Listen to Pat Leahan! (and see another Action Alert below)

Editor’s Note: This is week two of our fundraising drive during which we hope you click on the  Donate button or send a check to La Jicarita, HC 65 Box 206, Chamisal, New Mexico, 87521. Our pitch this week is from Patricia Leahan, founder and co-director of the Las Vegas Peace & Justice Center. Pat’s community organizing efforts focus on social, economic, and environmental justice issues that the community identifies as priorities. She is also the Community Liaison with the United World College-USA. Her work, and that of other election integrity activists, was featured in the documentary “Stealing America: Vote by Vote.”

By PAT LEAHAN

Sitting at the table with some colleagues, I told them I was writing a pitch for La Jicarita in an effort to get folks to donate. They asked why. I started to spontaneously list the many reasons. No fancy word-smithing. Just what came to mind. I decided to make that my pitch to you. Here it is:

Best environmental news magazine in the region.
Sometimes the sole source of news coverage for important local and state events.
Deeper analysis of the issues than any other news source. By far.
Fact-based. Even their editorials can be trusted as a source of accurate information.
Helpful in guiding readers to clarify their values.
Raw.
Honest.
Offensive to some because they call people out.
Well-researched breakdown of myths and lies that pervade politics and the mainstream news.
Solid list of contributing authors.
Trusted sources.
Pro-active outreach.
In the family of Community Journalism, with “community” broadly defined.
Rigorous platform for genuine debate on so-called controversial issues.
Deeply connected to the roots of the region.
Culturally-connected in a deep way too.
Righteous. Not self-righteous.
A corrector of mainstream media reporting.
Courageous in challenging the status quo. Screw “balance.”
Stand unwavering in truth.
Conscience for the region.

The Las Vegas Peace & Justice Center had been receiving and sharing the original hard copy of La Jicarita News since we opened our doors more than a decade ago. Kay and Mark did an incredible job of getting the community word out. Folks who didn’t have access to the internet were able to get this great source of news and analysis into their hands. La Jicarita News has helped further our Center’s work in countless ways. We are now in the third year of the new online version — La Jicarita, edited by Kay and David Correia. For those who miss the paper version like I do, all the more reason to donate. They need funds to operate the website and pay a small stipend to their contributing authors. We need La Jicarita to stay viable in whatever form they can afford. Consider making a contribution. They are worth every penny. And more.

Another Action Alert!

Editor’s Note: Professor Kim Sorvig sent out this e-mail alerting folks to the introduction of three preemptive bills in the state legislature that would severely limit local autonomy over corporate development.

There are now 3 bills introduced to the 2015 legislature under which the State of NM would take away local self-governance, at the behest of oil, gas, mining, coal, and big agribusiness corporations.

Although probably originated by oil and gas lobbyists, these bills would place all these industries out of reach of local government and above the health and safety of citizens.

** PLEASE CONTACT LEGISLATORS NOW **

*** Forward This Appeal to Friends and Concerned Citizens Statewide ***

ANTI-LOCAL BILLS as of Feb 7, 2015:
SB 421 explicitly pre-empts (takes away) any county or municipal health/safety powers that have anything to say about oil, gas, mining (including gravel), coal; transportation of these materials; restoration of drilling or mining sites; and agricultural operations(defined under a so-called Right to Farm Act: even pollutants and pesticides could not be addressed by local government).
Full text at: http://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/15%20Regular/bills/senate/SB0421.pdf

HB 199 is also a pre-emption bill. It says “A county shall not adopt ordinances that restrict oil and gas activities.” It allows municipalities to do so, creating unequal protection for rural citizens’ health, safety and welfare. It is solely for the benefit of the oil and gas industry.
Full text at: http://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/15%20Regular/bills/house/HB0199.pdf

SB 184 is a defunding bill. It punishes, financially, any local government for exercising health and safety powers that “increase costs 25% or more for extractive industry.” Industries placed above local law are oil and gas, mining (including gravel), coal, and geothermal. Costs actually born by taxpayers (such as repairing roads damaged by heavy tankers) would be counted as “increased costs” because industry is not willing to pay their true costs. Alleged costs would be decided by political appointees in Santa Fe, so rulings could vary wildly from one administration to the next. There is no provision for local jurisdiction to present its case, no public input, no standards of evidence, and no appeal. Counties or municipalities blacklisted would be forbidden (for an unspecified period) to receive severance tax bonds (STB), even bonds based on severance from minerals their region actually produces.
Full text at: http://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/15%20Regular/bills/senate/SB0184.pdf

PLEASE TAKE ACTION NOW — and be ready to attend Senate hearings later if you can:

** Call or e-mail your own Senators and Representatives.
Find them (by their name, by district, or by your own address) at: http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/legislator_search.aspx

*** Call or e-mail the following Senate Conservation Committee members.
If you can’t contact all of them, be sure to contact Sens. Griego and Martinez:

Phil Griego, District 39, 986-4513, senatorgriego@yahoo.com
Richard Martinez, District 5, 986-4487, richard.martinez@nmlegis.gov
Peter Wirth, District 25, 986-4861, peter.wirth@nmlegis.gov
Benny Shendo, District 22, 986-4310, benny.shendo@nmlegis.gov
Joseph Cervantes, District 31, 986-4385, Joseph@cervanteslawnm.com
William Soules, District 37, 986-4380, bill.soules@nmlegis.gov

If you call, you will speak to a staff member. If you vote in the legislator’s district, say so. You might be asked for your phone or zip-code (they want a sense of what regions oppose the bill).

Keep it short: “I’m calling to urge Sen/Rep ____ to vote AGAINST any bill that takes away local self-government to please big industry. That includes SB 184, SB 421, and HB 199.”

If the staffer gives you more time, you can briefly add your most important reason for opposition.

E-mails should also be concise. You can copy + paste the message, but you will have much more impact if you change the name in the greeting line — don’t send to a group. Be sure to sign your name.

Feel free to use or customize this example:

Dear Senator :

I am writing to urge you to vote against any bill that takes away local self-government rights to please big oil, mining, or agribusiness corporations.

· SB 421 would put oil, gas, mining, and agribusiness interests completely above the reach of local health and safety ordinances.

· HB 199 would prohibit counties from in any way “restricting” oil and gas activities.

· SB 184 would financially punish any county or municipality that has health and safety protections considered costly by any extractive industry, decided by a politicized and non-appealable process.

These bills mark an onslaught against ordinary New Mexicans and local communities. Please vote against these bills and any similar ones that corporate lobbyists may yet introduce.

Thank you for your efforts for our community.

Sincerely,

Finally, if you have not done so, please sign the online petition, and forward it statewide: https://www.credomobilize.com/petitions/protect-nm-s-local-governments-from-oil-gas-deregulation

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