The Mayor of Alamogordo Susan Payne receives threats and calls for her death as reported in a live interview with KALH Radio’s Anthony Lucero in a breaking news report.
The incidents began with tensions off the charts with protesters in front of Alamogordo High School from an extremist religious groups not from Alamogordo attempting to stir up hate and disrupting peace in front of the high school all last week.
Susan Payne as herself on her personal web page and not in any professional capacity as mayor posted a quote on Facebook clearly stating this is her personal page closed and open only to her friends and not official page.
Sunday the 15th Payne posted the following “don’t worry about the things you can’t control, sometimes you just have to pray, put it in Gods hands and leave it alone. Pray about it today and leave it alone, Amen.”
She followed it with this also applies to cop hating blue haired freaks who are desperate to be TikTok stars. Note per Anthony Lucero’s story no one was named.
In an interview for Alamogordo Town News on KALH Radio by Anthony Lucero she explained “no one knows who I was talking about, it doesn’t matter, I didn’t put a name, assumptions were made.”
A person by the name of Jenny Buckley per KALH Radio responded via a TikTok post, “It’s telling, that she is doing a lot more to —-talk me, one of her constituents then she is to deal with the hate group…”
However Susan Payne per her statement has been keeping watching the group and asking questions both as a private citizen and via her professional capacity though actions are limited due to constitutional limitations.
Ms. Buckley implied Susan Payne has not been seen out there once defending the kids. However KALH reports in an interview with Mrs. Payne that to be untrue. Mrs Payne was out there but chose not to post photos ops of her visit. Per Susan Payne, “I did go out there again I’m sorry I didn’t do a photo op. I didn’t know that I needed to, I assure I was there and can prove I was there long before others.”
Note per Mr. Lucero’s reporting, Buckley is not the only blue haired critic of Susan Payne from the area.
On the plus side Buckley did identify the protesters as Cry to God Ministries which appears to be nothing more than an hate group of the facsimile of the old Westboro Baptist Church that used to protest funeral of soldiers and gays and is nothing but hate with a new coat of paint.
Like the Westboro folks the 1st Amendment does allow these freak shows to appear free speech is not always pleasant nor tasteful speech and there are limits to what law enforcement and citizens can do to block this display of hate.
Sadly the flood gates from this have spiraled into hate at the local level with a few radical citizens also going after and threatening Susan Payne. There is no justification for hate directed toward Ms Payne and threats and phone calls as reported in Mr Luceros story on KALH are uncalled for. Civil dialog is a must for a civil society.
Ms Payne received several unnerving and even some threatening voice mails, one voice mail called for her execution and another called her a Nazi sympathizer. For those that don’t know Mrs Payne she was born into the Jewish faith and her family practices elements out of both Christian and Jewish traditions.
Mrs. Payne has been working hard on this issue reviewing what legally the city can do. Mrs Payne though this interview with Anthony Lucero for Alamogordo Town News on KALH Radio further explained that she was not speaking as the mayor but as a private citizen, in her professional role daily the nonprofit she leads ensures 196 at risk children are fed weekly, she works for domestic violence victims and helps with the homeless.
The attacks on her are a concern for her and her grandchildren’s safety. Mrs Payne has grandchildren that attend Alamogordo High School, so she certainly cares about the safety or the kids enrolled there.
Lydia Emmanual Productions Inc and 2nd Life Media Inc announced a partnership with the non-profit Southwestern Trails Cultural Heritage Association, owner of KALH Radio 95.1 and streaming at https://kalh.org/.
Founded by Kenneth Bass the station has a reputation for excellence in music and hard-hitting community coverage via Spectrum New via Radio Personality Anthony Lucero. KALH was named Country Station of the Year (2012) by New Music Weekly Magazine (Nashville). However, the station while country focused plays more than Country. KALH plays New Country, Hot Country, Old Country, R&R Classic Oldies, R&B, MOR, Bluegrass, Western Swing, Big Band Jazz AND MORE. The biggest variety of music available on the radio, on the web or personal digital device live from Alamogordo.
The station, while nonprofit will be operated under a management agreement with 2nd Life Media and Emmanual Lydia Productions Inc. Chris Edwards CEO of 2nd Life Media will assume the role of General Manager with the programing support of Anthony Lucero, and contributors to programming Lydia Aspen Renteria and Emmanual Renteria and a focus on sports and fitness in partnership with Rene Sepulveda. Chris Rollerson will continue the focus on Tularosa High School Football and Basketball broadcasts.
Under the new leadership the success and family traditions of the Bass family will continue to be honored front and center as a community focused nonprofit organization committed to the local community news and information along with quality music and entertainment. Tularosa High School Sports will remain a cornerstone to the sports lineup.
No major changes are expected at this time, excepting for an investment in some infrastructure to ensure long term sustainability and new equipment to sustain the 95.1 radio broadcast as well as live streaming.
Longer term the station will place a professional studio within the Sands Theater at 1017 New York Avenue in Alamogordo’s Historic Cultural Arts District with live streaming of music and special events “live from the Sands.”
With this upgrade the station will be partnering with local students at area High Schools, New Mexico State University and Seniors Organizations; creating opportunities for student and senior created shows focused on art, culture, history, music and the stories of the Tularosa Basin and the Heritage of Southwestern New Mexico. Spectrum News is being rebranded Alamogordo Town News and will continue with radio personality Anthony Lucero at the helm or programming and content.
KALH-LP’s mission is to continue the almost 2 decade tradition as a public non-profit radio station that will entertain, inform, challenge, inspire and engage our listeners through an eclectic mix of musical, cultural, educational and community affairs programming and related activities in collaboration with Alamogordo non-profit organizations, local news sources and small business partnerships.
The vision of KALH-LP, a main street, New York Avenue focused Community Radio station is for a truly local radio station that reflects the diversity of views, news, and talent in our community. Our goal is to have as much local programming as possible, including talk and call-in shows; public and community affairs; writers, and a wide range of voices and perspectives as well as continue to provide the finest variety of Country and a variety of other music platforms. The broadcast schedule aims to:
Provide information, news, and dialogue in partnership with AlamogordoTownNews.com
Address critical local concerns, such as education, the economy, and the environment
Profile local culture and diversity of talent
Remember, preserve, and tell the stories of local history
Recognize the rich natural beauty and resources of the region
Highlight live programs and remote broadcasts as a community radio station
In 2003, under the Direction and leadership of Ken Bass the station was incorporated and applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a low-powered, FM, community radio station. The station has operated continuously since. He passed on March 27th, 2021, and he is missed everyday by his family, friends, community, and everyone at KALH Radio. The Bass family has operated the station since his death with a pride and a commitment to the community.
The Bass family made the difficult decision to resign from the board and hand leadership of the non-profit Southwestern Trails Cultural Heritage Association, owner of KALH Radio 95.1 to the Renteria’s and the Sepulveda’s to ensure its long-term sustainability as a community focused organization.
Chris Edwards spokesperson for the new board leadership said, “with the revitalization efforts of Alamogordo’s New York Avenue, the Bass family has been very supportive of our efforts to renovate downtown buildings, tell the history and KALH had a very strong relationship with our operating businesses. We feel it an honor to carry the mission of Ken Bass forward of telling the stories preserving history and restoration efforts and ensuring local news coverage. KALH-LP is another tool for us to further tell the stories of history and what makes Alamogordo the greatest community in New Mexico.”
For questions, sponsorship information or to volunteer or program ideas contact Chris Edwards at email@example.com and reference KALH in the email header.
KALH-LP has a new transmitter that will be installed in the next few weeks in the meantime the station is streaming online and can be heard anywhere with a computer or smartphone at https://kalh.org/
New Mexico joined the Union in January 1912. It has participated in 28 presidential elections through 2020, alternating some extended periods of support for Democratic and Republican candidates. Democrats have now won 7 of the last 8 elections, including Joe Biden’s 54% to 44% win over Donald Trump in 2020.
Locally in Alamogordo, Otero County, New Mexico
In Otero County, it appears the Republican stronghold is strong and in place and most races are a given to swing to the Republican candidate with ease.
However, there are three races of interest this mid-term election that could be seen as competitive for a variety of reasons.
The position of magistrate judge in Otero County is typically a snooze as to what to expect of an outcome. However, this midterm election for magistrate Division One and Magistrate Division Two there are interesting dynamics at play.
The position of magistrate is one that does NOT require a law degree, and candidates typically, are individuals well embedded in the local political party system.
The position of magistrate in Otero County has historically been made up of candidates that come from the “political machine” and as such, the position has been riddled with controversy, the last several years with political games alleged locally and via former Governor Martinez…
Most recently Otero County Magistrate Judge Steve Guthrie agreed to resign the Division I seat April 25, 2022, ending further disciplinary proceedings related to a judicial inquiry by the New Mexico Supreme Court which began in 2021. Guthrie’s resignation became effective April 25, according to New Mexico Supreme Court documents when the court granted a petition for permanent resignation “in lieu of further disciplinary proceedings.“
In September 2021 the Judicial Standards Commission asked the court to open a disciplinary inquiry related to a slew of alleged misconducts by Guthrie. The Commission had conducted its own inquiry into the allegations beginning in January 2021. Among the allegations were improper sentences and incarceration for defendants, improper bail issuance, failure to complete required paperwork, engaging in judicial activities without proper jurisdiction, judicial misconduct and violation of a defendant’s right to due process.
Guthrie was censured prior to that incident in 2019 by the New Mexico Supreme Court for misconduct related to a spat he had with a neighbor.
Otero County Magistrate Judge Scott Newton officially resigned from the bench and withdrew his candidacy for 12th Judicial District judge. Newton said he was tired of the politics being played at the local and state level because of him taking a leave of absence due to a medical issue. Newton said he was not going to have his good name destroyed or put his family through it. “They’re attempting to use this legal absence that I took for a basis that I am unfit to do my job,” he said to the Alamogordo Daily News in 2017 “It’s a total lie. There’s nothing wrong with me. I do have my own personal health issues to deal with, but it’s not an issue in terms of being a judge. It’s just somebody wants to make it an issue. I am not going to stick my neck out there and get it chopped off. It’s just not worth it. Especially with the medical issues that I’ve been dealing with, I don’t have the energy or stamina to fight that fight or put my family through that fight.”
Newton was elected to the Magistrate Court Division I judge’s seat in 2010 after Judge Richard Stokely retired from the bench.
Otero County Magistrate Court Judge Gene C. Galassini hung his robe up in April 2016 also under a cloud of criticism.
Per the Alamogordo Daily News at the time, “Galassini, 59, decided to resign or in his case retire from the bench because of health reason but more importantly to spend time with his three grandchildren. He and his wife, Rocky, also just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary,” at the time of his resignation.
“It’s the stressful nature of the job,” Galassini said. “I’ve got three grand babies plus one on the way. It’s just time to start spending some time with them.”
He was first elected Magistrate Court judge in 2006 then took the bench in January 2007 after 23 years of being an officer with the New Mexico State Police in Las Cruces, Roswell and Alamogordo. Galassini retired as a lieutenant from State Police District 8 in Alamogordo.”
However, records with the State Supreme County show that the resignation may of had more to the story; then stress and health issues.
The New Mexico State Supreme Court granted the State Ethics Commission’s Petition to Accept Stipulation in Light of Permanent Resignation from Judicial Office concerning Otero County Magistrate Judge Gene C. Galassini, Supreme Court Case No. S-1-SC-35791, JSC Inquiry No. 2015-074. “The Supreme Court order made Judge Galassini’s retirement permanent effective 02/29/16, forever barred him from holding judicial office in New Mexico, and unsealed the Supreme Court’s file in the matter.
A link to the Supreme Court File and Mr. Galacini’s resignation letter is below:
Mr. Galassini was hired in 2021 to serve Congressional Representative Yvette Herrell as her law enforcement liaison and has been paid a salary and other compensation since appointment of $34,833.33 as a member of staff.
