a poverty wage ever again.
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted some countries to send direct payments to citizens and is now fast tracking the dialog around a Basic Universal Income that in the past was considered a fringe idea.
In an attempt to put low-income workers on more solid financial footing, New Mexico lawmakers in recent years have approved a minimum wage increase and a paid sick leave requirement, among other policies.
Several legislators said they’re planning to watch the local-level efforts play out before possibly moving forward with a statewide proposal.
Santa Fe’s guaranteed basic income pilot program that will be funded by a national advocacy group as a “stability stipend.” It will provide 100 people under age 30 who have children and are attending Santa Fe Community College with monthly payments of at least $400.
Several other cities nationwide are also moving forward with similar programs that follow on the heels of Stockton, California, which provided 125 low-income people with $500 a month for two years.
New Mexico has long struggled with high poverty rates and more than 926,000 state residents – or about 44% of the state’s total population – were enrolled in Medicaid as of May.
While state revenue levels have been on the upswing since plummeting at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing just 10% of those residents with $100 monthly financial payments would cost roughly $111 million annually. But there could be different types of funding mechanisms available if New Mexico were to pursue such a policy, as Alaska has long offered its full-time residents an annual dividend based on the investment earnings on mineral royalties. The dividend amount for 2020 was $992 per person.
The Albuquerque Journal reported:
“Las Cruces City Councilor Johana Bencomo, who is leading the push for a basic income program in the southern New Mexico city, described the traditional approach to addressing poverty as “patronizing and patriarchal,” and said cash payments allow recipients to use the money as they deem fit.
“I do believe that poverty is a policy choice,” said Bencomo, who is also executive director of a nonprofit group that advocates for immigrant and worker rights.
She also cited the impact of cash assistance programs funded by federal relief dollars during the pandemic, which included one-time payments of $750 for those who didn’t qualify for a federal stimulus check.”
During the presidential run Andrew Yang the Silicon Valley Billionaire brought the topic forward as a credible discussion siting the transition of business to a technology driven economy that he believes will displace up to 24% of the population from present employment types. Times and jobs are changing and while we are myopic in our arguments on masks, vaccines and the school system approach the rest of the world is moving forward in ways that could leave Otero County in the dustbowl of poverty unless elected leaders begin recruiting tourism, cultural arts and technology industries to the area to compete.
With a solid business base of livable wage employment, a Universal Basic Income policy is a non-starter. However in areas of poverty without employment opportunities for livable wages or where there is huge income inequity with a shrinking middle class the theory takes hold and government is forced into seeking alternatives or action.
The action voters need to demand now is that the city commissioners and county commissioners partner with the state and federal governments and do real business recruitment and put ideological social issues aside and drive business opportunity. November 2nd several commissioner seats and the mayors office will be on the ballot.
Consider this when voting. Register and get out and participate. Let your voice be heard at the ballot box.
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AlamogordoTownNews.com The Couy Griffin Interview…
AlamogordoTownNews.com as a community citizen-based publication is actively engaged in digging deeper into stories, business interests and the movers and shakers of the Alamogordo community via in depth researched coverage and dialog rather than the lightweight coverage of the local corporate owned news entities.
AlamogordoTownNews.com attempts to hear and publish different sides of issues and to ensure a diverse population of voices are heard. As such we will report a variety of viewpoints, some we agree with, some we find distasteful. We will always attempt to present facts and we will limit perceived propaganda and if facts are in question, we will question them. Individuals in the public domain of politics and entertainment that live a very public life have a higher standard of what is perceived as slanderous against them and many times at the local political level that is a lesson not at first understood nor recognized.
Fact based; science-based reality checked dialog is the foundation of our reporting on hard stories. Political stories can at times get shaded with opinion of those being interviewed. In this interview we have attempted to be unbiased and fair in allowing Mr. Griffin an open platform and quoting him verbatim without edit excepting for a few grammatical edits in punctuation.
We have published many articles related to the recall effort of Couy Griffin that have been presented by the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin and others via its variety of spokespersons, directly affiliated and not affiliated with the effort.
As such the editorial board of the AlamogordoTownNews.com site felt it appropriate to reach out to Mr. Griffin and get his thoughts concerning the recall, but equally important we have presented the question to many local political leaders of, what they have done while in office to improve the lives of the people they represent?
As we enter the municipal elections period, we will press those elected and those seeking elected office on what, if anything, they have accomplished to better the lives of their constituents. We want hard concrete facts not talking points to present to the electorate. We will not always get them as that is the nature of political dialog.
What have they achieved that benefits the citizens, the business community, the level of education and poverty in the area? Those are the hard questions each voter should ask prior to casting a vote. Few elected leaders like these questions when pressed. Accountability of local political leaders seems to be lacking by a complacent citizenry within Alamogordo and Otero County when looking at low voter turnout in relation to local elections.
One gets the government one deserves by participation, and one does indeed get the government one deserves by a lack of participation. Those at the table do indeed decide, as Chez Sanchez reminds Otero County Citizens in his blog posts, and that principle we do indeed, agree.
Otero County seems to have one party that is driving the dialog and much of that dialog seems to be driven from extreme positions within that party, from the mask mandate in public schools to overall public health and immigration; the alternative parties and independent point of view is missing in much public dialog and debate within Otero County. Are there other voices and other active parties? If so lets hear from them on the many issues before the city and county.
