Another land grab underway in Southern New Mexico

Suddenly, with a slick website ready to go, a group led by Democrat Congressman Gabe Vasquez and left-wing State Senator Carrie Hamblen announced plans this week to create a 245,000-acre national monument. The proposed monument would encompass the Florida Mountains near Deming, Cooke’s Range and Good Sight Mountains to the city’s north and the peaks known as the Tres Hermanas (Three Sisters) near the village of Columbus.

Monuments are a highly restrictive land designations. Sadly, they have been embraced by presidents who can and have declared them without congressional approval. President Obama did this with the Organ Peaks Monument in 2014. 

We know that Biden’s Administration has been well to the left of even Obama’s. Will he act in the last year or so of his term (unless re-elected?). It would be in character, but presidents often declare their biggest land grabs on their way out the door. Only time will tell. In the meantime it is incumbent on concerned New Mexicans to push back.

To that end, the Rio Grande Foundation is hosting a luncheon with nationally recognized land and environment expert Gabriela Hoffman.

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Albuquerque’s crisis of democracy

When the Rio Grande Foundation spoke out against the actions of the Environmental Improvement Board recently, we were always careful to express our opposition to the process itself. Unelected boards should simply not be in the business of making major policy decisions in a democratic republic system of government.

Fast forward to this week when City Council in Albuquerque over-road Mayor Keller’s veto of what we believe were some necessary reforms to that Board put forth by Councilor Dan Lewis.

Now, as the Albuquerque Journal editorialized this morning (Thursday), the Board has refused to obey Council and has exhibited “appalling insubordination.” Sadly, Mayor Keller not only directly rebuffed the Journal’s call for him to exert leadership in this situation has instead made the following tweet which is both breathtaking in its lack of judgement and shocking in its ignorance about they WAY city government works.  It might be time to dust off that “weak mayor” concept once again at least if Keller has designs on a third term.

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Tipping Point NM episode 563: Jon Decker of Viante Foundation talking transparency in NM’s AG’s office

On this week’s interview Paul talks to Jon Decker of Viante Foundation. Jon is President of the organization and local entrepreneur Dale Armstrong is the Founder. Viante was founded in 2017 to promote better schools, safer neighborhoods, and more economic opportunity in the state of New Mexico.

Paul and Jon discuss Viante itself and its goals as well as former Attorney General Hector Balderas’ efforts to hide certain contracts with third party attorneys from the public and issues related to transparency and the previous/current AG.

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New Mexico education spending growing (again), but for little benefit

The Albuquerque Journal just reported that the Public Education Department is set to request $5.1 billion in the upcoming session. Since FY 2020 PED’s budget has already risen by 30% to educate fewer students.

If the Department’s request is approved this session that will be a mind-blowing 58% increase over 5 years. In the meantime, the LFC (the Legislature’s own internal think tank) itself has acknowledged that more spending at PED has not resulted in better outcomes.

America's public schools are losing students

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School closures public and private and New Mexico’s aging population

The closure of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Albuquerque is nothing short of a tragedy. Both the reasons for the closure AND the closure itself SHOULD have all New Mexicans concerned about our State.

For starters, it is by no means the only New Mexico school seeing an enrollment decline. The precipitous drop in enrollment at Albuquerque Public Schools is well-documented.  And, while recent reports note the rising popularity of home schooling nationally, New Mexico was hardly a leader in that area.

The truth is that while birth rates have plummeted nationwide, New Mexico is ALSO seeing an exodus of young people and families.

Of course, closure of a Catholic school is ALSO a tragedy because Catholic schools are potentially a solution for what ails New Mexico’s education system which is ranked dead last in study after study on the topic. On the other hand, if Catholic schools were a state, they would be the highest performing state in the country. 

Sadly, year after year school choice proposals are brought before our Legislature that would make Catholic schools a more realistic option for thousands of New Mexico families, yet nothing is done.

Finally, while no one would confuse the Catholic schools with a for-profit enterprise, the fact that unlike APS which continues to lose students but refuses to close schools, the Catholic Schools operate under actual budgetary constraints. They can’t rely on more money from Santa Fe every year.

The Nation's Report Card Shows Catholic Schools Excelling Post-Pandemic

New Mexico population growth falls well below region, nation | Las Cruces  Bulletin

Exempting Social Security Income from Taxation: Not Targeted, Not  Necessary, Not Cheap – New Mexico Voices for Children

A Smaller, Wealthier Mexico Is on the Horizon

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Tipping Point NM episode 562: MLG in Dubai for Climate, Rooftop Solar, Freedom in NM report, FL vs. CA, & more

MLG flew to Dubai recently for the latest UN climate conference. 

Paul recently appeared on Mark/Krysty Ronchetti’s “No Doubt About it”podcast. He discussed NM’s new EV mandate;

More than 3,800 car dealerships to Biden: tap brakes on EV mandates. You can read their letter here and an article about it here. 

PNM says 23% of customers will have rooftop solar by 2040. On one hand this is more realistic than MLG’s vehicle mandate, on the other it is driven by huge subsidies.

RGF is holding its final luncheon of 2023 with Gabriella Hoffman discussing the government’s quiet land grab.

New Mexico fails in economic freedom, performs well in personal freedom in Cato report.

There was a debate recently between CA Gov. Newsom and FL Gov. DeSantis. When it comes to their economies, there is no comparison (but MLG is following the California model).

The ABQ Journal recently had two stories that highlight trades vs. academia that highlight interesting issues.

 On one hand this is sad for our community (and highlights serious demographic issues), but on the other it highlights the gulf between public and private schools.

Funnily enough, if you watch the video on Youtube, the folks over there feel the need to provide a bit of extra information on the topic. That’s why we are proud to be a part of the Free Speech Alliance which is working to protect free speech online.

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RGF takes on EV mandates on “The Overton Window” podcast

The concept of the Overton Window has taken off in recent years. According to Wikipedia: The Overton window is an approach to identifying the ideas that define the spectrum of acceptability of governmental policies. It says politicians can act only within the acceptable range. Shifting the Overton window involves proponents of policies outside the window persuading the public to expand the window.

Sadly, New Mexico Gov. MLG was able to “shift” the Overton Window by simply ignoring the Legislature and passing her policy through an unelected board.

RGF’s president recently sat down with James Hohman of the Michigan-based Mackinac Center (where the Overton Window originated) to discuss the RGF’s work against MLG’s EV mandates. You can listen to the show here.

Explainer: What Is The Overton Window? - Texans For Fiscal Responsibility

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MLG’s next attempt to force EV’s (or at least the costs of them) on you

Fresh off her “victory” in pushing EV’s on New Mexicans through an unelected board, New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham is pushing yet another regulation to push EV’s on an unwilling public. Next up is her push to force EV charging stations and equipment on those who build apartment buildings and other  commercial real estate.

The “good” news is that while news reports initially reported a 20% mandate, the “final” proposal limits ACTUAL EV spaces required to 5% with up to another 15% being so-called “EV capable.” You can read the following regulation here. 

An EV charging station can range from $1,200 to $6,000 for a level two charger and a level three station can cost $30,000 to $80,000 or more.

The estimated cost for EV charging infrastructure, including the raceway, panel capacity, and dedicated circuit, is $1,650 per parking space for new commercial buildings. (that is a vast increase in the cost per parking space just to make them “EV capable”).

An in-person hearing shall be held on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, at the Regulation and Licensing Department located at 5500 San Antonio Drive NE, Albuquerque, NM, Sandia Conference room, starting at 9:30 a.m.

You may send written comments to: Construction Industries Division, – Regulation and Licensing Department, 5500 San Antonio Drive NE, Suite F, Albuquerque, NM 87109, Attention: Public Comments. Written comments
may also be faxed to (505) 765-5670 or submitted to Quindi Otero-Robertson at her email address: All written comments must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., on Tuesday, January 2, 2024.

EV Readiness - Why We Need It Now - SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean  EnergySACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

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RGF president weighs in to support override of Mayor’s veto on ABQ Air Board

Update, last night City Council DID override Keller’s veto of needed reforms to the local “clean air board.”

At tonight’s City of Albuquerque Council meeting a vote will be held on whether to override Mayor Keller’s veto of needed reforms put forth by Councilor Dan Lewis of the local Air Quality Board. RGF president Paul Gessing sent the following note to the Council (use the link, it took 5 minutes).

Lewis’s efforts gained a majority of City Council’s support, but was vetoed by the Mayor which requires 6 votes to override. Gessing’s note to Council is below. You can read about Lewis’s effort here. 

I urge you to override Mayor Keller’s vetoes of: R-23-176 and O-23-88. It is time for the Air Board to be accountable and experts in their field. Their actions should also be transparent to public scrutiny.

Allowing appointed boards to make important and controversial policy decisions about key environmental and economic policy issues is not “democratic.” It is also not sound government. I urge you to override Keller’s veto.

Dozens weigh in on air quality board changes during city council meeting -

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PNM “23% of customers will have rooftop solar by 2040” of course via massive subsidies

New Mexico’s largest utility, PNM, recently announced that it expects 25% of its customers to have rooftop solar by 2040.  That may be the case and we’ll all find out together in 16 years. It is interesting to note as the article does that about 8% of the utility’s customers currently have solar panels.

So, in 16 years PNM plans to go from 8% to 23% of homes having solar panels. That seems reasonable at least when compared with Gov. Lujan Grisham’s plan to force New Mexicans to go from 3% of new vehicles being EV’s to 43% in less than three years!

Of course, PNM’s plans (which are ultimately driven by the Energy Transition Act and Biden policies) rely heavily on subsidies. Here’s what those installing solar panels receive thanks to federal and state taxpayers:

  1. 30% federal tax credit meaning that federal taxpayers pick up 30% of the cost of the panels;
  2.  10% New Mexico credit (which works the same way except for New Mexicans only) up to $6,000;
  3. No gross receipts tax is charged on solar panels or their installation;
  4. The value of the solar panels is not added to the home’s value.

These are just a few of the biggest solar subsidies. 40% of your system cost being paid by the taxpayers and no taxes. What a country!

NM Solar Group closes, laying off entire workforce and leaving some buyers  hanging | Business |

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