The following is posted with permission of Ms. Bokar and it demonstrates how and why it is difficult and expensive for a citizen to participate in “participatory” government.
Dear New Mexicans,
Yesterday, February 14, before I left for Santa Fe in order to testify before the HJR 6 committee, I checked the calendar on the Legislature site and read that the hour had been changed to 8:30 A.M.
I envisioned the large committee room that is used for legislation that reasonably expects large crowds. I arrived at 8:19 A. M.
HJR 6 was assigned to an incredibly small room. Taking up about 1/3 of the space was a very large, wide table at which the committee members sat. The public — testifiers, I assumed — were jammed into 2 rows of about 25 chairs smashed against the back wall. Each chair was occupied.
The hall outside the committee room was jammed with about 15 people. In addition, two house staff people manned the door. One policeman and a RoundHouse Security member milled through the crowded hallway. Did the guilty expect trouble?
Those of us in the hall were not allowed into the committee hearings, not even to stand against the wall, Fire regulations were dutifully repeated. Some of us were allowed to enter in order to tell the committee we were present. I also wrote a note to the Committee Chair and asked to be called first on HJR 6.
HJR 6 was third on the list of 4 bills to be heard in that room at that time in those conditions. Preceding it was a bill regarding “Boards of Regents Nominating Committees” and :”Land Grant Fund Distribution.” Following it was a bill regarding “Removal from Public Office for Felonies.”
I hope this gives you — as it did me — a vivid idea of what socialist politicians, such as Miguel P. Garcia, think of business people and the importance of business to the state. Such individuals are aware of but blank out the fact that were it not for business peoples’ earnings their salaries and spending programs would be voided.
As usual, the committee hearings did not start on time, keeping everyone waiting until around 9:20 or so. It took about 15 minutes for the first hearing. I was hopeful.
The Land Grant Bill went on and on. Around 10:45 or so, someone said that the socialists Democrats were deliberately delaying the land grant discussion in order to avoid hearing HJR 6. Could it be so, I wondered. I looked through the door windows. No one in the audience was speaking. The politicians talked and talked. My hopes were dashed.
By 11:20 the hallway had cleared of people waiting to testify, except for myself and two youngsters.
Also waiting it out were Carla Sonntag, President of New Mexico Business Coalition, and Matthew E. Gonzales, Vice-President of Association of Commerce & Industry — both of whom had come to oppose HJR 6.
Around 1130, people started coming out of the committee room. I got ready to enter but was stopped. It was announced that HJR 6 had been “rolled over” — meaning it would be re-scheduled for another day. When I asked why, I was told that the politicians had to go to the floor for a House session. They had run out of time.
Yes, indeed, they surely have.
I went to each of the offices of the Democrat committee members and left a note. My anger had left me. I simply felt empty. My mind was churning with ideas on how to deal with this type of shenanigans.
Since I was able to leave notes only for the socialists on the HJR 6 committee, I wrote a longer note and more personal to the Republicans on the committee.
Here’s my note to each of them.
Dear Representative (name),
I went to Santa Fe yesterday, February 14, to testify my opposition to HJR 6. I was disappointed that it was rolled over to be heard on another day. Nonetheless, I hope to be able to attend the re-scheduled hearing.
Meanwhile, I trust you will oppose HJR 6 as it is an exceedingly destructive idea to force business people to annually raise the minimum wage.
I have sent you my arguments. I have sent other arguments to a number of different newspapers around the state. I hope that we together — the many New Mexicans opposing this bill and your constituents — will persuade the socialists that their idea is wrong and that we will prevent HJR 6 from getting on the ballot.
Thank you for your attention to this e-mail and for the work you are doing to oppose HJR 6.
Grassroots Ad Hoc Association To Defend NM Businesses