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.
A new congressional term began Tuesday as members of the 118th Congress were set to be sworn in while questions remain over whether House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy can get enough votes to be elected speaker of the House.
However, constitutionally there would be a question to the legitimacy of a swearing in, if it occurred, prior to the election of a speaker. So not to pars words, so to speak, but each member at this point has taken an oath, however the official ceremonial swearing in of congress for the official record can’t officially happen without a speaker in place.
The first official act of the House in a new Congress is to elect a speaker, and no other member of the House can be sworn in before that happens. The speaker of the House, in addition to deciding what comes to the floor for a vote, is, per the Constitution, second in line to succeed the president. The speaker is in line behind the vice president. Adding to the urgency, the chamber cannot move forward with any legislative business until a speaker is elected. No committees can be formed, no committee chairs or rules agreed upon and no legislation can move forward or any action by the House until a leader is selected.
At noon, the clerk of the House raised the gavel for the 118th Congress and call a quorum or call for the minimum number of members that must be present for business to be done.
Candidates for speaker are nominated by each party’s caucus or conference.
On Tuesday, Democrats united placed New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries’ name into nomination. Republicans as expected placed Kevin McCarthy’s name into nomination.
No rule requires the nominee to be an elected member of the House, according to Article I, Section II of the Constitution.
Prior candidates nominated for the position who were not members of the House when they were nominated include former Sec. of State Colin Powell, Georgia politician Stacy Abrams and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky.
After nominations are offered, the speaker is elected by roll call vote. A candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast to become speaker. If all members of the House are present and voting, the majority is 218 votes.
If all the members are not present, it is a majority of the members present and voting who selects the speaker. If no candidate wins a majority, the roll call is repeated until a speaker is elected.
In 1849, the House was in session 19 days without being able to elect a speaker, with no candidate having received a majority of the votes cast. The House voted 59 times before it adopted a resolution that declared that the speaker could be elected by a plurality – the person who receives the most votes even if it is not a majority.
In 1856, the same thing happened except the House had 129 votes before declaring the candidate could be elected by a plurality.
Republicans faced a leadership drama as they took control of the House on Tuesday and the first of them governing the new house showed a house in disarray, upsetting moderates and many Republican donors across the nation.
As the 118th Congress convened, the first order of business in the chamber was the election of a new speaker — and current Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is so far being stymied by a group of hardliners demanding concessions. The House voted three times for speaker and McCarthy could not garner the 218 votes required. In the third round of voting, 20 Republican lawmakers voted against McCarthy for speaker: the highest amount so far. Those votes went to Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.
In the first two rounds, 19 Republicans voted for a different candidate. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., voted for McCarthy two times before changing his vote to Jordan.
McCarthy received 202 votes in the latest round, making it the third time he’s trailed Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Democrats had already elected Jeffries to be their caucus leader in the new Congress.
To win the gavel, McCarthy needs a majority of the members-elect who are present and voting. But because the GOP holds only a five-seat advantage, a small number of defections is stopping McCarthy from gaining the office he’s long sought.
The House can conduct no other business until a speaker is chosen. For the first time in a century, the vote is requiring multiple rounds and now, multiple days.
An interesting fact: McCarthy has so far gotten fewer votes to be speaker in each round on Tuesday than he did when the last Congress convened in 2021. In 2021, when Republicans were in the minority, McCarthy got 209 votes from every Republican voting. In the three rounds Tuesday, with voting continuing, he got 203, 203 and 202.
So, for newly elected New Mexico Representative, Gabe Vasquez; he was a part of history and got to witness history as an active participant. Today showed just how messy the art of democracy can truly be.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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/
When a public official files a restraining order for public comments is that a dangerous precedent to free speech?
The Otero County Commission the last several years has been the albatross of New Mexico in driving a media circus of controversy. Most of those controversies were driven by Couy Griffin while holding office of County Commissioner District 2, but the actions of the commission related to a variety of issues have raised questions and multiple court cases, a few of which have risen to the attention of the New Mexico Supreme Court and may eventually land on the docket of the US Supreme Court.
With the removal of Mr. Griffin from office, some thought civility and common sense would come back to the commission. The appointment of Stephanie DuBois by the Governor to fill Mr. Griffin’s position led to more controversy being so close to the general election.
The County Commission meeting of November 10th became a true circus of hostility and the meeting fell into disarray that again garnered national media attention to Otero County New Mexico and not in a positive light.
During that meeting, during public comments Couy Griffin went on a verbal rampage disparaging Ms. Dubois and attacking her role in the office she was appointed to calling her “an eight time looser.” Ms. Dubois felt she was verbally assaulted and not protected by the County Commission Chair nor the Sherrif is what she has stated in public comments.
Ms. Dubois told KOAT Action News; “I’m just fearful. I’m 77 years old. I don’t own a gun. I don’t have any way [to protect myself]. And for me, that thing in the room was frightening,”
According to a filing at the Otero County Courthouse, Couy Griffin is facing a restraining order from Stephanie Dubois. She’s the current county commissioner till December 31st via the appointment.
Dubois said she made the order after an incident that happened during a county commission meeting on Nov. 10. During the Thursday meeting, Griffin made a few comments towards Dubois during a public comment period. An argument then ensued between both parties, involving shouts and harsh words.
Dubois said she was terrified over what happened and still fears for her life. “I’m just fearful. I’m 77 years old,” she said. “It was very scary that nobody protected me.”
However, the verbal quarrel wasn’t the only incident that happened to Dubois. She claims she felt threatened the day the commission certified the election results when Couy was on horseback on the public street carrying a flag that said, “we the people.”
She told KOAT “Couy is on a horse, hiding behind a fire truck with a big flagpole that said, ‘We the people.’ All of a sudden, I see the flagpole moving and he comes down and puts himself between me and my car,” she said. After the two moments, the 77-year-old decided to file a restraining order, to ensure her safety and protection.
These statements to KOAT and statements she has given prior and then yesterday to radio personality Anthony Lucero of KALH radio raise questions as to the timing of events, were they as aggressive as perceived, or were they just an exercise of free speech?
Free speech can sometimes be intimidating when on the receiving end as a public servant. But unless an actual threat has been made it is hard to define what is meant as rhetoric and what is an actual threat to a public servant.
The restraining order was filed prior to the incident on horseback. There seems to be conflicting dialog and conflicting interpretations as to what occurred via the horseback incident.
Ms. Dubois did a post on November 12th that described the incident and then the description to Anthony Lucero at KALH and the description of that incident to KOAT television News seems to differ a bit.
To KALH she mentioned a deputy sheriff asked her where she was parked and agreed to walk her to her car. She then said during the interview with Mr. Lucero that “the deputy was present when Mr. Griffin appeared from behind a parked firetruck on horseback and on the public street. She claimed to Mr. Lucero in an interview yesterday that the deputy, “only went so far with me and I ended up going to the car by myself.“
Did Ms. Dubois feel intimidated, one could certainly see how she could feel intimidated by Mr. Griffin, but the question posed is was her safety at risk? It’s hard to imagine a deputy sheriff would have exposed Ms. Dubois to harm due to the personal liability and the liability to the department. Further based on experience with law enforcement in Otero County most are very responsible, professional and take their oath of office to ensure public safety seriously. I recently personally had an incident on the street with a gentleman that threatened me, the deputy at the courthouse was very protective of me and ensured my public safety from the threat. Based on my experience with the Otero County Sheriff’s Department and with the local Alamogordo Police Department it seems at odds that a sworn officer would allow Ms. Dubois to be at risk.
Even at the crazed County Commission meeting of November 10th, 2022, at 1:15.43 of the video one can witness Sherrif Black removing the microphone from Mr. Griffin and ordering the room vacated to calm the room. The Chairwoman ordered the room closed for 15 minutes for a cooling off period.
While the tone of the conversation was not “civil dialog” and was harsh and aggressive in tone, one is hard pressed to see a threat of harm to those seated on the commission dais.
Ms. Dubois via her filing for the restraining order claims, “I am an elderly woman who feels she has no protection from law enforcement.”
While her assertion that “Mr. Griffin shows a great deal of anger towards the party” she belongs is factual, the assertion that she feels she has no protection from law enforcement seems counter intuitive to the culture of law enforcement.
