It has been truly brutal since Jan 20, with only really a massive march to restore our spirit, but today, you get some good news…
Notices of some upcoming events and opportunities follow some good news.
New Energy Economy (David) vs. PNM (Goliath). Going in, Mariel Nanasi’s legal team of John Boyd and Paul Hultin gave her about a 20% chance against PNM, not because the facts weren’t on her side, but because the legal rules favored PNM and because the Public Regulation Commission had ‘reviewed’ and then approved the PNM coal replacement plan. For the background on this case, click here. But Wednesday was a special day. First, not only was the hearing room jammed to capacity, three other spillover rooms were also filled to capacity. New Energy Economy, Earth Care, and Retake Our Democracy had reached out to supporters and they showed up. And there were many, many people wearing the new Retake Our Democracy buttons (available at Santa Fe Hemp,105 E Water St, Santa Fe). If this show of force didn’t put PNM on notice that the days of secret deals and unobserved passage of heinous energy policy were over, the hearing certainly did.
In the hearing, first Nanasi and then both members of her legal team shredded PNM’s failure to provide any justification for its choice of coal and nuclear to replace the coal plants shut down because of the EPA’s insistence. The NEE team then clearly revealed PNM’s shameless and gross understating of their plan’s costs to the rate payers and their consistent use of inflated estimates for alternative renewable sources. They also laid bare how the PRC had failed to uphold their regulatory responsibilities. When it came time for PNM and the PRC’s attorneys to rebut, they had nothing. It was almost embarrassing how little they had. And the expressions on the judges faces and their questions said it all. They were skeptical to say the least. A ruling won’t come for months and the odds still favor PNM, but at a post hearing dinner, each member of the legal team assessed NEE’s chances of winning, with none giving NEE less than a 50% chance of victory and two indicating 60-40% in NEE’s favor. We’ll keep you posted.
What NEE has been doing for years and what happened on Wednesday is a lesson for all of us. Against a stacked deck at the PRC, where for years PNM has enjoyed a 4-1 majority of fossil fuel sycophants, NEE has been there fighting for environmental justice and for New Mexico. Despite being repeatedly beaten or winning relatively small victories, they have been there, representing justice, well prepared and presenting the facts. But Wednesday they may have won their biggest victory and if they did all four coal plants in San Juan will likely be shut down. This is particularly instructive at a time when we are reeling at the swiftness with which Trump and his team are unravelling justice before our eyes. But NEE has never quit fighting for justice and neither can we. We may lose a few, but we are right, we are defending justice, we will not go away, indeed we will grow, and in the end justice will prevail. Kudos to you Mariel and to your entire team.
There is another lesson in the power of justice. The last PRC official up for re-election was soundly trounced by Cynthia Hall, a renewable energy proponent from District 1. That has made PNM’s margin only 3-2 at the PRC and District 5 representative Sandy Jones is up for re-election in 2018. He won his seat by only 28 votes in 2014. Retake Our Democracy has made his unseating a top priority. We will unseat Jones, establish a 3-2 majority of renewable proponents and force PNM to abide by the law and begin NM’s march to a 100% renewable energy portfolio. It can be done. David beat Goliath way back when and NEE may have just done the same. These are important local goals that can make a huge difference for New Mexico.
From Mexico. With every swipe at justice coming from Trump’s executive order pen, our movement builds and not just in the United States. Leaders throughout Europe are huddling to consider actions in the face of Trump’s threats to NATO, but what should inspire us all is how Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto responded to Trump’s executive order to initiate deportation, build the wall and make Mexico pay for it. What did Mexico’s President do?
- Went on the air and issued a stirring response;
- Cancelled a scheduled meeting with Trump; and
- Announced that the fifty Mexican consulates in the United States will be converted into authentic defenders of the rights of immigrants.
We need to follow Peña’s actions and strongly advocate for Somos Un Pueblo Unido’s resolutions asking the City to expand its Sanctuary policies. For a full report on Somos’ initiative and how you can support it, click here.
