Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrations in Santa Fe & ABQ! Plus We Report on the Barrage of GOP Ads & Mailers Riddled with Misinformation on Crime

The claims are outrageous, inflammatory and divisive. But sadly, they appear to be working. Today, we present an interview with Neri Holguin, election campaign manager extraordinaire. She outlined how up and down the ballot, GOP hit pieces on crime are narrowing the polls from top of the ticket to House District and county races. We also debunk the GOP false assertions and present a new endorsement: John Allen for BernCo Sheriff. We also offer details on Indigenous People’s Day celebrations in ABQ and Santa Fe.

Save the Date: Oct 10, Indigenous Peoples Day


An event is being organized by @nohonoringenocide, a loose-knit coalition of indigenous organizers. The purpose is to celebrate indigenous people and counter the Columbus day narrative of European colonizers as heroes. I’m not sure exactly what form that will take at Cathedral Park, but we assume some speakers, then culminating in a march of some kind. 

Indigenous Peoples Day in ABQ

Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration October 10, 2022

Location: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Address: 2401 12th St. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104

Phone: (505) 843-7270

Time: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center invites the public to join its commemoration of the fourth statewide Indigenous Peoples Day holiday on Monday, Oct. 10. New Mexico’s native tribes will gather with civic officials and the public to celebrate; the daylong event is open to all and will include dignitaries, Native cultural dances, a historical presentation, and artists’ booths/demonstrations. Admission is free for members and Native Americans; or included with museum admission.

No Limit to GOP Lies

Misleading mailers such as the one below are being sent to voters throughout ABQ, targeting House Dems and portraying them as soft on pedophelia, violent crime and worse.. But the three bills these mailers cite do nothing like what is claimed in the bullets in the mailer. Below the image, we address each of the claims asserted in this mailer.

The bullets in the mailer levy some very serious allegations, but as we will see, the legislation cited directly in the mailer bares virtually no resemblance to the claims made and in most cases, the bills enjoyed broad bipartisan support. By no stretch of the imagination are these “soft-on-crime”- bills.

2022.HB81. Allegation: Voted to pay criminals at 3x prevailing wage

The bullet screams out that criminals are being paid at three times the prevailing wage, conveying that Democrats want to coddle criminals. However, the bill authorizes no wages whatsoever. Incarcerated people do not get wages and aren’t being paid to work. The bill simply offers those without the means to pay court fines,the opportunity to pay them off by being credited for time served.The bill also amends existing law to require a criminal sentencing court to assess a convicted person’s ability to pay before imposing standard fines and costs related to the criminal proceeding. No one is being paid anything, this bill only allows poor inmates to reduce court fines and fees by being credited for time served. This bill was ​​endorsed by the New Mexico Sentencing Commission..

The courts and the criminal justice system are not assigned the task of punishing poverty, which court fines and fees tend to do. What’s more, courts often spend more administering and collecting these fines than the revenue generated by them. Imagine that: people in jail with no income find it hard to repay court fines and so courts have a hard time collecting those fines. Who could have predicted that?

The mailer below is even more explicit and just as intentionally wrong. The mailer clearly states that inmates are paid and the picture reinforces this false assertion by depicting an inmate holding cash. Yet, as outlined above, no inmates are paid while awake or asleep.

The bill, HB 81 passed the House with bi-partisan support (45-21), but after passing one Senate committee, the session ran out, so the bill never got to the Senate floor.

2021 HB54 Barber and Cosmetology Licenses 
In 2019, Republican Sen. Mark Moores sponsored SB 385, a “second chance” bill designed to ensure that criminal records wouldn’t prevent someone from earning a professional license, unless the conviction was related to the profession being pursued. 

This bill  passed with strong, almost unanimous bipartisan support (34-2 in the Senate, and unanimously in the House).  (SB 385, 2019). HB54 merely extends the same provisions captured in SB 385 and applies it to barbers and cosmetologists. HB54 also enjoyed bipartisan support, passing the House on a 48-15 vote- including yes votes from from seven  “law and order” Republicans: Reps. Bill Rehm, Greg Nibert, Gail Armstrong, Jane Powdrell-Culbert, Rebecca Dow, Kelly Fajardo and Ryan Lane.

The mailer makes it sound like the bill would create a clear path from prison to children’s barbershops for child sex offenders. When in truth, it would merely allow licensing boards to consider awarding barber and cosmetology licenses to inmates, as long as the license they were seeking is unrelated to their offense, a concept broadly and bi-partisanly supported in SB 385. I am guessing the GOP is not sending mailers decrying how Reps.Bill Rehm, Greg Nibert, Gail Armstrong, Jane Powdrell-Culbert Rebecca Dow, Kelly Fajardo and Ryan Lane voted to do exactly what Rep. Dixon did, make it easier for paroled inmates to earn a dignified living instead of returning to a life of crime.

