At the end of our Town Hall we will announce Retake’s complete support for Rev. Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign, & describe our plan to recruit, train and support individuals who want to be involved. Also, 2 Retake City Council actions.
Town Hall TODAY 3pm-5pm. 1420 Cerrillos. Update: While the Town Hall Agenda remains unchanged, at the end of the Town Hall we will announce our plans for initiating an new ongoing strategy that goes beyond petitions, calls, and rallies. We will be recruiting ‘ambulance drivers’ (metaphor) who are willing to run some stop signs (more metaphor) to draw attention to how far our country has strayed.
Clearly voting, writing letters and petitions all have a place and active involvement in local politics is important, but the house is on fire and people are dying, being deported, being deprived needed healthcare, and white supremacists are being tolerated, even encouraged by our President and other leaders. Clearly more is needed. Our Sept. 16 Town Hall will focus exclusively on developing our strategy to support the Poor People’s Campaign and to initiate other local actions, as well. To read more about the Poor People’s Campaign, click here. This is but another manifestation of Retake lining up behind and supporting those who have been in the trenches far longer than us. Click here to RSVP for today’s Town Hall so you can find out more about Retake’s plan to support the Poor People’s Campaign. We have also posted the Town Hall for Sept 16, 3-5pm at 1420 Cerrillos and you can click here to RSVP for Sept 16, as well. For either event, you can also just reply to this email post to RSVP.
City Council Action Needed Aug 30 (time to be announced). A Vote to Eliminate Neighborhood Notification of Plans to Install Cell Phone Towers. If enacted, Telecom Land Use Review Changes (2017-22) would require the City to design guidelines for installing antennas on public right-of-ways (PROWs). Corporations that follow these guidelines could install antennas (and accompanying gear) without neighborhood notification, public hearing or permit. A resident could notice antennas on utility poles near their home and have no recourse. The proposed ordinance doesn’t require a licensed professional engineer’s (PE’s) certification that this infrastructure safeguards the public’s life, health and property. Numerous cell towers have caught fire or collapsed. Who’d determine that PROWs can support extra weight? By what authority could the City violate the NM Engineering and Surveying Act–which requires a PE’s certification on infrastructure that serves the public?
PROW-based antennas would routinely expose utility and rooftop workers to microwave radiation that exceeds FCC occupational limits, subjecting the City to lawsuits. 2017-22 eliminates neighborhood notification, public hearings and setback requirements regarding cellular antennas. Why eliminate local authority over telecom infrastructure and citizens’ constitutional right to address grievances? A similar bill in California (SB649) is opposed by over half of its cities, 34 of its 52 counties, and more than half of its population. Please, on August 30, vote no on 2017-22. And if you can’t attend, please click this link to contact info for the Mayor and your City Councilors. Let them know how you feel.
How To Overcome the Power of Big Money By Bruce Berlin
In a recent blog, I wrote “the common denominator that prevents the enactment of real, positive solutions to practically every issue Americans face is the power of Big Money.” After exploring the problem, I proposed that a massive, grassroots Democracy movement was the only viable way we, the people could succeed in reviving our democracy.
Throughout the history of the United States, time and again the American people have come together to advance social justice. From the Abolitionists and Women’s Suffrage movements to the Civil Rights, LBGTQ and other people’s movements, we have beaten great odds and overwhelmed the status quo. Now we are, once again, called to do just that.
What might a Democracy movement look like and what would be its mission and goals? First, to be effective, such a movement must include a broad range of the political spectrum. Without far-reaching support, this movement will not have the necessary political weight to achieve the systemic, democratic reforms required to establish a truly just society. Therefore, the movement must be non-partisan and involve Republicans and Democrats; conservatives, moderates and liberals; Independents, Libertarians and progressives.
Second, the movement must be grassroots and give people reason to believe their involvement will be beneficial to their lives. Moreover, the movement needs to include a vast majority of the population from all sections of the country. People must feel that they have a stake in such a movement. Although a Democracy movement may seem irrelevant to people’s everyday lives, illustrating how Big Money’s grip on government adversely affects average Americans can persuade them to get involved. People need to feel personally linked to the movement’s purpose as well as grasp the value of its potential benefits for themselves and others. The more deeply connected people are to a movement’s values and goals, the more likely they are to become actively involved.
And, third, in order to build massive and inclusive backing, a Democracy movement needs a clear, powerful and convincing message that resonates with most Americans. That message might go something like this:
Big Money and Corporate America control our government. They buy politicians’ loyalty and unduly influence them with huge campaign contributions and very substantial lobbying efforts. We, the American people, are the big losers in this legally corrupt system. We support these politicians by volunteering in their campaigns, voting for them and paying their salaries with our hard-earned tax dollars. Yet, they repeatedly pass legislation (e.g., huge subsidies for the oil industry and bailouts for Wall Street banks), which favors Big Money and Corporate America at our great expense. The truth is our government does the bidding of Big Money while it very often disregards the common good and the wellbeing of most Americans. In fact, the United States has become a plutocracy, a nation ruled by and for the benefit of the very wealthy. In order to overcome the power of Big Money, Americans of all political persuasion must join together and build a nationwide, non-partisan, grassroots movement to revive our democracy.
The mission of a Democracy movement would be to remove the corrupting influence of money in politics and make the government work for all the people of the United States. To accomplish this mission, the movement would work to achieve at least the following goals:
- Establish mandatory public financing of all congressional and presidential elections. Until we have a level playing field for all candidates who meet the qualifications to run for any particular office, we will not be able to eliminate the undue influence of Big Money.
- Enact a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United, and McCutcheon v. FEC decisions finding that money is speech, corporations are people, and restrictions on campaign contributions violate the freedom of speech. As long as these rulings stand, we will not be able to control the overriding power of Big Money.
- Reform and strictly regulate lobbying so that all Americans have equal access to their elected officials regardless of their income, corporate position, or labor affiliation. For the voices and opinions of all Americans to be heard, we must have equal access to our elected officials.
- Eliminate the gerrymandering of congressional districts so that each state’s delegation to the House of Representatives is proportionate to the votes each party receives in that state’s elections for Congress. In order for the people of any state to be fairly represented in Congress, as well as in their state legislatures, districts must be fairly drawn by independent commissions without favoring one political party over another.
- Enact a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Electoral College so that every citizen’s vote for president carries the same weight and the president is elected solely on the basis of the national popular vote. Since the president represents all the people, the weight of a person’s vote should be the same regardless of where he or she may live.
- Establish a national Bill of Voters’ Rights guaranteeing all citizens of the United States an equal opportunity to vote and eliminating restrictive voter ID requirements and other efforts obstructing people’s right to vote. In a democracy all citizens’ right to vote should be guaranteed and protected.
While these are fundamental changes to our political structure that will be very difficult to establish, strong, bold actions are required to fix our broken system and put control of our government in the hands of the people. Half measures will not do. Consequently, only a massive, non-partisan, grassroots movement will have the ability to overcome the power of Big Money and revive our democracy.
Again, thanks to Bruce for this timely blog.
Please try to make it to today’s Town Hall.
Paul & Roxanne