The Threat of Bipartisanism in the Roundhouse and ANOTHER Threat to Our Land & Water

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 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!

Inline imageI 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.


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.

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:

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  We’ve got a window of opportunity that is narrow and we need to seize the day.

In solidarity,

Roxanne and Paul








Categories: Climate Change, Agriculture, Land Use & Wildlife, Local-State Government & Legislation

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5 replies

  1. Hi Paul and Roanne. The road to Perdition is paved with good intentions. It is no secret that the roots of bipartisanship mythology are rooted in the Protestant Reformation, when Luther could not make any headway with the Catholics in his quest to reverse the trending socialism of his day. It is truly tragic to witness what followed – tyranny against peasantry, Cromwell, Puritanism, the rise of the ownership of property, slavery as a methodology to instill racism/classism as the just reward for adhering to the rights of the ‘taker’ class.

    There really is no such thing as bipartisan. The word itself implies that differing mindsets get to work cooperatively toward a shared goal, and that goal has a ubiquituous outcome if dispatched with justice (the balanced scale versus five for me and one for you.) Bipartisanship is and has been an institutionalized gimmick of bullying and oppression, something just short of violence that still gets one side what they want at the great expense of the other.

    To be bipartisan is to be pragmatic, sensible, fair-minded, in short, all the dog whistles used by the takers to shame the givers into accepting their status as less knowing, less needing, less deserving, less worthy.

    This is how democratic behavior has been semantically nudged further and further toward autocracy for many decades, if not centuries. Two words can easily sum up the essence of bipartisanship – con job.

    But note, there is ‘always’ the threat or use of force lurking behind the con job. And really, this is how a bipolar society works. Reason, logic, peaceful and sustainable outcomes, cooperative interplay, true justice, all fail, not because they are inferior. It is precisely because they are superior that they must be destroyed. If one accepts those things as important, one is not a taker, and therefore weak, and undeserving of reward.

    I am with you 1000 percent. The shared goals of diversity make ultimate sense, and to fall for the con job of phony cooperation with the takers is a grave error. We must ‘fight’ like hell for peace and sustainability, as oxymoronic as that may sound, because it is not a contradiction. Biologic life on Earth has persisted for more than a billion years, not from the dominance of monolithic behavior, but from the hard fought battles to diversify and dilute the appetites of the taker mentality. All that has been gained for so long is hanging by a thread.

    No compromises.

    Mick Nickel

    • Very nicely framed, Mick, as usual. I was impressed to read that Ocasio Cortez has aligned with a young enviro activist organization to advocate with some ferocity on climate change in the Congress and to stop pretending that this is just “an issue.” It is survival and we are in this mess because of the myopic pursuit of profit and growth at any expense that is capitalism and the exploitation of Indigenous peoples worldwide, which is colonialism and racism. We need to pivot completely from these ideologies if we are ever to have a chance to creating sustainable climate balance and social justice. A goodly number of those that read this blog are not ready to completely ditch capitalism and still fear a socialist model and while socialism may not be the ultimate solution…..we may not have discovered the model we need, capitalism, colonialism and racism are the antithesis of justice.

  2. That Bipartisanship does not bode well, we have already seen what that means. Do not mistake people like Egolf or any of the others as progressive. He grew up in a Mansion, as a member of the landed gentry. It is truly unfortunate that these are the people that get chosen to represent.

    Not sure if any of you ll read that NYT article, about a certain evil corporation. The launched a similar campaign against ‘Socialism” with the help of Google, and mass media, back in 2015. No one paid attention in 2016.

    Regarding the Health Security Act, it sounds great, but the Industry found a lot of ways to work around that. The local Parkinson’s Group mentioned the lack of Neurologists here in N. NM. This “lack” is by design, the corporate bean counters don’t do anything without a reason. The industry already figured out that without a diagnosis, a lot of things can be denied. It is all a lot scarier than the advertising, content marketing, and advertorials suggest.

  3. As to payday loans, what ever happened to the concept of a public bank? Many cities are exploring and moving toward implementing publicly owned banks. And what ever happened to usury laws? Could our Democratic legislature and Governor do the right thing and define some limits so we are not beset by money grubbing vampires? Will the new governance truly represent the interests of the electorate?

  4. I wanted to add a bit to this dialog. I think it’s important to distinguish between a positive and civil discourse and a lack of principles. To the extent that “bipartisanship” refers to the former, that’s fine. To the extent that it is an exercise in seeking right wing support as a goal in itself, I oppose it. Voters want to know what candidates and elected representatives stand for, and a strong progressive program (not only during an election, but also in proposing and enacting legislation) will be attractive to many voters. That’s why it’s important to have a positive program, not just criticism of “the other”. On specific issues, it may be possible to attract support from a few Republicans in the legislature (some electoral and campaign finance reform issues come to mind). But diluting important legislation in the (often futile) hope of attracting bipartisan support just results in a correct public perception that the Democratic Party doesn’t stand for anything. We have a real opportunity to do some very important things and begin to repair the damage from decades of excessive caution and inaction. A positive program enacted in a forthright and honest fashion is what is needed now.

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