The silent majority of Alamogordo and Otero County voters are just that, mostly silent, and as such the evolution and election of individuals such as Congresswoman Yvette Herrell and the election of the commissioner Couy Griffin is the result of that silence and complacency by those in the silent middle or those more moderate in thinking within all parties.
The perception by the public of extremist positions, controversial rants, and allegations of mishandling the public trust is what appears to have led to the recall effort of Couy Griffin.
Mr. Griffin has been controversial at best, some would say damaging to the reputation of the county at worst.
That is not for us to decide within the context of this article. The context of this article is to hear from Couy Griffin himself and then as the recall effort proceeds, you, the educated and informed voter within his district will decide his outcome and the outcome of the future of the Otero County politics of the future.
This recall effort is historic for the county and eyes all over New Mexico and the nation are watching this effort. Mr. Griffin is certainly feeling pressure based upon our dialog with him. What proceeds is a series of questions and his response to each.
We offer no opinion but just present the dialog and you the reader can consider the responses…
The Couy Griffin Interview of August 7, 2021…
We began the dialog with Mr. Griffin in wanting to know a bit about his past and his time in France. How did he end up there and did he enjoy his life there, and then we proceeded into his role as an elected official, Cowboys for Trump, and the recall?
AlamogordTownNews.com – How long did you live in France and how did you end up there?
Couy Griffin Response – “I attended Cochise College in Douglas Arizona. I won the region in bull riding competition as a freshman and competed at the college national finals at Bozeman, Montana. I moved to Paris in 98’ and returned to the states in 2003.
AlamogordoTownNews.com – It sounds exotic for a cowboy from New Mexico to end up in France. Tell us about your history and how you ended up in France working at Disney?
Couy Griffin Response – “I attended college on a rodeo scholarship where I competed as a bull rider. I went to school with a friend who grew up on the Navajo Reservation and saw an ad where they were looking for Native American Indians to perform in the show. He responded, was hired, and plugged me to the casting director to play the role of a cowboy in the show.
It was an amazing experience and truly a world class show. It was a scripted show that starred Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull and Cowboys and Indians from across the states. My roles were trick riding, trick roping, driving the stagecoach and a little bit of acting.
The show was very well received by the European guests. There were two shows a night that seated around 1.200 people a show where the guests enjoyed a full BBQ Menu and all the beer they cared to drink. It was a world class show on every front.
AlamogordoTownNews.com – Did you enjoy the life overseas?
Couy Griffin Response – “I truly enjoyed living in Paris. I bought a condo just near the golf course and had a wonderful group of the most diverse friends a person could have. Friends from all over the world. I was able to travel to most of the Western European countries and was truly blessed to see more of the world. During the end of my stay, it got a little harder to live in France with the political tension between France, the US, and the mess in Iraq. All the French media could do is talk about “the cowboy” George W. Bush. And with me being an actual cowboy living in Paris you could imagine the negative attention and environment I sometimes landed in. “
AlamogordoTownNews.com – Would you do it again?
Couy Griffin Response – “I would absolutely love to be involved in another type of Wild West show again one day. I created and produced a few shows after moving back to the states. One of which was here in Alamogordo at the Otero County Fair. I have tremendous confidence in my ability to produce a show, but I lack in the financial backing and organizational ability to actually put one on. There is so much that goes into production but Lord willing and by God’s grace I hope that one day it will happen. To answer your question “if I’d go back” I’d say no. I’d rather take my talent and the learned experience and move forward but I’d definitely love to be involved again one day.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – How are you personally impacted by the recall effort?
Couy Griffin Response – “This recall effort has been by far one of the most difficult seasons in my life. The reason being is because I have fallen victim to the lies and slander propagated by those involved as well as the local media who give them their platform. When I drive thru town with my 6-year-old son and see the signs and booths set up promoting this recall it just makes me feel horrible. With my social media being shut down I now have no platform to defend myself against these lies. In today’s world you can be tried, convicted, and sentenced thru social media and local media without being given any kind of right to respond.
When my hearing was scheduled to address the allegations in this recall the state of NM scheduled this hearing on the same day of my monthly commission meeting. I was faced with either attending the commission meeting and upholding my oath to office or going to defend myself against the recall. I filed a motion of continuance stating that my right to due process was being infringed upon and the District Judge Manuel Arrieta (a Bill Richardson appointed judge) denied that motion. Therefore, they had this hearing to decide my fate without me being present. The allegations for recall and my defense are such:
Fails to properly attend meetings. This accusation stems from me attending 4 county commission meetings telephonically. This is a common practice in Otero County and has been accepted for years. Out of the 4 meetings I telephonically attended 2 of them were because of the quarantine restrictions which disallowed me to attend. So technically I only attended 2 meetings which I could have been physically present for but due to being out of town I called in and attended. The previous District 2 Commissioner Susan Flores telephonically called into 8 commission meetings during her last 4-year tenure in office. That is over twice as many even with the meetings I couldn’t attend because of quarantine restrictions.
Banishment from the Mescalero Apache Reservation. This happened because I traveled onto the Mescalero Apache Reservation and met with a tribal member named Chris Valdez who couldn’t get the tribe to help him with medical treatment from a work-related accident. While meeting with Chris we spoke about the recent Covid money the tribe had received and where that money had been spent. Upon publicly requesting an audit to make sure that money was getting to the people of Mescalero it wasn’t long after that tribal president Gabe Aquilar banished me from the reservation. All the while he is driving a brand-new Ford Expedition while many of the people he is elected to represent are living in very destitute conditions.
