Advances In Rethinking Our Democracy & Legislative Update

Today, we update you on what we’ve been doing, reading and viewing to continue our movement toward creating Rethink Our Democracy with a focus on the appropriate function of governance and government.

Legislative Update

We are almost out of time for the Governor to sign legislation that has passed in the Roundhouse and we still have four bills unsigned.

  • SB 8 Local Government Air Quality Control Act
  • HB 20 Healthy Workplace Act (AKA Paid Sick Leave)
  • HB 47 Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options
  • SB 75 Non-disclosure of Sensitive Information Act

The Governor has until tomorrow to sign these important bills. For contact info for the Governor, see below.

Please urge the Governor to sign the bills above by calling her at (505) 476-2200 or commenting online at: https://www.governor.state.nm.us/contact-the-governor/.

HB-2 the Cannabis Regulation Act from the special session has also not yet been signed, but I believe that the Governor has more time to sign this. Kind of hard to imagine after calling a special session, her then not signing the bill for which the she called for a special session.

If you want to hear more perspective on this past session, you will want to watch the interview we did last night with Joe Monahan. With over 20 years of being involved in the Roundhouse, he adds a historic perspective that puts the session in a different context. The video can be found at the end of this post.


Rethinking Our Democracy

Each week, we will be providing updates on what Rethink is doing, reading and watching. So below, you will find a status update on our organizational development effort, followed by summaries and links to some important research and analysis, this week focused mostly upon alternative models of the role of government and how we measure national well-being. Read on!

What We Are Doing

With a big assist from our Board, Roxanne and I have advanced our planning significantly over the week:

  • We were contacted by a foundation interested in discussing start up funding and we meet with them next week.
  • We initiated contact with three other foundations that, in the past, had expressed interest in funding a Retake 501c3.
  • We spoke with an attorney who confirmed that virtually all that Retake does fits neatly within a 501c3.
  • We shared with our board our Strategic Vision & Scope of Work that also outlines the need for Rethink.
  • We created a page with link in the Retake Home Page menu bar where we will present information on our evolving plans.
  • We set up a zoom meeting for April 21 to discuss how individuals (like you) could be part of the research and writing of briefs, as well as other roles in support of Rethink. All are welcome, click here to register.
  • We identified templates for developing a business plan and began completing that by preparing a 3-year budget and beginning to outline job descriptions for the administrator we hope to hire this year and an Executive Director in two years, phasing in an expanded role for staff.
  • We continued our reading of research in our top five research priorities, with a focus on the “Role of Government.”
  • And, we have also enjoyed the freedom resulting in being fully vaccinated and with a house of vaccinated adult kids, so balancing Rethink work with quality time with kids who also have day work to do. A balanced life.

What We Are Reading

Our focus the past week has been on the appropriate role of government and the continuum of models from laissez faire, neoliberalism to communism, with emphasis placed upon the social democratic model of government.

  • From Substack with Heather Cox Richardson: “April 7: The Role of Government in the US.” An excellent piece that puts in historic context the fluctuations in perspective on the appropriate role of government. As is often the case, with HCR’s analysis the underpinnings of the “limited role of government” are found in efforts to maintain slavery and the view of increasing taxes and the role of government as a usurpation of the intent of the founding fathers. Note “fathers” and recall those fathers as slave holders with no interest in a true democracy of all the people. Very interesting and brief piece.

  • From The Journal of Cleaner Production: “Crisis or opportunity? Economic degrowth for social equity and ecological sustainability. Introduction to this special issue” This piece from 2010 provides.an excellent literature review economic models as alternatives to capitalism’s unfettered thirst for growth, examining no-growth, green-growth, or slow-growth economic models. The need to challenge the prevailing economic assumptions is an important area of exploration for Rethink: i.e. is GDP a valid measurement of well-being, given the limited resources on the planet and the accumulation of waste. This Journal of Cleaner Production provides a theoretical context to the two pieces that follow from Resilience’s reports on the viability of GDP as a measure of social and economic well-being.

