State Representative from Dona Ana County in the Headlights

New Mexico State Representative Bill McCamley, District 33 (Dona Ana County)

New Mexico State Representative Bill McCamley, District 33 (Dona Ana County)

There has been a lot of anger from some people in Las Cruces over an initiative to collect signatures to recall three city council members from their positions; Olga Pedroza, Gil Sorg and Nathan Small. All three identify as liberals and have responded in typical fashion to charges of improper and unethical behavior in their elected positions; they’ve responded with defensiveness and smug self-righteousness. In the case of Nathan Small, fear of losing his position that has led him to flip-flop more desperately than a fish in the sand. There are plenty who are coming to their defense the only way that liberals seem to know how to…by attacking others. In this case, the attacks have been leveled at the people involved in the recall initiative. Many are trying to diminish the leadership of those spearheading the recall initiative by pointing out that some are not native New Mexicans and therefore, in their eyes, don’t have a legitimate right to get involved. They do this while ignoring that two of these three council members aren’t New Mexico natives, either. They’re accusing those who are collecting petition signatures of lying in order to get those signatures, misrepresenting either the wrongdoings of the council members or claiming that the petition is about an entirely different issue than the recall. Of course, none of those making those accusations have so far produced a single scrap of supporting evidence while many people, myself included, have witnessed nothing other than honest representation from these signature collectors. While this sort of behavior from the left had come to be pretty much expected, one individual has crossed the line so blatantly that it’s caught nearly everyone off guard.

As reported on the local Las Cruces radio show, The Kelly O’Connell Show on January 19, NM State Representative for District 33 (Doña Ana County) Bill McCamley engaged in what amounts to an aggressive assault against a young lady here in Las Cruces.
Earlier this month, the 19-year-old girl, who was working to collect signatures for the recall of Olga Pedroza, knocked on a door that appears now to be the address that Bill McCamley claims as his residence. A woman answered the door and, when presented with the petition, asked some questions which the girl answered. The woman then signed the petition. At that point, the girl then asked if there was anyone else at home who might be willing to sign. The woman pointed to a car that was pulling up at the house and said that the man driving might sign. She went over to talk to the man, who turned out to be Bill McCamley, although she did not recognize him. When he realized what her petition was for, he began yelling at her and then began yelling at the woman at the front door for signing the petition. In order to avoid confrontation and make matters worse, the girl began walking away from the house. At that point, McCamley started running after the girl, yelling at her again. Fearful for her own safety at this point, she called her supervisor, who was only about a block away. By this point, McCamley was right up on the girl, yelling right in her face. The supervisor arrived and witnessed this and actually stated that, as being trained and licensed for concealed carry of a firearm in New Mexico, if she had been carrying her handgun that night, McCamley’s behavior was so aggressive that she would’ve considered drawing her weapon for defense.
The signature collector was quoted on the Kelley O’Connell Show as saying after the incident, “In this job, I anticipate getting chased by a dog, but I never imagined it would be the state representative. I was pretty scared.”
A police report was filed that night, but nothing has come of this story so far. The local newspaper, The Las Cruces Sun News, hasn’t even mentioned it. Afterwards, though, McCamley did make a statement on his Facebook account that he said was an apology, but was severely lacking in the language or appearance of remorse one might expect from a sincere apology of any substance. He wrote:
“OK, so I owe an apology. A canvasser for Close the Cafe came by my house looking for signatures to remove Olga Pedroza from the City Council. I asked why, and there was no answer given. I then went and spoke to her supervisor, and asked the same thing. When no answer was given, I raised my voice and took a frustrated and intense tone of voice in the conversation.
I didn’t touch anyone, or threaten anyone. I want to make that perfectly clear. However, raising my voice isn’t right. Though I disagree passionately with that movement (as it sets a horrible precedent for elected officials), discourse should be held in a civilized and polite manner. And that young, paid canvasser who came by my house certainly isn’t responsible for this issue. You all deserve better from your public officials, especially me.
And you have my word that sort of thing will never, ever happen again.”
Apparently, McCamley thinks that because he didn’t touch her or “threaten” her, what he did wasn’t so bad. While it’s true that, had he touched the girl, he would’ve been guilty of assault and battery, if it can be proven in court that he behaved as is being reported, then he still committed a crime: assault. Typical for someone like Bill McCamley, he is trying to diminish the seriousness of his behavior and blow it off as not being a big deal, saying it will never happen again. As a rule, that defense tends to stop being at all effective once a person is more than about eight years old.
The only defense that’s come close to being even slightly substantive has come from people like local radio host Keith Whelpley, who simply says that he doesn’t believe that he’s capable of that kind of behavior. Thank God that our system doesn’t simply weight guilt or innocence on the level of belief that those that know them have regarding the charges. If that we’re the case, we’d never convict serial killers due to the testimony of others as to their character (ie. “He was always quiet and kept to himself,” and “He was a good, thoughtful neighbor.”)
So, let me make two quick points, the second one carrying no more weight than anyone else’s thoughts about ‘belief’ of guilt or innocence: 1) Anyone is capable of just about anything. Failure to acknowledge that is simply ignorant and will regularly lead to disappointment at best. 2) From the online dealings I’ve had with Bill McCamley, the way I’ve seen him treat others and what I’ve heard from other people about his behavior, I have absolutely no problem believing him capable of going after someone he perceived as weaker than him and easily intimidated by him. He has struck me as an intellectual bully from the first time I was ever exposed to him and it’s a short road from that kind of bullying to other, more hands-on types.
Should the evidence prove that Bill McCamley did indeed attack this girl, there are three things I really hope happen. First, I want to see McCamley publicly humiliated as his actions are exposed for all to see and therefore lose any chance at serving in public office again. Second, that maybe he’ll even finally realize what it feels like to be honestly regretful of his behavior instead of just playing not so subtle lip service. Finally, and most importantly, I hope this girl finds the strength inside herself and realizes that, while fear is a perfectly natural reaction to a situation like she, it was McCamley who was reacting to her and what she was representing with fear and irrationality. I hope she comes to accept that, when you shine light into dark places, those that thrive in the dark may desperately try to extinguish the light, but they only strength they can ultimately bring against you is a false strength. True strength always comes from the light, not the shadows.
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Dona Ana County Treasurer May Yet Lose His Job

