Santa Fe Expanded Sanctuary Passes Finance Committee Unanimously

It was inspiring. People packed the Santa Fe City Council chambers, with an endless line of speakers winding out the door and down a long hallway. And the Finance Committee vote for expanded sanctuary was unanimous. FYI, our blog will no longer be published daily. Read on to find out why.

Today’s Santa Fe Action. Use this link to Identify your Ward# and the schedule for Democratic Party Ward elections that begin Thurs, Feb. 16. If you want to create a new kind of democracy in which people matter, starting at the grassroots is essential. Let’s face it, neither of the major parties has been representing our interests, and this is where we can start. I have been advised that there will be progressive candidates in most all Wards, people committed to activating the party at the Ward level. Retake has a non-partisan strategy — to propose to both the GOP and the Democratic parties that on a quarterly basis Ward meetings be non-partisan, bringing Democrats and Republicans together to find common ground, to work together on a jointly developed neighborhood project. More on this in future posts. Please attend your Ward election and bring neighbors. It’s a one-hour meeting. It’s a tangible way for us to create a more authentic, grassroots progressive democracy.

Wednesday’s Santa Fe Action. Please write to KSFR program director Merrylin LeBlanc at, and tell her that you want the Retake Our Democracy radio show to continue. Or just call the KSFR office at 505-428-1527 and speak with Merrylin or leave a message on voicemail. This show could be an important forum, not just for Retake Our Democracy but for progressive groups throughout the state, as show after show will feature interviews with leaders from progressive advocacy groups and those impacted by misguided policies.

National Action:  We met with four extremely astute thought partners yesterday: Nina Wallerstein, Director of the UNM Center for Participatory Research and a long-time partner in numerous public health action research in indigenous communities throughout NM; Mark Diaz Truman, a community organizer from Albuquerque who trained under Marshall Ganz (lead community organizer for 20 years with Cesar Chavez); Bianca Belknap-Sopoci, Santa Fe activist and Director of Earth Care, and Scott Davis, community trainer in a range of cultural and gender issues for SURJ, and a trainer with the national group A Call to Men. Their advice was clear: the most important thing we can be doing right now is using Retake Our Democracy’s major strength: hundreds of Santa Feans who are well informed, semi-retired or retired, and who moved to Santa Fe from communities throughout the country. We need you to focus your energy on persistently and strategically reaching out to people you know in other states. This is a long-haul strategy. Even if your calls and emails result in one or two friends getting active and forming a local circle of activity, you will have magnified your impact many times. And if you activate a half-dozen people who engage others in their community, you will have magnified your impact to an enormous degree. This is your charge over this week: Engage, Educate, Activate. Rattle the GOP.

First, identify a handful of people you know who are progressive and who you know have a circle of progressive friends– people who might easily be activated. Call one person from this list every day and talk about what they could do. Use this link to our Rattle the GOP campaign summary. Discuss it with them and work to achieve buy-in. Send them the link and keep in touch. Second, go back to the list you made the other day (you did make a list didn’t you?) of all those people you know in other states, particularly in states with GOP representatives. This is not only about Rattling the GOP for their Town Halls this weekend, it is about building a community of friends and family to save our future. Nothing less than that.

Santa Fe Finance Committee Unanimous in Support of Expanded Sanctuary


The Chamber was jammed, standing room only with a line of people waiting to speak that went out the door.

First, Kudos to Somos Un Pueblo Unido. They turned out a HUGE crowd that jammed the chamber and stretched out to fill the hallway out to the street. The Finance Committee passed the resolution unanimously, signaling an almost certain passage by the full City Council on Feb 22. We will be there to make sure.


The line extended down the hall all the way to the street. Democracy in action.


Retake Our Democracy devoted a good deal of effort to engaging, educating, and activating our supporters to align with Somos Un Pueblo Unido. This is a core strategy that has been manifest in our support for New Energy Economy, our act of solidarity with the Masjid Al Rahma Mosque, all of our citizen lobbying efforts in support of Common Cause, Sierra Club, the ACLU, the Health Security Act, and others. Retake Our Democracy’s role in this is not to lead, but to follow, strengthening our allies initiatives while we learn from their leaders and their constituents.

A Change in Frequency of Our Blog Posts

For some time many people who I respect highly, most of all Roxanne, have told me I am devoting far too much time to a blog that requires at least 3 hours a day to produce. To publish this daily means I am not working on developing our leadership, meeting 1 on 1 with leaders of organizations with whom we need to form alliances, developing more organizational tools so that community canvassing can begin and so that we can reach out authentically to groups in other communities in NM who want to be activated. It also means I am not replenishing myself and allow breathing space for Roxanne and I to also have a life that is not revolving around this work. That is simply not sustainable. It is simply not in the best interests of Retake Our Democracy.

