Whistleblower puts MLG on blast

In this week's Intelligencer, a Spaceport whistleblower puts MLG on blast, rejection of the "Latinx" term, ABQ's record breaking murders, tech policy issues for 2022, plus we give you some of our top recommended reads.

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 Michelle Lujan Grisham, you are a crook.” – Zach De Gregorio, C.P.A.

Bombshell?: In a video released Monday former Chief Financial Officer of Spaceport America, Zach De Gregorio, announced he’s suing Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the State of New Mexico. De Gregorio claims MLG and the gang violated the NM Whistleblower Protection Act, as well as “malfeasance” by State Auditor Colon.

The Dirt: In the 261 page suit, De Gregorio names twenty one “individuals who participated in a conspiracy, leaders at the highest levels of state government including Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham," Attorney General Hector Balderas, NM State Auditor Brian Colon, Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia Keyes and current managers at Spaceport America. He alleges evidence of “extortion, bribery, illegal drug use, sex discrimination, procurement fraud, securities fraud, and violations of multiple federal laws”. He also claims they committed over $200 million in fraud by issuing bonds under false pretenses with fraudulent information.

The Implications: With Grisham, Balderas, and Colon all up for re-election this case could have a major impact in November – but only if it gains traction. As the media has protected the Governor throughout her first term, it is very possible that this story will get swept under the rug. Her allies are well aware of her growing vulnerability: Lujan Grisham was recently featured in The Hill as the sixth most vulnerable Democrat incumbent governor in the country.

 

2. Hispanic leaders call for an end to the left-wing “Latinx” label

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Details: Political activists and academia teamed up over a decade ago to push a gender-neutral term to identify people of Spanish-speaking origin. But its failure to catch on as shown by recent surveys prompted the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to denounce “Latinx.”

What they’re saying: “The reality is, there is very little to no support for its use, and it's sort of seen as something used inside the Beltway or in Ivy League tower settings,” said LULAC President Domingo García. The Miami Herald Editorial Board wrote, “'Latinx' has failed to gain buy-in from the people it’s supposed to empower. It’s time to retire it from official use.”

Meanwhile: The local leftists who push “Latinx” are silent on House Speaker Brian Egolf’s last-minute dissolution of the Local Government, Land Grants & Cultural Affairs Committee, which took Hispanics years of grassroots work to establish. Former State House Rep Joseph Sanchez blasted Egolf, “I’m deeply disappointed and disheartened that California-style progressives in New Mexico want to erase the history and…progressives have erased one of the only venues…thinking they know better than the generations of families who live on and work the land.”

3. “You see the numbers rise and you don't think it's ever going to be someone you love.” – Jen Struck, family of Albuquerque’s 114th homicide victim in 2021

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Details: A horrific statistic looms over the people of Albuquerque: the most homicides ever recorded, breaking the 2019 record of 80 murders.

Why it matters: “Some people are joking about [the record number of murders] on Facebook, they don't understand how hard it is. It's just a number to them. Not to us,” said Struck. “I don't want to live in a violent city anymore,” Struck said. “You're scared to go anywhere. Scared to go to the gas station. I don't take my grandkids anywhere.”

The big picture: Nonetheless, the mayor who has been in charge for the last four years was just reelected by Albuquerque voters this past November. Repeating the same mistakes over and over again isn’t just insane. It’s tragic.

4. Tech policy issues that will dominate 2022

Details: 2020 saw a global push for government-imposed crackdowns that are threatening a new era of tech-enabled censorship. Protocol takes a look at the top policy issues to watch — both in the U.S. and abroad — in the coming year:

The global competition crackdown

"When it comes to antitrust enforcement, tech companies are getting hit from all angles: a trend that is certain to continue throughout the new year."

US broadband implementation

"A longtime staple of tech industry wishlists, the digital divide might actually begin to close in earnest this year thanks to the $65 billion in broadband funding set aside in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. That includes $42.45 billion for states to build out new broadband networks, as well as $14.2 billion in monthly discounts for low-income Americans, $2.75 billion for digital literacy programs and $2 billion for rural broadband construction."

The race against China

"The Senate scored a major bipartisan victory in 2021 with the passage of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which included more than $200 billion in funding for science and tech research, chip manufacturing and more....There are also ongoing efforts inside the White House to form a global front to stand up to authoritarian uses of the internet by countries like China."

Post-Privacy Shield deal-making

"The U.S. and EU are still trying to come to an agreement on transcontinental data transfers in the wake of 2020’s monumental Schrems II decision. That ruling invalidated the Privacy Shield framework, which had enabled companies to transfer data between the U.S. and EU for years. Ever since, all U.S. companies that handle European data — but particularly tech companies that handle a whole lot of it — have been hanging in the balance."

The ‘AI Bill of Rights’

"In 2021, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced it intended to draft what it’s calling an AI Bill of Rights to “clarify the rights and freedoms we expect data-driven technologies to respect.” To do that, the office put out a request for information on how biometric data is being used. The office plans to use that information to develop this bill of rights over the course of 2022."

State privacy laws come into focus

"This is usually the part of the year-end roundup where we tell you that this, yes this, is the year for a federal privacy law. But honestly? We’ve been wrong about that before, so at the risk of repeating history, we’ll focus on where the action really is: the states....In 2022, California’s newly created privacy agency will have to promulgate rules and regulations related to the California Privacy Rights Act, the successor to the California Consumer Privacy Act, which passed in 2018. The new CPRA law gives widespread power to this agency to define regulations around concepts like 'automated decision-making' and 'cybersecurity.'"

5. Other recommended reads