Dona Ana County Treasurer David Gutierrez

Dona Ana County Treasurer David Gutierrez

While there is currently a petition drive in the city of Las Cruces to recall three city councillors, there may be another initiative shortly to recall the Treasurer for Dona Ana County, David Gutierrez. Unlike the city recall efforts, in this case, Gutierrez has actually admitted to committing the acts he’s been accused of.

On August 18, Gutierrez had gone to the post office with a female employee on Treasurer’s Office business, then to a bank. Afterward, Gutierrez offered her $1,000 to “spend a couple of hours with him at a hotel.” The employee said no and then told a supervisor what had happened on August 20. The two then reported to Deputy County Treasurer Rene Barba. Gutierrez walked in on the meeting and, when he asked what was going on, the employee told him she was reporting him. He then asked the employee to leave the room and asked Barba and the supervisor not to report the incident to county management to give him time to “resolve the matter with the employee,” a request that was immediately denied as it would’ve been a gross violation of proper procedure. In the course of the investigation, Gutierrez admitted to propositioning the employee and even clarified that the reason for going to the hotel would have been for sex.
Gutierrez didn’t attend the county commission meeting where the incident was to be discussed, but instead had county attorney John Caldwell read a statement that said, “I apologize to the commission for not being here today. Please do not take my absence as a sign of disrespect to you. I will respect the decision that the board makes today.” However, when the commission called for Gutierrez’s resignation, he refused and, since the commission doesn’t have the authority to force his resignation, they instead censured him, which simply amounts to a public reprimand with no actual punishment.
Prior to voting for censure, County Commissioner David Garcia said “I’m very sad today these kinds of things have to happen, but when they do happen, we have to move on it. I’m glad the procedures we have in place work.”
While the procedures may have worked, they also had absolutely no impact. Gutierrez committed two violations; soliciting an employee for sex and attempting to delay the investigation. Another thing that no one seems to be talking about right now is that David Gutierrez committed an actual crime as well by soliciting for prostitution. Yet, in the face of all of this, he has continued in his position as if nothing had happened. The lack of consequences for his behavior has not gone unnoticed, however.
Friday on both local Las Cruces AM radio shows, The Kelly O’Connell Show and Speak Up Las Cruces, Dolores Connor and Francis Williams came on to talk about the course of action they’ve decided to take on this issue.  Connor, a former Las Cruces City Council member and previous candidate for Mayor, and Williams, who has had a career investigating sexual harassment claims and is currently an appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights New Mexico State Advisory Committee, are very unhappy that, even after admitting to his behavior, Gutierrez remains in his position and is still collecting his $65,500 annual salary.
After waiting four months to give Gutierrez a chance to take appropriate action on his own, Dolores Conner went to the county commission on Tuesday to inform them that she has found a state statute providing for the removal of an elected official under these kinds of conditions. NMSA 10-4-2 lists a cause, among several others, for removal from office as:
” [6] G.  any other act [or acts which] that in the opinion of the court or jury [amount] amounts to corruption in office or gross immorality rendering the incumbent unfit to fill the office.”
They argue that offering a female employee $1,000 for sex is a perfect example of “gross immorality.” Connor and Williams say they are currently looking into taking action through the courts and a possible abbreviated petition drive to have Gutierrez removed from office. They will be meeting with Gerald Byer, an attorney at the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Las Cruces, NM to look at the law to explore those options in the coming week.
Connor also wants to propose a change to the NMSA at the upcoming legislative session to add sexual harassment to the allowed reasons for removal from office. At this point, the only actions that have been taken against David Gonzalez has been a censure that didn’t actually affect him outside of a little bad publicity and action taken by the Democrat Party Central Committee to remove him from his position with them but it is possible that, ultimately, his actions could result in not only his removal from office, but also an important and fundamental change to state law and the level of behavior required of our elected officials.

New Voter ID Law Passes in Hobbs, New Mexico