Use of County Resources for Cowboys for Trump. This stems from using my office to record videos. All I did was record videos with my phone while in my office. Since being elected to this office I have spent less of the county money in reimbursements than any of my fellow commissioners. To date I have spent $397 in travel expenses. My fellow commissioner Gerald Matherley has spent over twice as much as I have, and we took office at the same time. Previous District 2 Commissioner Susan Flores spent over $8,600 dollars in travel expenses during her last term as county commissioner in this same office. I have been extremely careful and frugal while being in office. Yet I have been to Washington DC countless times fighting against the federal overreach on the citizens of Otero County. All the way to the Oval Office with a personal, one on one meeting with the President. And President Trump has never recognized Cowboys for Trump or me being a part of Cowboys for Trump. Every time I have spoken to the President, Vice President, or heads of the United Sates Agricultural Dept they have always and only recognized me as Commissioner Griffin.
Filing improper travel voucher, failing to exercise proper fiduciary responsibility. I filled this travel voucher out under the direct advisement of the county secretary Sylvia Tilbrook as well as County Manager Pamela Heltner. I had never filled a travel voucher out before and they are the ones that got me the paperwork and stepped me thru how to fill it out. This voucher was then approved by the finance director Julliane Hall as well as County Manager Pamela Heltner. I had absolutely no idea there was any problem with this voucher nor did my fellow commissioners when former commissioner Lori Bies as well as Gerald Matherley both voted to approve this voucher in a regularly scheduled meeting. The amount of the voucher turned out to be more than my budget would allow so both commissioners voted to raise my budget allowance to cover this “improper voucher” which now I’m the one taking the heat on.
Violation of the Gift Act by soliciting and accepting $3,500 from a restricted donor. I’m not sure if it was $3,500 or $3,400 but I know that G.B. Oliver from the Chamber of Commerce “passed the hat” to local business owners to help me raise this money. The money was only raised to help pay the county back for the illegal travel voucher that they issued. This money that was raised was raised for Otero County. As soon as the full amount was raised, I took this cash money in an envelope, got a money order from Well Fargo, and paid the county back the full amount for the travel voucher. Only trying to do the right thing. That is to make a wrong a right. I also first checked with our County Attorney Michael Eshelman who advised me there was no problem in raising this money to pay the county back.
That is in a nutshell my response to these allegations. A response that the state of NM and District Judge Manuel Arrietta did not allow me the opportunity. If I would have been able to attend this hearing, I don’t believe the recall would have been allowed to move forward and I wouldn’t be going thru what I’m going thru right now.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – What 3 accomplishments have you done as a commissioner that you are proudest of?
Couy Griffin Response – “This is a tough question because the so many issues I have fought for have been such huge battles.
1. I was able to address the serious conditions of our local forests directly with the President. On my first conversation with the President, I asked him if he knew where Cloudcroft New Mexico is. He replied no and I told him that he would know exactly where it was if the forest surrounding it were to catch on fire. The President then networked me with Undersecretary of Agriculture Jim Hubbard who oversees all the national forests across America. I had a commitment from Undersecretary Hubbard to bring his whole staff to Otero County and while we were organizing the trip Covid hit. This completely shut his office down and hampered his efforts.
2. I stood alongside our local sheriff David Black as well as the N.M. Sheriffs Association in defending against the red flag gun laws. I travelled the state and spoke strongly inside our county to push back against these unconstitutional laws.
3. I was the only elected official to question the Governor in Santa Teresa NM when she said there was no crisis on our southern border. I advocated strongly for our local border patrol and fought hard to get our secondary checkpoints back open when the crisis on the border forced them to close.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com –What have you done as a commissioner to bring jobs to the district?
Couy Griffin Response – “Bringing jobs to Otero County was one of my main focusses while entering into this office and is still a focus today. The jobs that I fought for are the jobs that have always sustained our local economy. That is logging and sawmilling, oil and gas, and the ranching industry. That is why I spent so much time in Washington and focused so heavily on creating a strong relationship with President Trump. These jobs which include natural resources on federal land could only be fought for on the federal level. I fought and attained a verbal commitment from President Trump that in his words he was going to “fix my problem”. I truly felt that our problems were going to be fixed during his second tenure in office but with the outcome of the speculative election it has been a great defeat.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – What have you done to lower the poverty rates and improve the graduation and literacy rates in your district since elected?
Couy Griffin Response – “I believe I have fought for those problems non-stop over the last 3 years while being in office. The reason being is because with a stronger private sector and less dependance on the government those problems will fix themselves. When you have a society that is solely dependent on federal money you have destitution on every front. If we could have gotten our logging and sawmilling industries on their feet, it would have provided jobs in the private sector and given people a hope for growth and prosperity moving forward into the future.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – What have you personally done to attack the blight of abandoned properties and properties that are eyesores of junk in your district?
Couy Griffin Response – “I just received a call and drove by one of these properties yesterday. It is so hard to get these types of properties cleaned up with current state laws that are on the books. I have encouraged our state representative Rachel Black to investigate getting whatever legislation we need thru the state house to address this horrible problem. I have also visited with the property manager of Eileen Acres as well as brainstormed with property owners from this development about what options may be available. I have expressed a commitment to do anything in my power as a commissioner to clean up abandon buildings and trailer houses throughout the county, but we really need cooperation from the state and that is still to be determined.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – Have you officially announced a run for sheriff in the other county?
