Hostility, Threats and Commentary on Flickinger and Lorrie Black Lawsuit v Alamogordo Public Schools


Lawsuit filed, a video suddenly drops and spreads across social media, rumors and innuendos propagate, extremist from both major parties jump to conclusions and activate their ideological extreme drones, threats of (hopefully rhetorical) lynchings are declared via anonymous calls and even in person during a school board meeting via public comments, more vocal threats are made, social media intimidation as well as blocked phone threats are made against educational leadership and those in the press that report the issue and that is a week of politics in Alamogordo and Otero County., Alamogordo Conversative Daily and 95.1 FM broke a story last week that other news outlets followed about the lawsuit filed by the Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts and Executive Director Lorrie Black against the Alamogordo Public School System and Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Moore. A link to the 34-page complaint and lawsuit is below…

Many in Otero County and Alamogordo were hoping that once the election was over and with Mr. Griffin no longer as an elected lightening rod of controversy that civility would reign and calm would again take over in the politics that is Otero County and Alamogordo. There was concern with Representative John Block District 51 however for the most part he has stayed out of the fray of most controversy and only popping up occasionally in press releases and via his propaganda blog. Thus far tamer then expected. Let’s hope he remains that way after the short legislative session ends.

Civility ended with the filing of the lawsuit from a local cultural arts facility and its’ executive director against the local school superintendent and the school system itself. The extremist of both parties ratcheted up the dialog. Since then the school board met in special session, suspended the superintendent pending further investigation, appointed an interim superintendent, local Pamela Renteria who has almost 30 years of local public service experience as a teacher, administrator and now interim superintendent. With any controversial lawsuit feelings are on edge, extremist spill opinions many times without the support of facts and tension rises.

There have been threats and a police report filed due to fear of violence. filed an IPRA request with the city of Alamogordo Clerks Office and the Alamogordo Police Department to understand a rumors of threats against Dr. Moore and if they were credible threats.

The response was quick responding that an incident had been filed with the victim Dr. Kenneth Moore and a complaint filed via the Administrative Offices of the Alamogordo Public Schools. The narrative in the report released by the Alamogordo Police Report reads that “on 2/10/2023 at 14:38 hours Officer Escalante was on duty and working at Alamogordo High School when he was advised of a threats report that needed to be filed.”

Per the report, ”upon speaking with reporting party it was determined that there may or may not be someone who was upset with the recent video that was posted to You Tube in reference to Dr Moore and the comments he had made.”

The IPRA released information continued that “unknown persons were in a group behind Walmart and were discussion Dr. Moore’s comments…maybe one of the local gangs (Arian brothers, goon squad, ace boys,) may be upset and want to hurt Dr. Moore.”

As such per the report “extra patrols were requested for Dr. Moore’s residence.” It was also noted by the police department in a memo that “Dr. Moore was going to be out of town” thus a note on the extra patrols.

Reporting via we receive threats via calls with blocked numbers, letters with no return address or our ironically own return address, all typical of the cowards that stoop to threats and don’t respect a free press or freedom of expression except their own.

Those that suppress expression; be reminded Amendment One is a free press allowing freedom of thought and expression and Amendment 2 is in place to protect that free press; as such we support both. There should be no limits to freedom of expression and anyone with a sound state of mind should be allowed the right to arms.

We have received a threat of a boycott of our businesses unless we stop reporting in addition to the threats of bodily harm. The irony is we have received as much negativity from extremist on the left as on the right depending upon the story covered. The fact that extremist of both parties attacks our news coverage, tells us we are reporting on issues that are important to the community, and we are fairly centered in our coverage, given the criticism from extremist on both sides. To date the threats have not been to the point of requesting police protection, but we have cameras at all of our properties constantly recording, alarms and panic buttons in place and of course, we have the necessary means or arms to defend ourselves, if danger decides to lurk in shadows.

Specific to our coverage of the lawsuit that was filed against the school system by the Flickinger Center and by Lorrie Black what follows is our editorial commentary specific to the lawsuit and the allegations against Dr. Moore.

The advocates and strongly encourages the Alamogordo School System to end any boycott of attendance of the Flickinger Center by students, teachers, or administrators. Let the students and teachers back in!

We have been an advocate for the cultural arts since day one and believe that the school children need to be more deeply involved and engaged in the arts. We support enriched art and performance arts education.

We have also struggled in our own outreach and with connections within the school system. We have actively wanted students to engage with us and participate in our community news and school news reporting via our news site and via our radio station We have also wanted more student involvement in classes offered and in mentoring opportunities for students.

Thus, we call on the interim superintendent and the Alamogordo school board to reengage with Flickinger Center with expediency.

Specific to other elements of the lawsuit we have no concern with the filing of a lawsuit if it was done exempting the Flickinger Center as a plaintiff and was filed by as a private citizen advocate.

We were critical and remain critical that a lawsuit was filed with Flickinger as a plaintiff. We believe in communication and believe that a lawsuit from an artisan focused nonprofit organization against a political body is dangerous and risks political overtones that are harmful to the greater artisan community at large.

We believe a form of mediation should have been applied to the disagreement between Flickinger and the School System. In reviewing the many issues of the lawsuit, it appears ego took precedent over finding a neutral third party to negotiate a settlement.

Specific to the claim of defamation of Character against Lorrie Black.

We heard negative rumors months ago that we felt were not true. As such, we went directly to the Flickinger Board President and suggested that they manage messaging and get ahead of any negative rumors and the source that could adversely impact Mrs. Black and the Flickinger Center.

We felt the rumors to not be true, thus we did NOT report them. We would only have reported such after a charge was filed or a board member validated an issue. Out of respect for Mrs. Black we discreetly suggested to the board members of the Flickinger, to get ahead of the rumors and squelch them, as they are bad for the arts district and of course could negatively impact the credibility of the artisan pursuits of the Flickinger Center.

If indeed, Dr. Moore is proven, in court, to have perpetuated a rumor as asserted in the lawsuit, that is unfortunate, and he should be held accountable.

However, we believe that the lawsuit, if filed, should have been a separate suit by Lorrie Black related to her concerns on the issues specific to surety bonds, lack of response to IPRA’s, emails specific to transgendered athletes, distribution of information on adverse reactions to Covid shots, and race and equity education which are not within the purview of the Flickinger Center.

As a private citizen, Mrs. Black, has the right to speak, protest, act, and question anything of public policy and we encourage her to do so and act to defend her position with whatever means allowed by law as a private citizen. Mrs. Block as a private citizen can certainly file a lawsuit against the school system and may have grounds.

However. the engagement of a lawsuit with the Flickinger Center as a co-plaintiff that engages in dialog and letters of concern about transgendered sports, mask mandates, Covid Vaccine Education and in-person verses video conference meetings has no place as a nonprofit tax exempt arts organization. As a co-plaintiff it appears that the Flickinger Center is engaging in those discussions with the school system which is well outside its role and its mission statement.

The Flickinger Center as a nonprofit, and nonpartisan entertainment entity should not be engaged in emails and political discussions on policy related to mask mandates, vaccine education and information, in person political meetings, transgendered sports, and equity education. If the emails were sent with Mrs. Black acting as Executive Director of Flickinger then that is political advocacy that is not core to the mission of Flickinger. If she did it as a private citizen, then Flickinger should not be a co-plaintiff on the lawsuit.

Dialog of concern about mask mandates, vaccine education and information, in person political meetings, transgendered sports, and equity education is public policy advocacy; a non-profit arts organization that is tax exempt is NOT to engage in political dialog per IRS regulations.

“Covid anti-mask and anti-vaccine advocacy has placed political activism of 501(c)(3) organizations under scrutiny of the IRS across the country. Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political activities
on behalf of (or in opposition to) any public office or public policy positions. Public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition political policies clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes,”
per Internal Revenue advisories.

The filed lawsuit paints the Flickinger Center with a paintbrush of engagement on these policies rather real or perceived. In the arts world and business, perceptions can have a greater positive or negative impact than truth. Perception is reality, to some elements of society.

Rather intentional or fair or not, the paintbrush of the lawsuit tarnishes the reputation of the Flickinger Center, its board, its leadership and staff. It, further feeds into a perception from some segments of the Otero County Community of political activism.

The fact is the lawsuit tackles more then just kids back to Flickinger and outlines issues that are not of the mission of the Flickinger Center.

Per the Flickinger Center Annual Report…

Our mission is to provide Alamogordo, Otero and Lincoln Counties with a performing arts center, maintain and improve the facility to showcase world class entertainment and local talent, as well as reaching our local student population with live music, dance and theater.”

No where in the Flickinger Center annual report mission is there reference to advocacy for or against transgendered sports, mask wearing, vaccine education or political activism.

Our editorial team encourages a representative from the Alamogordo Public Schools and a representative from the board of the Flickinger Center to de-escalate this immediately for the benefit of the Alamogordo community.

The arts should unify the community. The arts are meant to inspire, awe, entertain and bring hope.

Lawsuits, public calls for terminations and turnover of leadership are divisive and disruptive. That dialog has a place in the political arena it does not have a place in the artisan arena. Get the kids back into the arts and get the adults to de-escalate and unify.

The video that was released on social media specific to comments that Dr. Moore made critical of race relations in Alamogordo is another unfortunate issue.

Dr. Moore should have exercised better judgement in making the statements reported. Is one speaking ones opinion of ones community free speech?

Was he exercising his sentiments as a private citizen or in an official capacity?

Only he knows the truth of his intent.

His thoughts could have been framed differently. Dr. Moore needs to learn professionalism in his relations to public speech.

Political leaders make mistakes and say stupid things, often. If stupid statements mean a person should not be in office then, Trump, Biden and a million other political leaders should be removed from office. 

Should Dr. Moore explain himself publicly? Yes!
Should be apologize and put his thoughts into context? Yes!

Should Dr. Moore be removed from office? Not for a speech no!

However, if the public and the board has lost trust in his ability to lead, motivate and inspire his subordinates to a measurable success, then yes he should be removed from office.

Removal for failure to lead, not removal due to speech. Leaders must lead up and lead down. Dr. Moore with his military experience understands leadership however,  he seems to not realize the politics of his role.

Politics is a delicate art of consensus building with fighting and bickering factions. Public education is one of the most difficult arenas to build consensus.

Now may be the time for Dr. Moore to speak, explain himself and make the decision of a graceful exit or a quick and thoughtful path forward. The next week or so will define the future of the path forward.

This Sunday there is a pro Dr. Moore rally scheduled for the corner of 10th and White Sands. There is a school board meeting scheduled for Tuesday for public dialog. We call for all parties to calm down, de-escalate and let’s work on bridges to build a community that does not tear itself apart. Now is the time for adults to step up and start adulting and bring civility back to Alamogordo and Otero County.

Let the events of the past week and the week before us be a lesson on escalation to de-escalation and civility that we can be proud of.

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Speaking of the protest to support Dr Moore today on a riddle a riddle here. What prominent (?) Democrat party executive committee member tried to force me to leave the publicly announced protest to support Dr Moore. When I arrived I was told I needed to leave and that I was a quote bad person unquote. Needless to say I did not leave until another appointment forced me to leave. I continue to be surprised that the executive committee lets to allow this kind of behavior to be taken by an executive committee member.

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