Soda Tax Trounced. Time to Find a More Progressive Funding Source

Two ways to look at this: Soda lobbyists and their misinformation undermined a solid progressive effort to do what our state seems to be unable to do: fund Pre-K. OR the city needs to find a more progressive funding source. Either way, the work continues. What’s more, this vote sends a warning signal to public banking advocates—look out, the banking industry’s misinformation is coming.

Events & Opportunities

A big part of what Retake will be attempting over the coming weeks and months is to forge alliances with other organizations that have long been involved in cultural, environmental, social, and economic justice. To do this work effectively and respectfully requires training and tools, and this weekend we offer another training in cultural awareness with a very special all-day training conducted by our partners at Northern NM Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). See below. In addition we recommend a great movie experience at the Jean Cocteau Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. We will have a table at the Cocteau all three nights and we are looking for volunteers to help from 6pm-9pm each night. Best of all, you get in free! See below for details.

Radical Cultural Awareness: Moving Towards a Racially Just Society — a Training Presented by Northern New Mexico Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and Retake Our Democracy

Saturday, May 6, 9:30-4pm, Santa Fe. Lunch Provided. Donation Requested to Cover Lunch. This training will focus on the power of language, the ways in which cultural biases can complicate the simplest messaging, and how nuanced appreciation of cultural references and frames are important in forming alliances between largely Anglo organizations and organizations comprised of and serving people of color. This will not be a lengthy lecture on sources and context of prejudice and privilege, but a combination of presentation and whole and small group discussion. For those of you who participated in the Earth Care training, a truncated version of the Matrix of Oppression will be used to launch discussion of the implications of oppression and the subtle differences in their appearance in different contexts. Most importantly, the training has been structured to ensure that participants leave with practical tools and strategies for the Retake work that is only just beginning: forming alliances and working for social, racial, environmental, and economic justice. There are only 10 slots remaining for this training and you must RSVP by emailing Paul at paul@retakeourdemocracy.org. Deadline to RSVP is tomorrow, Thursday, at 5 p.m. Location in Santa Fe will be provided in response to your RSVP.

May 5 – May 11 at the Jean Cocteau Cinema. THE WAR AT HOME. The theatrical opening of the Academy Award nominated documentary THE WAR AT HOME with an Introduction and Q & A following the film with director Glenn Silber. “THE WAR AT HOME: A Brilliant Documentary…in Many Respects the best American Film of the Year (1979)” –Boston Globe. “A turbulent decade superbly evoked!” –Los Angeles Times. “Extraordinary! The whole world was watching. Remember?” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.
THE WAR AT HOME is the first film in Jean Cocteau’s newest film series, “Films of Resistance.” The film will run from May 5 – May 11 with a special benefit screening for KSFR Sunday, May 7, at 2:00pm. THE WAR AT HOME vividly chronicles the anti-war protest movement of the 1960s and 70s. Through a powerful combination of rare archival footage and interviews with students, community leaders, Vietnam veterans, police officials, and participants from all points of view, THE WAR AT HOME shows how the anti-war movement grew into a genuine people’s revolt in response the escalation of war in Vietnam. The re-release of this film is offered in the spirit of the National & Santa Fe Women’s March — to show that resistance to oppressive, autocratic U.S. Presidents leads to change. To Buy Tickets Online go to: http://jeancocteaucinema.com/the-war-at-home.  Please email paul@retakeourdemocracy.org if you can table any of the three nights.  Thanks.

Soda Tax Trounced–What Next?

For weeks, every time Retake came to 1420 Cerrillos for a meeting of any kind, most of the space was consumed by Universal Pre-K volunteers and staff. They worked tirelessly and for a noble purpose. Frankly, I didn’t see this coming, certainly by this margin. And as the intro to this blog suggests, there are many ways to understand it:
  1. Big money and the corporatocracy wins again, despite a tremendous grassroots effort, supported almost unanimously by city stakeholders and with a $1M contribution from former NYC Mayor Bloomberg that essentially leveled the playing field. OR
  2. Voters were not willing to support a tax that asked low-income communities to pay a disproportionate share of the costs of anything for anything; OR
  3. Voters are beyond suspicious of government, whether city, state, or nation, and are simply in the mood to say “no.”

The measure passed in only one City Council District (District 1) and only by 13 votes there. But District 4 had a very heavy turnout and the measure lost by over a 2-1 margin.  Click here for The Santa Fe New Mexican’s excellent analysis with City Council District breakdowns of the voting.

A Warning for the Public Banking Movement.  This result also sends a warning signal to the folks advocating for a public bank. The banking industry will use the same strategies to undermine efforts to create a public bank as the soda industry did to defeat the soda tax: a huge infusion of money and misinformation about the benefits and risks involved in having a small city manage all the City’s funds. The Task Force and advocates will need to devote enormous energy to create full disclosure of the fire wall between City administration and the public bank. In truth, the City is responsible for managing the use of its funds whether they park those funds in Wells Fargo or in a public bank. And the City would have no more oversight of the operations and procedures used to manage its deposits in the public bank than it does now when its deposits are maintained by Wells Fargo. But you can bet the banking industry will do all it can to inject fear into voters’ minds about the risks of creating a public bank. Any effort to advance progressive initiatives whether in relation to economic, social, educational, environmental, or racial justice will encounter the full resistance of the corporate sector. They do not want to relinquish control or their obscene profits. Hence the need for a sustained, non-partisan community engagement, education, and activation effort of the kind being launched in June by Retake Our Democracy. We will be going block by block, house to house to talk, to listen, and to engage in an ongoing process designed to create a better informed community, a more engaged community, a more active community. Look for more on this over the coming weeks.