The filing of a restraining order is a serious action by a public official on a constituent.
The issue locally is such a hot potato that local judges recused themselves from presiding over the hearing scheduled for December 5th, 2022. The state Supreme Court appointed the Honorable Shannon Murdock to preside.
Judge Murdock has an interesting job in hearing this case. Not often does a public official file a restraining order on a member of the public due to public comments.
There is precedent in California for such a case…
Can a city restrict the conduct of a self-described civic-minded individual, with a history of flamboyant speech and dramatic behavior in his communications with the city, without running afoul of free speech rights?
In City of San Jose v. William Garbett, filed on November 24, 2010, the Sixth Appellate District Court of Appeal says yes, when the conduct meets the conditions for an injunction under Code of Civil Procedure section 527.8.
Section 527.8, also known as the Workplace Violence Safety Act, allows any employer to seek a temporary restraining order and injunction on behalf of an employee who “has suffered unlawful violence or a credible threat of violence from any individual” at the workplace. For purposes of the statute, a city is an “employer.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 527.8(d).) “Unlawful violence” is defined as “any assault or battery or stalking as prohibited in Section 646.9 of the Penal Code, …” (§ 527.8(b)(1).)
“Credible threat of violence” is defined as “a knowing and willful statement or course of conduct that would place a reasonable person in fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family, and that serves no legitimate purpose.” (§ 527.8(b)(2).)
To obtain an injunction, an employer must establish, by clear and convincing evidence, not only that the defendant engaged in unlawful conduct within the meaning of the statute, but also that great or irreparable harm would result to the employee if the injunction were not issued due to the reasonable probability unlawful violence will occur in the future. (Code Civ. Proc. § 527.8(f); Scripps Health v. Marin (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 324, 335.)
Interestingly in the case it was not the elected or appointed individual seeking the restraining order but the city applying for the restraining order to protect its paid personnel. In the case of Ms. Dubois, she is paid by Otero County thus the county is the one that is tasked with workplace protection.
In Garbett, the City of San Jose sought 14 injunctions (and temporary restraining orders) on behalf of the city’s deputy city clerk, the mayor and city council. The city submitted evidence that the appellant, William Garbett, age 70, had a long history of grievances with the city going back many years, and that the appellant made a “credible threat of violence” toward a deputy city clerk, and other city employees under section 527.8(b)(2). In addition to evidence that the appellant regularly visited the city clerk’s office and attended city council meetings, expressed fanciful ideas, appeared agitated or angry or resentful toward the city, and had inappropriate verbal or physical outbursts, there was additional evidence that this antagonism escalated. Specifically, there was evidence that the appellant threatened a deputy city clerk by stating that his only recourse to change policy in San Jose was to act similar to that of one angry man in Kirkwood, Missouri, who a few months prior had shot and killed several people at Kirkwood City Hall. The deputy clerk, who understood the reference, reportedly felt threatened and feared for her safety and the safety of the mayor and city council. After she reported the event, the city searched the appellant when he attempted to enter council chambers and implemented extra monitoring procedures or security measures.
The trial judge granted the city’s initial requests for interim restraining orders. Following an evidentiary hearing – which included the testimony of several witnesses who had previous interactions with the appellant and two expert witnesses – the trial judge also issued 14 injunctions restricting the conduct of the appellant toward the deputy city clerk, mayor, and council.
Each injunction included orders requiring the appellant to stay 300 yards from the protected individuals and City Hall. The injunction also included specified exceptions which would allow appellant to attend public City Council. Those exceptions included requiring appellant to enter City Hall through a specified entrance, be subject to a search before entering the City Council chambers, sit in a specific row, use a particular stairway during meetings, and communicate with the City Clerk’s office by mail or proxy.
Appellant sought review of the injunctions contending, in part, that the orders restricting his conduct and movements violated his rights to free speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the California Constitution and represented the city’s attempt to “curtail what amounts to annoying behavior.”
The Court of Appeal affirmed all 14 injunctions including the restrictions on the appellant’s movements. The Court disagreed with the appellant’s First Amendment arguments, relying on California Supreme Court precedent establishing the right of the state to penalize willful threats to perform illegal acts, even those consisting of pure speech. In re M.S. (1995) 10 Cal.4th 698, 710.) The Court also found substantial evidence to support the court’s factual findings on the requisite elements of section 527.8, namely that the appellant had expressed a credible threat of violence toward city employees that was not constitutionally protected speech; that this conduct caused the city employees to experience fear; and a likelihood of future harm.
When the appellant protested that he did not intend to threaten anyone, the Court dismissed this argument, concluding that the defendant’s subjective intent is not required for the conduct to be deemed a credible threat under the current definition found in section 527.8(b)(2).
Appellant further challenged the injunctions on overbreadth grounds, taking issue with the limitations on his access to the City Hall building and his movements within the council chambers. The Court nevertheless upheld these restrictions, deferring to the trial judge’s view of the evidence and factual findings on the requisite elements of section 527.8, and the lower court’s considerable discretion to fashion orders aimed at preventing harm of the nature suggested by the threats.
The Garbett case establishes good law for public entities which seek to curtail repeat offenders or conduct that escalates or develops into what has been classified as more than merely annoying or unprotected speech.
The question in the case of Ms. Dubois verses Couy Griffin, does this case escalate to the level that requires such action? Did Ms. Dubois ask the County Attorney for assistance and protection?
Based on court precedent should the county be filing on behalf of Ms. Dubois or is she correct in filing a restraining order on her own?
As usual, this will be another interesting case that will draw much attention of the media both locally and on the national level. The judge in the case is in a no-win position, as whatever the outcome, there will be an outcry of criticism. Depending upon the ruling, this is yet another case, that could end up in appeal and continue to drive negative headlines to Otero County New Mexico.
Sadly, this again is another black eye to the reputation of Otero County and Alamogordo and does not show the best and the brightest of the region. This is another incident that makes the region look like the wild west verses an area of sophistication and a place that is conducive as a good business environment.
When a public official files a restraining order for public comments is that a dangerous precedent to free speech?
Based upon the case outlined above the answer is complicated at best, as the erratic individual was able to continue in his quest of expression but was required to comply with additional security measures to ensure the safety of public servants.
Otero County politics is always entertaining as we have said before. In the new year may we get past entertainment and move to a zone of civility and good governance for the good of the public.
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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.
In a very productive meeting of the Alamogordo City Commission tonight the Commission passed the first publication of the City Ordinance that places a Code of Conduct Policy and a social media ordinance into action for the City Commissioners.
Under the leadership of Mayor Susan Payne, the city moved forward with a 6 to 0 vote based on a strong recommendation from the City Manager and the Municiple League to add a local layer of accountability and protection for the citizens of Alamogordo and to commissioners themselves.
There was light debate led by Commissioner Josh Rardin on semantics of language as related to the city charter on one point. Once the language was verified and the city charter was consulted to by the city attorney and the city manager all seemed pleased with the policy mechanics and the ordinance as proposed. A motion was made by Commissioner Sharon McDonald and Seconded by Commissioner Burnet and the vote was called. Without further debate and a roll call vote the motion for the Code of Conduct passed 6-0.
Commissioner Melton was not present and made comments in a previous meeting opposing the ordinance. In a text dialog with AlamogordoTownNews.com on October 4th at 7:59 pm Mr. Melton said, ” I made the comment during the last commission meeting about why I OPPOSE the draft code of conduct, in its current form.” He continued, “if changes are made, I will happily vote for it.”
The Code of Conduct lays out a process for conduct and a process for complaints by staff or the citizens of Alamogordo for a breach of such conduct. A chairperson with legal experience would be convened to weigh the complaint and if legitimate they would assemble a review panel to review the compliant. After the review then a recommendation of a fine or censorship or escalation to the state level would then occur. Or if found not guilty of the charge then all would go back to status quo. Citizens abusing the policy would be barred from future complaints via the process in the ordinance.
A second complimentary ordinance was also passed related to use of social media. The ordinance passed without debate with Commissioner Rardin calling the vote and Commissioner McDonald seconding the vote. It also passed 6-0 with Melton being absent.
