Criminal Justice Failure in Minneapolis and Santa Fe, Plus a Panel Discussion on the Red Deal: An Indigenous Action to Save the Earth

Two calls to action in Santa Fe, a focus on criminal justice, and video on sustainable agriculture, criminal justice in Philly & an update on Rethink. Plus an upcoming Indigenous perspective on nuclear issues, & an update on the Report Card.

I can’t believe I have been able to restrain and discipline myself. Every day, I read stories that scream out: “This would be the core of a great blog post.” But I am trying to stay focused on preparing the Report Card and forming our non-profit (details below). You just can’t write one substantive piece like the on on Sustainable and Regenerative Agriculture from Monday, while conducting 10 interviews with legislators, 3 with foundations and 5 with potential allies in a week and still pump out 4-5 posts a week. The blog will be back, but it may be several more weeks before we approximate the old schedule.

FYI, just as this post is going out mid afternoon, so too, the post on sustainable agriculture. Lots missed that post, unfortunately. It is a sad fact that posts published before 8am get far larger “reads” than those published in the afternoon. But I will start posting links like the one above to help people catch up. The agriculture piece is a very important one both for the content and for a clue as to what Rethink educational materials will look like. It is important to note that while the agriculture piece “approximates” a Rethink brief, when we begin publishing those “briefs,” they will have undergone consider Roxane editing.

Report Card Update. I haven’t been writing or counting votes, instead thus far this week, I’ve completed interviews with ten legislators with Dems from the House & Senate, newbies and committee chairs and the information has been invaluable. Much of it will be reported without attribution as the majority of the conversations have been “off the record,” but I’ve learned more about how things get done in the Roundhouse in four days than I have in five years. I plan to interview another 10 legislators next week (including House Appropriations Chair, Rep. Patricia Lundstrom) and then begin writing.

Rethink Update. More progress this past week, as last night we met with 30 Retake folks interested in working on the Rethink initiative. We had people attending or who wrote indicating a conflict but offering to conduct research, help with technology, help with fundraising and broaden our base. We also had our third interview with a foundation and it is very apparent there is significant interest in funding our development of the 501c3. A recording of last night’s meeting is at the bottom of the post and you can click on this link to register for our next meeting on Wednesday May 12 at 6pm. Stay tuned, better yet, join us. If you haven’t been tracking our plans to form a 501c3, Rethink Our Democracy, click here to get a summary that outlines our initial vision and scope of work.

Two Calls To Action For Santa Feans

From Cecile Lipworth, a former Retake Advisory Board Member, we heard that the Santa Fe City Council will be deciding on their budget this week and one item requires scrutiny: spending on police. As proposed in the draft budget, Santa Fe will spend more on its police force than children and youth, human services, juvenile justice, seniors, veterans, libraries, homeless programs, recreation, and affordable housing programs combined. Click here to get an excellent letter to the Mayor that frames the issue and outlines recommendations. The page also includes contact info for the Mayor & City Councilors.

Barbara Mohon, a Retake supporter, wanted to bring to your attention a critical decision facing the City of Santa Fe related to the proposed change to LED street lighting. Initial reaction would be: great idea. But as this summary lays out, there are nuances to how such a plan is implemented that have significant implications for birds, bees and humans. It’s important that we all understand the issue and respond before the deadline. The summary lays out the issues and provides all you need for weighing in with the Mayor and City Council. In addition, the Santa Fe Conservation Trust is setting up a webinar for Thursday April 29, 2021.  Here’s the link to register:
Please advertise this widely. Read / Act on! From Barbara Mahon.

What We Are Reading

Each week, our research for launching Rethink Our Democracy, we identify video and articles that we have found compelling and worth sharing and so once a week, we will share what we are finding.

