DISCLAIMER: The opinions and comments below are those of the speaker and not official positions of Taos United/Taoseños Unidos, a nonpartisan, nonprofit community information and education group.
NM LAND COMMISSIONER – what’s at stake
MC Terry Surguine opened the meeting and introduced Garrett VeneKlasen, primary candidate for State Land Commissioner. He spoke on behalf of Democratic Candidate Stephanie Garcia Richard.
The outcome of the race for the NM Commissioner of Public Lands is as critical as the Governor’s race. With 9 million surface acres and 13 million subsurface acres of minerals, the NM State Land Office is one of the largest players in New Mexico’s budget and generates a full 1/3 of our State’s overall revenue annually. It is also the primary funding source for our public schools and other critical public institutions.
Oil and gas has committed $1 million through the New Mexico Strong PAC to smear Stephanie Garcia-Richard. They want a “rubber stamp man” in office who will fast track their leases and do their bidding for them.
View www.publiclands.org, and click New Mexico to see the mosaic of public lands around Taos County and other areas of our State. The oil and gas industry is in control, and it is a hall of darkness where no one speaks of the consequences of 600 new oil wells going online every year, a number expected to grow to 1,000 annually in the near future. The oil and gas industry has a horrific effect on climate, throwing off methane, butane and other pollutants. At present, there is ZERO accountability for this in the office of the State Land Commissioner. This individual answers to no one!
We must transform our State to renewable energy! The Land Commissioner must be a conscious and responsible individual. There is no reason why we can not do this. Oil and gas will smear Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard. Watch the ads. This race is tight and contested. It is as important as the Gubernatorial race, yet we hear little about it. If the Land Commissioner Office diversifies its’ revenue stream and establishes a public banking system, New Mexico will no longer be subject to a boom and bust cycle economy.
At present, the Land Office continues a 19th-century approach to generating revenue and stewarding our State trust land. Stephanie Richard brings new vision to this office and will greatly diversify the agency’s revenue streams.
Q: What is Stephanie Richard doing to counteract this oil and gas effort against her?
A: There is a fundraiser coming up in Taos. Her campaign needs volunteers to canvas and phone bank. We must play an effective ground game. This office needs new vision and new energy. Stephanie Richard is smart and a quick study. She intends to raise land lease royalty fees which will in turn benefit our education system. She will transform this office, she will be transparent, she will be responsible.
Q: Is the oil & gas industry using our water?
A: Yes. Chevron is the largest water right holder in New Mexico! They purchased water rights from Molycorp mine. They also gave the largest contribution ($300K) to the oil and gas PAC for negative ads. Unfortunately, water rights in our State are transferable across the State & across water basins – a fatal flaw for water use in NM.
The Garcia Richard Campaign is fundraising to counteract the smear campaign that oil and gas will launch at her. Be generous! Volunteers needed: call banking, spread the word, get out the vote. www.stephaniegarciarichard.com
DATES TO REMEMBER
Oct 9 – Last day to register to vote
Oct 9 – Early voting begins at County Courthouse
Oct 20 – Early voting begins at satellite polling locations
Nov 3 – Last day of early voting
Nov 6 – Election day !
BOND ISSUES ON THE BALLOT
Kathleen Knoth, UNM Taos Library Director, presented with Liz Moya Herrera and Melanie Baca. All bond issues are Statewide, and all are property tax based. Voting down bonds does not reduce taxes. Our State library system subsidizes a Statewide database for everyone’s use. Anyone may use the University library – it is open to the public.
Bond A – authorizes 10.77 million for senior citizen facility improvement
Bond B – authorizes up to 12.876 million for all public, Tribal and University libraries
Bond C – authorizes up to 6.137 million to purchase & air condition school buses
Bond D – authorizes up to 128.405 million for improvement of New Mexico’s colleges, special and tribal schools – with no increase in property taxes. It is hoped that UNM Taos will be able to open a career pathways building at Klauer Campus with this funding.
Melanie Baca urged everyone to note that future generations rely on the passage of Bonds B & D. Both are essential for a good education.