The other topic that actually had the most dialog was the streamlining of the way business licenses are issued. The new process requires a streamlined application, an inspection by fire first and ensuring zoning is correct then a quick approval by the city clerk. The process spreads renewals across the year to the business application anniversary date verses all 1500 or so of them coming due the `1st of January. There was debate on the fees for missing the renewal and dialog around some verbiage and cannabis but overall was civil and mature dialog. Mayor Payne again explained the importance of the process, there was dialog around public safety and food trucks, but this was another very pro-business approach to streamlining the process and ensuring it was affordable to register in Alamogordo to do business.
Mayor Susan Payne has made it a priority of her administration to show Alamogordo is “Open for Business and Business Growth.”
Excellent job and dialog by all commissioners that were present at tonight’s meeting. The 10/11/22 City of Alamogordo Commission Meeting was an example of bi-partisan collaboration, driving transparency and business, by the 6 Commissioners that were present. Job well done!
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AlamogordoTownNews.com Mr Melton lied there is No communication from constituents asking for the resolution to be considered.
During the special session of the Alamogordo City Commission meeting on August 2, 2022, Mr. Melton went on public record and lied. If one watches the video proceeding of that day one sees at 3:57.45 when Mr. Melton claims, “the reason for bringing it (the resolution) forward to discuss is because I heard from my constituents this is what they want. I am in this role to represent them…I am here as a service to our constituents; we have to represent them…”
NO SUCH COMMUNICATION EXISTS.
2nd Life Media and AlamogordoTownNews.com under the Open Records Act requested from the City of Alamogordo all communications from citizens “requesting that Mr. Melton place the Sanctuary City for the Unborn on the agenda as a resolution and or any communications regarding abortion and the fear of clinics in Alamogordo up to the date the resolution before the public in a “Special Session.” Also requested were notes from City Staff regarding any dialog that Commissioner Melton had with staff and staff notes related to the proposed resolution regarding “Sanctuary City for the Unborn” Status and all communications from constituents 60 days prior suggesting that Abortion was a hot button issue that “required it to be addressed by the city commission.”
During the special session of the Alamogordo City Commission meeting on August 2, 2022, Mr. Melton went on public record and lied. Mr. Melton claims, “the reason for bringing it (the resolution) forward to discuss is because I heard from my constituents this is what they want…”
NO SUCH COMMUNICATION EXISTS. The Melton/Block Duo lied…
The City Charter and State law requires the retention of all communications that are related to records or communications used, created, received, maintained, or held on behalf of a public body are public records just as if they were maintained by the public body itself.
(Thus, if any communication existed in a private server that is not operated by the city or notes of any calls, copies of text, social media inquiries that exist, then Mr. Melton by law was required to turn them into the city when a Public Records Request was submitted.
In this regard, if private email or other communications is used to conduct public business, (a constituent request to discuss abortion or a resolution around abortion would be public business) the email or communication, is a public record, even though a personal account is used. The person using the personal account is effectively using, creating, receiving, maintaining, or holding the data and must release it to the government body they represent and to the public if an Open Records request was submitted.
If a record exists and Mr. Melton did not release it, then he violated the law and is subject to fines and a misdemeanor.
If no records exist as per city staff, then Mr. Melton and Mr. Block lied in their assertion that this was “necessary to bring to a resolution out of constituent concern.” Not one single form of communication with city representatives regarding this issue exists prior to the public forum concerning the resolution.
In an article in the propaganda blog of his domestic partner, Candidate John Block, Melton is quoted as saying…“I have brought forward Resolution 2022-38 because my constituents are worried Alamogordo has no resolution or ordinance on the books protecting unborn life. This measure not only affirms life from conception to natural death, but it declares Alamogordo a Sanctuary City for the Unborn,” said Melton.
Which constituents are worried? None, Zero not a single request until they made it an issue.
Our public records request required the city to refer “all communications from constituents requesting or any dialog related to abortion and a resolution.” NONE EXISTS.
This was a ruse,“an action intended to deceive the public, a trick, a sham.”
It now makes sense why Mr. Melton does not support having a Code of Conduct in place for elected and appointed city commissioners. As this action crafted on deceit would be a violation of the public trust in misrepresenting a “constituent concern” that did not exist.
If the duo had been honest, they would have gone on the record and conceded that their family had financially gained from a pro-life organization via past employment and that this is an issue dear to them thus they wanted to bring it forward. An honest dialog of why it is important to them would have gained more allies, including this news source, verses deception to the public which is a violation of public trust.
And of great interest were a few elements of the staff notes procured via our Open Records request.
Staff notes referenced “Floyd”? We have an enhanced open records request seeking clarification and more information around the staff notes and rather the reference was actually to a resolution Roosevelt County passed a year ago.
Floyd and Roosevelt County verses Alamogordo, Otero County:
Floyd is a city in Roosevelt County, New Mexico, a year ago this small poor community passed, a pro-life resolution also with NO power of law.
The staff notes also referenced Karl Melton providing the staff an example resolution. As previously reported Mr. Block, Mr. Melton’s domestic partner worked for a pro-life advocacy group out of Washington DC, in his past and the family connection to a pro-life Advocacy group was left out of any dialog or disclosures on the part of Mr. Melton or Mr. Block during the heat of the resolution and petition fight. (Another breach of trust by failing to disclose past financial gains from a pro-life advocacy group.)
Floyd, New Mexico is a village in Roosevelt County with a population of 91, a racial makeup of 93.59% White, 5.13% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. The per capita income for the village is $13,747, 19.2% of families and 41.8% of the population lives below the poverty line, including 61.5% of under 18 and 19.2% of those over 64 living below the poverty line. It is in Roosevelt County with a total county population of 18,018. The population of the county shrank 1800 people from the 2010 census to the 2020 census.
Alamogordo, New Mexico is a city with a population 31,384, a racial makeup of 75.4% White of which Hispanic or Latino were 32.0% of the classification); 5.6% African American, 1.1% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 12.1% from some other race, and 4.2% from two or more races. the median income for a household in the city was $30,928. About 13.2% of families and 16.5% of the population were below the poverty line,including 23.9% of those under age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over 64 living below the poverty line.
The contrast between these two communities in population 91 verses 31,284; racial makeup 93.59% white verses Alamogordo’s more diverse, a poverty rate in Floyd of 41.8% verses Alamogordo 23.9% makes one wonder. Why would Floyd, Roosevelt County be referenced in any political dialog with Alamogordo as a “model” for public policy? One would think our elected representatives would model actions from successful communities not one with a shrinking county population and a poverty rate that has 61.5% of the children living below the poverty level.
True leadership means modeling public policy based upon successful communities.
Duplicity and Demagoguery – the Company One Keeps.
A fitting poem – The Company One Keeps
“One night in late October,
When I was far from sober,
My poor feet began to stutter,
So, I lay down in the gutter,
And a pig came near and lay down by my side.
Then we sang “It’s all fair weather when good fellows get together”,
Till a lady passing by was heard to say:
“You can tell a man who boozes,
By the company he chooses”,
And the pig got up and slowly walked away.”
Why are we focused on the Block/Melton duo?
The Melton Block duo has roused, either directly or indirectly through their surrogates to remove those that differ from their viewpoints from the party dialog. They engage in blocking dialog and profiles. To date they will not engage in civil discussion to find areas of collaboration; they see more value in attacking opponents rather then delivering an affirmative argument for their positions. It is easy to attack another of differing opinions, it more difficult to provide affirmative dialog with positive overtones to build consensus.
If we want representation within our city and at the state level to bring state funding for business growth and marketing, education, infrastructure, and support for our way of life, then leadership must show and offer positive collaborative solutions.
Our city and county deserve leadership that understands the art of horse trading and compromise. Hostility toward the power brokers up north does the region NO favors in brokering solutions.
We want a state representative and a commissioner that is looked at as seasoned professionals not one that is considered on the fringe. Fringe leaders garner headlines and build upon their personal ego but deliver little to their constituents.
Skilled moderate leaders on the other hand seek areas of compromise and collaboration to bring the best of government forward for the constituents within their district.
