Options for a New Economy, Community & Future, Plus Fiesta Drops Entrada, More Rain Coming

Everywhere we go on the Road Trip, cities are grappling with affordable housing crunches much like those in Santa Fe. Today, we share some general themes and what is being done in cities across the nation and how they apply to NM.

Today, we report the Entrada pageant being dropped from the Fiesta celebration, the Santa Fe Public Works Committee approving a plan to conduct an independent outreach and engagement effort seeking input from under-served communities about the future of the Santa Fe University of Art & Design, and a report from our Road Trip on a surprising, but irrefutable movement building in political, policy, and grassroots movement centered on sharing, cooperation and justice. As the Buffalo Springfield once sang: “Something’s Happening Hear. What It Is Ain’t Exactly Clear.”  Read on.

Entrada Dropped from Fiesta

The New Mexican reports that the committee charged with finding an alternative to the Entrada pageant has agreed to drop the pageant from the Fiesta and to continue to work to identify series of events to “commemorate the negotiations of reconciliation.” Whether all the members of the committee understood the historical implications of the Entrada,

Regis Pecos, the designated spokesman for the group stated in an interview with The New Mexican:  “’The issues surrounding the Entrada are really not unlike other events around the country that have been subject of much controversy, that really peels the scab and reopens the wounds of a very tumultuous history of conflict, whether it is with the Confederates in one part of the country, whether it is the Holocaust in other parts of the country, whether it’s slavery in other parts of the country,’ said Pecos, a co-director of the Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School. ‘These are drawn from the doctrines of discovery and the principles drawn from Manifest Destiny that all have to do with the way in which indigenous peoples and other peoples were subjected to some very cruel and inhumane policies and sometimes even laws that have to do with a racial hierarchy, and we’re not immune from that here,’ he added.”

Jennifer Marley, a member of the San Ildefonso Pueblo, was one of the eight protesters arrested at the 2017 Entrada pageant commented:  “I’m happy that it’s finally getting laid to rest. This is definitely a victory, and it’s one that I think belongs to the protesters and the people on the ground, people who put their bodies on the ground.”

Great News!

Santa Fe City Council Committee Proposes Revisions to Santa Fe University of Art & Design.

Despite objections from Councilor Michael Harris, the Santa Fe City Council’s Public Works Committee passed a resolution introduced by Councilor Renee Villarreal directing the City Manager to seek a consultant contract to direct a more comprehensive outreach and engagement process for the Santa Fe University of Art & Design project, outreach that would be specifically designed to engage Santa Fe’s low-income and Hispanic populations.

From The New Mexican:  “City Councilor Renee Villarreal called for augmented outreach to ‘underrepresented” and “marginalized’ Santa Feans who will be affected by new activity on the city-owned site.  She introduced legislative amendments seeking an engagement study specifically tailored to such groups; an emphasis on the ‘historical trauma’ of ‘displacement and gentrification’ in Santa Fe; and the inclusion of a “resident’s bill of rights,” a framework through which city staff would be directed to work with renters, low-income homeowners and the homeless as housing elements are planned.” Councilor Villarreal is to be praised for her insistence that the process be more inclusive and that the City’s ongoing housing development plans incorporate an equity lens such as the ‘residents bill of rights’ developed by Chainbreaker and approved in principle by the City Council.

Councilor Lindell, who is not a member of the Public Works Committee, has called the SFUAD (and the adjacent Siler Rd. project) a “once in a generation” opportunity. In that context it seems fitting that the City hit a “pause” button and be more deliberate in considering how to maximize the impact of a project offering so many options and opportunities.

For some time, Retake Our Democracy has been advocating for the City to take precisely this step. In doing so, we are not saying that the City did a poor job of analyzing options and getting input from some segments of the community. We are just saying that no matter what efforts were made, a more comprehensive effort of seeking input from disengaged communities would also allow city leadership time to ponder democratic legal structures that could govern the SFUAD (described below) and other community assets, while also examining how other cities are addressing the need to develop affordable housing and stimulate the local economy without displacing current residents.

