The Red Nation defends their water, an opportunity to have your donation matched to the Dreamers Legal Fund, a report on the Roundhouse Advocacy Team meeting, and thoughts on why compromise and bipartisanship is likely a very bad thing.
The Red Nation Defends Its Water
On Friday, I joined about 75 or more other protesters, most of whom were from The Red Nation. We stood on the street, carrying signs and with bullhorn blasting chants. Passing cars honked in appreciation. Then we marched onto the Hacienda Spa & Hotel, the only Santa Fe hotel with a majority Indigenous ownership, an irony that was not lost on the speakers at the rally.
We knew we were trespassing, but we marched with bullhorn blaring: “Water is life.” “We won’t drink your fracking water.” and other slogans. We circled the entire hotel, returning to our place on the street and then moved again toward the parking lot when a Santa Fe police car approached. We were told that we had been trespassing on private property, we could not block the driveway and that without a permit we were committing an arrestable offense by using a bullhorn. He made no effort, however, to enforce any of these offenses. His reward was to be greeted with retorts about the hotel being on stolen land and so we could not be trespassing. The police had no real interest in arrests and so after The Red Nation’s demands were read, again through the bullhorn, the crowd dispersed.
But from one of the speakers, we learned that at a BLM land sale slated for December 4 and 5, BLM was planning to sell off 46,000 acres of stolen land for $2 an acre. I will update you on this planned sale, but my take-away is that when MLG and Stephanie Garcia Richards take office, a complete house cleaning needs to occur..Prominent state officials are already in the pocket of big oil and gas. New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Ken McQueen is a past vice president of WPX Energy, one of the largest companies fracking in the San Juan Basin and Greater Chaco region. And Tom Blaine, the New Mexico State Engineer who administers water code and has the final say on all water-related decisions for the state, is facing several lawsuits for illegally selling permits for 415 million gallons of NM water to oil and gas industry. These people need to be shown to the door the day MLG and Garcia Richards take office.
Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM with Senator Peter Wirth and Speaker Egolf, Saturday (TODAY) 8:30am. You can also listen by podcast at KSFR.org generally by Monday morning. If you are interested in the Roundhouse 2019 Legislative Session, you’ll want to be listening on Saturday morning. Next Saturday I’ll be interviewing NM House Representative-elect Andrea Romero and we’ll talk about her campaign, her experience with Emerge NM, and her take on the water and road access issues in Dist. 46.
Support the Santa Fe Dreamers. WOW!!! Because of dozens of generous donors the first Santa Fe Dreamers Immigrant Defense Fund $5000 match challenge was met in just 1 DAY! Now Dreamers’ friend David H, is offering a 2nd $5,000 MATCHING DONATION CHALLENGE. For the next 5 days, he will match you dollar for dollar up to $5000! Let’s keep this momentum going. Every donation, no matter the size, helps the Dreamers get closer to their goal! Click here to read more about the campaign and to donate.
Important Call To Action Alert!
Make No Mistake, Susana Martinez Is Taking Care Of Her Cronies In The Gas & Oil Industry, Even As She Is Leaving!
I wrote about this earlier this week, but wanted to alert you that the deadline for public comment is almost here. Why should you comment? Well, for one, come January a new Sheriff will be in charge of State government and our lands and because of this the oil and gas industries, PNM and other utilities are rushing to get deals made before they actually will be required to operate in a climatically and socially responsible manner.
Just before the Susana Martinez administration leaves power, she intends on changing the rules so that natural gas companies can drill twice the number of wells in the same amount of space in New Mexico. Hilcorp has an application before the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission asking to double the allowable well-density in the Blanco-Mesaverde gas pool across San Juan and Rio Arriba Counties.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
1) Submit your comment letter to Florence Davidson through this letter campaign. We have sample comments and talking points on the next page. Please take the time to personalize your message as decision-makers prefer unique comments. Be sure that you reference Hilcorp’s application: Case No.16403
2) Attend the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission Hearing at 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 19 at Porter Hall, 1st floor, Wendell Chino Building, 1220 S. St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, to speak out against this proposal.
3) Share this campaign and invite friends to the Facebook Event. https://bit.ly/2OLhDBa
4) Watch and share this video at the bottom of this post.
The deadline for comments is Monday, November 19th, 2018. Please share this ‘Call to Action Alert’ as widely as you can.