The 2022 Mid Term Otero County Magistrate Matchup:
Magistrate Judge Division One has turned into a very competitive race with the Reverend Warren Robison competing against John R Seacrest III, both candidates have deep roots in Otero County, both have professional, volunteer and business experience and both have campaigned with professionalism, dignity and mutual respect with no negativity in their race for office.
Reverend Warren Robinson Experience: “Reverend Robinson has 20 years of teaching, counseling and community service in Alamogordo to include 3 years’ experience with Juvenile Justice Board helping youth with reconciliation for criminal offenses, a wide range of local board experience with non-profit service organizations, Chaplain for both Alamogordo City Police and the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, knowledge of the community business leaders and deeply involved in local history and historical preservation” according to his responses to the League of Womens Voters.
John R Secrest III Experience: “What I bring to the courtroom is real life experience and vast knowledge. I am an entrepreneur/small business owner since age 18 with 21 years in Landlord/tenant rights, business contracts, and well versed in DWI/DUI laws. I have also been a plaintiff on several appearances in Mag. Court. To further prepare, I have been mentoring with previous Mag. Judges as well as studying the NM Criminal/Traffic Law manual and NM Constitution. I am a constitutionalist, from the people for the people’s court. I live with unwavering morals, integrity, and honesty. I am UNBIASED and fair.” according to his responses to the League of Womens Voters
The League of Womens Voters asked both candidate what they would do about the backlog within the Magistrate System? Their response was…
Reverend Warren Robinson: “Once within the system I’ll be thoughtful in listening to staff and reviewing the existing processes, then use my experience interfacing with multiple constituencies to influence process changes to end any backlog.”
John R Secrest III: “It is my understanding that Otero County Magistrate Court does NOT have much of a back log. If there is a back log it is primarily due to covid restrictions impeding the court’s ability to operate per usual and in that instance, I would say more cases will need to be handled telephonically. There is always room for improvement.”
Both candidates demonstrate a passion for community and a sense of ethics that the magistrate’s office needs to rebuild its reputation in Otero County.
Magistrate Division 2
The race is between well-known Alamogordo MainStreet and arts advocate and realtor, Claudia Powell, verses Michal Ryan Suggs, the incumbent who was appointed to the Division II Magistrate Judge’s seat Feb. 20, 2018, by Gov. Susana Martinez after Judge James Scot Newton resigned from the bench.
Claudia Powell’s Experience per her website:” Claudia Powell has been part of this community working tirelessly as a relator since 1986 serving our military with impeccable service since 1986. Mrs. Powell has received the Military Relocation Specialist designation from the National Association of Realtors, Past President Alamogordo MainStreet, Director of the Tularosa Basin Historic Society, Otero County Habitat for Humanity, Past President Otero United Way and Past Director of the Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts.“
Michal Ryan Suggs Experience per the League of Women’s Voters: “Juris Doctor- Master’s degree in criminal justice from New Mexico State University, a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, 21 years law enforcement experience, 6 years adjunct professor of criminal justice and 4 years incumbent as Otero County Magistrate.”
When asked what they would do about the backlog within the Magistrate System?
Claudia Powell: “My understanding is the backlog that was created during the Covid-19 crises is now cleared. However, if I were on the bench, I would work with the staff, within the legally bound confines, utilizing my years of collaboration and partnership skills to ensure we did all within our means locally to ease any backlog.”
Michal Ryan Suggs Experience per the League of Women’s Voters: “I can proudly say, there is no backlog of court cases in Otero County Magistrate Court. The court continued to operate throughout Covid. All of the Judges in the 12th Judicial District work tirelessly to serve the people. Whatever adjustments were needed to the docket to ensure timely access to justice were and continue to be made. Under my leadership as Presiding Judge, the speedy and fair resolution of cases has been and always will be a priority of the Otero County Magistrate Court. Our rights deserve this level of experience, knowledge, and continued commitment.”
The other race that has proven, interesting, is the race for Otero County Commissioner District Two, formerly occupied by the controversial Couy Griffin. The two candidates to win the primaries are Amy Barela on the Republican side, verses Stephanie Dubois, on the Democratic side. Both candidates won a contested primary.
The race was considered initially an easy win for Amy Barela given the district leans heavily Red and heavily conservative. However, politics, judicial rulings and an appointment by the Governor of Ms. Dubois into the seat of which Couy Griffin was removed by judicial order has created many interesting dynamics into the race.
Political scientist and pollsters watching the district competition believed it an easy win for Ms. Barella. Speculation was that there would be a backlash, due to the judicial removal of Couy Griffin, thus a wave of Republican voters activated and to the polls.
Ms. Barella has easily outraised, outspent and outpaced Ms. Dubois in advertising, door knocking and overall visibility.
Ms. Dubois on the other hand, received an appointment to the vacant position by the Governor with swearing in to occur on 10/28/22.
Ms. Dubois has been much more visible in the recent weeks and attended several events with the Congressional Democratic Candidate and others. Yesterday in Tularosa, a Get Out the Vote event was sponsored by Ms. Dubois, and Independent Candidate Elaine Allen seeking the position for District 56 State Representative was also present.
The campaign within Tularosa has become very competitive with some rumors of foul play, but thus far the campaign has been, overall civil.
Ms. Dubois appointment by the Governor, received a respectful response by Ms. Barella. However, the response to the appointment by the Republican Party and by the Candidate for State Representative District 51, was aggressive in tone, and filled with negatives that did not benefit candidate Barela, who has shown a level of respect and decorum during the race.
Several independents and moderate Republicans questioned, said they were leaning toward Ms. Barela but after the Republican Party response, and that of the candidate for District 51, they “opted for Ms. Dubois.” One cited, “I’ve had enough hate from that office, Couy was an embarrassment and brought nothing but trouble to Otero County, the vigor of hate that was espoused by the Party response made me decide to break the party line and vote for Ms. Dubois,” a respected and well-known Republican that asked that his name not be used said he really likes Amy but “maybe it’s time to shake things up on the commission, and end the rubber stamping of the Steve Pierce mandates, the county budget is a mess, obviously what we have in place is not working.”
Will there be a backlash from the Republican Party response to the appointment of Ms. Dubois, will Ms. Dubois be able to elicit enough moderate Republicans, motivated Democrats and Independents to the polls to carry her over to remain in the district 2 seat? Will the curse of mid-terms and the economy play into the results of the local elections? We will know in about 2 weeks.
The mid-term elections in most states are traditionally, a completely different animal and can lead to all kinds of unexpected results. The mid-term election of 2018 was the year of the woman.
2018, women candidate had broken the records for the number of candidates for governor, U.S. House and U.S. Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives elected a record number of women, with at least 90 women expected to make their way to Washington, D.C. in January.
In 2018 Deb Haaland of New Mexico broke the barrier and became one of the first Native American Women elected to congress. Democrat Deb Haaland, the former chairwoman of New Mexico’s Democratic Party, won New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District in the 2018 midterms.
Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, became one of the first Native American women elected to Congress alongside Democrat Sharice Davids, who won Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District. Two Native American men — both Republicans — served in the U.S. House of Representatives prior to 2018.
Expectations for this mid-term election…
It’s true that the polls have shifted somewhat toward Republicans in certain key races. On September 15, FiveThirtyEight’s forecast gave Democrats a 71 percent chance of holding the Senate, as of midday Wednesday, that number is 61 percent. In other cases, forecasts haven’t changed much: FiveThirtyEight has the GOP’s House takeover chances still above 70 percent. And there have been some contrary indicators, with surprisingly good poll results for Democrats in redder states like Iowa and Oklahoma.
Yet what amounts to a relatively minor poll shift has been greeted with a sense of impending Democratic doom, for reasons mostly unrelated to the polls themselves. The bad economic news, the historical trend of the president’s party performing poorly in midterms, and the tendency of polls to understate Republicans in certain key cycles (especially Senate races) can all be read to suggest that the smart money is on the GOP to do well.
This underlying assumption that Republicans should be the favorites and will end up the favorites means that small poll shifts in the GOP’s favor get interpreted as devastating for Democrats. And that assumption could well be correct — there are good reasons to believe it. Alternatively, it remains possible the polls are basically on target, or that election night results could deliver a surprise in the other direction.
Democrats remain the favorites in the battle for the Senate, according to FiveThirtyEight, but their advantage has shrunk in the past month. When you look under the hood of FiveThirtyEight’s model to see why, it mostly comes down to shifts in four contests:
In Nevada, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) dropped from a 61 percent favorite to a 49 percent slight underdog.
In Pennsylvania, the chances of John Fetterman (D) winning dropped from 83 percent to 68 percent.
Meanwhile, the chances of challengers Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina winning each dropped from about 40 percent to 27 percent.
Other Democratic candidates, like Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA), haven’t seen similar drops in the past month. Kelly is a 78 percent favorite to win, and Warnock is a 57 percent favorite. In Ohio, Tim Ryan remains a 28 percent underdog.
With the Senate split 50-50, the basic math is that so long as Fetterman picks up that GOP seat in Pennsylvania, Democrats can afford to lose one seat of their own. So, they could lose Cortez Masto or Warnock, but not both. And if Fetterman loses (and no other Democrats campaigning for GOP-held seats win), even losing one Democratic incumbent would flip the chamber.
Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania look like the most important states in determining Senate control. But there’s a problem. Only one of those contests — Georgia — has been frequently polled of late. And it’s unclear how useful those polls are, since if neither candidate tops 50 percent of the vote next month, Warnock and Herschel Walker will just head to a runoff in December.
Public polling in the other two key states has been sparse. In Nevada, we’ve gotten only two public polls conducted in October — one showing Cortez Masto up 2, and one showing her trailing by 2 among likely voters. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the two public polls have both shown Fetterman up just 2. One of those polls is from the Trafalgar Group, while another is a joint effort from one Republican firm and one Democratic firm.
Since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s sweeping four-term presidency, every president has fallen victim to the “midterm curse.”
The “curse” is considered political shorthand at this point—the opposition party to the incumbent leader will wrest control of the House of Representatives or the Senate from the leadership. In fact, the sitting presidential party has lost seats in the House in every single midterm election since FDR’s first term, save for three: FDR himself in 1934, Bill Clinton in 1998 during his second term in office, and George W. Bush in 2002 fresh off a hotly contested victory in the 2000 general election. In each of these instances, the presidents had remarkably high approval ratings—around 70%—often due to historic moments that offered an opportunity for landmark leadership, such as FDR’s New Deal, Clinton’s federal budget surplus, and Bush’s handling of the aftermath of 9/11.
There are a variety of explanations as to why parties often face defeat in the midterms after sweeping the floor in the presidential election. Voter apathy and presidential approval ratings play a large part, but voters are not the only ones who sway the outcome of elections. Midterm elections are susceptible to impacts from the re-drawing of districts and gerrymandering that may occur after a presidential election and can work to disenfranchise a party’s voting block. This is not a phenomenon isolated to the U.S., either: The parties of political leaders across the globe tend to strengthen early in a presidential term before diminishing later.
The President’s party has only gained seats in the House three times since 1934
The incumbent party lost control of either the House or the House and Senate six times since 1934. Only three presidents—FDR, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush—gained seats in the House of Representatives for their parties at midterms.
In FDR’s case, this was thanks to his swift decisions steering the country out of the Great Depression, including the New Deal and various economic relief measures. Clinton’s second term in office marked the first Democratic president to gain a second term since FDR. Though his popularity was beginning to falter due to emerging personal scandals—including the Monica Lewinsky situation, which saw Clinton face impeachment for lying to Congress—it hadn’t yet hit the low that would follow. Bush’s midterms were a narrow race to win an easily swayed power balance, marked by gerrymandering and expensive campaigns that ultimately favored the incumbent party.