voter id ballot hobbsVoters in Hobbs New Mexico today voted to approve a measure that would require identification  to be presented in order to vote in municipal elections. The vote was decisive with 78% of voters in favor of the measure in spite of efforts by opposition, including the NAACP. B.J. Choice Sr., a member of the NAACP and Hobbs resident, said, “It’s an effort, in my opinion, to suppress people coming to the polls.” He said the legislation is like “the poll tax and the literacy test that minorities and poor whites had to go through.” Opponents, including Choice, have also compared it to the Jim Crow laws and say that groups like African Americans, Latinos and the elderly will have a harder time obtaining photo IDs in order to vote.
Just for the record, poll taxes were instituted by Democrats to require that voters pay in order to register to vote…unless their father or grandfather had been registered previously. This specifically targeted blacks, whose fathers and grandfathers had generally been slaves with no right to vote, while whites were much more likely to qualify to have the poll tax waived. The same thing with the literacy tests; they were designed to exclude blacks, who had a much higher rate of illiteracy than whites and could be disqualified even if they were literate. As an example, in Alabama, blacks were asked to answer questions such as: name all 67 county judges in the state, name the date when Oklahoma was admitted to the Union, and how many bubbles are in a bar of soap. Jim Crow laws, also passed by southern Democrats, established the concept of “separate but equal” and severely disenfranchised and limited the civil liberties of blacks.
By contrast, this voter ID law requires every voter to present an ID, proving that they are who they say they are. That’s all. Among other things, you must have a valid photo ID to:
  • buy cigarettes, alcohol or an “M” rated video game
  • open a bank account
  • apply for a mortgage, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment or government assistance including public health insurance (ie. Obamacare)
  • drive, buy or rent a car
  • get on an airplane
  • get married
  • adopt a pet
  • rent a hotel room
  • apply for a hunting or fishing license
  • pick up prescriptions
  • donate blood
  • get a job
  • cash a check
  • or even get a library card.
While they haven’t been vocal about these requirements for ID, Civil rights groups like the NAACP argue that voter ID laws target blacks, latinos, senior citizens and the poor by unduly restricting voting and imposing unnecessary costs. However, anyone who can prove who they are and that they are legally authorized to vote, gets to vote. The new legislation also ads that, if voters don’t have identification, the city will provide it for no charge. So, apparently, the NAACP believes that blacks, latinos, seniors and the poor are either too stupid to go down and ask for an ID, pose for a picture, or follow the same rules as everyone else or they believe that they’re too poor to afford a free ID. Or it could just be that the they’re using this issue to further promote class warfare and racial division and score political points on an issue that has nothing to do with race or class. It’s not like they have a reputation for pulling those kinds of stunts, right?
Even at the state level right now, any citizen can acquire an ID by providing 1) a document of their identity (birth certificate, U.S. passport, military ID, etc.), 2) a document proving their identification number (Social Security card), 3) two documents proving New Mexico residency (rental or mortgage agreement, utility bills, bank statement, etc.) and 4) a thumbprint and signature. It then costs $10 for four years or $18 for eight years. Citizens who are 75 or older get the ID free. That’s not what I’d call restrictive requirements. It is nothing more than establishing the identity of those the state is providing proof of and I pay more for my gym membership than either $10 or $18 a year (not to mention what I pay for my drivers license).
Secretary of State Dianna Duran has called the Hobbs special election encouraging and said that she will again push state lawmakers to consider a voter ID law. If that were to happen, such legislation would very likely include making those state IDs available at no charge, as well.
Hobbs is also not the first city in New Mexico to pass a voter ID law. Albuquerque and Rio Rancho also require photo ID for local elections. We currently have 34 states with laws requiring voters to show identification at the polls. The Hobbs vote is not an isolated incident and these laws are not designed to keep anyone from the polls…other than those who are attempting to perpetrate fraud on our election process. The voting rights of those who actually have the right to vote will be protected through these laws. The ones who are not registered to vote, who have had their right to vote revoked through Due Process, who try to vote under someone else’s name or who are simply not residents or even citizens? They have no right to vote anyway, nor should they, so there are no rights there to protect.
Congratulations to Hobbs, New Mexico on passing a voter ID law and may the rest of us come to our senses and follow your example soon.

Why vote for Susanna Martinez?

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It’s that time again. Early voting has now started in New Mexico and one of the positions up for grabs is the Governor’s office. I’ve heard several people ask why we should bother to vote to re-elect Governor Susana Martinez. After all, she hasn’t been perfect in her job. Of course, I’ve never seen anyone who is, no matter what that may do, but I do get the point and it is valid. Now, I don’t presume to tell anyone who to vote for, but I can share why I’ll be casting my vote for Governor Martinez, so forgive me while I engage in a tiny bit of narcissism here. You see, I’m not completely happy with her, but it see politics as a balancing act: Does the good outweigh the bad or vice-versa?
For me, I am very disappointed in Governor Martinez for her support of Common Core. This is a program that threatens to exponentially accelerate the dumbing down of Americans that has been going on for decades, at the very least. Common Core will not make learning easier or advance our students’ educations; it’ll do exactly the opposite and, for some reason, Governor Martinez seems to have stars in her eyes when it comes to this program. Maybe it’s because of the close relationships she’s built with Republicans like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, which I’m also not happy about. I wish she’d open her eyes to the dangers of Common Core and how her association with these milquetoast Republicans have muddied her image and identity as a strong conservative woman who stands on conservative principles, no matter what…the identity that won her the endorsement of Sarah Palin and a massive victory over Allen Weh four years ago. Before running for Governor, she served as District Attorney in my hometown and I knew her here in Las Cruces as fair and level-headed and I honestly believe that she does have an open mind that can be swayed on this issue.
That’s what I’ve seen as negatives in Susana Martinez and, if that was all there was, there is absolutely no way she would be getting my vote. Of course, like I said, it’s a balancing act. As far as the good she’s done as Governor:

Education:
While her current support of Common Core is a huge no-no, Governor Martinez has made improvements here for New Mexico. Since she took office, New Mexico has moved up to #1 in the nation for improving high school graduation rates. Those rates have jumped from 63% to 70%…still not as good as we need, but a huge jump from what we’ve had in our recent past, especially under Democrat governors. She has increased education spending, but, at the same time, cut funding for the education bureaucracy by 25%. In other words, she’s been trying to put money for education where it belongs: in actual education, not in more red tape and bigger government. While I don’t support the democrats’ approach of throwing more money at education, Martinez’s approach is more surgical; focusing and addressing the areas in need and cutting back from the areas of waste and abuse. Governor Martinez has focused on improving reading proficiency and increasing early education programs as well. I have to give credit where credit is due. We just have to continue to push the message: Governor, turn your back on Common Core.

