Sunday, May 28, 2023
Sandoval County

Block Responds to Jones' Request For More Civil Debates

Commissioner doubles down on statements and critique of local news


Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block blasted fellow commissioner Joshua Jones – and the Sandoval Signpost – in the wake of Jones’ appeal for commissioners to keep their comments during meetings on matters that pertain to county business.

At the April 28 meeting, Jones, who was attending the meeting during a Zoom call, asked that commissioners retrain from speaking about political topics and keep their comments on matters “within the purview of Sandoval County and the commission.”

While Jones, a Democrat and the newest member of the commission, didn’t mention names, Block, a Republican, regularly expresses his conservative views on a wide range of issues during the “Commissioners Discussion” portion of each meeting.

Block didn’t have the opportunity to immediately respond to Jones’ request then, as he had already taken his opportunity to speak. But he did when the agenda item came up at the May 10 meeting.

“I couldn’t agree more,” Block said of Jones’ request to only comment on county issues, “which is why I discuss those issues that affect our constituents, like higher mortgage rates.”

He went on to say the things he talks about – mortgage rates, inflation, crimes involving drugs that crossed the southern border, and the government colluding with Big Tech to silence free speech, and the like – are issues that impact Sandoval County citizens.

And he cites his sources, he said: “It’s not just pontification.”

As for speaking about issues pertaining directly to the county, Block listed several he was willing to talk about and that “newspapers” won’t cover. Among them were derogatory comments a commissioner he did not name allegedly made about Asian people and the people who regularly speak about election integrity during the public comment period.

He said they could also talk about an elected official he did not name getting arrested for domestic violence and another one who he said sued the county under her maiden name in order to get a favorable judgment.

“I pass those along because that affects us in Sandoval County,” he said. “You should know the behavior of your elected officials. You should know what they say, where they stand.”

Block then directed his comments to Jones, saying he was disappointed that he brought his concerns up in public while not being physically present for the meeting.

“We have talked for over five months, many, many times privately, and this commissioner never brought it up to me,” he said.

Neither Jones, nor anyone else on the commission, responded to Block’s remarks.

Unfriendly fire

The Sandoval Signpost published the story on Jones’ appeal for his colleagues to refrain from political rhetoric on May 5. The article went into detail on Block’s practice of advancing his viewpoints on political issues, often criticizing the Biden administration and other Democrats.

Block described it as a “hit piece” and criticized the Signpost, and its sister paper, the Corrales Comment.

“They’re just both very biased newspapers, and I get that. They have their own slant, and that’s fine,” he said.

Block pointed out that he doesn’t just criticize Democrats. Recently, he has accused the Trump administration of conspiring with technology giants to suppress free speech, and he’s criticized New York Republican Congressman George Santos a “piece of trash” who should resign at last week’s meeting.

“This isn’t just about being completely one-side,” he said.

The Signpost’s article mentioned that, like Block, Commission Chairman David Heil has spoken out against transgender women competing in women’s sports, as he did again that night by encouraging people who oppose New Mexico’s new Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Act to submit public comment by the May 15 deadline.

“The issues that Commissioner Heil and I have talked about, they affect us as Sandoval County residents, as New Mexicans and as Americans,” Block said.

Block finished with a warning to the public:

“Don’t trust the media,” he said. “They’re evil, they’re vile, they’re biased, and they are not your friend.”

(Editor’s Note: the author of this story is editor of both the Corrales Comment and Sandoval Signpost)


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