The Block/Melton duo have a history of partnering with those of dubious tricks and dubious reputations and tactics. A “mysterious mailer” with our business return address which is “mail fraud” went out to key Republicans in Otero County to disparage and intimidate us from questioning the radicalized tactics being displayed and reported upon.
The mailer was crafted with a specific intent to damage our business and to damage our reputation within the community. Was it sent from the candidate or the appointed commissioner or one of their ambitious followers? We hope not. The postal inspector general, the federal authorities and our private investigator will eventually have the answer to that issue and once established we will prosecute.
However, mysterious mailers and social media attacks are not new to Candidate Block and appointed Commissioner Melton, as per the company they keep. The duos associates, as reported by the New Mexico Political Journal, conducted smear campaigns against Albuquerque meteorologist Mark Ronchetti who is the Republican nominee for governor when he was running for Senator in 2020. As reported by the New Mexico Political Journal “John Block has posted particularly ugly smears, as has Rick Montoya, and there was a disgusting letter that quite a number of delegates have said looks like the style and tone of one of (Republican Party Leader) Pearce’s closest allies, John Billingsley.”
Mr. Block clearly still has not backed away from the attacks on Ronchetti, he has several stories he wrote in attack of Ronchetti posted on his campaign website.
All the while Block recently paid $1000 for a sponsorship at a fundraiser for Ronchetti. Hypocrisy or attempting to coddle favors in the final weeks before the election?
The playbook of Duplicity and Demagoguery continues. However those in Santa Fe and Albuquerque are all too familiar with these characters.
Clearly, we believe in responsible government. We believe those leaders in appointed and elected positions should be examples of collaboration and seek and sponsor solutions to business growth, crime, and security.
We do not believe that there is a role for duplicity and demagoguery nor personal agendas from elected or appointed leaders.
Thus far the appointed Commissioner Melton has not sponsored a single piece of legislation or a single ordinance to address real issues within the city of Alamogordo around business growth, crime prevention nor improving core services.
The appointed Commissioner Melton and his domestic partner have sown seeds of deceit and division and conned the public into believing a non-issue was the most pressing issue facing the city.
They know better! The additional ruse against a City Code of Conduct creates an even further wedge between the idea of accountability and real responsible governance.
Instead of meeting with moderate Republicans and Independents and seeking common ground for areas of collaboration they call out those that differ as RINOS. They block us on their social media pages and attempt character attacks and try to change the narrative rather than addressing real issues and ways to compromise for the good of the community.
Block seemed to have aligned, at past state conventions, with those that are on the fringe to the traditional Republican Party platform. He aligned with those that that attacked a seated Republican Governor in the past and were part of the element within that cost the Republican Party a significant number of seats in the state assembly, all the while state houses in most states have seen gains from moderate Republican candidates.
The extremist gets headlines and feed the fury of division, all the while the moderates collaborate and drive public policy forward.
What is most entertaining is Mr. Block is a newcomer and opportunist to Alamogordo. His past life he has flip flopped in ideology. He worked for a pro-life organization and as reported by The New Mexico Political Journal concerning Mr. Block,“the irony of a former Martin Heinrich intern and volunteer for Mayor Tim Keller’s campaign awarding himself the position of judge and jury of the conservative Republican purity test has been noted by many.”
More entertaining is the fact he does not own these flip-flops nor acknowledge his history. Rather than embrace his past, admit to his experience, and explain what he leaned from each experience he “whitewashes it.”
He whitewashed the story of his working with Martin Heinrich and tried to explain away why he worked with both Heinrich and Keller in his propaganda pages.
Note in his linked-in profile there is not a single reference to working as a Democratic Operative as a Martin Heinrich intern and a volunteer Democratic Operative for Mayor Tim Keller’s campaign. He does have a link to a policy brief he claims credit for yet does not allude to the Democratic Senator he crafted the brief for. He name-drops, Republicans, all over his linked-in resume but does not dare acknowledge his work for Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich or Mayor Tim Keller though in reality those two assignments were the most prestigious of his resume excepting of course for his position in Las Vegas as a Front Desk Agent at Diamond Resorts International.
The fact of him defining a RINO and who should, or should not be in the party, is classic.
According to a site called politicalfireball.comin a story posted April 8, 2020, “Block comes from deep Democrat roots and is the cousin of former Democrat PRC Commissioner, Jerome Block, who was sentenced after pleading guilty to fraudulent use of a state-issued credit card, embezzlement and election law violations. John Block’s uncle has also been in and out of jail for drug use and breaking the terms of his probation.”
His family experience explains his hostility toward this news source and his stance of being against “rehabilitative justice” as his family experience had run ins with the law and continued a path downward instead of a path forward.
Carpetbagger: “a person perceived as an unscrupulous opportunist”
The heat of Northern New Mexico media coverage began to impact the Block/Melton duo with another article titled Glass House John Block Exposed.
This heat and exposure with many articles attacking Mr. Block during the 2000 election may explain why the Block/Melton duo fled Northern New Mexico to seek political favor in Otero County having lived in the county less than 2 years…
Block in commentary on his propaganda page tried to “mansplain” his association with Democrats as a member of their staff.
Block: “I worked to help stop radical open-borders socialists from taking over Albuquerque by VOLUNTEERING on the Keller campaign for a little over three weeks to uncover unethical campaign practices.”
Yeah right, okay, sure. Anyone who has ever worked on a professional campaign knows that a “volunteer” will never be privy to the innerworkings of a campaign, its strategy, and its internal process. There is NO WAY a “volunteer” in just “three weeks” John Block, would have had access to any information that could be used in an ethics review.
A very funny story to weave, but of course, most Americans are gullible when it comes to politics and the spinning politicians weave.
Most of the public has never seen the innerworkings of a professional campaign, and how a professional campaign staff operates, so this story would seem plausible to the untrained political novice.
But it gets better…
Per Block, “the only office that granted me an internship was Heinrich’s.” That in itself is a testament that Republican leaders at the time did not offer Mr. Block an internship. One wonders why?
Block continued: “I was given the selective opportunity to serve the people of New Mexico as a Senate intern and bring a conservative perspective to the far-left office…My fellow interns repeatedly attacked my Republican ideals and repeatedly attempted to have me fired from the internship, but I did not back down — and it made my conservative values and support for our 45th president that much stronger.”
Or more radicalized, the duo felt the heat and fled the hot pan of Northen New Mexico politics? The Block/Melton duo fled Northern, New Mexico, for a “safe, conservative community” – Otero County. Why Otero County? If success was eminent in Northern New Mexico? – Opportunism.
The Melton Block Duo has flip-flopped on Ronchetti. One wonders if Ronchetti will remember this analysis of his senatorial run by Mr. Block?
Per John Block, “Instead of campaigning to be New Mexico’s next U.S. Senator, it appears Ronchetti is more interested in playing the high school bully, name-calling, and pushing everyone in his way just to get what he wants…The nasty, bottom-of-the-barrel ad-hominem attacks on fellow Republicans, many of them being fellow candidates, prove that Ronchetti’s campaign is willing to go to any embarrassingly low level to win.”
Sound familiar? Appointed Commissioner Melton and Candidate Block, showed their true colors with the lies around the Resolution and should look in the mirror… “The nasty, bottom-of-the-barrel ad-hominem attacks on fellow Republicans… prove that (Melton and Block) is willing to go to any embarrassingly low level to win.”
Blocks words not this commentators excepting for replacing Ronchetti with Block Melton.
Ronchetti would do well to distance hisself from this duo.
Note: the commentaries and investigations into the antics of Melton and Block will stop when they rise to the occasion of true leadership, end the attacks on those that differ in opinion and embrace open dialog with a civil tone to seek areas of compromise for a better Alamogordo. Until then, we will continue to forge forward a vision to Retake Republicanism from radicalization and bring it back to the ideals of a big tent that welcomes everyone and serves with decorum and grace. It’s time the Grand Ole Party return to its roots, expels with myths and reembraces the tenants of its past glory.
