A Look Back at the Abortion Crisis, a Threat from 5-G, and “Produced” Water Used in Agriculture

We provide links to three very important posts that examine three NM crises: What do we do?  Plus we report on our trip to CD-2 where we met with activists in TorC, Silver City and Las Cruces, stopping for a two hour chat with Sen. John Arthur Smith, the NM Senate’s Dr. No. By popular request: a list of all 14 Dems who voted no to protect women’s right to choose.

A few announcements before we reprise our posts on

Donate Button with Credit CardsDonate to Retake Today!  We don’t ask often, just when the cupboard looks bare. We are all volunteers here, but we still have expenses. Our Roundhouse advocacy effort cost a good deal and then printing and travel to a series of community meetings in CD-2 put us in the hole.  These meetings were crucial as we identified a good number of very influential activists in these communities, activists who organize locally in districts crucial to addressing our challenges in the NM Senate.The value of the meetings was obvious and so we plan to visit Gallup, southeast NM, Taos, Embudo, and other parts of the state throughout the summer.  We need one time donations or even better, modest monthly donations to sustain this work.  And thanks to all of you who have already donated generously.

Teresa Leger Fernandez, Democratic Candidate for Congressional District 3, Wednesday May 29, 2019, 5:30-7:00pm.  Adelitas Restaurant, 3136 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe. A mom of three boys, a cancer survivor, former acequia commissioner, an attorney for tribal sovereignty and advocate for Latino cultural expression, Homewise board member, business woman , active community participant and proud daughter of Northern New Mexico. Did I mention that she argued before the NM Supreme Court to force Santa Fe to adopt Ranked Choice Voting?  Guess who won?  Us, Come find out more about her plans as our next US Representative for Northern NM.

Button 3 1-4-19Wednesday, June 5, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Retake Our Democracy, Input & Strategy Session at the Center for Progress Justice, 1420 Cerrillos, in Santa Fe.  On May 9, we had a great turnout and a tremendous meeting where we began sketching a 2019-2020 legislative and election strategy, as well as an outreach and organizing process. Whether you were able to attend or not, we want to encourage you to come to this meeting and help us develop strategies and put you to work. We aren’t going to change the political calculus in NM or mount a grassroots effort to counter climate change without you. Never been to a legislative interim hearing, find out why they are so important. Find out what you can be doing over the next year to prepare for the 2020 legislative session and 2020 primaries.  Lots to do. If you’ve never been to one of our meetings, grab a friend and give it a try. And if you have been to our meetings, let’s get started. Light food, NO DRINK CUZ WE DON’T WANT TO USE PLASTIC. But we will have Retake Our Democracy stickers you can put on your bumper or your water bottle.  no drink, just very important conversation. Please RSVP by writing to Paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org.  Thank you.

Good News from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, well sort of.  Cheri Bustos, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair, has dropped out of a fundraiser for “Democratic” Rep. Dan Lipinski, who Co-Chairs the Pro-Life Caucus while representing a bright blue district. What would be far better news would be for the DCCC to announce its endorsement of Marie Newman who challenged Lipinski in 2016, losing narrowly. While I wouldn’t hold your breath on that show of political principle, the challenge faced by Democratic leadership in NM is much more daunting

A Woman’s Right to Control Her Own Health Decisions in NM.  There were eight Democratic Senators and six Democratic House Representatives who voted NO on HB 51, Abortion Decriminalization. While it would be reasonably easy for the DCCC to cut the ties with Lipinski, in NM if Democrats made HB 51 a litmus test, many of the highest ranking Democrats in the House and Senate would be on the wrong side of that litmus test. Below are the 14 legislators who voted no on HB 51. Note that 10 of the 14 Democrats who voted no are a chair or vice chair of a committee and so represent a very significant part of Democratic leadership in the Roundhouse. From our tour of CD-2, we are aware of primary challenges announced or soon to be announced against Sen. Papen, Smith, Ramos and Sanchez.  And there will be more. To pass HB 51 in 2020 (it will have a different number) will require getting three of the Senate Dems who voted No to switch their vote, resulting in a 21-21 tie with Lt. Governor Morales casting a deciding Yes vote. Retake will be working on a strategy to organize constituent pressure on all eight of these Senate Democrats via phone, email, office visits, requested town halls and communication with these legislators during the 2019 Interim Hearings. The message from constituents to their legislators will be clear.

