TUES: Las Vegas Mayor Trujillo resigns, + More
Las Vegas Mayor Trujillo resigns - Las Vegas Optic, KUNM News
The mayor of Las Vegas, New Mexico, has resigned from office.
The Las Vegas Optic reports Louie Trujillo’s resignation Tuesday is effective immediately.
In a letter, Trujillo cited his “physical, mental and spiritual well being,” as the reason behind suddenly stepping down. He went on to thank the residents of the northern New Mexico city for entrusting him with the office.
Elected in 2020, Trujillo’s term wasn’t scheduled to end until the next local election two years from now. It was initially set to conclude this coming March, but was pushed out more than a year when Las Vegas opted into the Regular Local Election.
Trujillo led the community through the Calf Canyon/Hermit’s Peak Fire, the state’s largest in recorded history, and the ongoing recovery. The Optic reports he saw significant turnover in his cabinet during his tenure, including having to replace his city manager, city attorney and police chief.
City Councilor and Mayor Pro-Tem David Romero will take over as acting mayor until the city holds a special election to replace Trujillo.
The date of the special election has not yet been confirmed.
Commission recommends a decade of action and healing to address the missing and murdered Indigenous women and relatives crisis - Susan Dunlap, New Mexico Political Report
The Not Invisible Act Commission released a report with recommendations for the federal government to combat the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives crisis this month.
The commission, formed as a mandate by a bill Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland sponsored when she represented New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, released the report after hosting seven in-person field hearings across the country earlier this year. The commission heard testimony from around 260 individuals during the field hearings and the commission took what it learned to produce the report. The commission also visited Albuquerque over the summer and heard testimony.
The nearly 200-page report is a list of extensive recommendations to the U.S. Attorney General and to Haaland, who is of the Laguna Pueblo, and to improve intergovernmental coordination and establish best practices for state, Tribal and federal law enforcement to combat the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and relatives.
The recommendations include categories such as law enforcement and investigative resources, reporting and collecting data, recruitment and retention issues for Tribal and Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement, criminal jurisdiction, victim and family resources and services and other administrative and policy changes.
The report says the issue is not intractable and it calls for the federal government to declare a decade of action and healing to address the crisis effectively. It also says that the recommendations in the report are some of the commission’s recommendations for how the federal government can address the crisis.
According to the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, an Indigenous advocacy group in New Mexico, U.S. policies that are viewed as racist or discriminatory against Native people are settler colonialism and are genocidal. Many view the missing and murdered Indigenous women and relatives crisis and the lack of attention it has received by both media and government entities as a continuation of previous U.S. policies against Indigenous people such as forced sterilization which took place for decades.
One of the report’s recommendations is for a Native Nations Office to be created within the Office of Management and Budget to help coordinate federal funding programs. The report calls for a concrete proposal for funding to be ready and included in the Biden administration’s Fiscal Year 2026 federal budget.
The report also calls for a new assistant attorney general for Indigenous affairs to be created within the U.S. Department of Justice. That person would be tasked with overseeing public safety for Indigenous people and serve as an ombudsman for both families and victims.
Both Bureau of Indian Affairs and Tribal law enforcement are “overworked, underpaid officers who do not have the support they need to deal with a frustrated, angry, and often grief-stricken public,” the report states.
The report includes a list of recommendations that include both supporting law enforcement with access to holistic support that addresses officers’ mental, physical and spiritual well being as well as better pay and retirement benefits. The report also recommends better training. Another recommendation is to try to recruit more women to law enforcement.
Other recommendations included in the report include addressing jurisdictional issues, better resources and services for families and victims and better data collection and all point to long-standing issues underlying the missing and murdered women and relatives crisis.
Federal responses to the Commission’s recommendations are due within 90 calendar days.
Haaland said through a press release that the work of the cross-jurisdictional advisory commission will help make Native communities safer. “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community. Crimes against Indigenous peoples have long been underfunded and ignored, rooted in the deep history of intergenerational trauma that has affected our communities since colonization. I look forward to reviewing the recommendations, which will help us continue to galvanize attention and resources toward these tragic epidemics,” Haaland said through the release.
CORRECTION: NM Political Report corrected this story to reflect that Deb Haaland represented New Mexico's 1st Congressional District.
Report finds New Mexico ranks worst in the nation for lung cancer treatment - Santa Fe New Mexican, KUNM News
New Mexico ranks at the bottom of a newly released list from the American Lung Association for both lack of treatment and surgical intervention of lung cancer – with Native Americans among the most impacted.
