Sunland Park Mayor Arrested Again

Daniel Salinas
From -Mayor-elect Daniel Salinas turned himself in around midnight for bribery charges connected to the city election. KFOX14 was in the courtroom for his second court appearance since last month.  Salinas stood before a district judge again Tuesday -- and again maintained his innocence. His defense attorney, Joshua Spencer, tried to get him released from custody altogether. The judge said she still considers him a threat to the community, but she did, however, reduce his bond amount.  Salinas turned himself into police after an arrest warrant went out for him for bribery charges.  Salinas -- along with the city's acting police chief Luis Monarez -- are accused of bribing Monarez's sister Veronica to drop out of city councilor race. Police said Veronica Monarez was considering running against Jessica Avila for district six -- and Salinas gave Luis Monarez his position in the police department to persuade his sister not to run.  Spencer told KFOX14 there's no evidence to implicate Salinas. "Mr. Salinas is clearly distraught," Spencer said. "It's draining for him emotionally for his family and for himself and he's upset, naturally upset."  KFOX14 reporter Samantha Manning Veronica Monarez by phone but she didn't say very much. She wouldn't comment about the bribery allegations and wouldn't say whether she knew about it. 

Sanchez Response to Simonich Column

John Sanchez
SANTA FE – Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez has issued the following response to a story published by Milan Simonich concerning remarks made at the Republican Pre-Primary Convention on March 17, 2012: “In response to questions regarding my remarks made at last Saturday's Republican Pre-Primary Nominating Convention, I want to be perfectly clear. I turned eighteen on January 11, 1981. The first time that I was able to cast a ballot for President was in 1984 and I proudly cast that vote for Ronald Reagan. On Saturday, I stated that ‘My very first vote when I turned eighteen years old was for a man called Ronald Reagan.’ I was referring to the first time that I was able to cast a ballot for President after turning eighteen years old.”


Pearce: The Path to Prosperity

Washington, DC (March 20, 2012) Today, Congressman Steve Pearce issued the following statement after the release of “The Path to Prosperity,” the Fiscal Year 2013 budget introduced by House Republicans:
“Turning a blind eye to the reckless spending habits of Washington will only result in greater economic crisis,” said Pearce. “Although the Senate has not even presented a budget in over 1,000 days, the President has—one that actually calls for more spending. As a result, we in the House of Representatives have proposed a budget that will actively combat issues like out of control spending and increases to the deficit.
The Path to Prosperity takes on these issues by cutting government spending and working to ensure economic security. Importantly, our budget plan also promotes domestic energy production, which will lower gas prices and create jobs.”
“Budget cuts alone are not enough to fix our economy,” Pearce continued. “Instead, we must couple significant budget cuts with small business growth and job creation. Our budget creates opportunity for this type of economic growth through tax code reforms that will make America more competitive and help put money back in the pockets of hardworking Americans. This is a genuine step in the direction of more effective and efficient government.”


Cruces Dust Ordinance Will Cost a Fortune

Las Cruces City Hall
The naive Las Cruces City Council may well be poised to pour gas on a burning economic fire. With the city on the verge of recession and recent data suggesting the city budget is facing declining revenues due to the faltering construction industry, councilors seem poised to mete out more punishment to those suffering the most.
For several years the city council in New Mexico's second largest city has been dominated by progressive anti-business types. These days they are eyeing new fees, costly ordinances, and onerous rules and regulations that will further damage a construction industry that is experiencing 65% unemployment rates. A case in point is an effort to pass a local “Dust Ordinance.” This proposal will cause the city itself to bear huge costs to stay in compliance on its city-owned vacant and disturbed land.
It seems that professional engineer’s explanations of why this area is dusty are continuously ignored. As yet another wave of codes and rules looms it seems likely that Las Cruces is sure to begin wasting water and money on dust that has been in the Mesilla Valley for two hundred million years. Las Cruces residents are about to get another reminder of why elections matter and eco-dreamers are in reality uninformed job killers.


10,000 Acres for Endangered Frog in NM and AZ

From - Once found in over 400 aquatic sites across the Southwest, the water-breeding Chiricahua leopard frog is today found in fewer than 80. In a move that conservationists hope will help reverse its decline, the federal government is designating 10,386 acres of critical habitat for the rare spotted frog found. The acreage in west-central and southwestern New Mexico, and central and southeastern Arizona have water sources that the Chiricahua leopard frog needs to rebound. The designation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prohibits federal agencies from authorizing activities that could harm the frog's breeding habitats.   "Protecting the ponds and waterways where the Chiricahua leopard frog lives will give it an important leg up on survival," Michael Robinson, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, told ENews Park Forest.  The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit against the Service in 1999 and in 2001 for delaying Endangered Species Act protection for the frog, which received court-ordered protection in 2002, but for which no critical habitat had been proposed. Monday's ruling by the Agency was in compliance with a court order. Chiricahua leopard frog reach a size of 2 to 5 inches as adults. They live in streams, springs and livestock watering tanks and are known for making a sound that resembles a snore.

