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Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 45 posts ] 
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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:14 pm 
Image
Where to from here? The intent of this new section is to offer proposals and explore ideas from the community concerning a sustainable and resilient economy in our changing world. On August 19, 2013 the voters of Grant County defeated a GRT increase and the 5 projects proposed to be financed by the tax increase, previous articles and discussions are Here, when it began, Here, ongoing discussion and Here, the vote out-come.

Because there seemed to be a consensus that something needs/should be done about the economics and what some called the "quality of life" in Grant County inspite of opposition and defeat of the proposals, a community dialog needs to take place, ideas floated and analyzed and our local government petitioned. These discussions can include proposals for any of the municipalities within Grant County or Grant County as a whole.

To start things off I'll recount a discussion I had with County Commission Chairman Kasten the morning after the vote and he said, "did you know that we have lost another 225 public school students this year?" (he supplies school bus service to Cobre Schools and hires mostly retired folks on the cheap.) My response was that their parents didn't leave because there was not a movie theater or a swimming pool at the university but because there weren't decent paying jobs, paying a living wage that allowed them to stay, raise a family and make a life. Oh, what should we do?


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 Author: hayranur
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:18 am 
Thanks, Crow, for this new topic, as well as the best, interactive, coverage of 'the story so far.'

Two top of the head thoughts: A 'halfway' or, better, transition house in Silver for people coming out of drug treatment, or jail, and maybe the chronic street people. Could improve the quality of community life, as well as participants'. Also, might it be possible to engage the high school and university students, maybe middle school as well, in surveying their families and neighbors for 'quality of life' ideas. Get a really broad-based involvement.

(I'm posting pronto and checking 'notify me when a reply is posted' because I really appreciate the discussion on the Forum. Thanks again, Crow.)


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 Author: jef
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:56 am 
I like the previous idea of a transitional living situation. I also think we could take much better care of our Elders. A friend is helping out an 85 year old neighbor with dementia, helping him get groceries, etc. She looked in to Legal Guardianship, as this person has no family in the area, and was told there was a 2 year wait. He is capable of living on his own; just needs assistance beyond what she can provide. Two years? That's far short of the respect and compassion our Elders deserve. I have no idea how to address this issue, but it seems like it would improve the quality of life in Silver City a lot more than the rumored golf path!
Elizabeth


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 Author: sh1
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:46 am 
I'm a bit of a broken record, but building out the Greenways trail system would be less expensive than most of the projects just rejected, would deliver a big recreational boost to the town, would attract tourists, would add to the draw for relocating retirees, would greatly improve safe routes to schools (thereby encouraging kids to walk or bike to school, something about 5% do now), would combat the plague of obesity, would set the stage for Silver City becoming a gateway to the Continental Divide Trail thereby opening up even greater visitor draws, would generally promote the health and activity of our citizenry, would encourage a sense of community by getting people out and about more in our public spaces, and would just make this a better town to live in. Does that begin to work as a triple bottom line project, Gordon?

A set of trails (the so-called Copper System) over in the Mining District would have similar benefits, and a path between Santa Clara and Bayard would especially enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety by getting people off Hwy 180. Local investments could also be used as matching money for Federal Dept of Transportation TAP ("transportation alternative programs," I think?) funds, which would stretch our local dollars considerably.

I don't contend a trails network will keep families and kids from leaving -- only jobs and economic development will do that. But a trails/linear park system has been on the ToSC strategic plans for decades, and its benefits are clear and multivariate. If we could ultimately link it to the National Forest and the CDT, that would only enhance the return on investment, and would surely give Grant Co. and Silver City a new claim to fame.

Shelby Hallmark


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 Author: jef
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:54 pm 
I like this idea of more places to walk and ride bikes. Part of that would be the City arranging an unbroken ownership of the San Vicente Trail south of downtown. I'd also like more pedestrian-friendly intersections - I live less than a mile from downtown, but rarely walk because 180 is a death trap to cross (and unpleasant to walk beside).
Elizabeth


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 Author: geezeronabike
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:11 pm 
Gordon:

Are you and Lynda going to be heading up an effort to come up with a well thought out and financially viable list of projects to present to our elected leaders? You all surely have the credentials and credibility to do that, and I hope you take on that task.

Discussing things on this forum is great, but if there is to be any action, having someone host the public input meetings that didn't happen before the failed grt increase vote is probably essential. I hope you guys will take it on.

Tim


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:31 pm 
Geezer,

The eggs have been cracked and it's time to make some omelets!

A good sized group of folks are putting together an array of actions to facilitate a more collaborative setting for taking on issues. Leadership is way more general than Lynda and myself and anybody can play in that's interested; including county commissioners, progressives, old chamber of commerce members, TEA partiers, Democrats, Republicans, WNMU folks, ... anybody. But there will be new rules of process that are open and inclusive, and no power group will dominate, except perhaps as a matter of reason and civility.

There should be no surprises as the process is what has been talked about for many months now. "We" should be hosting some public events soon.


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:59 pm 
Interesting revelation that a secretive group is planning something. As of now it remains to be seen if this will be a truly democratic process or another closed meeting decision with a sales pitch and wether the important issues brought up here in this discussion are addressed in some reasonable way. Lets not wait for this secret group but continue the input as, who knows, a wonderful solution to at least some of the issues could be proposed that we can all run with.


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:05 am 
The secret group is the Committee For A Buttery Graham Cracker, anybody got a favorite recipe? ;-)

Actually not a secretive group, I was just trying to indicate that it's not a situation of one or two outspoken people leading anything, and that it's not an existing group trying to take control. It's simply a process forming, and participation in the process will through self-selection (not invitation to join the club) and will be driven by a person's interest and energy level, which I expect will ebb and flow.

I would hope that all of the avenues of communication available to us will continue to be exercised as part of the process.

