Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Guest Blog: Grassroots Taos Town Hall for Health Care Draws 140+

This is a guest blog by Bonnie Korman, a longtime resident of Taos who has worked in the social services field and been politically active on and off throughout her lifetime.

This past Saturday, August 29, Taos activists held a Health Care Town Hall, under the umbrella of the Taos Democratic Party and the Taos Health Action Committee (THAC), a local spin-off of Organizing for America (OFA). All three of our delegation, Sen. Bingaman, Sen. Udall and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, were ultimately represented, not without our persistence, and some prodding in the form of many phone calls.

Knowledgeable staffers of Bingaman gave the senator's case for his many years of support of quality health coverage, but did state that he would NOT refuse to vote for a bill lacking a strong government managed program, or 'public option'. Our group's conclusion is the same as stated on this blog and elsewhere, that we must continue to focus our efforts to encourage Sen. Bingaman to take the lead on this, not just give us lip service.

Rep. Lujan was in Taos that morning speaking with constituents for five-minute sessions, scheduled beforehand with his office. The Congressman did eventually visit the almost three-hour-long Health Care event for about 30 minutes, speaking of his sponsorship of the 'Medicare for All' bill and reassuring the crowd he fully supports the public option.

Rep. Lujan is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but has not formally pledged to REFUSE to vote for a bill lacking a 'public option'. He feels we should trust him on this issue. He told one of the five-minute interviewers that he is wary of citizen organized town halls, and that he would hold one of his own in Taos in September. A New Mexico legislator from Taos, Rep. Roberto Gonzales, offered to help arrange that forum.

We had a very successful turnout -- 140 people on a summer Saturday -- and a good, open discussion of the issues with an informed, prepared crowd. Many brought questions and these were taped onto the walls around the room, grouped by topic. Several local health care providers offered experienced comments and questions for the staffers and Rep. Lujan.

THAC has also been a strong presence with this issue on the local progressive radio call-in program, Jim Ball, 1340 AM, KVOT. You can reach them at [email protected] or [email protected]

This is a guest blog by Bonnie Korman, a longtime resident of Taos. The day after John Kerry conceded the election of '04, she and a friend started a progressive grassroots group in Taos that works on local, state, and national issues, including voting reform.

To submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

September 2, 2009 at 11:21 AM in Democratic Party, Events, Guest Blogger, Healthcare, NM Congressional Delegation, Obama Health Care Reform, Organizing for America, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Tom Udall, Taos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

NM Legislative Land Grant Committee to Hold Public Meeting in Taos July 30-31

The legislative interim Land Grant Committee will meet in the Rio Grande Hall of the Taos Convention Center on July 30th and then tour the Cristobal de la Serna Land Grant on July 31st, according to a statement released by the NM House. The public is encouraged to attend.

“This is the first of our annual round of taking the Committee to the ‘home ground’ of our land grant communities for our interim meetings. During this meeting we will get a first-hand view of the issues our community land grants are facing in the region surrounding Taos. I am particularly looking forward to our tour of the Cristobal de la Serna Land Grant," said Representative Miguel P. Garcia (D-Bernalillo-14), Chair of the Committee.

"We will also be taking a look at how some of the legislation we passed during the last legislative session is being implemented and how that implementation is filtering down to the local community land grants. Some of that legislation dealt with tort liability coverage for community land grants as governmental entities, and also with tailoring the financial reporting required for governmental entities to smaller entities like community land grants," said Senator Richard C. Martinez (D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba & Santa Fe-5), Vice-Chair of the Committee.

On Thursday, July 30th, the Committee will convene at 10:00 AM and will first hear from Darren Cordova, Mayor of Taos, Daniel R. Barone, Chair of the Taos County Commission and Representative Roberto "Bobby" J. Gonzales (D-Taos-42) or their representatives. At 10:30 AM, Joe Romero, President of the Cristobal de la Serna Land Grant will them provide the Committee with a history of that land grant and update them on the land grant’s current issues. At 11:15 AM the Committee will be briefed by Joanna Prukop, Secretary of Energy Minerals and Natural Resources on the Senate Bill 32 which provides tax credits for land conservation incentives and how the legislation can be applied to benefit community and grants.

After breaking for lunch, the Committee will reconvene at 1:30 PM when Al Duran, General Counsel of the General Services Department’s Risk Management Division (RMD), and Paula Ganz, RMD Staff Attorney, will address Senate Bill 59, which provides for land grant tort liability coverage under the state’s Tort Claims Act. At 2:30 PM, Evan Blackstone, General Counsel for the Office of the State Auditor, will brief the Committee on how the tiered financial reporting system provided for by Senate Bill 336 will be implemented.

At 3:15 PM, the Committee has invited the Rio Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association to report on its current operations and programs. At 4:00 PM the Committee will be briefed on the Arroyo Hondo Land Grant’s history and the current issues it faces. At 4:45 PM, the Committee will conclude its business for the day with a presentation by Juan Sanchez, President of the Chilili Land Grant on the status of the nominating process for creating a land grant council.

On Friday, July 31st beginning at 9:00 AM, the Committee will be taken on a tour of the Cristobal de la Serna Land Grant and the Arroyo Honda Land Grant and their facilities by officials and representatives of the two community land grants. The gathering place for the tour will be determined during the meeting of the preceding day.

July 28, 2009 at 01:54 PM in Events, Land Issues, Legal Issues, NM Legislature 2009, Taos | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ortiz y Pino for Lt. Guv Events in Taos This Saturday

Jerrycampaignphoto-181x258From the campaign of Jerry Ortiz y Pino for Lt. Governor: Democratic State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino will be in Taos on Saturday, July 25th, from 1:00 to 3:00 PM at the Quality Inn and Suites. Stop by and and say hello or just have a glass of ice tea with Jerry. The Quality Inn & Suites is located at 1043 Paseo del Pueblo Sur in Taos.

Jerry will also be riding along at the Taos Fiesta Parade that starts at 9:00 AM on Saturday. Contact John Gonzales (Parade Committee for Jerry) at [email protected] if you want to help out.

If you're on Facebook, visit Jerry's campaign page.

July 22, 2009 at 04:39 PM in 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Events, Taos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Saturday: Amigos Bravos Hosts Taos River Cleanup

From Amigos Bravos: A Taos River cleanup is set for Saturday, June 6th, from 8:00 AM to 12 Noon. Meet at 8:00 AM at the Centinel Bank main branch in Taos (512 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur) to organize into groups and clean up areas along our local rivers.

Please bring work gloves, hat, long sleeved shirt, long pants, sturdy shoes and water. The cleanup is sponsored by Amigos Bravos, Centinel Bank and Sierra Club Water Sentinels. A BBQ at Centinel Bank will follow the cleanup! If you are able, please RSVP to Rachel Conn [email protected] or Jim White at [email protected]

June 4, 2009 at 09:45 AM in Environment, Events, Taos, Water Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)