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Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Well, we're nearing the home stretch. The September Hip Hop Voter Project will take place at 10 pm, Sept. 3 at The Paramount. Planned Parenthood of New Mexico is hosting. Then Democrats host the October event and then the voter rolls close! It's been a great year, though, and hopefully some of our new registered voters will vote (um, yes, hopefully all of them will vote). Joe Ray and I are hoping to have a huge election night event at The Paramount that will coincide with Day of the Dead. Meanwhile, work to finish our three-minute documentary on The Hip Hop Voter Project continues and hopefully we'll be able to get that onto Channel 8 and other venues as quickly as possible. If you've got any ideas, contact me at:

Edwards and Bush and Nader, Oh My

Both the Prez and the hunky VP Dem nominee are scheduled to be in NM this week, as the swing state battle heats up. SFR will have stories this week on both the battle for the state's political soul (yes, hyperbole, it's actually a story about The Republican Mandate in NM), as well as the flock of blue and reds coming to NM to work for their candidates, now that they've given up on their own states. Hmm. Meanwhile, we have been flooded with letters regarding our interview with Carol Miller on Ralph Nader, as well as Duncan North's column denouncing Miller and Nader. Meanwhile, a new group called Progressives Against Nader (same old folks, new name) also have signed a petition against Nader appearing on New Mexico's ballot. And another group will be taking out anti-Nader ads on New Mexico TV and in local publications.

Anyway, here's a copy of Progressives Against Nader letter for anyone who is interested:

To: All New Mexicans
From: Progressives for Kerry
Re: Nader petition drive in New Mexico
Date: Friday, August 20, 2004

We are writing to you, all New Mexicans who share our progressive ideals, urging you to reject the petition to put Ralph Nader on the ballot as an Independent candidate for president.

In the past several decades, Ralph Nader has been a determined advocate for consumers and a pioneer for progressive causes. Unfortunately, his current presidential campaign has done little to advance progressive policies and has instead been hijacked by ardent Republicans in an effort to re-elect George W. Bush. Nader’s campaign has become a critical component of the radical Republican right’s efforts to circumvent the electoral process and keep Bush in office. In order to protect and advance progressive causes, and to ensure that our electoral system is not manipulated, there are some facts that all voters should know about Nader’s candidacy.

Nader’s campaign hired an out-of-state firm, JSM, which has deceptively pitched for signatures, failing to inform New Mexicans about their true purpose. The firm also has deep ties to Republicans and right-wing causes and is being investigated for violating the law. Certainly, if a candidate abides by the rules, he or she should be able to appear on the ballot. However, some of the Nader campaign’s tactics in New Mexico and in other states across the country bring its legitimacy into question.

Second, Republicans understand that George W. Bush has no accomplishments to tout and no vision for the future. Thus, to succeed, they must continue to defame John Kerry, attacking his lifetime of service to country, to divide Democrats and progressives alike with wedge issues, and now to leverage Nader’s candidacy to peel off enough independent and Green votes to thwart a Kerry presidency.

John Kerry has been a champion for progressive causes. He has an unparalleled record on protecting the environment, scoring a 96% approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters. Kerry understands how America’s middle class is getting squeezed – working harder, making less, and paying more for health care and prescription drugs, child care, and college tuition. Kerry knows that America can do better and he will take on the big HMOs and pharmaceutical companies to stem the rising costs of health care, and rein in corporate misconduct. He has a comprehensive energy policy that will end America’s dependence on Middle East oil. Finally, he will continue to fight to protect our freedoms, including a woman’s right to choose.

Attached are more facts about the Nader campaign’s petition drive -- facts that should give all New Mexicans pause before they support an effort to spoil our hopes of ending the Bush presidency and winning America back from the far right and big corporate interests. We urge you not to sign any Nader petitions.


Former U.S. Senator

City Councilor, Albuquerque

City Councilor, Albuquerque

City Councilor, Albuquerque

City Councilor, Espanola

Fmr. Candidate, Democratic Nomination, New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District

Wilderness Activist

Land Grant Activist

Advocate for Choice

Equal Rights Activist

Environmental Activist

New Mexico State Senator

New Mexico State Senator

New Mexico State Senator

Candidate, New Mexico State Senate

Candidate, New Mexico State Senate

New Mexico State Representative, Majority Leader

New Mexico State Representative

New Mexico State Representative

New Mexico State Representative

Fmr. New Mexico State Representative

∑ The New Mexico Secretary of State’s office called the paid signature gathering effort "highly unusual" noting, "this has never been an issue before. Usually candidates and parties do their own collection."