From 2000 through 2005 there was a Community Based Forestry Project here that was funded by the Ford Foundation. The steering committee, calling itself the Jobs and Biodiversity Coalition, was a self-selecting stakeholder group that was never formalized into a legal entity, though there was a lot of discussion about doing that. One reason the legal entity thing never happened was that many of the stakeholders were governmental and agency folks who would have been marginalized into ad hoc roles, which would have seriously crippled the group's ability to function as it needed to. It worked amazingly well.

I have a vague notion that the new process will work the same way and thereby avoid the usual marginalization that develops with "official" groups.


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:16 am 
After further reflection about the mysterious Process this morning, I think I figured out what it is... it's called communication.

The "new group" is nothing more than some new communication between some folks who weren't communicating much before the Great Batch of Boondoggles Incident of 2013, and who are secretly planning to carry out a few more public civil discourse events.

"The first rule of collaboration is that you have to work together." Anonymous


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 Author: geezeronabike
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:38 pm 
I'm hoping there's a year round pool in Silver City's future, but we don't need to spend $3.5 mil to have one.

The town has a really nice 50 meter outdoor pool which could be covered for around $500k. A moveable bulkhead could be added that would allow the pool to be divided in two portions so a swim team could be in end and the public in the other. Don't know the cost of that. Some heating for the locker rooms and office would also be required. A kiddie play area would cost around $200k. The last time the pool water heater was replaced it was done so that solar heating could added, a move that would greatly reduce operating costs. The whole deal probably wouldn't exceed $1.5 mil, including electronic timing for swim meets.

Potential users of the pool are the U swim team, Grant County Sharks Youth Swim team, a high school swim team, local triathletes, a bunch of older folks who are limited to swimming as a way to get exercise and just plain old folks who want to swim or learn to swim.

This project combines quality of life and economic development issues. I know of several older people who are talking about leaving SC because of lack of a pool and I have no doubt that the lack of a pool will cause retirees o not move here, although we'll never know how many.

Dr. Shepard told me that he proposed this option to the town before coming up with his two pool option, so it's a plan that would work for the town and the U. It's a win/win. The town gets a year round pool and the U. gets their women's team and can bring back baseball. My guess is that the U. would help staff and pay for operating the pool.


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:40 am 
That sort of proposal seems reasonable - it starts to look at the "market", it acknowledges existing resources, and it considers ways to leverage a variety of elements with one another.

In the public process I am advocating Geezer's idea would enter as part of the scoping step.

Very briefly, the steps are:
- Purpose and need; projects to improve the quality of life and economic vitality in Grant County.
- Scoping; solicit ideas for projects.
- Idea development; flesh out the ideas and find synergies.
- Analysis; collect and analyze data to evaluate functional and financial feasibility.
- Comparison; evaluate the proposed projects against each other.
- Select preferred projects.
- Seek funding.

Floating ideas here on the Forum, and elsewhere, is a good way to build interest and to informally begin the processes of idea development and begin data collection and analysis. Discussion of the pros and cons of ideas can be very useful; however, there is a tendency to want to actually try to choose the "winners" during such discussions, which I think is counterproductive and tends to muddle the process, leading to polarization and unnecessary adversariality. The time to select the "winners" is after well-considered comparison.


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 Author: Nancy Kaminski
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:28 am 
Since this area of our tiny blue orb has so many natural treasures, I would like to see them as a large part of the "plan".
If we teach our children to love and respect their natural resources and build a future for them in the responsible use of them, perhaps consumerism will be less attractive to our youth. Our beautifully slow pace should not be replaced by big city consumer insanity.
Could there be economic opportunities for our community in the preservation and reconstruction of the beautiful world around us? How about a CCC?
The trails are a great way to begin. Making it safe and comfortable to walk and bike would be a positive move. Could we create a park and bike at the Convention Center? Parking your car at the edge of town and biking to work from there would add to our health and reduce downtown petro burning traffic and pollution.
Any healthy community cares for it's citizens most at risk. The best way to get there is through communication.
Thanks to all for the input.


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:21 am 
Bruce produced a comprehensive list of possible "lessons learned" and posted it under another topic. I thought I would bring it here and connect up to some strategies for using the lessons learned.

Bruce wrote:
Here are some lessons that the county commissioners might have learned from the failure of the GRT tax vote. Which of these were the lessons that should have been learned?
1. Many people are opposed to all taxes during hard times, including this one.
This is a tough one to deal with if the county wants to use tax money to do economic development. Having some credible financial analysis that shows a project would have a real return on investment might have persuaded some citizens.
Bruce wrote:
2. The GRT is the most regressive tax, having a greater financial effect on poor people.
If the projects had a quantifiable positive economic return for poorer people, this could be okay.
Bruce wrote:
3. The tax had no sunset. It would have been a permanent tax increase rather than a funding source for the proposed projects.
A tax increase for specific projects should have a sunset.
Bruce wrote:
4. Citizens had no voice on the projects. A few “leaders” made the decisions with no public input.
A rational process should be in place that begins with citizen input, has citizen involvement in the development of projects, and has more citizen input at the end.
Bruce wrote:
5. These were not the five best projects available. Better projects could have been chosen with more public discussion.
A rational process such as the one I outlined earlier would produce better projects.
Bruce wrote:
6. The projects had no analysis. There was no cost-benefit study to determine whether these projects made sense, much less how they compared with other possible projects.
Normal business planning and financial analysis would create a practical understanding of the benefits and costs of proposed projects.
Bruce wrote:
7. The projects were not budgeted. There was no reasonable expectation that actual costs would be anywhere near seat-of-the-pants cost estimates. Even the rough cost estimates were not published.
see #6.
Bruce wrote:
8. The projects were not on the ballot. There was no legal requirement that the County would use tax money approved in the election for these projects.
In spite of the assertion that legal counsel said the projects should not be listed, most such ballots list the specific project(s) to be funded. The projects should have been listed.
Bruce wrote:
9. The university president was one of the original proponents. Since the university has bad labor practices and other bad policies, voting against the tax is a way to vote against the university.
The university needs to correct its record of labor practices and policies and improve relations with the community.
Bruce wrote:
10. Some of the projects benefit the university, but the university should be funded by state money, not local taxes.
The university needs to clearly show a positive return on investment for and solicited funding, then maybe locals would be more interested in supplementing state funding.
Bruce wrote:
11. The projects were not economic development projects, and would have had little effect in improving the economy or providing jobs.
The projects need to be credible economic development engines; business planning and financial analysis would have demonstrated whether they were or not.
Bruce wrote:
12. The campaign was conducted in a way that was unethical, if not illegal. Proponents did not state their source of funding or follow normal conflict-of-interest rules.
The proponents need to respect the citizens and follow strictly legal and ethical election protocol in order to garner public trust.
Bruce wrote:
13. The expanded swimming pool and lights for a regulation baseball field were designed largely to benefit university sports. They were not good community projects overall.
Triple-bottom-line business planning and financial analysis should have been used to evaluate the projects.
Bruce wrote:
14. The golf course improvements were not a good community project because they didn't benefit enough local people and would not have brought in out-of-town golfers.
See #13.
Bruce wrote:
15. The multiplex theater was not a good community project because tax payers would have paid for it twice and any profits would have gone to private theater operators.
See #13.
Bruce wrote:
16. The theater would have been bad because a) it would have been a boxy, soulless multiplex on the highway or b) in an inferior retrofitted building downtown with no parking. In either case many theater fans would have been disappointed.
See #13.
Bruce wrote:
17. The improvements to the convention center would not have been effective in drawing out-of-town conventions and were not worth the cost for local events. The proposed improvements were not shown, analyzed, or budgeted.
See #13.

