It has been a wild week with news on every front. To begin with, there was a big shakeup at Jemez Mountains Electric Co-op with the departure of Joseph Sanchez as general manager. The Board of Trustees called a special meeting October 5th and went almost immediately into a hotly contested executive session. That made the front page of the Sun as their reporter was one of the public citizens kicked to the curb. The minutes of the August meeting still have not been published, which is possibly an oversight. We intend to find out. The next meeting is on the 27th of October. If you can make it, this is one of the most interesting and important things you can do on a Friday morning. The trustees have committed to writing Tri-State, the wholesale distributor, about our current contract which limits us to 5% local generation. We’ve been promised an opportunity to address the board about our demand the Co-op move to incorporate as much renewable energy as possible over the next several years. We want an opportunity to weigh in on the new headquarters and see the 7.5 Megawatt solar array come online quickly. Members of other co-ops which have taken advantage of low-cost solar and wind power have seen their monthly bills drop significantly. Let’s hold our Board accountable.
On the herbicide spraying issue we have reached a agreements with the Department of Transportation which could mean the end of spreading dangerous chemicals along the roadways in Northern New Mexico. The meeting and tour of the Taos highway near Dixon on the 11th brought together a number of people from the community and some of the top officials from the Department. Hannah-Leigh took the photograph above.
A working group led by Loretta Sandoval is devising alternatives to chemical spraying which will be forwarded to the DOT as part of a comprehensive vegetation management plan. They really are listening. Thanks to Sheena Cameron, Hannah-Leigh Bull, Loretta Sandoval, Jerry and Lynda Burd, and everyone else for making a stand here. Check out more on this issue and more photographs on the Environment page of the website.
Retake Our Democracy and representatives from our group have finalized a list of progressive legislation we would like to see candidates run on in 2018. We intend to primary some Democrats and have challengers lined up for several of those races. It looks like Debbie Rodella will have to face a primary.
The list of bills will also be part of a statewide poll of Democrats and progressive groups to determine legislative priorities in the 60 day session. We plan to preview the survey at our political gathering and party on the 11th of November. So far about 20 people have told me they are coming and several people have offered to host the event. I’ll let you know more about that this week.
On Thursday, the 26th we are hosting, along with Renewable Energy Action, a screening of the film ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ at Northern New Mexico College here in Espanola. It is free and we have some good food lined up. The event begins at 4:45 with a webcast from Al Gore. We’ll take a half hour break to eat and visit, then the film begins at 5:45.
Finally, I went down to the Education Department on Monday hoping to testify before the Math and Science Advisory Committee on the changes to the state science standards. There were hundreds of people lined up to get into the hearing room which was already packed. I entered a written comment instead and wrote our local representative. I think the advisory committee was caught off guard by the intensity of the opposition. As you probably read today, the Secretary has backed down. The talk is that these changes were handed to Ruszkowski by ALEC, the right-wing corporate front group which provides ‘model’ legislation to willing political hacks.
Continue to stand up and speak out. Never underestimate the ability of a few stubborn people to bring about change.