We have a ton of resources and information today, including our new online Legislative Survey (10-15 minutes to complete) and a new social media strategy from Retake. Plus info on offering public comment on the obelisk and other public art. Read on!
Today is the day the Electoral College votes. Click here to view it streaming from CNN. At this page there is also a schedule of when each state will be voting. California votes at 5:30pm ET with Hawaii somewhat later. With 55 Electoral votes, California’s vote will give Biden the votes he needs to win the election. Champagne to follow.
SPECIAL MEETING OF THE SANTA FE CITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS THE FORMATION OF THE CHART COMMITTEE
DECEMBER 16, 2020 4:00 PM ATTEND VIRTUALLY
PUBLIC COMMENT WELCOME
Santa Feans: The City Council will be meeting to discuss the formation of the Cultures, History Art, Reconciliation & Truth (CHART) Committee, sought by Mayor Webber to develop a plan for reconciling community differences as relates to public art reflecting NM history and culture.
“Written Comments: The public may submit written comments on any of the legislative items to be considered on the Discussion Agenda and Public Hearing through 1:00 p.m. the day of the meeting, via the virtual comment “button” at santafe.primegov.com/portal/search. “
To make comments, go to https://santafe.primegov.com/public/portal# Then scroll down to: Governing Body Special Meeting – CARES Act click on Options button. I tried to follow these directions, clicked on the link above and landed on a page that, at least as of 7am, Monday did not have a “Governing Body Special Meeting CARES Act” listed anywhere. However, it is now on the page, so you can offer comment that way or you can also write directly to your City Councilor and the Mayor. Click here for contact info.
You can also call or write Kristine Mihelcic, Constituent and Council Services Director, email@example.com, 955-6846 to ask how the public comment function will be operative.
Lastly, to get current on the issues at stake, click here to read Retake’s post where we discussed the Mayor’s ideas of who should comprise the CHART and Retake’s views on possible reconciliation. We raised significant concerns about the proposed membership and the timeline for the CHART offering recommendations. RAISE YOUR VOICE.
Retake On Facebook
We have debated this for months: Should we increase our utilization of FB and start posting with regularity or close the site altogether. We feel that FB, for all its limitations, does afford an online framework for discussion of articles and issues that we don’t work into our blog. While FB can be a venue where trolls descend and fill your space with offensive or nonsensical commentary, it can also be a space where people engage in thoughtful discussions of issues that warrant debate.
On Sunday I posted three items on the Retake Our Democracy FB page and ask that you take a look after reviewing this post. Make a comment if you would like and see where it goes. Since this has been a long neglected FB page, it will take awhile before posts there appear on the pages of those who have liked the page, but if we begin to generate more discussion, that will change. If you have never visited our FB page, please check it out, scan our posts from yesterday, like or follow us, and please comment and share. Onward.
Our 2021 Legislative Survey Is Now Live
Raise Your Voice and let us know your legislative priorities for 2021. The survey offers you two ways to prioritize Retake’s15 Transformational bills. We also ask for your Senate and House district #s (a link is provided to determine them) so that we can share with your legislator, how the state felt about the bills and how their own constituents did. We are also asking legislators to take the survey so we can identify where we have solid support and where we have work to do. We’ve tested it and the survey takes but 5-10 minutes to complete. Please take the survey by clicking here and then share the link in social media and with others you feel may want to Raise Their Voice.
We have updated our summaries for most of our 15 Transformational bills and now also have included links to full one-pagers for ten of those bills. We hope to have the remaining five one-pagers done this week. We have also added a bit of descriptive language for many of the 28 Priority Bills, an evolving process as we learn more about each bill. Click here to get to our updated list of bills.
NM State Legislature:
This Is NOT a Time to Be Timid
During our Zoominar with Senator Wirth, Senator Stewart and Speaker Egolf, Senator Wirth commented that the changes in the NM State Senate had created a window of opportunity to pass bold new legislation. What’s more, Covid has laid bare the clear evidence of widespread vulnerability of many populations, creating an obvious need for the state taking bold action. Senator Wirth summarized his comments by saying: “The stars are aligned.”
It hasn’t taken long to find that alignment being adjusted to lower expectations. We are hearing from multiple sources that bills that launch the state in “new directions” or that are “complex,” will not fare well. What happened to our window of opportunity?
Certainly, the 2021 session will be constrained by Covid and the GOP will use their usual stall tactics of debating each bill to the full 3-hour limit, and so we are encouraged to hear that legislators are being encouraged not to introduce more than five bills. That will be most useful as in limiting the number of bills, it could help focus on those bills that could be most impactful. It is also highly likely that any bill with a big price tag, would face a much more challenging path. While the recent update in revenue projections is far rosier than what was shared in June, quite obviously we are operating in a Covid-limiting recession compounded by reduced gas and oil revenue. Nonetheless, virtually no state is more financially prepared to weather those challenges. The permanent fund is also described as a “rainy day” day fund and in parts of NM it isn’t raining, it is a deluge.
