What’s Next? Part IV. Informed by Chaco Tour, Visit with Gov’s Legis Aide & more….

The Fracking Tour of Greater Chaco Canyon made it crystal clear: there are already huge sacrifice zones here in NM and across the world there are communities already suffering from climate events. Today, we discuss what we can do.

After three brief action notifications, we turn to Part IV of our series on the need for some kind of escalated action to address the looming climate catastrophe. But first, thank you to the over 400 of you who signed the Save Chaco Canyon petition demanding that the BLM restrict the number of new gas and oil leases in the Greater Chaco area. Of late, fearing that more restrictions could be imposed on fracking in the area, there has been a surge in lease applications, and Navajo activists are asking BLM to slow or stop the approval process. By this morning 7536 people had signed the petition, helping to meet their initial goal of 7500. Diné C.A.R.E. has created a new goal of 10,000 signatures, so if you have not signed the petition, please do so by clicking here and share this with friends and/or post this in you FB feed. We may not move the BLM to act, but we will demonstrate our support for the Navajo Nation.

Legislative Preview: Preparing for 2020

Time to slay the five-headed DINO-Dragon that has ruled the NM State Senate

The Five Headed-DINO That Blocks All Things Good In the NM State Senate: From Left to Right, Sen. Ramos, Sen. Smith, Sen. Papen, Sen. Sanchez & Sen. Ramos

How to successfully advocate for the issues you believe in! Tuesday, Oct. 29, 6:30 pm- 8:30 pm, Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe.  Our preparation for the 2020 legislative session begins today when Retake Our Democracy will host a panel discussion with nonprofit advocacy experts to inform you about their legislative priorities for 2020 and to help us prepare for the 2020 Legislative Session. Panelists include:

  • Bill Jordan, Government Relations Officer, NM Voices for Children
  • Mary Feldblum, Executive Director, Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign
  • Paul Haidle, JD, Senior Policy Strategist, A.C.L.U.
  • Elaine Sullivan, Board President, Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity (public banking)
  • Fred Nathan, Executive Director, Think New Mexico

Moderator, Paul Gibson, Co-Founder, Retake Our Democracy

Discussion will focus on policies related to child welfare, healthcare, civil rights, abortion decriminalization, public banking, tuition-free college, early childhood funding, and how grassroots advocates can best support their legislative priorities. We will also ask our panelists to think outside their specific issue area and comment upon how their work is aligned with and supports movement toward a just transition.

We will also discuss strategy for how to advance bills through the NM State Senate where DINOs rule the day. We’ll have our work cut out for us, but we’ll also be taking notes throughout the session and June primaries will be up next where we will have an opportunity to change the composition of the Senate.

RSVP TODAY by emailing to retakeresponse@gmail.com. Panel will be live-streamed via the Retake Our Democracy Facebook page. For more details and to RSVP on Facebook, click here. If you are part of a group such as Indivisible, please consider sharing the FB livestream to your FB page and encourage members to watch the panel. We will be following the comments on the FB stream and will incorporate questions from the feed into the Q&A section of the panel.

Youth United for Climate Crisis Action: Call to Action Protesting the Governor’s Non-Response to YUCCA Demands

October 30, 4pm. Roundhouse Rotunda. Youth from YUCCA will update you on the status of their actions. At the close of the protest, some of YUCCA youth and supporters will march to the public hearing on produced water being held at 6pm. This would be a good day to join our youth.

  • 4PM Briefing
  • 4:30PM Rally in the Roundhouse
  • 4:45PM Teach-In on Fracked Water
  • 5:00PM Solidarity Action

Produced Water Hearing Schedule

SANTA FE:Wednesday, Oct 30, 6pm-8:30pm, St. Francis Auditorium, 107 West Palace Ave., Santa Fe. Join YUCCA at the Rotunda and then march to the hearing. For background information on the reason for the hearing, speaking points, and how to submit written comment, please click here.

What Next? Part IV

We have now written three posts assessing our situation and the range of options available to us. We’ve fielded over 40 comments from readers in reaction to the series, with comments ranging from concerns about inconveniencing motorists or setting a precedent of disruption that conservatives can follow, to caution about blowing up refineries (not something we are contemplating actually).

But the prevailing sentiment has been that some form of escalating direct actions needs to start happening. We’ve supported YUCCA who has established a set of demands for the Governor and that has largely been ignored. We’ve seen how in Europe Extinction Rebellion civil disobedience has vastly expanded the climate catastrophe discussions at the highest levels of government and on both sides of the aisle.

The range of suggestions was quite large and embarking on such a path seems like something that should require conversation. And so, our next step will be to call a Town Hall on November 19, 6:30-8:30pm at 1420 Cerrillos, the Center for Progress & Justice.

The Town Hall is just being organized and may include a brief series of statements from people with experience organizing civil disobedience, but the vast majority of the Town Hall will be used to engage in a community conversation, exploring options, concerns, interests, etc. We will also devote 30 minutes of the meeting to preparation for the 2020 legislative session. You can RSVP for the Town Hall by writing to RetakeResponse@gmail.com. And please tell others.

Regardless of what form of direct action we initiate or support, Retake will continue its current strategies: education, legislative advocacy, and election organizing at our Town Hall. This will demand more of our leadership and of you. But as noted in the second post in the three part series on the need for greater action, it is time to recognize that we all need to pull up our sleeves and do more. This is a crisis and if we expect our elected officials to behave as if this is a crisis, we must do so first.

Education Strategy. We will continue our panel discussion series and our research of issues and options and, of course, the blog and radio show represent ongoing efforts to engage, educate and motivate. We will continue holding community meetings in other parts of the state to educate them on what they can do and what we can do together.

