I have been debating since yesterday how I want to explain to you all what has been going on. I know that those of you that know me, know there has been something wrong with my affiliation with the Patriot groups for awhile. I just did not want to disparage them, nor hurt any of the initiatives they are trying to accomplish. But, enough.
I became involved with the Roosevelt County Patriots and by extension the New Mexico Patriots, as well as other county Patriot groups, during the last legislative session. The combined groups had/have good intentions on trying to turn New Mexico away from the destructive path the legislators are forcing us down. I had researched how to do referendum petitions on bills that the public should have the right to vote on before they became law. As part of the New Mexico Patriots, I became associated with Laura Schneberger, from Sierra County. She worked with me on the petitions, along with a couple others from NMP. The first two drafts on the petitions were admittedly pretty rough, and there were several mistakes. I did speak with a staff attorney at the Secretary of State’s office about how to fix the petitions. She, obviously, did not give me all the corrections. All the mistakes the Secretary of State pointed out on the petitions were on the third draft to the last. Instead of telling me how to fix the petitions from the get go, it was a little here, a little there. The SOS had no intention of ever approving any of the petitions in time for us to get them circulated for signature to be placed on the ballot in 2020.
I had been in contact with another man in Eddy County, who was also drafting petitions. He had contacts in Santa Fe that we could email the petitions to instead of having to drive or mail them. They would deliver the petitions for us. I had a long telephone call with him and another man affiliated with the Patriots about the petitions. On this phone call, the man affiliated with the petitions told us that he had fronted $25,000 to an attorney to sue the SOS and AG, on behalf of the New Mexico Patriots, for denying all the petitions. Shortly thereafter, I was brought onto a conference call with the leader of the NMP and the attorney, A. Blair Dunn. I know that there had been at least one conference call before this one that I had not been invited on. Mr. Dunn was preparing a complaint to be filed in District Court against the SOS and AG.
A week or so later, Laura messaged me asking if I wanted to be President, Secretary or Treasurer. I had no clue what she was talking about. There was a message thread going on between Mr. Dunn, Laura, the leader of NMP and a few others about forming the New Mexico Patriots Advocacy Coalition. To get the PAC filed, there needed to be a board, so I agreed to be Secretary, and Laura a board member. The intent of this PAC was to raise money to pay the attorney for representing NMPAC on the court case. I created the NMPAC Facebook page with that in mind. Laura was very active in setting up ways to collect donations: PayPal and Fundly. The treasurer had opened a checking account and was able to receive donations by check or money order. Laura worked with the treasurer to get the PayPal and Fundly accounts linked to the bank account, but the treasurer was not cooperative in getting this done. I think the PayPal finally linked, but the Fundly did not.
During this time, I had posted on FB about the $25,000 already paid to the attorney. That was not true. I had taken this man’s word for it, and when it was revealed to be a lie, I felt horrible about posting it. I took it down and apologized for the misinformation.
Also, during this time, I had a conversation with the leader of NMP where he accused Laura of trying to undermine him, trying to steal people away from NMP, all because she and I had started a blog, New Mexico Freedom Coalition, and the Push Back New Mexico page. These were initiated because Laura already had issues with the leadership with NMP, but was not trying to undermine them at all. On the blog and Push Back page, she continued to promote NMP and NMPAC, urging people to donate to the legal fund. He also accused her of trying to divert any donations from NMPAC. None of that was true, and I defended her to him on those accusations.
Evidently, the other members of the NMPAC Board believed what this man was saying, because there was no cooperation between them, me and Laura. It got to the point that Laura and I no longer felt comfortable with the direction things were going. We both resigned from the NMPAC board. I also made the decision to focus my attention on Roosevelt County issues, so removed myself from the New Mexico Patriot Facebook page, as well as all the other county pages. I still intend on helping raise funds for the attorney, so I did not remove myself from NMPAC FB page. In the meantime, the leader of NMP removed me from Roosevelt County Patriots’ FB page, and blocked me from it. During this time, I found out Laura had been removed from Roosevelt County’s page a week or two prior. I admit I was angry and chose to remove him from NMPAC’s FB page and block him. And removed the other board members as admins. I know, it was childish.
Through the other admins on Roosevelt County Patriots, Shawn Carter and Nicole Tivis, I was able to rejoin the FB page. I relented and allowed the leader of NMP back on NMPAC. But not as an admin. And, I thought things were going okay. Until yesterday.
Laura and I received a message from Mr. Dunn yesterday, and while he never came out and said it, he gave us enough information that we came to the conclusion that the leaders of NMP no longer want us to be affiliated with NMPAC or NMP in any way. His words when asked if they wanted us out: “It will help me keep peace in the valley….I don’t think there is a major problem, I just think this a point of contention (unnecessarily I will add but not on either of your parts) so removing the point reduces the drag of drama on me…..I am proposing that as the alternative for me needing to referee any further.” So, Laura and I removed ourselves from NMPAC. We are still fundraising for the legal fees to pay Mr. Dunn. None of this is his fault, and he is representing our interests in the lawsuit.
This tactic is nothing new to NMP. The leaders have removed people in the past for not agreeing with them, and not wanting to listen to other’s suggestions on how to approach things. Kind of a my way or the highway attitude. I am not saying that NMP hasn’t done some good. I just can’t endorse the methods.
There are many others across the State of NM that are unhappy with the path NMP is going down. Nicole Tivis started SENM Concerned Citizens. Chaves County left the Patriots and their page is Concerned Citizens for NM. There is a new page, SWNM Concerned Citizens. We are still involved in finding good candidates to run against incumbents that do not represent our values. We are still concerned about voter integrity. We are still concerned about the border and immigration issues. We will not ask you to pay dues to be a part of these groups. We will be doing fundraisers through the year to help us pay for some of the things we would like to accomplish, and we are still asking for donations to A. Blair Dunn, for legal fees. But we definitely will accept help in the form of volunteering. If you are able to.
I will be leaving the Roosevelt County Patriot Group, and doing most of my posting on my personal page, SENM Concerned Citizens, Push Back New Mexico as well as the New Mexico Freedom Coalition blog. If you are interested, that is where you can find me. Thank you all so much for your support!