The Senate has faired similarly
Statewide Senate races are not impacted by redistricting but still often suffer the same outcome for the president’s party. For most of the 20th century, Senate races were often won by the opposite party than the state in question had gone for in the presidential race. In 1986, for instance, the “mismatch rate” of U.S. Senate races was around 59%, meaning over half of states voted into office senators of the opposite party than they had voted for president most recently. This has waned in intensity recently—particularly during Obama’s presidency—but still generally held. However, the 2022 election cycle may mark a departure from this tradition, with only 4% of registered voters claiming they planned to vote for a senator from a different party than they had endorsed for president.
Presidential approval rating is often the clearest predictor of seat changes
Midterm elections tend to be considered referenda on the party in power. As a result, the electability of Congressional members is increasingly tied to the public’s attitude toward the president. Swing seats have consistently gone to the nonincumbent party when public approval of the current president is low, and the inverse when the public believes their administration is doing well.
Since FDR’s presidency, presidents with a low public approval rating have lost an average of 37 congressional seats during midterms. Only two presidents—Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—have had a public approval rating above 60% during midterm elections; consequently, they have been the only two presidents in recent history to avoid the “midterm curse.”
Voters may be motivated more to turnout when their party is not in power
Voters generally turn out in lower numbers for midterms than for presidential elections. In the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, respectively, only 4 in 10 eligible voters turned up to the polls, whereas 6 in 10 voted in the 2016 general election. However, the drive to overturn the actions of an unfavorable president can be a powerful antidote to voting apathy. A good example of this was the 2018 midterms, in which, according to an analysis by Catalist, “young voters and voters of color, particularly Latinx voters, were a substantially larger share of the electorate than in past midterms.” These voters were majority Democrats, voting in opposition to the Republican incumbent, Donald Trump. That year, midterm surge voting leaped up, and it was “clear that both mobilization and persuasion were critically important in producing this scale of victory for Democrats.”
What does this mean for 2022?
In sum, the 2022 midterms will likely follow the patterns laid out here. All seats in the House of Representatives are up for the taking and a third of those in the Senate. President Joe Biden’s approval rating—40% as of Oct. 20—is on the lower end of historical midterm rates for an incumbent president, suggesting that, if historic precedent holds, Republicans will gain seats on Nov. 8. However, some factors may exert outside influence on the midterm results.
The Democratic Party has been experiencing the same mobilization that spurred a midterm surge during Trump’s presidency, this time regarding issues such as abortion rights and inflation. Voters in Kansas recently turned up in record numbers to vote down measures that would restrict abortion access; elsewhere in the country, local and state legislatures have taken up steps and earmarked funds protecting the right to choose in repudiation of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Ex-Commissioner Couy Griffin Snug with Candidate John Block Coupled in Demagoguery
A demagogue, a popular leader, a leader of a mob, people, populace, the commons or rabble-rouser is a political leader in a democracy who gains popularity by arousing the common people against elites or those that differ in thought, especially through oratory and written dialog that whips up the passions of crowds, appealing to emotion by scapegoating groups and individuals, exaggerating dangers to stoke fears, lying for emotional effect, or other rhetoric that tends to drown out reasoned deliberation and encourage fanatical popularity. Demagogues overturn established norms of political conduct or promise or threaten to do so by attacking those that question their thinking.
The central feature of demagoguery is persuasion by means of passion, shutting down reasoned deliberation and consideration of alternatives. While many politicians in a democracy make occasional small sacrifices of truth, subtlety, or long-term concerns to maintain popular support, demagogues do these things relentlessly and without self-restraint. Demagogues “pander to passion, prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance, rather than reason.
Otero County and Alamogordo is a city divided along ideological political lines in a perceived battle with the liberals of Northern New Mexico and the federal government in ongoing battles over ranching and grazing rights, timber rights and directives from the BLM.
There is an independent streak and a great deal of conservatism running in the veins of a majority of Alamogordo and Otero Counties citizens. There is an underlying distrust of “outsiders” and a definitive distrust of state and federal directives.
The irony, Otero is the 3rd largest county in terms of land area in the state, with 6,613.21 square miles. The population of Otero County in 2018 was 66,781, 3.19 percent of the state total, and ranked 9th in the state in terms of population. Only 10% of the land area is privately owned; the Federal government via the military and BLM, the Mescalero Apache Tribe, and the State Land Office own the remaining 90% of the land.
Alamogordo, with a population of 31,230 in 2018, represented 46.76 percent of the total population of the county.
Per capita income for Otero County during the last administration was $34,636. Per capita income for Otero County was 83.24 percent of the state average ($41,609) and 63.62 percent of the national average ($54,446)
The percent growth of per capita income in Otero County between 2014 and 2018 of 8.61 percent was less than the state (11.91 percent) and the nation (15.70 percent).
Given that a majority of the land mass is outside of reach of the local government officials and given that incomes in the county significantly lag the state and national averages; then it is easy to understand the political culture of the area, and how extremist with demagogue tendencies rise to fill the void in leadership.
The most prolific of local leaders to gain national attention is Couy Griffin, Otero County Commissioner who raised his profile to the national stage in creating “Cowboys of Trump” and a fire and brimstone style of ideological propaganda that the masses embraced at the local level, at least at first.
From his pulpit on the Otero County Commission, he led a variety of conversations and debate from participation in the alleged insurrection to being an election denier. Mr. Griffin gained national notoriety and took that notoriety onto the speaking circuits. His supporters used the pulpit and he fundraised against his trials and tribulations to the toon of thousands of dollars. Not bad for a County Commissioner whose stipend for service is less than $20,000 a year. There is a fundraiser now online of which his goal is $50,000 and the plea is his removal from office $15556 has been raised the last 30 days. Not bad for a month’s work.
Mr. Griffin, possibly seeing the writing on the wall to his legal issues, or possibly just tired of the scrutiny he was under, opted not to run for re-election. Amy Barrela is the favored candidate to win his commission seat this November verses candidate, Stephanie Dubois.
That leads up to the duo of Karl Melton, appointed City Commissioner for Alamogordo, and his domestic partner, John Block, candidate for NM State Representative District 51.
With Griffin exiting stage left, and his influence waning, that created another opening for a new opportunistic demagogue.
The irony: this time, it’s not a rugged cowboy actor garnering for attention, fame and fortune on the backs of Otero County citizens, this time it is a young, educated, alleged conservative, LBGTQ duo, registered Republican, who profess Marjorie Taylor Green as a role model while professing fundamentalist Christian beliefs.
The irony of Melton/Block an out LBGTQ+ couple professing fundamentalist Christianity and Marjorie Taylor Green as a role model can’t be over-emphasized.
Per Multi-million-dollar Republican donor and American Capitalist Steve Forbes who supports the traditional Republican Party policies such as downsizing government agencies to balance the budget, tough crime laws, gun rights, rehabilitative justice, and support for the death penalty. He is editor and chief of Forbes Magazine and not a member of the perceived left-wing media influences. Thus, when Forbes Magazine of which he is editor and chief warns and highlights the demagogue rhetoric and antics of Marjorie Taylor Green, people should pay attention.
Per Forbes Magazine, “Greene baselessly claimedearlier this week that she believes straight people face extinction within 150 years during a segment on her streaming broadcast that airs on her social media accounts.” “Probably in about four or five generations, no one will be straight anymore,”Greene said. “Everyone will be either gay or trans or nonconforming or whatever the list of 50 or 60 different options there are.”
In other reporting by ultra-conservative Forbes Magazine, it highlighted the demagoguery of Marjorie Taylor Green and her conspiracy theories to include “that a devastating wildfire that ravaged California was started by “a laser” beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family. House minority whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) in June said some of Greene’s past comments were “disgusting” and racist, endorsing her Republican primary opponent along with House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).”
Yet, Marjorie Taylor Green is who the Melton/Block duo represent as arole model. Interesting since their role model spouts antisemitic propaganda and certainly propaganda counter to the lifestyle of the Melton/Block duo.
The duo seems to be taking their lessons of demagoguery from the Marjorie Taylor Green playbook and preying upon Otero’s citizens via demagoguery, attacking those who differ with them in opinion or thought, inciting their followers to attack small business owners, and even the mayor, when they express a differing opinion to their own.
Conservative Republicans, to include the House Minority Leader, the Minority Whip and the Forbes family which are huge Republican donors, all speak against Marjorie Taylor Green’s style of conspiracy leadership within the Republican Party. The Melton/Block duo reference her as a role model. That role model should give us all as citizens whom this duo represents pause and alert us to the road ahead.
This admission explains exactly what we can expect from this duo – demagoguery.
Thus, with Couy Griffins exit and wanning media attention, this opportunistic duo launched their first act in the saga of Melton/Block duplicity. Then they went on the offensive via an old-fashioned style of demagoguery, attacking the mayor, those that challenge their first act, a young lady battling cancer, and of course alternative media and business owners that don’t fall in line with their theology.
The propaganda and misinformation of a right-wing radicalized blogger, running as a candidate for a State Assembly District 51 from Otero County, New Mexico, John Block, and his domestic partner Karl Melton, has had Alamogordo, and Otero County up in arms and in a teether over a “resolution” that is a mere, opinion piece, and carries NO WEIGHT of LAW.
Mr. Block’s radical falsehoods and accusations against those whose opinions differ from his, continues with untruths and attacks. The aggression in their demagoguery MAY have even pushed them and a few of their followers to the edge, and in possible violations of election law “the Block/Melton – Big Lie.”
The lawful petition activity in an attempt to counter the “the Block/Melton – Big Lie” brought out enemies, including a partisan official who publicly encouraged a deceptive tactic, an error in judgement on his part.
Typical in fashion of demagoguery, those that follow the demagogue often get hurt.
“Go sign their petition using the name of your favorite founding father. Creative belligerence is an amazing tactic to defeat your opponent,” wrote Joshua Beasley, chairman of the Republican Party of Otero County, where Alamogordo is the seat of government.
Mr. Beasley later apologized. Beasley, in a county party email dated Sept. 2, said his inexperience as a party leader led him to the mistake when lobbying against the petition.
“I would like to take a moment of your time and apologize for my recent statement concerning the collection of petition signatures,” Beasley said on the email. “My sarcasm was a juvenile mistake. As I obtain more experience in this newly acquired position, I cannot promise a perfect performance, but I can promise I have the best of intentions for our county when representing and defending its constituents. I appreciate the feedback I have received from many of you and look forward to continuing to build a strong Otero County.”
Alamogordo resident, Jeff Swanson, filed a complaint against Beasley with the Secretary of State’s Office. Swanson cited a state statute outlawing forgery on election petitions or knowingly causing false information to be listed. Violating the law is a fourth-degree felony.
John Block, a blogger and the Republican nominee for state representative in Otero County’s District 51 furthered thedemagoguery in his statements…
“A radical group of scammers calling themselves New Voices Otero is trying to trick pro-lifers into signing their bogus petition by claiming it will give the voters a choice to vote on the resolution, but they are not telling them that Alamogordo is already a sanctuary city for the unborn,” Block wrote.
It is NOT- legally the opinion piece or resolution passed has NO WEIGHT of LAW, thus Alamogordo IS NOT a “sanctuary city for the unborn” – more demagoguery and further evidence of “the Block/Melton – Big Lie.”
Myers, Swanson and others exercised their right to petition the government. In response, Block accused them of engaging in a fraudulent scheme, even as his Republican chairman urged people to sign the petitions with phony names.
Mr. Block then petitioned the city of Alamogordo under a request for public records for ANY communications to the City Clerk’s Office from Ashlie Myers or Jeff Swanson on September 1st.
Block labels himself as an “America First Republican,” though his version of a free country doesn’t seem to tolerate dissent.
Karl Melton, who is Block’s partner, is an appointed city commissioner. Melton sponsored the resolution to label Alamogordo as a sanctuary for the unborn. He cried poverty in hopes of shutting down constituents who hope to overturn his resolution.