  • Click here to read more about the 21% funding increase experienced by the Environment Department. While the Governor and Legislature have not fully restored funding the Environment Department that had been cut by Susana Martinez, over the last three budgets, we have made significant progress with much of that coming this year, as reported by the Santa Fe New Mexican.
  • State Innovation Exchange (SIX) On Creating a Racial Justice State Budget. We had a tremendous conversation with Carmen Lopez the Senior Democracy Director of SIX, a rough equivalent of a progressive ALEC. Lots of interesting info on this site, including this primer on how to address racial injustice in a state budget Click here
  • Elections Matter & Primaries Can Matter More. An Intercept interview with Eric Griego, former director of the NM Working Families Party. If you want to understand better how bottled up and purchased the NM State Legislature had been before the last three election cycles, read this.
  • Heather Cox Richardson on Chauvin Verdict. One astonishing quote that tells you all you need to know about how much more progress we need to make. Without one courageous woman, Darnella Frazier, who videotaped the entire murder, George Floyd’s murder would have been determined to be a medical issue. Below is the official press release issued by the Minneapolis Police Department after George Floyd’s murder.

“Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. [He was, in fact, dead.] Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.”

Verbatim Minneapolis press release following the murder of George Floyd

Certainly, there are signs of progress in relation to African Americans achieving anything like justice from the police and the criminal justice system. But as long as an initial Minneapolis Police report is so far astray from reality as revealed by HCR; as long as we have more African Americans in prison and on parole than we had slaves in 1865; as long as the City of Santa Fe and its “bold new approach to criminal justice and public safety includes a 3 person team of emergency responders trained for intervening in domestic violence and other low threat reports while proposing a budget that has more funds devoted to the police department than virtually all of its funding for child and family services, and homeless support, the progress we are achieving may grab headlines, but we have miles to go before we sleep. We can not abandon this project.

If you want to find out more about how police and criminal justice can occur and the barriers that must be removed to achieve it, you may want to check out Philly DA below. It describes the election of Larry Krasner as the DA of Philly and his experience challenging the status quo, the police union and a host of other political and cultural barriers.

What We Are Watching

Philly DA: The US now has more black people in prison or on parole than were in slavery before the civil war. Maybe it is time to examine our criminal justice system

Join NMPBS, the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande Chapter for a screening and discussion of Philly DA. Also presented in partnership with Bud Werner Memorial Library, Steamboat Springs, CO and the Kansas City Public Library.

In 2017, Philadelphia had one of the highest incarceration rates of any major city in the United States. And it’s become the epicenter of a historic experiment that could shape the future of prosecution in America for decades to come. When civil rights attorney Larry Krasner mounted a longshot campaign to become District Attorney—and won—he pledged to end mass incarceration by changing the culture of the criminal justice system from within. With unprecedented access to Krasner’s office, Philly D.A. explores over the course of eight episodes the most pressing social issues of our time—police brutality, the opioid crisis, gun violence, and mass incarceration—through the lens of one man attempting fundamental overhaul from within the system.

Following the film join a panel discussion moderated by journalists Megan Kamerick and Jerry Redfern board members of Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande Chapter. Speakers include Larry Krasner (Philadelphia District Attorney), Rikki Lee Chavez Rikki-Lee, Capitol Counsel & Consulting, Santa Fe, .Yoni Brook (Producer/Director, Philly D.A.), Ted Passon (Producer/Director, Philly D.A.) , Nicole Salazar (Producer, Philly D.A.)

If you watch the trailer below the first episode follows.

An Argument for Sustainable Farming

Thanks to Lena Hakim for sending this my way. I’ve watched about half of it and while it is unlikely any of us will launch a 100 acre farm any time soon, it is remarkable to see what can be done, if we just treat the earth with respect. The video is essentially a walking tour conducted by a husband and wife who decided to chuck it all and follow their dream. They are off grid, managing a farm of significant scale with almost no other paid labor. How? They allow nature to do the work for them. And many of the sustainable farming principles employed on this farm can be adapted for those with more modest ambitions. Very interesting piece. I’ve included the first few comments that followed this piece.


2 weeks agoWe should make this guy the Secretary of the U.S. Dept of Agriculture! He can feed us healthy food and protect the environment!205REPLYView 7 replies

Wood Chip

3 weeks ago (edited)Now THAT is Paradise to me!😊 Your movie should be shown in school classes.344REPLYView 11 replies


3 weeks agoSo, he is developing a commercially viable hunter gatherer system within a farm. Brilliant. Seriously Brilliant.37REPLY

Lucas Pompey

2 weeks agoThe entire midwest once looked like this, and we will make it that way again.