In closing, we tip our hats to those who devoted countless hours as volunteers to try to make universal Pre-K in Santa Fe a reality. Retake Our Democracy is committed to working with the City and with researchers to identify other revenue models that can get this done. The future of our children is too important to allow a setback like this to derail such an important goal.

In Solidarity,

Roxanne and Paul

9 thoughts on “Soda Tax Trounced. Time to Find a More Progressive Funding Source

  1. Some of us are feeling a need to immediately reinvigorate our efforts. Does anyone have any ideas for a March that would draw lots of people in Santa Fe and northern New Mexico? I think it’s time to hit the streets.

    Sent from my iPhone

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    • We just had a series of marches in ABQ last week (Climate March) and the week prior in Santa Fe (Science March). You can’t march every week and personally I wonder of the efficacy of doing so. What is the purpose aside from a feel good moment? Does it impact anything being done by our Governor or our President. But your comment generated some thinking about protesting the Governor’s prolonged delay in dealing with the budget. Details to come.

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  2. Yes, this result needs to be carefully examined on a number of levels as to what has happened here

    1. What type of early childhood programs is this all about and how was the nature and need for this program communicated and to what extent were parents and others involved with the planning and funding campaign process.

    2. What methods were used by those opposing this sales tax for childhood education and what were their funding sources and motivations.

    3. Though there have been a variety of health prevention programs and campaigns, why have they failed to inspire or convince folks that a tax on sugar drinks are actually a good revenue source and a healthy choice in any event? Canada, for instance, has done some really beneficial health programs that have used taxes on various products to both raise revenue, improve health while added to its, superior to our, health prevention programs, under their single payer system – by the way, they also have what seems to be quite good early childhood programs as well.

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  3. I agree with Paul. And if we want to stop ‘reacting’ and become ‘proactive’ we better take a look at the last 60 years of our political/economic history and reflect on why all the work done by environmentalists, the so called left, the progressives, etc, brought us a Trump. We need to be courageous enough to look into, and accept, our past failures. But it does not end there because this work is the work of a generation or two (One could say that it took 200 years for a ‘Trump’ to become president because it was in the cards our so called founding fathers used in their game/s)
    We need to look deeply into how our economic model was originally and subsequently perverted to become our main source of social and personal values. We need to accept the fact that WE ARE IT. Each of us is our culture and each of us carries its values, values that have been slowly distorted by those writing the laws that create and constantly nurtures the economic model that exploits us all. And, we need to remember that as ‘consumers’ we FULLY participate in our own exploitation and in the demise of Life on earth. So, I am willing to start such an exploration followed by a series of short vision quests in order for each of us to reset our compasses again to true north. eduardo

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  4. Saddened by this result. If Santa Fe votes this way, and yesterday the line in district one was a 35 minutes wait, then so much needs to shift. Tactics other than marching need be developed.

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  5. Those in poorer economic situations are tired of having the burden of the economy dumped on them. They were convinced that the Soda tax was one more such dumping., so they voted it down. Does that scenario apply to the Public Bank. Big financial institutions will likely try to apply the issue in that way. I see that as the most important aspect to look out and prepare for.

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  6. I think if you have watched the comments on Facebook you see the “No” voters falling into one or more unique buckets. 1) The I don’t understand much bucket. I saw multiple comments to the effect that Pre-K is free babysitting, the mayor should give up part of his huge salary to fund it, the cost of the election should have been directed to Pre-K, use the budget surplus etc. 2) The I don’t like Mayor Gonzales because (fill in the blank) bucket. The issue was the mayor and not Pre-K or sugar or taxation. 3) The government can’t tell me what to do bucket. 4) The no more taxes no matter what bucket. 5) The this is just another liberal/progressive cabal bucket. 6) The Pre-K is not the city’s job bucket. 7) And of course, the I’m actually addicted to this stuff and don’t know it/won’t admit it bucket. There are probably others, this what comes to mind. Problem is, none of these are sensitive to the facts on the return on investment for Pre-K or the very real costs of excess sugar intake. Progressives need to figure out how to reach out to and engage voters much better than we currently do, and be looking for the real issues just below the surface. Those unspoken, sub-surface issues are the ones that corporate special interests leverage in some fashion to skew the vote in their favor.

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      • I would like to remind you Paul, about some info I gave you a few weeks ago about OPERATION:KIDS FIRST! A proactive, productive community-building CAMPAIGN intended to address many of these issues & concerns you all have expressed. I will be @ 24th Annual Community Day en Santa Fe on Sat. May 13,
        10:00 to 3:00 with informational table. Come check it out!
        This would also be a good opportunity to do some of that outreach you are suggesting to help spread the word and get more people involved. Again, that is main objective of O:KF! I would like to suggest this plan as a framework for a battle plan – for social (r)evolution, conscious evolution – so many ways this plan could be viewed, but is intended to be a co-creative, synergistic, grassroots driven, strategic plan of action!
        Please feel free to contact me for more info. Thanks!

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