“There is no money budgeted this year for municipal elections, so if this petition receives enough signatures, the city would be forced to take away funding from important city-funded services,” Melton wrote on his Facebook page as a co-conspirator of more demagoguery and further evidence of “the Block/Melton – Big Lie”
Melton’s anti-abortion resolution had nothing to do with any city service, but he made it a public issue anyway. His next move was to use self-incrimination in hopes of silencing those who disagree with him. Melton told residents the city government he helps oversee “is so poorly run it doesn’t have a contingency fund.”
John Block, and his domestic partner, Karl Melton, appointed, crafted a fight within the city of Alamogordo, misleading local followers to believe by implying this is the first step in a fight to ensure abortions cannot happen, Planned Parenthood and other providers cannot come, and that Alamogordo is a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.”
In stirring that pot, this, gay duo, with their own slant to fundamentalist Christian values, duped their followers and rallied the public to believe facts that are not true or are pure propaganda.
What does the radicalized demagogue duo gain from this propaganda and attack on those that historically supported them?
Melton claimed, as reported in his domestic partners propaganda piece, that “I have brought forward Resolution 2022-38 because my constituents are worried Alamogordo has no resolution or ordinance on the books protecting unborn life. This measure not only affirms life from conception to natural death, but it declares Alamogordo a Sanctuary City for the Unborn,” said Melton.
Fact: Alamogordo is NOT “a sanctuary city for the unborn.” It may desire to be one, but legallyit is NOT.
Mr. Melton is splitting hairs and misleading constituents, when he says there is no resolution or ordinance on the books protecting unborn life.
Legally, New Mexico state law governs health related issues, local law cannot, therefore no local city ordinance nor resolution with the “power of law” can legally be on the books to protect the unborn life from abortion, as Mr. Melton insinuates.
When Melton claims the resolution “declares Alamogordo a Sanctuary City for the Unborn,” he fails to educate the average citizen that the declaration has NO Power of Law and is meaningless.
The resolution carries the same weight of law as this writer declaring, “Alamogordo is a sanctuary city for invading aliens from the planet of Mars.” The implication is that Martians are welcome and safe in Alamogordo. When I declare, “Alamogordo is a Sanctuary City to those from Mars,” it would be laughed at as just hyperbole, however when a government body passes a resolution and a seated commissioner goes on a propaganda tour, people want to believe that Alamogordo is truly a sanctuary city that protects the unborn via the power of local law – it is NOT!
Melton’s partner, John Block, said, “By boldly declaring our city a sanctuary for the unborn, you are not just making an important and necessary statement; you are declaring that those who wish to shed innocent blood are not welcome in our city and do not stand with the values our fervently pro-life community believes in.”
While again, this is nice rhetoric and speaks well for Mr. Blocks fundraising efforts, (especially out of the area) as a talking point, it is absolutely not a statement of fact. The resolution is nothing but an opinion.
Mr. Block and Mr. Melton it appears collaborated in an effort to place the Sanctuary City for the Unborn resolution on the ballot. Mr. Melton expressed at a commission meeting that a large number of his constituents demanded action.
(AlamogordoTownNews.com has a public records act request into the city to verify. We have a request with date and time stamps of the actual number of requests for action on this issue that was submitted to the city prior to it being placed on the agenda. Stay tuned.)
What is a fact is that Mr. Melton’s domestic partner, Mr. Block has worked for a non-profitWashington DC based advocacy group called Americans United for Life. It is a corporation, that received $3.2 million in income per its form 990 that states the company “advances the human right to life in culture, law and policy.” Per the filing it spent $810,610 “on litigation and legal affairs, through the courts to defend life and to protect first amendment conscience. AUL has a combined litigation and legislation strategy, drafting, advising and providing model pro-life legislation to legislators, working to help get it passed, then assisting attorneys in defending prolife laws.”
Is Mr. Melton and Mr. Blocks intent to have Americans United for Life assist with attorney’s in defending this resolution or using it as a springboard for furthering their agenda?
Mr. Block has used his propaganda blog heavily, to endorse the resolution his partner set forth. He then went on the offense to attack and defame those against it, including a young lady receiving treatment for cancer, the mayor a business leader and this new source and its leadership.
Mr. Block and Mr. Melton are partners, thus this past financial family connection to this pro-life advocacy group and the timing of his election campaign, raises the question of did Mr. Melton indeed receive, “so many requests from constituents to sponsor this resolution?”
(AlamogordoTownNews.com has requested copies via an open records request with date and time stamps of all constituent communications requesting this be placed on the agenda. We are awaiting full details from the city of Alamogordo. Since Mr. Melton is opposed to the Alamogordo City Code of Conduct, and all such communications may not be in the city database, this request may lead to further questions concerning ethics and integrity of the complete record of official city correspondence with the commissioner and his partner related to this issue and the integrity of said correspondence.)
A question the citizens of Alamogordo should be asking is rather this effort to facilitate this resolution is part of a bigger plot at a potential legislation and used as a test balloon using the tools, learnings and support of the Washington DC Based Americans for Life, Mr. Blocks former employer?
Given Mr. Block, Mr. Melton’s domestic partner was employed with Americans United for Life, was there coordination, assistance, financial support or guidance in this effort from Mr. Blocks past employer? Why didn’t Mr. Melton disclose the past family connection to Americans United for Life and the capacity in which his partner served at the time of sponsorship of this resolution?
Should Mr. Melton have recused himself from sponsorship of this resolution and from debate and voting given his family tie and family financial gain, in the past, by affiliation with this pro-life advocacy group? Have Mr. Melton or Mr. Block had any contact with this corporation or any of its employees leading up to the sponsorship of the resolution?
At a minimum, in the spirit of transparency, Mr. Melton should have gone on the record and disclosed that his family had financially gained in the past by a relationship and of his partners past employment with Americans United for Life. There should have been a full disclosure of the relationship that existed and rather the advocacy group had been in any consultation or referenced in any manner with the proposed resolution. Mr. Melton with the disclosure should have recused himself from participating in the resolution vote.
Mr. Block when making public comment and attacking his opponents should have disclosed his past affiliation. He should have disclosed his past role and financial dealings and rather there was any contact with his former pro-life employer for support, reference, guidance, marketing assistance, legal assistance, verbiage or financial assistance or other contact concerning the resolution his domestic partner brought forth. Mr. Block should have disclosed he had a past financial incentive to move the pro-life agenda forward.
Did Mr. Block or Mr. Melton violate the law? Probably not. Did they leave out information that was relevant to the issue and the debate? Yes, they did. Was their failure to disclose a breach of ethics? Probably, this situation would make an interesting topic for a university level civics class or law class as a dialog on ethics and standards or codes of conduct and disclosure for the public trust. But now we better understand Mr. Melton’s concern with a Code of Conduct for City Commissioners.
Attempts to influence the City Clerk to quash signatures and ultimately a vote?
Mr. Block and Mr. Melton went even further in effort to discredit the democratic process that attempted to bring the resolution to a vote via a petition. On September 8th a Request for Public Records was submitted on behalf of John Block for a copy of the entire petition with signatures, names addresses and phone numbers. Interestingly the signature at the bottom of the request is that or his domestic partner and city commissioner Karl Paul Melton. KPM.
Thus, a collaboration and/or a co-conspiracy by the two to discredit the signatures of the petition begun. See below
With Mr Melton’s signature above Mr. Block received the data did “his analysis” and then submitted “his” analysis to the City Clerk of Alamogordo in an attempt to influence the outcome. He stated: “I am passing this along to help you in your validation process.”
See letter from John Block to the city clerk.
His analysis did not necessarily match the Clerks own analysis.
Mr. Block attempted to suppress this authors vote with false information that “this author is not registered to vote” and included a link to the indictment of the settled court case as alleged evidence of why my vote should not be counted.
New Mexico State laws states: ”If you have been convicted of a felony, you can register to vote once you have completed the court-ordered sentence of imprisonment, including any term of parole or probation for the conviction. This provision includes federal, state and out-of-state convictions.”
Mr. Block has gone on the record that he does not believe in “rehabilitative Justice” thus his attempt to suppress votes but only of those that differ from him.
But the city clerk was a professional and reminded Mr. Block that he cannot be involved in the research to certify rather signatures were acceptable or not…
The city clerk clarified that she cannot even look at his analysis until she completed hers.
The question citizens should ask is did Mr Block really believe his analysis would be considered?
He is allegedly experienced enough in government to know the ins and outs of process and should know of the clerk had considered his research then she would have set the city up for significant litigation exposure.
He was either naive?
Or was he and partner Karl Melton who signed for the information requested, attempting to influence the results of the clerks audit of which places him, the city and his partner Karl Melton in the crosshairs of potential litigation on charges of “voter interference,” “voter suppression” and with other actions, not covered in this story at this time, “voter intimidation.”
In the end, Mr. Block via his propaganda blog released a story that the city was not qualifying the petition and he was rabble-rousing and spinning a story that the petition failed due to not enough qualified signatures…”they failed to get a mere 589 signatures” he claimed thus why it failed.
He released his story prior to the city officially releasing a press release detailing the reason. He ran with the “failed to gain signatures narrative” and still runs with narrative as does his partner the seated Commissioner.
The truth is the petition was disqualified because the “initial steps in the process was not followed correctly to prequalify the petition” from the City Clerk prior to gathering signatures…
Since the resolution was non-binding, it never should have been considered for petition, as the resolution has no meaning, other than an opinion, it has NO bearing of law. A resolution is not law.
The question the community must demand an answer for is what was the real motive behind Mr Melton and Mr. Block to sponsor this resolution that had no power of law?
Who were they in bed with to bring this into the public realm?
What was the real reason for the intensity of the fight by the Block/Melton Duo?
Why the tactics of defamation against the mayor, voter suppression tactics and the fever pitch of demagoguery against those that disagreed with the resolution?
Why was it so important for Mr. Block to ensure his analysis of voters that signed the petition to vote on a meaningless resolution “was on the record”?
The central feature of demagoguery is persuasion by means of passion, shutting down reasoned deliberation and consideration of alternatives. Demagogues “pander to passion, prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance, rather than reason.
Mr. Block and Mr. Melton went all out together for a resolution with no meaning? Mr. Melton sees no sense in a code of conduct for the city commissioners? Was this a trail balloon for something else? What’s next as act 2 in the saga of Melton/Block political duplicity?
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Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin and Otero County made history today with a ruling in the lawsuit that was filed to remove Commissioner Griffin from office.
According to today’s ruling, Griffin qualifies for removal as per Section 3 of the 14th amendment and participation in a rebellion or insurrection against the government of the United States and the peaceful transition of power of the presidency.
Text of the amendment:
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
Interpretation is that no person can be a Senator, Representative, Elector or officer of the United States — or United States military officer, or member of a State Legislature, or a Governor, or a judge of any State — if they took an oath to support the Constitution and then took part in a rebellion against the United States or gave aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. But Congress can change this with two thirds vote.
A History Lesson of how Republicans enacted the 14th Amendment Section 3:
This is a section of the constitution that dealt directly with the aftermath of the Civil War, section 3 of the 14th Amendment prohibits those who had “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same [United States] or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” from serving in the government. It was designed to keep the governments free of those who had broken the country apart. However, its effect wound up being relatively minor, that is until this trial.
Due to the obscure cases around the use of this amendment this may make an interesting case that could go all the way to the US Supreme Court as a precedent setting case. Even more interesting is the precedent this case could indeed set for future generation. The application of this portion or amendment to the constitution has not been reference or used in a case in more than 150 years.
“If this ruling stands up on appeal, it sets a significant precedent for the next election cycle,” said Gerard Magliocca, a constitutional scholar at Indiana University who has studied Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. “After all, if Couy Griffin is disqualified from holding office for his role in Jan. 6, then shouldn’t Donald Trump be disqualified for his even greater role in Jan. 6th?” Of course the difference is Couy had a conviction tied for his acts while on the “Capitol Grounds” while his conviction was a misdemeanor it was a conviction no less around the issues of rebellion or insurrection.
