Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Redistricting finished

At the Otero County Commission meeting on redistricting held on March 19th the Commission voted to keep a 3 member Commission. They adopted "Concept A" in their unanimous vote.

The turnout was rather sparse but that is to be expected on a Monday at 10:00 AM

Some interesting points to ponder.
Every Commissioner stated that they favored staying with a 3 member Commission.
Commissioner Rardin had 2 emails that he read in favor of a 5 member commission.
The few people that were able to attend the meeting were in favor of a 5 member commission.
It was stated by Commissioner Rardin that he had not heard from many people that were in favor of a 5 member Commission.
What no Commissioner stated was that they had talked to anyone that was in favor of staying a 3 member Commission!

Commissioner Rardin did point out to me that if they should adopt "concept D" which I was in favor of it would put me at a real disadvantage in running for this office.
And he would be correct. However "concept D" is the concept that was most widely liked by the people that I have talked to about this issue.
I guess maybe my putting forth the wishes of the people ahead of what is in my best interest is not the way things are supposed to be done. Or at least not the way they are currently done!

Now lets take a quick look at the process of redistricting and getting the public engaged with that process.

When the Alamogordo Public Schools redistricted they held a number of public meetings where this was a listed agenda item. Public input was sought out and listened to.
But the school district is a smaller scale than the entire county.

Looking around the state at what some other areas did finds that Rio Rancho held 10 public meetings before their process was completed.
San Juan County had a committee that met 5 times with the public to discuss redistricting prior to making a proposal to the County Commission.
In fact looking around the state finds that most cities and counties held multiple meetings on this important issue.

Otero County held a single 52 minute meeting, on a Monday morning at 10:00 AM, on the day the County Clerk needed to have the information to the Secretary of State's office.

What was that I said about "Government Transparency" ?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Five Member Commission Information.

The Otero County web site now has the proposed redistricting options listed on their web site.

A public hearing is scheduled on Monday, March 19th at 10:00 AM in the Commission chambers.

Concept "B" and "D" are both 5 member districts. 
In looking over the posted information I am in favor of concept "D"  This plan guarantees that the citizens of the mountain areas of the county will always have at least one representative on the Commission. It also presents the possibility of a second Commissioner from the mountain areas that would also cover a small portion of Alamogordo and some of the rural areas South of Alamogordo.
This plan would provide for a more fair and balanced representation of the entire county.
Similar to the School Board however, every Commissioner should represent the entire county.

In spite of the fact that redistricting was not an item listed on the agenda for the March, 15th meeting of the County Commission, it was a topic of discussion. Commissioner Rardin stated that he would vote "no" to any proposal of a five member Commission.

I believe that holding a public hearing on an important topic at 10:00 AM on a Monday is far from being open and transparent and does not encourage or even allow for public input!
So, if you can't attend the hearing in person I would encourage you to contact Commissioner Herrell at 575-430-7186 and/or Commissioner Flores at 575-415-5319 or e-mail them (link to e-mail on Commissioners home page) and let them know your thoughts on this subject.
While Commissioner Rardin has alread stated his vote, you may also contact him at 575-415-7062
You can also contact the Commission Liasion, Rod Mayton, at 575-439-2602

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Helpful links

Over the next few months I’ll be posting different types of information, and will be referring to various laws, codes, and ordinances. Whenever I refer to a specific statute, code, ordinance, or other reference, I will give a link to that item.

In an effort to keep everyone on the same page here is a list of links that will be referred to on a regular basis.

New Mexico State Statutes


New Mexico Administrative Code. As of this time this link is not working but it should be up and running again in the next day or two. 

Otero County web site

New Mexico Attorney General

New Mexico Supreme Court, Court of Appeals etc. Links to court rulings.

New Mexico Judicial Standards Commission

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Mexico county comparisons

Here is a list of all New Mexico counties and their population. Those in red have in place a 5 member County Commission with the exception of Los Alamos county which has a 7 member commission.

Also, Otero County will be holding a "Public Hearing" in regards to redistricting.  Here is a partial copy/paste from their web page.
"The Otero County Commission will hold a public hearing on Monday, March 19th, 2012, at 10:00 AM in the County Commission meeting room located at 1101 New York Avenue, Room 123, Alamogordo, New Mexico 88310. The purpose of the meeting is as follows:
To consider approval of Resolution #03-19-12/100-50 a resolution revising the redistricting plan for the Board of County Commissioners."
While I know that the time of the day is far from being convenient, you can always call or e-mail the Commission with your opinion.
Bernalillo 642,527
Catron 3,433
Chaves 63,622
Cibola 27,036
Colfax 12,737
Curry 44,407
De Baca 1,819
Dona Ana 206,419
Eddy 52,706
Grant 29,903
Guadalupe 4,241
Harding 663
Hidalgo 5,057
Lea 60,232
Lincoln 21,016
Los Alamos 18,074 (7 member)
Luna 27,044
McKinley 70,513
Mora 4,935
Otero 63,201
Quay 8,917
Rio Arriba 40,678
Roosevelt 18,817
San Juan 124,131
San Miguel 28,323
Sandoval 125,988
Santa Fe 147,532
Sierra 12,886
Socorro 18,092
Taos 31,507
Torrance 16,475
Union 3,817
Valencia 72,913


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

5 member Commission continued

Time to go back and recap what I have heard over the last week or so regarding a 3 member versus a 5 member County Commission.

I have spent at least part of every day in the last week talking to people in the county about the County Commission. This includes Republicans, Democrats, a couple of “decline to state” and a few who are not registered voters. I did not approach any of these people in a manner that indicated what my thinking was on a 5 member Commission, just asking their thoughts on it. I wanted their honest opinion, not what they thought I wanted to hear.

Not one single person I talked to felt that staying with a 3 member commission was in the best interest of Otero County!

Now my reasoning behind supporting a 5 member commission is rather simple. Having 5 members on the Commission gives a more diverse view of the county. Currently the residents in the mountain area have no voice on the Commission. Not one single Commissioner lives in the mountain area!
Having differing views on issues is imperative to ensuring that all the citizens of Otero County are heard and are represented.

Commissioner Rardin has stated in the past that he opposes a 5 member Commission because it might cause a “split vote” on issues and that he does not like to bring items to the agenda that he is not positive he has a unanimous vote on. While it’s nice to have everyone on the same page and always voting the same, it does not allow for open discussion on items and outside views and thoughts. If the entire Commission is going to be in agreement all of the time then why not just have one Commissioner?

But, it does beg the question of how does Commissioner Rardin know how the other 2 Commissioners will vote prior to an open meeting!