Governor bullies public school board members

In this week's Intelligencer, the governor bullies schools, chile crops are in trouble, state government cover-ups and cover-up fails. Plus, President Biden’s radical allies target the Hispanic community.

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. Governor bullies public school board members


Details: First, MLG’s Public Education Department threatened to suspend the Roosevelt County School Board and “licensed individuals” if the board does not comply with the PED’s mandates that require schools to discriminate based on COVID-19 vaccine status. On Wednesday she followed through with her threat and suspended the five-member board.

Why it matters: With the COVID-19 survival rate of children at 99.997% and a hospitalization rate of less than 1% the popularly elected school board members do not want to force students and staff to wear a mask when evidence suggests mask mandates do not significantly decrease infection.

The big picture: In spite of the government’s claims of following the science, there are still many unanswered questions and confusion surrounding the “Delta Variant” and politicians seem to be exploiting fear to hold on to their pandemic power. As states and cities crack down, the political chatter is that Gov. Grisham will announce a new lockdown in the upcoming weeks.

2. Red or green? Neither without farmworkers

green chile

Details: Chile farmers are clearly short-staffed because of the Governor’s supplemental employment benefits. Desperate farms are trying to harvest their crop with skeleton crews and are offering high wages and even free housing. But time is running out and too many in the workforce are content to get paid for doing nothing.

Why it matters: Our most famous cash crop is in danger of spoiling under the heat of the sun. Not only would this be a disaster for the farms but all along the supply chain as well: from distributors and chile product manufacturers to restaurants and tourists.

The big picture: New Mexico’s economy has been one of hardest hit by the lockdown in the country. Considering our economy was one of the weakest even prior, welfare state policies are wreaking havoc on a potential recovery and long-term job prospects.

3. Unions and government team-up to prevent transparency

Santa fe

Details: This month the New Mexico Court of Appeals could decide if a lawsuit filed in 2019 will move to the next step. The suit follows a 2012 NM Supreme Court decision “that governing bodies can only withhold documents when they explicitly match exceptions spelled out" in the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA.)

Who’s involved: The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, and several news outlets have filed an amicus brief, while briefs supporting Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber’s secrecy policy have been filed by the American Federal State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Santa Fe Police Officers Association. 

Why it matters: When government employees abuse their authority, they have an incentive to keep it secret. Some government entities will scramble for shade when the light is thrown at them. Transparency is the first step to fighting corruption and holding public officials accountable. Hispanos Unidos will keep you updated on this story.

4. Recent scandals highlight corrupt history


Details: New Mexico is, unfortunately, living up to its reputation as one of the top corrupt states of the union.

  • State Legislator Sheryl Williams Stapleton is under and FBI investigation for funneling about a million dollars through her $78,000 a year job at ABQ Public Schools to corporations connected to her; and a dozen APS employees are on leave while a “parallel investigation to the racketeering, fraud and kickback investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office.”
  • CYFD Cabinet Secretary Brian Blalock gave a no-bid $45,000,000 contract to Binti Inc. a tech company under suspicious circumstances according to a formal complaint. Both Secretary Blalock and Binti Inc. are from the Bay Area of California.
  • Attorney General Hector Balderas has been formally accused of farming out millions of dollars in legal contracts to a top donor, Robles, Rael, & Anaya. Balderas and Marcus Rael Jr., who are lobbying for a major energy merger. Balderas changed his tune on the merger just after a final meeting with Rael Jr., the lobbyist for the energy companies. Now, late in the game, Avangrid and Iberdrola suddenly doubled their economic development contribution and a credit PNM by a total of nearly $30,000,000.
  • Former Governor Bill Richardson is now under fire for running a scheme that funded $100,000 in bribes, which he allegedly used to pay for ‘sexual services and favors’ facilitated by the “Richardson Ring” of loyalist operatives in state government to cover-up the conspiracy. Richardson has also been tied to the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, charges he denies.

Why it matters: New Mexico is currently and has historically been controlled by essentially one-party rule. Any regime over time will grow more and more corrupt. Especially when that regime, the seemingly drunk with power Democratic Party, believes that the ends always justify the means.

5. Left-wing in the West Wing

white house

Details: Building Back Together, a political nonprofit, is running $100,000,000 propaganda campaign to convince voters that policies signed by President Biden justify voting for Democrats in the 2022 midterms. Much of it will be targeting Latino voters with Spanish-language ads.

What they're saying: “I’ve never seen people spend that much money in the off year,” said Chuck Rocha, the far-left political operative and founder of Nuestro PAC.

Notorious Marxist front organizations Latino Victory Project and Mi Familia Vota along with other groups met with President Biden in the White House on Tuesday, pushing for an absurd federal minimum wage increase to $15 an hour and other destructive policies. “This is an administration we can work with,” they boasted.

The big picture: The reason for the extra money the Left is throwing at Latino voters is fear. Latinos voted Republican in 2020 in a greater number than expected. They took that voting bloc for granted over the decades. They now hope to woo them back. But Daniel Garza, president of the non-partisan LIBRE Initiative, doubts it will work. “Latinos want what the Democrats can’t give us” What we want, Garza pointed out, are safe neighborhoods and more job opportunities.