Magliocca said the issue could arise in a number of ways moving forward and is ripe for the Supreme Court to litigate before Trump might run for and potentially win the presidency in 2024.
Section 3 of the 14th amendment has been called “the most forgotten provision of the forgotten Fourteenth Amendment.” Congress last used Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1919 to refuse to seat a socialist Congressman accused of having given aid and comfort to Germany during the First World War, irrespective of the Amnesty Act.
Interesting fact is the amendment was drafted by Republican members of the Thirty-Ninth Congress.
Republicans when setting out the conditions for restoring former confederate states to the Union demanded, in rough order of priority, a constitutional change in the basis of apportionment (Section 2), constitutional provisions respecting the state and federal debt (Section 4), constitutional or statutory provisions limiting confederate participation in politics (Section 3), constitutional or statutory provisions protecting the rights of former slaves and white Unionists (Section 1), and a constitutional ban on secession that did not become part of the final Fourteenth Amendment.
Couy Griffin was indeed removed from office today. He claimed in a radio interview with Anthony Lucero on KALH this afternoon that he received a call from the Otero Couty Manager telling him he was “officially removed from office, that his office security code had been changed, his computer access stopped and that his no longer was a serving commissioner.”
Mr. Griffin apparently was pretty upset with Sherrif Black according to statements he made to KALH saying, “Probably the thing that gives me the most heartburn is that Sherrif David Black said yes totally enforce everything and that he stands behind this order…”
Griffin continued, “it’s a shame, it’s totally just a shame they can do this through the civil courts and a liberal judge in Santa Fe can take away the will of the people of Otero County and now the Governor is going to hand select whoever is going to replace me, for the next 3 and a half months, and Pamela told me on the phone, when I said what about this next commission meeting? She said we will do it with 2 commissioners… “
Couy still believes that the judge is outside of his jurisdiction.
Joshua Beasley the chairman of the Republican Party of Otero County, never contacted AlamogordoTownNews.com back with a statement but gave one to Anthony Lucero in which he said, “ I was hoping for otherwise, you know, January 6th was far from insurrection, there was bad behavior for sure on both sides but it was far from an insurrection but when the courts are overrun with people who are working against the will of the people it is not surprising.”
Amy Barela, the frontrunner in the campaign to replace Couy Griffin in the election planned for November of this year responded, “I don’t know what to say, my heart is broken for Couy.”
KALH also reached out to the Democratic Candidate to replace Couy Stephanie Dubois, her response was, “It is always a sad thing regardless of if we agreed with him or disagreed with him, it’s a sad thing to see an elected official to have to leave not under his own steam.”
The Oter County Democratic Chairman, Jeff Swansons response was, “those who intimidate voters, engage in in insurrections and conspiracy behaviors will be held accountable.”
There are 3.5 months left in the term of Couy Griffin and at present District 2 is now unrepresented and without a commissioner. State law says that the Governor could pick a person to fill the position. If that were to occur that would be the first time that has occurred since the days of a territorial governor based on the research, we have found to date.
Given its a Democratic Governor one would think the odds-on favorite would be Ms. Dubois to complete Mr. Griffins term.
However, the Governor has taken a hands-off approach to Otero County when it comes to other vacancies. There is a vacancy for magistrate in Otero County that could have been temporarily filled by the governor.
A recommendation letter was sent to the Governor to fill that role with Reverend Warren L Robinson, until the November election by appointment, however the Governor has eft the position vacant to date. Will she continue that path with a hands-off approach to Otero County or will she act?
Couy Griffin is likely to appeal this court ruling. He entered this case with no representation and attempted to defend himself. Given the ruling and the precedent it could set on the national stage, odds are, representation will step up, as this case could end up eventually going before the US Supreme Court do it its very unique nature.
How odd that a case in New Mexico of a former Rodeo Cowboy Actor, Couy Griffin, would gain such notoriety and possibly be precedent setting. Politics locally gives new meaning to the slogans “Exclusively Alamogordo” or “Exclusively Otero County.”
Kirtland Air Force Base, which abuts and shares some runways with the Albuquerque airport, has become an important nuclear weapons complex. It hosts the Air Force’s Nuclear Weapons Center, Sandia National Laboratories, and what is probably the nation’s (and perhaps the world’s) largest repository of nuclear weapons, estimated at up to 2,500 warheads. Kirtland AFB is the third largest installation in Air Force Global Strike Command. (Others include Barksdale Air Force Base, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Minot Air Force Base, F. E. Warren Air Force Base.)
Alamogordo as a testing ground for military aircraft, drones and other top-secret programs and as the convergence point of Holloman Air Force Base, Fort Bliss, and White Sands Testing Grounds as such Alamogordo is also a strong potential target in the event of a superpower nuclear exchange.
Alamogordo, New Mexico located in the nearby Jornada del Muerto desert, the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range was the site of the world’s first nuclear explosion. The so-called “Trinity” Test was carried out as part of the Manhattan Project, a nuclear weapon research operation begun in 1939. The project took place simultaneously in several locations: the weapons were developed in Los Alamos, New Mexico; uranium-235 was enriched at Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and plutonium-239 was produced at Hanford, Washington.
The desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico was chosen as the test site.
On July 14, 1945, the world’s first nuclear bomb, a plutonium implosion device code-named “The Gadget” was installed on top of a 30 m tower. The construction was equivalent to the one used for the “Fat Man” bomb, which was dropped on Nagasaki only a few weeks later. Scientists and military officers observed the test from a distance of 10–32 km.
On July 16, 1945, at 5:29:45 am the “Gadget” was detonated, with an explosive power equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT, causing a bright flash of light, a mushroom cloud that grew to a height of about 12 km, and a shock wave that was felt 250 km away from Ground Zero. “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds” were the famous words of J.R. Oppenheimer upon seeing the explosion.
Trinity was the first of more than 2,000 nuclear tests, which contaminated the world’s atmosphere with radioactive particles known as nuclear fallout.
Doomsday Clock- 2 Minutes till Doom…
The Cold War ended nearly three decades ago and then the Doomsday Clock was set to 17 minutes to midnight. The Clock, designed in 1947 by artist Martyl Langsdorf and set by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, signifies how close the world is to a “nuclear apocalypse.”
For the first time since 1953, the world is two minutes away from nuclear destruction.
While the world has faced the Clock’s proximity to midnight before and lived to see the minute hand move backward, the world – and thus the Clock – is currently influenced by a number of different factors that did not exist in 1953.
Perhaps the newest and most relevant is the higher probability of a nuclear weapon falling in the hands of a terrorist group or rogue state, but even more current and possibly pushing the superpowers to the edge is the war in the Ukraine. Under the Putin regime with his ill health, a war he is losing and the recent call to increase his troops he has said, he would “not rule out the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine nor against those assisting the Ukraine against Russia.” Additionally, tensions in the Pacific Theater have increased the last 4 years with China flexing its muscles.
These threats show that Alamogordo, and targets in New Mexico and the US should revisit their civil defense plans.
If one plugs into the Nukemap, the region around Alamogordo and the threat of one of Russia’s nuclear weapons that could be pointed to the regions of New Mexico one sees that the death tolls in the area around Alamogordo would be around 40,630 with 19,470 injured.
With a rising threat of a nuclear exchange, one wonders what plans Otero County and the city of Alamogordo have in place in the event of a nuclear exchange.
Let’s review the history of nuclear exchanges and civil defense to see how we got to where we are today in Otero County New Mexico.
US History of Nuclear Disaster Preparedness:
Today, fallout shelter signs represent remnants of the nuclear disaster preparedness plans that the United States government intermittently encouraged or funded during the Cold War, from the 1950s through the 1980s.
In 1950, United States Congress created the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA), to guide states’ actions in regards to civil defense policy. As such, FCDA was largely responsible for the first nuclear shelters.
In 1952, the FCDA – with the help of the Ad Council – created nine different short films about preparedness. These films included the famous Duck and Cover drill with Bert the Turtle, which portrayed students saving themselves from a nuclear attack by hiding underneath their school desks. Today, these films are seen as ill-informed, and even were used to make a 1982 satirical film, Atomic Cafe, about the misinformation the United States government gave to American soldiers and citizens in the early years of the Cold War.
During the early 1950s, the FCDA also encouraged Americans to begin building at-home nuclear fallout shelters. Each shelter was supposed to have at least two weeks of supplies, the recommended amount of time for staying in the shelter after an attack. At the time, however, Congress and the Executive Branch did not directly support this initiative due to the prohibitive cost of creating a system of nuclear fallout shelters across the country.
Following the Soviet Union’s test of the hydrogen bomb in 1953 and the release by the United States of the effects of its first thermonuclear bomb (“hydrogen bomb”) test, Mike, detonated in the Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1952, the Eisenhower administration determined that shelter programs were no longer effective and instituted evacuation plans instead. Both hydrogen bomb tests’ effects seemed to convince the public that it was not possible to survive a nuclear detonation, unless people were warned in advance of the attack. Evacuation planning over shelter planning was, though, only proposed by the FCDA until March 1954, right after the United States tested its most powerful hydrogen bomb, Castle Bravo. Bravo was tested on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands and had a yield 1,000 times higher than the Hiroshima bomb. The testing resulted in severe radioactive contamination of numerous islands, which continues to impact the Marshallese society today. This occurrence led Congress and the FCDA to determine again that shelters were necessary for citizens’ protection.
The FCDA proposed a National Shelter Policy, which according to Homeland Security would have cost around $32 billion. The necessity of this policy was supported by the Gaither Report, commissioned by President Eisenhower in 1957, and, the Rockefeller Report in 1958, lead by Henry Kissinger. Evidence presented in these two reports, though, was not enough for President Eisenhower, who refused to take action towards enacting the policy. Instead, he replaced the FCDA with the newly created the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization (OCDM), which eventually became the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the Office of Emergency Planning (OEM).
With the election of a new president, John F. Kennedy, shelters resurfaced as an important element of civil defense against a nuclear attack as the United States government directly advocated for and funded nuclear fallout shelters. In September of 1961, The Community Fallout Shelter Program began, following an extensive survey to determine shelter locations. Each shelter had to be able to serve at least fifty people, who were given a storage space of 1 cubic foot. The program set out to supply local shelter sites with materials to defend against the effects of radiation. The OCD allocated water drums, food rations, sanitation kits, medical kits, radiation detectors, and package ventilation kits to each of the shelters, which were directly run and maintained by local government’s civil defense offices. In October, Kennedy asked Congress to allot $100 million to create public fallout shelters across the country. By the end of 1961, the Department of Defense had created a 46-page booklet about the shelters, including instructions of what to do if a nuclear attack occurred. These booklets were distributed to post offices across the country. According to the Department of Homeland Security, by the end of 1963, nine million public shelters had been identified and supplied.
Preparedness for a nuclear disaster became a top priority for a final time under President Ronald Reagan’s administration (1981 to 1989). Following the creation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under President Jimmy Carter, President Reagan made nuclear disaster preparedness plans and evacuation routes a top priority, by asking Congress to allocate $4.2 billion for civil defense spending. While congress only allocated $147.9 million to the cause, this push for civil defense nuclear planning became the last of its kind to this day, following the end of the Cold War shortly after the end of the Reagan administration.
US Nuclear Preparedness Today
In the post- Cold War era (1991- today) the United States, along with other nations, faces a new kind of nuclear threat. During the Cold War, the United States’ main nuclear opponent was the Soviet Union. Today, the United States faces a threat of a nuclear disaster not only from other countries, such as North Korea, Iran, or other rogue nations, but also from terrorist groups, who could easily access the materials and information necessary to construct a nuclear weapon. In addition, one cannot dismiss the possibility of a disaster stemming from accidental use of weapons currently in the United States’ own arsenal or other countries’ arsenals.