I hope that the commissioners learn these lessons and recognize that their "opponents" on the GRT increase are earnest citizens who truly want a better Grant County, but who also want a responsible and inclusive process for getting there, and not more of the poorly planned and paternalistic methods of the past.

Gordon


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:48 am 
Perhaps it is time to define some terms. Just what is "Quality of Life" beyond housing, food, water, electricity and a living wage to afford them? What would define "Economic Development" that secures us against the feast or famine devastation of a mining economy? Obviously for many of us "Quality of Life" (QL) and "Economic Development" (ED) are intrinsically linked on an ongoing continuum.

Is another cartoonish looking fast food restaurant really QL or real ED? For a time "Eco-Tourism" was touted but compared to other "Gateway to National Forest" communities, Silver City and Grant County are the worst performing economically. Each national and state holiday I receive a press release from the State Parks promoting special events at some of the state parks but never City of Rocks. For now there will be no more Red Paint Powwows but perhaps a functioning Convention Center can attract large groups if there are supporting attractions that have deeper meaning than movie theaters and swimming pools. Not that movie theaters and swimming pools are bad but they will be more of a natural outgrowth of a successful community.

Because of our limited base, economic development will need to rely on, like the mines, an outside source of revenue that feeds into the community as goods go out unless it is Tourism and a service based economy. What draws tourists may be changing, to be sure some will still come to see the mines or an old crumbling town with a 1940s marquee but that may not be forward looking enough to a new generation with new interests.

The old Chamber is again whipping up the dead horse of the 3 Cs, Cattle, Copper and Climate. Cattle ranching has been shrinking for a number of reasons and will continue unless the ranchers, or somebody, forms a slaughter/packing plant for the ever more popular grass fed beef, goat and mutton. Copper will remain unstable or more so as technology changes but the climate is still nice.

There was once talk of a Wolf Center for education and tourism but that seems to have died, but with a renewed commitment to the wolves perhaps a renewed interest will spring up.


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:43 pm 
The follow-up "Civil Discourse" on GMCR was held last Thursday with Shepard, Kasten, Hallmark, and myself. Kyle just got it posted to the website, you can listen to it here if you want; http://gmcr.org/civil-discourse-qol-2/

Something that I didn't pick up on until I listened to it this morning was that, in spite of everyone basically agreeing that there needs to be more communication, Kasten and Shepard never actually agreed that public collaboration was a good idea.

Here's the fundamental difference in outlook - Shelby and I were talking about the "leaders" asking the public for input and following a process where projects could be proposed, and the details worked out, over the course of a structured process - a collaborative approach.

Shepard went on at some length about how beneficial it was that the controversial issue raised public awareness and generated spirited and (mostly) civil discussion, so the process was a very good thing.

What I realized this morning is that what he said was true, but it could have been better than that if it was intentionally, and earnestly, collaborative - AND it probably would have had a positive outcome instead of a negative one.

It's like they imposed the sports metaphor approach. You have several competing teams, the skirmish begins and strategies are put into play, and one team emerges as the victor.

Why does it have to be an adversarial game? What is the barrier to working collaboratively from the get-go?


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 Author: surfin1
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:56 pm 
I would support a quality of life tax to localize our utilities and move toward a sustainable renewable resource.


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 Author: n2ic
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:16 pm 
You won't like this answer, but our utilities are already quite local. Our power comes from the gas-fired power plant just down the road near Deming. The gas to power the plant comes from one of the many gas wells right here in New Mexico. There is also the new solar generating station just south of Deming.


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 Author: hayranur
PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:53 am 
And the water for that power plant -- all too local. Anyone know how much it uses every day?


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 Author: Nancy Kaminski
PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:39 am 
The Luna County power plant water use was one of my questions too. As Luna County seems bent on stealing our Gila River water and building a huge pipeline at our expense, I'm sure this will be interesting. As Luna County has no surface water but an incredibly large underground aquifer, I believe the battle to save our magnificent Gila River lies partly in our ability to make people see something right under their feet.

My research lead me to the PNM web page where I found this, a bit of god news.

The plant will use recycled wastewater from the City of Deming to reduce its use of fresh water by one-third. The plant's owners paid for upgrades to Deming's wastewater treatment plant to enable use of the treated water, known as effluent, and also installed a pipeline to carry the effluent to the plant site. As it has done with its other plants, PNM will develop an ISO 14001-certified environmental management system to guide all operations at the facility.