Couy Griffin Response – “No I have not. But I have entertained the thought and have spoken about it publicly. With the current political state in our country, I feel the office of Sheriff is the most important and powerful political position in the county. If we must make a strong stand one day in our country, it will need to be done thru the office of Sheriff and I feel I have the intestinal fortitude and would be willing to lead that charge.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – If you are running for sheriff why are you holding on to the commission position as it would appear your heart is more into the role of a sheriff?
Couy Griffin Response – “I’m not running for sheriff, at this time anyway.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – Can a sheriff hold office if you were elected while having a federal indictment pending?
Couy Griffin Response – “I am currently facing a misdemeanor trespass charge and one that I don’t believe is fair or just. So, we will just see where that ball lands. I did nothing violent or anything that I have any conviction over that was wrong on Jan 6th. I simply stood alongside fellow Americans to protest what I believe were fraudulent elections. And did so under the guise that we were still a free country and still had a Constitutional Right to do so.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you believe former president Trump turned on you when he distanced himself from Cowboys for Trump?
Couy Griffin Response – “Former President Trump never distanced himself from Cowboys for Trump. That was a “Fake News” headline. If you believe he distanced himself from Cowboys for Trump, where did you come to that conclusion from? President Trump has never even publicly recognized Cowboys for Trump. The different times President Trump recognized me, Couy Griffin, was only as an Otero County Commissioner. That is the representation that I brought Otero County.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – What benefit did the association of Cowboys for Trump bring to Otero County?
Couy Griffin Response – “It helped me to build a relationship with the former President. By me starting and operating Cowboys for Trump it allowed me the opportunity to speak to him about issues directly affecting the great people of Otero County. You could view Cowboys for Trump as a type of “non-paid” lobbying group for Otero County that worked itself all the way into the Oval Office and gained direct attention from the President of the United States. That was an accomplishment. And all my reward has been an unjust and uncalled for recall election with my name smeared daily on social media and mainstream media. But the reward that I work for is not of this world but a world to come. And the only one that matters at the end of the day is God and praise be to Jesus God knows my heart and knows why I do what I do.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you feel the political establishment in Otero County, the state or the Republican Party has turned or distanced themselves from you?
Couy Griffin Response – “I have been very let down not necessarily by the state party but by the chairman Steve Pearce. Only days after the event of January 6th Steve issued an official public statement off the state party platform that said “Couy Griffin travelled to Washington DC to lead the protests and riots”. This was a flat out lie and a very slanderous attack. Steve to this day has not retracted that statement nor apologized for it. So, in saying that I have absolutely no respect for Steve Pearce. And to this day wonder how you can lose the Governor’s race and when you do you are rewarded with the position of chair of the Republican Party?? Steve is a multi-millionaire that knows his way all too well around Washington DC.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – Why do you think a bipartisan recall committee was formed and any feelings towards those individuals or party officials?
Couy Griffin Response – “In my opinion “bi-partisan” has really lost its edge and its meaning. I say that because many Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats and vice versa. Most are just bar certified attorneys who pick an R or D to fight for but at the end of the day they sleep in the same bed of corruption. All the legislation coming out of our state and federal houses only give more grounds for attorneys to sue. Alas creating more work for most of these agenda driven scum bags. Take Brian Egolf for example. He is the ringleader and one of the biggest reasons New Mexico is so oppressed. You put attorneys like Egolf and Jacob Candelaria in office and you are going to have a dysfunctional and self-serving government like we currently have in NM. Civil Rights, Equal Rights, Transgender Rights………all this legislation does is provide more ground/standing for attorneys to sue but does nothing to help NM become more prosperous or successful.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com went back and forth with multiple emails for clarification and in dialog with Mr. Griffin. We concluded letting him know we were considering running two stories one as a more of a human interest and one of the more political Couy Griffin. He responded to that feedback requesting that we do one “story and that the man he was before he entered office is the man he is today.”
Again AlamogordoTownNews.com is not issuing an opinion on the recall or of Mr. Griffins feedback from this interview process. We will leave that for the readers to determine. We do have some unanswered questions and will follow-up with Steve Pierce and others referenced via his comments in future stories of follow-up.
We will conclude this article with Mr. Griffin’s final statement to the AlamogordoTownNews.com site…
“I’d rather not have the story laid out in a way on how such a nice guy could now be such a horrible domestic terrorist. Of course, not accusing you of that’s the way it would be presented but I can promise you one thing. I’m the same guy today as I was before if not more loving and more sacrificial today.
Since entering office, I have done everything for the greater good and made huge sacrifices. After my first trip to Washington when Cowboys for Trump was founded and branded and all the guys, I rode with came back to families awaiting their arrivals at the airport I came back to divorce papers on my kitchen table.
I had to get completely out of the restaurant business because after the Alamogordo Daily News began their slanderous attacks my business was in the tank. I have given all my personal time, finances, and energy to this cause.
I’ve made some emotionally driven statements a couple times, only good Democrat…and black NFL football players who want to disrespect our flag and play something as RACIST as a “black national anthem” to go to Africa and play their football. Both statements taken entirely out of context.