One threat facing the world today is missing weapons-grade materials from the old Soviet nuclear stockpile. In order to build a nuclear weapon, one would need plutonium (Pu 239) or highly-enriched uranium (HEU), uranium with a concentration of U235 higher than 20%. During unstable economic times, former Soviet nuclear personnel used to sell HEU on the side. The Soviet Union never created an inventory list of its nuclear materials, so most of the material that was and is stolen during and after the Cold War isn’t known to be missing. Between 1991 and 2002, there were fourteen confirmed cases of theft of weapons-useable nuclear material from Russia’s nuclear stockpile. Russia currently has 680 metric tons of HEU, over half of the total amount that exists in the world. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a significant quantity of HEU, meaning “the approximate amount of nuclear material for which the possibility of manufacturing a nuclear explosive device cannot be excluded,” is 25 kg or 55.1 lbs. Since Russia does not disclose its plutonium stockpile to the IAEA, it is unknown how much the nation currently possesses. According to the IAEA, a significant quantity of plutonium is 8 kg or 17.6 lbs.
The uncertainty surrounding unguarded weapons-useable nuclear material is not limited to Russia. In 2007, six nuclear warheads were accidentally flown from an Air Force Base in North Dakota to Louisiana. The warheads were missing for 24 hours before officials in Louisiana discovered the error.
According to the Federation of American Scientists, there are over 14,000 declared nuclear warheads in the world today, and given the yet to be successful intentions for a world free of nuclear weapons, the threat of a nuclear disaster still looms large. As Dr. Redlener states: “There is no putting the toothpaste back in the tube here. …. I cannot imagine circumstances where we can get verifiable information of elimination of all nuclear weapons on the planet. I think we do have to come to grips with that … and make sure that we have done everything possible to control any situation that might result in a nuclear detonation.”
The United States and its citizens are not currently prepared for the aftereffects of a nuclear disaster of any type, whether an air missile from another nation, an attack on the ground from a terrorist or terrorist group, or some kind of accidental detonation.
We live in a state with the nation’s (and perhaps the world’s) largest repository of nuclear weapons, estimated at up to 2,500 warheads.
What is the local plan in the event of a nuclear exchange. Has the Otero County Commission or the City of Alamogordo’s leadership reviewed an emergency preparedness plan in recent decades? Is the plan visible and easy to find online by the common citizen?
When one does a basic google search for a nuclear preparedness plan for Otero County or Alamogordo one finds a comprehensive plan for Albuquerque understandably, one is found for Cloudcroft with 9 mentions of the nuclear threat in their civil defense plan and easily found on Google. A plan for Otero County and Alamogordo may exist however if it does it was difficult for the public to find, review or comment on.
Per the Albuquerque plan, “Albuquerque is identified in the latest Nuclear Attack Planning Base (NAPB) as a high-risk area, subject to blast overpressures > 2.0 pound per square inch in the unlikely event of nuclear attack. Approximately 465,912 evacuees from the city and nearby areas will be assigned to locations within Bernalillo County and other New Mexico counties for shelter”
Cloudcrofts plan mentions the nuclear threat 9 times to include succession planning…
“In a Civil Defense emergency due to threat or occurrence of a nuclear incident, succession to elected and appointed Village or County officials will be as provided in the New Mexico Disaster Succession Act(Chapter 12, Article 11) designated Successors may serve only as permitted by the Act.”
A plan may exist for Otero County and for the city of Alamogordo, state law requires the various government bodies to have emergency preparedness plans, but the nuclear preparedness for Otero County and Alamogordo is not easily found. If one exists, please forward the links so we may alert the public to the plan.
If one does not exist or has not been updates in the last decade, it may indeed be time to review given America’s nuclear scientist access we are 2 minutes from doom.
What are some tips in the event of attack? While it may seem unlikely that a person could survive a nuclear attack, there are seven simple actions that one can take to save his or her life – assuming that one is far enough (more than .5 miles away) from the core of the explosion. They are:
(1) Do not stare at the light from the flash because it will blind a person instantly and keep your mouth open to handle the pressure released from the initial blast.
(2) Decide to move ten to twenty minutes walking distance away from the blast site or seek shelter either below ground or above the 9th floor of a building, to avoid the effects of fallout from the mushroom cloud.
(3) Move crosswind from damaged buildings if you choose to leave, but only for 10-20 minutes. (4) Keep your mouth, skin, and nose covered as much as possible.
(5) Remove your clothes, rinse off with a hose, while holding your breath. Seek medical care if possible.
(6) Stay in the shelter for 12-24 hours after an attack to avoid the initial massive amount of exposure to radiation after a nuclear attack, or as long as instructed by the government. Only leave shelter once you know the direction to move.
The people of Otero County have survived a nuclear blast from the past.
However significant cancer rates etc. exist with those impacted and the Downwinders Group is fighting that fight. An in-depth story on the plight of the Downwinders will be in the upcoming issue of Southeastern New Mexico Influence Magazine due for release mid-September 2022. Stay tuned to our publications and that of Southeastern New Mexico Influence Magazine to learn more.
An interesting resource to hear on stories of the Trinity Site via oral histories is
The Republican primary race between GB Oliver and Amy Barela for the 2nd District County Commission primary is the most watched race in the county and appears to have the most buzz from near and far.
If fundraising were the measure, Mr. Oliver seems to be leading with a campaign war chest to date of $13,963,76 verses $9476.79 for Amy Barela to date.
Links to their most recent filings are below, followed by responses to the Q & A survey of questions from AlamogordoTownNews.com
GB Oliver 2nd District County Commission Seat Candidate
Largest Cash Contribution: Robert Joe Pattillo $2000, Richard A Boss $1000, Kerry Eaton $1000, Aubrey Dunn $500, James J Klump $500 (All local donors)
Loans to Campaign: GB Oliver $6063
In Kind: Justus Photography
Total funds raised as of reporting period: $13963.76
Ending Balance as of reporting period: $ 8,977.79
Amy Barela 2nd District County Commission Seat Candidate
Largest Cash Contribution Self 2,562.38, Committee to Elect James Townsend Barela, Amy A. (Amy For Otero) $1000, Dustin Collins & Michael Collins $1000 each (local donors)
In Kind Justus Photography $100
Total funds raised as of reporting period: $9,476.79
Ending Balance as of reporting period: $ $2,172.17
In April before the race got heated and in full swing, we submitted questions to all the candidates in the various races. Mr. Oliver and Ms. Barela were thorough in their execution the questions and each are very serious in the campaign for office. Both are very visible to the public and both have very active campaigns with a field of volunteers working on their behalf and with a very active social media presence. Both candidates have a unique offering and a wealth of public service experience. The question for the voters seems to come down to what is the go forward vision for Otero County that best fits the future and which candidate best represents a path forward to securing that future. What follows is the responses to our questions. We appreciate their time and dedication to allowing the public to get to know them better.
AlamogordoTownNews.com: Provide a brief biography of your governing and business experience.
Amy Barela Response:” My name is Amy Barela, and I am running to be your county commissioner in this 2022 primary election. I am a conservative that has served this county in many voluntary capacities for over 12 years. Some things I have been able to do:
Bring the National Day of Prayer back to Alamogordo and for the last 5 years we have done just that.
I have helped to increase our voter turnout and voter registrations in Otero County by 10%.
I stood with businesses to help keep their doors open when unfair mandates jeopardized their livelihoods as well as their employees.
Along with a team of dedicated individuals we worked to get the county commission to designate Otero County as a second amendment county. There were 625 people in attendance when the county commission passed this resolution……… unanimously.
I fought the school boards and alerted parents to the indoctrination of their children with curriculum that is fully engulfed with (CRT) critical race theory, sex education and other radical teachings parents were not aware of.
These are just some of the things I have been privileged to work on with many wonderful, energetic people. I would enjoy visiting with you to listen to your concerns about the issues.
While this seems about activism, I do this to educate the community and hope to give the community a voice in all matters and issues. I try to keep the community informed because it is important for everyone to have the facts to make educated decisions. There are many resources available to us. The number one resource being you. I listen and have listened to Otero County citizens for years. The people guide me in their needs now and as your commissioner I will continue to listen to your needs.
Holloman AFB is vital to our community. However, we must not put all our eggs in one basket. We must look at other ways to bring solid businesses to employ citizens in our county.
I understand the forestry issues adding the dumping and trash problems.
I will work to protect our mountains and forest through responsible use of the land. I know how to help citizens clean up their neighborhoods caused by illegal dumping.
I am excited to address the opportunity of the American Dream, home ownership, with new laws that have been changed to allow access from counties for funding. I also have a plan to incentivize volunteers at our fire departments to allow our law enforcement to get back to being law enforcement and not first responders. I have a plan. I want the best for our county. I need your prayers in this new venture and am excited to move Otero County forward. I need your support. I humbly ask for your vote June 7th.”
GB Oliver Response: “’I’ve held virtually every position that exists in banking, including sitting as a director on the Board of Western Bank.
I was one of 3 founding members of the Paragon Foundation, an organization that provided funding and attorneys in cases defending Property and Constitutional Issues. I was named the Executive Director of the Foundation and remain in that position. The Paragon Foundation grew to have thousands of members spread across the United States. I published a Nationally syndicated Magazine on behalf of the Foundation, The Cowboy Way, that was provided to membership, as well as sold in Walmart, Barns and Nobel, Hastings, Tractor Supply, and numerous other outlets. The Foundation also carried or was the major funder of three cases heard by the United States Supreme Court, Robbins vs. Willkie, Heller vs. D.C., and McDonald vs. Chicago. Heller and McDonald are considered today to be second amendment landmark cases.
Currently, I am the Executive Director of the Alamogordo Center of Commerce where I have played a key role in solvency of a permanent status of the 3rd and 4th F-16 Squadrons, expansion of hyper-sonic weapon testing at HAFB and bringing in a regional Jet Service. I have also been actively involved in bringing a host of new business, Hotels, and a 252-unit Apartment Complex that we will be announcing shortly.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: If you have held office please provide 3 pieces of legislation, ordinances, or initiatives that you personally sponsored that were focused on jobs or education. Please provide the outcomes to the legislation since passed. If your office is judicial, please explain your judicial policies or view from the bench.
Amy Barela Response: “N/A”
GB Oliver Response: “I have never held an elected office; however, I have been working hand and hand with Holloman leadership, acting as the liaison between Air Force and our elected officials in Washington to fund the expansion of the HAFB test track, expanding air space to assure the solvency of the F-16 mission as well has funding for state-of-the-art facilities for the MQ-9 mission. These endeavors have not only expanded the mission at Holloman but created many civilian jobs for this community.
I have also taken an active role in highlighting the NMDOD Stop Light Report regarding schools and have advocated for expansion of STEM, Career Tech, more school to work opportunities as well as higher standards.
Last year we secured 32 million dollars to be used for the design of the test track, this year we are seeking 138 million to begin construction on that facility. Those dollars will ensure that all hypersonic testing for the United States will be done at Holloman. We will be flying to Washington is the coming month to secure 58 million for the MQ-9 program and an additional 26 million through MILCON for taxi strip expansion.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: What piece of legislation or ordinance have you passed that you are proudest off? If Judicial what ruling had the greatest impact on you when making it and why?
Amy Barela Response: “N/A”
GB Oliver Response: “As mentioned previously, the Paragon Foundation had major investments in three cases that were heard by the United States Supreme Court. Those cases were Robin vs. Wilke in 2007, District of Columbia vs Heller in 2008, and McDonald vs Chicago in 2010. I had the privilege of sitting before the Supreme Court during the oral briefs in all three cases. These cases have directly protected Americans 2nd Amendment Rights.
I also co-authored several pieces of legislations, not only in New Mexico, but Wyoming, Arizona, and South Dakota. The most notable was the Concealed Carry Bill for the State of New Mexico, which required three legislative sessions before passing both houses and being signed by Governor Johnson.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: Why are you running for office?