PNM will use its portion of the plant's output, about 190 MW, to meet the needs of wholesale electric customers throughout the Southwest. The plant's construction and operating costs will not affect the electric rates of PNM's residential and business customers.

The plant was originally owned by Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), which suspended construction in September 2002 when the plant was about half complete. PNM Resources, Tucson Electric Power and Phelps Dodge purchased the facility and its permits in November 2004. The project was completed for $10 million less and three months earlier than originally expected.


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 Author: hayranur
PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:51 am 
Thanks, Nancy. My understanding (?) is that the huge aquifer under Deming is the same as 'ours'. Does anyone know whether their plan to use 1/3 effluent is what happens now? Also, how much water do they use?


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:58 am 
Natural gas is neither sustainable nor renewable and often requires the polluting of copious amounts of water as "Fracking" for that gas becomes more widespread. Regardless of how they play the numbers game, electric prices did go up, drinking water usage did go up.

PNM, like many of us has seen the "writing on the wall". PNM would like to maintain their profits as an electric producer but as more municipalities, counties and individuals install truly green technologies like solar, wind and other, PNM will find themselves more of a transmission provider than anything else. Proof in point, to discourage the movement, the price paid to a green producer (PPA, power purchase agreement) like our solar array at the sewer treatment plant and rooftop systems like the solar carport and homes has gone from 14 cents to a nickel per unit produced yet our bills go up as PNM does everything they can to kill the movement, including trying to convince us that burning natural gas for electricity is good.

Not to mention that PNM is constantly lobbying to have state requirements for their green electric production reduced or eliminated totally.


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 Author: JimK
PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:17 pm 
First of all we get our electricity off the grid and not necessarily from the closest operating plant. PNM will dispatch power from the lowest operating cost facilities and that is from coal. As demand increases higher cost facilities will come on line.

Regarding water consumption. I also read that 1/3 of the water will come from the Deming waste water facility and 2/3 will come from wells that were previously used for irrigation. The water use for a combined cycle natural gas plant (like Luna) is about 190 gal per MWh (megawatt hours) of electricity generated. The facility is rated at 590MW(megwatts) so the water use would be about 958 million gallons. PNM owns 1/3 of the output (190MW) so we as consumers of the electricity would be responsible for about 211 million gallons per year from the well fields.

PNM is expanding their solar PV facility near Deming to 9MW and that requires virtually no water.


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 Author: Nancy Kaminski
PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 7:04 pm 
Since Luna County is one of the best solar sites in this country building that power plant there was absolutely absurd. Solar is the answer. But as long as we have local officials saying things like "Solar is just a passing fad", (Hidalgo County Commissioner & SWCCA member Dar Shannon) we have an uphill battle.
Putting solar on low income homes in Grant County would be a wonderful program. Are there any grant writers out there? What if we could train locals in search of jobs on building, installing and maintaining wind and solar generation?


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:00 am 
It always seems to go without saying - even though it always needs to be said - that the top contender on the list of More-'N-Better energy sources is Conservation.

Let's do the math - we could also call it business planning with financial analysis. If we can manage to cut our energy needs in half , through more efficient systems (roundabouts, smart building energy management controls, enhanced mass transit, personal transportation, and walkability, etc.), more efficient equipment (appliances, cars and trucks, high efficiency electric motors, not owning unnecessary energy consuming devices, etc.), avoided embedded energy usage (produce more locally to reduce shipping, reuse-repurpose-recycle, build energy efficient building designed to take advantage of the climate instead of fighting it, etc.), and (here's the big easy one) conservation through reducing energy loss (insulation, etc.), then -

We would permanently double our available energy supply, cut our payments for energy in half, and cut the negative impacts to the environment in half.

Forever. For free (after the initial capital outlay).

Unfortunately, it usually goes without saying... or without much in the way of doing, either.

We should scratch out everything else on the list of how to get More-'N-Better energy until we have made conservation the top priority for long enough that it just happens without saying.


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 Author: ynotwrite2
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:26 pm 
c'mon , gwest, no investment is forever, free. the cost of capital and its availability are crucial to the investment equation.
i was lucky enough ,this last winter, i visited las cruces and went to the home depot and bought 5 warm white LED lamps to replace all the 60 watt incandescents in my kitchen. that investment was $70. few can justify such an outlay even if the numbers look good. in my case i doubt if they'll be on 3 hours per day, and it will likely take more than a decade for my investment to be returned. for the many in our area even the $1 compact fluorescents subsidized by PNM are a difficult choice when struggling with food, clothing and shelter expense.
........
nancy k.: when Duke Energy decided to construct the Luna plant, they hoped to sell the electricity into the California market.
they were being diligent capitalists, plying their special expertise in hopes of profiting. in the economic system we live in, which from new mexico we have little chance of changing, the hope of profiting from the skillful deployment of capital is it.
....
i agree with crow, the utility: PNM can spend a little on lobbyists to greatly minimize their obligation to accept electricity from alternative producers. a quick glance at the tangle of rules and standards for home p.v. hookup prices it way above being economically feasible without large subsidies. they fear greatly the forced obsolescence of their still well functioning coal, gas and nuclear assets as well as dealing with the part time nature of solar and wind.
an aside here: a little shopping around will get you p.v. panels for as low as 58 cents per peak watt. the basic producing component of solar is now, without subsidy of any kind, after being shipped to the u.s.a., can directly compete with gas and coal when the sun is shining.
.....
jim k. "First of all we get our electricity off the grid and not necessarily from the closest operating plant. PNM will dispatch power from the lowest operating cost facilities and that is from coal. As demand increases higher cost facilities will come on line."
PNM owns a portion of Palo Verde, west of Phoenix, which is likely cheaper. however we aren't privy to their transmission losses information which could alter the equation considerably. these run overall about 8%


Last edited by ynotwrite2 on Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Author: hayranur
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:44 pm 
I remember hearing -- and would like someone who has the facts to comment -- that Duke promised Deming a million bucks for their school system, and said that all the water they would use would come from municipal effluent. When the business went under, so did the $ for the schools -- which the new owners didn't pick up on. True? What about the water? Is it fact that the original operation plan didn't call for pumping from the aquifer? If so, what happened to that?