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Ex-Commissioner Couy Griffin Snug with Candidate John Block Coupled in Demagoguery
A demagogue, a popular leader, a leader of a mob, people, populace, the commons or rabble-rouser is a political leader in a democracy who gains popularity by arousing the common people against elites or those that differ in thought, especially through oratory and written dialog that whips up the passions of crowds, appealing to emotion by scapegoating groups and individuals, exaggerating dangers to stoke fears, lying for emotional effect, or other rhetoric that tends to drown out reasoned deliberation and encourage fanatical popularity. Demagogues overturn established norms of political conduct or promise or threaten to do so by attacking those that question their thinking.
The central feature of demagoguery is persuasion by means of passion, shutting down reasoned deliberation and consideration of alternatives. While many politicians in a democracy make occasional small sacrifices of truth, subtlety, or long-term concerns to maintain popular support, demagogues do these things relentlessly and without self-restraint. Demagogues “pander to passion, prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance, rather than reason.
Otero County and Alamogordo is a city divided along ideological political lines in a perceived battle with the liberals of Northern New Mexico and the federal government in ongoing battles over ranching and grazing rights, timber rights and directives from the BLM.
There is an independent streak and a great deal of conservatism running in the veins of a majority of Alamogordo and Otero Counties citizens. There is an underlying distrust of “outsiders” and a definitive distrust of state and federal directives.
The irony, Otero is the 3rd largest county in terms of land area in the state, with 6,613.21 square miles. The population of Otero County in 2018 was 66,781, 3.19 percent of the state total, and ranked 9th in the state in terms of population. Only 10% of the land area is privately owned; the Federal government via the military and BLM, the Mescalero Apache Tribe, and the State Land Office own the remaining 90% of the land.
Alamogordo, with a population of 31,230 in 2018, represented 46.76 percent of the total population of the county.
Per capita income for Otero County during the last administration was $34,636. Per capita income for Otero County was 83.24 percent of the state average ($41,609) and 63.62 percent of the national average ($54,446)
The percent growth of per capita income in Otero County between 2014 and 2018 of 8.61 percent was less than the state (11.91 percent) and the nation (15.70 percent).
Given that a majority of the land mass is outside of reach of the local government officials and given that incomes in the county significantly lag the state and national averages; then it is easy to understand the political culture of the area, and how extremist with demagogue tendencies rise to fill the void in leadership.
The most prolific of local leaders to gain national attention is Couy Griffin, Otero County Commissioner who raised his profile to the national stage in creating “Cowboys of Trump” and a fire and brimstone style of ideological propaganda that the masses embraced at the local level, at least at first.
From his pulpit on the Otero County Commission, he led a variety of conversations and debate from participation in the alleged insurrection to being an election denier. Mr. Griffin gained national notoriety and took that notoriety onto the speaking circuits. His supporters used the pulpit and he fundraised against his trials and tribulations to the toon of thousands of dollars. Not bad for a County Commissioner whose stipend for service is less than $20,000 a year. There is a fundraiser now online of which his goal is $50,000 and the plea is his removal from office $15556 has been raised the last 30 days. Not bad for a month’s work.
Mr. Griffin, possibly seeing the writing on the wall to his legal issues, or possibly just tired of the scrutiny he was under, opted not to run for re-election. Amy Barrela is the favored candidate to win his commission seat this November verses candidate, Stephanie Dubois.
That leads up to the duo of Karl Melton, appointed City Commissioner for Alamogordo, and his domestic partner, John Block, candidate for NM State Representative District 51.
With Griffin exiting stage left, and his influence waning, that created another opening for a new opportunistic demagogue.
The irony: this time, it’s not a rugged cowboy actor garnering for attention, fame and fortune on the backs of Otero County citizens, this time it is a young, educated, alleged conservative, LBGTQ duo, registered Republican, who profess Marjorie Taylor Green as a role model while professing fundamentalist Christian beliefs.
The irony of Melton/Block an out LBGTQ+ couple professing fundamentalist Christianity and Marjorie Taylor Green as a role model can’t be over-emphasized.
Per Multi-million-dollar Republican donor and American Capitalist Steve Forbes who supports the traditional Republican Party policies such as downsizing government agencies to balance the budget, tough crime laws, gun rights, rehabilitative justice, and support for the death penalty. He is editor and chief of Forbes Magazine and not a member of the perceived left-wing media influences. Thus, when Forbes Magazine of which he is editor and chief warns and highlights the demagogue rhetoric and antics of Marjorie Taylor Green, people should pay attention.
Per Forbes Magazine, “Greene baselessly claimedearlier this week that she believes straight people face extinction within 150 years during a segment on her streaming broadcast that airs on her social media accounts.” “Probably in about four or five generations, no one will be straight anymore,”Greene said. “Everyone will be either gay or trans or nonconforming or whatever the list of 50 or 60 different options there are.”
In other reporting by ultra-conservative Forbes Magazine, it highlighted the demagoguery of Marjorie Taylor Green and her conspiracy theories to include “that a devastating wildfire that ravaged California was started by “a laser” beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family. House minority whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) in June said some of Greene’s past comments were “disgusting” and racist, endorsing her Republican primary opponent along with House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).”
Yet, Marjorie Taylor Green is who the Melton/Block duo represent as arole model. Interesting since their role model spouts antisemitic propaganda and certainly propaganda counter to the lifestyle of the Melton/Block duo.
The duo seems to be taking their lessons of demagoguery from the Marjorie Taylor Green playbook and preying upon Otero’s citizens via demagoguery, attacking those who differ with them in opinion or thought, inciting their followers to attack small business owners, and even the mayor, when they express a differing opinion to their own.
Conservative Republicans, to include the House Minority Leader, the Minority Whip and the Forbes family which are huge Republican donors, all speak against Marjorie Taylor Green’s style of conspiracy leadership within the Republican Party. The Melton/Block duo reference her as a role model. That role model should give us all as citizens whom this duo represents pause and alert us to the road ahead.
This admission explains exactly what we can expect from this duo – demagoguery.
Thus, with Couy Griffins exit and wanning media attention, this opportunistic duo launched their first act in the saga of Melton/Block duplicity. Then they went on the offensive via an old-fashioned style of demagoguery, attacking the mayor, those that challenge their first act, a young lady battling cancer, and of course alternative media and business owners that don’t fall in line with their theology.
The propaganda and misinformation of a right-wing radicalized blogger, running as a candidate for a State Assembly District 51 from Otero County, New Mexico, John Block, and his domestic partner Karl Melton, has had Alamogordo, and Otero County up in arms and in a teether over a “resolution” that is a mere, opinion piece, and carries NO WEIGHT of LAW.
Mr. Block’s radical falsehoods and accusations against those whose opinions differ from his, continues with untruths and attacks. The aggression in their demagoguery MAY have even pushed them and a few of their followers to the edge, and in possible violations of election law “the Block/Melton – Big Lie.”
The lawful petition activity in an attempt to counter the “the Block/Melton – Big Lie” brought out enemies, including a partisan official who publicly encouraged a deceptive tactic, an error in judgement on his part.
Typical in fashion of demagoguery, those that follow the demagogue often get hurt.
“Go sign their petition using the name of your favorite founding father. Creative belligerence is an amazing tactic to defeat your opponent,” wrote Joshua Beasley, chairman of the Republican Party of Otero County, where Alamogordo is the seat of government.
Mr. Beasley later apologized. Beasley, in a county party email dated Sept. 2, said his inexperience as a party leader led him to the mistake when lobbying against the petition.
“I would like to take a moment of your time and apologize for my recent statement concerning the collection of petition signatures,” Beasley said on the email. “My sarcasm was a juvenile mistake. As I obtain more experience in this newly acquired position, I cannot promise a perfect performance, but I can promise I have the best of intentions for our county when representing and defending its constituents. I appreciate the feedback I have received from many of you and look forward to continuing to build a strong Otero County.”
Alamogordo resident, Jeff Swanson, filed a complaint against Beasley with the Secretary of State’s Office. Swanson cited a state statute outlawing forgery on election petitions or knowingly causing false information to be listed. Violating the law is a fourth-degree felony.
John Block, a blogger and the Republican nominee for state representative in Otero County’s District 51 furthered thedemagoguery in his statements…
“A radical group of scammers calling themselves New Voices Otero is trying to trick pro-lifers into signing their bogus petition by claiming it will give the voters a choice to vote on the resolution, but they are not telling them that Alamogordo is already a sanctuary city for the unborn,” Block wrote.