From the start I had said we had to be in this for the long haul, that this was not a sprint, but a marathon. We need to build the movement thoughtfully and strategically. But as a leader of this organization, saying this is not enough. I must model that behavior, and working 70+ hours a week on developing this organization is not modeling a long-haul strategy. You don’t run marathons at a sprinters pace, at least not if you plan to reach your goal.

Beginning today, Tuesdays and Thursdays will be posts with reminders of meetings, volunteer opportunities, and actions. I may drop in an inspiring video or a link to an article, but the post will be shorter. On a daily basis, I will update the schedule of hearings at the City Council and other actions and events at our Events & Opportunities page. I will also post to our Facebook page and highlight particularly urgent events.

On Saturdays, I will produce a larger piece focused on a specific issue. This Saturday, the post will be on the pernicious effect of money in politics, focusing on two examples. HB199/SB210 is a bill foisted on us by PNM and ALEC and presented falsely as an effort to provide consumer protection. And we all know how concerned PNM is about our protection. Not! The second focus of the influence of money and corporate interests will be how a city’s effort to create a Universal Early Childhood program can be framed as a “Soda Tax” by the soft drink makers. As with PNM, we know so well how much the soda industry is concerned about the well-being of its consumers, a high-percentage of whom develop diabetes, hypertension, and obesity through the daily consumption of their costly and nutritionally empty products. Look for that on Saturday.

ksfrRetake Our Democracy is on the air, 11am Saturdays on KSFR. On Feb. 18, Paul interviews Kim Shanahan, Santa Fe Home Builders Association, and Glenn Schiffbauer, Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce on the potential economic impact of threatened deportation on key business sectors: home building, hospitality, solar installation, and others. We will explore the situation that businesses find themselves in and how they can help protect their employees from deportation. If you like the show, please write to the program director, Merrylin LeBlanc at and tell her that you want the Retake Our Democracy radio show to continue. Or call the KSFR office at 505-428-1527, and speak with Merrylin or leave a message. KSFR tests out new shows for 3 or 4 slots, and then a committee decides if it should continue. Your emails and calls on this will matter.

moral-mondayRetake Our Democracy’s Moral Monday, Feb 20, Noon to 2pm, Stage at the East Side of the Roundhouse. We have speakers from the ACLU, Common Cause, Somos Un Pueblo Unido, New Energy Economy, Earth Care, Masjid Al Rahma Mosque, and others. At 1pm we will stage a mass symbolic ‘die-in’ with all participants lying in solidarity for five minutes. This is meant to represent the deaths that will be inevitable if our President, our Governo,r and their party are able to implement their litany of unjust policies, regulations, tax giveaways, and budget cuts. We will revive with music from Consuelo Luz, Jono Manson, and John Kurzweg, who will rock the place until 2pm. RSVP on Facebook here.

New Mexico Progressive Coalition’s (NMPCpeoples-rally-feb-20-2017-final-feb-02-color) Peoples Rally, Monday, Feb 20 8am-4:45. The Rally begins with registration at 8am, followed by lobbying on pressing legislation and meeting with legislators, then shifts over to our Moral Monday, and concludes from 2:30-4:30 pm with speakers organized by NMPC. Learn more about the People’s Rally here.

Go to the Events & Opportunities page to find out about more coming events and opportunities.

In solidarity, Paul & Roxanne.  No post tomorrow.  Back on Thursday.


Categories: Actions, Immigrant Rights, Justice

Tags: ,

2 replies

  1. Great blog! Sound strategy! Love the way you frame your work around supporting Somos and the Sanctuary resolution. Great modeling. Inspiring!

    Thank you!

    Bianca Sopoci-Belknap Executive Director, Earth Care 6600 Valentine Way Building A Santa Fe, NM 87507 (505) 983-6896 (office) (505) 699-1025 (cell)

    *”I can UNDERSTAND pessimism, but I don’t BELIEVE in it. It’s not simply a matter of faith, but of historical EVIDENCE. Not overwhelming evidence, just enough to give HOPE, because for hope we don’t need certainty, only POSSIBILITY.” -* Howard Zinn

    On Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 9:45 AM, Retake Our Democracy wrote:

    > paulgibson51 posted: “It was inspiring. People packed the Santa Fe City > Council chambers, with an endless line of speakers winding out the door and > down a long hallway. And the vote for expanded sanctuary was unanimous. > FYI, our blog will no longer be published daily. Read on ” >

  2. Thank you, Paul, for all your work and for taking care of yourself. I’d like to be in touch with others who want to continue to develop ties with the Muslim community. Could you give my email to the man who organized the visit to the mosque a few weeks ago so he and I can be in touch? Thx.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: