Democrats go big with gerrymandering

In this week's Intelligencer, the art of gerrymandering, public school standards swing to the left-wing, the state supreme court sides again with governor, MLG tries to have it both ways with oil execs, stadium hype: but is it right for the people?

The Intelligencer is a weekly newsletter that gives you a quick overview of La Politica across New Mexico and the U.S., covering topics such as policy, current events, the political landscape, and tech.

Send us any feedback (including chismes and quejas) by going to our website or shoot me an email at dax[AT]nmhispanos.com. And if you are not already subscribed, sign up here.


Dax Contreras
Executive Director, Hispanos Unidos

1. Democrats go big with gerrymandering

nm map

Details: What has only been heard through the grapevine for months was confirmed in a bright technicolor map of the proposed new congressional districts for New Mexico. The idea was to turn the traditionally conservative CD2 into permanently blue Democrat territory — not democratically — but by exploiting a once-a-decade opportunity.

Who’s involved: Left-wing political organizations (well-funded and fully staffed), including NM CAFÉ, Empowerment Congress, and the Center for Civic Policy, Common Cause, and the League of Women Voters, and especially Fair Districts for NM, have been able to afford months of grassroots organizing to take control of the process and pack the public hearings with astroturf advocates used to conceal their partisan power move under the guise of “equal representation.”

Why it matters: With billions of dollars on the line, record murder rates, rock-bottom education failure, and a poor economy now run by ascendant socialists, many feel the state won’t last another 10 years under one-party domination. 

2. Activist bureaucrats push radical standards for public schools

school

Details: New Mexico Public Education Department is allowing public comment on its update of social studies standards, the first update in over 20 years. Not only will new curriculum include 9/11, but “significant social movements” like Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, Climate Activism, and LGBTQ rights — in other words, the far-left’s political activities will now be institutionalized.

What they’re saying: Las Cruces Public School District’s Deputy Superintendent Wendi Miller Tomlinson attacked those who are skeptical of this political agenda in a recent op-ed, calling it “a misinformation campaign [that] has already begun with the goal of creating fear and division” — an obvious shot at parents who oppose the divisive Critical Race Theory (CRT). Curiously, Miller Tomlinson began her academic career with a degree in Political Science.

The big picture: To the extent that “public comment” is just a fig leaf for naked partisan propaganda, it is still important for parents to give their two cents. America has awakened this year to the outrageous and harmful nonsense that is programmed into our children, and the future is being decided here in the present. If you care about our children’s future, you can email PED here. Meanwhile, the Governor’s school lockdown has shown to be an even worse disaster than we’ve been told.

3. State supreme court again sides with MLG

court

Details: A bi-partisan lawsuit brought by state senators (D) Jacob Candelaria and (R) Greg Baca charged that Governor Lujan Grisham violated the New Mexico constitution when she began unilaterally spending $600 million in federal COVID relief funds and sought to block MLG from spending any more without the legislature’s authorization.

What happened: The high court refused to put the governor in check to balance the spending power, instead merely telling the administration that it had to respond to the lawsuit by Oct. 15. The justices also did not order the Attorney General Hector Balderas to issue an opinion as Balderas’s publicity team has only said the issue is “under active review” — a apparent stall tactic to avoid taking a position publicly.

The big picture: As of the publication of this week’s Intelligencer, the state supreme court’s website has not posted any explanation on the ruling of case S-1-SC-28996. Local news outlets did not report that info either. Lujan Grisham is in the midst of a reelection campaign and spending the money herself certainly helps her efforts to persuade voters that she needs to stay in office. With the economy, crime, and education disasters under her first term, she probably needs it.

Of note: Recently the Democratic Governors Association, a deep-pocketed national group, (MLG is chair of the group) sent a letter to KRQE-TV warning that Mark Ronchetti’s on-air presence could subject the station to equal treatment provisions under federal communications law if Ronchetti were to run for governor next year (he's not currently a candidate). If these intimidation tactics are any indication, MLG is desperate for all the help she can get...

4. Governor tries to have it both with oil execs and her "Green New Deal"

hydrogen

Details: Attendees of the New Mexico Oil And Gas Association's annual meeting were feted by the governor on Monday

Why it matters: MLG is attempting a balancing act between thanking the oil patch for the record oil tax revenue it is providing state government and her "Green New Deal" agenda that is clearly at odds with the future of the industry. 

What's next: The governor pledged to kick-start the hydrogen fuel industry in New Mexico with legislation in February, attempting to sell the idea as as "win-win": the oil industry can help her radical environmental agenda by producing hydrogen that can be used by fuel cells that emit no carbon dioxide when used.

Yes, but: The big environmental groups were not impressed, calling her efforts a "distraction" and "risky bets of taxpayer resources". It hard to imagine that the governor did not anticipate such pushback from her green allies; it's more likely her push was a superficial attempt at placating concerns from the oil patch that she is out to shut down their industry than a serious collaborative engagement with the industry powering the state.

5. Proposed soccer stadium gets free publicity while taxpayers have the most to lose

abq

Details: The New Mexico United, a small time pro soccer team, teamed up with Democrat Mayor Tim Keller to have their new stadium built with $50 million in public funds via bonds (debt) and at least $5 million in state infrastructure money. It’s on the ballot for the city elections that began on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The team recently put out a tv ad that has plenty of airtime, playing over and over again in the month before the election. The ad never says how much it will cost and makes claims about job creation. It also spins “no taxes” without explaining it will be paid with debt instead. KOAT TV did a recent story on it but did not address the misleading nature of the ad, and KRQE also put out a puff piece leaning in favor of the stadium.

The big picture: If the people of Albuquerque ultimately vote to pay for the stadium, it will mostly be them who will suffer from it. But the $5 million in state money could be used on other projects and would free up that much of the budget for the rest of the state. History and economics tell us this project will only help a rich few at the expense of everyone else –especially the low-income residents who will have to live next door.

Thankfully, the city’s plan to build a soccer stadium is in serious trouble: a recent poll shows that 59% of people who responded said they were against issuing bonds for building it.