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:24 pm 
ynotwrite2 wrote:
c'mon , gwest, no investment is forever, free. the cost of capital and its availability are crucial to the investment equation.
i was lucky enough ,this last winter, i visited las cruces and went to the home depot and bought 5 warm white LED lamps to replace all the 60 watt incandescents in my kitchen. that investment was $70. few can justify such an outlay even if the numbers look good. in my case i doubt if they'll be on 3 hours per day, and it will likely take more than a decade for my investment to be returned. for the many in our area even the $1 compact fluorescents subsidized by PNM are a difficult choice when struggling with food, clothing and shelter expense.

See how hard it is to focus on conservation? It's just not a sexy as Making More. ;-)

We are in the Strategies For A Better Grant County topic... maybe I shoulda said that we should seriously look at investing, and helping folks with that upfront capitalization costs, in order to reap the really long-lasting and mostly maintenance free savings of not spending foolishly (that better, ynot?).

If we were actually doing the math, we would have to factor in the much higher costs of maintenance, repair, and replacement of the More technologies, plus we would have to pay for the energy. (You must pardon me for having exaggerated a little bit in my previous post in hopes of making point without losing it in the weeds.)


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:29 pm 
Gor, it seems to me that we need to be doing both conservation and renewables at the same time. Why fight only half the battle?


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 Author: n2ic
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:45 pm 
Quote:
The water use for a combined cycle natural gas plant (like Luna) is about 190 gal per MWh (megawatt hours) of electricity generated. The facility is rated at 590MW(megwatts) so the water use would be about 958 million gallons. PNM owns 1/3 of the output (190MW) so we as consumers of the electricity would be responsible for about 211 million gallons per year from the well fields.


Big numbers, but let's put it in the perspective of your typical family electricity usage. Let's say that your family uses about 400 kWh per month (pretty typical - go check out your PNM bill). That works out to 4.8 MWh per year. At 190 gallons of water per MWh, your family's electricity-producing water consumption is about 912 gallons of water, per year. A big number ? Hardly. Assuming you practice good water conservation, and don't water your lawn or garden, that is about 18 days of typical water usage.


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:51 pm 
crow wrote:
Gor, it seems to me that we need to be doing both conservation and renewables at the same time. Why fight only half the battle?

Well, that's sorta my point, we are fighting only half the battle. If we spent more time fighting the other half of the battle, then the half that we like to fight would only be half as big. Might be a whole lot easier to win that way.


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 Author: ynotwrite2
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:29 am 
interesting, n2ic, but we will be led far astray if we view our direct usage of electricity and its consequent water consumption as representing the whole picture. electricity is embodied in almost every product and service one consumes.
......
in 2003 i happened upon a small town in western kansas and while heading to breakfast i saw a tire shop like place, but instead of tires and rims strewn everywhere, there were v-8 gasoline engines all about mounted on stands. what were these for? after breakfast i returned to the spot and went inside and met dave who was also a farmer. he told me those engines were the motive force driving pivot irrigation systems and soon afterward he said in the 1960's the water was 60 feet down and since then it had fallen hundreds of feet. soon, he said irrigated farms would no longer be economic. a similar situation is happening in the mimbres basin (deming area) where what was once a marsh now is getting water from around 230 feet. most potable or irrigation water in the basins of the southwest sits atop brackish water. i'd heard that el paso was nearing the point where its wells were getting close ..
.......


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 Author: Nancy Kaminski
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:33 pm 
Thinkprogress.org has a perfectly wonderful article about the worlds most sustainable community, Melbourne. Along with alternative ways to travel and energy efficient buildings, energy audits were a top priority. I'll bet there are city, county or nonprofit organizations who would do this free of charge. How do we motivate the public to do this? Would it be best just to let them know about the money they could save? The apartment owners should go for that.


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 Author: Jean Eisenhower
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:05 am 
I have five business ideas that will contribute to our local sustainability, offer something to tourists, but not be dependent on tourists. They all create industry around basic or somewhat-basic needs.

1) an industry teaching people about passive solar design and then employing folks to retrofit homes to be warm in winter. (This could mean survival for the most disadvantaged if another gas outage happens as it did in Indian Hills two years ago.) Business opportunity: about 4,000 homes, 4,000 families. (Nothing for tourists here, but the next four could.)

2) a "refabrication" cooperative/business, teaching people to sew and reconstruct useful clothing and other items from all the deficient clothes that are churned out by our fashion industry each year, now clogging closets and being baled like waste cardboard and shipped away or thrown away by the truckload. This industry could teach useful skills (livelihoods), using the skill sets being lost as grandmothers pass away and few know how to use a sewing machine for best effect. Grandmothers and others would be honored for their skills, and a current waste product would be turned into resources of clothes, quilts, and more essential items, replacing more crap from modern industry.

3) a "reconstruction" cooperative/business, teaching people to build useful furniture and other wooden items, recycling all the broken or deficient products made of wood into book shelves, more complicated products, simpler items, all the way down to wood kindling for the fire. Honor all the grandfathers and others for their skills. Keep furniture and other wood products out of the landfill, teach useful (livelihood) skills, and save us from having to buy more deficient products of modern industry. Win-win-win-win.

4) a beer-making cooperative/business, especially using our local mesquite pods or other "nearby" grains. History proves that when an economy goes bad, people drink, and alcohol becomes a black-market item of such value that children go hungry and people are murdered for it. Sustainability in the face of severe economic threats needs to include a local industry in simple alcohol (beer, wine, and hard cider seem easy enough) to moderate those historical problems.

5) a soap-making cooperative/business could recycle wood ash and oils into tourist and local-use products, with teaching, training, and industry in the back.