It is NOT- legally the opinion piece or resolution passed has NO WEIGHT of LAW, thus Alamogordo IS NOT a “sanctuary city for the unborn” – more demagoguery and further evidence of “the Block/Melton – Big Lie.”
Myers, Swanson and others exercised their right to petition the government. In response, Block accused them of engaging in a fraudulent scheme, even as his Republican chairman urged people to sign the petitions with phony names.
Mr. Block then petitioned the city of Alamogordo under a request for public records for ANY communications to the City Clerk’s Office from Ashlie Myers or Jeff Swanson on September 1st.
Block labels himself as an “America First Republican,” though his version of a free country doesn’t seem to tolerate dissent.
Karl Melton, who is Block’s partner, is an appointed city commissioner. Melton sponsored the resolution to label Alamogordo as a sanctuary for the unborn. He cried poverty in hopes of shutting down constituents who hope to overturn his resolution.
“There is no money budgeted this year for municipal elections, so if this petition receives enough signatures, the city would be forced to take away funding from important city-funded services,” Melton wrote on his Facebook page as a co-conspirator of more demagoguery and further evidence of “the Block/Melton – Big Lie”
Melton’s anti-abortion resolution had nothing to do with any city service, but he made it a public issue anyway. His next move was to use self-incrimination in hopes of silencing those who disagree with him. Melton told residents the city government he helps oversee “is so poorly run it doesn’t have a contingency fund.”
John Block, and his domestic partner, Karl Melton, appointed, crafted a fight within the city of Alamogordo, misleading local followers to believe by implying this is the first step in a fight to ensure abortions cannot happen, Planned Parenthood and other providers cannot come, and that Alamogordo is a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.”
In stirring that pot, this, gay duo, with their own slant to fundamentalist Christian values, duped their followers and rallied the public to believe facts that are not true or are pure propaganda.
What does the radicalized demagogue duo gain from this propaganda and attack on those that historically supported them?
Melton claimed, as reported in his domestic partners propaganda piece, that “I have brought forward Resolution 2022-38 because my constituents are worried Alamogordo has no resolution or ordinance on the books protecting unborn life. This measure not only affirms life from conception to natural death, but it declares Alamogordo a Sanctuary City for the Unborn,” said Melton.
Fact: Alamogordo is NOT “a sanctuary city for the unborn.” It may desire to be one, but legallyit is NOT.
Mr. Melton is splitting hairs and misleading constituents, when he says there is no resolution or ordinance on the books protecting unborn life.
Legally, New Mexico state law governs health related issues, local law cannot, therefore no local city ordinance nor resolution with the “power of law” can legally be on the books to protect the unborn life from abortion, as Mr. Melton insinuates.
When Melton claims the resolution “declares Alamogordo a Sanctuary City for the Unborn,” he fails to educate the average citizen that the declaration has NO Power of Law and is meaningless.
The resolution carries the same weight of law as this writer declaring, “Alamogordo is a sanctuary city for invading aliens from the planet of Mars.” The implication is that Martians are welcome and safe in Alamogordo. When I declare, “Alamogordo is a Sanctuary City to those from Mars,” it would be laughed at as just hyperbole, however when a government body passes a resolution and a seated commissioner goes on a propaganda tour, people want to believe that Alamogordo is truly a sanctuary city that protects the unborn via the power of local law – it is NOT!
Melton’s partner, John Block, said, “By boldly declaring our city a sanctuary for the unborn, you are not just making an important and necessary statement; you are declaring that those who wish to shed innocent blood are not welcome in our city and do not stand with the values our fervently pro-life community believes in.”
While again, this is nice rhetoric and speaks well for Mr. Blocks fundraising efforts, (especially out of the area) as a talking point, it is absolutely not a statement of fact. The resolution is nothing but an opinion.
Mr. Block and Mr. Melton it appears collaborated in an effort to place the Sanctuary City for the Unborn resolution on the ballot. Mr. Melton expressed at a commission meeting that a large number of his constituents demanded action.
(AlamogordoTownNews.com has a public records act request into the city to verify. We have a request with date and time stamps of the actual number of requests for action on this issue that was submitted to the city prior to it being placed on the agenda. Stay tuned.)
What is a fact is that Mr. Melton’s domestic partner, Mr. Block has worked for a non-profitWashington DC based advocacy group called Americans United for Life. It is a corporation, that received $3.2 million in income per its form 990 that states the company “advances the human right to life in culture, law and policy.” Per the filing it spent $810,610 “on litigation and legal affairs, through the courts to defend life and to protect first amendment conscience. AUL has a combined litigation and legislation strategy, drafting, advising and providing model pro-life legislation to legislators, working to help get it passed, then assisting attorneys in defending prolife laws.”
Is Mr. Melton and Mr. Blocks intent to have Americans United for Life assist with attorney’s in defending this resolution or using it as a springboard for furthering their agenda?
Mr. Block has used his propaganda blog heavily, to endorse the resolution his partner set forth. He then went on the offense to attack and defame those against it, including a young lady receiving treatment for cancer, the mayor a business leader and this new source and its leadership.
Mr. Block and Mr. Melton are partners, thus this past financial family connection to this pro-life advocacy group and the timing of his election campaign, raises the question of did Mr. Melton indeed receive, “so many requests from constituents to sponsor this resolution?”
(AlamogordoTownNews.com has requested copies via an open records request with date and time stamps of all constituent communications requesting this be placed on the agenda. We are awaiting full details from the city of Alamogordo. Since Mr. Melton is opposed to the Alamogordo City Code of Conduct, and all such communications may not be in the city database, this request may lead to further questions concerning ethics and integrity of the complete record of official city correspondence with the commissioner and his partner related to this issue and the integrity of said correspondence.)
A question the citizens of Alamogordo should be asking is rather this effort to facilitate this resolution is part of a bigger plot at a potential legislation and used as a test balloon using the tools, learnings and support of the Washington DC Based Americans for Life, Mr. Blocks former employer?
Given Mr. Block, Mr. Melton’s domestic partner was employed with Americans United for Life, was there coordination, assistance, financial support or guidance in this effort from Mr. Blocks past employer? Why didn’t Mr. Melton disclose the past family connection to Americans United for Life and the capacity in which his partner served at the time of sponsorship of this resolution?
Should Mr. Melton have recused himself from sponsorship of this resolution and from debate and voting given his family tie and family financial gain, in the past, by affiliation with this pro-life advocacy group? Have Mr. Melton or Mr. Block had any contact with this corporation or any of its employees leading up to the sponsorship of the resolution?
At a minimum, in the spirit of transparency, Mr. Melton should have gone on the record and disclosed that his family had financially gained in the past by a relationship and of his partners past employment with Americans United for Life. There should have been a full disclosure of the relationship that existed and rather the advocacy group had been in any consultation or referenced in any manner with the proposed resolution. Mr. Melton with the disclosure should have recused himself from participating in the resolution vote.
Mr. Block when making public comment and attacking his opponents should have disclosed his past affiliation. He should have disclosed his past role and financial dealings and rather there was any contact with his former pro-life employer for support, reference, guidance, marketing assistance, legal assistance, verbiage or financial assistance or other contact concerning the resolution his domestic partner brought forth. Mr. Block should have disclosed he had a past financial incentive to move the pro-life agenda forward.
Did Mr. Block or Mr. Melton violate the law? Probably not. Did they leave out information that was relevant to the issue and the debate? Yes, they did. Was their failure to disclose a breach of ethics? Probably, this situation would make an interesting topic for a university level civics class or law class as a dialog on ethics and standards or codes of conduct and disclosure for the public trust. But now we better understand Mr. Melton’s concern with a Code of Conduct for City Commissioners.
Attempts to influence the City Clerk to quash signatures and ultimately a vote?
Mr. Block and Mr. Melton went even further in effort to discredit the democratic process that attempted to bring the resolution to a vote via a petition. On September 8th a Request for Public Records was submitted on behalf of John Block for a copy of the entire petition with signatures, names addresses and phone numbers. Interestingly the signature at the bottom of the request is that or his domestic partner and city commissioner Karl Paul Melton. KPM.