  • You have explained your No vote by questioning the need for such a vote, given that Roe v. Wade offers protection for women.
  • But after Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio and Mississippi votes to criminalize most all kinds of abortion are being passed with the clear intent of forcing a SCOTUS review of Roe v. Wade, and so it is obvious that decriminalizing abortion in NM is imperative. 
  • I am your constituent, I vote, and I am paying attention. I will not support a legislator who does not protect a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions; and
  • I will make sure and communicate this through all of my personal and political networks

Below are the legislators who voted no on HB 51. This week Retake will create a page with the speaking points above and contact info for each legislator in an Action Alert to our Rapid Response Network. Not signed up for the Network, click here. The Response Network is the best way to keep current on statewide actions, the legislative interim hearings, efforts to protect Chaco, PRC and BLM hearings, and other actions and events.


  • Paul Campos, District 8
  • Carlos Cisneros, District 6, Senate Finance Vice Chair
  • Richard Martinez, District 5, Chair Senate Judiciary
  • George Munoz, District 4
  • Mary Kay Papen, District 8, Senate Pro-Tem, Chair of Committee of Committees
  • Gabe Ramos, District 28, Vice Chair, Senate Indian Affairs, with the passing of Sen. Pinto, Ramos would be next in line for this chair position
  • Clemente Sanchez, District 30, Chair Senate Corporations and Transportation
  • John Arthur Smith, District 35, Chair, Senate Finance


  • Anthony Allison, District 4
  • Doreen Wanda Johnson, District 5, Vice Chair, House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs
  • Patricia Lundstrom, District 9, Chair House Appropriations and Finance, Vice Chair of Legislative Finance Committee
  • Patricio Ruiloba, District 12, Chair House Transportation, Public Works and Capital Improvements
  • Joseph Sanchez, District 40
  • Candie Sweetser, District 32 Vice Chair House Agriculture and Water Resources

Four Days in CD-2. We met with over 200 activists in TorC, Silver City and Las Cruces and even met 1-1 for two hours with Sen. John Arthur Smith.  We will report in more detail on our trip and what we learned later this week, but for now a few major take-aways

  • People were fired up. Very fired up.
  • The legislative alerts were viewed as being invaluable to folks who live so distant from the Roundhouse and these alerts  had a much larger distribution than the 1300 members, as we were told over and over that individuals and groups like Indivisible, Our Revolution, Adelante Caucus, forwarded the alerts on a regular basis.
  • CD-2 Democrats feel ignored by the ABQ-Santa Fe-Taos “bubble” and as a result, our visit made a deep impression. People were very welcoming and appreciative that we came to talk and listen.
  • There are issues in CD-2 that don’t get on our radar and as a result of hearing about bills related to Gila water diversion, copper mining regulation, issues with F-16 flyovers, and the need for federal and state aid to support local relief efforts for asylum seekers. As a result, Retake will continue to do outreach to different regions of the state to better identify bills and issues of regional concern and incorporate them into our priorities. If you want to find out how you can help us expand our statewide base of power and advocate for justice in NM, come to our June 5 meeting (details above)….and bring a friend.
  • In more conservative parts of CD-2, e.g. Deming, TorC advocates asked for good summaries of how specific bills passed by Democrats and opposed by GOP actually benefit their communities. Activists in TorC canvassed furiously in 2018. resulting in a 400 voter increase in Democratic turnout, but they need concise materials for canvassing to try to educate moderate Republican voters. This is likely needed in many other more conservative parts of NM and will be part of our Report Card.
  • While some of the folks we met were disappointed with Rep. Xochitl Torres, only a few were looking for a primary challenge. Most felt that a moderate Dem was far better than Pearce of Herrell (who would be worse than Pearce). But there was still significant dissatisfaction with Torres Small’s meetings with the health insurance industry, failure to endorse Medicare For All or the Green New Deal. Others felt she needs to consolidate her base before she can feel secure in taking more progressive stands. Something to watch.
  • HB 51 was the focal point of a good amount of frustration with Democratic Party leadership with most everyone we met feeling that a vote No on HB 51 was not acceptable and warranted strong advocacy with those Democrats who voted No and that most would welcome primary challenges of those Democrats
  • Sen. Smith is not gonna change: he didn’t want to hear about a public bank or tax increases on the wealthy and corporations. One positive take-away: he feels planning for a transition from gas and oil should happen sooner than later but also feels that until we are in crisis mode, it likely won’t happen.—-Hence why we need to organize and push.

Otero County Commission Chairman Couy Griffin said sheltering migrants sent the wrong message to other Central Americans thinking of leaving their homes and would deepen the border crisis. “If you begin to feed pigeons in the parking lot, pretty soon you have every pigeon in town,” Griffin said. Wow.  Just Wow. So now one of our NM elected officials is comparing desperate refugees to pigeons. While in Southern NM, we could see the vast stretches of utterly flat, unshaded, scorching hot desert. I tried to imagine the desperation that could cause anyone to take their children and walk 1400 miles to our border. We can do better than to think of these refugees as pigeons. What ever happened to compassion?