The first statement I was only speaking figuratively and the second as a red blooded American. If you don’t love it leave it. But the media will only cherry pick those two sound bites out of hundreds of speeches I’ve made.
I’ve ONLY ever wanted to put America and the American People first. I’ve wanted to protect our second amendment and protect the unborn. And it’s too bad Democrats don’t care as much about dead babies as they do dead Democrats!!
I’ve written you candidly and honestly as I would a friend. In trusting that you are decent though I’ve never met you. That is the way I treat everyone. With love and respect. As I have learned to do as I work out my faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.
You can use anything I’ve told you to date. Even this message right here. All I ask is that you don’t twist my words or try to present me as someone I’m not. I’m tired of the media. I’m tired of the liars and slanderers like Paul Sanchez, Scott Fredericks, and the rest of the recall committee.
I have a little over a year left on my oath to the people who elected me and after that I will have done my service.
Politics is the most dirty, corrupt, and hateful world I have ever looked into. And the only reason I fight the way I do is to try and do my part to protect our country and freedoms from those who want to destroy both. I am financially broke and hang in the balance of an uncertain future. But by God’s grace I will not be threatened, intimidated, and I damn sure won’t back down.
AlamogordoTownNew.com is publishing the interview notes directly as written by Mr. Griffin. We offer no commentary at this time but will allow comments, guest commentaries or feedback from any of our readers if they remain professional, stick to facts and do not engage in propaganda and distortions of facts nor personal attacks.
The comments from Mr. Griffin are his and his alone and he owns the commentary of which is published as a response to questions posed.
Now the readers and the voters of his district will decide his fate and that of the political agenda of Otero County as the recall effort moves forward. Mr. Griffin has approximately 1 year left in his term if the recall effort fails before he would face re-election if he so chose to run.
Roadrunner Emporium Fine Arts Gallery, Antiques and More, 928 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico is proud to showcase craft persons and artists that are #ExclusivelyAlamogordo –
Meet the “Milk and Honey” Creations of Kathryn Cecava. She is one of our exclusively showcased crafters who experienced the adventure of living in Alamogordo since 1957, except for the four years spent in Nebraska pursuing a Masters degree.
Kathryn’s showcased business is named “Milk & Honey,” because her creations are designed for use in the kitchen where the milk and honey flow.
She loves to create new things from old things. She repurposes the vintage beauty of hand embroidered items by combining them with the usefulness of a kitchen towel.
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Come and select one from a variety of choices showcased that are crafted as #ExclusivelyAlamogordo.
This month was originally designated by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 to honor the legacy of prolific author, teacher, and advocate Bebe Moore Campbell.
Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Awareness Month serves as an opportunity for us all to raise awareness of the unique mental health needs of people of color.
What happens at the intersection of mental health and one’s experience as a member of the BIPOC community? While the experience of being BIPOC in America varies tremendously, there are shared cultural factors that play a role in helping define mental health and supporting well-being, resiliency and healing.
Part of this shared cultural experience — family connections, values, expression through spirituality or music, reliance on community and religious networks — are enriching and can be great sources of strength and support.
However, another part of this shared experience is facing racism, discrimination and inequity that can significantly affect a person’s mental health. Being treated or perceived as “less than” because of the color of your skin can be stressful and even traumatizing. Additionally, members of the BIPOC community face structural challenges accessing the care and treatment they need.
According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, BIPOC adults in the U.S. are more likely than white adults to report persistent symptoms of emotional distress, such as sadness, hopelessness and feeling like everything is an effort. BIPOC adults living below the poverty line are more than twice as likely to report serious psychological distress than those with more financial security.
More likely to use emergency rooms or primary care (rather than mental health specialists)
Barriers To Mental Health Care
Socioeconomic Disparities Socioeconomic factors can make treatment options less available. In 2018, 11.5% of BIPOC adults in the U.S. had no form of health insurance.
The BIPOC community, like other communities of color, are more likely to experience socioeconomic disparities such as exclusion from health, educational, social and economic resources. These disparities may contribute to worse mental health outcomes.
Stigma Negative attitudes and beliefs towards people who live with mental health conditions is pervasive within the U.S. and can be particularly strong within the BIPOC community. One study showed that 63% of BIPOC people believe that a mental health condition is a sign of personal weakness. As a result, people may experience shame about having a mental illness and worry that they may be discriminated against due to their condition.
For many in the BIPOC community, it can be incredibly challenging to discuss the topic of mental health due to this concern about how they may be perceived by others. This fear could prevent people from seeking mental health care when they really need it.
Additionally, many people choose to seek support from their faith community rather than seeking a medical diagnosis. In many BIPOC communities in the U.S., the church, mosque or other faith institution can play a central role as a meeting place and source of strength.
Faith and spirituality can help in the recovery process and be an important part of a treatment plan. For example, spiritual leaders and faith communities can provide support and reduce isolation. However, they should not be the only option for people whose daily functioning is impaired by mental health symptoms.
Provider Bias and Inequality of Care BIPOC people have historically been negatively affected by prejudice and discrimination in the health care system in the US. And, unfortunately, many BIPOC people still have these negative experiences when they attempt to seek treatment. Provider bias, both conscious and unconscious, and a lack of cultural competency can result in misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment. This ultimately can lead to mistrust of mental health professionals and create a barrier for many to engage in treatment.