2021 SB 114 – “Geriatric Parole

Allegation from mailer: ‘Voted to allow violent criminals and sex offenders out of prison before completing their minimum sentence.”

This is such a slanderous claim as to be laughable, if it weren’t being made in virtually every contested House race. The independent analysis conducted by Legislative Council Services, stated that:

“Incarcerating non-dangerous geriatric and seriously ill individuals does not further
interests in public safety. This bill would place a public safety consideration front and
center by excluding those convicted of first-degree murder and requiring nondangerousness for release eligibility. It also gives both Corrections and the parole board the ability to consider public safety at each stage of review. in other words, the bill has protections to ensure that Geriatric parole does not apply to violent offenders or sexual predators.”

This bill was endorsed by the Sentencing Commission (NMSC), which includes stakeholders from across the criminal justice system.

More from the Financial Impact Report compiled by the LCS: “The program of medical and geriatric parole established by SB114 applies to geriatric, permanently incapacitated, and terminally ill inmates. Inmates who have not served their minimum sentence may be considered eligible for the program, but inmates convicted of first degree murder are not eligible.”

The nonpartisan analysis in the Financial Impact Report estimates up to $1.1 million could be saved each year under the provisions of this bill.

The bill passed the Senate with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 37-4.,and also passed the House, but because there were diffferences in the House and Senate version, the bill was assigned to a Concurrence Committee, but the session expired before a compromise could be reached. And so we are still safe from “geriatric, permanently incapacitated, and terminally ill inmates.”

So, this is very far from a “soft -on-crime- bill,” rather it would save the state money while allowing “geriatric, permanently incapacitated, and terminally ill inmates,” to have their health condition(s) treated in the community.

I don’t mean to minimize legitimate concerns about public safety. It is obviously an important issue,. But important issues require clear, deliberate debate, not scurrilous, inflammatory rhetoric designed to mislead.

In the absence of legitimate debate, it is incumbent upon concerned Dems to communicate directly with voters via canvassing, phone banking, even letters to the editor offer a means of combatting this misinformation.

Below we offer one way to support Eric Olivas in a critical BernCo Commission race and at the same time speak to voters about a Dem House member, as Eric’s campaign is partnering with the campaigns of Reps. Pamelya Herndon, Meredith Dixon, Natalie Figuora, and Mariann Matthews (all four of whom have been targeted by these ads) to canvass together and Olivas’ canvssing script includes messaging for John Allen for BernCo Sheriff (below). All the Reps with whom Eric is canvassing are endorsed by Retake. To refresh your memory about the critical statewide importance of the BernCo races, click here to read our recent post on these races and why folks outside BernCo should care.

To volunteer to phone bank or door knock please contact Felecia Pohl at 505-377-8173 or email her at:

Feel free to reach out to Eric directly at 505-934-4540 if you have any questions about the race, or check out the campaign website at:

To contribute to the campaign use the Act Blue link below or send a check to: Eric Olivas for Bernalillo County, 2708 Valencia Dr. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110.

Why We Endorse John Allen For BernCo Sheriff

With so much fear-based misinformation being slung by Republicans, Retake is proud to endorse a solid progressive law enfrocement professional for Sheriff in Bernalillo County: John Allen. If elected, he would be the first African American elected to county Sheriff in NM history. And, why should we support John Allen?

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office is in dire need of new leadership, especially after the most recent Mayoral election, when Sheriff Manny Gonzales, his campaign, and BSCO employees were caught in a scandal involving campaign fraud and forgery. From The Paper:

“Win, lose or draw, current Bernalillo County Sheriff and Albuquerque mayoral candidate Manuel “Manny” Gonzales will have to face possible legal consequences of voter fraud and impropriety. These accusations and subsequent guilty findings and fines aren’t small. If found guilty, what Gonzales is accused of are fourth-degree felonies…. Allegations of fraud and forgery came about last summer when the Albuquerque City Clerk rejected Gonzales’ application for public campaign financing. A lot of forged signatures and donations were discovered. Candidates can get taxpayer-funded money by proving they have collected enough signatures to show community support. Along with a real signature, they have to get $5 from each signer. When there is cash involved, receipts with voter signatures are collected as well. The prize for all those signatures is over $660,000 in taxpayer funding to run a campaign for mayor.”

The Paper

Do BernCo voters really want a Sheriff who may need to be bailed out to be sworn in? And do BernCo voters want a Sheriff who has so little regard for the law that he will commit fraud to access public campaign funds?