As the Santa Fe New Mexican reports, there’s many reasons this could be.
The report lists lack of provider or patient knowledge, stigma associated with lung cancer, fatalism after diagnosis, or cost of treatment as potential reasons.
Similarly, New Mexico ranks poorly for identifying problematic symptoms in the first place. The state sits at 46th in the nation for early diagnosis and 43rd for lung cancer screening.
New Mexico seems to be an outlier when it comes to national trends.
Overall, survival rates for lung cancer are improving among marginalized communities of color.
According to reporting from NPR, the five-year lung cancer survival rate increased by 22% between 2015 to 2019. It currently stands at 26.6% across all racial and ethnic groups.
Illegal border crossings into the US drop in October after a 3-month streak of increases - Associated Press
Illegal border crossings from Mexico fell 14% in October from a month earlier, U.S. authorities said Tuesday, ending a three-month streak of big increases.
U.S. officials highlighted the resumption of deportation flights to Venezuela on Oct. 18, shortly after Venezuelans replaced Mexicans as the largest nationality appearing at the border. Arrests of Venezuelans plummeted 45% to 29,637 from 54,833, still second only to Mexicans.
Arrests for illegal crossings totaled 188,778 for all nationalities in October, down from 218,763 in September, which was the second-highest month on record. Arrests had more than doubled over the previous three months as migrants and smugglers adjusted to new asylum regulations introduced in May.
Arrests of Chinese rose slightly to 4,247, with 99% of them in the San Diego area, as more fly to Ecuador and make their way to the U.S. border amid a faltering economy at home.
"We continue to enhance our border security posture and remain vigilant," said Troy Miller, the acting CBP commissioner, who urged Congress to approve President Joe Biden's supplemental budget request for $13.6 billion in border-related spending.
While crossings remain unusually high, the monthly decline is a rare piece of welcome news for a White House that has been criticized on the right and left flanks for its immigration policies. Panama has yet to release October figures for crossings through the notorious Darién jungle, which totaled more than 400,000 during the first nine months of the year, largely Venezuelans.
Biden, a Democrat, has adopted an approach at the border that combines new legal pathways to enter the country with more restrictions on asylum for those who cross the border illegally. Including those legal pathways, migrants crossed the border 240,988 times in October, down 11% from 269,735 in September.
More than 44,000 people entered from Mexico with appointments on the CBP One mobile app, bringing the total number of scheduled appointments on the app to 324,000 since it was introduced in January. Additionally, nearly 270,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela have entered the country by applying online with a financial sponsor and arriving at an airport.
Palestinians and allies in N.M. renew calls for ceasefire in Gaza – Austin Fisher, Source New Mexico
Each morning for the last five weeks, Sarah AlQirem has opened WhatsApp on her phone and waited.
She’s waiting and hoping to see someone in her family’s group chat marked as active, open or typing.
“It hasn’t happened for the last 33 days,” said AlQirem, a 16-year-old Palestinian from Gaza and a student at United World College in Montezuma, N.M.
She was speaking alongside other Palestinians and their allies during a rally and march in Santa Fe on Saturday organized by the Santa Fe chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America and Santa Feans for Justice in Palestine, to renew calls for an immediate ceasefire in the occupied Palestinian territories, and an end to the Israeli military occupation.
Her baby cousin, their mother and father were the first family members AlQirem learned had been killed by Israel’s recent airstrikes on Gaza.
“The child whose diapers I changed — and the people who changed my own diapers — dead, gone, buried,” she said.
Then the rest of her family in Gaza went radio silent and she stopped getting news from loved ones. She said they either made it out and can’t contact her, or they’re all dead.
On Oct. 15, AlQirem woke up to an Instagram story announcing her best friend’s death.
“How do you think it feels to wake up and see your people murdered on social media?” she asked. “The message that the media is sending to me is that I am worth less because I am Palestinian.”
Then on Oct. 23, she received the news that all 58 members of her family in the village where she grew up “were bombed, killed, slaughtered.”
“I have lost almost my entire bloodline,” AlQirem said. “I am one of the last people remaining. The only people I have left in Gaza were the closest friends that I had grown up with.”
Source NM could not independently verify her account.
New Mexicans have organized at least 14 other protests and actions calling for an immediate ceasefire since the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7:
- Protests outside the University of New Mexico bookstore on Oct. 8 and Oct. 13.
