The Trump Death Budget & Its Opposite: Santa Fe’s Participatory Budget Process

We have witnessed what top-down policy development looks like: the crash & burn Trump healthcare fiasco. And we are witnessing similar dynamics with our Governor and the State budget. Retake Our Democracy and the City Different has a different plan in mind.

Before we discuss the Trump Death Budget and its polar opposite, Santa Fe’s emerging participatory budgeting process, a few announcements and updates:

Tonight. Th March 30 7-8:30pm at Temple Beth Shalom, 205 E. Barcelona, Santa Fe, Public Banking Panel Discussion.  Come to learn about Jewish & Buddhist perspectives on economic justice, and what a Public Bank could mean for Santa Fe. With Mayor Javier Gonzales & SF City Councilor Renee Villarreal plus Elaine Sullivan. Interfaith Dialogue with Sensei Joshin Byrnes of Upaya Zen Center & Rabbi Neil Amswych of Temple Beth Shalom.  Click here for details and to RSVP.  

Friday, March 31, 6 – 8 PM. Center for Progress and Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe, Free screening and discussion of “13th,” Nominated for Best Documentary.  Just show up. Popcorn from IATSE. We are coming together as a progressive community and this is a tremendous film.

Saturday, April 1, 10 am – 1pm, Higher Education Building, 1950 Siringo Road, Santa Fe. New Mexicans for Money out of Politics is partnering with American Promise, a national group that organizes and advocates from across the country to provide a free, half-day training on advocating for a 28th constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court decision known as “Citizens United.” Click here for more on the American Promise. For more information or to RSVP, write to

Saturday, April 1, 11am-Noon, KSFR 101.1.  Retake Our Democracy spends a full hour with Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth and Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, with a deep dive into the 2017 session, the state of the budget, the way committees actually work, how we can best influence legislation, and what to expect in 2018. Taped on Wednesday, it is a very interesting hour. The next series will focus on the Universal Early Childhood Education initiative.

Tue. Apr 4, 5:30-7:30pm Outreach & Organizing Meeting, Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos, Santa Fe. Join Us.  We have been encouraging you to come to this meeting for a couple weeks but the bottom line is this: This movement makes a substantive difference or it doesn’t, and 100% of the difference between resurrection and transformation or pitiful defeat resides with you. In Santa Fe, the locus of activity will be this ongoing monthly meeting. Click here to find out more and to RSVP.

Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear: An Interfaith Panel on Finding Common Moral Ground

Thurs. April 6, 7-9pm.Temple Beth Shalom, 205 East Barcelona Road Santa Fe. This event is FREE, but you must have a ticket to enter. Register and get tickets online at Eventbrite:

The rhetoric and actions of the current U.S. Administration have been disturbing on many levels: threats of banning entire religions from entering the country, mass deportation of others, an alarming rise in intolerance and violence against immigrants and communities of certain faiths, and an overall surge in narrow-mindedness and bigotry. Many of our friends and neighbors feel threatened, unsafe, and marginalized because of who they are or what they believe. Join us for a discussion of how communities of faith can help us find common moral ground that unites us, protects us, and builds a powerful force for justice.

Reverend Dr. Antonio Aja, Westminster Presbyterian Church
Rabbi Neil Amswych, Temple Beth Shalom
Imam Abdul Aziz Eddebbarh, Chairman, Ibn Asheer Islamic Institute
Singh Sahib Krishna Singh Khalsa, Sikh Dharma Ministry
Deacon Anthony Trujillo, San Isidro Roman Catholic Church
Reverend Blaine Wimberly, Zia United Methodist Church
Reverend Gail Marriner, Unitarian Universalist Church

Thursday, April 6, Post-Legislative Wrap-Up: Where Does the LGBTQ+ Community Stand Now? Doors open at 5:30 pm, program starts at 6:00 pm Santa Fe Woman’s Club, 1616 Old Pecos Trail.  Envision Speaks will host its first event of 2017. Moderated by Bill Smith, President & CEO of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, the panel includes: Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, Senator Jacob Candelaria, Marcela Diaz of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, Amber Royster of Equality New Mexico. $10 suggested donation, cash only at the door. Free for 18 and under. To register, click here.

This event is on the same evening as our Interfaith Panel (see above) but you could be really cool and do both, leaving this event a tad early to get to our Interfaith Panel. But the truth is, this movement is about engaging and activating, and if that occurs at an Envision meeting or at a Retake meeting it is all about engagement. So we promote this event despite the scheduling conflict. It is all good.

The Santa Fe County Democratic Party (SFDP) Days of Action

There is increasing evidence that the SFDP is serious about being a grassroots organization committed to social justice. There are many more miles to be traveled before we begin the celebration, but word is that last weekend in Santa Fe at least half of those elected to the State Central Committee are very strong progressives. As one of the newly elected members, I can say that there is a good deal of enthusiasm in the group.

SFDP will participate in a statewide Days of Action, Friday, March 31 to Sunday, April 2. SFDP will collect non-perishable food items for the Food Depot at 1420 Cerrillos Rd from 10 am to 2 pm, Friday, March 31, and again on Saturday and Sunday, April 1 and 2, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Barrels will be located inside the building.

SFDP also will be helping Kitchen Angels on Friday, March 31. Ten volunteers can help with meal preparation in the kitchen from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Up to 20 volunteers are needed to deliver meals on Friday, March 31, from 4:30 – 6:30 pm. Volunteers will work in teams of two to deliver meals. Meal delivery is done using your own vehicle. Volunteers should call Susan at 951-520-5985 or the SFDP office at 505-467-8514 immediately.

