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MLG delays bringing state employees back to the office: RGF comments on KOAT Channel 7

In the wake of an LFC report stating that New Mexico taxpayers are spending $18 million annually on unused office space, Gov. Lujan Grisham (after the election) decided to require that all state employees return to their offices by the star of 2023.

According to news reports, however, the Gov. has rescinded that requirement. Employees will be required to return NEXT month at the start of February. This is another case of poor leadership from the Gov. COVID (and remote work) has been going on for nearly 3 years now. The Gov. and her team should have figured out who needs to be in the office 5 days a week and who doesn’t (and how to manage them effectively) by now.

Could some state buildings be shuttered and sold off? Should the locations of gov’t buildings be shifted to reduce commute times? How can we make sure remote employees are actually doing their work?

These aren’t easy questions, but they should have been answered long ago. RGF’s Paul Gessing appeared in a story on KOAT Channel 7 to discuss the issue. You can find his segment here and below and the first portion here.

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RGF talks to KOAT Channel 7: City Taxpayers have spent $1 million on field transformations

The Rio Grande Foundation worked hard to make sure that City taxpayers didn’t have to foot the cost of a soccer-only stadium for the New Mexico United soccer team.

But, as KOAT Channel 7 notes in a recent story in which RGF’s president was interviewed, local taxpayers are STILL on the hook for expenses associated with the soccer team. In this case according to recent data requested by KOAT taxpayers have spent $960,000 since the United started playing games.

Is this better than building a brand new stadium? Yes. Has City Council ever voted on this? No. It would seem that at the very least our elected officials should be voting on this. Americans and New Mexicans are often asked to subsidize sports franchises, but that doesn’t make it right.

 

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Legislature Notable News Open Government Tax and Budget Taxes Top Issues Videos

RGF talks to KOAT 7 about $18 million being wasted on empty state office buildings

According to a new report from the Legislative Finance Committee the State of New Mexico is wasting $18 million a year on unused office space. The LFC report found telework and 21% of staff vacancies are accounting for unused offices.

Telework COULD be a cost-saving measure in some circumstances, but the State needs to produce coherent rules for government employees and whether those jobs are able to be done remotely or not. Sadly, the Lujan Grisham Administration has not managed to do this 2.5 years after COVID began and created the push for remote work. Watch the story here.

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Constitution and Criminal Justice Notable News Open Government Top Issues Videos

Rio Grande Foundation offers new tool for the public to engage political candidates

Local Albuquerque Company ProView Networks, helped Rio Grande Foundation team up with ProView StoryFile technology to allow the public to engage in a virtual environment with candidates and other public figures. The technology allows users to ask questions with the technology selecting the best match. ProView Networks produced the StoryFile conversation in Albuquerque.

The technology offers users the opportunity to sit down with a virtual version of the candidate and ask questions that are relevant to the office they are seeking, about the candidate’s background and their qualifications.

Several candidates were offered the chance to create a Proview “StoryFile” in the waning days of the campaign. Republican Attorney General candidate Jeremy Gay agreed to sit down and answer questions which highlighted everything from the role of the attorney general to his personal philosophy on
important issues in law enforcement and his own biography.

Said Paul Gessing, president of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation: “The Rio Grande Foundation’s podcast Tipping Point New Mexico allows me to regularly sit down with some of New Mexico’s most important thought leaders, elected officials, and candidates to discuss the issues facing our State.

Proview/StoryFile is yet another tool that will allow the public an even more intimate way to hear from these people.”

ProView Networks, an Albuquerque, NM based company has partnered with StoryFile, based in Los Angeles, as a production partner. Through this state-of-the art interactive technology, ProView Networks is producing and telling the stories of not only political figures, but prominent people in athletics, entertainment and business as well as preserving historical and family legacies.

To learn and see more, please visit www.proviewnetworks.com and click on StoryFile. For the first time in American politics any voter can sit down with a political candidate to discuss the issues using this exciting technology. You can access it yourself here: 

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RGF’s Gessing talks constitutional amendments w/ KOAT Channel 7

RGF’s president Paul Gessing sat down with KOAT Channel 7 to discuss two of the constitutional amendments that will be on New Mexicans’ ballots when they vote this fall.

Constitutional Amendment 1 would tap into New Mexico’s Land Grant Permanent Fund. Gessing’s appearance is toward the end of the clip.

A separate KOAT segment addressed Amendment 2 which would allow the Legislature to spend taxpayer dollars on infrastructure projects that would expressly benefit private interests.  Here is our detailed assessment of Amendment 2.

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Rio Grande Foundation hits KOAT TV to discuss City Council grant to Planned Parenthood

Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing recently sat down with KOAT Channel 7 to discuss the recent “no-strings-attached” made by Albuquerque’s City Council to Planned Parenthood.” Whatever one’s views on abortion, it is hugely problematic that City Council has “donated” $250,000 to an activist political organization that actively involves itself in political campaigns.

Story linked above.

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Local Government Notable News Top Issues Videos

Talking Homelessness with Pastor Mark Green of Roswell’s Harvest Ministries

Dealing with the homeless situation is challenging. It is a problem in Albuquerque as well as numerous other major American cities. Paul recently sat down with Pastor Mark Green who runs a homeless relief ministry in Roswell. He has a worked with the homeless for years and has some interesting ideas on how to help them and keep them out of public spaces and from taking grocery carts. Even the Department of Corrections could play a role.

Check out this short conversation:

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KOAT Channel 7 covers RGF’s successful lawsuit against Keller Administration

KOAT Channel 7 recently did an excellent story about the propensity of cities throughout New Mexico to make big payouts to citizens who have been denied access to basic public records. The Rio Grande Foundation has won multiple lawsuits including one against the City of Albuquerque but we are not alone. The City of Albuquerque’s taxpayers have paid out more than $330,000 over the Keller Administration’s repeated denial of public records.

The KOAT story includes comments from the Foundation for Open Government, local attorney James Gover, and the Rio Grande Foundation. You can find the full story here.

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RGF offers thoughts on United’s future stadium ambitions

While RGF is pleased by Albuquerque voters’ overwhelming rejection of the proposal to build a taxpayer-financed soccer stadium near downtown, we recognized all along that the Team was not going to give up their quest for a new stadium.

Channel 7 KOAT laid out some ideas including potential stadium locations on tribal lands. RGF expects that, given the massive surpluses available to the Legislature and Gov. Lujan Grisham, we could see significant state dollars used to fund a stadium even if Albuquerque voters have rejected the concept.

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On KOAT Channel 7 RGF Reacts to poll showing United Stadium lacks support

Early voting at the county clerks’ offices is taking place now. A new poll says that overwhelming majorities of Albuquerque voters are against the use of taxpayer dollars to finance the stadium.

While gratified by this news, we recognize that polls are often inaccurate and that the only poll that REALLY matters is the actual election. So, with this stadium and numerous other important issues on the ballot, be sure to GO VOTE (and bring a friend or family member)!

Check out the discussion Gessing recently had with KOAT Channel 7 here.