Thus, a collaboration and/or a co-conspiracy by the two to discredit the signatures of the petition begun. See below
With Mr Melton’s signature above Mr. Block received the data did “his analysis” and then submitted “his” analysis to the City Clerk of Alamogordo in an attempt to influence the outcome. He stated: “I am passing this along to help you in your validation process.”
See letter from John Block to the city clerk.
His analysis did not necessarily match the Clerks own analysis.
Mr. Block attempted to suppress this authors vote with false information that “this author is not registered to vote” and included a link to the indictment of the settled court case as alleged evidence of why my vote should not be counted.
New Mexico State laws states: ”If you have been convicted of a felony, you can register to vote once you have completed the court-ordered sentence of imprisonment, including any term of parole or probation for the conviction. This provision includes federal, state and out-of-state convictions.”
Mr. Block has gone on the record that he does not believe in “rehabilitative Justice” thus his attempt to suppress votes but only of those that differ from him.
But the city clerk was a professional and reminded Mr. Block that he cannot be involved in the research to certify rather signatures were acceptable or not…
The city clerk clarified that she cannot even look at his analysis until she completed hers.
The question citizens should ask is did Mr Block really believe his analysis would be considered?
He is allegedly experienced enough in government to know the ins and outs of process and should know of the clerk had considered his research then she would have set the city up for significant litigation exposure.
He was either naive?
Or was he and partner Karl Melton who signed for the information requested, attempting to influence the results of the clerks audit of which places him, the city and his partner Karl Melton in the crosshairs of potential litigation on charges of “voter interference,” “voter suppression” and with other actions, not covered in this story at this time, “voter intimidation.”
In the end, Mr. Block via his propaganda blog released a story that the city was not qualifying the petition and he was rabble-rousing and spinning a story that the petition failed due to not enough qualified signatures…”they failed to get a mere 589 signatures” he claimed thus why it failed.
He released his story prior to the city officially releasing a press release detailing the reason. He ran with the “failed to gain signatures narrative” and still runs with narrative as does his partner the seated Commissioner.
The truth is the petition was disqualified because the “initial steps in the process was not followed correctly to prequalify the petition” from the City Clerk prior to gathering signatures…
Since the resolution was non-binding, it never should have been considered for petition, as the resolution has no meaning, other than an opinion, it has NO bearing of law. A resolution is not law.
The question the community must demand an answer for is what was the real motive behind Mr Melton and Mr. Block to sponsor this resolution that had no power of law?
Who were they in bed with to bring this into the public realm?
What was the real reason for the intensity of the fight by the Block/Melton Duo?
Why the tactics of defamation against the mayor, voter suppression tactics and the fever pitch of demagoguery against those that disagreed with the resolution?
Why was it so important for Mr. Block to ensure his analysis of voters that signed the petition to vote on a meaningless resolution “was on the record”?
The central feature of demagoguery is persuasion by means of passion, shutting down reasoned deliberation and consideration of alternatives. Demagogues “pander to passion, prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance, rather than reason.
Mr. Block and Mr. Melton went all out together for a resolution with no meaning? Mr. Melton sees no sense in a code of conduct for the city commissioners? Was this a trail balloon for something else? What’s next as act 2 in the saga of Melton/Block political duplicity?
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Couy Griffin, ousted Otero County Commissioner is by far the most prolific of local leaders to gain national attention. He 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 for a period of time. Now they appear to be tiring of the rhetoric and the negative press.
His base however continues to rally around his fight against “Santa Fe” and the “left” as witnessed by his most recent fundraising appeal which has raised $16,541 of a goal of $50,000.
From his pulpit of the Otero County Commission, he led a variety of conversations and debate, from participation in the alleged insurrection, to being an election results denier.
Mr. Griffin gained national notoriety and took that notoriety onto the speaking circuits. His brand has been used by higher profile personalities around the nation who have profited off of his trials and tribulations to the toon of thousands of dollars. Yet he is forced to defend himself in the judicial process.
Couy Griffin on Tuesday notified the high court of his intent to appeal. The ruling against Griffin this month from a Santa Fe-based District Court was the first to remove or bar an elected official from office in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol building that disrupted Congress as it was trying to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.
Griffin was previously convicted in federal court of a misdemeanor for entering the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, without going inside the building. He was sentenced to 14 days and given credit for time served.
Griffin has invoked free speech guarantees in his defense and says his banishment from public office disenfranchises his political constituents in Otero County.
He was barred from office under provisions of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which holds that anyone who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution can be barred from office for engaging in insurrection or rebellion. The provisions were put in place shortly after the Civil War.
A flurry of similar lawsuits around the country are seeking to use the provision to punish politicians who took part in Jan. 6.
Griffin says he continues to act as his own legal counsel in the case.
“Honestly I have felt very abandoned by many,” Griffin said.
Conservative activists aligned with Griffin have urged supporters to file disciplinary complaints against the judge who barred Griffin from office.
Other cases of removal have been filed around the US for individuals that supported the events of January 6th, 2022. Mr. Griffin is the only one thus far that had a conviction related directly to activities of that day.
The case may eventually carry forward to the US Supreme Court. Mr. Griffin’s name is nothing new to a case that may eventually come to the Supreme Court as he U.S. Supreme Court was asked to consider, via a writ of certiorari, whether a New Mexico Court of Appeals judge erred when he overturned a decision denying Couy Griffin qualified immunity in a first amendment case.
Griffin, as the Otero County Commissioner for District 2 at the time, in 2019 blocked Jeff Swanson, the Democratic Party of Otero County chairman, from his Facebook page after Swanson posted comments critical of Griffin’s performance as a commissioner.
Swanson sued Griffin and Otero County Records Custodian Sylvia Tillbrook alleging that since Griffin’s Facebook page was a public forum, that Griffin had violated the First Amendment by engaging in viewpoint discrimination. Viewpoint discrimination is when a government or a governmental entity restricts speech on a given subject matter.
The case was filed in the New Mexico 12th Judicial District Court. When the case was removed to federal court, Griffin’s motion to dismiss the case citing qualified immunity was denied.
He appealed the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals where the decision was reversed. The Court of Appeals’ opinion stated the lower court relied on “on out-of-circuit authority” in its decision.
“We reverse. The Supreme Court has repeatedly instructed lower courts not to define rights at a high level of generality when considering a qualified immunity defense,” the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision states.
Swanson petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari which is “issued in order that the court issuing the writ may inspect the proceedings and determine whether there have been any irregularities,” according to Barron’s Law Dictionary.
The question Swanson and his attorney A. Blair Dunn are putting to the U.S. Supreme Court is “Did the 10th Circuit err in reversing the decision of the District Court that Commissioner Couy Griffin was not entitled to qualified immunity after the Circuit recognized that Commissioner Griffin had engaged in viewpoint discrimination to exclude Mr. Swanson from his open to the public Facebook page where he openly discussed the public’s business that he was elected to attend to?”
Per coverage from the Alamogordo News in a story by Nicole Maxwell…
“The criminal case against former Otero County commissioner Couy Griffin, 47, of Tularosa, for allegedly failing to file Cowboys for Trump as a political action committee was scheduled to begin September 19 and was pushed back to December.
In a motion filed by Griffin’s attorney, Jonathan C. Miller, Miller noted a family emergency which would preclude him from being available for the preset date. According to court records, Miller’s mother is terminally ill.
Per 12th Judicial Judge Douglas Driggers, the case is to be reset no sooner than December 2022.
The criminal complaint filed by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas on March 18 states that between Jan. 15, 2020 and March 18, 2022, Griffin “willfully and knowingly” violated provisions of the Campaign Reporting Act by disregarding orders to register as a political action committee with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office, file finance reports and pay $7,800 in accumulated fines by the March 18, 2022 deadline.
Griffin pleaded not guilty to the charges during an April 1 arraignment. This case will more than likely be go to jury trial in December.”
Thus, the impact of Mr. Griffin’s term of office will continue to be under review in the judiciary at a variety of levels, for quite some time it would appear.
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Congratulations are in order to Mr. Karl Melton and candidate John Block who prevailed in maintaining the “Sanctuary City of the Unborn” resolution that was submitted by them via a “special city commission meeting.”
