Feds Finally Admit Fault For New Mexico's Massive Fire

In this week's Intelligencer, U.S. Forest Service takes blame for New Mexico’s massive fire, Speaker Egolf's bullying of moderate Dem, Democrats threaten to ban handguns, “legal desert” meets “restorative justice”, and Big Green’s champion in the bureaucracy thrives on power.

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.

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Dax Contreras
Executive Director, Hispanos Unidos

1.  Feds take responsibility for New Mexico’s massive wildfire

Heated report: The U.S. Forest Service says it has determined that the Calf Canyon Fire on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest was caused by a prescribed pile burn holdover (aka “sleeper fire”) that concluded on January 29. The fire lay dormant — even through snow — and reignited almost 4 months later.

Left early: When the new smoke was reported, fire crews monitored the fire over the next two days “to ensure there were no signs of heat or flames near the edge.” Eight days later, it reignited and broke through containment lines. High winds stoked the flames and it merged with the Hermits Peak Fire, which was caused by “an escaped prescribed burn.” 

What’s next?: This statement comes soon after the Forest Service announced a 90-day pause in the prescribed burn program on National Forest System lands to find out what’s gone wrong in the fires in New Mexico and other locations and to “ensure the prescribed burn program nationwide is anchored in the most contemporary science.”

2. Speaker Egolf's legacy of failed leadership


Details: Speaker Brian Egolf is refusing to help finance Rep. Roger Montoya's reelection campaign in rural House District 40, even though Montoya is facing a primary challenge from  former Rep. Joseph Sanchez, a conservative Democrat of Alcalde and former electrical engineer at Los Alamos National Lab.

Background: In 2020 Egolf was a major supporter of Montoya when he was running for office back when District 40 was an open seat. But because Montoya has over the last two years refused to fall in line with Egolf's extremist progressive ideology (voting against a gas tax a.k.a the clean-fuel standard, voting against the ban on trapping, and supporting parental notification by minors seeking abortions), Egolf 's massive ego couldn't let those "slights" go unpunished — regardless of the fact that those positions actually represented the values of the rural communities he represents.

What they're saying: “There’s absolutely a rift,” says Montoya of his relationship with Egolf. “I have a recording of him screaming obscenities at me on the telephone. It’s something I’d never heard from another adult.”

What we're watching: These kind of petty squabbles are sadly emblematic of Egolf's legacy as a Speaker of the House with tremendous power but whose arrogance made him painfully out of touch with the needs of New Mexican families.

As his legacy fades, Egolf's failed leadership will be a hallmark of his tenure. His attempt to leave on a high note before his house of cards collapses due to the fallout of failed progressive policymaking will solidify that failed legacy. Don't let the door hit you on the way out Speaker Egolf...

3. “I can’t dictate this stuff. I can do the things I’ve done and any executive action I can take, I’ll continue to take.” – President Joe Biden on disarming American citizens


Details: During a recent debate, both Democratic candidates for attorney general pandered to the anti-2nd Amendment lobby, threatening more useless restrictions on personal defense rights: "targeting parents”, tighter Red Flag laws, and a “gun-violence prevention office” under the state Department of Health.

Why it matters: Meanwhile, MLG virtue-signaled with even more inane utopian policies where the government “must do everything in our power to reduce the number of firearms…to make sure that everyone in this country lives in peace and free of fear.” MLG wants to now ban fear in America.

The AP noted that “since 2019, Lujan Grisham has signed a raft of legislation that restricts access to guns, including an extension of background-check requirements to nearly all private gun sales.”

The big picture: President Biden again attacked 9mm ammo, probably the most popular round for self-defense. Axios recently described this cycle for House Dems as “so bleak that even members in districts Biden won by 10 to 15 points are in danger of losing their seats, per the Cook Political Report.” But will moderates and conservatives in both parties vote to oust the radicals in the Roundhouse?

4. “They get into family court… they don’t have the skills and knowledge to navigate it [without an attorney]. It means the system is not working to protect them when we’ve said it would.” – Alexandria Taylor, New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs


Legal Desert: The recent federal reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act brings front and center yet another major New Mexican problem: some rural counties don’t have a single private practice attorney. Even Las Cruces’ county only has 324 lawyers – compared to Albuquerque with over three thousand lawyers. Places with none or few lawyers are known as a “legal desert”.

Restorative Justice?: Taylor claims that for people (who are not cisgendered straight males) who are afraid to call the police for help, “restorative justice can enable a victim to bypass the legal system.” In the article, Taylor did not explain what “bypassing the legal system” means.

In the late 1970’s, “restorative justice” meant having a meeting between the victim and the offender, sometimes with other community members, to discuss who was harmed by the crime and come up with a way for the offender to make amends, such as financial payment, apologies, and other actions to compensate and to prevent future conflicts. According to the Restorative Justice Legislative Directory created in 2014 it’s been frequently adopted across the country.

Leftist scam: Taylor claims that when members of a group of ex-cons who went through a restorative justice process were released, some of them now run restorative justice organizations. But what does this approach have to do with domestic and sexual violence?

Also, the new version of the Violence Against Women Act expands funding for the program to include men who identify as a woman and changes the label “domestic violence” into “gender-based” violence.

A real solution: The fundamental problem, according to Stephen J. Schulhofer and David D. Friedman, is “the fact that…the person who has the most at stake is allowed no say in choosing the professional who will provide him one of the most important services he will ever need.”

This problem “is compounded by an acute conflict of interest: the official who selects his defense attorney is tied, directly or indirectly, to the same authority that is seeking to convict the defendant.”

They propose a voucher system that would, “so far as possible, function in the same way that the existing market functions for affluent defendants who are able to retain their own counsel.”

5. Eco-fascist Public Land Commissioner running for re-election pledges loyalty to Big Green


Mo Money, Mo Inflation: The federal Department of Transportation announced a new $200 million grant program for natural gas “infrastructure safety” – that’s $200 per year for the next five years – and claims it will “create good-paying jobs, with an emphasis on benefiting underserved communities.”

Green tyranny: NM Public Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard recently received the endorsement of YUCCA, one of many environmental extremist groups in the state, for her support of far-Left dictates including:

  • Banning new gas development in the state
  • Banning new gas plants
  • Banning the use of fresh water for fracking on state land
  • Redistributing oil & gas revenue to a new slush fund
  • Turning reliable energy sites on state land into unsustainable wind and solar farms and “outdoor recreation.”

Naturally, she has no problem accepting corporate money from “green” energy conglomerates. Commissioner Richard bragged she has the power to ban fire on all 9 million acres of state land under her domain and that she has the authority to “influence applications to the Land Office.”

She also believes the false narrative that greenhouse gas emissions “must be reversed within eight years” in order to “achieve carbon neutrality” and she will “strengthen all regulatory rules” — instead of judging each rule on its merit.

Still Hope?: 80 year old oilman (and top state Republican donor/former state chairman and national committeeman) Harvey Yates has his eyes on Valencia County as a new target for black gold exploration. Last month, Valencia County approved a new “natural resource overlay zone”, which offers the opportunity for Yates to apply for county approval at their next meeting.


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