Legislative Strategy. We know that the 2020 session will be difficult; we have little control over what gets on the call, although in meeting with Victor Reyes, Legislative Liaison for the Governor, and Tripp Stelnicki, the Governor’s Communications Director, I got the distinct impression that as long as a bill can be written in a way that it can get through the Senate and get to her desk, the Governor will put bills on Community Solar, Abortion Decrim, legalization of recreational marijuana, and establishing an early childhood trust fund on the call.

But here is the rub. We have found that for bills to work their way past the five headed DINO in the Senate, much of the real value of the bill is often drained. There is a reason that the Energy Transition Act gave PNM everything it wanted: the bill would never have emerged from the Senate without it meeting with PNM approval. Various tax reforms and the minimum wage bill were all weakened in the Senate and virtually every bill addressing climate change died in Senate Committees. So, we will have our hands tied in 2020 and we will need all of you. As a result, we will be ramping up our organizing for 2020, while we will also be readying for the June primaries and the November general elections and hopefully a very different NM Senate in 2021.

Election Strategy. We are hard at work on this strategy. For now our efforts are focused on the five Senate districts represented by our five-headed hydra in addition to the districts represented by Sen. Martinez, Sen. Campos and the late Senator Cisneros. Together, this represents the eight Senators who voted no on HB 51, the Abortion Decriminalization bill. That work is going quite well as we have a team making calls to Democrats in those districts, identifying people who want to organize a meeting in their district where serious planning can begin. More on this soon.

What About You?

In the meantime, we have a vision and a set of strategies. Vision + Action = change. But that formula leaves out the most important piece: YOU. We need You + Action + Vision = Change.

There is far more outrage and comments on the blog than there are people who are doing the work and the degree to which we are successful in building a movement is entirely up to you. With the crew of volunteers we have now, we will certainly make an impact, but to really achieve our goals we need many times the number of people putting in 3-5 hours a week and the options are many. But before I tick off some easy things you can do, I just want to say that it is time to stop fooling ourselves.

We are in an absolutely horrific bind and in every community in NM and every state in the nation and in every nation on earth, we need to begin to take this seriously. Everyone of you can spare 5 hours a week and devote it to this work and while many of you may be doing work on other fronts with other groups, many are simply wringing their hands. Stop the hand wringing. Put those hands to work. Over the next weeks, my tone may well escalate as our actions escalate. It is no longer OK to be sitting on the sidelines when very easily you can do the first two things on the list below in just five minutes a day:

  • Begin sharing a link to each blog with a large number of friends via group email and encourage an email discussion among those friends. They won’t always agree with what is said, but what is important is to expand the conversation. This is so important to helping build a movement.
  • If you use FB when we post a blog, copy a link from the blog into your feed, “tag” some of your FB friends by simply typing their names directly in the post until their name auto-feeds and you see their full name and then highlight the name. This will share your post directly to their feed. As with the first action, this will take only one or two minutes a day.
  • RSVP for tonight’s panel and make a plan to attend to bring friends to future events.
  • Go to RetakeResponseNetwork.org. Even if you have signed up for this before, please go there and update your profile and identify something you can do on an ongoing basis. We need people who like to research, people who like to speak with others and organize them, people who like to write and will write letters to the editor and people who want to take action in relation to climate change.
  • We rode in the car with the Santa Fe New Mexican Opinion Page Editor, Inez Russell Gomez on the Chaco tour Sunday. She says that the New Mexican will print basically every letter to the editor she receives. So let’s spread the word. You can use most any post we publish to provide a few facts you can use in your letter. You don’t have to feel obliged to write a full 150 words. Most of what you want to say you know and feel already and the most powerful letters are those that come from your heart. When you write, you must add your name at the end of the letter. Please add after your name “Retake Our Democracy” and if you can, devote a few words to how Retake keeps you informed and encourage others to subscribe to the blog. We want our community to know we are here and we are engaged. Click here for a guide to writing letters and contact info for the ten largest circulation papers. Most papers will accept a letter from you once a month. So let’s make our voices heard and our thoughts read.

There is no one else who is going to start the transition but you and too many of you greet Roxanne and I in the store or at Farmers Market and tell us how much you appreciate what we do. “Keep it up, you say.” Well, we are keeping it up, but now it is time for you all to pick up the baton and get in the race and if you are in the race already, consider ways you may be able to do more. We are facing an existential crisis and to address it head on, every one of us must find a way to do more.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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3 replies

  1. Check this out!


    Maybe those “DINOs” need a history lesson, after all the policies they endorsed over the years, led to the Epidemic of Despair, here in NM. The AJ is running the usual Adversity Porn/Crime version for public consumption. Of course it is a little more complicated than they are presenting. The denial and lies are really kind of frightening. They need a fact based intervention.

    Oh then there are the fires in California, they could just as easily happen here, but the realtors, oil and gas, and their minions in corporate media will downplay the connection.

  2. Love the five-headed DINO graphic! I suggest that it be replicated in every post/printed matter that concerns the 2020 primaries/election. Some might feel uncomfortable about this. I say, too bad.

  3. Another suggestion concerning the DINO graphic. Prominent (3-D?) red numbers below each photo–example, 68%*–with a *legend at the bottom to indicate the percentage of times that particular Senator voted with the Republican party. This info can be taken from Eric’s excellent research. Most of the DINOs he referenced were in the 60s and 70s. My thinking is that the numbers will prompt the curious to look at the legend and so drive home how far these DINOs are removed from the expectations of the average Democratic voter. If they wanted Republican policies, they should vote for the real article, not the sheep in wolf’s clothing. (Apologies to sheep and wolves alike).

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