Albuquerque, NM: In response to a dozen questions asked by New Mexicans, KOB addressed the Governor’s office and asked for clarifications to her “color coded” red to green county-by-county Covid19 reopen approach (though, anybody watching should know reopening will not be happening for probably a year). Governor’s Spokesman Tripp Stelnicki responded with snotty remarks, blaming rural counties and Republicans for new guidelines and said these people should be asked for clarifications, instead of answering the questions to policies the Governor is enforcing. Stelnicki implied that Republicans and county officials would be better able to interpret the state’s remarks than he would and that, apparently, reading the Governor’s order personally means we can understand it all, how we follow it and how it will be enforced. Here’s an excerpt of the questions asked and Governor Spokesman Tripp Stelnicki’s response:
KOB Journalist Grace Reader: For business owners who are going to be monitoring these developments closely to see what they can and can’t be doing, where do they need to be looking? Does the state have any concern that this county-by-county approach will confuse businesses and patrons about what they’re allowed to be doing?
Tripp Stelnicki: Did you read the attachment to the news release yesterday and find it confusing? Please let us know if we can help you understand it. Three colors is not confusing. Checking a website– or asking your county to check a website–once every two weeks is not difficult. Many other states operate precisely this way. Many communities and legislators, particularly Republican legislators, have been demanding exactly this county-by-county framework for months, please make the time to ask them whether they are glad to see it now and hold them accountable to their prior statements on the matter. These questions assume that this method of enacting and publicizing the restrictions is somehow comprehensively different than what has been the case for the last 9 months. It is not. Businesses and anyone else who wants to monitor these developments can look to the exact same places they’ve been looking. The levels will be clearly demarcated on the state’s websites. We are creating web widgets they can use on their own websites.
Shocked by the snotty remarks from Stelnicki? I feel like any common sense person would be. In response after response an angry Stelnicki did not answer questions, but responded rudely to legitimate questions shared by many businesses and New Mexicans. It’s as if trying to follow the Governor’s order insults him and clarifying uncertain points is unconscionable.
Keep in mind, businesses have misunderstood the order in the past and have been fined and possibly even shut down over infractions that were just misunderstandings. For businesses, it doesn’t help to ask their county who are just poorly-paid individuals who aren’t experts on government pandemic responses. But it’s the business’s job to guess what the order means and the state owes them zero explanation (apparently), according to the Governor’s spokesman. Imagine telling a reporter they’re free to make their own interpretation and navigate rules themselves. It’s like, “Yeah, you guys decide what it means,” then when the state police come pounding on the door, “You didn’t follow the rules!” If faulty responses are given during scenarios, does the state admit their rules were hard to understand and they failed to explain them? Or will the blame be left, again, on the local officials who have no clue what the bipolar governor’s office wants at that moment.
In any normal world, organizations or Republican officials stating this, would be called draconian and abusive. It’s like Governor Michelle Grisham is a parent expecting a child to follow unexplained rules and beating the child when they can’t read the parent’s mind. But since it is paid for by taxpayer dollars and the Democrat Governor Michelle Grisham’s office is stating it, it is just the “new normal.” Welcome to New Mexico. Hope you enjoy that freedom you’re given by the Government. (sarcasm)