These last four could all involve Bullard Street store fronts for retail items (enhancing downtown tourism in the near-term), with teaching, training, and industry in the back, enhancing our local sustainability for the long-term. Imagine soap-making displays, beer-making displays, etc for tourists, while providing essential or near-essential items to protect us from new economic blows and make us more locally self-sufficient.

As for the real basic needs, food and water, we also need to support 6) the Land Link efforts to connect landowners with those who want to farm, 7) gardening and greenhouse efforts and businesses, 8) those protecting the Gila River from industrial toxic pollution, and 9) those businesses helping individuals and others harvest and manage rainwater.

That's my nine cents. The new economy needs to address basic needs first. Attraction to tourists can be tagged on for near-term benefits.

_________________
jean7eisenhower@gmail.com
www.jeaneisenhower.com


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 Author: ynotwrite2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:50 am 
jean and nancy both great hearted souls in my experience of them here at the forum have missed 2 somethings that make a difference in a complex industrial / post industrial society: a legal framework and a source of capital.
i'll share a little story:
in 1980 another couple, a guy, my wife and i bought land together and agreed to construct homes on this land commonly held using what to each of us were native materials and passive solar design. of course, in the glow of the '60's we just agreed to this and signed nothing. the other couple subsequently decided to construct elsewhere near our town but the guy, my wife and i did build 2 passive solar homes.
now, many years later, our homes sit on private lots surrounded by the common undeveloped land and our home has no right to the sun.
our home has no right to the sun. since, in the beginning we never thought we needed to execute any legal agreement, the apparently thoughtless actions of my neighbor are slowly taking the morning winter sun from the collecting south facing surfaces of our home.
in New Mexico, unless you've planned and executed a legal solar easement, your solar collectors of whatever kind and size have no legal access to the sun.
now for those of you reading this who have large suburban lots with no close by neighbors, this is no problem. for those who live in an urban neighborhood, you have to either rely on the honor and trust in your neighbors, or accept the fact that your work to utilize the warming sunbelt energy you'd planned on will be lost.
i innocently thought, when we noticed the winter sun disappearing behind the foliage, a simple request to rectify the situation would meet with conversation and eventually with some compromise. boy ! was i wrong ! but here we are 6 years later, the trees grow taller and more sun is blocked.
the situation with the deployment of photovoltaics is hardly better: you cannot do in new mexico or anywhere else in the u.s. what you can do in china or germany: go to the store and purchace a complete pv system, assemble it as you would a barbecue grill, plug it in and have solar electricity flow into your own appliances or when they're off, into the grid. nor can you participate in "wheeling" where you could participate in a community solar power plant and have your share offset your bill.


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 Author: Marilynn
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:18 pm 
Just wanted to say I appreciated Jean's ideas that actually "honor" the skill-sets that elders have. Way to go, Jean!

_________________
Marilynn Freeman
Silver City


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 Author: Nancy Kaminski
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:11 am 
A source of funding? Are there grants somewhere for low income homes to go solar? I'm not a grant writer but I would expect there to be some out there somewhere.
And legal agreements are indeed necessary. When our neighbors choose to think only of themselves a community fails miserably. I too live in such a neighborhood.
So the real question is how do we create community. I believe this is a national problem, a world problem. Is it not really greed, over consumption and selfishness that causes most of our problems today? Long ago as I searched for answers to how and what to do about the environmental issues I was working on a prominent scientist told me "You must outnumber them". Outnumber those who opposed the environmental work I was working on. I started searching out like minded people, talking to everyone. I found a large number of concerned citizens willing to work with me. We did outnumber the opponents and we prevailed. It took many years to achieve my goals but I won because I never give up and still believe in the fact that caring citizens outnumber the greedy.
The eternal optimist.


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 Author: Jean Eisenhower
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:33 am 
There should be grants for this, but I've chosen not to be a grant writer. I hope someone who is will respond.

On the other hand, after organizing in various styles over the decades, from non-profit boards to consensus groups and anarchist groups (actually quite functional and creative), and finding that over-organization often bogs down the energy, I now focus on simply planting ideas and trusting/hoping that people will come to see that they can accomplish a lot by themselves, working in small groups. For instance, I've always thought that a couple/few families (with the right homes and appropriate designs) could help each other retrofit their homes to passive solar function with a minimum of money and hassle, maximum of salvage materials, and healthy good will. Yeah, the wrong groupings of people or just a few greedy ones could leave projects unfinished, but the right people with a good agreement containing solid consequences could make a good repeatable model.

I just gotta believe that the human race still has it in us to cooperate fairly, and that we're not so "civilized" that we can't do anything without a Board of Directors, legal agreements, and all that. They are still essential to accomplish a lot of work, but, I pray, not for everything.

_________________
jean7eisenhower@gmail.com
www.jeaneisenhower.com


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 Author: ReginaldHill
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:04 am 
You won't like this answer, but our utilities are already quite local. Our power comes from the gas-fired power plant just down the road near Deming. The gas to power the plant comes from one of the many gas wells right here in New Mexico. There is also the new solar panels generating station just south of Deming.

It is nice way of generating clean and cheap power..I think more counties must use similar way of power generation.


Last edited by ReginaldHill on Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:59 am 
From Wikipedia: PNM is a significant owner of the San Juan generation facility, a coal-fired plant located near Farmington, New Mexico, and a 10% owner in the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Facility near Phoenix, AZ. PNM also owns and operates several natural gas-fired plants throughout the state of New Mexico including Reeves Generating Station in Albuquerque, most of which are used to meet additional demand for electricity in the summer months.

Looks like our power comes mostly from coal, at least the billing from PNM appears to be tied predominantly to coal. Unless there is a direct wire to Silver City from the peak power supplying natural gas plant in Deming? We also get some power from grid tied private solar installations, nuclear, wind, etc. (The subject might be a bit more complex than which power plant we are closest to...)