Per a press release which was released from the city of Alamogordo at 3:50 pm today Alamogordo, NM Tuesday, September 13, 2022…
“A petition to take Resolution 2022-38, passed by City Commission on August 2, 2022, at a Special Meeting, for referendum was filed with the City Clerk on September 1, 2022.
In accordance with NMSA 1978 § 3-1-5. Petitions, examinations of signatures; purging; judicial review, and in consultation with the Secretary of State and New Mexico Municipal League, the petition did not meet the statutory requirements.
As such, the city will take no additional action on this matter.”
This recap is being researched at 11:33 pm and a press release above from the city of Alamogordo was posted to the city website and Facebook 7 hours ago.
A small group of citizens led by a young lady fighting cancer, Ashlie Meyers, decided they would start a petition to gather signatures in hopes of forcing a special election to determine if the resolution should stand. The group gathered over 507 valid signatures of 589 needed to be turned in, to the county clerk, 10 days ago, to verify.
Tuesday, the group of petitioners learned the fate of their petition, first via a post by John Block that predated the city of Alamogordo’s official Facebook post and release by 1 hour. The city clerk’s office issued a letter, via Facebook, one hour after Blocks post, stating that the petition did not garner enough valid signatures to force the measure on a special election ballot.
Case closed? Maybe, maybe not.
What has occurred is domestic partners, Melton and Block have deeply divided the community into factions of distrust and bitterness verses uniting the community around issues that need community collaboration such as crime prevention and business development.
The group had faced huge pushback from conservative pundits, including John Block, a blogger and the GOP nominee for state rep in Otero County. Block also attended the Jan. 6 Capitol riot but never faced charges. Block’s domestic partner, Karl Melton, was recently appointed to a vacancy on the Alamogordo City Commission.
In an email sent out to supporters today, Block said “The pro-abort radicals are likely going to show up in full force and try and intimidate the commissioners, spewing vicious personal attacks and tired anti-life talking points.”
During the August 3 meeting Block made false claims that there are no medical reasons why a woman would ever need an abortion.
Access to abortion services is limited in Otero County and Alamogordo. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights advocacy organization, 91 percent of NM counties had “no clinics that provided abortions” in 2017, and 48 percent of New Mexico women lived in counties without clinics. Both of those percentages are higher than national averages despite Block’s claim that “NM taxpayers forked over a staggering amount for abortions in the past two years.”
Ashlie Meyers supporters spoke at the city commission meeting Tuesday night expressing dissatisfaction with their loss with them reviewing rather they have any options to appeal the decision of signatures that were rejected.
LBGTQ Republican candidate John Block posted a story via Pinon Post, 1 hour before the city posted their position on their website. The timing of that post vía the Piñón Press one hour prior to the city releasing the official press release raises many legal questions.
Block titled the article in a maner that implies the activism of Ashley Meyers “failed miserably. “
Any public participation in political discourse regardless of the outcome should be applauded as that is the activism our founding fathers hoped for.
A diversity of dialog and debate leads to good governance.
Candidate Block then went on to attack the mayor, a news source operated by an Otero County Republican and gloated with glee verses covering a story with humility and grace as winners with grace and humility under God on their side.
“THE HUMBLE CHRISTIAN RECEIVES MORE GRACE.”-1 Peter 5:5
The 2 GOP, LBGTQ leaders, Melton and Block claim to be “fundamentalist Christian.” But as such does fundamentalism allow for a LBGTQ lifestyle? Does it allow one to pick and choose which biblical principles one will follow?
Their support of the “Sanctuary City for the Unborn” they claim, is led by their “Christian beliefs.” It would seem they are picking and choosing which of those “Christian” beliefs they choose to follow.
Living as an example of grace, in grace, and in humility apparently is not part of the example they choose to live by based upon the Piñon Post article posted today.
God does not want believers to live by law, but by the Holy Spirit. Whether someone is living by law (God’s Law or man-made laws) or by grace is determined by two key issues:
1. The issue of motivation: Why you do what you do?
Under law, a person works in order to earn the acceptance of God.
Under grace, a person trusts in Jesus Christ as his/her acceptance and works out of love and gratitude.
2. The issue of use of power or authority: How you do what you do?
Under law, a person lives from his own power and resources.
Under grace, a person lives by Christ’s life and power imparted by the Holy Spirit.
Humility and submission go hand in hand. God’s Word tells us that, as Christians, we are to submit to one another in lowliness of mind. “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” 1 Peter 5:5-6.
By being submissive and “clothing ourselves with humility” we can create peace and unity with the others.
We are not to be so proud and high up that we can’t accept correction or exhortation. Neither should we be of the mindset that our own opinions and thoughts always are better than the others.
Such thinking won’t lead us to any progress or unity in Christ.
Mr. Block in his Piñon Press post falsely claimed that the Mayor and Commissioner McDonald were “pro-abortion.” This is completely counter to statements either individual has made in the past. Both have expressed;” this issue is not an issue for the city to take on as it is out of the city legal schema of authority.” Few people are “pro-abortion or pro death. Even those pushing for the repeal of the resolution, most just felt the issue was out of scope of local political leadership based upon state law.
“Out of scope” is far different then “pro-abortion,” but at times personal bias in the cloud of holy war can fog the path to humility and grace.
Republican, LBGTQ Candidate Block posted “The pro-life measure passed in August with support from all but two apparently pro-abortion members, Mayor Susan Payne and Commissioner Sharon McDonald, on the seven-member commission.”
Knowing these individuals are public figures, he posted this FALSE statement which if they did not hold public office would be considered liable, slanderous and could negatively impact their private business and community relationships.
While the actions by Mr. Block and Mr. Melton might not be illegal given the mayor and commissioner are public figures, their false assertions are unethical and certainly not biblical in grace or humility.
“We are not to be so proud and high up that we can’t accept correction or exhortation. Neither should we be of the mindset that our own opinions and thoughts always are better than the others.”
While this LBGTQ political duo duped a large portion of the public into believing they were acting in good faith under the grace of God to protect the unborn; what they actually exposed was a lack of personal grace and humility under the teachings of God.
They showed how to further divide a community, rather then seek opportunities to unite it around meaningful legislation that has the power of law.
The resolution they supported has NO force of law and has NO legal authority to stop an abortion within Alamogordo. State law does not allow a local government from stopping an abortion.
Finally they demonstrated that they allowed their personal bias to get in the way of truth. Their attack on the mayor was unwarranted and unethical. They attack on an alternative news source and personal attack against the founder, further demonstrates their lack of tolerance of voices other then their own.
AlamogordoTownNews.com congratulates Mr Block and Mr Melton on “their victory.” We won’t disparage those of opinions different than ours with lies. We won’t dig into their past to discrete them.
Jesus taught in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25: 36) that people who help those in prison will go to Heaven. This is because Jesus identifies himself with the outcasts, including prisoners. Those who treat the outcasts well will have eternal life, which means they will go to Heaven.
Rehabilitation and forgiveness of past transgressions are the teachings of Christ.
We will however expose when a political leader acts in a manner that is unethical or represents statements such as those by the mayor falsely.
Lord Acton writes to Bishop Creighton in a series of letters concerning the moral problem of writing history about the Inquisition. Acton believes that the same moral standards should be applied to all men, political and religious leaders included, especially since, in his famous phrase, “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”
Mr. Melton and Mr Block, please act with humility and grace in your daily acts of leadership! Please embrace those that differ from you in opinions with seeking bridges of collaboration please act with maturity under grace and humility thus humanity. Please don’t fall in love with the corruption of power but act under the grace and humility of a loving God.
Congratulations, you may run a victory lap!!! But was it worth it? Does it feel victorious and is it an act of grace to go after a girl dying of cancer, Ashlie Meyer, who was following her conscious? Does it bring you joy to disparage the mayor and individuals investing in the growth of Alamogordo?
Are you happy you created the division felt within Alamogordo, a community faced with rising crime, businesses desperately seeking staff and crumbling infrastructure?
Was this highest and best use of the leadership pulpit and will this resolution success bring jobs, reduce crime and solve issues of business growth within Alamogordo?
—————————————————- Piñon Post story posted one hour prior to City sponsored statement posted to the public.
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