Calls to Action This Week & Review of the Week’s Developments

Trump support cratering, an opportunity for Dems; thoughts on meaningful Thanksgiving conversation; an examination of the Democratic Party with excerpts from Autopsy & info on actions related to public banking, ranked choice voting and a great justice film on Friday night.

We’ve found that on Monday, the Looking Forward & Looking Back feature is very popular, with many people opening the blog. I’d like to encourage our readers to make a habit of forwarding this blog to a few friends, encouraging them to explore what Retake is doing and when doing so, pointing to one or two of the blogs or some of our actions that might have resonated with you, maybe inviting a friend to join you at tonight’s Public Banking Forum or tomorrow’s Ranked Choice Vote hearing.

A Week of Action & Progress

I want to report on advancing strategies and relationships being cultivated by Retake leadership. Since many of these advances happen over coffee, in small meetings or on the phone, they are not public. It would be easy to assume that not much is going on, but our leadership and action groups are hard at work and making significant inroads developing new relationships and advancing advocacy efforts. In the past week:

  • Roundhouse Advocacy Team leadership met with activists from Espańola, Abiquiu, Taos and Medanales to discuss key environmental issues, to advance plans for the 2018 election and to advance Retake support for Ria Arriba County advocacy.
  • I met with Speaker Egolf and Senator Wirth to discuss the Roundhouse Advocacy Team’s developing platform of priority legislation for 2019. Earlier in the day, I spoke for an hour with House Rep and now Auditor candidate, Bill McCamley about the Retake platform. They were all very supportive and provided tremendous input into how to refine the document and how it might be used.
  • Lynne Fischer, one of the leaders of the Roundhouse Advocacy team, met with Sen. Liz Stefanics to get input on our platform and is in ongoing phone conversation with a dozen progressive lobbying groups with whom we are working on this project.
  • I met with Chris Garcia and Linda SerratoYbarra, aides to Congressman Lujan, and we discussed an array of legislative issues and the role of the DNC. I’ve been pressing Congressman Lujan to take a strong stance on the DNC’s need for reform and on the 8 bills that comprise the People’s Platform. While no progress in relationship to taking a stand on the DNC, when we began our dialog, he supported just one of the eight People’s Platform bills, but now he has endorsed 4. Progress.
  • Jennifer Johnson, a member of the Retake leadership team, has been conducting ongoing conversations with the school district, Dreamers In Action Project, Earth Care and others to try to restore a Friday afternoon youth soccer program that served dozens of southside youth at Ortiz Middle School last year. She’s also dogging a new rezoning effort that has surfaced and that focuses on property adjacent to Hopewell Mann, the neighborhood identified by Chainbreaker as most vulnerable to gentrification. For now, Retake is merely asking questions and trying to learn more as it is very early in the process.
  • I met with Tomás Rivera for a couple hours to discuss strategies for continuing public education on gentrification and economic and social justice issues challenging the south and west parts of our city. Chainbreaker is planning a four-part series of panels on different aspects of gentrification on alternate Tuesdays beginning in mid January. Retake will be heavily promoting participation in this panels.
  • There members of Retake leadership met with 8 graduates of last month’s Kingian Nonviolence training. We began developing plans for a broader network of trained activists ready to participate in nonviolent direct actions in the event of a crisis and to plan proactively for our own pre-planned actions. An important part of this group is its inclusion of folks who are very active in Sandoval County who are battling gas and oil industry efforts to open up vast stretches of Sandoval County to fracking. They are working with Red Nation and other tribal groups on this effort, something we plan to support. The last commission hearing was packed and lasted til 1am with no decision made. But the Commission utilized all kinds of undemocratic practices to discourage public participation. We’ll keep you posted.

This Week’s Blogs

Trump Tweets & Performance on Economy Could Crater His Support:  The House has passed an overtly regressive Tax Plan while the Senate works on its own bill. Where is a Democratic Party alternative? The perfect opportunity to draw distinctions between GOP & Dems is being missed while disaffected GOP voters are looking for relief. The blog examines how those voters who had voted for Obama but did not vote for Clinton in 2016 are becoming alarmed and could return to the Party, if the Dems provide more than slogans.


