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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A comment from community member and community volunteer Chez Sanchez…


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

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

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

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

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

STAY CONNECTED! SUBSCRIBE TO FREE EMAIL UPDATES FROM 2ND LIFE MEDIA ALAMOGORDOTOWNNEWS.COM

Change in Leadership at KALH-LP Radio, Alamogordo, New Mexico

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/

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4L4FWD_0jw5wfxZ00

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 cedwards121788@icloud.com and reference KALH in the email header.

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

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

https://www.newsbreakapp.com/n/0jw5wfxZ?pd=06hHgTA5&lang=en_US&s=i16&send_time=1672194670

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The review committee surmised that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there room for improvement? Certainly, YES!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some small newspaper facts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is precedent in California for such a case…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AlamogordoConservativeDaily.org Alamogordo MainStreet, Transforms New York Avenue into Christmas in Candyland this Weekend December 2nd and 3rd

The traditions of the Alamogordo local small business community members of the historic New York Avenue Business, History and Cultural Arts District continues with First Friday, Downtown Nights on Friday December 2nd, 4 pm to 8 pm and then the annual Christmas on MainStreet this Saturday, December 3rd from 4 pm to 9 pm.

Claudia Loya, president of Alamogordo MainStreet explained to the AlamogordoTownNews.com staff that this event is typically the largest signature event for the Alamogordo MainStreet Merchants to showcase their best for the holiday season. “This year will be the biggest and best in many years. Last year we were just coming out of the pandemic and the event was restrained. For 2022 we have all the street involved in creating a truly memorable event. The theme is Christmas in Candyland, and all of the stores are getting decked out into the theme. This is the biggest signature event for Alamogordo MainStreet. We thank the many sponsors who help make this event possible.”

The radio stations of 94.3 FM 94Key, Cool FM 107.9 and Country KZZX invite you to call in and win $25 dollar gift cards or MainStreet Bucks sponsored by your favorite shops on New York Avenue to include Mia’s Collectibles, The Local Bodega, Elite Memories Boutique, Victoria Alamogordo, Globug, Roadrunner Emporium, Good News Thrift Store, Pins and Needles, Rad Studios, Kaias Fitness Studio, Monicakes, Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts, and Capped.

Friday night also hosts events leading up to Saturday’s big street party and merchant event which is the monthly New York Avenue First Friday Downtown Nights. Friday night volunteers will begin transforming New York Avenue but most merchants will be open till 8 pm with Rocket City Gaming Lounge open past midnight.

Downtown Nights Friday December 2nd is the monthly showcase of New York Avenue with Roadrunner Emporium hosting live music from the sensational Sage Gentlewing, Friday shoppers can enjoy live music while shopping to add even more fun to kicking off a New York Avenue weekend.

Saturday evening December 3rd then begins the big day with a transformation of New York Avenue into Christmas in Candyland. There will be a Santa’s Village, Live Nativity Scene, Holiday Hayrides, Shopping, Food Trucks, A car show, Photos with Santa, Photos with the Grinch, Music, Dancing and more.

The events begin at 4 pm but the shops of New York Avenue are open at 10 am for all shoppers to shop early as well as all are open late till 9 or 10 pm Saturday. At the 800 and 900 Blocks of New York Avenue the events begin at 4 pm with a Little Miss and Mister Christmas Pageant, Santa Arrives at 5 pm, the Saint Francis Cabrini Choir performs ay 5:15 to 5:45, 5:45 to 6:15 is the Ugly Sweater Contest, Most Creative Contest, and the Pet Costume Contest, 6:15 to 7:00 pm the St Francis De Paula Folkloric Dancers will perform, 7:00 to 7:30 the Children’s Theater of Alamogordo & Friends perform, 7:30 to 8:15 Bells of Grace perform, at 8:15 to 8:45 Hannah Peterson performs.

On the Flickinger side of New York Avenue at the 1100 Block of New York Avenue events include Dorso Dirtbags leading events 5:30 to 8:30 and dispersed in between is Ballerinas De La Immaculada Maria at 6:00 to 6:30, 8:30 to 9:00 pm the dancing sensations of Anala Nahada, the live Nativity Scene will be ongoing, a car show hosted by Immaculate Cars Car Club in front of the Courthouse, photos with the Grinch on the Flickinger Stage and more.

Alice Weinman of Victoria Alamogordo welcomes the public to visit her store decorated as a Christmas Wonderland and to remember the meaning of Christmas, so go and enjoy the huge live Nativity Scene that will be hosted besides the Sands Theater.

Pins and Needles will be hosting a 15% off special pricing on select fabrics and accessories. Each store on New York Avenue will be in the spirit and décor of Christmas.

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Be sure to drop by Mia’s Collectibles at the 800 Block of New York Avenue and see the awesome Christmas Tress and special offerings that are unique and highly collectible. Did you know that Globug has eatable geodes and more?

Roadrunner Emporium will have artisans on site to answer questions about the creative process. Alamogordo’s most unique collection of small business entrepreneurs and artisans will be showcasing their best this Friday for Downtown Nights and Saturday for Christmas on MainStreet.

There will be many street vendors and so much going on this awesome holiday weekend. This is the perfect event to get inspired by the holiday cheer, see people in special holiday costumes, shop local and support small business, and see the best and the coolest of the New York Avenue business and cultural arts community in full holiday cheer.

Don’t miss out on this biggest and best holiday festival in Southern New Mexico, Christmas on MainStreet – Alamogordo’s New York Avenue, Saturday December 3rd, 2022, 4 pm to 9 pm. Put on your best holiday cheer and we will see you there!

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Sands Theater Alamogordo Coming Back to Life with Planned Rennovations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AlamogordoTownNews.com Feeling the Heat Melton Produces a Single Email

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

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

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

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

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

See below…

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

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

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

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

His response: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Commentary & Fact: “There is NO communication regarding the public requesting Mr. Melton to place the resolution on the agenda.”

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10-03-2022 8:21pm

AlamogordoTownNews.com Commentary & Fact: “There is NO communication regarding the public requesting Mr. Melton to place the resolution on the agenda.”

Chris EdwardsEditor

Image

AlamogordoTownNews.com Mr Melton lied there is No communication from constituents asking for the resolution to be considered.

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 lineincluding 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.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnfornm

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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