Taos United / Taoseños Unidos – Community Forum Recap Sept. 17, 2019
DISCLAIMER: The opinions and comments below are those of the speaker and not official positions of Taos United / Taoseños Unidos , a non-partisan, nonprofit community information and education group.
George Brown, Treasurer of the Taos County Democratic Party, announced that Senator Carlos Cisneros, representing New Mexico’s 6th District, had passed away earlier in the day. Taos United/Taosenos Unidos offers its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Sen. Cisneros and to all members of the New Mexico state legislature.
Terry Surguine, facilitator of TUTU Community Forum, noted that two candidates for US Senate from New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, Valerie Plame and Teresa Leger Fernandez, were present and would speak at the evening’s forum, interspersed with citizen comments. He invited citizen comments to start off the evening:
Money Out of Politics (Jeff Northrup) – Urged everyone present to support efforts to get money out of politics. He said campaign finance reform is essential and everyone should “get out on the streets and make trouble.”
Youth of Northern New Mexico Climate Strike and Week of Activities (Marjorie Luckey) — Reminded everyone of the Global Climate Strike and Week of Disruption. Friday, Sept. 20, a gathering from 11:30 to 1:30 at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe. She noted that carpools would be leaving at 9 a.m. from St. James Episcopal Church. Electric car drivers encouraged to drive! See https://www.taosnews.com/stories/events-planned-around-global-climate-strike-week,59643 for more information.
Squads of Kindness (Marcia Cruz-Redding) — Urged everyone to “leave their comfort zone and meet other people where they are. She said we need each other to make the world better.”
National Voter Registration Day (AnJanette Brush) — Announced that Tuesday, September 24, is National Voter Registration Day. Anyone can become a Voter Registrar. AnJanette can schedule you at several places around town. E-mail her at email@example.com.
Plastic Free Taos (Kayce Leopold) Said Plastic Free Taos meets once a month and focuses on three goals:
- Minimize single-use plastic. (To this end, Kroger grovery chain will phase out plastic bags by 2025. See https://www.npr.org/2018/08/23/641215873/attention-shoppers-kroger-says-it-is-phasing-out-plastic-bags/
- Help the County achieve their goals with the Recycle Center
- Educate and support through schools, government and households
The next meeting is Oct 23 at 5:30 p.m. in the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative Board room (the same room where the TUTU Community Forum is held). You can learn more on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Producer/Plastic-Free-Taos-2380174412262277/
You may also contact Kayce at 575-770-1131.
Playing for Change (Anna Pacheco) — Playing for Change is an all-volunteer and youth group started in 2002. It uses music to highlight the power of collaboration and effect social change. They are currently filming one song (“To the Mountaintop”) but by many organizations. In Taos, it will be filmed at Taos Plaza on September 28 at 12:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome!
S&R Sewage Discharge Permit (Mary Lane Leslie) — S&R, unlike all other sewage discharge companies in the area, refuses to pay the solid waste treatment fee ($15/load) and is permitted to dump sewage into an open pit, polluting surrounding air and water. This permit continues to be granted, despite the fact that S&R has not complied with conditions placed on previous renewals. The Abeta exploratory well may also be contaminated by the sewer pit. Mary Lane urged everyone to attend the County Commision’s meet at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 16 to protest the renewal of S&R’s permit. Contact Mary Lane Leslie at 575-776-7489 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet and Greet for Maggie Toulouse Oliver (Paula Claycomb) —
Please come and meet Maggie on Sept. 21 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at Old Martina’s Hall. Maggie is running to be the Democratic candidate for US Senate.
Taos County Federation of Democratic Women (Alma Lones, Secretary of TCFDW) — This is a new organization and is the 12th County chapter in New Mexico! Marcia Cruz-Redding is President. Please share this information, recruit members and join: https://nmdemocrats.org/democratic-women-of-new-mexico/
Community Solar (Karen Monson) — She expressed disappointment that the Community Solar bill did not pass in the 2019 NM Legislative Session. Contact Karen to get postcards that ideally should “trickle in” to the Governor to encourage passage of this bill in January 2020. Contact Karen at email@example.com if you would like to support this effort.
Guardians of Taos Water (Buck J) — As a lifelong Taos resident and farmer, Buck described effort to oppose excessive extraction of water. They plan more actions around the Abeyta Settlement, being respectful of the many complex provisions of the Settlement. He invited people to attend a prayer gathering at a new exploratory well site just north of Taos on Saturday, Sept. 21. Learn more at https://www.taoswaterprotectors.org/ or contact Buck at firstname.lastname@example.org or 575-741-1270.