The Problem with Bipartisanism & Our Roundhouse Advocacy Team Mtg. Last Night
First, last night our Roundhouse Activism Team (AKA RAT Pack) convened for our usual twice monthly meeting of about 5-7 folks who’ve been meeting for almost two years twice. We were joined by about 40 new members all of whom signed up for specific roles in preparing for the legislative session in January and then playing roles in our advocacy at the Roundhouse from Jan 15-March 16. It was exhilarating. What’s more, there are over 40 others who have signed up but couldn’t make this meeting because of conflicts with work or travel. We will meet again on Thursday, November 29 from 6–8pm at the Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe. The first 30 minutes will be an orientation for new members and then we will move forward and advance our plans for expanding our Statewide Rapid Response Network. Please email me if you plan to attend: email@example.com.
During the meeting, I made comment about how in my interview with Senator Wirth and Speaker Egolf, they had both spoken a good deal about their intent to operate in a bipartisan fashion. Folks were not amused, but at least for now, I am actually not terribly concerned. While Egolf and Wirth have for years had to negotiate across the aisle, they don’t have to now. I am guessing they are not going to crow about how the GOP might as well just stay home this session; it is our turn. I believe they will continue to try to sustain a collegial tone in the Roundhouse, something that has endured despite Susana and Donald’s different approach to governance. But I think when push comes to shove, we will see the Dems outvote the GOP and send many good bills to the Roundhouse. But that doesn’t mean we can be lax in monitoring the session and making our presence known.
There are a number of problems with bipartisanship, especially in a time of climate change when gas and oil have secured the loyalty of the GOP and all too many Democratic Senators in the Roundhouse. Bipartisanship inevitably means conceding some of what you want in order to achieve some semblance of agreement. But I would argue that NM Democratic leadership needs to understand what these concessions mean in human terms to the people who just elected them.
Climate Change, The UN has made it clear, we are running out of time and every damned concession in the interest of bipartisanship is loosening a methane capture rule, or allowing a few more fracking operations, or limiting penalties for gas and oil spills or leaks. Each of these concessions may achieve harmony in the Roundhouse, but at the expense of being a model to the Nation, turning our backs on G&O lobbyists and forging a different path. Are we dependent upon gas and oil revenue. Certainly, but if you swap gas and oil revenues for serious tax reform and recapture taxes from out top income brackets and from corporations, if you legalize marijuana, if you invest in industrial hemp and enviro tourism, and a renewable infrastructure that captures and distributes our greatest resource, the sun and the wind, maybe we can replace those revenues.. We built a solid BOLD BLUE state and we are not going to fritter that away when we have a planet to save.
Predatory Lending. Can you imagine living paycheck to paycheck, being utterly auto dependent to get to work, having no savings, and having your transmission go out with a bill of $1200? For people in this situation, their only option is to go to the Payday lender in their community. And there are tons of them in every low-income community, all with friendly looking signs promising help. But the life jacket is actually a lead weight. Even with Roundhouse action in 2017 lending rates are still 175%, high enough so that if you are paying $50 a month, your balance is growing every month. You are essentially now an indentured slave to the lender. In the interest of being collegial and bipartisan, it is possible to see Democratic leadership accepting a 75% rate cap, after all that would be cutting the rate by more than half. But what member of the Roundhouse and what reader of this blog would accept a loan at 75%. This is about economic justice, as only the most desperate would sign on for such a loan. We built a solid BOLD BLUE state and we are not going to fritter that away when we have vulnerable families who need a legitimate life raft to support them through difficult times. .
Health Security Act. Can you imagine going to the doctor for a routine check up, finding a lump and two weeks later being told that without this specific treatment, you have at most a year to live. The cost of the treatment matches exactly your life savings and so you face a choice no one should face. For some, the news is worse, as they have no life savings. At least you have a choice. This situation faces people every day in NM and throughout the nation. The Health Security Act has been considered by the Roundhouse for 20 years. During that time, I wonder how many New Mexicans spent their life savings just to have a chance to survive and I wonder how many New Mexicans have died because the treatment they needed was economically beyond their desperate reach. The reason that the HSA has languished for so long is because the GOP and the Democrats had to agree on it. They don’t have to anymore. We built a solid BOLD BLUE state and we are not going to fritter that away when we have a vulnerable families who need a legitimate life raft to support them through difficult times.
Indigenous Sovereignty. I can’t even begin to fathom what it feels like to be a first nation person watching as your land is sold for $2 an acre, and even worse, sold so that our land, water and air can be poisoned. Feels bad enough to me, as the white interloper. We built a solid BOLD BLUE state and we are not going to fritter that away when we so many historic injustices to right, so many affronts to fix. Join us in this effort. Write to me if you want to be part of the Roundhouse Advocacy Team/ Write to me right now at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ve got a window of opportunity that is narrow and we need to seize the day.
Roxanne and Paul