Red Deal: An Indigenous Action to Save Our Earth, Today 5pm-6:30 pm MT

Common Notions and Red Media are pleased to announce the publication of The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save Our Earth. Authored by two dozen Indigenous revolutionaries, The Red Deal is a political program for liberation that emerges from the oldest class struggle in the Americas—the Indigenous fight for decolonization.

Offering a profound vision for a decolonized society, The Red Deal is not simply a response to the Green New Deal nor a “bargain” with the elite and powerful. It is a deal with the humble people of the earth; an affirmation that colonialism and capitalism must be overturned for human and other-than-human life to live with dignity. It is a pact with movements for liberation, life, and land for a new world of peace and justice that must come from below and to the left.

Join five of its authors for this special launch event celebrating Earth Day 2021.

Elena Ortiz, Ohkay Owingeh, graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in American Studies. She was a founding board member, ex officio, of the Alfonso Ortiz Center of Intercultural Studies at UNM. Currently, she is the Southwest Area Director for Road Scholar, which creates educational travel programs. She is on the board of the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry and a judge for the Santa Fe Youth Poet Laureate competition. She is also a writer and a poet.

Melanie Yazzie is a citizen of the Navajo Nation. She is Assistant Professor of Native American Studies and American Studies at the University of New Mexico, and a cofounder of The Red Nation. She is the President of the Board of Directors for Red Media.

Justine Teba is from the Pueblos of Santa Clara, Tesuque, and Acoma. She has been a member of The Red Nation since 2018, and is Red Media’s Marketing Director.

Nick Estes is a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, an Assistant Professor in the American Studies department at the University of New Mexico, and a historian and journalist. He is the author of Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Traditions of Indigenous Resistance, published by Verso in 2019.

Jennifer Marley is a Ph.D. student in American Studies at the University of New Mexico. She holds a B.A. with a double major in Native American Studies and American Studies from UNM. Influenced by her upbringing as a citizen of San Ildefonso Pueblo, Jennifer’s research explores the unique way heteropatriarchy has manifested in Pueblo communities and how this shapes and reshapes Pueblo identity and kinship, as well as relationships to the state. And for more on Indigenous perspectives, check out the series beginning next week, below.

Click here to register.

Moderated by Melanie Yazzie.

Hosted by Making Worlds Bookstore and Social Center

Sponsored by Common Notions Press and Red Media

Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power, and Indigenous Resistance

This looks to be an incredible series starting next Monday and running through Friday evening at a convenient time and with a tremendous array of speakers.

The Native Community Action Council has assemble an impressive array of indigenous thinkers, artists and leaders on nuclear issues.

Rethink Huddle 4.21.21

Roxanne and I shared our vision for Rethink Our Democracy with a core group of 30 volunteers. After laying out some of our ideas, we engaged in a very stimulating 25 minute dialog with supporters offering comments, asking questions and making suggestions. If you are at all interested in getting involved, this might be worth your time.

In solidarity, hope and gratitude,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Criminal Justice & Public Safety

Tags: , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. One more time. Watch Kiss the ground on Netflix and or Kiss the Ground website.

  2. When you interview various legislators you might want to share this article from the Guardian
    The world is watching us!

  3. “New Mexico fights to escape powerful grip of big oil and gas” since the format prohibits a link

  4. Philly DA is an 8-part series being shown on our local PBS station on Tuesday nights. Episodes 1 & 2 were shown on April 20. You can also stream the whole series on their website with NM PBS Passport.
    Here’s the description of the next episode:

    Philly D.A.

    Episode 3 #103

    KNME-HD 5.1
    8:00pm – Tuesday, April 27, 2021

    Candidate Krasner pledged never to seek the death penalty, but the murder of a police sergeant tests the D.A.’s resolve. Lives hang in the balance of the D.A.’s biggest decision yet along with his credibility.

    Broadcast In: English
    Duration: 0:56:46


  1. 22 Year-Old Kirtland Air Base Massive Toxic Plume Remains Unmitigated, Texas Court Denies Suit to Force Air Force to Do Something: Green Amendment Anyone? – Retake Our Democracy

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