The Truth About How a State Public Bank Would Benefit New Mexicans; A Green Amendment Response to Critics; Ta-Nehisi Coates On the Capitol Insurrection

We offer a short, clear piece on why we need a Public Bank, plus a 28-minute interview with Maya K. Van Rossum, founder of the Green Amendment, responding to concerns about the legislation, then an insightful interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates on how we got where we are and where we go next.

The Green Amendment: In 28 Minutes

Retake Conversation with Maya K. van Rossum, founder of Green Amendment for the Generations, the national organization that is partnering with local legislators and advocates to pass legislation to create a Green Amendment in NM. SJR 3 Environmental Rights is sponsored by Senators Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and Bill Soules, and Rep. Joanne Ferrary. This legislation, if approved by voters in a statewide referendum, would amend the state constitution to give all New Mexicans a constitutional right to clean air, pure water, a stable climate, and a healthy environment. These rights would become inherent, inalienable, and indefeasible, and among those rights reserved to all the people and on par with other protected inalienable rights.

In SJR3’s first hearing on Wednesday in Senate Rules, Retake Our Democracy Hearing Observers were able to record public comment and Senator concerns from the legitimate to the spurious. Certainly we can dismiss Senator Pirtle’s specious concerns that SJR 3 could trigger lawsuits against the wind for stirring up dust, depriving us of clean air, but other concerns were of more merit. No vote was taken as the committee had run out of time. Then Thursday night sponsors were told an amendment was to be introduced by Senator Ivey-Soto on Friday, with bill sponsors asking for the weekend to consider the amendment and work with the Senator on the language. The bill will likely be heard now on Monday or Wednesday depending upon how discussions about amendment language proceed.

Maya has been on the radio show twice before, and I serve on the SJR 3 steering committee so, fair disclosure, I am not unbiased on this bill. It is one of the most important bills among Retake’s Transformational bills. I reached out to Maya to ask if she’d do a brief interview outlining what SJR 3 (Green Amendment) is and then we zeroed in on the specific concerns raised in the Rules Committee hearing.

Please consider sending a link to this video to your legislator and to the members of the Rules Committee. Contact info for the Rules Committee members can be found at the bottom of this post. Let’s do this!

Why We Need a State Public Bank
(HB 236 – SB 313)

The following editorial was written by the Board of Renewable Taos, a local non-profit working to implement Renewable Energy in Northern New Mexico. ( We received permission from Renewable Taos to reproduce this article.

Our world is shifting in ways that we can only partially understand. One of those ways is in our changing climate and the impact we experience in our local communities. We are working to reduce our impacts on climate through local generation of electricity from our abundant renewable energy resources, and in the conversion of our homes and transportation systems to that renewably generated electricity. In addition, we now have a New Mexico Energy Transition Act (ETA, 2018) that, by 2030, calls for much more renewable energy than we already have in place. How do we reach these ETA goals when our state depends so heavily on the monetary returns from the fossil fuel industry? If it were just the state of New Mexico, that would be one thing, but these mammoth economic shifts are driven by global forces. Therefore, we must learn to take advantage of our other world-class assets, and adapt. What tools do we have to deal effectively with these colossal economic shifts?

A Public (or State) Bank could provide a mechanism to help deal with these and other issues related to improving local economies and legislation is now being developed for the upcoming Legislative session. A public bank:

  1. Will be owned by the people of New Mexico dedicated to the benefit of New Mexico,
  2. Provides a safe, low cost, place to deposit funds for local and state government funds,
  3. Benefits the public by serving state and local community needs,
  4. Provides a way to save state and local governments money, eliminating fees, and providing loans at lower interest rates,
  5. Provides a source of funding for major NM initiatives in economic development, infrastructure, renewable energy and affordable housing. And, most importantly, continues to invest all bank profits in New Mexico,
  6. Employs qualified bankers serving a public mission,
  7. Will be held to strict accountability and transparency,
  8. Spurs economic growth that creates new jobs by supporting the strategic interests of New Mexico,
  9. Partners with and supports — rather than competing with — local community banks and Credit Unions,
  10. Lends money during times of stress and crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted serious needs in our state; our need for better access to health care, more numerous small business loans, and additional broadband services…

How can a public bank help? Currently, our state revenues are being deposited in large Wall Street banks. If we establish a state public bank, at least a portion of our state’s income would be deposited there and kept safe and local. Further, those deposits could be funneled into low-cost loans for local small businesses, farmers, infrastructure needs and many other economy-building purposes. More of our taxpayer dollars will be invested and managed in New Mexico. 