Amy Barela Response: “See answer #1”
GB Oliver Response: “God has placed me in arenas my whole life that have developed my skill set to ultimately lead our community to a brighter future. My time in DC fighting for the rights of Americans has given me understanding of the intricate landscape of bureaucracy. DC is a terrible place, however learning how to navigate the architecture of the system has given me the edge to propel Otero County to a fighting chance to find prosperity.
Perhaps my greatest skill is being able to bring groups of people together, for a single purpose and vision. Our goal four years ago was to bring the City of Alamogordo, Otero County, the Alamogordo Public Schools and the leadership of Holloman Air Force Base together, meeting in the same room, at the same time, with a single focus. That had never happened in the history of this community and now it happens, here in the Center of Commerce, on a monthly basis.
This is my home and my family’s home for 125 years. It is where we raised our children, owned businesses, and have been allowed to live and associate with the finest people on this earth. It would be my greatest honor, and it is time for me to give back a small part of what this community has given my family.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: What is your vision for the office you seek?
Amy Barela Response: “See answer #1”
GB Oliver Response: “We must be vigilant and proficient with spending taxpayer funds. A solid budget with growth factors is a must! We must expand and diversify our economic potential to GROW our way to a more fiscally responsible chapter.
Supporting our Sheriff’s Office is of utmost importance as we continue to see an uptick in crime and instability in our Judicial System. A strong emergency plan is a must. The more inflation creeps the more we need to rely on each other as a community to get through the upcoming economic crises.
Protecting our Forest Land and water sheds with true intent. The Federal Government must be put on notice for the mismanagement of our Public Lands. This incompetence has impacted our water systems, cattle growers’ ability to maintain herds and a serious consequence for wildlife habitats and outdoor enthusiasts.
Protect our historical and cultural backgrounds and capitalize on our strengths that we demonstrate in our community. We are unique and the rest of the Country can learn from us.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: When we sit down 4 years from now what will you tell us you have accomplished while in the office you seek?
Amy Barela Response: “County Cleanup plan, road repair / development schedule, judicial complex issues to be complete or several stages through the implementation of, low-income housing
GB Oliver Response: “We have brought vision followed by action and accountability. We have brought high paying jobs, growth, educational prowess via alternative learning opportunities, a regional Jet service and now our community has seen the impact of solid leadership.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: When is the last time you visited New York Avenue and shopped or spoke in person with the shop owners of that business district?
Amy Barela Response: “Last week”
GB Oliver Response: “I met with two business owners on New York Avenue, in their place of businesses on 5/11/2022.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: What do you view as the biggest opportunity and how you can assist with that opportunity for business growth in the New York Avenue business corridor?
Amy Barela Response: ALamogordoTownNews.com note: NO RESPONSE ON THE QUESTIONARE to this question from Mrs. Barela
GB Oliver Response: “The attitudes of business owners on New York have improved dramatically over the last three years. That, in itself, opened the doors to the transition we are witnessing in our downtown. Now this community is taking that area seriously, traffic is increasing and that alone will not only bring other businesses and increased property values in that area. My family owned five business at one time on New York in the 1920’s and 30’s. It was the heart and soul of this community then…and has the potential to be that again.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: When is the last time you attended a High School Sports program? Amy
Amy Barela Response: “Before covid”
GB Oliver Response: “2018”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: When is the last time you attended a High School Academic or Arts Program? Which event?
Barela Response: “School Board Meetings. Often”
GB Oliver Response: “In 2016 I was asked to address the returning teachers and staff for the Alamogordo Public Schools. This community learned a tough lesson regarding the quality of Public Education and its impact on the business community. The quality of our education system was one of the reasons given by the Under Secretary of the Air Force for not permanently bedding down the three F-16 Squadrons at Holloman. His quote was “we will not subject the children of the men and women at Holloman Air Force Base to a substandard education.” That is what brought the changes in our Public Schools and eventually led to a perinate bed down of the three F-16 squadrons.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: What is the last event you participated in at the Flickinger Center?
Amy Barela Response: “Often”
GB Oliver Response: “It was several months ago when I joined the Holloman Commander’s wives in a tour of the Flickinger.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: What have you done to support local entrepreneurship and jobs growth the last 4 years?
Amy Barela Response: “Stood beside them during covid shutdowns to keep them open over big box stores. I am a job creator.”
GB Oliver Response: “Everyday via the Center of Commerce…It’s what I do.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: What have you done to improve upon the blight of abandoned homes and derelict businesses in Alamogordo or Otero County in the last 4 years?
Amy Barela Response: “Remove the junk cars”
GB Oliver Response: “The Center of Commerce, for the last year and a half, has made cleaning up this community one of our priorities and to engage with the City and County in that effort. Rodney Eaton led the initiative with several “Trash Pickups,” where 160 individuals gathered on a Saturday at various locations and the results were several tons of trash removed from our highways and streets. That has expanded into Otero County’s involvement, where their personal and equipment has joined these pickups. Our Sherriff participates by patrolling the highways to slow traffic during these pickups. The City of Alamogordo has now joined this movement by condemning and removing several structures in this community each month. In fact, the city has now budgeted money this year to completely rebuild Alameda Park, turning that facility into a beautiful park that we can all enjoy and be proud of. The lesson I take away from what has transpired in the last year and a half is that one man, Rodney Eaton, had a passion to change the optics of this community and because of the close relations we have fostered over the last four years with the City and County, we live in a cleaner environment.
We have several more of these clean ups scheduled and we invite you to participate!”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: What have you done to welcome new businesses into Alamogordo?
Amy Barela Response: “Attend ribbon cuttings”
GB Oliver Response: “Center of Commerce is the first interaction an incoming business has when coming into this community. At the present, I am working with two hotels, two Aerospace companies out of California, both associated with the development of the hypersonic program slated to come to the Test Track. We are entertaining three investment groups looking at apartment complex sites, that also includes the 252-unit complex mentioned previously, three restaurants, a major truck stop, an entertainment venue, and a major box store.
Housing is our highest priority and what is refreshing about the Apartment complex is that for the first time, this project has been made possible by the City of Alamogordo and Otero County working on different facets of this project to make is happen. That is a first!”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: Name the top 5 locally owned businesses that you believe best represent the image you would like to see of Alamogordo going forward.
Amy Barela Response: AlamogordoTownNews.com this was left blank by Mrs. Barela
GB Oliver Response: “Not going there.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: Do you support an arts and cultural zone and diversity?
Amy Barela Response: “Yes”
GB Oliver Response: “They would certainly enhance the quality of life for those living here, however there are certainly higher priorities that need to be achieved to ensure their success.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: What outreach have you done to build bridges of understanding and collaboration between people of color, the LBGTQ community and local government and the business community?
Amy Barela Response: “That is everything I do often”
GB Oliver Response: “Most of my life has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for those living in our community. Color, culture, or sexual orientation plays no role in my world. We are all God’s creation, with certain needs, rights, and each deserves an equal opportunity. The rest is left to the courage and determination of the individual. To believe anyone, because of their color, culture, or sexual preference needs special status with government agencies is an insult to that individual’s integrity and God given gifts. I have never seen an individual, when given special status from government, that led a happier, more fulfilled life.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: How are you funding your campaign?
Amy Barela Response: “Self and donations”
GB Oliver Response: “The majority is my money with a few local doners”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: Would you support a local city and or county ordinance that requires more detailed annual reporting and transparency of finances on anyone in elected office with annual reports on campaign fundraising?
Amy Barela Response: “I think the county needs to have a reporting form for each newly elected official to report any income that is received from county (ie business transactions). Campaign finance reports are filed with the SOS for anyone to review. I plan on closing my account after the election and do not see the need to fundraise during my term. I will reopen if running for re-election when time.”
GB Oliver Response: “Transparency is the only true method of moving our community forward”
AlamogordoTownNews.com: Would you participate in a public drop in, questions and answers and/or a public forum hosted at Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue?
Amy Barela Response:“Yes”
GB Oliver Response: “Absolutely, Government works best in sunlight.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com:Would you support the growth of more bars, restaurants, galleries, and entertainment venues in Alamogordo’s New York Avenue area? What will you do personally to support growth and revitalization of the corridor?
Amy Barela Response: “Support any and all new business.”
GB Oliver Response:” Absolutely! In a healthy community, the original business district is always the heart and soul of activity. It should be the goal of every local governmental body to maintain and foster business there because it identifies not only who we were, but who we are. I have traveled all over the United States and when I see a community downtown business district, it tells me all I need to know about the trajectory of that community.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com:What is the one thing about Alamogordo that excites you the most?
Amy Barela Response:“Building it to be a better place for my family.”
GB Oliver Response: “The economic opportunities that are coming to this community. Make no mistake, there is rough water ahead, but there is no community that I’m aware of, better positioned to recover and excel once we see the other side, than are we.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com:Can you work in a bi-partisan manner with the majority party to drive more state and federal funding into redevelopment and jobs creation into the district?
Amy Barela Response:” I didn’t realize redevelopment and job creation was partisan?”
GB Oliver Response: “I have demonstrated many times the importance of finding middle ground and promoting our goals in Otero County.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com:Rather a judicial candidate or other candidate what can you do in your role to help solve the issue of homelessness and mental health patients on the streets of Alamogordo?
Amy Barela Response:“Affordable home ownership, veteran home ownership, jail rehabilitation and work programs, address drug abundance and availability with enforcement.”
GB Oliver Response: “Working collectively with our local agencies to support and find solutions will be our best method of stability for those in need.”
At AlamogordoTownNews.com, we appreciate the candidates that took the time for thoughtful responses to inform and possibly serve the public.
Early voting has begun, get to know your candidate and come on down to the county building and vote early and let your voice be heard.
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May 1st through 7th is the official week of Small Business designated by the Small Business Administration as Small Business Week.
Sherwin Williams Paint Store, GloBug, Elite Memories Boutique, Blush Hair Salon, Showcase Carpets and Tile, New,Mexico Influence Magazine, Renefit Southeast New Mexico Influence Magazine, Fitness, AlamogordoTownNews.com, 2nd Life Media, Emanuel Lydia Productions, Our Little Country Store at Roadrunner Emporium, the Local Bodega, Del Ora Goldsmith, Rocket City Game Lounge, Mission Billiards, MoniCakes, Barbies New York Avenue Salon, D & H Stamp and Sign Company, Capped, Flickinger Center, Country Corner Kitchen, Believe It Nutrition, StrangeLove Tattoo, Alamo Jump, Picacho Peak Brewing, Good News Thrift Store, and new shops coming – this is the New York Avenue business district and this is Alamogordo MainStreet and that is Small Business.
Alamogordo’s Main Street Business District of New York Avenue represents the largest concentration of small businesses in Alamogordo.
From the cultural arts, classes, live music and antiques of Roadrunner Emporium, to fine entertainment at the Flickinger Center, to a higher end Fine Art experience at New York Art and Music, to finest in fashions at Elite Memories Boutique, beauty and fashion at Blush Salon, Fine speciality gifts at Victoria Alamogordo, finest in quilting supplies and fabrics at Pins and Needles, excellence in locally procured selections at the Local Bodega, trivia and beer at Picacho Peak Brewing Company, late night gaming at Rocket City Game Shop, billiards play at Mission Billiards, tile and flooring, paint supplies, nutrition needs or a hot breakfast each can be found in the New York Avenue business district of Alamogordo’s MainStreet.
The Alamogordo MainStreet organization is concentrated on revitalization and partnerships to reinvent this important corridor and in community partnership with the Alamogordo Center of Commerce, the city of Alamogordo and New Mexico MainStreet; it celebrates Small Business Week with a reminder of this important corridor to the economic vitality of Alamogordo, Otero County and Southern New Mexico.