Lessons for Thanksgiving. Is it possible to introduce controversial, but worthwhile discussion at Thanksgiving without violating family norms? Can a delicate balance be found between tossing out fire bombs that educate no one, but ruin the turkey, introducing a thoughtful, non-judgmental conversation or being silent? If we are to achieve a true democracy it will require civil exchange of ideas among friends. Could this happen as an appetizer before Thanksgiving dinner? The blog provides suggested ways to introduce discussion of our relationship with indigenous peoples in a way that can lead to non-defensive dialog instead of the kind of social media arguments that are so common. I am adding here a link to a great Yes! Magazine article on how to talk with your family about political issues. It provides very specific suggestions for how to frame conversation and how and why to ‘prepare’ for specific conversations. Click here

Despite the Big Wins, Democratic Party in Crisis.  A week ago today, the Democratic Party won races across the country, but the message they should be hearing is that those wins were led by progressives, women, and people of color who stood strongly for progressive policies. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be what Democratic Leadership has learned. The blog includes excerpts from the new publication: Autopsy with Pia Gallegos, civil rights attorney from Albuquerque one of its authors. A good read.

Coming Actions, Events & Opportunities 

Public Banking Public Forum. Monday, Nov. 20, 5:30-8pm at City Hall Chambers, 200 Lincoln Ave. An open discussion with Public Banking Task Force members on the status of the public bank planning process. This discussion will be unlike typical City Council meetings where no dialog occurs and 2 minute limits to comment are enforced. This will be a more open conversation with Q&A, etc. Click here for details to RSVP.


Ranked Choice Voting District Court Hearing. Tuesday, Nov 21, 8:15pm at 225 Montezuma. Judge Thomson has very clearly directed the City to implement RCV by March 2018 as the law is very clear, the two conditions required to implement have clearly been met and so the City must adhere to the law. But the Judge has given the City one chance to explain why this is impossible. We need a strong showing at this hearing. And as importantly, the City Council and the Mayor need to be flooded with calls and emails.  .Click here for details on the hearing, directions and to RSVP. Click here for contact information for the Mayor and City Councilors. And call / email them today. With six candidates and no RCV our next Mayor could be elected by less than 25% of the vote and there are four progressives running who could split the vote and yield a totally unacceptable result. 

Roundhouse photo

Roundhouse Activism Team. Th. Nov. 30, 6-8pm, site TBD.We are still finalizing our list of priority bills and this week will begin incorporating feedback from meetings with Speaker Egolf, Senator Wirth, Senator Stefanics and House Rep. McCamley, as well as moving ahead with plans to identify vulnerable GOP legislators and Democrats who have historically undermined progressive legislation. This is a tremendous group of folks who are really getting it done. Join us. Please RSVP by emailing us at



500 Years: Life in Resistance. At the Jean Cocteau for One Week. Grand Opening with Director Pamela Yates and Producer Paco de Onis present for Q&A. Friday, Dec. 1,7pm.  There will be a party/reception to meet the filmmakers at Pranzo after the screening.  From a historic genocide trial to the ousting of a president, 500 YEARS tells a sweeping story of mounting resistance in Guatemala, through the actions and perspectives of the majority indigenous Mayan population, who now stand poised to re-imagine their society. Today, in the exact areas where massacres were perpetrated, communities have been replaced with international mega-projects like open pit mines, massive hydroelectric dams, and sprawling agri-businesses, which continue to destroy Mayan lands. While indigenous peoples of Guatemala are no strangers to oppression and ravaging of land, with the recent events, change finally seems possible when their movement is met with concern for the devastation of the country’s natural land and more importantly, the general public’s will to end corruption. 500 YEARS, the much anticipated third film from Director Pamela Yates, continues the epic saga of indigenous resistance in Guatemala that began with When the Mountains Tremble (1983), followed by Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (2011). All three films will have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival over a 33-year period.Here’s the link to buy tix: The Trailer for the film appears at the bottom of this blog. Given that our son is living in Guatemala, we’ll likely make this event.

Retake Takes Action. Date/Location TBD, but likely the first week of December from 6-7:15pm. Rippel Metal is located at 1222 Flagman Way in the Baca Railyard area just behind Santa Fe Modern .  Retake’s Local Research and Activism Team is shifting from research to direct community service. Join Jennifer Johnson & Tracey Enright who are co-chairing this shift and explore options for direct community group service on projects in Santa Fe, with a lens on under-served communities. This is the kickoff of what could become just another way that you can get in the game and work with others to advance justice in New Mexico.


Trailer for 500 Years:  See you Friday Night at 7pm!


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