A public bank is more powerful than public loan funds because a bank can leverage its deposits to up to ten times the original deposit. For instance, $50 million in deposits could be leveraged to $500 million in available loan money. The interest earned on those loans would go partly to the state coffers and partly to the bank so that it continues to grow its lending capabilities; an innovative use of our tax money.  

But wouldn’t this be unfair competition to the local private banks?  To the contrary, a public bank will actually help credit unions and local community banks thrive and expand by providing a conduit for issuing more loans than they would normally be able to offer with lowered risk. 

Note that the state public Bank of North Dakota (BND) has operated for over 100 years, recently bringing in record earnings for 16 years in a row and helping to provide ND with a low unemployment rate, state budget surpluses, and a thriving economy.  In 2019 alone, the BND had earnings of $169 million.  Public Banks are currently being explored by at least two dozen cities and states across the country.  And just last year, California passed legislation that allows for the creation of up to 10 public banks.

If you agree, contact our legislators and offer your support. For more information on a public bank, visit the website for Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity Retake Our Democracy provides contact information for our elected officials.

Ta-Nehisi Coates Offers His Always Wise Insights into Racial Justice in America

Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of my favorite commentators and authors. This interview by Chris Hayes is an hour long, but ever so worth your time. It was conducted on January 7, the day after white racists stormed the capitol and just two days after Georgia delivered a stunning double victory and a slim Democratic hold on the Senate. When you click play, there is about 10-15 seconds where the screen remains black, then a fragment comment from Coates that caused me to wonder if the interview was marred, but then Chris Hayes begins 20 seconds in with an intro placing the interview in its January 7 context. You will be stunned by Coates’ initial observations and there, as usual, Coates’ commentary is threaded with insight informed by his deep understanding of America and its fundamentally racist roots. Great interview.

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne

Senate Rules Committee (SRC) Contact Info:

Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation

Tags: , , ,

3 replies

  1. Hello dynamic duo – What’s going on here?

    In response to the Hayes-Coates dialogue, and bundling it with the obvious similarities of land ownership and property rights as they relate to ecological destruction via van Rossum’s talk, it is apparent to me that most human behavior rests on the tip of a pike called slavery.

    What is the one emblematic coat of arms of MT Greene, Tyrannus rumpfk, boogaloo bois, proud boys, cowboys for trump, the Bush Crime family, Ray Gun, Gingrich, Lee Atwater, Graham, Strom Thurmond, Fred Christ Trump (who was first arrested for attending a KKK rally in NYC), Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn, WR Hearst, Henry Ford, Hoover, Wilson, et. al.?

    Racial hegemony, which dates back to the Egyptians, whose self-proclaimed superiority over other humans was as religious as it was ethnic, and poisoned human behavior for five thousand years..

    In the First Century AD, Simon bar Giora and Philo of Alexandria, both Jews, toyed with the idea of abolition of slavery, which virtually every king, pharaoh, caesar, avatar and warlord had employed for 3100 years. Any group or ethnicity of humans that was not part of the favor of some powerful ‘elite’ was subject to enslavement.

    But finally, the Jews had begun to fight the faltering Romans over the use of slaves, and, for supremacists in general, that was a challenge not left unanswered. It took about three hundred years before Muslim Arabs and Europeans began to raid Africa for their newest acquisitions to the use and trade of Black slaves. This lasted mostly unchecked (and culminated in five religious and ethnic crusades from 1096 to 1221) until the 1300s, when the French king outlawed slavery in France, the late 1700s, when the English outlawed their own bad behavior, followed by Lincoln’s thwarted attempt to do so in ‘murka when JW Booth, a Confederate sympathizer and member of a prominent Maryland acting family with ties to Annapolis and Baltimore, both heavy slave regions, assassinated Lincoln.

