With an opportunity to put the divisive RCV debate behind us, the city sent a mixed message: unanimously proceed/5-4 appeal. But worse, there was absolutely no public discussion to clue voters in to their thinking.. Details. Also included, a hilarious short video on the hopefully immanent doom of the Trump regime.
Update: Ranked Choice Voting Rally and Council Meeting. When the Councilors entered the packed chamber two hours after they had entered closed Executive Session, I noted several Councilors and the Mayor simply did not look happy.. But when they announced a unanimous decision to proceed with RCV, I relaxed. Too soon. The Mayor then announced that by a 5-4 vote the City had decided to appeal the District Court decision to the NM Supreme Court. So a packed chamber, many of whom had been at the 2:30 rally, had waited until almost 6pm to hear the Council’s decision, surely we would hear some kind of explanation as to what was decided and why: NOT ONE WORD. NONE. Votes reported, adjourn. We were not even told who voted to proceed with an appeal and who did not. Nope. Nothing, nada. Transparent government was the biggest loser on Monday night.
After the meeting some councilors disclosed their thinking, that there was a desire to verify absolutely that RCV was constitutional and that the District Court had the authority to order the City to reverse its July decision and proceed with RCV. But the split decision left many wondering how seriously and how quickly the Council and the Clerk’s office will move forward if they are holding out hope that they could win at the Supreme Court. Another concern is that if the should win, is it setting a precedent that would undermine the very principle of ‘home rule’ where local jurisdictions are afforded latitude to interpret state legislation to respond to local conditions. But as disappointed as I am with the decision, my larger issue is the utter lack of transparency about the decisions. After the hearing I spoke with three Councilors and one said: “You shouldn’t have speculated about why the Mayor and Councilors were not responding to emails.” In one blog, I had suggested that perhaps Councilors had been ordered not to respond to communications as it could undermine their District Court case or a future appeal. And while it was indeed speculation, when most Councilors and the Mayor habitually DO respond and then suddenly they don’t, what exactly am I left with except speculation?
I am really tired of criticizing the City and our elected representatives. Their job is entirely thankless, I have no doubt that they take their role very seriously, but in the absence of communication about the thinking behind decisions, you are left with speculation and disappointment. From my conversations with Councilors, it seems clear that the four votes not to appeal came from our Mayor and Councilors Maestas, Villarreal and Lindell voted against this appeal. It is pointless asking you to flood the five who voted to appeal with more email and calls. Rather, it might be nice to drop an appreciative note to the four who voted to proceed without an appeal. Click here for contact information If you do voice your disappointment with the five who voted to appeal, please be polite and respectful.
Poor People.s Campaign Launched Nationally and in NM. On Monday morning in Washington, D.C. the Rev. Liz Theoharis and the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II announced the Poor People’s campaign, a campaign calling for nonviolent direct actions over a 100 day period beginning on Mothers’ Day 2018. The campaign targets US policies related to economic justice, environmental justice, racism and rampant militarism.
The Nation Magazine covered the launching noting: “For those who may doubt the need for such a campaign, a new Institute for Policy Studies report provides more than ample evidence. By many measures, what King called the “evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism” are worse today than they were five decades ago. Toss in climate change and other environmental threats, and the picture is even more grim.” Add a very dangerous President and the need for action is apparent. But if you need more evidence, The Nation provides ten reasons why we need the Poor People’s Campaign. Click here to read a highly motivating article. One of the more shocking reasons related to criminal (in)justice. “The number of state and federal prison inmates of all races grew from 188,000 in 1968 to 5 million in 2015. Racial profiling and biased sentencing and policing practices have expanded the share of inmates who are people of color from less than half in 1978 (the first year for which race data are available) to 66 percent in 2015.” What stunning evidence of our failure as a society to build resilience in our communities. As campaign co-chair Theoharis puts it, is that “even before the election of Donald Trump, the evils of poverty, racism, militarism, and environmental destruction were tearing apart the social fabric in America.”
To sign up to be part with the National Poor People’s campaign and commit to 40 days of nonviolent direct action in NM, click here. To sign up just to keep informed on NM campaign actions, trainings and events, click here. Once you have clicked to follow Poor People’s Campaign New Mexico, please invite as many friends as you can to join us. We need to build a huge base of people, some of whom will participate directly in nonviolent direct action and others who will support that work. To find out about how Retake wound up playing a leadership role in this effort statewide and to find out a bit more about the campaign, click here. And put this date in your calendar: June 23, when a major march on Washington D.C. is planned by the Poor People’s campaign.
After Such a Dispiriting City Council Meeting. Something to Laugh About.