INDEPENDENT STATE ETHICS COMMISSION – constitutional amendment 2
NM currently has none! Heather Ferguson, executive director, Common Cause of New Mexico, spoke of the 4 ½ yr project to get this on the ballot. Our State’s reputation has been affected by numerous unethical practices. Our ‘pay to play’ reputation has hurt our economy, and it is necessary to clean things up.
(2nd page of ballot, 3rd item down)
Amendment 2 would create a seven-member state ethics commission tasked with investigating alleged violations of ethical conduct by state officials, executive and legislative employees, candidates, lobbyists, government contractors, and others. The commission would also be empowered to subpoena witnesses and individuals for evidence and issue advisory opinions on ethical issues and violations. Amendment 2 would provide that no more than three of the seven commissioners be members of the same political party. The governor, president pro tempore of the state Senate, Senate minority leader, speaker of the state House, and House minority leader would each appoint one commissioner—for a total of five commissioners. The last two commissioners would be appointed by the four commissioners appointed by the legislative leaders.
Please ask friends and neighbors to vote ‘for’ CA2! This will be a positive move for elected officials. The amendment provides clear definition of campaign fund use with transparency, enforcement, investigation, and public hearings. Both Gubernatorial candidates have ensured this will be fully funded.
Please sign up for Common Cause New Mexico email updates to stay informed about our work! https://www.commoncause.org/new-mexico/
After November, be an active and vocal participant in the legislative process to develop the enabling legislation for the Ethics Commission on their duties, process and transparency! Join us at the 2019 NM Legislative Session!
CHARLIE vs GOLIATH A free film about dark money, politics and the need for public disclosure. https://www.facebook.com/events/1972499339500181/
1:30pm, Oct 20, KCEC meeting room, 118 Cruz Alta in Taos.
TAOS COUNTY SHERIFF JERRY HOGREFE – up for re election
Democratic candidate Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe registered to vote and for the draft when he turned 18. He has been an enforcement officer for 34 years in both Red River and the town of Taos. He took 2014 off in order to run, and now seeks his 2nd term. He is a certified law enforcement officer and instructor in several disciplines. He periodically goes on call as an EMT. In his first term he focussed on leadership and reducing archaic practices. Everyone on on his team wears a taser camera which has reduced liability considerably. Everything is recorded. He has enhanced the training program and is accountable to the people of Taos County.
Q: What is his relationship to ICE?
A: If you are a criminal, legal status is of no consequence. If your only crime is that you were not born here, he does not care. He will not cooperate with detainers signed by ICE agents.
Q: Stance on background checks for guns?
A: Supports universal background checks. He does not think background checks necessary on inherited firearms.
Attendees complimented Sheriff Hogrefe that the Amalia incident was resolved without the use of force. He said the situation required considerable advance planning. Sheriff Hogrefe seeks your support in the Nov. 6th election.
Taos County Sheriff candidate forum: October 4th @ 5pm, Bataan Hall on Civic Plaza Drive.
KEEP THE BLUE BUS RUNNING !
The Blue Bus is the only transportation many people in our community have to get into town. A vote ‘for’ this ballot item prevents its expiration in 2024. It provides free transportation to Albuquerque Airport and is a great service in our community. You can also call and have them take you to a doctor appointment for $1.
(Last item on first page of ballot)
North Central Regional Transit District (RTD Blue Bus) Gross Receipts Tax Reauthorization
Reauthorization of the existing County Regional Transit Gross Receipts Tax of ⅛ % to finance the operational costs of the RTD Blue Bus and repeal the “sunset” expiration of the tax scheduled for 2024 No Increase In Taxes!
2 minute speakers
Al Kelly, a Korean veteran, talked about his non violent training. He realized that he and all white people are steeped in racism. He said we must analyze our reactions to others in our hearts and minds. He is working on it.
RADIOACTIVE CLEANUP at LANL
Stan Riveles is the new chairman of NNMCAV (Northern New Mexico Civilian Advisory Board), a watchdog organization for cleanup at Los Alamos Lab. Good news announced at a recent Taos meeting: an increase in DOE budget devoted to clean up. Bad news: prompted by Trump’s deregulatory momentum, the administration wants the DOE to limit it.