    Booth played Mark Antony in Julius Caesar a year earlier. Like the Roman Empire after Julius Caesar’s murder, Booth’s deed outlived him by at least 100 years.

    Coates reprises Jim Crow, the Dixiecrat Rebellion, and the half-hearted conversion of the Democratic party to take in the African population in ‘murka while simultaneously ignoring the chattel economics of Black laborers in the northern industrial cities.

    Just as the southern slavers hammered their environment with invasive agriculture, the economics of northerto n chattel labor used Black, Irish, Mexican and Asian peoples decimate the Louisiana Purchase of 95 percent of its wildlife, pristine forests, unmined terrain, clean air and clean water. Rosseau’s earlier lament about the enslavement of ‘savague’ land went unheeded.

    Thoreau, the father of environmentalism, was also an abolitionist, and walked to his death on a cold, wintry day early in the Civil War (in Maryland, I think), which resulted in consumption, and he died the next year, in 1862.

    Jan. 6, 2021, marked the death of the Tyrannus rumpfk presidency, and the birth of the Rogue White Supremacist Party of MT Greene.

    Offering up the iconic regicidal rule of Cromwell, fellow Englishman Greene is a throwback to the first years of the Protestant Reformation, when Cromwell could not tolerate the reality that King Charles 1 had a Catholic wife, because he hated and feared Catholicism. Cromwell later beheaded him and opened the floodgates of Luther’s religious intolerance and bigotry.

    Cromwell began the era of Irish enslavement to come to power. He sold many thousands all over the world, including the Barbados and some via the DC slave trade, the largest in ‘murka. No wonder McCarthy backed down after being in the same room with Tyrannus rumpfk and MTG.

    Ironically and confusedly, Cromwell re-opened England to the Jews, believing that they would further the promise of the Reformation that Jesus would come back soon.

    Jews are anathema to Greene, as they were to Luther, who could not convert them, so, like the First Nations folk of ‘murka, she would like to purge them as well. MTG is an insane, religious exterminator.

    This is the latest new-and-improved version of a very ancient poison. It is the poison of fear. As Yoda said, ‘fear leads to hate, hate leads to anger, and anger leads to the Dark Side.’ According to a very recent survey, about 40% of members of the Extinct R Party feel the same way. I see it as more like 80 percent.

    Watch closely, as the ancient seeds of slavery are spread about in our own legislature. We in NM are the ilk of many ancient cultures, with long memories.

    You talk about the hemming and hawing, the caution of some moderate Dems, the openly brash and arrogant behaviors of the Steve Pearce Party of Extinct Rs, They literally hate anything that walks, flies, crawls, swims or burrows, unless they can kill it and hang it on a wall. Or enslave it and complain that it just doesn’t cut the mustard to be a real ‘murkan, so why see it as important.

    Our legislature is made of patronage, much of it landed gentry of various types. Democracy is as old as the Greeks. But they, too, held slaves. 5,000 years is a long time to hold onto fear without a mental breakdown.

    I am curious, but not eager, to find out.

    Mick Nickel

  2. Why would an interviewer get an internationally-recognized thinker and author on his show and spend 70% of the show lecturing his “expert?” Ta-Nehisi Coates basically gets to shake his head yes or no, and you call that his “wise insights?” Chris Hayes is insufferable as an “interviewer” — is he running for office or what?

  3. Do we have some way to restrict the loans of a public bank to good causes? And who will decide which are the good causes? You, for instance, list affordable housing, but Kim Shanahan, writing today in the New Mexican, lists the home-building industry. I would hate to support a public bank only to discover that it spawns new subdivisions while the water coming down the Rio Grande diminishes year after year. Both the Santa Fe Mayor and the Director of the Water Division are on record that a reckoning is coming. The Water Division Director puts the shortage at 10,000 acre teet per year by 2050 — unless we do something.

    But do we do? Our answer seems to be build more pipelines to the Rio Grande — but does anyone seriously think we will find an additional 10,000 acre feet of water per year in the Rio Grande by the time we get the pipelines built? So we build and build and increase tiered water pricing until a few outdoor plants are a luxury of the rich? And Santa Fe becomes a dust bowl?


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