But while the last three elections have created a legislature substantially more receptive to progressive legislation, there are moderating forces and some of them hold powerful committee or leadership roles. And that is precisely why Retake and our allies are initiating advocacy work in late December and early January. We want to educate our legislators about the bills that will have the greatest impact on the lives of our most vulnerable populations and communities. In the age of Covid, we want all New Mexicans to enjoy medical coverage and paid sick leave. We want all New Mexicans to have a constitutional right to clean air. We’d want all New Mexicans to have access to high quality, low-cost early childhood education. We want all New Mexicans to have paid sick leave. We don’t want any New Mexicans for fall prey to predatory lenders just because their car needs repairs. All of these bills will launch the state in a new directions, but that is not to be feared; it is to be welcomed. And the elections in 2016, 2018 and 2020 should signal clearly that this is what voters want, that they will support legislators who fight for these kinds of bills and that voters will look elsewhere if their legislators fail to advance good bills.
Please join us in our advocacy. We are forming teams in each of 27 Senate Districts. We’ve developed tools and resources to make it easy. Our District Teams are growing rapidly, so you will be in good company. Click here to sign up. The sign up form includes a link to find your Senate and House District.
With Your Help, WE CAN DO THIS!
A Look Back at Last Week
This past week we offered up but three posts, as we were busy preparing tools and strategies for the 2021 legislative session while also communicating with our allies about how their bills are taking shape. We’ve made huge progress and feel we are almost ready for a session that is not to begin for over a month. Of the three posts offered last week, if I had to pick one I’d say Wednesday’s post with the information about the dramatically improved NM State budget situation and the implications for what might be possible would be the one I’d recommend most. Onward!
We Examine How Dangerous the Next 44 Days Could Be, Plus a Look at Last Week & a Toolkit for 2021 Legislative Advocacy
Monday, Jan. 7. As always on Monday, we offer quite a bit of information, including four News In Briefs, two focused on how dangerous the next six weeks could be, with excerpts that will cause you to want to click and read. These are compelling pieces worthy of your review. Plus our 2021 Legislative Advocacy ToolKit was first published in this post and it provides you with all the resources and tools you will need to raise your voice not just during the legislative session, but before it, before your legislator has made up her mind on the bills you support Also in this post are links to the four posts from the week of Jan 7-13, including posts on environmental racism in NM, Trump unhinged and a summary of the zoominar with Senator Wirth, Senator Stewart and Speaker Egolf.
Click here to review the full post.
NM Revenues Surge, Budget Improves,
Plus COVID Relief Package Hang Up:
Providing Protection to the Worst Corporate Offenders
Wednesday, Dec. 9. We examine an improved NM state budget situation with a $1.2 billion uptick in projected revenue, the opportunity this presents for legislative advocacy, the need to stay involved in the Georgia runoff, and a shameless effort by the GOP to strip workers of workplace protections. Essentially, the GOP is holding Covid relief hostage if the package doesn’t include protection for corporations who have abused their workers during COVID.
Click here to read the full post.
Readying for the 2021 Legislative Session:
Links to Important Legislative Conversations
Friday, Dec. 11. Over the past six months, we’ve interviewed legislators and leaders of efforts to advance legislation we support in either Retake Conversations (radio show) or Zoominars. In this post, we offer links to those conversations plus an update on the 2021 legislative session with video on public banking, Health Security, predatory lending, the Green Amendment, tax and revenue reform, and water governance. Plus, we offered two News In Briefs describing the escalating threats of violence due to Trump’s fire-fanning rhetoric and how we may be missing the longer-term consequences of his seemingly incoherent campaign to discredit the voting process. Watch on!
Click here to review the full post.
Paul & Roxanne
Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation
There are many of us who find Facebook abhorrent and would never join, even for Retake. Please do not do this.
As an information technology professional (retired), I watch FB as part of my “know your enemy” strategy (Nextdoor and Twitter fall in the same category). That said, a by-product is that there are useful and healthy fora in among the trash. Also, there are ways to moderate groups and pages to keep the trolls out.
Although I agree with you on most things, FB is not one. I think its making space available to those who who specifically spew/encourage violence both in words & deeds goes dangerously beyond being “a venue where trolls descend and fill your space with offensive or nonsensical commentary”. I hope you will not expand your usage.
Facebook is a pain in the tush. Realistically you need some kind of virtual presence. As people review the Biden election strategy Facebook proved a more useful tool than either Twitter or Instagram. If the Retake information, blog and newsletter with links are sent both via email and posted on Facebook, you will hopefully reach a larger, more inclusive audience. My preference is to not get information via Facebook.
