I’ve got a grievance with the union ! Who do I talk to ?

At the CLC forum I, along with every other candidate for county commissioner, was given 3 minutes to “present” myself to CLC representatives. I wandered somewhat, but tried to get across my dedication to fight for economic justice and open government for the last ten years or more – difficult to do in 3 minutes ! I had 30 seconds left to sum up when Jon Hendry began his comment on who I was ( a good guy) and why I was in the wrong race ( the PRC was the right one for me ), and how I had not told labor what I would do for them ( no talk of jobs ) and how the office of county commissioner had nothing to do with municipalization of our electric grid and only to do with, in his words, the everyday “minutiae” – pot holes, lot splits, water rights transfers, etc.
Since he took up what was left of my time, I will respond in this forum…AND will fully invite responses not only from the union(s) but from other readers. Let’s use this opportunity to kick this around some.
We ratepayers in Santa Fe City and County together pay PNM a little over $80 million per year for our electricity. Of this, some $70 million leaves our local economy in the first pass, never to multiply, to create jobs or other economic benefits. If we were paying a MUNICIPALLY owned utility, all of that money would stay locally and become a major driver for local economic activity. The muni would also have a substantial union workforce – some 200 people or more as I figure it after looking at Farmington and their muni since we’d be bigger.. This is what I believe Jon Hendry was referring to as minutiae – as if I could only pay attention to his version of details. He also must know that ONLY a municipality can create a municipally owned grid – not the PRC – they have nothing to do with it. The right of a municipality to create their own utility is also written into our constitution . But when I look at this basic and huge piece of the local economy leaving each year to a go to straight to wall street and not even hang out here for one pass , I get pretty amazed and outraged – like please PNM could we just use our money one time after we pay you? NO ! You’re a mere county commissioner and you have no right to question us! Well, you get the point. Why have we had no leadership on just this one issue. There are after all over 2,000 muni owned grids in the U.S. Many municipaliites derive a significant percentage of their income from the proceeds of these publically owned entities. Remember one important question was on whether or not we supported “privatization” ? Well, this one act alone – creating a muni grid – would reverse an old history of privatizing (PNM) that which should be publically owned. Think that in just 14 years we will have lost one billion dollars of local economic activity …$ 1 BILLION ! This at a time when we’re looking to ax jobs and close schools and raise fees and taxes. Kind of important to at least think about as a candidate…yes?
So, what about the cost of creating a grid, wouldn’t that be expensive ?! Maybe, but it would also be stimulus, a huge job creator. Call your union brothers and sisters in the Cape Wind district and ask them how many jobs are being created to install that off shore wind farm. Jobs that won’t leak toxins, blow up workers, or ever run out of fuel, and that will create literally millions of opportunities for economic growth.
This would add millions of dollars to our economy right now ! right when we need it and would create essential infrastructure. How any union leader could ever argue against this is beyond my comprehension. Or county commissioner for that fact. Here I’m only talking about electricity. It’s important to remember we can do the same thing with local heat and local transportation fuels. Just add more local millions in our economy for those “alternatives” as well. So yeah, it’s minutiae, but it’s  minutiae I’ll happily tackle as a commissioner along with trash pick up and pot holes. I know the people, I know the engineers,I know the lawyers, I know the non profits, I know where the funding is. We have to move fast while there’s still money to invest, but, if we do, we set our own course to energy self suficiency and create one hell of a lot of high paying , essential union jobs . Sounds good to me…what about you?

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One Response to I’ve got a grievance with the union ! Who do I talk to ?

  1. Yes indeed, David…very well stated!

    Certain pieces of infrastructure have always been seen as public necessities, and are therefore publicly owned: streets, sewers, parks, libraries, fire and police stations, and mass-transit systems, to name a few. Recently it has become incredibly clear that certain energy infrastructures are essential and therefore should be publicly owned as well: power lines, gas lines, and district-heating networks. And as you point out, rather than cost-centers these public properties could be revenue centers and, more importantly, they could serve as economic engines by creating opportunities for local, independent energy companies to support their community.

    So I say, bring it on, and PLEASE can we get you elected to the County Commission!

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