I am a little unclear on how this relates to strategies for a better Grant County? A really good strategy related to energy would be to conserve more power. Energy conservation plants are pretty cheap to construct and operate and they can save boatloads of money.


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 Author: ynotwrite2
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:29 am 
gorwest, as reg hill has said, the electricity comes from the closest source, in this case the new electric plant in
deming. this is because of the fact that , on average 8 % of the electricity is lost by being transmitted from the power plant to the points of use. its not likely that one could pry the necessary information out of PNM to know exactly from where and how much of the electricity in their generating "fleet" goes to which part of their extensive service area. this much is known: the plant in deming uses the latest technology for converting the energy in the gas into electricity, so it is likely to be over 50% efficient. the coal fired plants they own at four corners are likely less than 35% and are 250miles away compared with 50 miles for the deming plant.


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:06 am 
Certainly proximity and the calculation of line losses are a factor, but so is each plant's purpose. I had heard (and the wikipedia note supports the notion) that the NG plants in PNM's system are peak load plants. The San Juan Generating Station is a base load plant. If the cost of generation at the coal plant is less than the cost of generation at the NG plant by more than the line loss delivered to Grant County, then our power would probably come from 250 miles away. Or if the NG plant's more responsive peak load generating capability would bring a higher price in another market, then it would likely be sold into that market.

I don't know what PNM is doing, either, but I do question the simple assertion that our power comes from the Deming plant just because it is closest. Feeling like we are using clean, local power while others are using dirty power is a false comfort, since if most folks were not using coal generated power, then the Deming supply would go to fill the void where the highest prices are paid. The Grid is a large and complex system, which is operated according to many constantly changing physical, economic, and regulatory variables, so simplistic claims about where "our" power comes from are not really useful.

I would like to see some development of the claim as a strategy for a better Grant County, if RH would like to do that. In a system of identifying strategies, one step towards implantation is to evaluate and prioritize possible actions. Is there a potential action related to local NG generating plants that we can look at?


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 Author: ynotwrite2
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:18 pm 
well, well, not really useful ?
several years ago i asked PNM where our local electricity came from, and for some reason they told me: from a small plant in lordsburg, from palo verde ( west from phoenix) and the remainder from somewhere else, not 4 corners. then about 2 years ago they could'nt tell me where it came from.
my interpretation of this was that they know and are no longer willing to say outside of the regulatory process.
wherever our electricity comes from, and whatever means are used to produce it, could only make the most starry eyed among us feel good.
for example, the wastewater plant's solar electric array has a peak output of about 1megawatt or daily output of around 5megawatt- hours. the silver city service area consumes 500 megawatt-hours per day.
using less, using local, repairing and recycling seem the only feasible route to avoiding a crash, few are choosing that route. most are" because i can, i will. "


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:16 pm 
Exactly. Where the electricity comes from is all but irrelevant. The greenest watt is the one not used.


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 Author: JE1947
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:03 am 
An idea from a non-Sanders supporter.

Do NOT support Bernie Sanders for a variety of reasons.

DO support for Clinton for a variety of reasons. Always voted Democrat.

Contributed to NAACP & SNCC as a teenager, 1963-65.

Like so many of us "boomers" who seem to be the scorn of many since we were greedy with what we did in the Sixties & Seventies ... saw JFK assasinated; Oswald the first live murder on TV; Medgar Evars assassinated; three civil rights workers brutally killed, buried, killers included Law Enforcement and despicable KKK members (see the film "Mississippi Burning"). In the last year of my enlistment: saw Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy assassinated.
I've voted since I first could, when I was 21, in 1968, after three years in the Army: South Korea; South Vietnam; Army hospitals: Vietnam; Philippines; Japan; New Jersey; Phoenixville, PA; Ft. Knox, Ky for gunshot wound (serious) and malaria.
Been a disabled veteran since 1969.

Originally very supportive of Vietnam, I "came out" as against the war while still in uniform in July, 1967, in a letter that pulled down some retaliation and perhaps "surveillance" as against the war WHILE STILL IN UNIFORM. The letter could've gotten me an Article XV.
Was in SDS for a while. Was supportive of AIM (American Indian Movement); met Russell Means & Dennis Banks @ Indiana University.
Clubbed on the head during an anti Wallace rally in Indianapolis, 1969.

Attended Black Panther rallies in Indianapolis.

Was at major anti-Inauguration demonstration against Nixon in DC.

Major Demonstration in downtown SF, 1969 or 1973. Probably 69.
Watched Saigon fall in 1975 as many Vietnam veterans did,wondering: what the HELL was THAT about?

Involved with the Grape Boycott.

Was involved with Socialist Party for awhile.

Helped start the Grant County Peace Coalition in the fall of 2002 -- BEFORE Bush The Village Idiot sent us into Iraq. Participated in demonstrations, rallies, etc., here in SC, with GCPC.
Have supported water harvesting since I got here.

Support every bit of solar power, wind power, manure power, turning cooking oils into fuel ...

But right now, Bernie Sanders hasn't shown me how, or what, his theoretical underpinnings for his Democratic Socialism are. He has not shown me how he will take a capitalist system in four years, to something that is "Democratic Socialist" or "Socialist" with the possible congress we've had for the entire Obama term.

Yes, it would be historical to elect a Socialist.
It will be more historic in my view, to elect (about time) a WOMAN FOR PRESIDENT

How many other nations have had women leaders?

We've elected first African-American and he's been pilloried, despised, treated so poorly that to me, so much is about racism I can't believe it.
Seen the Republican Party since Goldwater use "dog whistle politics" to move farther and farther to the right until we've arrived at this unbelievable cohort of 17 completely shitforbrains, misogynists, evangelical radicals, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant (mostly inferred to be all Mexicans), anti GLBT rights, lifestyles; my God, where does it stop.

Seen the GOP & NRA become twin headed hydra.
Sooooooo .... what's the point????

I wonder if those who support Sanders have considered this:
In such a place as Grant County, where Greens gave nearly 1000 votes to Nader in 2000 ... what about some of you running for office, from dog catcher on up, as Democratic Socialists?