A Look Back, Even If Lincoln Has to Cover His Eyes, We Can’t

The image at left–entitled Liberty Crumbling— is the winning entry in a Texas Sand Sculpture competition.  We loved the image and the title, but we actually feel that at this time, we can’t not hide our head in our hands and turn away from the challenges we face. So we prefer the image at right, Not Afraid To Look, a sculpture created by Charles Rencountre a Lakota artist based in Santa Fe. The sculpture was created in Standing Rock and then was moved to Santa Fe where it stands on Fin del Sendero Rd only a mile from our home. We drive by it every day, reminding us that we must face our future and our challenges head on and without blinking. And so below, three challenges: the need to oppose the use of “produced” water on NM farmland, the need to educate ourselves about the threats presented by the IT industry’s 5-G network and the need to organize to protect a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions. We are not living in A Handmaids Tale world, but based upon some of the commentary from politicians in Ohio, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and Mississippi, that could be where we are headed. Details on all three of these threats are outlined below.

We Warned the Governor that HB 546 Would Allow “Produced” Water to Be Used to Irrigate Farmland. Two Months Later…

Tuesday, May 21.  That didn’t take long. Encore Green Environmental Group filed a permit application to use produced water to irrigate 3000 acres of NM farmland and they have identified a fracking operator eager to sell them the produced water and a farmer willing to use that water. Before HB 546 was signed, we asked the Governor: why would you explicitly include agriculture as one of the potential uses of this produced water?  No response. Well, maybe the bill that Speaker Egolf  and bill sponsor Nathan Small claimed may be the “best piece of environmental legislation in New Mexico history” isn’t quite so good after all. That is, unless you like to consume salads grown with produced water. FYI–“produced water” is water used in fracking operations and then “treated.”  Read on about the permit being sought and the plan for using produced water.

Alabama Passes Unthinkable Abortion Ban, With Other States in Queue to Do the Same and Challenge Roe v. Wade. Suddenly HB 51 Is Even More Important Than We Thought

Thursday, May 23. Despite 60-70% of Americans wanting to uphold Roe v Wade, a national effort is afoot that is developing a momentum of its own and it is beyond frightening. The post examines how quickly a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body is disappearing in one state after another. We also raise the question: Are their issues that are so important that they represent a litmus test, such that we make a decision that an elected official or a candidate’s vote or position on that issue by itself preclude support for that candidate? Was HB 51, the Abortion Decriminalization Bill such a bill? And are the eight Democrat Senators who voted with Republicans to kill HB 51 now Democrats that none of us should support?  Should their vote warrant primary challenges? The post goes further: How is it that the concept of a litmus test has fallen so into disfavor, where those who might employ a litmus test are somehow inflexible or too idealist?  What is so wrong with a person or even a party cutting off support for candidates in their party who do not uphold core principles of that party?  How is that somehow wrong?  Click here to read the full post.

Report from NASA, National, Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Indicate 5-G Will Vastly Reduce Capacity to Forecast Weather, IT Lobbyists Tell Us Not To Worry.  What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Saturday, May 25.  In the 50s the auto industry lied about emissions causing smog; in the 60s the tobacco industry lied about cigarettes causing cancer; in the 70s Nestle lied about the use of  baby formula in third world countries contributing to one million babies dying from malnutrition every year; from the 70s until now the fossil fuels industry with its ally Fox News continues to spread misinformation about climate change: All of them have told us: we are fine, science is wrong, trust us. And now IT lobbyists for 5-G tell us that NASA, FCC and Oceanic/atmospheric scientists are also wrong. Our plan for 5-G is fine and won’t destroy your capacity to forecast weather. At a time when predicting catastrophic weather events will be critical with millions of lives at stake, let’s speed up the internet even if it brings us back to the 70s in our capacity to accurately forecast weather events.  What could go wrong here? Turns out lots could go wrong and we had better start looking those things in the eye, rather than turning away. Click here to read the full post. 





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2 replies

  1. Sounds like a great trip you guys took. Thanks a lot for going. I’m so excited to know they used the Legislative Alerts!

  2. Senator Cisneros said he based his HB 51 “no” vote on a telephone survey of constituents he conducted. He said that he was well aware that opposition among his constituents was largely based on false information – beliefs that if HB 51 were to pass, physicians would be forced against their consciences to perform abortions, for one thing. Rather than dispel these false beliefs, he went along with people’s fears and voted no.

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