A Stirring Call to Save Chaco from Retake Reader, Hearing Today 10am + Powerful Video on Dudley St., MA

Dudley St. was one of the hundreds of communities abandoned by policymakers and ready to be “developed” into another cookie-cutter factory of gentrification until residents developed other ideas. After the usual Monday recap of last week, you will find a tremendous 15 minute video that is instructive for Santa Fe as it considers how to “develop” the Midtown Project.

Today’s Blog. Below you will find a host of actions and events occurring this week. A link below the list will get you to more descriptions of what is happening. But I want to stress that today, from 10am – 3pm  there is a US Congressional Hearing occurring at the Roundhouse in Room 307.. I recommend arriving early.

Immediately after the Events & Actions summary, Retake is offering the words of one of our most active researchers as he comments on his experience living on Navajo Nation during the time of one of one of the worst uranium tragedies in US history, the burst of the Church Rock dam. Finally, after the recap of last week, at the bottom of the post, is a truly compelling and instructive video about the Dudley St. neighborhood, an abandoned neighborhood, ripe for gentrification and displacement. How the community banded together to prevent the plans of developers is important to Santa Fe today, as the City creates plans for developing the Santa Fe University of Art & Design.

Are you tired of Ben Ray Lujan’s incessant, emails announcing critical emergencies every single day and asking for your $10 to help solve the emergency?  So is Milan Simonich, who in his usually sarcastic styling, identifies the real emergency in Lujan’s future: Maggie Toulousse Oliver. Seriously, amidst one faux emergency after another and the need for yet another $5 or $10 to stave it off, never is there anything substantive. Maybe Lujan should attend the Green New Deal Town Hall on Thursday at 7:30pm and hear about a real crisis. Maybe he can even negotiate 3 minutes of time at the mic to announce his sponsorship of the GND so that this nation can assemble a real response to a real crisis, not some fake emergency designed to coax another $10 from your wallet. Click here to read SImonich’s excellent piece.

Events & Actions.  We’ve been inundated with events of late, or maybe now that the Roundhouse session is over, I am paying more attention. In any case, below is a brief list of a sampling of what is on the horizon, but to get the full details, click here.

  • Chaco US Congressional Hearings, Monday 10-3pm Roundhouse Rm 307–as in TODAY!
  • Weds. April 17, New Energy Economy Legislative Review
  • Thurs, April 18, 5:30-7PM. Retake Roundhouse Celebration, free pizza, and for gluten free  and/or vegan folks, a vegan bean and rice stew. The event will feature a brief discussion of future plans.There will also be opportunities to socialiize and get to know your colleagues in activism.  But you must RSVP today or tomorrow or we won’t know how much food to provide. BYOB and bring your own utensils to keep it green. Why not RSVP now?  RSVP by writing to Paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org.   While you are RSVPing for the celebration, plese make a note that on Thursday, May 9 from 6:30-8:30pm, Retake is hosting a Roundhouse Debrief and Town Hall where we will hear from you about what worked and what could be improved in terms of advocacy at the Roundhouse. We will also want to hear from you about what you think should be our next steps, our strategies over the next year to prepare for the June Primaries and then for the 2021 Roundhouse session.  Thank so much.
  • Thurs, April 18, Green New Deal Town Hall with Rep. Deb Haaland (follows Retake event at 7:30pm
  • Sat. Apr. 27, TEWA Women’s United garden planting, seed sharing and more.

For details on all of these events, click here.

Mike Neas, One of Our Supporters Wrote This About New Mexico as a Sacrifice State & Our Need to Make a Stand

I got the note below in an email yesterday. It seemed an apt message to motivate you to join Roxanne and I at the US Congressional Hearing at 10am today at the Roundhouse Room 307.
I enjoy reading the Retake posts. They are very informative. I only wish that there was not so much that needed to be said.Retake says it so well. I listen to the radio show whenever I can and Rebecca Sobel was outstanding this week. I have the pleasure of seeing her in action since I am a member of the Greater Chaco Coalition.

I want to briefly mention my take on “Sacrifice Zone”. New Mexico is considered a resource state. Under our current federal administration and with the powers of vulture capital, we should all realize that we are a “Sacrifice State“. And we should fight like a raccoon caught by the tail.  We have 2 million people to stand up to the forces of a nation that is barely beginning to awaken. New York and other states may have banned fracking, but they didn’t stop the use oil and gas. That puts more pressure on New Mexico and the profits that they deliver to this industry pay to blind our New Mexico legislators and many of our people.

I lived on the Navajo Reservation for several years. In 1979 I work for United Nuclear Corporation at Church Rock New Mexico (a superfund site) at the uranium mill. That was the year that the dam broke and created arguably the worst radiation disaster in US history. The land and water at hundreds of sites like that are still poisoned. I could leave while so many others can not. And many who did leave took their exposure to that event and those uranium processes with them. There are thousands of people that have been, are being, and will be harmed by industry and compensated under federally funded compensation programs such as the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, RECA and the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, EEOICPA. These and more are funded by the taxpayers and not the industries that destroyed the water, the land, and the futures of so many people. Compensation acts can not make good the damage done.
My father worked at Sandia Labs. Before that at American Car and Foundry, ACF, later it became GE a South Valley Superfund site under  The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) . He was recruited to ACF from Batel in Columbus Ohio. All three are listed in the EEOICPA and lung cancer is how he died. Exposure in New Mexico is how many of our people die,and no one wants to do the studies and put them all together. Antionette did, Judy Calman and Gail Chasey did, but Ryan Flynn doesn’t.
Right now we are under siege by the oil and gas industry, and the nuclear industry in several forms. These and others to come will all reap the profits and leave New Mexico like United Nuclear left the Navajo.Maybe we should save Chaco as if our lives depended on it.
Beyond showing up at 10 for the Congressional Hearing, I think Mike’s note begs the question  What are you willing to do to take a stand against the gas and oil industry for which nothing is sacred except their profit?  I will return to this question over the next few weeks, as I think it is time each of us begins to think deeply about how deeply we are willing to sacrifice, how much more we can take before we say, “screw this,” I am going to ______ and I am not going to stop?
Please check out last week’s posts and the important video on the Dudley Street community. I promise you will be inspired by what you see, as a community of largely powerless folks, showed what happens when you are organized, focused and persistent.

Last Week’s Posts

If you have time for but one, I’d recommend the one at the bottom of the page, as it delineates clearly not just the environmental imperative of defending Chaco, but the moral one. It was published on Friday, a day when readership is usually low, but this piece deserves your attention.  Read on.  And then take 10 minutes to read about how one neighborhood took on powerful local developers and by standing together revitalized their neighborhood around their priorities, not those seeking profit. The video has implications for all sorts of social, econoimic and environmental challenges.

Copycat Legislation: Manufactured Legislation in Service of Industry.  You Can’t Make This Up

We focus on the insidious impact of “copycat” legislation, a practice perfected by ALEC and employed by dozens of industry think tanks and lobbyists to advance corporate goals at our expense. A US TODAY led two year study examined thousands of instances of copycat legislation and you won’t believe it.  Click here to review the full post.

The US Senate Poses a Far Greater Threat to Democracy than the Electoral Congress

Thursday’’s blog  examined the Electoral College and the US Senate as two antiquated Constitutional institutions that grossly undermine representative democracy by by allowing a significant over-representation of white, rural, conservative voters. The post identifies fixes to the Electoral College, but the Senate appears impervious to fixes. Chaco action announced for Monday, Apr.15. Click here to read the full post.

New Mexico, America’s Sacrifice Zone. Time for a Last Stand at Chaco Canyon.

Officially declared a “sacrifice Zone under Nixon, the Four Corners has long been under siege, essentially stripping its resources, disfiguring their landscape, and subjecting its residents to preventable disease and uncertain economic futures. Only Chaco has remained even marginally protected. Until now, to our endless shame.  Click here to read this most important post.  This post is a must read and once you’ve read it, please find time to come to the Roundhouse at 10 am TODAY for the Chaco Canyon Congressional Hearing, Roundhouse Room 307.

A 10 Minute Video: An Alternative to Gentrification & Displacement: Community Engagement

Click here to watch the video on Dudley Street.

Categories: Climate Change, Agriculture, Land Use and Wildlife, Social & Racial Justice & Immigration Reform

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1 reply

  1. Paul, it seems the preservation and defense of Chaco Canyon is New Mexico’s own version of Standing Rock. Can the Red Nation, the Tewa Women United, or some group please call for a WALL of People around the 10 mile suggested perimeter, a summer long encampment to stake our intention that New Mexico is no longer a sacrifice zone? How many of us supported with our resources or presence the defense of Standing Rock? And how many of us will now come to the aid of our own lands, our own future?

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