Big Quake Shakes Mexico City

From -A strong, long earthquake with an epicenter in Guerrero state shook central southern Mexico today, swaying buildings in Mexico City and sending frightened workers and residents into the streets.  The U.S. Geological Survey initially set the intensity at 7.9 and said the epicenter was 11 miles underground. Mexico's National Seismological Survey said the temblor had an epicenter southwest of Ometepec.  Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard's Twitter account said the water system and other "strategic services" were not experiencing problems.  

Story Scrub Was Requested by White House

Politico - The White House is now confirming that it asked media organizations to pull a report about Malia Obama's school trip. "From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not with their parents and there is no vital news interest," Kristina Schake, Communications Director to the First Lady, told me via email. "We have reminded outlets of this request in order to protect the privacy and security of these girls."
On Monday, the AFP reported that Obama's daughter was on a school trip along with a number of friends and 25 Secret Service agents. The story was picked up by Yahoo, the Huffington Post, and the International Business Times, as well as UK publications like the Daily Mail and the Telegraph and other overseas publications like The Australian. But on Monday night, the story had been removed from those sites. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Finding Creativity in Scoffing at Voter Fraud

Joey Peters
The wonders of the Internet and the impact of the widespread availability of electronic recording devices never ceases to amaze. This morning on the News New Mexico radio show we had a discussion regarding a column written by reporter Milan Simonich on the John Sanchez speech at the GOP pre-primary convention. Simonich reported that Sanchez, "Spoke of the pride he felt as an 18-year-old when he voted for Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential election." Well, that is pretty close, but not quite exactly what Sanchez said.
A recording we obtained through the courtesy of Joey Peters of the Santa Fe Reporter reveals that Sanchez actually said, "My very first vote when I turned 18 years old was for a man called Ronald Reagan."
Sanchez did not specify that it was the election of 1980 (instead of 1984 when he actually cast his vote for Reagan) nor did he say he was actually 21 when he voted for Reagan. No doubt it was his first presidential vote, and no doubt Sanchez was 21 and not 18 when he cast it. In effect the Lt. Governor got the recipient of his vote correct, but the age when he cast his vote wrong. He batted .500 on that line of his speech. This afternoon according to the Sanchez team's response to our inquiry, Simonich never called them for a simple clairification of which Reagan election the Lt. Governor actually voted in.
Instead, pouncing on this seemingly nebulous slip of the tongue, Simonich loaded up the column and offered several "theories" on the Sanchez bobble. One, Sanchez is older than he says he is. Two, he embellished to inspire the audience, or three, he voted illegally. Simonich admitted it would take a stretch of the imagination, even for conspiracy theorists to think Sanchez voted illegally in 1980. It was all rather strange. After thinking about the Simonich column today, we wondered out loud, what's the big deal? Then we re-read the column again.
Near the end of the Simonich column we actually found the actual target behind his noting of the Sanchez bobble. He wrote: "New Mexico's least effective sleuth, Secretary of State Dianna Duran, publicly said last year that she had evidence of more than 100 people voting unlawfully. Sanchez was not among Duran's suspects, but his own testimony leaves him open to her next great investigation into voter fraud."
With this line we realize the Simonich swipe at Dianna Duran was pretty cleverly orchestrated. The Sanchez date bobble created a tremendous opening to scoff at the idea that voter fraud occurs in New Mexico. Well maybe.
We would direct Simonich's attention to the "next great investigation into voter fraud." It is actually already well underway in Sunland Park where there have been widespread reports of blatant voter fraud for years. In the recent municipal election voter fraud became a side show, as it seems clear people who will steal and cheat and extort will also commit voter fraud.  The voter fraud story in Sunland Park is actually much easier to cover than having to sit through a boring pre-primary convention in search of a zinger that could then be tied back to Dianna Duran for having the temerity to advocate for a photo voter ID law.


Dan Lewis Drops Out of CD # 1 Race

Janice Arnold-Jones
The news just keeps getting better and better for former N.M. State Representative Janice Arnold-Jones. This morning in a news conference, Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis announced his withdrawal from the Republican primary race for New Mexico Congressional District #1.
Fresh off a weekend when she outpolled Lewis nearly 2-1 for CD # 1 Republican delegates, Lewis was apparently convinced it was in the best interest of his party to step aside. 
Dan Lewis
Arnold-Jones still faces opposition from Gary Smith. However, Smith garnered only a tiny fraction of the delegate count at the GOP pre-primary convention and will now have to file petitions with signatures to appear on the June primary ballot.
Janice Arnold-Jones will appear on News New Mexico at 7:00am Wednesday morning to discuss her latest round of success.