BIPOC people may also be more likely to identify and describe physical symptoms related to mental health problems. For example, they may describe bodily aches and pains when talking about depression. A health care provider who is not culturally competent might not recognize these as symptoms of a mental health condition. Additionally, BIPOC men are more likely to receive a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia when expressing symptoms related to mood disorders or PTSD.
How To Seek Culturally Competent Care
When a person is experiencing challenges with their mental health, it is essential for them to receive quality care as soon as the symptoms are recognized. It is equally important that the care they receive is provided by culturally competent health care professionals.
While we recommend seeking help from a mental health professional, a primary care professional is also a great place to start. A primary care professional might be able to provide an initial mental health assessment and referral to a mental health professional if needed. Community and faith organizations may also have a list of available mental health providers in your area.
When meeting with a provider, it can be helpful to ask questions to get a sense of their level of cultural awareness. Providers expect and welcome questions from their patients or clients, since this helps them better understand what is important in their treatment. Here are some sample questions:
Have you treated other BIPOC people or received training in cultural competence for BIPOC mental health? If not, how do you plan to provide me with culturally sensitive, patient-centered care?
How do you see our cultural backgrounds influencing our communication and my treatment?
Do you use a different approach in your treatment when working with patients from different cultural backgrounds?
What is your current understanding of differences in health outcomes for BIPOC patients?
Whether you seek help from a primary care professional or a mental health professional, you should finish your sessions with the health care professional feeling heard and respected. You may want to ask yourself:
Did my provider communicate effectively with me?
Is my provider willing to integrate my beliefs, practices, identity and cultural background into my treatment plan?
Did I feel like I was treated with respect and dignity?
Do I feel like my provider understands and relates well with me?
The relationship and communication between a person and their mental health provider is a key aspect of treatment. It’s very important for a person to feel that their identity is understood by their provider in order to receive the best possible support and care.
If finances are preventing you from finding help, contact a local health or mental health clinic or your local government to see what services you qualify for. You can find contact information online at findtreatment.samhsa.gov or by calling the National Treatment Referral Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).
In collaboration and permission of the Trevor Project we share some thoughts…
This BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month, the Trevor Project collaborated with several individuals who are LGBTQ people of color to offer advice to youth on how to navigate the intersections of their identities and protect their mental health. HRC Foundation and the University of Connecticut released the largest-of-its-kind survey ever of more than 12,000 LGBTQ teenagers across the nation, revealing in distressing detail the persistent challenges so many of them face going about their daily lives at home, at school and in their communities.
LGBTQ youth of color and transgender teenagers experience unique challenges and elevated stress — only 11 percent of youth of color surveyed believe their racial or ethnic group is regarded positively in the U.S.,
and over 50 percent of trans and gender expansive youth said they can never use school restrooms that align with their gender identity;
More than 70 percent report feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness in the past week;
Only 26 percent say they always feel safe in their school classrooms — and just five percent say all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ people;
Sixty-seven percent report that they’ve heard family members make negative comments about LGBTQ people
But there is help in the thoughts of others:
“Healing begins with you, and it is quite a journey as well, but it is worth it. You are worthy of so much. Always remember that.”
“I have learned that I do not need to find an exact mirror of myself in order to be valid or to find kinship and community. I can find resonance within myself, and I can find pieces of myself within others.”
“There is space for who you are and who you identify as. And that space that you probably know and want to explore is exactly where you will begin to flourish.“
“Being honest with who you are and how you feel is a big step into being confident in who you are and how you feel.”
“I wish someone told me that it’s okay to not be perfect all the time. I wish someone would’ve said to me, ‘go live your life unapologetically. You MATTER.”
“I believe that while life saving organizations like The Trevor Project fill gaps in mental health infrastructure, we can all do our part to destigmatize mental health conversations in our own context.”
In Alamogordo there are options for help: Crisis And Access Line Call for support and resources1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474) Toll Free 24/7/365
NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DOH Address: 1207 8th Street Alamogordo, NM 88310Phone: 575-437-9340Fax: 575-434-6629
“I think the Recall for Couy Committee should look at the legal side of it because those signatures they get on the Mescalero Reservation, I don’t see how they could be used in a recall if I’m already been banished,”Griffin told a local radio station during an interview on July 13 that he questions the legality of the signatures gathered on the Mescalero Reservation since he was banned last fall.
Griffin apparently has forgotten or is unaware of the plight to vote for Native Americans or that there is even precedent for elected officials to be banished from stepping foot onto a reservation, but the Native American Voters still have the right to vote for or against that individual, even if the individual is banished from tribal lands represented.
Native Americans see themselves as patriots. They’re the demographic with the nation’s highest participation in military service. Yet profound differences separate some of their values from those of mainstream America. Many Indigenous people do not support the dominant society’s fiercely maintained system of racial and financial privilege of which Griffins comments allude to. Platforms with health- and community-focused planks are what interest most Native American voters per polling and Mr. Griffins absences from the district, focus on Cowboys for Trump and infatuation with the Trumpian theology don’t bold well for most Native American voters within the district.
The banishment of Couy Griffin from the Mezcalero Apache Reservation was an act, by the tribe, to get his attention. The banishment was to let him know of their displeasure in his actions as a representative in local government. Though driven by his rhetoric, the tribe’s stance of banishment is statement of his ineffectiveness as a leader of the community. The tribe clearly understands the recall is based upon his actions and potential ethics violations and not his rhetoric and as such allowed the signature drive for recall to proceed on their tribal lands.