∑ Nader has employed a marketing firm, JSM, that "is under investigation in West Virginia for its signature gathering practices on Nader’s behalf and was found in Arizona to have illegally used a convicted felon to collect signatures. Two of its employees were arrested in Florida for faking signatures on state constitutional amendment petitions." The American Prospect uncovered that in its effort to get on the ballot in Arizona, "the Nader campaign hired a petition company (JSM) that is also gathering signatures for a draconian anti-immigrant initiative pushed by right-wing elements in the state."

∑ When one University of New Mexico student freely expressed her concerns about the suspicious petition activities, a spokesperson for JSM threatened a lawsuit.

Republicans are actively supporting Nader
Across the country, news reports highlight Republican efforts to prop up Nader. In New Mexico, State Senator Rod Adair (R-Roswell) forwarded Nader petitions to 24,000 people urging his Republican supporters to sign. In New Hampshire, a signature gatherer was given a script that read: 1) Approach: ‘Excuse me sir/miss etc. I was wondering if you could take a second to help President Bush?’ 2) Follow through: ‘I am collecting signatures to get Ralph Nader on the ballot.’ 3) Persuasion: ‘In 2000 Nader got almost 30,000 votes — without his presence Al Gore would be president today.’"

Nader receiving large contributions from Republicans
"Nearly one in 10 of Nader's major donors -- those writing checks of $1,000 or more -- have given in recent months to the Bush-Cheney campaign, the latest documents show. GOP fund-raisers also have "bundled" contributions -- gathering hefty donations for maximum effect to help Nader, who has criticized the practice in the past."

Republicans are funneling money to Nader’s signature gathering firm
"Steve Wark, a Republican campaign consultant and former state party executive director, said he raised $30,000 -- from friends and Republicans like the state party chairwoman -- to pay for the signature-gathering effort for Nader… Wark agrees that JSM (the firm hired by Nader) circulated the petitions, but he said the money he collected went to Choices for America, which then passed it on to JSM." The head of JSM advised him directly to "send money to Choices for America," an obvious attempt at hiding the money trail.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Dem Ticket Returns to NM/Cheney NM Shenanigans

Well, I'll be in California when Kerry and Edwards arrive in NM, but I'm sure I'll hear all about it upon my return! I think the whole travel across the US by train thing is sort of silly (and paranoia-provoking, is there something wrong with our air space that I should know about?), although people do like a good wave at the train event. Also, as Tom Brokaw pointed out, it's kind of nice in this multi-media TV-driven age to have political candidates trying to interact in a more, um, old-fashioned way as they run for office. Although I'm simultaneously suspicious when people start talking about the good old days and the whole Greatest Generation crap. Seriously, how could any generation that was so great have left us with all this crap? It's like, yeah, great for you.
Um, anyway, also, check out SFR this week for articles on the Convention, anti-nuke rallies at LANL and other exciting developments in our little neck of the woods. Catcha next week! Freelancer Zelie Pollon's piece on the Convention is a particularly good read and really gives one the sense of the chaos and VIP-component of the Convention. Frankly, the idea of spending a week scamming VIP tickets sounds hideous to me, although I guess that's why Richardson said he'd make sure we were taken care of if we went. Or maybe he just meant we'd get lots of free salsa (a stunt that won him the title of Most Relentless Self Promotion from the Times last Friday).
Ok, just a few more things. Still can't get over the fact that Dick Cheney required afadavits from people that they would vote for Bush if they wanted a ticket to hear him speak What is that? And then he had the gall to say he felt like he was in Bush country and was sure NM would go Republican. Of course it seems like that if you only speak to Republicans. In Rio Rancho, for God's sakes. OK, calming down. See, this is why I need a vacation

Here's the low-down so far on the Kerry/Edwards visit. Apparently more details are forthcoming.

They are coming in by train August 7 and August 8 as part of the "Believe in America Tour." (Worst name, ever, in my opinion. Makes it sound like America's existence is a matter of opinion) There aren't public events in Albuquerque, the Kerry/Edwards families are going to shop and eat (which should be a real fun time for whatever stores and restaurants they land at. They also will go to mass. On Sunday they are going to a public Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremony in Gallup, I believe. The visit is being pushed as a reach out to rural, Hispanic and Native America populations.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Party in Boston

Journalist Zelie Pollon is just back from Boston and writing SFR's lead story this weeking the convention and all the back-stage pressure. She spent a great deal of her time running around trying to get coveted passes to parties etc. It sounds exhausting and claustrophobic, frankly. We'll have her piece, along with a story about Santa Fe's disorganized house-party for Kerry, an interview with a Middle Eastern expert about why the Dems aren't doing a good job distinguishing themselves from the Republicans and an article about the special interests at the convention.
So far, my favorite thing has been Christopher Buckley's piece, but that may be because I am a sucker for sarcasm. More later. (On convention stuff, not my love of sarcasm).