Look, Listen, Learn Road Trip’s Relevance to Santa Fe and New Mexico 

The major purpose of our Look, Listen and Learn Road Trip has been to talk with leaders from other communities who are doing vanguard work in seeking social justice. Every day we are learning more and more about what can work to advance equity and social / racial justice and what can derail it. Our face-to-face meetings are being augmented by phone conversations with people in leadership positions in these movements and reading articles and blogs that are advancing new ways of thinking about our communities, our economy and our future.

We are beginning to sense a national momentum emerging in partisan political, public policy and grassroots movement arenas. While not all of the dots between these movements are connected, there is an emerging consensus focused on a new way of viewing the future with some common policies, programs and structures in relation to worker justice, housing, healthcare, racial justice, transit,  and energy.

  • One city after another is first considering, then creating, and then funding Community Land Trusts or an incubator to create worker-owned collectives or a system of urban gardens that form a food network to address food deserts;
  • One political progressive after another is winning a key race against Democratic Centrists in city councils, state legislatures, and Congressional districts;
  • One grassroots movement after another is reaching out of their issue-defined scope of work and finding connection with other grassroots movements to form coalitions that are far more powerful and capable of moving elected officials to embrace progressive change.

Almost unconsciously it seems, these policies, politicians, and movements are groping toward a set of shared principles based upon justice, sharing and cooperation, sustainability that is beginning to coalesce into a something like the “next economy,”  or “next community.”

Trying to synthesize these strands into something like a coherent summary is simply not possible while driving from one town to the next, preparing for meetings, finding hotels, trying to eat well.  We will attempt to synthesize what what we are learning into a separate summary in the next weeks, but we want to hold off on doing so as we have important meetings planned with advocates in Jackson, Austin and yesterday in Nashville. And we are now starting to plan our 3-week tour of New Mexico that begins the first week of August.

Today, we share one report from Resilience on three legal structures that can be used to develop and preserve affordable housing. This is timely for Santa Fe right now, as if the City Council approves the amendments described above, it will have time to consider these kinds of structures in relation to the Santa Fe University of Art & Design while a process is undertaken to authentically engage historically under-representatives to determine their priorities in terms of the SFUAD. Together, a more deliberate process could lead to a SFUAD development that manifests many of the structures, principles and priorities that are emerging nationally. If the SFUAD is a once in a generation opportunity, it is incumbent upon all of us to make sure that what results looks forward and embraces the principles of a new economy, a new community, a new future.

Three Legal Frameworks to Promote and Preserve Affordable Housing

In most of the cities we have visited, affordable housing and gentrification are the two-edged crisis challenging elected officials and advocates. In addition to many conversations with advocates and city officials in Buffalo, Rochester, Cleveland, Detroit, and now Nashville, we have been conducting online research into innovative approaches to addressing the challenge of development without displacement.

We begin today with an article by Saki Bailey from Shareable where three central types of commons legal institutions are introduced:

  • Community Land Trust
  • Housing co-op/condominium
  • ​Permanent real estate cooperative

Bailey groups all of these under the umbrella of “commons legal institutions” because each exemplifies, in different ways, “a central feature of the commons, namely, de-commodifying access to a common good (housing) by taking homes permanently off of the speculative market.” She identifies three critical components to any commons-based legal structure:

  • strong democratic governance built into the legal structure,
  • the guarantee of permanent affordability of housing over generations, and
  • engaging citizens in community-driven development of housing.

The nuances separating these three structures are not as important as the principles that bind them: democratic governance, permanent affordability and resident driven community design. In one local initiative after another, these are the principles we are encountering on our Road Trip.

Click here for more from Shareable on how Community Land Trusts, Co-operative Housing and Permanent Real Estate

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

PS. Apologies if there are typos today, but it is getting increasingly difficult to do the blog as thoughtfully and slowly as would be ideal, while moving from town to town. Today, we leave Nashville for Asheville and then on to Jackson, which for both of us is sort of the Mecca of our journey, where a city, a Mayor and a movement are trying to reshape everything, at once, and in defiance of a most conservative State government. Stay tuned.

Categories: Economic Justice, Community & Economic Development, Personal & Collective Action, Social & Racial Justice & Immigration Reform

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