Leaders build bridges between diverse groups and advocate for their needs. An act of banishment is a statement that he has been ineffective in representing their voice within county government if even at all.
The banishment of a political leader by a Native American tribe is not to be taken lightly and there is precedent for such actions. Couy is NOT the first politician to face a banishment and not the first to question voting rights of Native American citizens.
A most recent example of a tribal banishment is by the Oglala Sioux tribe in South Dakota, Via banishment they told the state’s governor that she was no longer welcome to access the Pine Ridge Reservation, one of the largest in the country, because she signed bills that allegedly target Keystone XL pipeline protesters. The tribe’s president, Julian Bear Runner, informed Gov. Kristi Noem of the council’s unanimous decision in an open letter.
Tribal banishment is a permanent ban from the reservation, and violations are punishable by law with fines or even jail time on their lands. Tribes have sovereign rights over their lands per Federal treaties however they also participate in county and state elections. Federal law allows for what one might deem as dual citizenship the right to participate in tribal elections as per the tribes constitution and the right to participate in local, state and federal elections via rights granted to all citizens within the US constitution.
Voting Rights of New Mexico’s Native American Population:
Miguel Trujillo Sr. had been a Marine sergeant in World War II and was in the middle of getting his master’s degree from the University of New Mexico. But there was one thing he still could not do. Trujillo could not vote. In 1948, the state’s constitution barred American Indians living on reservations from participating in elections. So, that summer, the Isleta Pueblo educator waged a legal battle that culminated in a court ruling 74 years ago that won Native Americans the right to vote in New Mexico.
Even though the federal government had granted citizenship to Native Americans back in 1924, the New Mexico Constitution still barred them from voting. The state’s constitution expressly prohibited from voting “idiots, insane persons, persons convicted of felonious or infamous crime unless restored to political rights, and Indians not taxed.”
That last part referred to Indians living on reservations because they did not pay property taxes on their land. It is unclear whether Native Americans could have registered to vote if they lived outside reservations.
But the provision disenfranchised many and prompted condemnation from the President’s Committee on Civil Rights in its 1947 report. The provision did not make any sense, the committee said. That line in the constitution was written before American Indians were granted citizenship, but they were paying taxes to the state and federal government like other citizens.
Protests against this ban, the report noted, had only gained force as American Indian veterans returned to civilian life after World War II.
It was amid all of this that Trujillo went to the Valencia County Clerk’s Office in June 1948. Family have said Trujillo had grown up with the county clerk, Eloy Garley, but knew he would not be allowed to vote in any event. Sure enough, he was turned away. In turn, Trujillo went to court with the help of Felix Cohen, a former federal official who had become a prominent civil rights lawyer and was working with tribes in New Mexico.
They filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court focusing on that one strange qualifier in the state constitution. For one thing, Trujillo’s lawsuit argued, he paid plenty of taxes. No, he did not pay taxes on his land. But he paid income taxes and sales taxes. There are other voters who don’t pay property taxes, too, such as renters. But no other group has been barred from voting on the basis that they do not pay property taxes.
On Aug. 3, 1948, a panel of three judges in Santa Fe sided with Trujillo granting Native American voting in New Mexico.
“We are unable to escape the conclusion that under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments; this constitutes discrimination on the ground of race,” the court said in its ruling. The cruel irony that Trujillo had just served in the military but was denied the right to vote was not lost on the court, either. Native Americans, the court said, “have responded to the need of the country in time of war in a patriotic wholehearted way, both in furnishing manpower in the military forces and in the purchase of war bonds and patriotic contributions of that character.” “Why should they be deprived their rights to not now because they are favored by the federal government in exempting lands from taxation?” the court asked.
With that, American Indians had the right to vote and petition in New Mexico in any election for any candidate like other citizens.
And vote they do. In the most recent election voters elected a record-breaking six Native American congressional candidates to serve in the US House of Representatives. Native candidates also won dozens of races in state and local elections across the country.
In New Mexico at the state level 9 candidates ran…
WON: Anthony Allison, Navajo Nation, State House 4, Democrat
UNOPPOSED: Doreen Wonda Johnson, Navajo Nation, State House 5, Democrat
WON: Derrick Lente, Sandia & Isleta Pueblo, State House 65, Democrat
UNOPPOSED: Georgene Louis, Acoma Pueblo, State House 26, Democrat
WON: Patricia Roybal Caballero, Piro Manso Tiwa, State House 13, Democrat
WON: Shannon Pinto, Navajo Nation, State Senate 3, Democrat
WON: Benny Shendo Jr., Jemez Pueblo, State Senate 22, Democrat
WON: Brenda McKenna, Nambe Pueblo, State Senate 9, Democrat
LOST: Gertrude Lee, Navajo Nation, New Mexico Court of Appeals, Position 2, Republican
There are almost 3600 members of the Mescalero Apache tribe of which a large percentage live on the reservation and are located within Couy Griffins District. By law each have the right to sign the petition if a registered voter in the county the tribe’s people like ANYONE registered to vote in Otero County District 2 can sign the recall petition, including those registered voters on the Mescalero Reservation.