Let’s do this Santa Fe. This is what we have been thirsting for, a political process that is about more than winning elections — it’s about working 365 days a year for social justice. So please blow away the coordinators with the number of volunteers who want to make this happen. We are talking about 20 folks giving up two hours this Friday. Last week, we announced a fundraising goal for the Santa Fe Refugee Coalition on Thursday and by Saturday we had met this goal. We have less time now. Let’s turn intentions into results and get that food delivered. And let’s make sure there is a ton of food to be delivered by dropping off food on Friday morning so it can be delivered later that day. This is precisely the kind of thing we have to not just think is a good idea, but rather embrace this and get it done. So on Friday, stop by a market, pick up some non-perishable goods, and drop them off at 1420 Cerrillos. And 20 of you stick around and deliver the food to those who need it badly. This is the kind of action we need to embrace. Let’s do it.

The Trump Death Budget & Santa Fe’s Plan for a Creating a Participatory Budget

The Trump Death Budget was analyzed in some detail in a previous post — click here to read that review. Something has changed since that budget proposal was released: Trump and the GOP floundered horribly in trying to repeal and replace the ACA, and that failure was largely due to its rushing to try to pass the initiative without sufficient participatory process to work out the details and build consensus support among their own party. As the GOP now turns to Tax Reform and then to its Death Budget, it is highly likely we will witness other acts of hubris and failure to include stakeholders in the development of their tax reform plan or their budget. We need to learn from this.

In the last post, we described a citywide outreach, organizing, and planning process that will be used to develop a People’s Platform and a participatory budgeting process that will create a grassroots-developed budget that will be the companion piece to the People’s Platform. To be clear, while I have reasonably detailed conversations with our Mayor and with Councilor Villarreal, before any kind of finalized process can be announced with specific commitments from the City, there are many more discussions to be had and they need to include other members of the Council. But it is exciting that while at a national level we can watch buffoons bungle budgets, we in the City Different can begin to develop a process that actually involves the community in a participatory problem-solving and visioning process. If you want to be involved in this at the ground floor, come to the next Outreach and Organizing meeting, Tues, Apr. 4, 5:30-7:30pm at the Center for Progress and Justice, 1420 Cerrillos, where we will lay the ground work. Click here for details and to RSVP. It really helps to have an idea of how many are coming, so please RSVP.  So what is participatory budgeting?

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a process through which an identified group or subgroup of a community takes a specific amount of discretionary funding from a city, county, school district, or other jurisdiction’s budget and works through a specific process to determine how those funds should be spent. In some instances the jurisdiction has committed to adhering to the recommendations that emerge from the process and in others, the groups recommendations are just that, recommendations. As noted above, the conditions through which Santa Fe will advance a PB process are yet to be determined, but it helps to have the Mayor in support, at least in principle. PB has been implemented in at least 16 US communities including Oakland, San Francisco, and Boston, and the Participatory Budget Project has a growing array of tools and resources for developing your own local process. Working through Councilor Villarreal, Retake is going to work with the PBP to obtain support and guidance in developing our own process, hopefully aligned with our People’s Platform process. Click here to read an interview with someone from Oakland who has been deeply involved in the PB process in allocating Community Development Block Grants in Oakland. For more information on the Participatory Budgeting Project, Click here.  Be warned, as with Retake, they are building this project as they implement it, so their implementation guide is described but not yet available. That is what is so exciting about these times: In many parts of the country, whether we are talking about Indivisible or SwingLeft, we are forging a new path together because the old path has simply not worked.

Please join us in creating a new path in Santa Fe. Click here for more details and to RSVP for our Tuesday, April 4 Outreach and Organizing Meeting.

In solidarity,

Roxanne & Paul

Categories: Participatory Budgeting, Uncategorized

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5 replies

  1. Hi Paul and Friends,
    While a discussion of participatory budgeting is a good start to the much needed process of re-envisioning the budget and our democracy, the allocation of discretionary pots of public (our) money doesn’t come close to solving the inequities and injustices that plague Santa Fe and many other communities.
    As you noted in a previous post about Rev. Barber, we need a “moral budget” or, as I and many others have said, a human rights budget that is grounded in people’s needs and raises revenue equitably. This can be achieved locally and at state level; check out this video:
    To move toward a truly equitable and just budget, we must set our goals higher than participatory budgeting: we must talk about revenue, and about the budget as a whole, not just small pots of discretionary funds.
    In solidarity,
    Anja Rudiger

  2. I will be out of town on Saturday April 1. Is there any way to hear the conversation with retake our Democracy and Peter Writh and Brian Egoff (so)?
    Also the democratic ward meetings in Bernalillo county last Saturday were night and day different than 2016!
    You all are GREAT.

    • Hi Marilynn,

      The show can be streamed from anywhere and at some point KSFR will have all the shows available on the website as a podcast. They say it can take awhile to get that going. I’ll keep you posted, but hopefully you can stream it live.

  3. ​Love this! Thanks for all the great info!!!

    We are in New Orleans at the Energy Foundation Conference – learning from folks all over the country about just transition. Sorry we haven’t had time to call you. How about a meeting on Monday?​

    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 Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 9:18 AM, Retake Our Democracy wrote:

    > paulgibson51 posted: “We have witnessed what top-down policy development > looks like: the crash & burn Trump healthcare fiasco. And we are witnessing > similar dynamics with our Governor and the State budget. Retake Our > Democracy and the City Different has a different plan in” >

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