From the Netherlands. Trump has threatened to cut off all healthcare funding to any NGO that supports abortion anywhere in the world, an act known as the Mexico City Rule. Our new ruler of the world’s morality didn’t anticipate the Netherlands; instant response, announcing the creation of an international fund to replace the US’ cuts.Make no mistake, while this response is heartening, the impact of the Mexico City Rule has dire consequences that will be difficult to overcome even by an international response. Click here for a full report, including Planned Parenthood analysis of the impact of the Mexico City Rule. But what we all must take from Mexico and the Netherlands is that for every attack on our sense of justice, our world community is responding.
Ethics Commission Passes First Committee Hurdle 8-1. The one no vote: Yvette Herrell – (R) from Otero (Dist 51). We are watching legislators and we are naming names. This is a good start. We will keep you posted. Thanks to the incredible work of our Citizen Activist Action Team (Lobbying), bill summaries are pouring in and by the end of today, clicking this link will get you excellent bill summaries on a wide range of bills on election reform, climate change, healthcare, the rape kit backlog and likely more. To be honest, I didn’t think there was a chance we’d be able to mount a serious effort in this year’s session. I viewed it as getting our feet wet and learning the ropes. With another week of information gathering, we should be ready to begin flexing some muscles THIS YEAR.
Retake Our Democracy Leadership Shows Up. Twenty-five Retake volunteers signed up to assume leadership roles and 25 volunteers showed up last night to begin the process of creating a more distributed leadership structure to our work. It will take more than the 90 minutes we had to fully implement this effort, but we have laid the groundwork and already we have:
- One leader who will significantly upgrade our website and create a badly needed Pay Pal function;
- One leader who has already assumed leadership of the Research Team;
- Two leaders who are going to take the lead on reaching out to progressive organizations throughout the state and forge new alliances;
- Another leader has taken over responsibility for editing lobbyist information on bills and condensing them into a uniform, easily digestible format; and
- Several expressed interest in leading other forms of outreach to expand our base.
Much more concrete commitments will be finalized over the next two weeks. We’ll keep you posted.
Actions & Opportunities
Saturday, January 28th at 10 am at the Early Learning Center @ Aspen Community School, 450 La Madera Street. A Town Hall where you can ask questions and learn more about the Mayor’s Pre-K initiative. Tell your family and friends about it and post it on social media. Our greatest opportunity to advance justice is right here in our own back yard and increasing access to early childhood education to 1000 children is all about justice. The 1000 kids exposed to quality early childhood education will be our future teachers, doctors and activists. Let’s get them off to a good start.
Saturday, Jan 28, Stand and Rock, a Benefit for Standing Rock. Doors open at 6pm, show starts at 7pm, Skylight, 139 W. San Francisco, Santa Fe. FREE, although the hat will be passed! One week after “the march” comes “the show,” “the dance,” “the cause.” On Dec 23, Brian Hardgroove assembled a smokin’ house band that played brilliantly behind a series of tremendous musicians. Roxanne and I went and never sat down. The dance floor was packed and donations collected that night went to help pay the legal and medical costs for the brothers and sisters of the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. You don’t want to miss this: click here for details.
Mon, Jan 30, 4-7pm. Our First Open House Activism Event! At the home of Esther Kovari, 810 West Manhattan St. Santa Fe (near the Railyard). Keep the momentum going – take action now! On Saturday, we marched, we showed our strength in record numbers. Now we need to work together on the issues that count: Introducing Open House Activism. Every few weeks we’ll meet at someone’s home to take on an important and timely issue. Choose the issues you care about most. RSVP here on Facebook. The focus for this Open House will be Fighting Fracking in the Greater Chaco Canyon area. First, you’ll learn why this is such a serious environmental issue. Then we’ll take action with calls to our representatives and letters to government and elected officials to stop the fossil fuel industry from imperiling the environment and ancient cultures of this unique area. Drop by for ½ an hour, an hour, or however long works for you. Bring your kids. Get them involved. Show up and see what a difference coming together can make to our environment. Click here to RSVP on Facebook.
Social Media Training. Tues., Jan 31, 5:30-7pm, Ctr for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos. Ken Baumann will be providing training in the effective use of social media, focusing first on Facebook and Twitter, and then for those interested, Instagram. To participate, you MUST RSVP as space is limited. Click here to RSVP. We ask that you also bring your laptop and smart phone as this will help you learn by doing. If you do not have FB and Twitter accounts, please create them and take a look at the platforms before coming. This training is almost full, so if you plan to attend, sign up today.