AG Opposes Trump's Executive Order, AG's Office Accused Of Ignoring Records Requests

Mar 28, 2017

Attorney Claims AG's Office Is Ignoring Records RequestsThe Associated Press

A Republican lawyer who unsuccessfully ran for a state Senate seat last year is accusing the state Attorney General of withholding public records out of political spite.

Blair Dunn has filed three separate lawsuits accusing Attorney General Hector Balderas' office of violating the Inspection of Public Records Act. Dunn says Balderas is letting his staff ignore Dunn's requests because of politics.

Attorney General's Office spokesman James Hallinan says Dunn mistyped the email address for requesting public records and that his requests were never received. He says that now that the office has received Dunn's requests, they are being handled.

Dunn is seeking emails or other communications employees of the Attorney General's office had with two people who have pending whistleblower lawsuits against the Secretary of State's Office.

New Mexico AG Opposes Trump's Executive OrderThe Associated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has joined other attorneys general to oppose President Donald Trump's signing of an executive order aimed at unraveling a federal plan restricting greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Balderas and the others said the Clean Power Plan is essential to mitigating climate change's effect on public health and the environment. They also warned that court action is a possibility.

Trump argues that the order would revive the coal industry and create a level playing field for energy interests.

Environmentalists in New Mexico say renewable energy and energy efficiency programs have created jobs in the state and that continuing on that path would boost job growth and reduce pollution.

Governor Warns Furloughs Could Begin In AprilAssociated Press, Santa Fe New Mexican

Gov. Susana Martinez says New Mexico is facing a crisis and soon will not be able to sign checks or pay contracts and that employee furloughs are possible.

She outlined the state's dire fiscal situation during a luncheon with business leaders, real estate professionals and others Monday in Albuquerque.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Martinez said state employee furloughs could begin in April.

The two-term Republican governor criticized the Democrat-controlled Legislature, saying lawmakers chose to craft a budget that relied on raising taxes and fees to the tune of $350 million. She repeated her promise not to sign any of the tax increase measures.

She also vowed to call lawmakers back for a special session and said they would have to address budget problems stemming from the current fiscal year as well as the stalemate over next year's budget.

Man Deported After 1995 Murder Conviction Gets New TrialThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

A man who was in prison for 10 years and deported to Mexico for killing his girlfriend will get a new trial for the woman's death.

Jose Vallecillo's 1995 conviction in the death of Deborah Anaya was tossed out in January after he told the judge that his past lawyer failed to tell him that his no-contest plea would send the then-legal resident back to Mexico after his jail time, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

In 1994, Vallecillo was charged with Anaya's murder. Police say he shot Anaya at her home while her 6-year-old son was present. He was deported after he got out of jail in 2005.

Vallecillo told Judge Christina Argyres that he and his family came to the United States from Mexico when he was 3. Vallecillo said he came back to the United States in 2007 because he had a hard time adapting to his home country.

"I lived here all my life," he said, according to court documents. "All my family is here. I would have never taken that plea."

Vallecillo is currently in jail for his latest re-entry.  He is slated to appear in court on Tuesday for a motion hearing.

Prosecutor Lelia Hood said Vallecillo's criminal history also includes driving while intoxicated, aggravated assault and auto burglary convictions.

Project Aims To Help School Nurses Tackle Suicide RatesAssociated Press

Researchers in New Mexico, California and Maryland are working with public school nurses in hopes of curbing suicide rates within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community by making school grounds safer.

University of New Mexico pediatrics professor Mary Ramos and colleagues at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and the University of California-San Diego are leading the four-year project.

The researchers note that suicide is the second-leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. and those rates are three to four times higher for lesbian, gay and transgender students than their peers.

The team hopes a model for change led by school nurses will result in more schools creating safe environments.

The project is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Efforts Coalesce To Avoid Cavern Collapse In New Mexico Associated Press

A state Cabinet secretary says New Mexico is only a few steps away from being able to backfill a giant underground cavern before it collapses underneath a community of mobile homes and critical transportation routes in southern New Mexico.

Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Secretary Ken McQueen said Monday that his agency will be prepared as soon as July to help commission engineering plans to shore up a cavity left by the extraction of a salt formation. The formation has been washed away to use as brine by the oil and gas industry for drilling operations.

Funding for the remediation plans still requires the governor's signature and local matching dollars.

Carlsbad City Councilor Richard Doss represents residents at the threatened crossroads and says tensions are high over a possible evacuation.

Biannual Trinity Site Tour To Be Met With Protest Alamogordo Daily News, Associated Press

New Mexico residents living near the test site of the first atomic bomb plan to hold a demonstration as visitors caravan to the Trinity Site for a tour.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports that the Tularosa Basin Downwinders advocacy group will be protesting Saturday.

On July 16, 1945, scientists from the then-secret city of Los Alamos successfully exploded the first atomic bomb at the Trinity Site. The bomb later was dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The group says the test altered the gene pools of residents in surrounding communities. Members say descendants have been plagued with cancer and other illnesses.

The group has been lobbying for compensation and apologies from the federal government for years.

The Trinity Site is open to the public only on the first Saturdays in April and October.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Sanctuary Cities Must EndAssociated Press, Santa Fe New Mexican

The Trump administration is continuing its tough talk against "sanctuary cities," which shelter people living in the country illegally by refusing to help the federal government enforce immigration laws.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he is "urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws."

He says the Justice Department will require compliance with immigration laws in order for the cities to receive grants through the Office of Justice Programs. The Obama administration had a similar policy in place.

President Trump had said during the campaign that he would "defund" sanctuary cities by taking away their federal funding.

But legal precedent suggests that would have been difficult to do.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Santa Fe got $212,597 in Department of Justice law enforcement grants in the last fiscal year.

Mayor Javier Gonzales has been a prominent advocate for sanctuary policies. Santa Fe is part of a coalition of cities and counties seeking a legal ruling to bar the Trump Administration from holding back federal funds.

'Terrorist' Written Outside Muslim Man's New Mexico Business Associated Press

Santa Fe police say they cannot arrest the man they suspect of writing the word terrorist in front of a Muslim man's store.

Business owner Mohamed "Ziggy" Rzig says he found the word written in chalk outside the Pyramid Cafe on Sunday.

Santa Fe Police Department Lt. Sean Strahon says the act is not being considered a hate crime and because no physical damages were made, prosecutors cannot press charges.

Rzig says a man to his cafe Saturday upset and called him and his employees terrorists. Since the cafe has no outdoor cameras, Rzig has no evidence to prove that the same man wrote the word.

Strahon says the suspect appears to be mentally ill and added that department has been trying to get him help.

USPS, Hispanic Cultural Center Celebrate Delicioso Stamps Associated Press

The U.S. Postal Service and the National Hispanic Cultural Center will be having a party to celebrate the issuance of a new series of stamps dedicated to the influence of Central and South American, Mexican and Caribbean foods and flavors on American cuisine.

The dedication ceremony for the Delicioso Forever Stamps will be held in April at the cultural center in Albuquerque.

The stamps feature bright illustrations of tamales, flan, empanadas, chile rellenos, ceviche and the traditional soup sancocho.

Artist John Parra designed the stamp artwork under the direction of Antonio Alcalá.

The Postal Service says each illustration was created by applying multiple layers of acrylic paint to textured boards. Sandpaper was then used to reveal the hidden layers and give the designs a worn, vintage look.