The NNMCAV Board passed a recommendation urging suspension of this decision, pending consultations. They have the backing of Senators Udall and Heinrich. Safety is of utmost importance for workers who participate in the clean up.
Ana Pacheco, case manager for El Mirador, a home health care agency, thanks Taos United/Taoseños Unidos for the positive light it sheds in our community.
As a staff member in the Dept of Instruction at UNM Taos, she met student Peter Calan who has written an excellent book: Preparing for the Inevitable: End of Life Issues.
GET OUT THE VOTE
Tracy Brewer announced the GET OUT THE VOTE event this Saturday, Oct 6th at Taos Mesa Brewing. 2 – 11pm. Volunteers are needed for face painting, monitoring the bouncy house, puppets, MC’s, and stage hands between singers. Please see sign up sheet on the side table. Voter registration will be available. Contact: email@example.com or 575-779-3732
CALL TO ACTION
Marjorie Luckey, TU/TU Elections Group. This is a very important midterm election! About 8,000 voters in Taos County don’t necessarily vote in midterm. We must get out the vote! There are many opportunities to help:
Contact George, 575-999-1621, at Dem HQ to knock on Democrats’ doors on weekends or weeknights (4:30-7:30). Make phone calls to irregular voters from 10am – 8pm. Write postcards.
Call Judy Cockburn (575-770-4393) to join the Visibility Campaign: hold signs on Paseo to alert citizens now is the time to vote early. Judy Cockburn & Marjorie Luckey will take names of people willing to take a shift holding signs. 11:30-1pm Mon – Fri, Oct 9-Nov 2, corner of Kit Carson and Paseo del Pueblo Sur.
ELECTION DAY ACTIVITIES
Nov 6th will be a Day of Action & Night of Celebration – waving signs, making noise downtown and at polling places, calling voters at Dem Headquarters, knocking on doors, recruiting your neighbors and giving rides to the polls until 7 pm. There will be an Election Results Watch Party, details to come.
Start planning to make it fun by recruiting friends and neighbors to join you. Let’s end this election season with a bang!
ELECTION VISIBILITY CAMPAIGN
ALDEN COCKBURN, Elections Committee, announced a sign making gathering at his home, 573 Range Road, on Wednesday afternoon Oct 3rd, 2:30 – 3:30 pm.
Alden also said he had recognized within himself a sense of male superiority over women. He realized he is a product of our culture. By reading about the history of abolitionist and suffrage movements, he has concluded that feminism is the way to the future. “Women have gotten us to where we are, and men have gotten us to war!”
TAOS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL NEEDS YOUR HELP
JEAN STEVENS, founder/organizer of Taos Environmental Film Festival. TEFF is in trouble and seeks your support! They are owed $3200 by Town of Taos, the sum now 5 months past due. Jean, a volunteer, has been organizing this event for 4 years. Please let our mayor and council members know the importance of this event. She plans to address environmental issues in Los Alamos at the 2019 Film Festival. We must work for non proliferation. Please call our counsel members. For more information, please contact Jean Stevens, firstname.lastname@example.org
RENEWABLE TAOS – electric vehicles are the key!
Bob Bresnahan of Renewable Taos and Kit Carson Electric Co-op announced the Sept. 8th Electric Vehicle Event was a great success. Gas vehicle emissions contribute fully 50% of our air pollution! EVs are key to solving climate change. Please attend the next meeting of Renewable Taos on Monday Oct. 8th, at Taos County Administration Building, 105 Albright Street, room 175.
Melanie Baca announced a HARVEST FEST on Sat. Oct 13, noon – dusk, at Sangre de Cristo Youth Ranch in Lama. There will be a hayride, costume contest, and adobe oven pizza.
STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU CARE ABOUT !
Bob Silver is looking for citizens to stand on every street corner to protest with friends and neighbors. He urged everyone to take a stand for the things they care about and make their voices heard. “Everyone of us makes a difference simply by our presence.”
Bad politicians are elected by good people who don’t get out to vote!
NO COMMUNITY FORUM ON NOVEMBER 6TH