Alamogordo MainStreet Executive Director Nolan Ojeda via a press statement concerning Small Business Week reminds Alamogordo citizens; “Alamogordo MainStreet is Small Business. The partnership businesses of Alamogordo MainStreet are the heartbeat of Alamogordo and is exactly what the SBA seeks to highlight with Small Business Week May 1st thru 7th. As the Executive Director of Alamogordo MainStreet, I’d like to personally invite you to our district, this week and (of course every week), as we celebrate Small Business Week and cap it off with our Downtown Nights Celebration this Friday with most stores open till 8 pm. This Friday night we will have a live radio remote from KALH radio at Roadrunner Emporium, a DJ spinning music in front of Victoria some special street vendors and special pricing and events at most of the stores till 8 pm.”
Nolan continued, “We also welcome all of those coming in this weekend for the Holloman Air Show and invite them to see what makes Alamogordo’s MainStreet the New York Avenue district so unique.”
Rene Sepulveda partner in Roadrunner Emporium explained that the partnership between him and Chris Edwards, is so excited with the momentum of Alamogordo MainStreet and the New York Avenue business partnerships; “that we deepening our partnership with Emmanuel Renteria and Lydia Aspen and their New York Art and Music Studio and investing into the district idea of creating a cultural arts sub-district. The first example of that investment partnership was our joint Evening Under the Stars Event this past weekend. That event was the tip of the iceberg in showing the potential of arts on New York Avenue. This event resulted in several thousands of dollars worth of art to be purchased by collectors and showcased musical talent with multiple performances throughout the evening.”
The small businesses of New York Avenue have two events scheduled for May Downtown Nights is Friday May 6th with merchants open till 8 pm and Atomicon is Saturday the 14th with a full array of costumed fun similar to a traditional ComiCon event with the street closed off from 8th Avenue to 12th and to include a Hobbit Village at Patrons Hall that evening.
Alice Weinman the owner of Victoria Alamogordo and the veteran business owner of the district says of Small Business Week, “we’ve been in Historic Downtown Alamogordo for 37 years, still here and still moving onward.” Alamogordo Small Business is moving forward which is evident every day with the renewed energy of Alamogordo MainStreet and New York Avenue. Come on down and join the multiple small businesses for Small Business Week!
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On April 1st Alamogordo’s Main Street New York Avenue welcomed a familiar face, but in a new role, as a new business owner in this historic Alamogordo Main Street District. Pins and Needles at 915 New York Avenue, transitioned its ownership from Victoria Alamogordo’s proprietor Mrs. Alice Weinman, to that of her former “fabrics manager” Susan Bolinger and her business partner Penny Maurer.
Mrs. Alice Weinman is the veteran of Alamogordo’s New York Avenue having begun her adventure on New York Avenue almost 40 years ago. Mrs. Alice Weinman’s adventure in Alamogordo and on New York Avenue began as a result of the oil and gas bust of the mid 1980’s. She first set foot on New York Avenue in Alamogordo, New Mexico in October 1985. She said because she has been running three large ladies ready to wear stores in Texas she was bored to death after arriving in Alamogordo.Alice Weinman Owner Victoria Alamogordo
According to Mrs. Weinman also known affectionately on the street as “Mrs. Alice” when she came to Alamogordo, the Victoria store was already in operation but not doing well. She said she went into the store and said, “Hi, I am Alice Weinman, and I am here to help you.” The owner at the time responded, “Hi, I am Jatonne and I can’t pay you.” Ms. Alice says when she left the store that day, she had “the keys in her hand.”
Several years later she purchased Victoria at 913 New York Avenue. Over the next 37 years the business evolved and prospered and became a family business that included her husband, son and daughter Barbara; each assisting and working the business to grow. The business did indeed evolve and grow.
Alice and her family are the longest continuously operating business owners on New York Avenue, with businesses that have grown, survived and prospered, over almost 4 decades.
Ms. Alice has modified and tweaked the business over the years to ensure sustainability with the evolving taste of her customer base. That evolution has continued over the decades and in October of 2019 she had the idea of getting into the fabrics and the quilting business. She converted the vault area of her store into a sales area focused on quilting and fabrics. She hired a “fabrics manager” Susan Bollinger to lead the new part of her business.
Susan Bollinger is an Alamogordo native that worked in a frame shop for many years. She had an eye for art and colors, is a hobbyist artist and always admired Ms. Alice and wanted to go to work with her. That opportunity came about in October of 2019 when Ms. Alice hired her to manage to lead the “fabrics section” in the vault. The business was a success and grew and they made the decision to make Pins and Needles at Victoria into a separate business and acquired the building at 915 New York Avenue and renamed it simply, Pin and Needles. Susan Bollinger the new owner of Pins and Needles Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Susan Bolinger continued to run the business and expand it under the watchful eye and mentorship of Ms. Alice.
The new store opened in January of 2021 offering an expanded line of the highest quality fabrics and more, and to include quilt making classes from quality experienced quilting and sewing educators.
Both businesses evolved and prospered, and both survived the turbulence of Covid-19 with tweaks to the business offering along the way.
Ms. Alice’s daughter Barbara jokes, but is correct in her assessment, that the Roadrunner Emporium and the Local Bodega, both newer businesses on the street, that market themselves as small business incubators, are indeed incubators; but that her mother, “Ms. Alice was incubating and mentoring before it was a trendy buzzword on New York Avenue.” Brenda Barber continued that, “she is excited and proud to see Susan fly the coup, so to speak, having been incubated by Ms. Alice and the family operators of Victoria.”
Susan Bolinger is very complimentary of her relationship with Ms. Alice and the family operation of Victoria Alamogordo. She says that she always admired Ms. Alice’s grit, stamina and the care she shows for her staff and her customers. “Ms. Alice is one very special person and a treasure to New York Avenue and to Alamogordo,” according to Susan.
Susan Bollinger came to New York Avenue to assist Ms. Alice and grew under her leadership and mentoring. Susan has partnered with Penny Maurer in the acquisition of Pin and Needles. “Penny brings her accounting background to assist in our growth which helps me a lot,” according to Susan Bollinger.Shoppers at Alamogordo Main Streets Pins and Needles
Susan says that her “years of framing experience, the mentoring by Ms. Alice and her eye for color is what provides her the strength to want to own and build upon the brand of her own business.”
It appears that Susan is also making the business a “family affair” in the transition to her ownership that took effect April 1st. She is hitting the ground running with a store that is busy and as of today has new signage and a new logo. Susan’s daughter Meg Bolinger designed a brand-new logo and sign that was installed in the front window today. The new logo for Pins and Needles is sleek, trendy and current but with a nod to “the love and compassion of the art of sewing.” The needle threading a heart in the new signage is symbolic of Susan’s love of quilting and needle arts.New Pins and Needles Sign created by Meg Bollinger
Both Susan and her business partner have the bug for quilting and needle arts. Her business partner Penny Mauer started sewing and quilting during the Covid-19 lockdown and caught the “quilting bug” about two years ago.
When asked what makes Pins and Needles such a success, Susan said, “it is absolutely about providing the highest quality fabrics that are not found in big box retailers at the mall or online, and it’s about getting to know the customer by name and understanding their needs and their projects.”
Pins and Needles, Alamogordo, at 915 New York Avenue, offers classes and workshops, it is focused on a quality offering that cannot be found online nor at big box stores. Individual attention, knowing the customer’s name, understanding their project and how to help facilitate that project is what makes Pins and Needles successful and sustainable for the long run.
Congratulations to Susan Bolinger and her partner Penny Mauer on acquiring Pins and Needles, Alamogordo. Congratulations to Alice Weinman for her mentorship of this business venture. Congratulations to New York Avenue, for having another business success, that is transitioning to the next generation of business ownership that has the wisdom of history, traditions and an appreciation for the artisan skills of quilting and the art of the needle.
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Alamogordo MainStreet, in a press released today, announced that Nolan Ojeda has been hired as the new Director for the nonprofit focused on economic development in Alamogordo’s downtown historic district.
Mr. Ojeda has hit the ground running during his first week in the position by working with the board in its monthly board meeting, conducting several one-on-one meetings with merchants and today meeting with the senior leadership of the City of Alamogordo.
According to the press release from Alamogordo MainStreet…
Mr. Ojeda is originally from Las Cruces; Ojeda’s passion lies in community building. As a downtown merchant on New York Ave., Ojeda and his wife run The Local Bodega, a shop and small business incubator that features local makers and artisans. Ojeda’s experience also includes Mechanical Engineering and Project Management with the US Navy. This background makes Ojeda uniquely positioned to understand the needs of the downtown businesses and implement Alamogordo MainStreet’s Economic Transformation Strategies through the New Mexico MainStreet Four Point Approach -Economic Vitality, Promotion, Organization and Design.
Cindy Boylan, President of Alamogordo MainStreet, is excited to welcome Ojeda, “The Alamogordo MainStreet Board of Directors was unanimous in our decision for a new Executive Director. We are looking forward to Nolan’s leadership in facilitating an aggressive agenda and multiple events, starting with our Atomicon Cosplay Event on May 14th.”
Ojeda’s hiring comes as the nonprofit is poised to bring back the first full calendar of in person events since the start of the pandemic, as well as implementation of the Great Blocks Grant Program and creation of an Arts and Cultural District, both of which have the potential to bring major monetary investments into the local economy.
Ojeda is also very excited for his new role, “I’m thrilled to be a part of the efforts to revitalize downtown. I look forward to working with our passionate and talented board, as well as New Mexico MainStreet and the City of Alamogordo, to get closer to creating a space downtown for people to enjoy and small businesses to thrive. I’m up for the challenge to move the organization forward on its ambitious goals and a transition that will make the community proud.”
Alamogordo MainStreet and the Downtown Merchants of New York Avenue have several events planned the end of April and into May to entice and entertain the community…
April 30, New York Avenue from 1oth Street to 12th Street will be closed off for an “Evening Under the Stars” Gala Event with is an arts and culture event sponsored by Roadrunner Emporium, New York Art and Music Studio and Patron Hall which is a free to the public street party showcasing live music, art, culinary arts, a street beer garden, food trucks, live radio remote, live performance art and more.
There is a VIP ticket for a special Patrons Hall wine and appetizers events showcasing Lacy Reynolds on the Harp, belly dancing demonstrations and more.
May 6th, New York Avenue Presents Downtown Nights Alive After 5, Most of the New York Avenue Businesses will be open from 5 pm to 8 pm with special pricing and events. This event under the leadership of Alice Weinman of Victoria Alamogordo is a merchant driven event to drive awareness of the New York Avenue businesses after 5. This month there will be a live radio remote, live music at some storefronts, food trucks and more.
May 14th, Atomicon Alamogordo sponsored by Alamogordo MainStreet. ATOMICON is Alamogordo’s version of “Comic-Con”
Comic-con is an international comic book convention and nonprofit multi-genre entertainment event that is normally held annually in San Diego, California.
A comic book convention or comic con event has a primary focus on comic books and comic book culture, in which comic book fans gather to meet creators, experts, and each other. Main Street is in hopes to try and gather as many fun-filled themed vendors, performers, and guests dressed in costume as possible to fill the streets!
Guests, vendors, and MainStreet merchants dress up and decorate and join in the fun of the event. There will be a costume contest, entertainment, vendors, food trucks, live music and much more!
There will be live music by Rosewater Blues & Doso Dirtbags & beer gardens located throughout the streets
Patron’s Hall will be turned into “Hobbiton” to showcase the hard work put into the performance and to coincide with the comic theme, there will be photo ops and fun activities for the whole family!
Alamogordo’s New York Avenue, the New York Avenue Merchants, Arts Community and AlamogordoMain Street are all collaborating in a renewed effort to showcase the best of history, culture, arts and commerce at heart of Alamogordo – New York Avenue.
Come shop the local businesses in the MainStreet district and stop by the Alamogordo MainStreet office to congratulate Nolan – that is, if you don’t find him walking downtown and chatting with the MainStreet business owners or walking the streets during the upcoming 3 street festival and shopping events.
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