Climate Strike Poetry Slam & Open Mic (Mel Baca) — Mel read a poem, then invited everyone to a Climate Strike Poetry Slam on Thursday, Sept. 26, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Vagrant Heart Gallery (216 Paseo Del Canon E.. Taos) . Come see what the youth and community have to say through powerful public prophetic poetry! All ages welcome. RSVP to Melanie Baca email@example.com.
Sacredness (Al Kelly) —Al presented an alternative to established religions’ concepts of sin. He talked about Pueblo Sacredness, as described by Santa Claran Pueblo resident Rina Swentzell. Every body, every place is sacred and has essential worth. The Christan myth of “fallen man” has no counterpart in Pueblo mythology. Nowhere in Pueblo myths do humans experience a fall from “God’s” grace. The people and their world are sacred and indivisible.
2020 Census in Taos (George Brown) — New Mexico has historically had very low participation in the national census … and in the State, Taos County is amongst the lowest. In 2010, there was a low 62% response rate to the census. It is important for all residents in NM to be counted, though there are many complex reasons why people choose to not participate. On Monday, Oct 7, at 5:30 p.m. at the Taos County Democratic Party Headquarters, a forum on the census will be held with Paige Best, New Mexico Census Coordinator. Please come!
Featured Speaker — CD3 Congressional Candidate: Valerie Plame
Valerie took a moment to note the deaths of gallery owner and activist Rena Rosequist and Sen. Carlos Cisneros. She then explained why she is running for the NM Senate — She wants to use her experience of being outed as a CIA operator to speak truth to power. She moved to northern New Mexico and said that no other place in the dozens of places she has lived has felt like home. She has been involved with United Way of Santa Fe County; Planned Parenthood; and Girls, Inc.
She has a strong voice and can use it for things she cares about. She noted the size and diversity of CD3. She sees three basic concerns:
- Economic opportunity
- An election in Israel today. Would she clarify her position on Israel and American Jews?
(Note: Please Google for many articles about this incident or go to Wikipedia at: Valerie Plame – Wikipedia)
VP: Apologizes for the careless re-tweet of an article she had not read thoroughly.
- Why don’t you start by serving locally like Darien?
VP: I served my country nationally as a CIA covert operative and want to use my well known name to bring good to my community.
- What is your experience dealing with Native American tribes?
VP: I have lived and worked with cultures all around the world. You need to be open, respectful to everyone. I have participated in the Santa Fe Indian Market. I contributed to Deb Haaland’s initiative on murdered and missing indigenous women.
Reception for Xochitl Torres Small (Marcos Montoya) — Noted that he will host a reception for Rep. Small on Sept. 29 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Taos Country Club.
Contact Marcos at firstname.lastname@example.org or 575-770-2845.
Walk for Life — A Suicide Awareness Event (presented on behalf of Common Grounds by Marjorie Luckey) — Announced that Wed., Sept. 19, a gathering in Kit Carson Park, followed by a walk to the Plaza, would take place from 4:00 onwards.
Houseparty for Valerie Plame (Mary Lane Leslie) — Announced she would host a gathering for Valeria, at a time and place to be announced later.
Featured Speaker — CD3 Congressional Candidate: Teresa Leger Fernandez
Teresa launched her comments by saying, “We love our planet and the place we call home. But we are under attack: Climate Crisis, Healthcare, Reproductive rights. It’s time to act to protect what we love.” She said she was trained to be a rebellious lawyer at Stanford.
She noted her capacity and willingness to listen to know what communities say they need.
She also emphasized her activism regarding the climate crisis, including protesting a mine near Salt Lake City, being a member of Sustainable Santa Fe, and working with the New Mexico Community Foundation. She served as vice chair on Historic Preservation during the Obama Administration and she has lobbied strongly and successfully to protect Chaco Canyon and the Grand Canyon from extractive industries.
She helped build three health clinics and is active in women’s rights. She has represented asylum seekers and said that nobody should be denied their rights. Her father was a State Senator and she belongs to a ranching family that practices regenerative agriculture.
She is endorsed by Taos Pueblo and by Emily’s list.
Question about early childhood education
TLF: The federal government needs to subsidize ages 0-3 along with State and tribal funding.
Question: Regarding the extractive industries, did you speak up about the Standing Rock pipeline?
TLF: Absolutely, this was part of my work on Historic Preservation. The state is doing better on methane reduction.
Question: What about Los Alamos?
TLF: Los Alamos needs to be cleaned up and we need to transition from extractive industries.
Thank you, Kit Carson Electric Co-op for providing space for our monthly meetings on the the 3rd Tuesdays of each month.