- Protests outside the offices of members of Congress in Santa Fe and inside senators’ Albuquerque field offices on Oct. 23.
- YUCCA unfurled a 130-foot-long banner listing the dead on Nov. 1 outside the offices of members of Congress in Santa Fe. At that time, the count was more than 8,500 killed, but that number has since risen to more than 10,000. That figure is likely an undercount, according to a top U.S. State Department official.
- A march in Albuquerque on Oct. 28.
- A protest at the Santa Fe Indigenous Center on Nov. 3.
- A phone zap to pressure New Mexico’s Congressional delegation on Nov. 3.
- A protest and march at Robinson Park in Albuquerque on Nov. 6.
- UNM students, staff, and faculty walked out of their classrooms and offices on Nov. 9.
- UNM School of Law students signed a letter calling for a ceasefire on Nov. 9.
- UNM Health Sciences Center students gathered in Albuquerque on Nov. 10.
- A protest at the Taos Farmers Market on Nov. 11.
- A protest at Robinson Park in Albuquerque on Nov. 12
Israel controls all entrances and exits to the West Bank, according to B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
Another Palestinian student at United World College, who asked to be identified by his initials, A.A., listed three members of his family who have been killed during his lifetime by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
The 17-year-old described the occupation and how Israeli checkpoints impacted his daily life.
For instance, his hometown of Bethlehem is less than 14 miles away from Ramallah, but due to multiple checkpoints controlled by the Israeli military, the trip took seven hours. He needed to visit Ramallah for an interview to study in New Mexico.
Most recently on Nov. 10, an Israeli sniper killed A.A.’s former classmate at Bethlehem High School, 17-year-old Mohammad Ali Mohammad Azya. Israeli forces prevented an ambulance from reaching Mohammad and prevented his father from driving him to a hospital, according to Defense for Children International.
“I can remember, in every single class, how smart he was — how he would help me with math problems,” A.A. said of Mohammad.
‘DEEP PAIN OF FAMILIAR VIOLENCE’
Natasha Durel, an ally and activist with Palestinian roots, recently heard a crack in her mother’s voice that awakened in her a pain of familiar violence.
Durel has friends in Gaza, and she said her grandmother and grandfather were expelled from Bethlehem and the West Bank during the expulsion of more than 750,000 Palestinians from what became Israel in 1948.
Palestinians refer to this expulsion using the Arabic term Nakba, meaning “catastrophe.”
“This deep, deep pain of familiar violence has rudely awakened in many of our bloodlines from a slumber to which we still can’t find peace,” said Durel. “From surviving the Nakba, living the horrors of the Holocaust, and violence that has happened on the Tewa lands that we are standing on today.”
The world has watched over the previous five weeks irreversible damage and crimes against humanity unfold, Durel said, including collective punishment, forced evacuations, and attacks on medical staff and journalists.
“I hope you’ll stand with me today to no longer hide, to at all costs refuse to live in a society that asks us to turn a blind eye and numb to the very things devastating us to our core,” she said.
“We remember the Nakba was not that long ago,” Kaufman said. “That legacy is a stain on all people of conscience, and I’m here to say: Never again is now.”
Kaufman said she is a Jewish woman of Ashkenazi and Sephardi heritage whose family are survivors of thousands of years of exile, genocide, ethnic cleansing, persecution, pogroms, forced conversion, and murder of their children and elders. She said she was raised with the conviction that never again will there be genocide of their people, and Palestinians’ people are her people.
“Antisemitism and Islamophobia will never be eradicated unless we stand in solidarity, and today, that means calling for a ceasefire,” Kaufman said. “I stand with the Israelis who are begging for a ceasefire. I stand with the Israelis who survived the pogroms in their ancestry, in their families, most recently on Oct. 7, who are begging for ceasefire, that this war not be perpetuated in their name.”
Durel said the public will not make this much noise only to disappear.
“We have to recognize the power that they want us to forget, which is burning inside each and every one of us standing here today,” she said. “Together, we will continue to stand for a ceasefire.”
APS settles suit over Benny Hargrove shooting - Albuquerque Journal, KUNM News
Attorneys announced Monday that Albuquerque Public Schools has come to a settlement with the family of Benny Hargove, a 13-year-old student who was shot and killed by a classmate in 2021.
The Albuquerque Journal reports the district will pay the family $900,000. Additionally, it will include Hargove’s story in an anti-bullying program and make improvements to a city park named after him as part of the settlement.
