At the September 14 meeting of the Sandoval County Board of County Commissioners, Commissioner Bruch succinctly and meaningfully declared the board’s support for National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15).

Commissioner Block sponsored a proclamation to declare September 2022 Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Sandoval County and invited Ms. Crissy Kantor to speak on behalf of the cause. Then he told her she is beautiful and asked her out to dinner. Commissioner Block put it into context for us when we asked him. Ms. Kantor is his fiancee.

Ms. Kantor responded, “Funny guy,” and immediately got back to business.

PNM’s Local Government and Community Relations Manager Robert “Rob” Leming spoke about PNM’s community presence in Sandoval County, with more than 63,000 customers in Sandoval County. He stated that PNM is close to having 50 percent renewable energy in the county from wind, solar and geothermal sources. The company has donated more than $30,000 to nonprofit community partners and has a bill-paying assistance program. Residents can call 855.364.2950 for help. Commissioner Block asked where PNM buys its renewable energy equipment, and Mr. Leming said he would look into it. Commissioner Eichwald asked how long the San Juan Power Plant extension is going to last, and Mr. Leming said the plant is scheduled to be shut down this month. He said PNM is subbing in other power for that now generated by San Juan.

The commission voted unanimously to purchase the first property of three earmarked to expand the county courthouse, for $1.2 million.

During the public comment period, Don Topper, the mayor of Cochiti Lake, cited three examples of delays in emergency services reaching townspeople, “a systemic problem that has not been addressed.” In Rio Rancho, for example, he stated that emergency services are overriding a GPS system that could get them to the appropriate location in time to render services. He also feels that Cochiti Lake is perceived as being a poor community and so they don’t get the same services as other areas in the county. He has no confidence in the system as it stands and wants the commission to address his concerns.

Several people expressed anger at the commission for having voted 3-2 to allow the lithium battery facility, EsVolta, to go ahead with building in Rio Rancho. They seemed to be concerned with lithium–which primarily is mined in China–and purported child slave labor used to mine it. One person said he was “shocked” that three commissioners voted for the project. Commissioner Heil said that we have to depend on China for the materials and there is nothing that can be done quickly to open up lithium mining in the U.S. Another person said, “Get rid of China.” Yet another explained that Chinese buildings can be very dangerous. She lived in China for a while and the Chinese name for unsafe buildings is “tofu buildings” because they heat up, catch fire and explode.

There was the usual support for paper ballots and getting rid of voting machines, with one man, referring to voter fraud, stating that “God himself is going to bring to account these acts of treason.” He also mentioned that both parties are corrupt and there is a parade of ballot box-stuffing mules in the county. A woman testified that she worked in the polls during the primaries and saw many discrepancies, calling for total removal of all voting machines and ending with “Open your eyes.” Many expressed support for photo IDs for voters. No one mentioned drivers’ licenses.

One person felt that the Governor has made him culpable for abortions in the state because she pledged $10 million to build an abortion clinic near Las Cruces. He was upset that the Governor would invite people into the state to have abortions.

During the commissioners’ comments portion, Commissioner Block expressed support for voter IDs because he had to show an ID just to adopt his cat. He also wants Election Day to be a national holiday and wants voters to know who won on election night, bang bang. (No comment on how all of those paper ballots will be counted by midnight.) Commissioner Eichwald said Elon Musk is going to start mining lithium in Mexico for his cars and that child labor will be a problem there, too, and we should monitor that problem.

Commissioner Heil is 100 percent in favor of voter IDs and stated that 72-94 percent of the public is in favor of them as well. But he also said that, according to his research, in the recent New Hampshire Republican primary, voting machines proved more accurate than ballots on paper. He agrees 100 percent about problems with China, Russia and the Congo, where the child slaves come from.

The next Sandoval County Board of Commissioners meeting will be held on Sept. 28 at 6pm. All meetings are held at 500 Idalia Road, Building D, Bernalillo. The meeting may be viewed online at Public comment will be taken in person and online at

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