Western Europe has had vibrant socialist movements in the beginning of the 20th Century. The Western European nations that seem to epitomize the ideal socialist regimes in the world, began that movement after the end of WW II.

Today, those socialist havens in Scandinavia and Western Europe all have come serious issues with immigrants, hatred directed thereto, their ow factions of Muslim haters; are racially integrated but there are biases; but they seem to have done better in some nations than others with racial integration.

Many of those western European socialist nations had colonial histories that have made their own political systems difficult to some degree.
America will become more non-white than white by 2030, surely, 2040.

America IS headed in a direction where Sanders supporters, etc., see more roles for government. Clinton, too. As I believe is proper. More not less.

If Clinton is elected, she will have four years to move at least one more person onto the Supremes. Same for Sanders, but Sanders has much less moxie legislately than Clinton. He has no real stellar record on moving bills into laws. He seems to have problems with people of color based on some of the statements he's made. Not racist. Just doesn't seem to "see them" in an odd way. Recognize their importance for the Democratic nomination.
That's not just my view.

BUT ... if people who support Sanders ARE ALSO DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS, which I doubt in most cases, then maybe they might want to run for office, here in Grant County and Silver City as DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS.
The United States as a whole doesn't know much about socialism.

Many couple it with the People's Democratic Republic of .... and how that was connected with the Soviet bloc as well as Vietnam; Cambodia; China ...

Eugene Debs had probably the most votes as a Socialist at the turn of the 20th Century. How many know that story?
Socialism faltered at the beginning of WW I, and Debs was jailed for his stand on participating in war. Debs was unequivocal about what socialism dictated so far as involvement in WW I. He paid the price for that. Check the records. That was the high water mark for Socialism in the U.S. in terms of someone actually running for high office as a socialist. Check out the Haymarket Riots in Chicago.

McCarthyism scared the shxt out of people ... it was a serious liability to be member of CPUSA. Socialists were considered "fellow travelers" of CPUSA.
I think most people shucked their identities as socialists post McCarthy. It's understandable why. Most of Sanders youngest supporters may not even KNOW about McCarthyism and what happened here. See: Woody Allen's "The Front," or "Dalton Trumbo," or a film with Robert DeNiro ... as communists. There are many more. "Seeing Red" a fine documentary on the effects of McCarthyism. "Reds" another. "Red Diaper Babies" an excellent book on children of communists during pre and WW II; post WW II; McCarthy era; Cold War. A very real & ugly period of American history that probably scared the living crap out of socialists.

When I enlisted in the Army in 1965, the infamous HUAC list was given me and I was told to indicate organizations (at least 100) I might've been affiliated with. I don't know if SNCC or CORE or NAACP were on there, but if they were, I think one of them got me "tagged" right then and there. McCarthyism had already been reproached, but the list was till being handed out. The FBI was serious about who answered what on that list.

If Sanders supporters here in Grant County who ARE, in fact, Democratic Socialists, it would be instructive for the rest of us to see how that works on the field of politics.

Why not?

We have a serious Tea Party presence here. I don't know if any of those folks have run for office. I really don't care about them.

But if 1000 communities across the country, Grant County & Silver City among them, elected a Socialist of some kind for some kind of office, the education process would begin. It seems to me that based on the support I see & hear about here, that there must be some folks who know the difference between being a socialist and just supporting Sanders.

Because Sanders, if elected, will not, in my opinion, move forward very far in transforming American government to Socialist in four years.
If Obama had obstacles from before Day One, Sanders will, too.

So, the basic infrastructure of the United States' political terrain could possibly be changed by 1000, then 2000, then 3000 local positions being assumed by Socialists. Maybe even before 2020.
I'm curious why this hasn't happened more across the country.

As the white male dominated GOP begins to splinter and fade, there will be more dog whistle politics; now, with Trump, more mysoginist views. The last gasps of white Male dominated politics is coming to an end, surely by 2040. The GOP simply does NOT get our changing demographics.

America in 2040 will see white males and females shrink in composition and power. I am a white male. Whether I'll be here in 2030, I kind of doubt.

This is, I think, behind the rise of demagogues like Trump & serpentine slick haired snakes like Cruz.

Both are dangerous.
Seriously dangerous.

Western Europe as well as many other nations, have been multi party systems, while we've stayed essentially two parties.
If the GOP implodes and a Third Party run emerges (more than several already have come from that end of the political spectrum), then we may see coalition politics blossom here.
I don't know.

But I suspect locally, there are some very astute people who consider themselves socialists and might be very good elected officials.

Silver City is more liberal than the county.

It seems that folks running for office as socialists might make for a better Grant County.
Just a thought.

It's an interesting cycle. The most dangerous, ominous I've ever seen. Ethnic hatred and racial hatred are boiling beneath the crowds who support Trump. To imagine him controlling the most powerful military in the world; to imagine him in the White House (or Cruz) with their denial of the realities of climate change ... is very troubling to me. Very. Benito Mussolini best serves as a reminder of Trump & vice versa. Do you know Benito Mussolini?

I grew up pretty aware, politically and historically by the time I was 10 or 11. Certainly aware of international politics and certainly knew the socialism that was part of the process, theoretically, towards the emergence of a Communist system.
And how that all turned out behind the Iron Curtain.
Socialist political systems on the other hand, came into their place west of the Iron Curtain.

The Greens were and could be yet another viable local political power.

The 2000 election showed me: the 1000 or so votes for Nader contributed to Gore either coming close,or losing NM, when the Florida vote count debacle occurred.
But at the local level, there seems to be room for a socialist to run for office. And show the rest of us what that really means HERE. In Grant County.
Just my thoughts. I don't need any hand grenades. I had hand grenades in Vietnam.
We are all entitled to our opinions.

I have absolutely no doubt I'll gladly support the FIRST AMERICAN WOMAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE. NONE TOO SOON.
Thank you.
Have a good day.


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