Fellow Washington Middle School student Juan Saucedo Jr. shot and killed Hargrove at school with his father’s gun. Hargrove had stepped in to defend a friend from being bullied before he was shot.
Saucedo pleaded no contest to second-degree murder.
The lawsuit against Saucedo’s parents for not locking up their gun has not been settled.
Hargrove’s death inspired legislation that made it illegal in New Mexico to not store firearms in a way that keeps them out of the hands of children.
Native American tribes fight US over a proposed $10B renewable energy transmission line - By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press
Work on a $10 billion project that will funnel renewable energy across the West has come to a halt in southwestern Arizona, with Native American tribes saying the federal government has ignored concerns about effects that the SunZia transmission line will have on religious and cultural sites.
Federal land managers temporarily suspended work on the SunZia transmission project along a 50-mile (80-kilometer) segment last week after the Tohono O'odham Nation asked for immediate intervention, saying bulldozers were clearing a stretch of the San Pedro Valley and that one or more historic site were demolished.
The tribe was joined in their plea by the San Carlos Apache Tribe and archaeologists. Zuni Pueblo in neighboring New Mexico and other tribes in the Southwestern U.S. also have raised concerns, saying the area holds cultural and historical significance for them as well.
The letter includes a photograph of an area where desert scrub was cleared in preparation to build pads for transmission line towers along with hundreds of miles of access roads through a valley that tribal officials and environmentalists say is relatively untouched.
Renewable energy advocates have said the SunZia project will be a key artery in the Biden administration's plan for boosting renewables and improving reliability among the nation's power grids. It will stretch about 550 miles (885 kilometers) from central New Mexico, transporting electricity from massive wind farms to more populated areas as far away as California.
Pattern Energy, the developer, has billed the SunZia project as an energy infrastructure undertaking bigger than the Hoover Dam. Executives and federal officials gathered in New Mexico in September to break ground on the project.
Verlon Jose, chair of Tohono O'odham Nation, suggested in an Oct. 31 letter to the Bureau of Land Management that the agency was prioritizing SunZia's interests rather than fulfilling its trust responsibilities to tribes.
He pointed to an order issued by U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland that calls for federal land managers under her direction to "give consideration and deference to tribal proposals, recommendations, and knowledge that affect management decisions on such lands." Haaland is a member of Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico.
"We hope you will agree that bulldozers are poor tools for consultations or for treating places having exceptional significance in O'odham, Apache, and Zuni religion, culture, and history," Jose wrote.
Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning said in a letter to Jose last week that she was asked by Haaland to respond to the concerns. She suggested having a meeting in the coming days.
The agency did not immediately respond to an email message from The Associated Press asking about the tribes' concerns. It was also unclear how long the work would be suspended.
Pattern Energy said Monday that it considers the pause on work as "a good faith step" as part of the Bureau of Land Management's consultation process.
Natalie McCue, Pattern Energy's assistant vice president for environmental and permitting activities, said the company has worked to address tribal concerns over the years and that the transmission line will be parallel to existing infrastructure within the valley to minimize the impacts.
More than a decade in the making, SunZia's line would be capable of transporting more than 3,500 megawatts of new wind power to 3 million people in the West. In New Mexico, the route was modified after the U.S. Defense Department raised concerns about the effects of the high-voltage lines on radar systems and military training operations.
Environmentalists also were worried about impacts on wildlife habitat and migratory bird flight patterns in the Rio Grande Valley.
There are similar ecological concerns in the San Pedro Valley. The transmission line is at the heart of a legal challenge pending before the Arizona Court of Appeals over whether state regulatory officials there properly considered the benefits and consequences of the project.
Pattern Energy officials said the company will be planting about 10,000 agave and 7,000 saguaro cactuses as part of restoration efforts and will be funding a plant salvage study as well as work to identify new agave species along the San Pedro River.
Roadrunner Food Bank seeks donations and volunteers – KOB-TV, KUNM News
One of the state’s largest food banks is asking for more donations as the holidays approach and demand increases.
KOB-TV reports Roadrunner Food Bank was not able to do its regular campaign with the U.S. Postal Service this fall to gather nonperishable food items. That means 100,000 to 200,000 fewer pounds in food at its warehouse.
Also, the increase in food prices and the end of the pandemic boost in SNAP benefits, known as food stamps, are contributing to increased demand.