I am anti-FB because of their business practices. I haven’t figured out how to get rid of my account. But I will never use them. I understand your reasoning, but I wish you would just opt out.
You may use your FB account to show what this corporation is really about.
This is not the time to be ‘pragmatic’ which, in my view, means sleeping with the enemy.
I know very little about programs and platforms but I know enough to know that it is possible to create a truly democratic, people’s driven, platform to compete with the likes of FB.
PLEASE CLOSE THE ACCOUNT. IF YOU DON’T THEN YOU AUTOMATICALLY BECOME A COLLABORATOR.
I can’t close my account. Yes, in my ignorance I once was a collaborator in my own explotation.
In March, as the pandemic took hold of the United States, I decided to take down Popular Information’s paywall. For the last eight months, every edition of Popular Information has been available for free. I made that decision for a couple of reasons:
The pandemic put a financial strain on many people, and I didn’t want the ability to pay to be a barrier to access.
A lot of the reporting began to involve high-stakes topics like the treatment of frontline workers during the pandemic. This information needed to reach as many people as possible to maximize its impact.
It’s December and the pandemic is far from over.
If the cost of this newsletter ($6/month or $50/year) would create any kind of financial strain, I hope you stay on this free list. But, if you can afford it, please consider becoming a paid subscriber.
Popular Information accepts no advertising and only exists because of the support of readers like you.
Support Accountability Journalism
This newsletter has demonstrated that independent accountability journalism can have a big impact during a public health emergency. Our reporting has helped expand sick leave at the nation’s largest grocery store chain, improved working conditions for cable technicians, and pressured large corporations to return tens of millions of taxpayer dollars intended for struggling small businesses.
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Despite new policy, vaccine misinformation is spreading on Facebook and Instagram
Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekeria
On Sunday, semi-trucks filled with millions of doses of a highly-effective COVID vaccine rolled out of a Pfizer facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The vaccine, jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, will begin arriving at hospitals and other facilities on Monday. Healthcare workers and nursing home residents will be among the first to be vaccinated.
It is a rare moment of hope in a year of despair. The shots are desperately needed. In the last week, an average of 2,379 Americans died each day from COVID. Over 100,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with the virus.
But, in certain corners of Facebook and Instagram, the delivery of the vaccine is the beginning of a dystopian nightmare. Users are told the vaccines could “cause irreversible genetic damage,” contain “brain-eating nanobots,” and represent “the rollout of a total surveillance state where [the government] can penetrate deep within your body and see what’s going on.” These false claims continue to spread on Facebook and Instagram despite a new policy, announced December 3, that bans “false claims about the safety, efficacy, ingredients or side effects of the vaccines.” Specifically, Facebook pledged to “remove false claims that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips, or anything else that isn’t on the official vaccine ingredient list.”
please read the article.
I hope I am not spreading misinformation.
There were many interesting points made in this post, but one that perpetuates an (often repeated) misunderstanding: That the Permanent Fund is to be considered a “Rainy Day Fund”.
The state’s true Rainy Day Funds are the various “Reserve Funds” that the state builds up in times of economic prosperity (such as 2019) that can be used to fill in gaps in times of economic distress.
The Permanent Fund is intended as something like a ‘Retirement Fund’ (such as one’s personal 401K) that will provide replacement revenues when the state ‘retires’ from fossil fuel production. That is the way it was designed as are the permanent funds of other petroleum producing states and countries (such as Norway and Saudi Arabia). The leading principle to be followed with such a retirement/endowment/permanent fund is – “Never touch the principle!”
The danger with considering the Permanent Fund as a Rainy Day Fund is that politicians tend to always consider it a ‘rainy day’ and will in short order draw it down to the point that it generates next to no revenues from investment earnings in the fullness of time. A prime example of this in New Mexico is the Tabacco Settlement Fund. This was intended to (over the long run) provide revenues to offset the costs the state has faced (and will continue to face for many years to come) as a consequence of tabacco usage. Although originally intended as a permanent fund, this has been drawn down by legislators to next to nothing for any and every legislative priority that has arrived since it was first set up.
The use of a FB account is supporting abuse of peoples’ personal data, monopoly, and a jerk that doesn’t care about people in general. The first step in ending oppression is to stop supporting your oppressors. Zuckerberg is an oppressor. A closet authoritarian. And he’ll sell everyone out for the right price. Its his track record to do so. Why use the worst of his platforms in the name of spreading good information when they have consistently silenced progressive voices on FB and Instagram and they determine what gets pushed to the top of a user’s list. #fuckzuck
Paul, I love everything you do for New Mexico; however, I am troubled by your continued proliferation of the media narrative that supports the idea that Russia is our perpetual enemy. I find the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity to be a credible source in this matter. The following is a link to their latest post: