RGF engages government entities that “partner” with left-wing organization

I recently blogged about the organization Bernalillo County PLACE Matters and their op-ed that appeared in the Albuquerque Journal.

As I wrote at the time, I noticed that the “partners” of the left-wing “Place Matters” organization included several taxpayer-financed government entities including:

New Mexico Department of Health;
UNM Health Science Center
UNM School of Architecture and Planning
Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge

I sent out a letter similar to the one below to each of the agencies today. This is not a trivial matter. The Rio Grande Foundation does not take government funding or support on principal. Just because an organization supports bigger government doesn’t mean that those government agencies should in turn be seen or should lend their support to political efforts to bigger government:

June 1, 2015

Ms. Geraldine Forbes Isais
School of Architecture and Planning
MSC 04-2530
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Dear Ms. Forbes Isais:

I am sending this letter to alert you to what I believe may be an inappropriate use both of taxpayer dollars and your organization’s name in support of a political cause.

I read with interest the enclosed article written by Jacque M. Garcia, coordinator at Bernalillo County Place Matters. The article appeared in the Albuquerque Journal Thursday, May 28, 2015. The article was inherently political in nature and included not-so-veiled attacks on both Gov. Martinez and Albuquerque Mayor RJ Berry.

That is why I was troubled, when I went to the website of Bernalillo County Place Matters, to see that the School of Architecture and Planning was listed as a “partner” of the organization. http://www.nmhealthequitypartnership.org/about-us/bernalillo-county-place-matters/partners

It is one thing for liberal non-profits to publicly support a political agenda. We at the Rio Grande Foundation advocate for a free market policy agenda. Voices for Children and the Southwest Organizing Project advocate the opposite. However, it is disheartening and concerning that a taxpayer-funded agency like the Department of Health would line up beside left-wing advocacy organizations in advocating on behalf of a liberal political agenda.

This isn’t merely because we disagree with their perspective as explained in the article, but because government agencies should be serving the taxpayers, not lending their names and resources in support of public policy issues.

I hope this was merely an oversight and that this issue can be cleared up shortly. If you need to contact me for any reason, please do not hesitate to call me at: 505-264-6090 or email me at pgessing@riograndefoundation.org.


Paul J. Gessing