Convention Attendees Claim Simonich Column a Thinly Disguised Hatchet Job on John Sanchez

Milan Simonich
Normally reporters are not newsmakers. But Milan Simonich, a reporter who works for the Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Partnership is suddenly under scrutiny for a controversial column he wrote on Sunday just after the New Mexico Republican's pre-primary convention. Simonich reported that N.M. Lt. Governor John Sanchez specified "1980" as the year he cast his first vote for Ronald Reagan during his speech to convention delegates. Reagan, a two term president was elected in 1980 which turns out to be before Sanchez was eligible to vote. Reagan was re-elected in 1984 after Sanchez was eligible to vote. In the column Simonich went on to deliver a rather scathing rebuke of the Lieutenant Governor for either voting illegally in 1980 or misleading the GOP delegates for effect. Not surprisingly, most media outlets around the state picked up the Simonich story and ran it as if it were fact.
John Sanchez
News New Mexico has been contacted by witnesses at the convention who have a different recollection of precisely what the Lt. Governor said. Aaron Henry Diaz who often co-hosts the News New Mexico radio show was also in attendance. Diaz says he did not recall Sanchez specifiying a year in his statement. It his recollection that Sanchez simply said the first vote he ever cast in a presidential election was for Ronald Reagan. This morning we sent out an email to the Sanchez camp to see if Simonich sought clarification. We are still waiting for a response.
In the meantime, just after we went off the air this morning, we received an email from Charles Galt another News New Mexico listener who was also in attendance at the convention during the Sanchez speech. Here is what Galt said:
"I was at the convention and listened to John Sanchez speak. He did not state when he voted, just that his first vote for President of the United States was for Ronald Reagan. This story and the story he wrote in the Las Cruces Sun News on page 1 section C on Sunday March 18, included a paragraph on what Heather Wilson did not say at the convention speech. This "reporter" is writing misleading, slanted news a la NY Times and Pravda, he is not reporting what was said and observed but weaving editorial comment into a matrix of seemingly accurate and witnessed words/deeds. This is a tactic that is showing up more and more in local news media like the Sun News and needs to fleshed out for what it is, left wing to Democratic Party screed. Is there not enough news to report of what actually occurred than having so-called journalists injecting and spinning their own ideas and ideology into what their editors pretend is, and print as, nothing but the news?"
After the Galt e-mail we spoke to Capitol Report New Mexico's Rob Nikolewski who was also in attendance at the convention. Nikolewski said he did not recall Sanchez specifying which year he cast the vote, but also said he did not find it significant enough that Sanchez mentioned the vote for Reagan to even write it down in his notes. More to follow as we follow up on the Simonich story.


Obama Administration's Crusade Against Voter ID Laws

Alexis Garcia
From -From the same machine that brought you Sandra Fluke and the contraception controversy, comes the next manufactured injustice involving the Department of Justice, Texas voter ID laws and vulnerable Hispanic voters.  On Monday, the Justice Department announced that it was blocking Texas’ new voter identification measure – claiming that the law was discriminatory under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  Yes, Attorney General Eric Holder and the ideologues at the DOJ think its wrong for states like Texas to ask you to prove your identity to vote – but don’t object to the fact that you need a photo ID to get in to the actual Department of Justice building. As the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky observes: "To exercise your First Amendment right to ‘petition the Government for redress of grievances’ by talking to anyone at the Justice Department, you have to present a government-issued photo ID if you want to get into their headquarters in Washington. How discriminatory!"  Holder claims that the Texas law goes against the "arc of history," but he has yet to build a convincing case that state voter ID laws actually disenfranchise Hispanic voters.  More News New Mexico

NM Scores a "D" in Corruptibility-Transparency

KOAT TV - According to a recent government study, New Mexico got a D- in corruptibility and government transparency. The study said it looks at scandals, prevention laws and transparency -- all areas that New Mexico needs to work on.
Sunland Park has become ground zero for "scandal-ridden" New Mexico, and analysts said the town's problems are indicative of a bigger culture of corruption.
The state said it is considering essentially taking over the town's finances in the wake of public contract and election scandals, including one where a mayoral candidate was allegedly blackmailed with a video.
Gweynth Doland, who helps run the New Mexico Fund for Open Government, said the state government has some strong points -- it has good inspection trends and a good public meetings act, for instance.
But Doland said when it actually comes to full-blown transparency, like the Sunshine Portal, there were poor marks that contributed to the state coming in at 39 out of 50 on the nationwide scale. Doland says the site can be confusing & not user-friendly. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Operating at Loss Railrunner Expands Schedule