State Economy:
From the second year that Governor Martinez has been in office, not only have we had a balanced budget, we have also had a budget surplus every year. George Washington University currently ranks New Mexico as 7th in the nation in budget health.  She also sold the state’s luxury jet and several other state planes in order to cut some of the abuse and extravagant expenses regularly racked up by previous governors. In addition, she got rid of the personal chefs at the Governor’s residence and lowered and capped the salaries of her cabinet secretaries. She also consolidated office space and re-negotiated leases for state buildings, saving taxpayers over a million dollars per year.

Taxes:
In 2010, New Mexico’s tax structure was rated as one of the least business-friendly in America. Governor Martinez changed that. She cut the business tax rate by 22 percent. She reduced taxes on New Mexicans 24 times. The Council On State Taxation has raised New Mexico’s grade on tax administration from a D to a B. New Mexico has also moved from 38th in the country in export growth to #1 by 2012. Our exports to Mexico are now at an all-time high. Six thousand new jobs have been created (Department of Labor numbers) just from that and many other jobs have been created due to the businesses that have been drawn in by the more relaxed tax rates.

In addition, Governor Martinez established a lifetime ban on government contractors convicted of corruption and she signed legislation allowing judges to seize pensions of elected officials convicted of corruption. She directed Her staff to film legislative committee hearings, legislative floor sessions, and other meetings and post the videos online and she signed legislation requiring agendas for public meetings to be made available 72 hours in advance and displayed online. She signed legislation that requires public records to be available in electronic format and posted salary information for all taxpayer-funded employees online. She’s the first Governor to use state email and posts her official calendar online and require all administration personnel to use state email when conducting public business.
Governor Martinez helped pass an enhanced Katie’s Law that requires all those arrested for felonies to provide a DNA sample to be used to solve cold rape and murder cases.  She vetoed a measure that would have allowed criminal records to be expunged and she eliminated the “Sanctuary State” policy that prohibited law enforcement from determining the immigration status of those arrested for crimes. She vetoed legislation that would have allowed child killers to avoid life sentences. She created the Fugitive Apprehension Team which captured 70 fugitives in the first two months alone and launched the #SAFE reporting hotline so that any New Mexican can easily report child abuse. She signed legislation enacting some of the toughest sex offender registration requirements in the country.
Governor Martinez opposes expanding Obamacare. She supports our 2nd amendment rights. She opposes higher taxes. She opposes pathways to citizenship for illegal aliens. She opposes unrestricted access to and federal funding of abortions.
So, for me, the good that Governor Martinez has done and that she is still capable of is more than enough to justify giving her my vote in this election. Add to that the fact that I see absolutely nothing good coming were Gary King to win (just higher levels of ineptitude and probably a resurgence of corruption), I have no problem casting my vote for Governor Martinez. I will also say that I’m very excited at the prospect of current Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez running for Governor next election. He’s incredibly impressive and has so far proven that he’s willing to stand on his principles fearlessly.
With all that said, while I’d love to see Susana Martinez re-elected, I can only talk about why I’m voting the way I am. I hope that anyone who isn’t sure or is thinking about not voting for her will consider what I’ve had to say, but, at the end of the day, each one of our votes is sacred and no one has the right to tell you how you must vote. All I can really say is this: Do not take the power of your vote lightly. Every single vote really can make a difference and we do have a responsibility to use our vote responsibly. When you have that ballot in your hand, the best any of us can do is to follow our hearts, our convictions and our principles. Do that, and, no matter which circles you choose to darken or leave empty, you’ve upheld the principles our nation was built on and fulfilled your duty as a citizen.