By contrast, with John Allen, you get a law enforcement proessional who has served on the street, as an investigator, and in management and is committed to using research and data to improve the profession. Allen also clearly understands the difference between individuals with mental health and addiction issues that need treatment and dangerous, violent predators who need to be removed from the community. From John Allen’s website :

“With crime at an all-time high, the sideshow from the Sheriff—whether it was cozying up to Trump, refusing body cameras, or publicly berating the media—must stop. The cronyism, cover-ups, and retaliation need to end because this dysfunction puts our entire community at risk. “

More from his campaign website:

“John Allen’s career in law enforcement is extensive and varied. John started as a frontline patrolman with the New Mexico State Police, then moved to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office where he held supervisory roles with the Homicide, Violent Crimes, Crisis Int”ervention Team, and Special Weapons and Tactics units. John has investigated all types of homicides, officer and deputy involved shootings, and problems at the Metropolitan Detention Center, and has worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Secret Service, and Homeland Security when crimes involved narcotics, gangs and other criminal networks.”

“In 2015, John was one of the founding members of the Mobile Crisis Team (MCT), which pairs a clinician with a deputy to assist in mental health calls. He also served as the Sergeant for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), where he was responsible for creating policies and procedures for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.”

“In 2020, John retired as a Sergeant, serving 19 years with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.Today, John is a Lead Instructor at the CNM Law Enforcement Academy (CNMLEA), where he trains officers for APD and other departments around our state. He is one of the few “Master Use of Force” instructors and certifiers in the State of New Mexico, who focus on law enforcement’s understanding of use of force, constitutional rights, case law, and ethical decision-making. John is also a “Master Defensive Tactics” instructor who teaches the physical application of arrest, restraint, and control of suspects when being taken into custody.”

So, in electing John Allen as BernCo Sheriff, Bernalillo County will benefit from an experienced, ethical, Sheriff willing to implement needed criminal justice reforms, while the rest of the state will benefit from having a progressive criminal justice leader committed to improving how criminal justice services are implemented statewide.

Summing Up..

  • The GOP is up to no good, trying to mislead voters;
  • We have some great candidates in BernCo and;
  • Eric Olivas campaign enables you to canvass or call for him, for Allen and for one of four Dem Reps.
  • To volunteer to phone bank or door knock please contact Felecia Pohl at 505-377-8173 or email her at:
  • Feel free to reach out to Eric directly at 505-934-4540 if you have any questions about the race, or check out the campaign website at:
  • To contribute to the campaign use the Act Blue link below or send a check to: Eric Olivas for Bernalillo County, 2708 Valencia Dr. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110.

10-8-2022: Interview with Neri Holguin, Campaign Manager Extraordinaire

This was a most interesting interview, as Neri knows elections from inside campaigns. She shares with us what makes a good candidate and a good campaign. She also offers her concerns about the GOP carpet bombing of misinformation and how it is tightening races from the top of the ticket to the bottom. .An interesting glimpse behind the curtain.

In solidarity & hope,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Criminal Justice & Public Safety

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3 replies

  1. I am curious if you have any input on the Sandoval County sheriffs election candidates. My position has morphed into one of absolutely not voting for any candidate on the Republican ticket. But, I was in attendance at the Sandoval County Commission session where the majority voted to become a second amendment sanctuary county. Presenting in favor along with radical state sheriffs association president, Tony Mace, was our current Democratic Party affiliated county sheriff, Jesse James Casaus. I am presently considering leaving the sheriff selection blank or going against my stated position and voting for the Republican candidate, Darrell Keith Elder. I don’t think I can forgive Casaus and am actually considering punishing his inexcusable position with a vote against him. Crummy situation and choice.

    • comment emailed to me by Elaine Cimino.:

      How many times have we had to hold our nose and vote? The sheriff’s race in Sandoval County
      Is no exception.
      Yes, Jesse’s stood with the radical right sheriffs on the second amendment 2 years ago. This election cycle he did take a picture with Ronchetti at a 4th of July parade. He has not been promoting or seen supporting any of the radical patriot voters groups. In fact he has the support of the sheriffs and administration he oversees. His opponent is not very approachable and the one thing I can say is the Jesse Causus is approachable and he will return phone calls and answer his phone.
      In this purple county there is little separation between Democrats and Republicans.
      The race that matters the most is the County clerks race where radical right Lawrence Griego’s is deep in the pockets of the trump machine promising to upset the system. A Vote for Linda Gallegos is a vote to uphold democracy in Sandoval county.

      So vote where democracy will be upheld.
      Vote democratic.

      Elaine Cimino

  2. Steve Farkash, there was a Sandoval County Candidate Forum on Sept. 30 that included the Sheriff’s race. The incumbent didn’t participate.
    Watch that part here:

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