A mixed report today with unexpected good news from Sandoval County and reports that Santa Fe is seriously undermining the Court Order & the Council 9-0 directive to proceed with RCV. We excerpt passages from a scathing New Mexican Op-Ed on City mishandling of RCV. We also include frightening video from Democracy Now discussing the fragility of Trump’s mental health & another video wondering if impeachment possible?
Today we report on Santa Fe and its dragging feet, Sandoval County and its stunning course reversal on fracking and at the bottom of the blog two Democracy Now videos, one, report by a Yale psychiatrist who edited a book comprised of 17 highly regarded psychiatric experts view that the president may be seriously impaired and a danger to the nation. Frankly, many of us knew that well before he was elected, but according to the psychiatrists this is more of a clinical diagnosis. Following that video, a second video from Democracy Now on the path to impeachment.
Santa Fe Stalling Despite Court Order and 9-0 Vote from Council to Proceed with RCV. From multiple highly credible sources I have been been told that the City Attorney and City Clerk are resisting efforts to implement RCV and are in a highly contentious relationship with the Dominion, the software provider who is offering technical support to the City to jump start its planning for RCV. While the Mayor left a message for me on Thursday night, three efforts to reach him to clarify the situation have not been returned. I am told that while the situation has not reached a total crisis, the situation is not being managed well, at all. I will continue to seek clarification today and report tomorrow on what alternatives residents have to have their clearly expressed desire for RCV to be implemented. Clearly, this is not being handled well at all.
Yesterday, the Santa Fe New Mexican published an excellent Op-Ed in which it laid out the history behind RCV and the City’s bungling of its implementation. From the Op-Ed: “In the nine years since the charter amendment passed, no City Council or mayor — and there has been a rotating cast — bothered to help lay the foundation for what would happen once voting machines were equipped with the necessary technology. The council did not approve ordinances spelling out how Santa Fe would go about counting ballots or otherwise set the parameters for a ranked-choice election. No voter education was done, either, to alert citizens that this measure was on the way.?
The Op-Ed goes on to cite comments from Frank Katz the City Attorney when RCV was adopted by the voters: “The Constitutional Amendment that provided for municipal runoff elections did not impose limits on a home rule municipality’s method of implementing runoff elections.” The New Mexican goes on to report that: “In his formal legal opinion, he noted that the Constitutional Amendment did not: define ‘runoff election,’ restrict the type of runoff, determine what percentage of votes must be achieved, or provide any other details.”
The Op-Ed concludes: “The bottom line: A city that is following the will of the 65 percent of the voters who approved ranked-choice voting should not also be seeking — aggressively — to have the system thrown out. That seems disingenuous at best, especially after city leaders past and present failed to follow through with setting up sensible election procedures. It’s unnecessary to have technology in hand to develop ordinances on how votes will be counted and the like.” Click here to read the Santa Fe New Mexican’s scathing review of the City’s performance on Ranked Choice Voting. Frankly, I am sick of reporting on this. I recall my favorite sign at the Women’s March: “I can’t believe I am still protesting this.” The saga continues.
Sandoval County Reverses Course on Fracking– For Now
I attended the Red nation rally at the Sandoval County Administration on Wednesday. About 150 protesters participated and then proceeded to enter the hearing chambers at 4pm for the 6pm hearing. I must admit I was not optimistic given what I had reported on Wednesday morning on the Commission’s prior decisions. Click here to read that blog that summarizes the context and history of the Ordinance being considered.
I was even less optimistic after witnessing the entirely undemocratic and entirely rude way in which the largely Indigenous crowd was treated. I had wondered by Red Nation had scheduled a rally a full three hours before the hearing. Well, Sandoval County was planning to lock the doors to the building at 4pm, a full two hours before the hearing was to commence. What kind of “public” hearing is that? Then when we entered the building and scaled three flights of stairs to get to the chambers, we were barred from entering and told that we had to use the elevator, as using the stairs was creating a fire hazard. So with 150 people ready to enter, we had to climb back down the stairs and 8-10 at a time, use the elevator to get to the chamber. Once at the chamber, we were told we could not bring in signs, as that also created a fire hazard. You know how those damned signs spontaneously erupt into flames! You’d think they could invent signs that are less prone to bursting into flames.
In any case, I had to leave the hearing to get to my Roundhouse Activism meeting and couldn’t report on the results yesterday as the hearing was not reported anywhere. I wondered why. Today I found out that the hearing lasted until 1am before a vote was taken and remarkably, the Commission reversed passed decisions and voted 4-1 to reject the Stoddard Ordinance and asked staff to return to the drawing boards, get input from more of the community and come back with a different ordinance. From today’s New Mexican: “The original ordinance called for a 750-foot buffer zone between a drilling site and any homes, schools, churches, cemeteries, hospitals and water supplies. It also required companies to submit road and emergency response plans to the county, and it included guidelines on light and sound generated by a project. But opponents said the measure failed to protect water from contamination, preserve historical communities from industry development, mitigate accidents or prevent lasting environmental degradation.” It also had failed to in any way address concerns that had been repeatedly expressed by the Sandoval County indigenous population. Click here to review the New Mexican article on the hearing and the vote. Next step, another, hopefully far stronger ordinance will be considered in January.
Shocking News: Trump May Be Dangerously Unstable