The Sandoval County Commission meeting on Aug. 24 began with Commissioner Jay Block begging for someone to adopt a cute kitten he had found, and then the public comment at the start of the three-hour meeting with 15 members of the public voicing their concern for their voting rights. Here is a sampling of public comments:

“The Secretary of State controls our elections and has made a mockery of the office. She should withdraw her candidacy.”

The Moment of Truth Summit was attended by Block, David and Erin Clements of New Mexico Audit Force fame “and New Mexico other patriots.” Block said “that documentary film [“Selection Code” about indicted Mesa County, Colo., county clerk Tina Peters] should be seen. We need to get rid of these [Dominion voting] machines.”

“In the primary, not everyone could vote. These convenience centers are not for the people.”

“When will we do a full forensic audit of the 2022 primary?”

“No voting machine is immune to hacking.”

“Remove the remaining drop boxes.” (This remark was addressed to the County Clerk.)

“We’re one generation away from losing our freedoms.”

“We have been giving our power away for years. We have been lied to for years.”

“I want to commend Commissioner Block…’If God puts a Goliath in front of you, he must believe there is a David inside of you.'”

“Things aren’t right. Give a prayer to our commissioners to give us back our freedoms.” (This person led us in silent prayer for the rest of her two minutes.)

“Look beyond yourselves through the eyes of Almighty God.”

“I’m here to remind you, we are still on our mission from God for voting integrity.”

The Memorandum of Understanding between the County and the Secretary of State was approved unanimously for $324,000 from the SOS’s office to pay poll workers and various other election expenses. Commissioner David Heil wanted to know how much poll workers are paid. The answer was $14-15 an hour. Then Commissioner Katherine Bruch suggested the commission reach out to high schoolers to remedy the dearth of poll workers for the upcoming elections.

The locations of polling places for upcoming elections were approved. Commissioner Block asked if there were any ADA issues in the 2020 polling places. The Placitas Church had issues at the primaries and is being replaced by the Placitas Public Library as a polling place. County Manager Wayne Johnson remarked that the county will install handrails at various locations and that “ADA compliance is a moving target” and they will deal with any issues on election day.

An Overcrowded Court

Financial Advisor Rob Burpo, a member of the Sandoval County Treasurer’s Investment Committee, spoke on behalf of adding an obligation bond to the upcoming ballot for renovations at the District Court, not to exceed $41 million. He raised the facts that there are now three courtrooms but five judges and that the overcrowding extends to other personnel. The County has added about 45,000 residents since the courthouse was built; court cases have increased by about 60 percent. Discussion ensued as the amount will be the largest bond issue put before voters in quite some time. The tax rate will increase by approximately $20 per household and will taper off over four years. Yea to nay was 3-2. The bond will be on the slate in November.

Burpo also noted that Sandoval County’s bond rating with Moody’s went down and he will revisit their rating with Moody’s in a couple of months.

Batteries from China

A request for approval to grant an extension to Sangre de Cristo House Interfaith LEAP in Pena Blanca for putting in a commercial kitchen and cafe, which was delayed due to COVID. A unanimous yea vote passed the extension.

Makita Hill of Planning and Zoning entered a requested zone change to special use for a battery storage and power plant facility, esVolta in Rio Rancho. Commissioner Block brought up lithium, Chinese communists, child labor in Tibet then voted nay with Commissioner Kenneth Eichwald, but the zone change passed 3-2.

Comments from commissioners included:

“It’s not right to penalize these folks [because they work] with battery systems. We need to be receptive to producing batteries for our electric cars…slave labor…national security.” (Commissioner Heil)

“China builds chips for our voting machines.” (Commissioner Block)

“Deep red states are very upset about making sure the right candidate is elected, not selected.” (Commissioner Block)

“Continue your enthusiasm into the legislative session. Gather your troops and beat the heck out of them. Get the changes made that you want to make.” (Commissioner Heil)

“I don’t appreciate the time we spend talking about other levels of government and not the business of this county.” (Commissioner Bruch)

“It’s free speech.” (Commissioner Block)

“These meetings are too long. We need to cut to the chase and get things going. People are sitting here and we’re here for over three hours. I live one and 1/2 hours away.” (Commissioner Eichwald)

No one adopted the kitten during the meeting.

The next hybrid meeting (in-person or online) of the Sandoval County Commissioners is on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m.

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