Downtown Albuquerque Hyatt currently closed

We at the Rio Grande Foundation try to stay on top of the numerous economic changes and issues taking place around both the Albuquerque metro and the State. Recently, on a walk through downtown Albuquerque, the Foundation’s president noticed that the Hyatt Hotel downtown was closed. No bellhop out front, no one at the reservations desks, no lights on, and the doors are closed. Check here for yourself. 

We also called them and attempted to contact Heritage Hotels which apparently manages the property now.

With downtown Albuquerque struggling mightily STILL post- COVID and post-riots, the future of this hotel is of great interest.

Hyatt Regency Albuquerque Albuquerque, New Mexico, US -

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Secretary Stewart’s delusional sense of “accomplishment” on COVID 19 in NM schools

We have often disagreed with New Mexico’s “powers that be” regarding their handling of COVID, but this recent opinion piece by Education Secretary Ryan Stewart is particularly shocking.

The gist of the piece involves Stewart celebrating his Department’s “accomplishments” during the era of COVID 19. Whether it means “keeping people safe” or training staff in COVID-safe practices, Stewart’s article is basically one big pat on his own back.

Of course, New Mexico students lost more classroom time than students in all but 5 other states due to policies imposed by Gov. MLG and his Department. He doesn’t even mention educational outcomes or results, partially because the Administration has eliminated most testing.

Remember, according to the “progressive” New Mexico Voices for Children, New Mexico ranked 50th on education BEFORE the pandemic.

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Tipping Point New Mexico episode 310: Gubernatorial Candidate Jay Block

On this week’s interview, Paul sits down with Sandoval County Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Jay Block.

Paul and Jay have worked on a number of pro-freedom issues, notably local “right to work” ordinances that were ultimately adopted in 10 of New Mexico’s 33 counties (including Block’s home County of Sandoval which adopted the ordinance first). Paul queries Jay on a number of other issues relating to his priorities for New Mexico, its economy, and the track record of current Gov. Lujan Grisham.

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Did a judge just unleash a new era of energy prosperity in New Mexico?

This week a federal judge (much to the consternation of radical environmentalists) voided the Biden Administration’s moratorium on oil and gas permitting on federal lands. The news so far in 2021 for New Mexico and the oil and gas industry had been mixed, but this decision, if it holds, could make 2021 a watershed moment for New Mexico’s most important industry.

  • Prices had rebounded to above $70/barrel from below-zero in April of 2020 and with the economy expected to rebound from the artificial COVID shutdown, prices show no signs of coming down;
  • New Mexico’s oil production continued to grow (and revenues jumped by $350 million) despite a reduction in the number of drilling rigs active in the state (from 114 down to 71);
  • The Biden moratorium loomed as the major threat to the Industry, but that threat COULD be receding depending on the Administration’s interest in appealing AND whether Deb Haaland’s agency “slow-rolls” the permitting process on federal lands. This is of course the most notable immediate threat.

So, as long as Gov. Lujan Grisham continues her unstated policy of placating her environmental supporters through the Energy Transition Act and pushing for a “clean fuel standard” while not attacking the Industry directly, New Mexico’s oil and gas industry could be a growth industry both in terms of jobs AND in terms of tax revenues for the State for the foreseeable future.

Advantages and risks for oil and gas investments - Financial Money Tips

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MLG’s poor COVID 19 performance

Gov. Lujan Grisham claims that based on its relatively high vaccination rate, she is doing a good job of battling COVID 19.

The Rio Grande Foundation on the other hand has long held that Gov. Lujan Grisham has done a poor job of handling COVID 19.

In fact, we laid out an alternative approach to the Virus back in April of 2020 that was entirely ignored by the Administration. And, MLG continues to engage in absurd policies like forcing student-athletes to wear masks. New Mexico is the ONLY state to currently do that.

A new report from Emily Burns at The Smile Project places New Mexico 7th-worst overall. The data used are below and include death rates, unemployment, and lost schooling. There are other ways to rate overall COVID performance, but the chart below does a solid job.

By those standards, New Mexico’s Gov. is hardly doing a good job on COVID 19.

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Rio Grande Foundation Files Complaint with New Mexico Attorney General

The United States Federal Government mandates retention rules for private sector entities. This is prevalent in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Section 164.316(b)(1) HIPAA requires that organizations:

“(i) Maintain the policies and procedures implemented to comply with this subpart in written (which may be electronic) form; and (ii) if an action, activity or assessment is required by this subpart to be documented, maintain a written (which may be electronic) record of the action, activity, or assessment.”

Section 164.316(b)(2)(i) also says:

“Retain the documentation required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section for 6 years from the date of its creation or the date when it last was in effect, whichever is later.”