House pushes off impeachment of Homeland Secretary Mayorkas for handling of southern border - By Stephen Groves Associated Press
The House voted Monday to push off a Republican effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, ending for now a threat against the Cabinet secretary that has been brewing ever since Republicans took the House majority in January.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a hard-right Republican from Georgia, forced a vote on impeaching Mayorkas to the floor through a rule that allows any single member to force a snap vote on resolutions, including constitutional matters such as impeachment. Eight Republicans joined with Democrats to vote 209-201 to send her resolution to committees for possible consideration, like any other bill. They are under no obligation to do anything.
Impeachment is usually reserved for grave misconduct in office but is instead being wielded in an extraordinary effort to remove Mayorkas for his handling of the southern border. The vote and its GOP support showed a growing appetite to reach for Congress' most powerful weapons and redefine what the Constitution means by impeachable "high crimes and misdemeanors." Impeaching a Cabinet official for their policy decisions would be unprecedented.
Greene in a floor speech Monday accused Mayorkas of a "pattern of conduct that is incompatible with the laws of the United States," as she cited record numbers of illegal border crossings, an influx of drugs and his "open border policies." The impeachment resolution accuses him of failing to adhere to his oath to "defend and secure our country and uphold the Constitution."
After the vote, Greene said she may try again to push an impeachment vote to the floor and argued her colleagues would face pressure from voters to impeach Mayorkas.
"Many Republicans, I would argue, are really tone deaf to their constituents and to their voters," she said.
Several prominent Republicans have become outspoken advocates of pushing forward on the GOP's longstanding effort to impeach Mayorkas. House GOP whip Tom Emmer, the No. 3 House Republican, as well as Rep. Tony Gonzales, a Texas Republican whose congressional district runs along the border with Mexico, voiced support for Greene's resolution.
During congressional testimony, Mayorkas has insisted that he is focused on securing the border and enforcing the law.
"While the House Majority has wasted months trying to score points with baseless attacks, Secretary Mayorkas has been doing his job and working to keep Americans safe," a DHS spokesperson said in a statement.
Greene's resolution also calls the influx of migrants an "invasion." Immigration advocates denounced her use of the term, saying it showed she was acting based on the racist "great replacement theory," which purports that there is a plot to diminish the influence of white people in society.
"Rep. Greene's impeachment articles are a dangerous and racist political stunt and should be voted down by all of her colleagues in the House, regardless of their opinions on the policy actions of the Biden administration," said Vanessa Cárdenas, executive director of America's Voice, in a statement.
Republicans have closely scrutinized the Biden administration's handling of the border with Mexico for months and sought to build an impeachment case against Mayorkas. But Greene voiced frustration with the progress of those inquiries and pointed to a car crash in Texas that killed eight people after a driver suspected of smuggling people tried to flee the police and crashed into another vehicle.
The renewed push to impeach Mayorkas is yet another headache for new House Speaker Mike Johnson, who is already juggling both a potential impeachment vote and delicate negotiations over government funding legislation to avert a federal shutdown at the end of the week.
Johnson earlier this month said in a Fox News interview that he believed Mayorkas has committed "impeachable offenses," but also warned that the House has "limited time and resources." The speaker, who is just three weeks into his job, has also been supportive of an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
Only one U.S. cabinet official has ever been impeached: Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876. A House investigation found evidence that he had received kickback payments while administering government contracts.
Nearly two dozen toddlers sickened by lead linked to tainted applesauce pouches, CDC says - By Jonel Aleccia, AP Health Writer
U.S. health officials are warning doctors to be on the lookout for possible cases of lead poisoning in children after at least 22 toddlers in 14 states were sickened by lead linked to tainted pouches of cinnamon apple puree and applesauce.
Children ages 1 to 3 were affected, and at least one child showed a blood lead level eight times higher than the level that raises concern, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
There's no safe level of lead exposure, but the CDC uses a marker of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter to identify children with higher levels than most. The affected children's blood lead levels ranged from 4 to 29 micrograms per deciliter.
The reported symptoms included headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a change in activity level and anemia.
The illnesses are part of an outbreak tied to recalled pouches of fruit puree marketed to kids from the brands WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree and Schnucks and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches. The products were sold in stores and online.
Parents and caregivers should not buy or serve the products, and kids who may have eaten them should be tested for lead levels. Children who are affected may show no symptoms, experts said.
Lead exposure can lead to serious learning and behavior problems. Heavy metals like lead can get into food products from soil, air, water or industrial processes, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The CDC said there were cases in the following states as of Nov. 7: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.