From Resilience: A two-part treatment of how we measure social welfare.

The Case for Abandoning GDP–An Intersectional Approach–Part I” Part I focuses on all that is wrong with using the GDP as a measure of economic and social well-being. First, it only incorporates goods and services that are monetized, meaning that caregiving whether it be for young children or aging parents is not incorporated. The same is true of environmental impacts resulting from pollution, toxic spills and other climate related impacts.

“The naturalized notion of GDP growth equaling social progress is at the core of many of the flawed political decisions that lie at the heart of social and environmental injustice.”

From Resilience: The Case for Abandoning GDP–An Intersectional Approach–Part I
  • The Case for Abandoning GDP–An Intersectional Approach–Part II” The value of Part II is not that it outlines exactly what measures might employed, but the kind of measurement to be utilized, things that value social safety, economic security, protection of our natural resources and the value of a caring society.
  • From The Harvard Business Review: The Economics of Well-Being” offers a review of a range of alternative models including the Happiness Index and the Prosperity Index, each of which attempt to capture a broader spectrum of human experience than economic growth. They also include analysis from Stigletz, Josling, the Heritage Foundation and those promoting a form of Happiness Index. This is a document we will return to as Rethink moves forward, as there is an old adage: “You get what you measure.” So it is important to clarify assumptions, objectives and the measures through which you will gauge your success.

What We Are Watching

How to Best Measure National Well-Being

The first video outlines Sustainable Economic Development Assessment, an alternatives to GDP, incorporating concepts of public safety, economic stability, the sustainability of our resources and other measures of well-being. Interestingly, the factor he found most prominent in how well countries pursue the best interests of the populace has to do with the integrity of national leadership. Only ten minutes and worth your time.


A Brief Review of Alternative Models of Economic & Governance Models From Capitalism to Communism

The second video is just over 3 minutes and does an excellent job of introducing the variations of democracy in practice today, from what they call “the liberal” democracy in the US to the Welfare State as practiced in Scandinavia. A tad on the basic side, it nonetheless puts in bold relief the issues and values that frame each model.


Wednesday, April 7, 6pm. Conversation with Joe Monahan. What Happened in the 2021 Session? Why? What Can We Do Going Forward? Joe Monahan is the most informed political pundit in NM. He joined us in conversation to lay out his views on what happened and why, what is wrong with the legislative process and what we can do to pass more bills in 2022.

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne



Categories: Economic Justice, Community & Economic Development, Uncategorized

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3 replies

  1. NM expat writing from Spain. Saw most of the Monahan interview. It was very good. Also, like his take on M. Stansbury. I am doing what I can from here to help her campaign. I think she will be an excellent candidate. I think that her education, her government experience, and her time as a consultant at Sandia labs were important factors in her primary win and will be in her future as a congresswoman. I have been communicating with her on the issue of water main extensions. In cities like Rio Rancho, the cost of extending a water main to a home that is not part of a development may be entirely carried by the person that needs water. In Rio Rancho, there is a significant number of people that can neither afford to pay for a water main extension (very expensive) nor a well, especially if the water table is hundreds of feet underground or the aquifer is of low hydraulic conductivity. These people are forced to buy water at expensive rates and transport it to their homes. Ms. Stansbury was sponsoring some NM bills that I was hoping could address funding for water main extensions. I am hoping that she will be able to influence the federal government to address this matter with the infrastructure bill. If you wish more information, contact me.
    It would be great if you could mention this issue on you webpage!

  2. I don’t know enough to say this is “the best” analysis of social democracy and why it’s the best way forward, but it’s the best I’ve ever come across: https://lanekenworthy.net/. Lane Kenworthy is a sociologist who has written over many decades about almost every aspect of the US economy and society, and has also looked very closely at how our peer developed countries have tackled problems of poverty and healthcare and equity. This is a good starting point for thinking about what a good society would look like.

  3. Very impressive!

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