Even the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires retention of individual tax returns and related documents for 3 years:

“Keep records for 3 years if situations (4), (5), and (6) below do not apply to you.”

If the government has the authority to mandate records retention requirements for private entities, we the people ought to invoke our authority to require reasonable records retention periods from our government.

Is 24 hours reasonable? The Rio Grande Foundation does not agree.

As such, the Foundation has filed a complaint with New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas after recent discovery of the executive retention policy of Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration. In January of 2021, the executive branch issued a directive mandating automatic records deletion of all instant messages sent through the state’s messaging platform after 24 hours.

We find this to be an egregious assault on openness and transparency in government and implore the Attorney General to take immediate action.

You can find a copy of the original complaint here.

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Scenes near Albuquerque’s Coronado Park

Albuquerque’s homeless situation continues to spiral out of control while some “leaders” want to institutionalize “homeless” encampments around the City in yet another effort to make homelessness an even greater problem. Mayor Keller has also proven himself to be woefully unprepared to address the problem.

Driving from I-40 to Downtown is one of the “best” ways to see what is happening for yourself although almost every intersection in town has people asking for money. These photos were taken on the afternoon of June 15, 2021.

Catnap under the I-40 bridge:

Would YOU take your family to Coronado Park? 

Close-up of part of Coronado Park

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Tipping Point episode 309: Media Mistakes, Oil & Gas Moratorium, Censorship, Space Race and more

On this week’s conversation, Paul and Wally discuss several important news items that the media got wrong in advance of the 2020 election.

Sen. Joe Manchin opposes ending the filibuster and the passage of the awful HR 1 through Congress.

24 New Mexico Democrats support Biden’s moratorium on federal oil and gas permitting. At the same time, New Mexico’s revenues are up $350 million thanks largely to oil and gas and the price being over $70 a barrel. The industry continues to thrive despite the number of drilling rigs being down. Biden is also opposed to oil and gas in Alaska and the Keystone XL pipeline is dead. Paul and Wally discuss the issues w/ oil and gas.

RGF was recently censored by Youtube.

Richard Branson wants to launch out of Spaceport America as soon as Independence Day weekend to beat Jeff Bezos to space.

Is inflation back? Free buses in Albuquerque and Enchant Energy will experience delays as it moves to implement carbon capture technology to keep San Juan Generating Station open.

Finally, Paul was recently in Idaho to meet with occasional Tipping Point guest Grover Norquist.

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The Biden Administration wants your kids

The following (below the image) is the text of an email received today from President Biden’s US Department of Education. Regardless of your position on the vaccines themselves, pressuring children as young as 12 years old to get a vaccine for an illness that really doesn’t impact healthy children is absurd.

Our children should NOT be forced to wear masks RIGHT NOW as they play sports in 100 degree heat. They shouldn’t be masked when they return to school this fall. Furthermore, the creation of a COVID19 Student Corps is an insidious effort to push an unnecessary vaccine on our children.

                                         Us Dept of Ed Logo

As we move toward reopening our schools in the fall, we need all hands on deck to ensure students 12 years old and older across the country are vaccinated before they go back to school in the fall. Our best path out of the COVID-19 pandemic is for every American to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it’s available to them. The Biden-Harris Administration is excited to announce the launch of COVID19 Student Corps, a program within COVID19 Community Corps specifically focused on students.

As a member of Student Corps, you’ll get resources to help you build vaccine confidence in your community, including:

  • Biweekly calls to learn best practices and hear from other students how they are talking to their friends, families, and other community members about getting the vaccine
  • Fact sheets on vaccine safety and hints for planning and attending community events
  • Social media content to share with your followers
  • Regular email updates with the latest vaccine news and resources to share
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MLG wants to “get in” your gas tank (and make you pay for it)

In her ongoing effort to placate radical environmentalists while not directly attacking New Mexico’s oil and gas industry, Gov. Lujan Grisham announced yesterday that she would be putting the “Clean Fuel Standard” legislation on the “call” for the 30-day session that kicks off in January of 2022.

RGF’s Paul Gessing was quoted in the Santa Fe New Mexican as saying that, of course this mandate will increase costs to consumers because “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” The Administration would like New Mexicans to think that somehow passing a new mandate to use less carbon-intensive fuel will be an economic boon to the State.

In reality, according to the State of Oregon’s own analysis, the “clean fuel standard” in that state cost approximately 4 cents per gallon. Of course, that analysis is from the State AND the program is not fully-implemented (which could increase costs). And, one of the prime “replacements” for gasoline is likely to be ethanol, the environmental and technological track record of which is spotty at best. 

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