NM Business Weekly - The New Mexico Rail Runner Express is adding more trains to its weekend service starting April 7 as it ramps up for the summer tourism season.
Two trains will be added to the northbound and southbound Saturday schedule, and the first train of the day on Saturday and Sunday will arrive in Santa Fe at 10:16 a.m., an hour earlier than the current schedule.
An additional northbound train will leave from Belen on Saturdays at 6:11 p.m., arriving in Santa Fe at 8:33 p.m. An additional southbound train will be added on Saturday leaving Santa Fe at 9 p.m. and ending its run in downtown Albuquerque at 10:32 p.m. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Smart is the new stupid

Marita Noon
With gas prices climbing, so is the popularity of fuel-efficient cars., a site “dedicated to giving you the latest news and the smartest analysis of the shift towards smarter and more efficient modes of transportation,” reports that “with gas prices rising, car manufacturers are starting to see some of their most fuel-efficient cars fly off the shelves.” A call to the Smart Car Center in my area reveals that their sales are currently about double the usual; seven sales by mid-month rather than the usual three to five.
While the Smart Car may get good gas mileage and fit into tight parking places, how “smart” is it really? The April 2012 issue of Consumer Reports is now out and features the best and worst cars of 2012. The Smart Car didn’t make the list, nor did it receive a “recommended” rating in the “Hatchback: fuel-efficient class”—where its overall road test rating is 28 of a possible 100. The April issue’s “Safety” section states: “Even a small car with a good crash-test rating will bear the brunt of a crash with a larger sedan, SUV or pick up.” The issue also states that “motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people 5-34 years old and that they amount to more than $99 billion a year in medical and lost-work costs because of injuries.” Crash tests show the Smart Car is “jarringly stupid.” Video from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that in a crash with a mid-size Mercedes C-Class sedan, “the Smart ForTwo is not only pulverized, with the passenger compartment getting squashed, but it goes airborne like a beach ball.” Just how “smart” is that? Is gas mileage more important that safety? I’d call it “stupid.”
Like burgundy is 2012’s “new black” for fall—serving as a “new neutral hue” that “will soon become the new backbone of your fall wardrobe”—and sixty is the new forty because “people are living longer today, they're healthier, and they're enjoying life more,” “smart” is the new “stupid.” Read rest of column here: News New Mexico


Prime gunwalking suspect was held by ATF but released

From CBS News - The prime suspect in the botched gun trafficking investigation known as "Fast and Furious" -- Manuel Acosta -- was taken into custody and might have been stopped from trafficking weapons to Mexico's killer drug cartel early on. But the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) let him go, according to new documents obtained by CBS News. An ATF "Report of Investigation" obtained by CBS News shows Border Patrol agents stopped Acosta's truck on May 29, 2010. Inspectors said they found illegal materials including an "AK type, high capacity drum magazine loaded with 74 rounds of 7.62 ammunition underneath the spare tire." They also noted ledgers including a "list of firearms such as an AR15 short and a Bushmaster" and a "reference about money given to 'killer.'" The Border Patrol ran a check and found Acosta was already "under investigation for firearms trafficking" in Fast and Furious, so they called in the lead ATF case agent Hope MacAllister. Under questioning, Acosta allegedly described his contacts with a Mexican cartel member nicknamed "Chendi," and admitted going to Chendi's house for a shipment of narcotics.Instead of pursuing charges, Agent MacAllister asked Acosta if he'd be willing to cooperate with federal agents. He agreed and was released. Apparently, the promised cooperation never materialized. The report notes that 17 days after Acosta was let loose, he still had "not initiated any contact with Special Agent MacAllister." Read more

Obama: The Affirmative Action President

Note: this old column (with author comments) is making the rounds again and we think it still has legs, as they say. From the American Thinker - by Matt Patterson -  Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages. How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world's largest economy, direct the world's most powerful military, execute the world's most consequential job? Imagine a future historian examining Obama's pre-presidential life: ushered into and through the Ivy League despite unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a "community organizer"; a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and in fact nearly devoid of his attention, so often did he vote "present"); and finally an unaccomplished single term in United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions. He left no academic legacy in academia, authored no signature legislation as legislator.  And then there is the matter of his troubling associations: the white-hating, America-loathing preacher who for decades served as Obama's "spiritual mentor"; a real-life, actual terrorist who served as Obama's colleague and political sponsor. It is easy to imagine a future historian looking at it all and asking: how on Earth was such a man elected president?  Read more: