"Keep Our Forest Open" Rally Draws Over 700

Congressman Pearce Addresses Audience in Silver City
Silver City, NM (March 5, 2011) Today, an estimated 750 New Mexicans rallied at the Grant County Business and Convention Center in Silver City, New Mexico to oppose the Forest Service’s proposal to close roads in the Gila National Forest. The rally was organized by the Reverend Mike Skidmore of Truth or Consequences, who has established an organization called “Keep Our Forest Open” to oppose the closures. Skidmore said he has taken his children, grandchildren, and members of his congregation into the Gila for years, and is upset that the Forest Service plan could jeopardize his ability to do so in the future.
Congressman Steve Pearce has heard an outcry from New Mexicans in opposition to the proposed closings, and said he wanted to lend his support to the effort to make sure that his constituents’ voices are being heard. "I'm here today for all of those who have spoken out before, but haven't been listened to. I'm here for all the elderly, the disabled, the families...all those who would lose access to their favorite places to spend time with loved ones.
I'm here today for all the forgotten men and women who go to work, and pay their taxes, and quietly go about their lives. And the reverberations from all the hundreds of you here today will be heard all the way to Washington." Pearce emphasized the importance of conservation and of preserving the state’s treasures. He also argued that enjoyment of those treasures is a freedom that must be preserved for everyone. The Forest Service’s public comment period for the issue ends Monday. New Mexicans are strongly encouraged to voice their concerns before the deadline.


Judge: Bernalillo County and Ex-Sheriff to Pay $3M

From therepublic.com- A New Mexico judge has ordered that Bernalillo County and its former sheriff pay more than $3 million in damages to people whose cash was seized by law enforcement officers.  The Albuquerque Journal says the cash was taken from hundreds of people during traffic stops, often along Interstate 40. In almost all the cases, the criminal cases were never filed and the money languished in an "evidence" account even when it wasn't used as evidence.  Second Judicial District Judge Nan Nash issued the ruling late Friday in the second part of deciding a 2006 class action lawsuit. There were about 500 plaintiffs in the suit that covered the period from November 2004 to September 2009. Former Sheriff Darren White says he'll talk with county attorneys about appealing the judge's decision.

Courage and Vote Counting Math in Santa Fe

In the last few days New Mexico witnessed an amazing series of political events in Santa Fe. The background is straightforward. Polls have been fairly consistent. They show that 75-80% of the citizens of New Mexico do NOT support the idea of issuing state driver's licenses to people who have entered the country illegally.
Unfortunately for the law abiding governed, during the 2011 legislative session the invisible iron fist of House Speaker Ben Lujan has once again been at work. Often in order to thwart the will of the people, Lujan will stack certain committees for the purpose of being able to assign bills he personally opposes to those committees. Any bill Ben Lujan opposes gets killed as a matter of routine in his pet committees. And accordingly, all efforts to halt the mindless practice of issuing legitimate driver’s licenses to people here illegally have died under Lujan’s committee stacking scheme.
Dona Irwin
Let’s fast forward to Wednesday March 2nd. On this day Speaker Lujan is caught red-handed on video in direct violation of basic House rules when he illegally adjourned a session of the full house. On Thursday the tide began to turn when it became somewhat more apparent that the groundswell of outraged citizens was starting to take effect on their leaders.
Sandra Jeff
In the end respect for the rules rested in the hands of two brave Representatives, Sandra Jeff and Dona Irwin. These women joined the House’s lone Independent, Andy Nunez, in defying the speaker’s dictatorship. It was the votes cast by Sandra Jeff and Dona Irwin that unclenched the iron fist of Speaker Ben Lujan and brought a fundamental issue to the House floor for a full vote. The final margin was 36-34.
Legislative math is always an interesting exercise, especially in trying to figure out which officials mean what they say and say what they mean. And the legislative math on the driver’s license issue quickly draws into question the so-called issue stands of the following house members:
Ray Begaye, Joseph Cervantes, Rhonda King, Patricia Lundstrom, Al Park, and Debbie Rodella. These aforementioned House members first voted on Thursday to NOT allow the driver’s license issue to come to the House floor for a vote. Essentially with this vote, these members were voting to allow Ben Lujan’s dubious committee dominating actions to stand. However, on Friday, a day after the game changing votes of Sandra Jeff and Dona Irwin were cast, the House members listed above reversed themselves and voted with Jeff and Irwin and bill sponsor Andy Nunez. We look forward to having these late stage 180 degree flips explained.  
Tim Jennings
Now the attention of House Bill 78 turns to the Senate. What will elected officials in that body do? Will respect for both the letter and the spirit of federal immigration laws matter? Will the Senate play games and allow the state to continue to provide legitimizing credentials to people who do not obey the nation’s immigration laws? We are watching. And of course, if committee meetings were webcast and archived it would be much easier to monitor the processes by which all law abiding citizens of New Mexico are governed by the ruling elite.


WI Tea Party Plans to Clean Up After Union Protesters

From gatewaypundit.com -Wisconsin tea party members are planning a “It’s Time to Take out the Trash Day” at the Wisconsin State Capitol to clean up after the smelly slobs who defaced the capitol building during their two weeks of protesting and sleepovers. Wisconsin officials say the cleanup after the protests will cost the state tens of thousands of dollars.  It’s not about partisanship or protests, but pride.  It is time to take out the trash… literally. In true Flash Mob fashion, on Sunday at exactly 1300 hours (1:00 pm for you non-military types) we will do an extensive police call (pick up the trash) around the capitol square.  More News New Mexico

Rep. Jeff Accuses Lujan's Chief of Staff of Verbal Abuse

Rep. Sandra Jeff
From capitolreportnewmexico.com - State Rep. Sandra Jeff (D-Crownpoint) accused the chief of staff of Speaker of the House Ben Luján (D-Nambé) of verbally abusing her after she cast a controversial vote Thursday (March 3). On the floor of the House Thursday, Jeff said that Regis Pecos of Speaker Luján’s staff yelled at her immediately after Jeff cast what turned out to be the deciding vote in a measure that kept House Bill 78 — which is aimed at rescinding the state’s policy that enables illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses — alive. HB78 eventually passed the House floor on Friday, when Jeff repeated her version of the encounter and demanded an apology. I spoke to Pecos late Friday night and asked him if he had sworn at Jeff. “No, I would never do that to any member of the House,” Pecos said. Pecos — who said he did not want to be interviewed on camera — said he merely asked Jeff whether she would vote with the Democratic caucus on the procedural matter concering HB78.  But Jeff tells a different story... More News New Mexico

Nunez Leads the House Follows

Andy Nunez
Andy Nunez is a one man caucus. Yet Santa Fe is not exactly a place where Independents have ever had any traction. In fact, so entrenched are Democrat and Republican party interests there, the laws in the state characterize Independents with a dismissive "Decline to State" party label. The good news for New Mexicans is Andy Nunez is not just any Independent. Yesterday he became a modern day political "David" who used his experience and his ability to overcome Ben Lujan and lead the New Mexico House of Representatives. It seems that at least on this issue our state government will finally respect the rule of law. Governor Susana Martinez issued a statement last night after the House of Representatives passed a bill that would overturn New Mexico’s widely unpopular policy of issuing driver’s licenses to people who have entered the country illegally.
Governor Martinez
“Today, the will of the people of New Mexico was heard in the House of Representatives,” said Governor Martinez. “Despite numerous procedural schemes to defend the status quo, a broad coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and the House’s lone Independent came together to stand with an overwhelming majority of New Mexicans who want to see the dangerous practice of issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants overturned. I hope the Senate will also listen to the people of New Mexico and give this bill an up-or-down vote.” Despite efforts by House Speaker to kill the legislation in committees once Nunez found a way to get the bill to the floor it passed by a vote of 42-28. You can see the list of the Yes votes for the Nunez bill and the No votes against the Nunez bill here: News New Mexico