If Griffin is removed from office, the New Mexico Constitution states that Lujan Grisham may appoint a person from any political party to the seat. The appointee must be from Otero County District 2, Governor’s Office Spokeswoman Nora Sackett said.
The New Mexico Constitution is not as specific as the statement from the Governor’s spokesperson however there is precedent in appointments, and it would be politically prudent for the Governor to appoint within the district thus the statement from her spokesperson.
The Committee to Recall Couy Griffin is setting precedent in New Mexico history as there is not a record of a recall effort that has garnered this much attention nor seen the successes to date of this effort. To learn more about the recall effort visit:
Mescalero, Apache Reservation at the Chiricahua Plaza parking lot from 10 am – 4 pm
Saturday, July 17
Mescalero: Chiricahua Plaza parking lot from 10 am – 4 pm
Note: Story Revised on 7/16/21 at 6:09 pm per request the author has remove the call letters and named interviewer referenced in the story per a call request. While the record of the call is in the public airwaves we respect the request and have done so accordingly.
Christmas in July or Christmas in Summer is a second Christmas celebration held around the summer season, mainly during July. It is centered around Christmas-themed activities and entertainment, including small gatherings, seasonal music and specials, and shopping, with the goal of getting the public in the “Christmas spirit” during the summer season and engaging with retail stores during the slump of summer sales in July.
Werther, an 1892 French opera with libretto by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet, and Georges Hartmann, had an English translation published in 1894 by Elizabeth Beall Ginty. In the story, a group of children rehearses a Christmas song in July, to which a character responds: “When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season.” It is a translation of the French: “vous chantez Noël en juillet… c’est s’y prendre à l’avance.” This opera is based on Goethe‘s The Sorrows of Young Werther. Christmas features in the book, but July does not.
In 1935, the National Recreation Association’s journal Recreation described what a Christmas in July was like at a girl’s camp, writing that “all mystery and wonder surround this annual event.
The term, if not the exact concept, was given national attention with the release of the Hollywood movie comedy Christmas in July in 1940, written and directed by Preston Sturges. In the story, a man is fooled into believing he has won $25,000 in an advertising slogan contest. He buys presents for family, friends, and neighbors, and proposes marriage to his girlfriend.
In 1942, the Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. celebrated Christmas in July with carols and the sermon “Christmas Presents in July”. They repeated it in 1943, with a Christmas tree covered with donations. The pastor explained that the special service was patterned after a program held each summer at his former church in Philadelphia, when the congregation would present Christmas gifts early to give ample time for their distribution to missions worldwide. It became an annual event, and in 1945, the service began to be broadcast over local radio.
The U.S. Post Office and U.S. Army and Navy officials, in conjunction with the American advertising and greeting card industries, threw a Christmas in July luncheon in New York in 1944 to promote an early Christmas mailing campaign for service men overseas during World War II. The luncheon was repeated in 1945.
American advertisers began using Christmas in July themes in print for summertime sales as early as 1950. In the United States, it is more often used as a marketing tool than an actual holiday. Television stations may choose to re-run Christmas specials, and many stores have Christmas in July sales. Some individuals choose to celebrate Christmas in July themselves, typically as an intentionally transparent excuse to have a party. This is in part because most bargainers tend to sell Christmas goods around July to make room for next year’s inventory.
In the Northern Hemisphere, a Christmas in July celebration is deliberately ironic; the July climate is typically hot and either sunny or rainy with thunderstorms, as opposed to the cold and snowy conditions traditionally associated with Christmas celebrations in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Some people throw parties during July that mimic Christmas celebrations, bringing the atmosphere of Christmas but with warmer temperatures. Parties may include Santa Claus, ice cream and other cold foods, and gifts. Nightclubs often host parties open to the public. Christmas in July is usually recognized as July 25 but also sometimes celebrated on July 12.
The Hallmark Channel and its companion outlets (Hallmark Drama and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) run blocks of their original Christmas television films in July to coincide with the release of the Keepsake Ornaments in stores, thus literally making the event a Hallmark holiday (an accusation that Hallmark Cards officially denies).
Every July, the television home shopping channel QVC has Christmas in July sales, mostly decor and early gift ideas for children. What was once a 24-hour block of holiday shopping every July 25 (or the closest weekend day to it) has become a month-long event: generally, the sales begin on July 1 and are showcased throughout the day, with various blocks of holiday sale programming sales throughout the month. Generally during the last week of July, QVC will dedicate entire days to holiday sales.
Christmas in July in Alamogordo…
This past weekend was the Christmas in July Craft Fair at 705 Delaware Avenue featuring tons of crafts from local craftspersons and artist.
Check out the biggest Christmas in July window display in Otero County at the Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo. Several of its 42 partners are offering Christmas in July discounts from 10% to 30% off discounts of their expanded art work, Native American Art, Antiques, jewelry, collectibles and more.
The Burro Street Exchange – Cloudcroft, NM sections of jewelry, unique gifts and more.
McGinn’s Pistachio Land-World’s Largest Pistachio select gifts, unique decor and more, 70, 7320 US-54, Alamogordo, NM 88310
Most major online retails from Amazon, QVC, Macy’s and more are offering Christmas in July sales.
So escape the summer heat and if in Alamogordo come check out Christmas in July at select fine small businesses such as Roadrunner Emporium, check out Victoria and other fine local shops on New York Avenue Alamogordo, Cloudcroft’s downtown and other local business locations around the area.
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